Prayer Psalm: 55
Prayer Point: Sometimes we feel that God is a million miles away when we are suffering. Yet in this psalm you can hear the voice of Jesus anguishing over the betrayal by his good friend Judas. Psalm 55 reminds us that Jesus has entered our pain and suffered for us on the cross. It is that demonstration of love that call us to put our faith in God and to call on him, “evening, morning and night.” Pray that instead of worrying today, you will call to God and instead of trusting yourself, you will trust him.
Compare Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-64) to his questioning before Pilate. What is the only question he is willing to answer in both trials? Why do you think he won’t answer the other charges (see Isaiah 53:7)? What is Pilate’s impression of Jesus?
Pilate represents the power of the Roman Empire, but ironically he is not in charge of his own court. He is stuck between trying to maintain the facade of “Roman justice” and his true mission which was to keep order in occupied Israel.
How does Pilate try to get out of the bind he found himself in? Who further encourages him to release Jesus? How is Pilate’s plan thwarted?
In yesterday’s reading we discussed Paul’s mission. Where is his mission taking him now? What will he do when he arrives at his destination? Who has partnered with him to make this mission possible?
Jerusalem, as the first church, was the mother church of all the other churches that were planted by its members. At the time this letter was written, Jerusalem and all of Judea was in the midst of a terrible drought and there was widespread hunger and starvation. What obligation did the churches in Macedonia and Achaia (Greece) owe to their brothers? What have the Gentiles received from the Jews? What do they owe in return?
How does Paul encourage the Roman church to partner with him in his ministry? What specific things does he ask them to do?
Joshua 23:1-16 – Joshua’s Farewell
Joshua is now very old (very nearly 110 years old). What is the substance of his message to the leaders of Israel? (Joshua wants the leaders to remember all that the Lord had done for them as they conquered the Promised Land. He reminds them that it was the Lord who had done the fighting for them and admonishes them to trust in him. Further he promises that the Lord will drive out the remaining nations still in the land. He encourages them to be strong and careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law. He urges them to veer away from the false gods of the land. “You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” (Joshua 23:7b-8 NIV))
What does Joshua warn the people which echoes what Moses had said? (“But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.” (Joshua 23:12-13 NIV))
The chapter closes with yet another exhortation to faithfulness: “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. … If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.” (Joshua 23:14, 16)