Another thing that we heard from Luke 8 yesterday is that before “taking heed how we hear” (v18) proceeds to meditation, action, and endurance, it first involves “receiving the Word with joy” (v13) and “hearing with a noble and good heart” (v15). That is to say that we are to plan for hearing with joy by bringing our hearts to a particular condition even before we come. One excellent way of doing that is by thinking about the Scripture passages ahead of time. In order to do that, you may wish to use the following devotionals on Scripture passages that are planned for next Lord’s Day’s worship services.

Follow-up devotionals for use in Private and Family Worship

Psalm 37:32-40

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • What two groups are watching the righteous (32-33)? What does each want? Who wins? • Whom should the righteous keep his eye on (34a)? With what purpose (34b)? And what result (34c-d)? • How do current circumstances (35) sometimes compare to this long-term certainty (36-38)? Then why is the long-term result certain (39a)? Besides that certainty (40), what other help do they have in current circumstances (39b)?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • What wicked people, especially attackers of the righteous, do you see prospering? What is their end? Can you give an example of this from Bible history? From other history? • What righteous and blameless people do you see currently in trouble? What is their end? Can you give an example of this from Bible history? From other history? • What trouble are you currently in? In what/whom have you been finding strength in it? What will be the long-term result of it? Why? How?

Suggested songs: Psalm 37:32-40, #40 God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength

Suggested memory verse: But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. (Psalm 37:39)

Deuteronomy 25:1-10 (for 14-Feb)

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • What is the duty of a court (1)? How many are involved in this work? But how many are involved in sentencing (2)? Even for the wicked, what is a significant consideration in sentencing (3)? • How is v4 especially illustrative of the level of fairness and consideration that God requires of His people? How does it especially apply to the concept of “a living wage”? • How could a family line be preserved, if a woman was widowed without children (5-6)? Was this required (7-8)? How was it encouraged (9-10)? How would this encouragement be especially significant to someone who was concerned with preserving his own name (9-10)?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • Where did the American justice system of juries and judges come from? Who is currently defining what is “righteous” and what is “wicked”? How is this different from the Bible and from the foundations of our justice system? • What are some ways that godly families can be preserved and perpetuated today? How do these verses communicate the value of children? To what current issues does this most apply? How would a higher value upon children modify your own plans/behavior?

Suggested songs: Psalm 19, #151 Jehovah’s Perfect Law

Suggested memory verse: You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. (Deut 25:4)

Philippians 3:4-7

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • Why is Paul a good case study for not having confidence in oneself (4)? To what kinds of self-confidence was he tempted (5-6)? • How was circumcision related to church membership? How was the timing related to precision in congregational duties? What was special about Jacob/Israel’s family? What  was special about Benjamin’s tribe? From whom were the Hebrews distinct? And what would a “super Hebrew” then be? • What relationship did the Pharisees have to the law? What is the difference between knowledge, service, and obedience? Which one can result in self-confidence? • What would have been diminished if Paul felt confident in his strongest spiritual advantages (7)?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • What do you think are the strongest points about your place in the church? What do you think are the strongest points about your Christian walk? How are these strong points your greatest dangers?

Suggested songs: Psalm 32, #461 Not What My Hands Have Done

Suggested verse: But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ (Phil 3:7)

Hebrews 5:1-2

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • From among what group must a high priest be taken (1)? For whom is he appointed? Before whom does he serve? What does he offer? • As he does so, what are his feelings toward those for whom he is appointed (2)? What are their flaws? What aspect of the high priest’s condition enables him to sympathize with their flaws? What part of his work makes it clear that he does not excuse their flaws?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • How do you know that Jesus sympathizes with you, without excusing your sin? What has He done about your sin? What does He continue to do about it? How does He feel toward you as He does it?

Suggested Songs: Psalm 130, #306 Jesus, My Great High Priest

Suggested memory verse: He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:2)

Luke 8:19-25

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • Who wanted to see Jesus (19-20)? What might we have expected as a godly response? How does this make v21 startling? In the long term, and at a deeper level, how is v21 exactly correct? What part of Jesus’ answer wasn’t necessarily true of everyone in the crowd? What do vv19-21 remind us about Jesus’ person? • What do vv22-25 remind us about Jesus’ power? Whom did the disciples think were perishing (23-24)? Why could this not have been true? Why were the disciples still afraid in v25?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • Who are your earthly family? Who are your eternal family? If these are ever in conflict, which is more significant? • What about Jesus’ person indicates His relationship to the Father? How can you identify His adopted family? By these criteria, would someone identify you as His adopted family? • Why is it as impossible for something to be to a Christian’s ultimate harm, as it is that Jesus would die in any other way than the cross? How much more fearful is His power than any other fear? What habits do you have in place to keep yourself mindful of His fearful power?

Suggested songs: Psalm 2, #162 Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Suggested memory verse:  But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” (Luke 8:25)

Zechariah 3:1-5

Questions for understanding this Scripture passage

  • At what time is the vision of v1 (cf. Haggai 1:1, 1:12, 1:14, 2:2, 2:4)? Why would it be odd that someone is representing or interceding for a high priest? Who is representing him in v1? Who is opposing him? • Who is speaking in v2? But whom does He call upon to rebuke Satan in v2? • How is the Lord described in v2? How is Joshua described? From what fire was he plucked? • Even having such representation, what is Joshua’s ongoing problem (3)? For whom would this provide fodder? How is this fodder taken away (4-5)?

Questions for living out this Scripture passage

  • Who stands opposed to you to accuse you? What true things does he have to say? Who is the only One who can defend you? What has He done to take away your guilt? What else does He promise you? What does righteous clothing look like in our lives? Where do we get it?

Suggested songs: Psalm 51; #306 Jesus, My Great High Priest

Suggested memory verse: Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” (Zechariah 3:4)

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