Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, December 19, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 50

Prayer Point. We’d like to think that God only judges “bad people,” but this psalm reminds us that “good people” (verses 7-15) and “bad people” (verses 16-23) alike stand in need of God’s mercy. Where do you see yourself in the descriptions of the wicked and the good? Confess those areas of your life to God and pray for the faith to take your cares to him and cultivate a heart of gratitude.

Matthew 25:1-13

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Matt. 25:1 the kingdom of heaven will be like. ten virgins. Bridesmaids. bridegroom. As God referred to himself as the “husband” of Israel in the OT (e.g., Isa. 54:4–6), so Jesus pictures himself here as a bridegroom (cf. Matt. 9:14–15). It was the Jewish marriage custom (cf. 1:18) for the groom and his friends to leave his home and proceed to the home of the bride, where the marriage ceremony was conducted, often at night. After this, the entire wedding party returned to the groom’s home for a celebratory banquet [ESV Study Bible Notes].

Matt. 25:11–12 I do not know you. The OT speaks of God “knowing” his chosen people (Jer. 1:5; Hos. 13:5; Amos 3:2). The same theme continues in the NT, where it describes a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ (cf. Gal. 4:8–9; 2 Tim. 2:19) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

One again we see Jesus here bringing home the point that the disciples will know “neither the day nor the hour” of his return.What should the disciples of Christ do while they wait for Jesus to arrive?

Christ brought the kingdom of God, making it present in His church. He pointed to the future when he would bring the kingdom in its fullness. Believers must be alert, prepared to greet Christ when He returns. Other people cannot prepare us at the last moment [Disciple’s Study Bible Notes].

Obey. 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 and share 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.

Revelation 4:9-5:5

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 help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. God is on the firmly on the throne in heaven, despite Rome’s appearance of power on earth. What are the four living creatures (symbolic of creation) and 24 elders (symbolic of God’s people who have died) doing as they stand in the presence of God? What do God’s people do with the crowns they received for remaining faithful to Jesus? What is about God that inspires his people and all of creation to worship him?

The vision from heaven’s perspective continues in chapter 5. God is seated on the throne, with a sealed scroll in his right hand. The scroll represents God’s plan to restore Creation, rescue his people, and rid the world of evil once and for all. Why does John begin to weep?

Obey. 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 and share 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.

Zechariah 4:1-14

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 help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. The golden lampstand was an item of furniture in the tabernacle (temple) even when it was a tent. This lampstand was slightly different in that it had seven lights and seven channels for each light which would amount to 49 lights. (7 x 7) The two olive trees would be the source of all the oil needed to keep this lampstand lit forever (as it were). [The image here of the lampstand reminds me of the 7 golden lampstands recently discussed in Revelation. That image also provides for 49 separate lights. The sad reality is that Revelation does not specify that those lampstands have 7 flames – that is a supposition that I am making. j.t.] All of this is confusing to Zechariah. What is his question to the angel? And in typical Jewish tradition of answering a question with a question, what question does the angel address to Zechariah? Okay! How does the angel finally answer Zechariah? To whom is Zechariah to address this message? Who is Zerubbabel?  What is the task assigned to Zerubbabel and Joshua?

[Notes from The Life Application Bible (NKJV) p. 1637 “4:10 ‘Who despises the day of small things?’ Many of the older Jews were disheartened when they realized this new temple would not match the size and splendor of the previous temple built during King Solomon’s reign. But bigger and more beautiful is not always better. What you do for God may seem small and insignificant at the time, but God rejoices in what is right, nor necessarily in what is big. Be faithful in the small opportunities. Begin where you are and do what you can, and leave the results to God.”]

Again the two olive branches are discussed. What does the angel say this time? Unhappily we don’t know exactly to whom the two anointed ones refer. Some think they are the two most responsible for the current rebuilding project: Zerubbabel and Joshua. Others say Haggai and Zechariah who were the prophets assigned to exhort the people to action.

Obey. 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 and share 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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s