Daily Bible Readings – Friday, January 3, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 68

Prayer Point. God is our conquering and victorious king and David invites us to praise him: “Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” Is there a situation in your life where God has recently delivered you? Take time today to thank God our king.

John 6:15-27

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. For over a thousand years the people of Israel had been waiting for a great leader, someone who acted as Moses once did (see Deuteronomy 18:15). The people believe they have found their leader in Jesus, who as Moses once did, fed the people miraculously. With Moses it was the manna or daily bread in the wilderness. With Jesus it was feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish (see John 6:1-14).

The people want to make Jesus their king. Their thinking is quite understandable. If Moses led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, perhaps Jesus, the new Moses-like leader, will overthrow the Romans and establish himself as the rightful king of Israel. Jesus is king and will become king, but not by force, but by dying on a cross and rising from the dead. His Father will make him king, not the people, so he withdraws and commands his disciples to sail on ahead of him across the lake that was called the “Sea of Galilee.”

The sea was regarded as a place of evil and frightful power as it was one of the greatest known forces in the natural world.

Pay close attention …

  • How Jesus demonstrates his power over the waters.
  • The reaction of Jesus’ disciples to seeing him walk on water.
  • Why the crowds are pursuing Jesus.
  • What Jesus wants the crowds to pursue instead.

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.

Ephesians 4:17-32

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 word “Gentile” normally refers to a person who is not Jewish, but Paul is using the term to refer to those who are without a relationship with God. The Gentile way of life is the lifestyle the Ephesians lived before they came to believe in Jesus Christ.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the “Gentile” lifestyle, the old way of life contrasts to the new life of following Jesus.
  • What the Ephesians are to put off and what they are to put on.
  • Whether the Holy Spirit’s healing and Jesus’ forgiveness comes before or after the Ephesians’ new life (see verses 30-32).

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.

1 Kings 19:9-18

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. “What are you doing here Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9 ESV) The LORD asks Elijah this question clearly because the LORD is not yet finished with him. Remember that this would be considered a holy place of refuge – the place where Moses trod and where the Ten Commandments were handed down. This section of scripture is, perhaps, among the most riveting in all the Old Testament.

Elijah is very discouraged and is, quite frankly, afraid of Jezebel – of what she may do to him. She was far more formidable than Ahab. She was, after all, a king’s daughter (2 Samuel 9:34). When the Lord asks Elijah this question his response is: “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:10 ESV) With all that has transpired, Elijah may have forgotten what Obadiah had told him concerning the 100 prophets he had hidden away from Jezebel. The Lord tells Elijah, “‘Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper (“still small voice” KJV). (1 Kings 19:11-12 ESV)

In any event, the LORD asks the question again, I suppose looking for a different answer, but Elijah repeats the same answer. Here the LORD commissions Elijah to go to Damascus to anoint Hazael king of Syria. Next he is to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And finally Elijah is to anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat as prophet in his own place. These three men will carry out the sentence which the LORD has pronounced over Israel: “And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven [!] thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:17-18 ESV) Keeping Elijah and Elisha straight will prove a monumental task as you may judge for yourself; they had parallel lives.

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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