Prayer Psalm: 50
Prayer Point: This psalm envisions God as a righteous judge who calls out the sin in of the righteous (verses 7-15) AND the unrighteous (verses 16-23). In what ways have you, like the righteous, served God with the wrong motives? In what ways have you sinned against God like the wicked. Confess those things to God and ask for the faith to believe that God needs nothing from us, not our work, not our money, but only our trust.
Earlier in the chapter Jesus predicted that all of his disciples would desert him (Matthew 26:31-35). Peter, being the brash one in the group, boasts that even if everyone else fell away, he would not. Jesus declares that Peter will deny him three times that very night. And now the stage is set.
What causes Peter’s courage to give out? How far is Peter willing to go with the lie (see verse 74)? How has everything gone according to the way Jesus had prophesied? What does this do to Peter? Here is something to think about: Jesus had predicted that Peter would fail him. Peter responded by promising that he wouldn’t. That clearly was the wrong thing to do, but what could he have done instead?
The final chapters of the Paul’s letter to the Romans deals with the question of how the church is to live in response to what Christ has done for us, which he detailes in the first eight chapters.
How are the morally and spiritually strong to relate to the morally and spiritually weak in the church?
The Roman church was an eclectic mix of people. Some had been raised as pious Jews well versed in Jewish Law and Tradition and familiar with the Old Testament. Others were Gentiles and lived the immoral lifestyle of a Roman pagan. Needless to say there was a culture clash in this church.
How were the Jewish and Gentile Christians called to relate to each other? How is Jesus’ treatment of us the pattern for how we are to treat others?
This would have been especially difficult for the Jewish Christians at Rome. They viewed the Gentile Christians as their spiritual inferiors. Gentiles knew less of the Bible. They did not follow the Jewish law and consequently were viewed as morally loose. How would the Jewish believers’ love for their Gentile brothers and sisters fulfill God’s purposes?
In verses 9-12 Paul quotes the Jewish Scriptures (the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah). What was God’s purpose all along for the Gentiles? One thing that may be helpful to know is that the “Root of Jesse” in verse 12 is a reference to Jesus.
The miracle of the early church was that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the dividing wall that had existed between Jew and Gentile was destroyed. In the church there was one people of God made of up Jew and Gentile and that demonstrated to the world the reconciling power of the gospel.
Joshua 9:3-21 – The Gibeonite Deception
The LORD’s original intent for the people of Israel was that they purge the Promised Land of all its inhabitants because the land had become polluted by their wickedness and idolatry. The LORD also wanted the people to depend on him for everything – their daily bread as it were. This incident with the Gibeonites should serve to demonstrate (harshly) why it is important to rely on God. What was the ruse the Gibeonites employed against the Israelites? (The Gibeonites had grown fearful of the Israelites because of their growing reputation as warriors. They decided to trick the Hebrews into an alliance by means of a ruse. A delegation came to Joshua; they had worn out clothes, moldy bread, old wine skins and worn out sacks. They deceived Joshua; they told him that they had traveled from a far land and had heard much of the Jews’ exploits beginning in Egypt. They knew that Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan both had been defeated by the Hebrews. Joshua had compassion on these people but he did not seek the LORD’s counsel. He then made a treaty of peace by oath with these “travelers” which will have repercussions later.)
Joshua made a treaty of peace by oath with these Gibeonites. Why is that significant? (The treaty by oath would mean that they would have sworn by the LORD to honor the peace between them. When the commandment says not to take the name of the LORD in vain, I believe it has everything to do with the taking of an oath. In taking an oath one is asking the LORD to witness the agreement; that it would be honored as though the promise were made to the LORD himself. Many of the oaths of that day began with: “May the LORD do so to me and more if ….” So this is serious business.)
How long did it take for the Israelites to discover they had been duped? (“Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.” (Joshua 9:16 NIV) Now the Israelites were duty bound (or honor bound) to respect the treaty they had made with the Gibeonites. This may be the basis of the trouble the Hebrews will continue to face throughout their future in the land.)
The people were angry with the leadership. Naturally when politicians blunder it is the people who must pay. Their excuse to the people was that they had made a treaty by oath with the Gibeonites though they did not know that they were near neighbors.
What was the ultimate determination regarding the Gibeonites? (“‘This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us or breaking the oath we swore to them.’ They continued, ‘Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community.’ So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.” (Joshua 9:20-21 NIV))