Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 94

Prayer Point. We live in a world where the most vulnerable: widows, orphans, the unborn and refugees are often oppressed with impunity. Many say, “the Lord does not see.” Pray on behalf of the weak and the oppressed. Pray that God will be their fortress.

John 9:18-41

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’ opponents, the Pharisees, are in a bind.  A man born blind can suddenly see, but he was healed by Jesus on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees had built their reputation with the people through their strict observance of the Law of Moses. They interpreted the law for the people and had very publicly declared that healing on the Sabbath was forbidden.  The fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20:8-11, prohibited any work on the Sabbath (Saturday). The Pharisees considered healing to be work and therefore unlawful  on the Sabbath. But the question lingers: how could Jesus heal this man if he was a sinner?  To accept the miracle was to admit that Jesus was right and they were wrong.  To deny the miracle was to deny what was plain to everyone; the man was blind, but now he sees.

Some other details that may be helpful: when the healed man is called back before the Pharisees he is asked to “give glory to God.” (see verse 24) This is simply the Jewish way of saying, “swear to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” When the Pharisees accuse the healed man of being “steeped in sin at birth” (verse 34), they were referring to his blindness at birth.  Birth defects were seen as divine punishment for sin.

Finally, Jesus will refer to himself as the “Son of Man” in verse 35. This is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 and a bold assertion of Jesus’ divinity and power to heal and to be the final authority of the Law’s true meaning.

Daniel 7:13-14 In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every nation worshiped him.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why the formerly blind man’s parents are afraid to vouch for their son.
  • The blind man’s testimony to the Pharisees and why it enrages them.
  • Who is truly blind in this story.
  • How the Pharisees missed the opportunity to have their guilt removed.

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.

1 John 2:1-11

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. John writes this letter on two tracks.  First he encourages his people to leave their life of sin and follow Jesus.  Second, he writes to give us hope when we do sin.  John is walking  the fine line between pride and despair.  With the gospel we never despair saying, “I’ll always be a sinner.  I’ll never change.”  With John, the gospel is the power to change.  At the same time, John knows that pride and arrogance is a real danger.  We will sin. We will need forgiveness.  Unless that pride is broken we will lack the humility to ask for help.

Pay close attention to …

  • The hope we have if we sin. Note that an atonement (some translations say propitiation) was a special sacrifice that takes away God’s wrath and turns it to favor.
  • The connection John makes between knowing God and obeying him.
  • What marks someone as truly being in God or in the light (see verses 6, 9-11)

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 31:1-24

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. Laban had acknowledged that because of Jacob he, Laban, had prospered, but now that  Jacob wanted to return to the land of his birth.  Jacob also prospered greatly during that time.  Laban did not want Jacob to leave fearing that his prosperity would then cease.  Laban had tried to cheat (!) Jacob over and over again.  “If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young.  So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.” (Genesis 31:8-9 NIV)

Jacob had a dream once in mating season, how do you interpret it?
[The dream is telling Jacob that the spotted and speckled sheep and goats were made that way by God because Laban tried to cheat Jacob out of his wages.]

What is Rachel’s and Leah’s response to this development?
[They pretty much agree with Jacob that this is the LORD’s doing.  “Then Rachel and Leah replied, ‘Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate?  Does he not regard us as foreigners?  Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us.  Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children.’”  (Genesis 31:14-16 NIV)]

So Jacob left with his wife and twelve children (eleven sons and one daughter) and returned to go to his father Isaac in the land Canaan.  What tricky thing did Rachel do?  What was Jacob’s last deceit with respect to Laban?
[Rachel steals Laban’s household gods and Jacob deceives Laban by leaving without telling him.]

While it took three days before Laban found out that Jacob had fled with his family and his flocks, he wasted no time in pursuing Jacob.  He caught up with him after seven (!) days.  How then does God intervene in this matter?
[“Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, whether good or bad.”  (Genesis 31:24 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s