Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 10

Prayer Point. Our experience with the world teaches us that the wicked do prosper.  So what do we do? We pray and Psalm 10 leads the way. Follow its outline by being honest with God and telling him what you see (verses 1-11). Call on God to act and restore justice (verses 12-15) and end your prayer with worship (verses 16-18).

John 1:19-28

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. In yesterday’s reading, we were introduced to John the Baptist who was sent by God the Father to testify to us concerning the Word of God who is Jesus Christ. One thing that is helpful to remember is that the word ‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ last name but his title. ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for ‘Messiah’, the anointed king that God promised in the Old Testament to restore peace, justice and prosperity by establishing God’s kingdom on the earth forever.

The crowds wonder at John the Baptist’s identity asking if he is either the Christ (Messiah), Elijah or the Prophet. Some believed that Elijah the Prophet would return prior to the Messiah’s coming. The Prophet refers a figure Moses promised would come after him (see Deuteronomy 18:15).

Pay close attention to …

  • How John identifies himself and his mission.
  • How he sees himself in comparison to Christ.

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.

Hebrews 2:1-10

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 Jews believed that the Law was authored by God, but delivered to Moses through angels (see verse 2). Consequently, messages delivered by angels were highly respected. The author in yesterday’s reading (Hebrews 1:1-14) demonstrated that Jesus was superior to the angels. If the Law of Moses, a message delivered by angels, should be heeded, how much more should we pay attention to a message from Jesus?

Pay close attention to …

  • Why the message of salvation should be listened to.
  • The extent of Jesus’ authority despite being “made a little lower than the angels” and why.
  • How Jesus was made perfect (see verse 10).

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.

Genesis 3:1-24

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. Please read the entire chapter. What is conspicuous by its absence? [The Devil is not mentioned at all in this passage.] What is your impression of the serpent? [I think the “serpent” was a beautiful being – nothing like the snake we think of. Apart from Balaam’s donkey (ass) in Numbers 22:21-31, this is the only other place in scripture where an animal is given the power of speech. The fact that the serpent was cursed to crawl on its belly and to eat dust all its days also suggests that a dramatic metamorphosis had taken place. To be sure, the LORD was not happy about this turn of events.] What is the serpent suggesting when he says: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” [The use of the word “really” (NIV) “actually” (ESV) “Has God indeed said…” (NKJV) intimates that God must be lying.] What embellishment does the woman make to the original command from God? [“…and you must not touch it…” Thus the birth of legalism. (In other words, to make sure I don’t eat the fruit, I must therefore command myself not even to touch it. A lot of good that did! The same with legalism. A lot of good that does!] What challenge does the serpent make to the woman? [“You will not surely die.” v. 4] What promise does the serpent make? [“… when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” v. 5 And hasn’t that been the root problem in the world since?] So what happens next? [The desire or lust of the “forbidden” takes over. Suddenly the fruit looks so much better (pleasing to the eye) and it will make me smarter! So she shares it with her husband who was there with her. Then something wonderful happens: their “eyes were opened”, now they realize they are naked.] How does what the serpent says appear to be true? [The man and woman did not die (physically) immediately.]

Next: the moment of reckoning. They heard the LORD as he was walking in the garden. Is there anyone who actually thinks that the LORD does not know what has happened? [The question is rhetorical except that it raises several philosophical issues. Both the man and the woman know that they have sinned (i.e., disobeyed the LORD’s command) and they realized now that they are naked. So something big (perhaps behind the scenes) had happened. What form does the Lord have here? I think he has the form of either an angel or a man for he “was walking in the garden”. I also think that because the man and woman had sinned that they would no longer be able to “see” the spiritual (having become blind and dead). It is likely that the man and the woman would not have been mulling these philosophical questions over, other matters being far more pressing.]

The encounter. How does the man tip his hand? [“I was afraid…” – now that has to be an understatement. (This is the first time that fear happens).] What is the one thing the man does not do? [He does not deny what he has done. True, he blames his wife for giving him the forbidden fruit, but he owns his own sin.] How does the woman respond to the LORD? [Actually, she’s a quick study and takes a page from her husband’s book. She blames the serpent (and justly so).]

The consequences: First the serpent. What is the most chilling consequence to the serpent? [Cursed! Well, sometimes it is not good to be the best – cursed above all livestock… v. 14] What other consequences to the serpent? [He will crawl on his belly; eat dust of the earth (from which the man came) all its life.] Verse 15 is regarded by most as the first prophecy of redemption. Can you see it? Compare this with Revelation Chapter 12.

Second the woman. What is the principal consequence to the woman? The secondary? [The first will be that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her; the second: pain in childbearing.]
And now the man. What was the man’s error or sin? [“… you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it.’” NIV] What does the man get blamed for? [“Cursed is the ground because of you…” NIV] The ramifications of disobedience are beginning to present themselves. What are some of them? [Work – painful toil – for bread; thorns and thistles will plague the man; eat by the sweat of his brow. He will return to the ground from which he was taken. “…dust you are and to dust you will return.” v. 19 NIV] We finally learn the man’s name in verse 17. Adam named his wife Eve. What does “Eve” mean? [“… because she would become the mother of all the living. v. 20]

How did the Lord improve upon the “fig leaves”? [“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” v. 21 NIV I have heard some say that the Lord slew animals for their skins. This may be true, but the scripture does not say that. Consider also that in Chapter one the Lord spoke everything into existence. Some theologians take comfort thinking that this is the first instance of blood being shed to cover sins and that this incident serves as a foreshadowing of the sacrificial system later outlined in the book of Exodus, which prefigures the once-for-all supreme sacrifice by Jesus. That’s nice, but that is not what the bible says.] What was the LORD’s original intent for Adam and Eve? [I think God’s intent was that we would not know evil in any form. It might be likened to having heard something and then to “un-hear” it. The damage was done.] What became of the tree of life? [Adam and Eve were not permitted to partake if its fruit “and live forever.” v. 22] What became of the garden? [It was denied to Adam and Eve and to all of us.] What do you suppose the Garden represents? [While we are not told of the Garden’s significance, it is easy to see that it may represent access to God, and the act of being driven out of it effectively cut off that access.]

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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