BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 2: Joel 1:1-2:11

Summary of passage:  Joel 1:  Joel describes an invasion of locusts and the devastation it wrecks on God’s people.  It was sent by God to turn them towards Him.  It destroyed their crops, vines, trees, fields, grain, wheat, and barley.  Joel calls for repentance and mourning and fasting before the Lord.  Turn to God since everything else is gone and there’s no where else to turn.  Call upon Him as the wild animals do.

Joel 2:  Joel says the Day of the Lord is coming and is close at hand.  On a dark day a large and mighty army led by God comes, laying waste to the land with fire and turning nations pale with fear.  The army charges, never deviating.


3)  It is “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.  Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army (led by God–verse 11) comes…before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes…nothing escapes them….at the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale…before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.”  (All of Joel 2:2-11).

4)  Sin and a turning away from God.  Joel says for all to mourn and call out to God.  He also says the grain and drink offerings are withheld from the house of God because of this plague.  He calls for a fast and a summoning of the elders–all signs a sin has been committed.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Bankruptcy.  Depended on Him to bring us through.  He has.

Conclusions:  BSF tells us that we are studying Joel because he is speaking of the Day of the Lord. Joel is speaking of a current invasion of locusts in Chapter 1.  In Chapter 2 he turns to a general day of the Lord.

End Notes:

Joel offers a three-part message which we will study in three days:

  1.  A day of judgment (Today)
  2. A call to repentance (Lesson 11 Day 3)
  3. A future of hope (Lesson 11 Day 4)

What is the Day of the Lord?  The Day of the Lord is first mentioned in the Bible in Isaiah 2 and appears in other apocalyptic writings of the time.  The term appears again in Amos 5, here in Joel, and in Daniel 12:12.  The phrase “the day of the Lord” is used nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5) and five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). It is also alluded to in other passages (Revelation 6:17; 16:14).

In Old Testament usage, scholars think it was a common term God’s people would know and in the Old Testament the Day of the Lord is the day God would judge His people for previous sins against Him (like a locust plague here in Joel).  In Joel 2:32, we see, however, that all who do turn to God will be saved.  It has a near and a far away fulfillment.

In general, the Day of the Lord is any intervention of God in history for the purpose of judgment.  In eschatology (Joel 2:10-11), the Day of the Lord is the ultimate punishment of evil.

In the New Testament, Acts quotes Joel 2:28-32 in chapter 2.  The phrase appears again in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Revelation 6, Matthew 26, and 2 Peter 3.  These NT passages tie the Day of the Lord to the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world and fulfill God’s purpose for mankind here on earth.  It is almost exclusively used as a future fulfillment.  Scholars debate if it’s an actual “day” or if it’s a time period.

The main idea is the “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God will personally intervene in history to fulfill His plans for the world.

Background on Joel:  Joel was one of the earliest prophets.  Joel means “Jehovah is Lord”.  Scholars date this book to around 835 BC, a time in Israel’s history where there was great turmoil amongst the kings.  This was the time when Judah and Israel were split.  However, the date is debated and has been anywhere from the ninth to the third century BC.

Queen Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year (2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1).  Athaliah killed all her son’s heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped – one-year-old Josiah (2 Kings 11:3).  Her six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne (2 Kings 11:4-21).

It goes without saying that Athaliah’s reign was wicked for anyone who would kill her grandkids has problems.  Therefore, scholars best guess is that this plague of locusts came at the end of Athaliah’s reign in judgment for her wickedness.  Scholars do believe this was an actual plague despite the fact this is the only place this event is recorded in historical writings.

Little is known about the man himself.  No one knows for sure when he delivered these messages and no one even knows if he lived in Judah or Israel.

Joel 1:  We know Chapter 1 is describing Judah’s present situation due to the verbs used:  has left, have eaten.  This just happened!  And it’s so devastating he wants the people to tell their children about it for generation after generation so it is remembered.

Joel says to mourn and turn to God by fasting, calling a sacred assembly, summoning the elders to God’s house, and crying out to Him.  God tells us (the people) exactly what to do to come back to Him.  How amazing!

Remember God’s “day” is not our “day”.  Hence, scholars debate on how long this “day” will be.

