Daily Bible Readings – Monday, March 31, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 89

Prayer Point. God’s story with Israel is a tale of God’s faithfulness despite their faithlessness. God saves. His people forget. God sends judgment. His people cry out and God sends a Savior. Israel’s story is our story. Praise God for the ways he has been faithful to you. Confess the way you have been unfaithful to him. Give your needs to God and ask him to save you.

Mark 7:24-37

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 was difficult for the Jesus’ disciples, or any Jews for that matter, to believe that he had come to save those outside the nation of Israel. Jesus leaves the confines of Israel and heads to the Gentile city of Tyre in what we call Lebanon today. Jesus sounds harsh to the Syrian woman, but he is only mouthing the biases of his people in order to test her faith.

From Tyre Jesus travels to the Decapolis, another Gentile region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. The point is clear, Jesus is more than Israel’s Messiah, he is the Savior of the entire world.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Jesus is so impressed by the Syro-Phoenecian woman and what he does in response to her reply.
  • The way Jesus heals her daughter and what this tells you about his power over demons.
  • Why Jesus chooses to touch the deaf man.
  • What the people of Decapolis do when Jesus commands them not to tell anyone about the healing.

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 10:14-11:1

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 urges the Corinthians to flee idolatry, the worship of false gods.  The “cup of thanksgiving” and the “bread” are the bread and cup of communion.  How does communion bind us to God and to each other? Why couldn’t the Corinthians participate in communion (the Lord’s Table) and pagan sacrifices at the same time? If the idols are nothing, what is the harm?

Paul argues that we have a considerable amount of freedom as followers of Jesus. Why would we not do everything that is permissible for us? For what reasons should we set aside our freedoms? How should we exercise our freedoms in light of Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as ourselves?”

Paul teaches a Christian way of life through words, but also by__________ (see 11:1).

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 49:1-28

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. Jacob imparts his final (public) words to his sons in the order in which they were born.  What is significant about the “blessings” to Reuben, Simeon, and Levi?

[Israel reminds Reuben that, because he had “taken” his concubine (Bilhah), he would not now be favored as the firstborn.  Jacob’s complaint to both Simeon and Levi was the bloodshed they masterminded regarding Hamor and his men in the matter of Dinah’s rape in Chapter 34.]

Judah’s blessing in considerable.  In it Jacob prophesies about events which will not take place for another eight hundred years.  What does Jacob prophecy?
[Jacob tells of a time when there will be a king in Israel and that the king will be a descendant of Judah: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” (Genesis 49:10 NIV)  This prophecy also applies to Jesus, who as a descendant of David, is also a descendant of Judah.  Of course, at this time there was no king of the sons of Israel.]

Even at death, how does Jacob show his partiality to Joseph?
[Jacob saves his choicest blessing for Joseph.  In Chapter 48 we saw that Jacob took for his own Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own.  In time, this will result in Joseph receiving a double portion of an inheritance, once the land of Canaan is apportioned to the sons of Israel (more than four hundred years in the future).  Jacob heaps honor and praise on Joseph and recounts, very briefly, his ordeals at the hands of his brothers.]

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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