Daily Bible Readings – Friday, April 5, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 107

Prayer Point. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107 gives us numerous examples of the love and faithfulness of God. Meditate on one of the examples that resonates with you and offer God a prayer of thanks.

Mark 9:2-13

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. Jesus had veiled his true glory in his dealings with his disciples. He looked like an ordinary man, albeit a man who was capable of miracles unlike any other who had come before him. Peter, James and John, Jesus’ inner circle of disciples are given a glimpse of Jesus’ true glory. These men are dazzled not only by Jesus’ appearance, but also by the two men who appear with him: Moses, Israel’s great lawgiver and Elijah their greatest prophet. Jesus is declaring, by way of vision, his true purpose. He came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. He is greater than Israel’s greatest heroes. Moses and Elijah point Israel to their savior, Jesus.

There is a reference to Elijah returning in verse 13. Jesus is speaking of John the Baptist who suffered and was beheaded for his faithful service to God (see Matthew 11:11-14).

Pay close attention to …

  • Jesus’ appearance and compare it to Revelation 1:12-18 and Daniel 7:9-14.
  • Peter’s almost comical reaction to what they were witnessing.
  • What the voice says about Jesus and what it commands the disciples to do.
  • When Peter, James and John were allowed to speak of what they witnessed.
  • What the disciples don’t get in verse 10.

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 12:27-13:3

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 first ‘you’ in verse 27 is plural. We in New England don’t differentiate between the singular and plural you, but if we were among our brothers and sisters in the south, this passage could be translated: “y’all are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” What is our collective identity as a Christian community? How does each of us fit into the larger community? What roles and gifts does Paul list for us?

As great as the spiritual gifts are, what is the greatest ‘gift’ of them all as we transition to chapter 13? What must accompany our gifts, talents, and accomplishments if they are to have any meaning?

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.

Exodus 2:1-22

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. Apart from Jesus, Moses is perhaps the most well-known personality in the entire bible.  There are similarities certainly in the lives of both Jesus and Moses.  While Moses’ birth was hardly miraculous, his survival was.  How was that carried out?

[After Moses was three months old and could no longer be hidden at home, Jochebed took him and placed him in a basket (a little “ark”) and set him adrift on the Nile.  Moses was then discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh who withdrew him from the Nile and raised him as her own.]

What does the name “Moses” mean?
[Moses, as indicated by the footnote in the NIV Bible means “draw out”.  That was the daughter of Pharaoh’s own term: “She named him Moses saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’” (Exodus 2:10 NIV)]

Moses, like Jesus, had a hidden life – and that is curious because Moses is the author of the book of Exodus.  For whatever reason, Moses does not disclose his childhood and adolescence.  Before we go further, I want to consider the similarity between Moses and Noah.  Moses was saved by the basket (I like to think of as a “little ark”) and Noah was saved from the water in “the Ark”.  {A minute footnote: both the basket that carried Moses and the Ark that carried Noah were coated in pitch.  I don’t know what the significance is. – j.t.}  In both instances, the “ark” is used to preserve the life of the principal character in each event.  Moses would not have been born if it were not for Noah and the Israelites would not have been freed had it not been for Moses.  Water will play a pivotal role in Moses’ life.

What does Moses confess to in Chapter 2?
[Moses confesses to murdering someone.  There is something shady about this: “Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (Exodus 2:12 NIV)]

Describe Moses’ first encounter with hypocrisy?
[The very next day Moses catches two Hebrews fighting with each other and tries to break them up.  “He asked the one in the wrong, ‘Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?’  The other man said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?  Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?’” (Exodus 2:13-14 NIV)]

The irony is, of course, that Moses in fact does become a “ruler” and “judge” over the Hebrews.

Very naturally Moses flees for his life, because of this incident, Pharaoh wanted him dead.  To where does he flee?
[Moses went to live in Midian (in modern Saudi Arabia).]

How does Moses ingratiate himself to the priest of Midian?
[Moses came upon a well where the daughters of the priest of Midian (Jethro) were drawing water when shepherds came along and began to drive the women away.  Moses jumped into the foray and sent the shepherds off.  Water is instrumental in Moses’ introduction to Jethro.]

The daughters of Jethro neglect one important custom regarding this stranger.  What was it?
[Jethro’s daughters had neglected to show the hero hospitality.  This is a cultural offense (not likened to anything we may appreciate in America today).]

How does Moses’ stay with Jethro prove life-altering?
[Moses takes a wife from among the daughters of Jethro – Zipporah, and if Cecile B. DeMille is to be believed, she was Jethro’s eldest daughter.]

Zipporah presents Moses with a son.  What does Moses call him and what does it mean?
[Moses names his son Gershom “saying, ‘I have become an alien in a foreign land.’” (Exodus 2:22 NIV)]

Meanwhile back in Egypt…
Things continue to deteriorate in Egypt; things going from bad to worse.  The people cry out to God.  “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” (Exodus 2:24 NIV)  What was that covenant?
[That he would give to Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan.  Before Joseph died he remarked: “But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24 NIV)]

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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