Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 136

Prayer Point. God deserves our gratitude because he is both our Creator and our Savior. Make this psalm your own by meditating on God’s creation and remembering the times he has rescued you and offering your thanks in response.

Mark 7:1-23

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. It is important to remember that Jesus is not standing against the Old Testament law, but the interpretation of those laws by the Jewish religious leaders which he calls, “traditions.” The rigorous regulations related to hand-washing was simply their interpretation of the law, not what the law said itself. Why is this a problem? Sometimes the traditions themselves can get in the way of obeying the heart of God’s law which is simply, “love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.”

One example is verses 9-13. The fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12) commanded Israel to “honor their father and mother.” Honor included supporting parents in their old age as well as treating them with respect, but the teachers of the law found a work around. They followed the letter of the law, but violated its heart which is predicated on one word, “love.”

Pay close attention to …

  • What the people do with their lips, but fail to do with their hearts.
  • How the traditions gave the people a loophole to avoid loving their mother and father.
  • What makes someone clean or unclean according to verses 14-23.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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 10:1-13

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. Paul compares the Christian life to the history of Israel. While Israel endured 400 years of slavery in Egypt, we also were slaves to sin. Israel became a free people when God parted the Red Sea and they passed through the waters (were baptized) while the pursuing Egyptian army was destroyed. We became free when we came to faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized in His name. But the Red Sea and our baptism and conversion is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. There is a desert we must cross before we reach the Promised Land (heaven) and eternal life with our Father. How does Israel’s experience in the wilderness serve as a warning to us as we journey towards the Promised Land? What must we believe to overcome temptation?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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 47:27-48:7

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.

How old is Jacob when he dies?
[Israel is 147 years old when he dies.]

What odd demonstration of an oath does Jacob require of Joseph?  Where have we seen this before?
[Israel tells Joseph to place his hand under his thigh and to promise that Jacob would be buried in the land of Canaan.  We saw Abraham do the same thing in Genesis 24:2.]

In verse five Israel says “Ephraim (the younger) and Manasseh (the firstborn) will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.”  Why is this so significant?
[This is going to be fun.  Many years before Jacob displayed his favoritism on Joseph.  He was the firstborn of Rachel whom Jacob loved.  Reuben added to his own misfortune (he was the firstborn of Leah) by “going into” his father’s concubine (Bilhah – Rachel’s handmaid) thus making a public declaration of his contempt for his father.  He is no longer going to be treated as the firstborn – more on that in Chapter 49.  {Simeon may have lost favor because of his actions done to the sons of Hamor the Hivite in the matter of the rape of Dinah (Chapter 34) – j.t.}  Also, you may remember how Jacob tricked Isaac into believing he (Jacob) was actually his older brother Esau when it came time for the blessing of the firstborn.  Jacob does it again (foreshadowing actually) in addressing Ephraim (the younger) before the older Manasseh.  So history will repeat itself.  Joseph will receive the double portion of the firstborn when Jacob dies.]

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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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