Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 117

Prayer Point. Think about your family, your workplace, your town and the missions projects we have around the world. Take some time today to pray that people in each of these spheres will be awakened to the love of God expressed in Christ and become worshipers of God.

John 7:37-52

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 Feast of Tabernacles commemorated Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness between their liberation from slavery in Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land. The people lived in tents (tabernacles, hence the name of the feast) during that time and there God taught them to rely on him daily.  When they were hungry, he gave them manna, daily bread. When they were thirsty, he split the rocks, providing fresh water for his thirsty people.

Pay close attention to …

  • What and who Jesus offers to those who are thirsty. Note the connection to the Feast of Tabernacles.
  • Why the temple guards are unable to arrest Jesus.
  • Who steps forward to defend Jesus and why his rebuffed.  Notice what the Pharisees don’t know about Jesus (see verses 27, 45-52 and Luke 2:1-7).

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.

Colossians 1:15-23

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. Jesus Christ lives at the center of the Gospel Paul preaches to the Colossian Christians.  This Jesus is both fully God and fully man.  In today’s reading, Paul will emphasize Jesus’ divine characteristics.

Some have argued that Jesus’ title as the “firstborn over creation” (verse 15) means that he was created and not equal with God. The word “firstborn” in this passage has do with Christ’s authority over creation otherwise it could not be said in verse 16 that “by him all things were created.”

Pay close attention to …

  • Christ’s relationship to God the Father (the invisible God)
  • Christ’s relationship to creation. See note above about the firstborn.
  • His role in the creation of the world (verse 16) and his ongoing role in creation (verse 17).
  • Christ’s relationship to the church.
  • What God the Father does for creation through Christ.
  • What the Colossians were before Christ and what God the Father has made them through Christ (verses 21 and 22).
  • How we hang on to what Christ has accomplished for us (verse 23).
  • Paul’s relationship to the gospel (verse 23).

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.

Exodus 17:1-7

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. Ever mindful of their trust in the LORD, and always remembering how well the LORD supplies his people, what great crisis of faith do the Israelites face next?  (As the Israelites camp at Rephidim, they find that there is no water to drink.  So they grumbled against Moses demanding water.)

What is Moses’ take on this new rebellion?  (“Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me?  Why do you put the LORD to the test?’” (Exodus 17:2 NIV))

What charge do the people lay at Moses’ feet?  (“Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3 NIV))

This crowd was getting ugly; Moses went to the LORD and told him that they were ready to stone him.  What does the LORD instruct Moses to do?  (The LORD tells Moses to take with him some of the elders of Israel and with that famous staff in his hand; he was to strike the rock at Horeb.  The LORD promised him that the rock would then gush forth water for the people.)

Why is Moses told to take with him some of the elders of Israel?  (Witnesses!  The more the people see the more likely they are to believe or, if not believe, to remember the event.)

What does Moses name the place and why?  (Moses called the place Massah and Meribah because the people quarreled and tested (or tempted) the LORD.  [When I read something like that it tells me that perhaps the LORD was close to losing his patience with Israel.  Sick and tired about covers it.  We will see later that the LORD gets so frustrated with Israel’s rebellions that he threatens to wipe out the entire nation and begin again with Moses. – j.t.])

While the Hebrews were in this region (Rephadim or Massah and Meribah) they were attacked by the Amalekites.  Who are these Amalekites?  (See Genesis 14:7; it will also explain why these people are continually hostile to the Israelites.)  (The Amalekites are descendents of Esau, Israel’s older and twin brother.)

What was the indicator of victory or defeat in this battle?  (As Moses would hold up his hands the Israelites would be victorious; if he lowered his hands the Amalekites would prevail.)

What was done to assure victory for Israel?  (As Moses grew more tired, Aaron and Hur would hold up Moses’ hands and did so until victory was final.)

Why is it important that this battle be memorialized in a scroll?  (“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’” (Exodus 17:14 NIV)]

Why does the LORD say “make sure that Joshua hears it…”? (Exodus 17:14 NIV)  (I think it is a hint that the LORD is planning for Joshua to succeed Moses when he dies. – j.t.)

What does Moses prophesy after this battle?  (“The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16 NIV))

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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