Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 68

Prayer Point. God is our conquering and victorious king and David invites us to praise him: “Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” Is there a situation in your life where God has recently delivered you? Take time today to thank God our king.

John 6:41-51

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. Jesus the second and greater Moses is the central theme of John 6. At the end of his life, Israel’s great liberator and founder commanded the people to look for a prophet like himself.

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.

The question is: will Israel heed Moses’ words and listen to Jesus or will they reject him? Make no mistake, Jesus’ words are hard to accept. When the skeptical people demanded a miraculous sign from Jesus, he declared that he was “bread of life” sent by God to give life to the world.

Jesus is referring to one of the great moments in Israel’s history when God saved his people from starvation in the wilderness by giving them manna. This bread from heaven appeared every morning outside their tents like the morning dew. Now Jesus says he is the true and greater bread from heaven.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why the crowds have a difficult time accepting that Jesus had come down from heaven.
  • What it takes for someone to come to Jesus and believe in him.
  • How Jesus, the bread of life is greater than the bread (manna) that God gave Israel in the wilderness.

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 11:13-22

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. Hebrews was written to encourage a group of Christians of Jewish ancestry who were considering giving up following Jesus. They were experiencing persecution, suffering that would cease if they returned to returned to Judaism. The writer inspires them to hang on by pointing to heroes of the faith that have gone before them.

Faith is defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). This is the kind of faith that made men like Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6). In today’s reading, the writer continues to tell Abraham’s story and introduces us to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Ironically, these were all heroes of Israel’s past, but they are being used here to inspire these Christians to keep their faith in Jesus.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of all the men of faith that have been listed so far (Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham) (see verses 13-15).
  • How Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are examples of faith, believing the promises of God even if they didn’t live to see them fulfilled. Here are the Old Testament stories that the writer of Hebrews is referring to: Abraham (Genesis 22), Isaac (Genesis 27 – this one is a little ironic!), Jacob (Genesis 49) and Joseph (Genesis 50:24-25).

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 21:1-21

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.  Speaking of “remembering Abraham” it is now about a year later and…  What promise was fulfilled?

[“Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.  Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.  Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. (v. 21:1-3 NIV)]

Keep in mind that names were very significant in biblical times.  What does “Isaac” mean?
[From the footnotes in the NIV we learn that Isaac means “he laughs”.]

What is significant about Isaac’s name?
[Way back in Chapter 17 the LORD announced to Abraham that he would have a son by Sarah.  Abraham prostrated himself in homage to the Lord but while in that position he sniggered thinking, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?” (v. 17:17 NIV).  Abraham denied laughing but thought the notion of having a baby at age 100 ludicrous.  Interestingly, and unaware of what Abraham had done, once Sarah had heard this good news her reaction was very much the same as her husband’s.]

Sarah and Hagar go head-to-head once again but this time Sarah has a bargaining chip.  What does Sarah demand of Abraham and what promises does the Lord make to him (two promises)?
[Sarah demands that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away; the Lord reiterates that “it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned”; and “I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.” (vv. 21:12-13 NIV) emphasis added]

So, the next morning, Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael off with some provisions and “a skin of water”.  The two wander in the desert until the water was gone and then they sat down to die.  She saw a “bowshot” away from her son because she could not watch the boy die.

What happens next?  What is the significance of “bowshot”?
[Hagar and Ishmael were not present when the LORD had promised Abraham that he would make of Ishmael a great nation for they were despondent.  An angel of the LORD opened Hagar’s eyes to reveal a well of water.  The LORD, at that time, made to Hagar the same promise regarding Ishmael as he had made to Abraham.  The “bowshot” is significant because in time Ishmael will become an archer. (v. 21:20)]

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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