BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 15, Day 3: Leviticus 9

Summary of passage:  With the priests consecrated, they are now ready to begin service to God.  On the eighth day Moses told Aaron as his first official duty to make a sin and burnt offering and the Lord would appear to him.  Aaron now offered a sin offering and a burnt offering to make atonement for them and the people.  He also offered up a grain offering and a wave offering.  Aaron blessed the people and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites.  They people then shouted and fell face down.

Questions:

6a)  Moses told them.  God had told Moses.

b)  Take a bull calf as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering to atone for their sins and then to take a male goat as a sin offering and a calf and a lamb as a burnt offering to atone for the people’s sin.

c)  The Lord would appear before them.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hate the demonstrative pronoun “these” coupled with “things” in relation to a multiple question because I am then left guessing as to which noun “these” is referring to and what are the “things”.  I’m going to guess that BSF means how does performing your God-directed duties with the promise of heavenly rewards affect you since the whole sacrifice thing is unnecessary these days.

If we do God’s will, we are rewarded with His presence.  Simple as that.

7a)  “They shouted for joy and fell facedown”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I cannot think of a time when I would respond in a similar manner as the Israelites did in seeing God’s glory.  I can’t even remotely compare such an experience that would leave me incoherent.

Conclusions:  Could have done without the personal questions on this one.  Still unsure what “these things” refer to in 6d and in 7b I hate when the question asks us to compare an experience the Israelites had (seeing the glory of God) to something we have experienced when for the most part we are never going to get to see the glory of God on this side of heaven.  It irritates me to no end.

End Notes:  Aaron had to sacrifice again for himself for the sin they had committed during the week of the ceremony.  Perfect example of the limitations of animal sacrifices.

First, cleanse yourself.  Then cleanse others.  This was done in front of the Israelites to show that Aaron was human too and needed cleansing.

The Lord is often represented by fire.  Seven times God accepts sacrifices by fire in the Bible.  The Holy Spirit descended with fire.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 3: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13

Summary of passages:  Matthew 14:13-21:  Jesus was distraught over word of John the Baptist’s death so he withdrew to a solitary place.  The crowds followed him and Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick.  When evening came, the disciples told Jesus to send the people away so they could eat.  Jesus told the disciples to feed the people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Jesus took the food, prayed over it, giving thanks and broke the loaves.  Then he gave the food to the disciples who distributed the food to the people, never running out and having leftovers.  They fed 5000.

Mark 6:30-44:  Here, Mark reports the press of the crowds so Jesus took the disciples to a quiet place to get some rest.  Yet the crowds saw them leave and followed them and Jesus had compassion on them and taught them many things.  It was getting late so the disciples urged Jesus to send the crowds away to eat.  Jesus told the disciples to feed them themselves.  They said that would cost a fortune.  Jesus asked for the food they did have, directed the people to sit in groups, and then gave thanks for the food and broke the loaves.  The disciples distributed the food, never running out, with some leftover.  They fed 5000.

Luke 9:10-17:  Only new detail we learn is Jesus and the Twelve retreated to a town called Bethsaida (Great map and Historical background and modern pictures HERE.)

John 6:1-13:  Here we are told Jesus retreated to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (where Bethsaida lies) on a mountainside.  The Jewish Passover Feast was approaching.  Jesus tests Philip by asking him how they were going to feed the people and it is Philip (not they) who said they don’t have enough money to feed them.  We learn Andrew, a disciples, sees a boy with a lunch of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish that Jesus blesses.

Questions:

7a)  Mark tells us the press of the crowds around Jesus and his disciples.  They retreated to a quiet place to escape the crush of the crowds.  Mark records this in 5 places (3:7-9; 6:31; 6:45; 7:24; 9:30).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is recorded that Jesus had compassion on the crowds and taught them and healed the sick amongst them.  We also learn though that Jesus (like any human) needed a break to rest and recharge so we see him going to quiet places to escape the crowd.  Good lesson for us as well when we need down time!

8a)  So they would have time to go to the villages and buy themselves something to eat.

b)  He was showing them that the impossible in their world is not the impossible in God’s world.  God can feed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. God will provide even when it seems impossible.  God cares for his people in all needs including physical.  With faith, they too can provide for others as well.