Remember “Day of Lord” is judgment.  Here, it is immediate.  Ultimately, it’s Jesus’s Second Coming.

Only God can fix the people’s problems.  Everything is gone.  All that is left is God.

Disasters are wake-up calls from God to turn to Him and repent.  Nothing is accidental in God’s world.  Are you ready for just such a disaster in your life and will you call out to Him when it happens?

Joel 2:  Here Joel talks about future judgment known as the day of the Lord.  It’s dark and gloomy and black to those who are defying God as the Israelites are here.  Joel predicts an army will come but scholars believe this never happened because right after Joel’s prophecy here a Godly king named Joash (2 Kings 11:4-21) came to the throne and thus adverted judgment.

God’s army is disciplined, effective, and strong.  So should we be as His soldiers.

Joel minces no words here and the people heard.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 11, Day 2: Exodus 32:1-14

Introductory Note:  This lesson we get a little reprieve from all the reading.  Enjoy!

Summary of passage:  While Moses was up on the mountain, the people became afraid and asked Aaron to make them new gods to go before them since something probably happened to Moses on the mountain.  So Aaron took all the gold earrings from the people and made them into a golden calf as their new god.  Aaron made an altar to the calf and made sacrifices to it.  Then they had a party.

God told Moses to go down off the mountain as the people have become corrupt.  God was so angry He told Moses to leave Him be so that He could destroy them and find a new people.  Moses pleaded for the people, saying the Egyptians would only gloat if God killed them.  Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and to make their descendants as numerous as the stars.  So God relented and did not destroy the people.


3a)  Simple:  They were afraid and impatient.  They thought God had abandoned them and they wanted a god to go before them on their journey.  They were afraid Moses was dead on the mountain and they didn’t want to wait around any longer.

b)  Moses had left Aaron in charge while he was away (Exodus 24:14) so when the people asked Aaron to make a god, Aaron supported the idea and helped them.  Imagine what would have happened if Aaron had faith in God and had told the people they were idiots and to have faith and patience:  no golden calf would have been made.  This would be a completely different story.

Aaron HIMSELF made the golden calf.  Imagine his pride when the people bowed down to it.  Even though it wasn’t Aaron’s idea to make an image, he did it.  Imagine if he had refused to cast it.  Then what?  Maybe he would have faced stoning but death is better than betrayal.

As if this wasn’t enough, Aaron was the one who made the altar and declared a party.  It was his responsibility to lead the people and he failed—miserably.  He facilitated the sins of the people.  He is most to blame here.

c)  Gold that the Egyptians had given the Israelites when they left Egypt.

4a)  Anything put above God is an idol so spouse, money, fame, kids, sex, material items, pets, etc.  God gives us all of these things (His gifts) and we misuse them when they are more important to us than God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That everyone is tempted so you are not alone and that God has provided a way out when you are tempted.  I will ask God to remind me that He is first and nothing is more important than Him and to show me idols in my life that I may not recognize as such.

5a)  First, He called the people “your people”, meaning Moses’s people have become corrupt.  They have been quick to turn away from God’s commands and made an idol to worship.  They are stiff-necked.

b)  God offered Moses himself to be made into a great nation instead of His people.

c)  God brought them up out of Egypt and that the Egyptians would see God as evil and that God had planned to rescue His people only to destroy them.  Also, Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to make them into a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars in a Promised Land.

d)  “The Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.”

Conclusions:  Man, were the people lucky they had Moses to plead for them.  God reacted like most of us do when we see a sin or a wrong-doing:  with rage and with quick action.  Offers me some small comfort for my temper!  Only when God was reminded of His promises did He relent.  Great example of thinking before reacting!

It was only 40 days and 40 nights Moses was gone (not quite 6 weeks–Exodus 24:18) and the people were so impatient they acted rashly.  And Aaron didn’t help!  Here’s a guy who first-handed performed miracles with his staff and saw God (Exodus 24:9-10) and yet he doubted.  Hard to believe.  Yet, we see the power of crowd mentality once again here (see my article on what killed Jesus HERE) in action as I’m sure Aaron had all of Israel pleading to help them and he appeased them.  All failed God’s test.  Tragic!

