Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 119:73-96

Prayer Point. The God who made us is  the God we must obey if we seek to live with wisdom. His law are the path to life. But there are obstacles that block our attempts to follow him: our own ignorance, sin, and the brokenness of our world. What is getting in your way as you try to follow Jesus?  Lift those to God, ask him to remove them that we might live according to his will.

John 6:52-59

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 skeptical people demanded a miraculous sign from Jesus.  If Moses, their great leader, had given them bread from heaven, what would Jesus give them (see John 6:30 and Exodus 16)? Jesus declares that he will give them a greater bread that will satisfy them forever for that bread will be himself.  Needless to say this is difficult for the people to swallow.

The body and blood of Christ will become central to what we now call Communion or the Eucharist today.  This meal was instituted by Jesus on the night he was betrayed.  Speaking to his disciples, he took bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “this is my body.” He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Christians around the world celebrate this meal in remembrance of Jesus Christ whose body was broken and his blood shed so that we might be freed from the curse of death and receive eternal life.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is promised to those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of 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.

Hebrews 11:23-31

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 (see Hebrews 11:1-22) mentioning the “faith heroes” of Israel’s past such as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.

The writer of Hebrews in today’s reading continues to walk through Israel’s history and pick out inspiring figures who trusted God and put their faith in his promises even if they didn’t see these promises fulfilled within their life time. These were all examples of faith because they believed in something they couldn’t see and they were certain of things that had yet come to pass (see Hebrews 11:1)

Pay close attention to …

  • How Moses’ faith impacted the way he lived and what he valued. (See Exodus 1-4 for the whole story.)
  • What the people were able to do through faith in God (see verses 29-30). See also Exodus 13:17-14:31.
  • How faith turned the prostitute Rahab into a hero. See also Joshua 2:1-24 and 6:22-23.

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 22:1-18

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 great demand does the LORD make of Abraham?  Considering the demand, what must Abraham believe the LORD will do?  What very innocent question does Isaac raise?  What is Abraham’s answer to this?

[The LORD demands (asks) Abraham to take his only son and offer him as a burnt offering.  While the Bible does not tell us this, it is reasonable to assume that Abraham must have believed that the LORD would raise his son from the dead after the sacrifice if the LORD were to be true to his promises.  Isaac: “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 22:7 NIV)  Abraham: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” (v. 22:8)

What is the LORD’s response to Abraham’s obedience? 
[“… the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’  ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said.  ‘Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. … ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore….’ (vv. 22:11-12; 16-17 NIV)]

Christians can easily see a parallel between this event and the event of Jesus’ death with one major difference.  While God stayed Abraham’s hand as he was about to offer his son on the altar, the LORD did not stay his own hand from offering his son, his only son on Calvary.  Interestingly enough, these two events, though separated by hundreds of years, occur in virtually the same place.  It is believed that the Temple (The Dome of the Rock) was built on the very place where Abraham was to offer up Isaac.

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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