9a)  God provides for all of our needs with faith and in the face of impossibility and hopelessness.  He uses others to come alongside us and help us in this world when we are down.  The disciples distributed God’s love and provision.  So must we.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’ compassion is infinite.  He does not leave his people wanting.  He provides for all of his people’s needs.  Nothing is impossible with him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To keep marching towards my life’s purpose despite the hard work and sacrifice.  And although I don’t see how God will provide, He will.  The how and uncertainty doesn’t matter.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Shine God’s light everywhere I go by being like Jesus:  kind, compassionate, helpful, and warm.  Speak more about Him with strangers.  Give all the credit to Him.  Believe.  With my family.  At Christmas.

Conclusions:  When we have 4 sufficiently long Bible passages just for these questions alone, I don’t think a Challenge question is warranted (nor is it appreciated).  I answered it only because it was in my study bible in Mark.  But overall, much easier than yesterday where history played a major role.

Lots of reading but important and worthy messages.  One, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  Two, Jesus’ compassion for his people is limitless.  Three, take quiet time when you need it to rest and recharge so you may face the crowds with renewed compassion and empathy.  Good reminder in this holiday season to remember what’s important (Christ, family, and giving to others) and what’s not all that important (Christmas parties, Black Friday, the latest gadgets and gizmos, and expensive gifts for your kids cause “everyone else has one”).

End Notes:  As Jesus said, “They do not need to go away.”  There is never any reason to go away from Jesus.  We are to run to him.  We always need him.  The more time we spend with him the better.

We also note the prominence of the disciples in this passage.  Jesus uses them to distribute and obtain the food.  Jesus could have done all this himself but he wanted to show the important role we all play in his purpose.

This event points to God’s provision of manna to his people as they wandered in the wilderness during the Exodus from Egypt.  The Jewish people of the day would have immediately remembered this and this would give more credence to Jesus as Messiah.

We must use what God gives us wisely.  Trust God who can do everything.  Note how the leftovers were not wasted.  We too must also not waste what God has given us, be it food, gifts, talents, etc.

Fun Fact:  This is the only story that appears in all 4 gospels, showing the importance this event held for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and God who told them to record it.  This story epitomizes just who Jesus is and how he cares for all people.  How God holds us all dear and is willing to do anything to prove it.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 15, Day 3: Genesis 16:7-16

Summary of passage:  Hagar ran away and the angel of the Lord found her near a spring in the desert.  The angel asked Hagar what she was doing.  She replied she was running away.  The angel told her to go back to Sarai and submit to her and that he would increase her descendants infinitely.  He told her she would have a son and she was to call him Ishmael (God hears) for God has heard of her misery.  Your son will live in hostility against his brothers.

Hagar tells the angel that he is the God who sees her and she has now seen Him.  Hagar returned and had Ishmael.  Abram was 86 years old at the time.

Questions:

5a)  For many reasons.  Probably because she was forced to bear a child for Abram and Sarai and give the child up.  Then she probably had an attitude afterwards either out of anger or superiority towards Sarai over the whole thing so she began to despise Sarai.  Sarai in turn mistreated her.

b)  This question is speculation in my view.  We are not told specifics here.  In fact, I tend to think the opposite.  I imagine when she returned home and submitted, she was treated better, especially after she told Abram she had just spoken to Jesus!  I would hope at least Abram would step up here and realize God has a plan and a heart for Hagar so he should as well.

I believe God stepped in BEFORE her problems increased.  I believe had she kept going she would have had problems like I mention in part c.  She could have ran out of water in the desert, ran into some thugs, turned away from God, or even died.  But God did not allow this.

c)  Abram’s blessing on Ishmael who pleaded with God to bless him (Genesis 17:18).  As a result, God made Ishmael too into a great nation.  Also, God.  She might have lost God if He had abandoned her instead of gently guiding her back.  She might have fallen in with the unbelievers like Lot did.  She could have lost her life as well in the desert.  When we flee from God, we pay the ultimate price–death.

6)  Jesus for Hagar says “You are the God who sees me” and in Isaiah it was the “angel of his presence”.  We know it is not God because we are told no one has ever seen Him (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16) so it makes sense it would be Jesus.

7a)  We are called to submit to others out of reverence for Christ for when we do our sanctification is increased  (see post HERE where I posted on this last year).  For it’s not our circumstances God wants to change.  It’s our heart.

b)  Personal Question.  My response:  These kind of questions annoy me, mainly because my answer is “I don’t know.”  I believe the goal of studying the Bible is to internalize Truths, God’s word, and Him more and more every day.  But the results of this is often so subtle to be unseen (especially by our critical selves!).