End Notes:  This calf was probably small (only a few inches high) lifted onto a pedestal for the people to see.  It was not huge like depicted in the movies.

Some translations say Moses was “delayed”.  This was a test for the people and their faith which we failed.  This is a lesson for us:  how do we handle God’s delays in our life?  Do we fall into sin like the Israelites here or do we grow in our faith and strength in Him?

The not knowing drove the people to act.  How many times have we acted in the midst of our fear of the unknown?

Scholars say calf is not the best translation here:  it is meant to be a bull in the prime of its life–full of strength and vigor.

Aaron was a follower, not a leader.  He was weak.

Aaron still remembered the Lord here (verse 5) but God was not sufficient; they needed an image to worship.

Note how the people rose early to worship the calf.  Most people only get up early if they have to–work–or if it’s something important to them.  What do you rise early to do?  Is it to worship God first thing in the morning or do your BSF homework or read God’s Word?  You all know I post these things very early in the morning.  It’s important for me to meet God early in my day or I will fall into sin.  I also get up early to exercise, write books, read books, and have “me” time.  I also have “me and God” time.  Consider how you spend your early mornings and ask God how He wants you to spend yours.

Revelry here is sexual revelry.

God is disowning His people by calling them Moses’s people.  He wanted to start over with Moses.

“Stiff-necked” was a common phrase in Biblical times that refers to ox that won’t move.  It references stubbornness in man.

Moses pleaded with the Lord for mercy, grace, His glory, and His promises and goodness.

God knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people.  He was developing Moses and His heart for the people as He does often in us.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 2: Matthew 9:35-10:4

Summary of passage:  After healing the blind and mute, Jesus then continued his ministry, preaching the good news and healing people all through his travels.  He had compassion on the throngs of people and realized he needed help so he told the disciples to pray for this.

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick.  The 12 disciples are:  Simon/Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James and Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.


3a)  Because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

b)  Psalm 23:1-3:  God provides all that we need.  He restores us and guides us in righteousness.

Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24-25:  God takes away our iniquity for Himself, forgiven our sins, and allowed us to live for righteousness with Him.

Jeremiah 50:6,17:  Shepherds have led God’s people astray and Assyria and Babylon have devoured them. God will punish them for this and restore His people (read verses 18-20)

Ezekiel 34:5-16:  The Lord will be the people’s shepherd, searching for them and looking after them, rescue them and gather them and bring them unto their own land.  God will feed them and tend them, heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring back the lost.  He will be just.  God will punish the selfish shepherds who have disregarded His flock.  They will be punished and held accountable for their actions.

John 10:11-15:  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  He brings other sheep that are not his to him as well.  He lays down his life for the sake of his sheep.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This would be everyone who does not know and accept Jesus. It’s hard to say amongst acquaintances if this is the case but I do have family members that don’t know Jesus.  I would say the best bet is to have compassion on everyone just like Jesus did.  That way, you’ll never lose.

4a)  “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We are to pray for God to send out evangelists for Him.

b)  “Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are all given a purpose from God in life and I believe we follow Him when we act on this purpose.  For me, I try to follow His call.  I feel I have a lot of calls on my life at the moment so it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which to focus on.  So I pray a lot and listen and go with what I feel is Him and what is most important to Him.

Conclusions:  Important follow up to why Jesus heals:  not because he has to prove anything but because he feels our needs and desires and heals for our sake, not his.  Most of us are not gifted to heal others physically but we can show compassion to all and pray for healing, for God to perform a miracle.  For He hears.

End Notes:  God as shepherd is a favorite image that spoke to an agricultural society such as God’s people in ancient times.  We see this imagery from Jacob in Genesis 48:15 all the way to Revelation 7:17 and all in-between.

The religious leaders of that time were poor shepherds like Ezekiel described.  They were selfish, only caring for themselves, neglecting the flock, especially those injured, diseased, sick, or lost.  They plundered the people for their own gain and for that they will pay.

Jesus has come to set things right and be the caring shepherd the people desperately need.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 2: Genesis 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan).  God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him.  He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.


