Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, January 15, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 18

Prayer Point. Although Psalm 18 arises out of David’s life experience, it belongs to his son, Jesus. It is Jesus who is suffering unjustly in our place. It is God the Father who rescues his Son from death and crowned him the King of Kings. Meditate on the love, forgiveness and power of God expressed through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

John 1:43-51

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. Becoming a disciple or student of a Jewish rabbi in Jesus’ day was like getting into Harvard. Many applied but few were accepted. Prospective disciples underwent a rigorous examination by the rabbi and if he believed that the applicant had the character and the intelligence to become like himself, he accepted him the words: “Come follow me.” Imagine Philip’s shock when Jesus without introduction greets him with the words, “follow me.”

What does Philip do in response to Jesus? Who does he recognize Jesus to be? What causes Nathaniel to declare Jesus to be the Son of God and the King of Israel? What greater thing does Jesus say Nathaniel will see?

John 1:51, See heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending recalls the story of Jacob in Genesis 28 (see esp. v. 12). Jesus will be a greater way of access to God than the heavenly ladder on which angels traveled between God and Jacob (Gen. 28:12; cf. Heb. 10:19–20), and wherever Jesus is, that place will become the “New Bethel” where God is revealed. Jesus is not merely “a son of man” (an ordinary male human being), but he repeatedly (over 80 times in the Gospels) calls himself the Son of Man, suggesting the greatest, most notable son of man of all time. [ESV Study Bible Notes].

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 3:1-11

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 stories of Moses leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt and Israel’s fearful refusal to enter the Promised land held special significance for the Christians for whom Hebrews was written.  The recipients of this letter were considering abandoning the way of Jesus and returning to the traditions of Moses that they had grown up with.

In today’s reading, the author will argue that Jesus is greater than Moses and that to abandon Christ is as a grave an error as their ancestor’s refusal to follow Moses into the Promised Land.  See Numbers 13:26-14:45 and Psalm 95 for more on this tragic story.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Jesus is greater than Moses.
  • How we remain a part of Christ’s house.
  • The warning to those who turn away from Jesus, just as Israel turned away from the Promised Land.

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 4:17-26

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. Who is Cain’s wife? [Suddenly Cain’s wife appears from nowhere. We don’t know who she is for she is not even named. As a woman, she would have been regarded as “less than” a man and thus not worthy of notice. For those who take the scripture literally, she must be a sister. We know of three sons of Adam, but because he lived as long as he did, it is reasonable to assume he had many children (boys and girls), though unrecorded.] What was so special about Enoch? [The only thing special about him is that his father, Cain, named a city after him. {As a personal note I had a seventh grade English teacher named Enoch!}] What was different about Lamech? [He had two wives – the first record of polygamy in the bible.] What did Lamech do reminiscent of his ancestor Cain? [He killed a young man and said: “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” v. 24 Notice the use of “seven” and its multiples. Jesus reverses this applying it forgiveness, “seventy times seven” – see Matthew 18:22]

What are Adam and Eve up to? [They recognize that life goes on and they increase their family with at least one more son: Seth. The NIV footnote indicates the Seth may mean “granted” which is how Eve saw him. Seth was granted of the LORD. While we would never say such a thing today, Seth was given “in place of Abel”.] Notice verse 26b: “At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.” (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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