It’s insanely hard to self-evaluate because I for one always lean towards the negative.  I just always think I can do better.  But I know God sees me through His eyes and I’m infinitely better than I am through my eyes.

So my answer:  these passages haven’t affected me THIS week.  But I don’t feel bad about that.  For I am in this world for the long-term, not the short-term.  And I know I will be changed.  I just can’t see it.  But God can.

8a)  86

b)  10 years

c)  To “help” God out.  We get impatient and do things on our time instead of on God’s time so we do things we shouldn’t which can yield disastrous results as with Ishmael.  It can hurt those around us instead of help.  It shows God that we don’t trust Him enough to act and it pains His heart.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, to not do anything immoral.  Abram’s actions was borderline immoral I believe. Just because it’s okay in the culture to do something doesn’t mean you should.  Just because it was okay to have a substitute wife didn’t mean Abram should have.

Second, to not be so easily influenced by others ideas with a desire to please them. Abram should have exerted his authority here and he didn’t.  He allowed Sarai to make the decisions.  And we see the results.

Lastly, to not try to circumvent God and help Him out for the last thing God needs is our help.  To have the trust and the faith that He will do it.  He is the Alpha and the Omega. We are merely an epsilon or a phi.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in the Bible where someone (Ishmael) is given a name by God before birth.

Musings:  I am wondering here what the repercussions would have been had Hagar been caught and it had been discovered she was a servant.  I’m wondering if she was considered property of Abram like slaves were and if she could have faced death or execution or her hand cut off or some other punishment that we would consider cruel nowadays.  Did she even have the freedom to run away?

We are told Hagar is a maidservant so I’m unsure if that would be the equivalent of a slave and property.

But in Genesis 21:10, Sarah calls her a “slave” woman and scholars say when Abraham sent her away he was giving her her freedom and also disavowing her of any claim to his inheritance under Mesopotamian law.

One law of Hammurabi states that if a runaway slave is caught out in the open then the captor is entitled to a reward upon return of the slave.  But it appears from my readings that slaves were not treated as harshly as say slaves were in America.  They were merely returned.  They might have been marked in some way as well.

Fascinating study on Hagar HERE.  Some Jews believe Hagar was Pharaoh’s daughter and some Muslims believe she had royal blood as well.  For me, all speculation since we are not told.  But interesting nevertheless.

P.S.  Could you tell I had fun here?

Conclusions:  I just want to re-emphasize my point from 7b.  Seven days is a short time to have a specific situation arise where you submitted or any other question that asks how you have applied something from the Bible THIS week.  Granted, I believe we submit every day.  We submit to God’s will and not ours as well as submitting in our human relationships.  If you are married, you probably submit in some way every day. Even if it’s as simple as you putting the kids to bed instead of your spouse when all you want to do is go to bed yourself.

I’m gonna make a confession:  I usually never answer the Sixth Day’s questions.  Why? Because I don’t like them.  They always ask what I have learned this week and how did I apply it or how can my group pray.  Usually, I just can’t form this into words.  I know I have learned but what exactly I’m usually not sure.  And how does it apply?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I just don’t know God’s word in-depth enough to think of concrete examples.

And how can my group pray?  Sometimes I don’t even know how to pray!

But like I said, I know I have soaked something into my core, a little more of God, a little more Truth, a little more of Jesus and I know I will apply this throughout my daily life. It’s just specifics I usually can’t give.

I just pray and pray generally, something like God, do your will or God, mold me or God, let these passages sink into my core and change me.

For in my heart I know God’s big enough to take care of the specifics.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 15, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3

Summary of passages:  1 Thessalonians 2:  Paul writing to the church in Thessalonica:  We preached God’s gospel despite strong opposition, Paul proclaims.  We are not trying to trick you.  We are men approved by God entrusted with the gospel.  We are trying to please God, not men, who tests our hearts.  We never used flattery.  We were open and honest.

We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you we shared God and our lives with you.  We were not a burden to you.  We were holy, righteous, and blameless and we dealt with each of you as a father does who encourages, comforts, and urges you to lead Godly lives.

You accepted God’s word as such which is at work in you.  Your churches imitated God’s church which are in Christ Jesus and you suffered for it.  But the wrath of God has come upon those against us.

