Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 103

Prayer Point. Are looking for a reason to praise God? Psalm 103 gives you a number of options. Concentrate on two or three and offer your own prayer of praise.

Matthew 1:18-25

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 guide you.

Background. The births of Isaac, Abraham’s son, and Samson were both miraculous and announced by an angel as Jesus’ was. What sets Jesus apart is that he is conceived by a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a critical part of Jesus’ identity and his mission.

The central dilemma of the Bible is that humanity, because of our sin, owes God a debt that not even eternity in hell could pay. No one but a human could pay the debt, but no human was capable of paying the debt. That is until Jesus came to earth. Because he is born of a virgin, Jesus is both fully God and fully man. As a man, Jesus has the right to pay humanity’s debt. As God, he has the capability of paying it.

This is who Jesus was, but God chose to set this plan in motion in partnership with an ordinary couple, Mary and Joseph. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. His fiance is pregnant and he is not the father. If he goes through with the marriage he will bring great shame upon himself.

Pay close attention to …

  • Joseph’s great faith and courage even before the angel appears to him.
  • The angel’s message to Joseph which confirms his faith.
  • The connection between Jesus’ name which means “the Lord saves” and his mission.

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.

Revelation 19:11-16

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 guide you.

Background. John sees a vision of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel of John refers to Jesus as the “Word of God” as he is in Revelation 19:13. What strikes you about this image of Jesus? In what ways is it reassuring? In what ways is it terrifying?

Why do you think we need to know Christ in this way?

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.

Isaiah 62:1-5, 10-12

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 guide you.

Background. Take a look at Revelation 22:16 and compare that with “her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch” in verse 1. [“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16] “The nations will see your _____________, and all kings your _____.” [v. 2 righteousness; glory] “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.” We saw this earlier (actually later) in Chapter 65. Why are names so important? [Names are important because God’s name is supremely important. In the OT names also convey the character of the named. Examples: Hannah = gracious; Job = one persecuted; Samson = like the sun; Samuel = heard of God.] Refer to Revelation 2:17 for another reference to the name given by God. How are God’s people described in verse 3? [A crown of splendor, a royal diadem] According to verse 4 what shall we be called? [Hephzibah and Beulah – my delight is in her and married] It’s very nice that Isaiah tells us what these names mean (also in verse 4). What is the imagery in verse 5? [Married; marriage] Have we seen this before? [Hosea uses marriage throughout as a metaphor. Hosea was told to marry a harlot (Gomer) as an object lesson to Israel – a demonstration that Israel had given herself over to false gods (harlotry) but that God loved her anyway. Read all about it in Hosea. On many occasions Jesus referred to a bride and bridegroom, his first sign as reported by John in Chapter 2 was at the marriage in Cana. A coincidence?? And, of course, in Revelation we have the famous Marriage of the Lamb Chapter 21:2.] Verses 6 and 7 exhort us to do what? [Wait and watch, be vigilant] In verses 8-9 the Lord swears by his right hand to do what? [Never again will enemies, outsiders, and the nations conquer the LORD’s land and harvest it.]

Verses 8 and 9 speak of grain (bread) and wine. What do the grain and wine symbolize? [Bread and wine refer to life-giving substances. In the Old Testament the bread and wine were the principal ingredients in the Passover meal. In the New Testament they refer to the life-giving body and blood of Christ.]

The imagery in verse 10 is very similar to that of Isaiah Chapter 40:3-4 “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.’” What is the only difference between these passages of Isaiah to those of Chapter 40? [Verse 10 refers to the people of God whereas in Chapter 40 verses 3-4 the preparation is for the coming of the LORD.] Which advent is Isaiah referring to in verses 11-12? [An argument could be made for both the one when Jesus was born and his second 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s