Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, February 22, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 33

Prayer Point. Psalm 33 praises God because he is our creator, sustainer, protector and savior. How have you experienced God in these ways? Remember them and worship God in response then pray for the faith to trust God as you face the problems of today.

John 11:1-16

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’ friend Lazarus is gravely ill. What does Jesus say is the purpose of Lazarus’ sickness? Compare this to man born blind in John 9:1-3. How does this explain Jesus’ decision to delay his arrival until after Lazarus’ death? What is Jesus planning to do?

Jesus deeply loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but this did not stop him from allowing them to experience the grief of Lazarus’ death. What greater purpose could Jesus have above the happiness of his dear friends?

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 3:11-18

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. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve.  Both men brought sacrifices to God, but God only accepted Abel’s because of the sin Cain harbored in his heart. Cain, rather than confess his sins to God, chooses instead to strike out against God and murdered his brother.  You can read the full story in Genesis 4. Cain serves as an example of what it means to be a child of the world as opposed to a child of God.

Pay close attention to …

  • The message we heard from the beginning.
  • How Jesus is the definition of love.
  • What love looks like for God’s people. Note the specific example that John gives in verse 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.

Genesis 35:1-20

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. Bethel was the first place where Abraham camped after he left Haran.  He set up an altar there.  Also it was here that Jacob had his famous dream of the angels ascending and descending on a stairway from heaven.  Here it was that God renews his promise to Jacob that “… Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth…” (Genesis 28:14).  Let’s just say that Bethel hold some importance in Hebrew history.

What does Jacob tell all of his people to do upon setting out?
[“So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.’” (Genesis 35:2 NIV)]

What is the first thing Jacob does upon arrival in Bethel?
[The first thing that Jacob does upon arrival in Bethel is to build an altar to the LORD.  “…and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him.”  (Genesis 35:7 NIV)]

What does Jacob remember of his return trip from Paddan Aram?
[“And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number.  A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.’”  (Genesis 35:11-12 NIV)]  This is a fufillment of a promise that Jacob made to God in Genesis 28:20-22.

Tragedy strikes Jacob.  What was it?
[Rachel dies in childbirth.  She gives birth to a son.]

What does Rachel name her son?  What does Jacob name her son?
[Rachel names her son Ben-Oni {meaning “son of my trouble” NIV Footnotes}.  Jacob renames him Benjamin {meaning “son of my right hand”}.]

Where is Rachel buried?
[She is buried in Ephrath (that is Bethlehem).]

What very devastating thing happens next?
[Reuben took it upon himself to sleep with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah (Rachel’s handmaid).  This is similar to a declaration of war between father and son.]  NIV Study Bible Notes p. 61:
“35:22 Reuben’s act was an arrogant and premature claim to the rights of the firstborn (see 2 Sam. 3:7; 12:8; 16:21; 1 Kings 2:22).  For this he would lose his legal status as firstborn (see Gen. 49:3-4; 1 Chron. 5:1).”  [Personally, I think it is much worse than this.  I think it is an act of complete disrespect for his father and, in this case, given that Bilhah was Rachel’s handmaid, I’m sure it pained Jacob all the more. – j.t.]

The next few verses recount the sons (and not the daughter) of Jacob and who their mothers were.  Note that all but one of Jacob’s children (including Dinah) were born in Paddan Aram and only Benjamin was born in the land of Canaan.

This chapter closes with the death of Isaac.  Who was there and how old was Isaac when he died?
[Isaac was 180 years old and both of his sons were with him when he died.]

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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