Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 27

Prayer Point. Fear and hardship are two enemies of our soul, calling us to give up.  The psalmist calls us to refocus our hopes and desires, “Seek his face! Your face I will seek!”  Pray that as we face difficulties in our lives that we will not take our eyes off of Jesus.

Mark 5:1-20

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. The Gerasenes was not only “the other side of the lake” (Sea of Galilee) it was also the other side of the tracks. Jesus has left the Jewish world and entered a community of Gentiles. You might notice that there are herds of pigs in this region. No God-fearing Jew would ever raise pigs and very few Jews would have traveled to this region, but Jesus sails across the lake to save one demon-possessed Gentile man.

Pay close attention to …

  • Where the demon-possessed man lived and what his life was like before he met Jesus.
  • The demons’ name and its significance.
  • The demons’ response to Jesus’ mere presence and what it says about His power and authority.
  • How the people of the region respond to Jesus’ miracle.
  • Why Jesus refuses to allow the healed man to leave with him.
  • How the people of Decapolis respond to the healed man (verse 20).

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 7:10-24

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. What is Paul’s teaching for those who are in an unhappy marriage? How should a spouse live if they do decide to separate? How should a Christian live with a spouse who is an unbeliever? What options are open to a follower of Jesus if their unbelieving spouse decides to leave?

Does Paul view his teaching on marriage as the direct teaching of Jesus or his own interpretation of Jesus’ teaching on marriage?

How does Paul justify his position that in most situations, we are called to stay where we are (see verse 17)? How does Paul apply the principle of verse 17 to other areas of life? Look carefully again at how Paul describes our new identity because of Christ (verse 23). How is this identity related to this way of life that Paul is describing?

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 43:16-24

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 background to help guide you.

Background. What does Joseph do when he sees Benjamin with his brothers?  Does this remind you of one of Jesus’ parables?

[“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, ‘Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare dinner; they are to eat with me at noon.” (Genesis 43:16 NIV)  This reminds me of the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke Chapter 15.)]

Joseph’s brothers are ignorant of what is going on in the background and there they are waiting for this powerful man to speak to them.  They are told by the steward of Zaphenath-Paneah (Joseph) to accompany him to his master’s house.  This strikes dread into Judah and his brothers.  What do they think?
[“Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house.  They thought, ‘We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time.  He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys’”  (Genesis 43:18 NIV)]

Do you see any prophecy or foreshadowing in their thoughts?
[Slavery will become the lot of the sons of Israel in time to come.]

What changes once the brothers explain to the steward the mix-up concerning the silver from their first visit?
[The steward’s attitude and, I suspect, voice softens, “‘It’s all right,’ he said.  ‘Don’t be afraid.  Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.’  Then he brought Simeon out to them.” (Genesis 43:23 NIV)]

Again one of Joseph’s dreams enters the mix.  How?
[“When Joseph came home, they presented him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.”  (Genesis 43:26 NIV) See Genesis 37:7]

It is important to remember that all this time Joseph is speaking through an interpreter because he does not yet want his brothers to realize it is he.  Joseph is overcome with emotion.  Why?
[“He looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. … Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep.” (Genesis 43:29, 30 NIV)]

What is “foreign” to us about how Joseph, his brothers, and Joseph’s household staff ate?
[Joseph was served by himself, the brothers were served separately, and the household staff could not eat with non-Egyptians for that was an abomination to them.]

How are the brothers arranged at table?
[The brothers are seated from the oldest to the youngest.  That may have been common among them as birth order seemed rather important to them.]

The portions of the food for the brothers were taken from Joseph’s table.  How did Joseph demonstrate his partiality toward Benjamin?
[Joseph gave Benjamin five times more than the rest of his brothers (verse 34).  Verse 33 says “The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment.”  I think the astonishment is as a result of the bounty shown to Benjamin.]

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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