Daily Bible Readings – Friday, January 31, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 51

Prayer Point. If you doubt that God can forgive even the worst sins, then you need to read this psalm. David, the author, has just committed adultery and then murdered the husband to cover his crime and yet there is hope for him. How do we come clean when we sin? Use this psalm as your guide.

John 6:1-15

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. A thousand years before Jesus’ coming, Moses spoke this prophecy:

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

In other words, Israel’s Messiah, the king God was sending to rescue his people, would look, sound and act like Moses. Moses was the man chosen by God to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land. The expectation was that God would send a “second Moses”, this time leading Israel out of bondage to their Roman oppressors and establish God’s kingdom on earth.

The miracle Jesus performs in today’s reading is done, primarily, to demonstrate the he is indeed the prophet Moses spoke of.  Just as Moses prayed and God fed the people with manna from heaven, so also will Jesus feed a crowd of hungry people.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus tests his disciples as the crowds approached and how well they did with the exam.
  • The manner in which Jesus fed the five thousand people and what this says about his ability to provide.
  • What the crowds call Jesus in response to the miracle and Jesus’ response and why.

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 10:11-25

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 priests and the sacrifices they offered in the Old Testament were important because they pointed the people of Israel to the ultimate priest and sacrifice, Jesus Christ. The sacrifices and priests were “copies” of the real thing.  How is Jesus (the priest of verses 12-14) superior to the Old Testament priests (the priests of verse 11)?  What was Jesus able to do that the Old Testament priests could not?

In the first covenant (think Old Testament Law, the 10 Commandments) the people of Israel were given the law of God and commanded to keep it. They could not do it, for the law’s first purpose was to show us how sinful we are and how much we need a savior. Verses 15-18 describes the new covenant that Jesus created that the Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah in this case, predicated would come.

What will this new covenant do that the first covenant could not do?

What follows in verses 19 and 20 is a description of the Day of Atonement from the Old Testament with a new twist. In the Old Testament Law, each year the high priest was to make a sacrifice for the sins of the nation and enter the Most Holy Place in the temple and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant. This was the only time in the year that the priest could enter this Most Holy Place and he could not enter without blood.

Both the priest and the Most Holy Place in the temple were copies of the real thing. The true priest is Jesus and the true Most Holy Place is the presence of God in heaven.  What are we permitted to do today that the High Priest from the Old Testament could not do? Whose blood made it possible? Now that Jesus has come, how should we approach God? Why should we not give up following Jesus?

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 17:15-27

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. What is Sarai’s new name?  What does it mean?  {It may be indicated in footnotes.}

[Her new name is Sarah meaning princess.]
What does the Lord say here that is so funny (according to Abraham)?
[“I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.  I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  Abraham says to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?  Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”]

*Please keep in mind that “Abram believed the Lord…”

What does Abraham say to the LORD?
[“If only Ishmael might live under your blessing.”  v. 17:18 NIV]

What might one infer from what Abraham says?
[ I have inferred that Abraham thinks that the Lord doesn’t know what he’s doing.  This is a promise that the LORD cannot keep.  Can a man of 100 years have a son?  Abraham wants to “help” God by working around the LORD’s promise by means of Ishmael.]

What name does the Lord tell Abraham to name his son by Sarah?
[Isaac]

What does the name mean?  {See the footnote}
[He laughs]

How does the Lord “read” Abraham’s mind by dispelling all of his questions?
[“Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. … But my covenant I will establish with Isaac whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”  vv.  17:19, 21 NIV]

What does Abraham do next?
[He circumcises all the males in his company – those whom he owns and all others.]

How old is Abraham when he does this?  How old is Ishmael?
[Abraham is ninety-nine years old and Isaac is but thirteen.  It may be supposed that the bar-Mitzvah which Jewish boys pass through at age thirteen is taken from this passage.]

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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