3)  Country, people, relatives (father’s household) so family.  Basically, everything

4a)  Matthew 4:18-22:  Peter and Andrew left their livelihood (fishing) and James and John left their boat and father (livelihood and family) to follow Jesus when he called. Called to stop whatever you are doing.

Matthew 8:22:  Jesus told one disciple to “let the dead bury their dead”, meaning let the other family members who were not alive in Christ bury his father (verse 21) who just died.

I take this not as callousness of attending a funeral but that Jesus had to attend to the living.  He had more important work for the disciple to do than funeral arrangements that someone else in the family could handle.

Mark 8:34-36:  “He must deny himself, take up the cross, and follow me….loses his life for me.”  You no longer live for yourself but for Jesus.  Deny your desires and embrace His.  Surrender yourself to Christ.

The meaning of cross bearing today is a bit different from Jesus’s time.  If you bore a cross in 1st century AD, you were sentenced to death.  You were dying and there was no going back.  Today it has softened to meaning bearing something irritating like “grin and bear it.”

Jesus meant there is no going back.  Surrender your life COMPLETELY to him.  Not just put up with Jesus.

Luke 14:26-33:  Must “give up everything he has” in order to follow Jesus.  Jesus must come before family members.  Allow nothing to come between us and God.  Even good things such as family.  We must abandon all striving after our own interests–die to self. Be like Jesus.  Not like our sinful self.

1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:15-17:  God chose us so we must declare the praises of him to others.  We must do the will of God in our lives and forsake everything in and of the world which will inevitably pass away.

Conclusions:  This lesson reminds me that everything has a cost in this world; nothing is free.  The same with following Jesus.  Once accepted, we are called to more.  Sinful living is no longer acceptable.  Jesus demands a lot from us:  total commitment to him! For he gave himself for us.

God’s will must be first above all else and anyone else.  It’s what He desires for your life not what you desire.  If it’s not for Him, it’s meaningless.  We must yield completely to Him and surrender all self-interest in order to follow Him.  We must think of ourselves as dead, yield our life completely, and place it in God’s hands.

Only then can we live.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 11, Day 2: Hebrews 4:14-16

Summary of passage:  We have a great high priest (Jesus Christ) who has gone through the heavens and who has been tempted in every way, just as we have–but remained without sin.  He can sympathize with out weaknesses.


3a)  A great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, and who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.

b)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, have also means “to receive, accept, and to stand in a certain relationship to”.  We receive, accept, and stand in a certain relationship to Jesus.

4)  Jesus’ greatest temptation was the questioning of who he is, what his mission was, and it’s ultimate fulfillment.  Jesus faced human temptations and had human emotions, which included human desires.  He didn’t want to die (his mission).  He probably had great joy in helping people and healing them.  The Devil tried to tempt him with human material items/desires.

This is significant because the Devil knows our greatest weaknesses as well.  He tried to tempt Jesus, playing off of Jesus’ greatest fears.

Jesus himself says the spirit is willing but the body (being human) is weak.  Isn’t this true for us all?  We all have good intentions but when it comes down to us, our humanness often wins in the end.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably fulfilling God’s desires for me with human intentions instead of with His intentions.  Doing His will selfishly, I guess, and on my own terms and not His.

c)  We can tell ourselves that if Jesus withstood temptations then so can we.  However, I’m unsure how helpful this will be because then we think ‘Well, that was Jesus.  I mean, He was great, powerful, the Son of God!  Of course he would withstand temptations.  If I were the Son of God, I’d be able to as well.  But I’m just a mere nobody mortal.’

Overcoming temptations is an act of will–nothing else.  We must be strong just like Jesus was and have the courage to stand up in the face of the Devil and our particular temptation.

5a) God and Jesus sit on the throne of grace.  God grants us grace.  So to approach the throne of grace is to approach God and Jesus with our problems, lay it out for them, and ask for help to solve/overcome them.  Here, we will find mercy and grace from the One who loves us beyond imagining.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t like this question.  In my opinion, EVERY circumstance is especially needful.  If you have a need, God has the solution.  You need but ask.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

If it worries you, take it to the throne.  NOW!  Don’t wait.  God isn’t waiting…

Right now, my family is praying for a move because the place we live is draining life from my husband and me.  We are praying He opens us up a home where we can stay for an extended period of time and quit moving around all the time.  We are praying for stability in a place we want to live.

