Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Readings for Sunday, June 10 2012

The Season of Pentecost is now upon us. Two Sundays ago we celebrated Pentecost and last Sunday we delved into the doctrine of the Trinity. Starting this coming Sunday we will have two different Old Testament readings and Psalms related to them. The first will be a continuous reading from a section of the OT with each successive Sunday being the next reading in the series. The second will be an OT passage the relates to the Gospel text and therefore will skip around. This means we will have six readings each week. We are also getting back to the Gospel of Mark for the next 7 weeks at which point we will spend 5 weeks in the Gospel of John chapter 6. We will also spend 5 weeks in 2 Corinthians. Our readings for this week follow.

1 Samuel 8:4-20 – The focus of the continuous reading of the Old Testament will be the Kings of Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon through the end of August. At this beginning of the reign of the kings, Israel has been a loose confederation of tribes that basically did their own things until they were oppressed by enemies at which time God would raise up a “judge” to lead them. The final judge was the prophet Samuel. What do the people demand of Samuel in verses 4 and 5? What is Samuel’s reaction? What is God’s reaction and rationale for allowing the people their demand (vs. 7-9)? What is Samuel’s warning to the people (11-18)? How did the people answer (19-20)? You might just as well finish the passage by reading verses 21-22 to hear God’s reply.

Psalm 138 – Who is speaking in this Psalm? Why does he give praise to God in verses 1-3? What does the psalmist call on the rulers of the earth to do (4-5)? Verse 6 is more like a parable with its contrast between the lowly and the arrogant. What does the Lord do for the lowly and what is done to the arrogant? What does the Lord do for the psalmist in verses 7 and 8? How is God’s love described?

Genesis 3:8-15 – First, read 2:25. This is the condition of humanity before their disobedience: naked but unembarrassed. Then read 3:1-7. Desire for that which is not ours, temptation (the snake who distorts the truth), rivalry (with God who is NOT in rivalry with us), and shame become our plight. What is God doing at the beginning of this reading? Why are man and woman hiding? When God asks about eating from the tree who does the man blame? Who does the woman blame? What does God say to the snake? The rest of the chapter, verses 16-24 are the consequences man and woman face because of their disobedience. Warning: to read this as a literal accounting of 2 humans some 5,000 years ago is to miss the greater truth of humanity’s relationship to God and others. The results of desiring that which is not ours leads to violence against our brothers and sisters (chapter 4) and the founding of civilization (4:17). Verses 2:4b through 4:26 should be read as a unit.

Psalm 130 – I use this Psalm in the funeral services I lead. What is the matter with the Psalmist? Who does he hope and wait for? Why should Israel wait for the Lord?

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 – Why do we, or should we, speak about our faith (vs. 13-14)? What brings glory to God (15)? What happens despite the breakdown of our bodies (16)? What do our current (physical) problems bring (17)? What then are we to focus on and why (18)? What does Paul use the analogy of “tent” for (5:1)?

Mark 3:20-35 – Jesus’ ministry in Galilee is still in the early stages but a lot has happened in the Gospel of Mark before our reading. In Chapter 1 Jesus is baptized and then tempted, calls his first disciples by the Galilee Lake, throws out a demon, heals Peter’s mother-in-law, and cures a man with leprosy. In Chapter 2 Jesus heals a paralyzed man, eats with sinners, and declares that the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. In the first part of chapter 3 Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, continues his healing and exorcism ministry, and names 12 apostles. In our reading today many people do not know what to make of Jesus. Not even his family understands him. What did his family think of Jesus (vs. 21)? What did the religious legal experts say about Jesus (22)? Jesus’ words in verses 23-29 are called a parable. Parables are not to be taken literally but are designed to get us to think and ask questions. So, what if the answer to Jesus’ question, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” is precisely the opposite of the implied answer. How would Satan cast out Satan? What then about verse 29? Can insulting the Spirit be unforgivable? Why did Jesus’ mother and brothers come (vs. 31, 21)? Who is the true brother and sister to Jesus (35)?

Have a great week serving the Lord!

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