BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 12, Day 3: Matthew 11:20-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus began to denounce the cities who witnesses his miracles and still did not believe or repent:  Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus praises God for revealing himself to the little children instead of the wise.  No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son.  Jesus invites all to come to him the weary and the burdened and find rest in him.  Jesus’ yoke is easy to bear and his burden is light.

Questions:

6a)  He condemns the cities in Galilee (Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum) because they did not believe after he performs miracles and Jesus says if he had performed the same feats in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented (verse 21) and it will be more bearable for them on the day of judgment (verse 22).  The city of Capernaum will go to Hell and if Jesus had performed the miracles in Sodom, Sodom would still be standing today (verse23) but it will be more bearable for Sodom than Capernaum on the day of judgment (verse 24).

b)  The ancient cities did not understand Jesus’ role.  They only knew if they sinned, God would judge them and enact punishment for their sins.  They had no hope of ever being truly righteous before God.

The people of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were told a Savior would be sent to save them from their sins and this Savior would be God’s son and he would fulfill the prophecies as to his identity (be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, heal the blind and deaf, etc).

Personally, I’m not sure even if the people in Jesus’ time understood his role for the disciples themselves were confused at times.  I don’t think they got it until after Jesus’ death.  There was so much confusion about what the Savior would be and do that it would be hard to know back then.

c)  We know the significance of Jesus’ death and what it means:  that we are now sinless before God and get to dwell with Him in heaven forever.  The people of Jesus’ time did not truly understand this.  We can see God’s perfect plan from OT times through to modern times.  We have 2000 years after Jesus’ death to understand its significance.  We have the advantage of scholars from throughout time to explain it to us.

It seems to me Jesus had high expectations of people in his time.  Yet, you would think witnesses all the miracles Jesus performed would be more than adequate.  Yet, they were a superstitious people.  It’s hard to put ourselves in their shoes when the world has altered so much in 2000 years.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God has chosen us to reveal Himself to out of His grace and pleasure alone and not because we ever did anything deserving of it.  We are the recipient of God’s favor:  He chose us to reveal Himself and His Son to.  For this, we should be ever worshipful and grateful and humble before God.

8a)  All who are weary and burdened

b)  He will give them rest

c)  “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is one of my favorite Bible verses for often I am weary and feel burdened in this world with so many obligations and responsibilities.  But I know in Him there is rest.  And if I just learn more about Him my yoke will be easier to bear in this world and my burdens light.  They encourage me to press on through it all and to keep going to BSF and church and to keep striving to learn more about Him so that I can receive the promised rest.

With Jesus, your yoke and burdens are light.  Without him, they will be heavy.  So which is yours?

Conclusions:  It’s interesting to see the high expectations Jesus had for his people and how let down and hurt Jesus was when they STILL rejected him.  This tells me that Jesus expects a lot from me and I need to work even harder to meet and even exceed those expectations.  Also, towards my kids.  I expect a lot from them and sometimes I wonder if it’s too much.  It’s good to see how Christians are expected to be at a level higher than others.  It motivates me to do better and be better.  Simply put:  Greater light, greater responsibility.

Everything (including God) is a gift from God and our lives will be easier the more we imbibe this truth in our lives.  And we do that through learning about Him.

End Notes:  We are given clues here in this passage to the End Times.  Saying it will be “more tolerable” seems to imply there will be varying degrees of judgment meted out, depending on God’s expectations for believers and non-believers.

We see the love here between the Father and the Son and learn that no one knows each other better.  And Jesus extends this invitation to us:  to know him better so he can walk by our sides all the days of our lives.

Because Jesus was so frustrated that people “weren’t getting it”, we will start to see him rely more and more on parables instead of miracles as he continues his teachings.

Amazing pictures of the remains of Korazin and Bethsaida as well as historical background information here:

http://www.welcometohosanna.com/LIFE_OF_JESUS/027_Ministry7KorazinBethsaida.htm

Fun Fact taken from this site:  Bethsaida is mentioned in the Gospels more often than any other town except Jerusalem and Capernaum.