I am praying for my husband’s job.  For him to feel appreciated for all the hard work he does or to open up a different opportunity where my husband can grow and bloom for a long time to come.

We don’t have a church right now.  We haven’t since we moved.  I just don’t have the heart to search one out.  Our church is at home right now, where we read the Bible and discuss God’s word together.

I pray generically for my country since I believe the problems are too great to name specifics.

Conclusions:  What I got out of this is Philippians 4:6.  We need to pray.  Pray with all of out might for ourselves, our family, for others, for our church, and for our nation.  And ask God, the solution master, for His will to be done.  And soon!  Then verse 7 says the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.  We will have peace when we pray!

This is probably not what I was supposed to get out of Hebrews.  Oh, well.

I love this site for the passage:

I use Enduring Word all the time for clarification but here they put it succinctly.  I used them for my answer to 5 and they were the ones who reminded me of Philippians.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 11, Day 2: Isaiah 24:1-6

Summary of passage: The Lord pronounces a curse on the Earth–He will devastate it and all of its inhabitants without exception.  The Earth dries up along with its people because the people have broken the ever-lasting covenant, disobeyed the laws and violated the statutes, and defiled the Earth.


3a) The Lord will lay waste and devastate the Earth.  It will be totally plundered, its inhabitants scattered.  The Earth will dry up and wither.

b) Everyone

c) God says it will happen so it will happen.  I think God will destroy so He can renew; God will cleanse so we can be pure of heart and soul.  We can be prepared for that day by living our life in God’s ways.

4) The Earth is defiled by its people who have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant.

Conclusions: Curious as to what exactly was in this “everlasting covenant” that the people had broken that caused all of this destruction (you have to know if you want to avoid it!), I googled it.  Knowing God made a covenant with Noah that He’d never destroy the Earth again and sent us a rainbow as a sign of this promise, how can He destroy the Earth?

A covenant is a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.  In this case between God and His believers.  God made many covenants with man over the course of history.  The Old Covenant would be between Noah and God, Abraham and God, etc all with the purpose and intent of having a relationship between God and man.

The New Covenant is a set of new agreements between God and man, outlined in Hebrews 8.  Here God promises to put his words into our minds and hearts (God will dwell in us not outside of us), forgive our sins, and offer us eternal life.

This New Covenant will be fulfilled when God/Christ returns to Earth to establish His kingdom.  This New Covenant provides a way for humans to have an intimate relationship with God.

Where does Jesus fit in?  Well, through the blood of Jesus, we were cleansed of our sins.  There is no other way to be cleansed and to dwell with God.

So what is Isaiah here talking about?  I’m not for sure because we haven’t studied all this in depth.  We must remember Isaiah lived BEFORE Jesus and although He prophesized the coming of Jesus, he probably didn’t understand what Jesus would mean for all believers after him and probably could not predict all the repercussions stemming from Jesus’s death on a cross.

So, based on the premise Isaiah did not predict the meaning of Jesus’s death, He is saying here in this passage:  for God to dwell with us here on Earth, man must be perfect because God cannot abide with sin.  So, to be perfect, we must be cleansed from sin so God can dwell with us.  Thus, I am extrapolating that these verses in Isaiah is the process Isaiah believed we must go through to be cleansed so God can live with us.  But this covenant Isaiah is referring to is the Old Covenant, and not the New Covenant just enumerated above.  So I am theorizing here that this prophecy will not happen literally; it will be figuratively.

Will the Earth be destroyed when Jesus comes back to bring His Kingdom to Earth?  My answer: doubtful.  I think a lot of people will be destroyed (the non-believers and such) but why would God destroy the place where He wants to set up His Kingdom?  There could be mass destruction of people and places when Jesus first arrives but I just don’t see the Earth vanishing in a puff of smoke and eradicated from the universe.  I believe God loves His creations too much to do such a thing.

Once again, I don’t know.  I’m just trying to figure all of this out in relation to Jesus.

The description of the New Covenant I summarized is taken from here:

This was a great, easy to understand explanation if you want more info.