Daily Bible Readings – Friday, April 21, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 107

Prayer Point. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107 gives us numerous examples of the love and faithfulness of God. Meditate on one of the examples that resonates with you and offer God a prayer of thanks.

John 10:31-42

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 has just claimed to God, not only with his words (see John 10:30) but also with miracles (see John 10:25, 32). How does the crowd respond and why? Death by stoning was the punishment for blasphemy according to the Old Testament.

The Jews had waited for centuries to see the face of God and now that he is among them, they don’t recognize him. To be fair, we wouldn’t recognize him either. We have been too busy creating God in our own image, that when he showed himself, he would not match our preconceived notions of him. What evidence is offered to the crowds that proves that Jesus is who he says he is? Why do you think the crowds are unable to kill Jesus? Why do some believe?

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 3:1-10

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 Gospel is the story of God’s love that has been lavished on us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  It is a love that will not leave the heart unchanged of the one who receives it.

Pay close attention to …

  • Our new identity because of the love God lavished on us.
  • Why the world does not recognize our new identity.
  • When our new identity will be fully revealed.
  • The purpose of Jesus’ appearance with regards to our lives.
  • What is true of one who has been born of God.
  • The difference between a child of God and a child of the devil.

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 32:22-33:17

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. Jacob has sent everyone else ahead and he is left alone.  What happens that night?

[Jacob wrestles with a man all night long.  Jacob does not over power the man, but the man does not over power Jacob either.]

What does the “man” do to Jacob as they wrestle?
[He touches the socket of Jacob’s hip “so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man”. (Genesis 32:25 NIV)]

What does Jacob require of the “man”?
[Jacob wants him to bless him.]

What does the man do for Jacob?
[The man gives Jacob a new name: Israel which means “he struggles with God”. {NIV footnotes}]

What does Jacob (Israel) name the place of the struggle?
[Jacob calls the place Peniel (which means “face of God”)  It is also called Penuel.]

Why does Jacob name the place Peniel?
[“So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’” (Genesis 32:30 NIV)]

What physical affliction will Jacob suffer for the rest of his life?
[He will limp because his hip socket is out of place. (Gen. 32:31)]

What was the surprise waiting for Jacob when he meets Esau?
[While Esau had reason enough to kill his brother Jacob, rather he rushes to meet him and kisses him on the neck.  Jesus recounts a similar scene in Luke 15 in the parable of the Prodigal Son.  There are striking similarities as well as contrasts:  in both cases it was the younger son who was the offending party; both went to far countries for a long time; both return home with lowered expectations (Jacob to his brother who probably hates him; the Prodigal to his father who improbably loves him); both are very surprised at the final outcome.  Jacob was prophesied to receive the blessing of Isaac as the firstborn (though he used deception to accomplish it); the prodigal was the second born but only wanted his inheritance; The prodigal wanted his father to treat him as the “hired help” and Jacob only wanted peace with Esau.  Jacob was willing to lavish on Esau all that the father of the Prodigal had heaped on his son.]

How do we know that Jacob was fully reconciled to Esau?
[Jacob insists that the gift he offers to Esau be accepted even though Esau has great wealth of his own.  “But Esau said, ‘I already have plenty, my brother.  Keep what you have for yourself.’  ‘No, please!’ said Jacob.  ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me.  For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.’”  (Genesis 33:9-10 NIV)]

Jacob declines an offer by Esau to escort him to his destination.  Jacob went to Succoth instead and built shelters for himself and his animals.  In fine Hebrew tradition, Succoth means something too: shelters! (Gen. 33:17)

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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