Map of Korazin (or Chorazin) and Bethsaida, both very close to the Sea of Galilee:

http://www.keyway.ca/htm2003/20030612.htm

Map of Tyre and Sidon, both in Phoenicia and very wealthy port cities, as well as Korazin and Bethsaida:

http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/biblemaps/11

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 3: Genesis 13:5-13

Summary of passage:  Lot, Abram’s nephew, was traveling with Abram until he had to separate because their herds of animals were growing too big to support both flocks. This caused quarrels between the two groups.  The Canaanites and Perizzites were living there as well so it was crowded.

Abram approached Lot and suggested they separate, giving Lot the choice of which lands he wanted.  Lot chose the plain of the Jordan which was well watered and they parted, leaving Abram in Canaan and Lot near Sodom.  Sodom was wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.

Questions:

5a)  Verses 10 & 11:  “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar…so Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan…”

b)  People live places because it looks good, it appeals to the eyes and not to the heart.  People live places for the climate and the beauty and for what the place can provide them.

c)  Verse 12 & 13:  “Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom”, which was “wicked and sinful against the Lord.”

d)  Lot got caught up in a neighboring war and him and his possessions were seized, causing Abram to rescue him (Genesis 14). Lot became entrenched in the society of Sodom for he was “sitting in the gateway of the city” (Genesis 19:1), a place reserved for city leaders.  He calls the people of Sodom “friends” when he tells them they cannot have the angels (Genesis 19:7).  Then Lot and his family did not want to leave Sodom when the angels warned him it was about to be destroyed (Genesis 19:16) and it seems they had to be forcefully pulled.

When told not to look back, Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).  Then his daughters got him drunk and lay with him, committing incest, and became pregnant, spawning the Moabites and Ammonites who throughout the Bible fought and tempted Israel into sin (Genesis 19:34-38).

Shows how even living near sin can infect your family who may fall into the world.  Lot’s wife died, his daughters committed incest, and Lot’s heart was not on God.  Reminds me of Paul’s warning (1 Corinthians 5:9; 15:33 & 2 Corinthians 6:14-17) to not associate with sinners and to be careful of the company you keep.  This is especially true when you have little kids who are very impressionable.

6)  John 14:27:  You will not have the peace Jesus gives.  You will have troubled hearts and be afraid.  Jesus brings peace.

Ephesians 4:17-20: You will have  hardened heart, live in darkness, and have no understanding.  You will have no sensitivity and indulge in every kind of impurity and lust.  You will develop a moral insensitivity, which will silence your conscience and harden your heart.

James 4:4:  You will be an enemy of God and will have hatred towards Him.

1 John 2:15-17:  If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything of the world comes from the world, not the Father.  The world and its desires fade away but the will of God lives forever.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a very tough question since it’s always hard to make self-assessments.  I would say no.  I try to pray before I make decisions.  I try to follow His guidance, where I think He is leading me.  I try to surrender.  And as I study His word and learn more about Him, I become less and less attached to this world.  It’s like a mother weaning her baby.  I feel I am being weaned from this world the closer I get to God.

Conclusions:  This lesson shows us that if you make choices based on your desires and wants, you will put yourself in risk of Falling.  From the moment Lot chose his piece of land, he declined–dramatically–and he became more and more attached to this world.  I think he was only spared because he was Abram’s nephew to be honest (Genesis 19:29).

I thought James 4:4 was powerful.  “Whoever chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God and shows him hatred.”  Those are strong words.  Think about it.  Who’s the arch-enemy of God?  The devil.  And here we are being equated with the devil.

And shows Him hatred.  I don’t hate anyone in my life and definitely not God.  But the world does.  And choosing the world means you hate God as well.

Powerful words to ponder as we examine our selves and our decisions and what’s important in this world.

God first.  Everything else a distant second.  This is my prayer for us all.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 12, Day 3: Hebrews 8:1-9:10

Summary of passage:  Our high priest sat down at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven and serves in the sanctuary set up by the Lord.  Earthly priests serve a a sanctuary here on earth that is an exact copy of that one in Heaven.  But Jesus’ ministry is superior and founded on better promises.

God has said He would make a new covenant with the people unlike the covenant He made with our forefathers.  God will put His laws in the minds and hearts of the people and the people will all know Him.  He will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.  God had made the first covenant obsolete by calling this one “new”.

The first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary.  In this tabernacle was a Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, which held the altar of incense and the ark of the covenant.  This ark held the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff, and the stone tablets of the covenant (the ten commandment tablets).

