Daily Bible Readings – Friday, March 21, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 73

Prayer Point. We believe that God watches over his people, but it troubles us that the wicked seem to prosper.  Sometimes we envy them.  Meditate on this psalm and pray that God will give us the faith to say, even in difficult times, “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you …”

Mark 4:35-41

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. The sea was the most feared natural force in the ancient world and was regarded by many as a place of evil.

Pay close attention to …

  • The ways that Jesus demonstrates his power over the sea.
  • Why Jesus is disappointed in his disciples.
  • The disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ miracle.

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 Corinthians 7:1-9

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. Christians today normally see singleness as a problem to be solved. How does Paul view singleness? What benefit is there in being single?  Why does Paul encourage some people to get married? Is marriage ‘better’ than being single? In yesterday’s reading Paul argued that our bodies belong to God. For married couples there is a second owner, who is it?

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 43:1-15

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 background to help guide you.

Background. As happens with food, it comes and it goes.  Hunger will compel us to make interesting decisions.  In this case, the need for food compelled Jacob to send his sons back to Egypt.  What does Judah remind Israel of?
[“But Judah said to him (Israel), ‘The man warned us solemnly, “You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.”’” (Genesis 43:3 NIV)]

Jacob seeks to place responsibility for his setbacks with his sons: “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” (Genesis 43:6 NIV)  Is this fair of Israel?
[I don’t think so.  What we have here is an opportunity to trust in the Lord.  What we don’t see here is a turning to God to ask him for help at this time.  Jacob was blessed with great wealth and yet he is hungry.  He had twelve sons and now he thinks that he has lost two of them (Joseph, his favorite and Simeon, who was left behind as a hostage).  No one here knows that Joseph is very much alive, less still that he is the second most important man in Egypt.  Joseph has used deception against his brothers, and by extension, his father as well.  Deception is a hallmark of this family.  No one can be trusted.]

Judah spends some time explaining to his father how it happened that Benjamin would be required to go to Egypt.  How does Judah plan to assuage Jacob’s fears regarding Benjamin?
[“Then Judah said to Israel, his father, ‘Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.  I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him.  If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.’” (Genesis 43:8-9 NIV)]

What does Jacob tell his sons?
[Jacob wants to ease his way back into some kind of favor with the Egyptian and so has his sons bring an offering to the man.  Also he wants his sons to take back double the amount of money so that he will not be indebted to the man.  He wants to return what was “erroneously” given to his sons the last time they were there.]

How hopeful is Israel?
[Not very.  “As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14 NIV)  He seems to be resigned to things.]

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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