Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 36

Prayer Point. David highlights the contrast between our wickedness and God’s holiness. Use his description of the wicked man to guide your own repentance. Confess  your sins to God and receive his forgiveness. Meditate on the times you have you experienced the faithfulness of God and praise Him.  Are you  being oppressed by sinful people? Pray for the faith to trust God.

John 3:16-21

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. Here Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night as you would expect Nicodemus would not want to be caught with Jesus as he was a trusted ruler of the Jews. What follows is a discussion about spiritual rebirth.

John 3:16 and following is the most famous summary of the gospel in the Bible.

What is the purpose for God sending his Son into the world? What is the the reward for believing in the Son? What is the consequence for those that do not believe in the Son of God?

Who is the light that has come into the world? Who comes to the light? Who hates the light and why?

Do you believe in Jesus as the light of the world and the Son of God?

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 5:7-14

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. Over a thousand years  before the letter to the Hebrews was written, the Israelites looked out over the land that God had promised them, but they refused to go in (see Numbers 13-14 for that tragic story). The had an opportunity to enter the land of God’s rest, but they shrank back. Why? Because they feared the people of Canaan more than they believed in God’s power to keep his promises.

The Christians addressed in today’s reading are tempted by the same fear and unbelief.  They have begun to follow Christ, but they, like their ancestors, are considering giving up the journey.  The opposition is too stiff and their faith is growing weaker by the day. The author writes to convince them not to succumb to fear and unbelief.

Central to the writer’s argument is Jesus’ role as high priest or more properly the high priest. The priests of the Old Testament and the ones who served at the temple were descendants of Moses’ brother Aaron.  They represented the people of Israel before God, offering sacrifices to him on their behalf. Jesus, as you will see from today’s reading, is of a high order of priest, not a son of Aaron, but a forever priest in the order of Melchizedek.  Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness”, was the ancient king-priest of Salem which would later be called Jerusalem.  He was recognized by Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, to be a priest of God and greater than himself and greater than priests that would descend from his own great-grandson, Levi.  Aaron was a descendent of Levi. (See Genesis 14:18-20 for Melchizedek’s story.)

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus’ superior qualities as a high priest gives us the confidence to persevere under trial.

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 9:1-17

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. We have seen that Noah and his family were commissioned to replenish the earth: “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (v. 8:17 and 9:1 NIV)

What position does the Lord place “man” in the hierarchy of life on earth?
[“The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.” (v. 9:2 NIV) This is very much like the time before the fall in that man was given charge over all creation. The business of “fear and dread” are the new elements which were not present in the Garden of Eden.]

What permission does the Lord grant to Noah and his family (and presumably to all of us)?
[“Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” v. 3 NIV Evidently there is no distinction here between the “clean” and the “unclean” which will later emerge when the “law” is delivered to Moses in Exodus.

What is the only restriction?
[“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” v. 4 NIV]

How does the LORD emphasize the importance of “lifeblood”? What important distinction does the LORD remind us of?
[The LORD will demand an “accounting” from each man for the life of his fellow man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” v. 6 NIV The LORD reiterates that the distinction between man and all other creation is that “in the image of God has God made man.” v. 6 NIV Here the seeds of “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” are sown. I don’t think this is a scriptural argument for capital punishment; I think the point here is to show how important the “lifeblood” is by dramatic consequence. As we shall see, in time, “lifeblood” will be the central issue of all scripture. See Hebrews 9:22.

We all love and marvel at rainbows. Why not? They are beautiful to behold. But what is their significance with this event?
[“This is the sign of the covenant I am making … I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant.” vv 12,13 NIV]

What is the singular feature about this covenant that makes it so interesting?
[This covenant is established not only with man, but with every living creature on earth. This is the first of two times this happens in all of scripture. This will happen again when Jesus returns to make a full restoration of the earth. See Isaiah 65:17-25 for a complete description.

What will the appearance of the rainbow in the sky do to the LORD?
[“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” vv. Gen 9:14-16 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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