Only the high priest could enter into the inner room and only once a year and never without blood, which he offered for the sins of the people.  This showed that the way into the Most High Place (where God himself dwelled) had not yet been disclosed.  Therefore, the sacrifices were not able to clear the conscious of the worshiper.  They were only external regulations applying until the new order arrived (Jesus).

Questions:

6)  Christ’s ministry is to all on earth from heaven.

7a)  According to Webster’s a covenant is “a usually formal, solid, and binding agreement usually written under seal between two or more parties for the performance of some action.”

My Bible Dictionary lists one whole page on the different covenants but suffice it to say it’s an agreement between two or more parties.

b)  The new covenant lives in the minds and hearts of all people when they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and the Holy Spirit dwells within.  God will be our God, no longer separated from us by men.  He will forgive all our sins.

The old covenant had an intermediary (blood of the old covenant–a sacrificial animal as described in Exodus) between us and God whereby it had to be offered every time in order to be forgiven.  Jesus’ blood forever sealed God’s covenant with us, allowing God to immediately forgive us our transgressions and remember them no more.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  New Covenant

8 )  There were regulations of worship and an earthly sanctuary (the only place where God dwelt) called the Most Holy Place where only a priest with blood could enter into God’s presence once a year to atone for the people’s sins.  This was separated from the rest of the Tabernacle by a curtain.

The way for everyone into the Most High Place (or presence of God) had not yet been made (Jesus’ death).  The gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscious of the worshipper.  They were external regulations that did not affect the internal soul.

I have debated before on this blog how people who died before Christ could not enter Heaven.  They went to a special place and only entered upon Jesus’ death.  You can read about this HERE.

The Old Covenant was not complete.  Not until Jesus declared on the cross was it finished, as indicted when Jesus said, “It is finished.”  John 19:30

Conclusions:  I definitely did not like Question 6 and am unsure how it relates to the rest of the passage.  I’m unsure what BSF is asking by the word “place” so I answered the place is everywhere on earth from heaven.  I really don’t see any child (depending on the age of what a child is these days) coming up to me and asking, “What’s the place of Christ’s ministry?”  I just don’t see this.

Easy lesson for those who understand the differences between the Old and New Covenant.  Probably not so easy for those new to the Word because Hebrews compacts in 10 verses the majority of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (not easy books to understand with all the regulations).

But if you understand this bit in Hebrews you have a good grasp of the major problems with the Old Covenant.

This site lists the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  Very informative.  Scroll down to the bottom.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/5808.htm

My favorite is #9.  How before the covenant was written on tablets of stone and now it is written on our hearts.  It’s much more personal, much more intimate, much more powerful and effective.  God’s true love, mercy, and grace.  Perfect!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 12, Day 3 Isaiah 26:1-6

Summary of passage: Jerusalem shall be a strong city with God protecting His people.  The gates will be opened for the righteous.  The people will be in perfect peace because they have faith in God (a steadfast mind) and trust in Him.  He humbles the prideful and levels the lofty city which will be trampled by the feet of the oppressed.

Questions:

6) Strong believers and strong in God’s protection. Gates opened for believers to enter and seek His protection and comfort.

7a) Definition of steadfast: firmly fixed in place, immovable; not subject to change; firm in belief or adherence; faithful.  A steadfast mind is one that does not change and is firm in it’s beliefs.  Benefits: calm and steady amidst turmoil and uncontrollable events around you.

b) By prayer and petition with thanksgiving, ask God.  Think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable (basically God and His word and promises).  Do not worry for God is in control.

c) Personal question.  My answer:  Moving, homeschooling, BSF, security in mind of His provisions for my life.

8 ) He levels the lofty city to dust, trampled by the feet of the oppressed.

Conclusions:  Emphasis on faithfulness to God and His purposes which we cannot see.  Try to be as steadfast as God in all things.  I love Philippians and I love it when BSF sends us to great passages in the Bible to keep in the forefront of our minds.  It says to think on good things, not all the negativity we are bombarded with everywhere in today’s society.  Do not waste time dwelling on the bad and all the things we cannot change for God is unchangeable.  We will have “the peace of God” (something I want!) if we do not worry about things and trust absolutely in Him.  Simple, right?  Pray and ask with a grateful heart and God will do the rest!

Question of the Day:  Why does God’s law, when broken down, seem so simple yet so, so hard to follow for us humans?