Daily Bible Readings – Friday, December 27, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 96

Prayer Point. The world may appear chaotic, but God has made Jesus, whom we crucified, the LORD over all creation. He is the only God and ruler of this world. Meditate on this psalm (turn it over in your mind) and then respond with your own prayer of praise.

Luke 1:67-80

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. An angel appears to Zechariah, an old childless priest, and announces that his wife, Elizabeth, who also was well beyond childbearing age, will give birth to a son. Zechariah can’t believe it and asks, “How can this be?” The angel strikes him dumb for his unbelief, but the promised child, John the Baptist, the one who will prepare the way for the Messiah is born, just as God had promised.

It was customary to name the child on the eighth day, the occasion of the boy’s circumcision. Zechariah is asked what he will name his son. Unable to talk he calls for a tablet and writes the words, “His name is John.” In that moment, Zechariah’s tongue is loosened and filled with the Holy Spirit sings the words we read today.

Pay special attention to …

  • The fact that Zechariah sings about someone’s else son (as well as his own).
  • How Zechariah describes the Messiah in verses 67-75. Note that “horn” is a symbol of strength and that the “house of his servant David” refers to the royal line of Israel that had long been absent from the throne.
  • Why God chooses to rescue his people (verses 72-75).
  • Zechariah’s prophecy concerning his son John in verses 76-77 and how he will prepare God’s people for the Lord’s coming.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Galatians 3:15-22

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. It might help to know a little Jewish history in order to understand today’s reading. God appeared to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, bearing three promises that had implications not only for Abraham and his family, but for the whole world. God promised Abraham that his family would become a great nation, enjoy God’s protection and receive a land chosen for them. The purpose of these blessings is what is important. Abraham is being blessed so that through him, God could bless the nations of the world. That blessing would be none other than Jesus Christ. This set of promises and blessings is called the covenant with Abraham. Abraham shared in this covenant and is blessed by God because he believes the promises of God.

Fast forward 400 years. Abraham’s descendents are quite numerous, but they are slaves in Egypt. They have yet to receive the land that was promised them. God hears the cries of his people and remembers his promise to Abraham and liberates them from slavery. He parts the Red Sea and brings Abraham’s family to the foot of Mount Sinai and there he gives the 10 Commandments.

God has now given his Law to Israel, but the fundamentals of his relationship with Israel have not changed. The Law was given to show the people their sin, their need for God and what it means to love God and love their neighbor. The Law was not the means of becoming right with God, it is the way we live because God has graciously given us the blessings of Abraham through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Pay close attention to …

  • To whom were the promises of God given.
  • What the Law does not do to the covenant that was given to Abraham.
  • What the inheritance depends on and does not depend on.
  • The Law’s purpose according to verses 19-22.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

 

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