Daily Bible Readings – Friday, February 7, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 73

Prayer Point. We believe that God watches over his people, but it troubles us that the wicked seem to prosper.  Sometimes we envy them.  Meditate on this psalm and pray that God will give us the faith to say, even in difficult times, “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you …”

John 7:1-13

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? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. Jesus taught that a prophet has no honor in his own country (John 4:44). Apparently that is also true of a prophet’s family: Jesus’ own brothers doubt him. It may surprise some to learn that Jesus had brothers, especially since his mother Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. While Mary was certainly a virgin before his birth, the scriptures do not say that she remained a virgin afterward. Remember that she was married to Joseph and it is likely that they had other children who would effectively be half-brothers of Jesus.

The skeptical brothers wonder why Jesus labors in obscurity when those who are trying to change the world normally place themselves in the center of the action. Why not go to Jerusalem? John tells us in verse 1 that the Jews were looking to take his life.  Jesus is not staying away out of fear, but because he will lay down his life at the time chosen by his Father.

The Feast of Tabernacles would have provided Jesus a great opportunity to take his campaign public because it was one of three festivals that Jews were required to celebrate in Jerusalem each year.  Everyone would be there.

Pay close attention to …

  • The skepticism of Jesus’ own brothers.  Imagine what that would have been like for Jesus.
  • Why Jesus refuses to go to Jerusalem with his brothers.
  • Why the world hates Jesus.
  • Jesus goes to Jerusalem in secret.  What are the crowds saying about him?
  • Why no one publicly acknowledges Jesus.

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.

Hebrews 12:3-11

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. Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at the book of Hebrews as a whole. The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish group of followers of Jesus who were undergoing a difficult time of persecution. Life was so hard for them, they were considering abandoning their faith in Jesus and returning to the safety of the Judaism they had been born into. This book was written to encourage them to cling to Jesus and to persevere in their new faith.

In chapter 11, the writer provided examples of persevering faith from their Jewish history and now in chapter 12 the writer starts to point us to Jesus.How can the example of Jesus encourage us to hold on to our faith even when life gets difficult?

How are we called to see the hardships that God allows in our lives? For the writer of Hebrews hardship = _____________? How does hardship mean that God still loves us? What is the purpose of struggle in our lives? What good can come of it?

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.

Genesis 24:1-27

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. Isaac was pushing forty and Abraham was “now old and well advanced in years” and he reckoned that it was time to find a bride for Isaac.  One cannot have a great nation if one does not have children.  A wife comes in handy when it comes to child-bearing.  Abraham enlists the aid of his chief servant in this endeavor and makes him take an oath.  What is the unusual nature of this oath (unusual to us, that is)?

[Abraham makes the servant put his hand under Abraham’s thigh to swear.  He promises not to find a wife from among the Canaanites, but to go to Abraham’s ancestral homeland to search.]

Why is Abraham so adamant about Isaac’s not going back to the land of the Chaldeans (Abraham’s ancestral home)?
[“The LORD … will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.” (v. 24:7)  I think it may have to do with “going backwards”.  Remember Lot’s wife who looked back.  The Lord called Abraham out of Ur (of the Chaldeans) and brought him to Canaan with the promise that one day his posterity will possess that land.  He didn’t want to “go back”. – j.t.]

Once the servant enters the town of Nahor (in the land of Abraham’s birth) what does he pray?
[“Then he prayed, ‘O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.  See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.  May it be that when I say to a girl, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too” – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.  By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.’” (v. 24:12-14 NIV)]

As it happens Abraham’s servant stumbles right in the middle of Abraham’s distant family.  Rebekah is the girl who happens to be drawing the water that evening.  She is granddaughter to Nahor (who, if you remember, is Abraham’s brother – still confusing).

What does Abraham’s servant do to Rebekah?
[He gives her a gold nose ring and a couple of bracelets.  This amounted to engagement by proxy.  He was making a pledge for Isaac to Rebekah.  Now all he needed her to do was to accept.]

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s