Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 108

Prayer Point:   What better way to start the day than to begin with praise to God and call for him to save us. We all live in a world with powers that are beyond our control, but we need to remember that we serve a powerful and good God.

John 5:1-18

Sometime after the healing of the official’s son, Jesus returns to Jerusalem. This time he approaches the person in need of healing saying, “Do you want to get well?”

It is important to note that Jesus heals on the Sabbath. This is a direct challenge to the authority of the Jewish religious leaders who believed that the Old Testament Law prohibited healing on the Sabbath. One thing from the Sabbath Law is clear. Work was prohibited on the seventh day of the week (Sabbath day). What was unclear was what constituted work. The teachers of the law considered healing and carrying your mat to be work and so it was against the law. This brought the religious leaders to the absurd position that it is against the law to do perform an act of love on a day dedicated to the love of God.

What does the way Jesus healed this man tell us about His power to heal and His authority to interpret the Jewish Law? What is Jesus saying about His authority with respect to the authority of the Jewish religious leaders? How does Jesus respond to the man when he sees him again in the temple?

Why does Jesus exempt himself from the Sabbath Law? Why does he say that intensifies the Jew’s efforts to kill him?

Acts 7:30-43

Stephen continues Israel’s story that began back in Acts 7:2.  How would you describe Israel’s relationship to God? Is it marked by their faithfulness or betrayal? How did Israel treat God’s representatives (Moses for example)? Is God faithful to Israel? How? What specific promise does God make to Israel through Moses (verse 37)? Who do you think this promised prophet might be? Stephen is going to make the case at the end of chapter 7 that this promised prophet was Jesus.

Judges 16:1-14  – Women can make men do stupid things (Samson and Delilah)

Samson was definitely a man of great passion. We saw how he reacted when he was denied his wife. He enjoyed his sex. The opening verses of Chapter 16 tell us that he went to the home of a prostitute. What ill-fated plan did the Philistines hatch? (“At dawn we’ll kill him.” (Judges 16:2 NIV) Okay, not such a detailed plan.)

Samson escapes in the middle of the night thus foiling the Philistines’ plan (such as it was). Enter Delilah.

Poor Samson falls in love with Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines see here a weakness which may be exploited. What do they do? (“The rulers of the Philistines went to her [Delilah] and said, ‘See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him.” (Judges 16:5 NIV) Each of the leaders offers her 1,100 shekels (about 28 pounds) of silver. She can be bought.)

How many times will Delilah try to entice Samson to reveal the secret of his great strength? (Delilah tries three times to trick Samson into “spilling the beans”. He tells her (1) tied with 7 (!) fresh thongs; (2) tied securely with new ropes; (3) weave the 7 (!) braids on his head and tighten with a pin.)

Clearly none of these work because she must go back to him a fourth time. This is what I mean when I think Samson is stupid and proud. Because Samson was so blessed of God I find it difficult to think that he had no common sense, but, alas, he must have been all brawn. I should think that given the three attempts that Delilah had made on him that Samson would discern that she was out to destroy him (and to get the money).

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