We wanted to come to you but Satan stopped us from doing so.  You are our hope, joy, glory, and crown.

1 Thessalonians 3:  We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in faith.  We (believers) are destined for trials and persecution and I (Paul) wanted to make sure you were not tempted by the Devil.

Timothy reports back that you have good memories of us and long to see us again.  You encouraged us in our distress because of your faith.  We really live because you stand firm in the Lord.  You give us joy.  We pray for you night and day to see you again and for God to supply what is lacking in your faith.

We hope to see you again.  May your love overflow like ours does for you.  May God strengthen your hearts so you will be holy when Jesus comes again.

Questions:

6)  Paul was not trying to please men but God (2:4).  Paul loved the people and showed it (2:8).  Paul was  encouraging, comforting, and urging to live Godly lives (2:12).  The people accepted Paul’s words as the Word of God (2:13).  They imitated God’s churches which are in Jesus Christ (2:14).  They have faith and stand firm in the Lord (3:7-8).

7a)  Believers are destined for them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am having trouble with this question because in my Bible the word affliction is not used.  I have “trials, persecution, and distress.”  The definition of affliction according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering”.  Persecution is “to cause to suffer because of belief”.  The difference between these two words is persistent.  I am answering based on the question which uses affliction and its definition even though I do not have that in my Bible.

I have never suffered affliction.  Pain, distress, and suffering ebbs and flows in my life as it does in everyone’s (even non-believers).  I have not suffered affliction resulting from my commitment to Christ that I know of as of yet.  I believe God tests everyone (believers and non-believers) through trials and tribulations.  His goal is to get us to believe and once we believe to become more like Christ.  How does He do that?  Through trials and tribulations mostly.  I think complacently is a word God does not like when it comes to a relationship with Him.

Being blessed with living in the twenty-first century in the United States of America with the freedom of religion as we have it affliction (if any I have suffered) is nothing compared to Paul’s and the early believers.

8a)  We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children (2:7).  We loved you so much we were delighted to share with you because you had become so dear to us (2:8).  We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children (2:11).  They are his hope, joy, crown, and glory (2:19-20).  Joy we have because of you (3:9).  Our love overflows for you (3:12)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Delighted to share with you and dear to us.  I would like to be more gentle and encouraging.

9)  I can’t put this any better than Paul.  I will pray his exact words.

Conclusions:  With so much negativity in the world, we all need to hear encouraging, comforting, and affirming words.  I want to try to be more life-giving and not life-taking with my words.  I sometimes fall into a complaining pattern which I need to recognize more readily.  It’s progressing but not as quickly as I’d like.

It’s hard to break free when you are inundated with so much junk in this world.  To be above it all is difficult and a daily struggle for me.

But praying God’s word and reading God’s word is an excellent source of affirmation and a model of what to say.  Great stuff this lesson!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 15, Day 3 Isaiah 37:1-20

Summary of passage:  King Hezekiah tore his clothes upon hearing the field commander’s words.  He sent Eliakim, Shebna, and priests to tell Isaiah and ask his advice and pray for the people.  Isaiah speaks the words of the Lord:  Do not be afraid for I will put a spirit in him (the king Sennacherib) and when he hears a certain report he will return to his country where I will cut him down with a sword.”  Then the King of Assyria left Lachish.  Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, hears that Egypt is marching against him so he tries once more to persuade Judah to surrender, using the same argument of:  these other nations didn’t survive, their gods didn’t save them, so how will yours save you?  Hezekiah goes to the Lord’s temple and prays, asking for deliverance so that all kingdoms will know you (God) is the one true God.

Questions:

7a) He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth (a sign of mourning) and went into the temple of the Lord.  Then he sent Eliakim, Shebna, and priests to consult Isaiah.

b) Do not be afraid for the Lord will put a spirit in Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, and when he hears a certain report he will return to his country and there the Lord will cut him down with a sword.

8 ) He sent a letter to Hezekiah, saying again how Assyria has completely destroyed other countries and their gods did not save them so why would Hezekiah’s God save his country?

9a) Hezekiah goes to the temple of the Lord and prays and asks God for exactly what he wants to happen and why.  We should all do this as well.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  Hezekiah prays so God’s glory will be shown to all if He rescues Judah; “so that all kingdoms on Earth may know that you alone are God.”  I pray for what I want and for God’s will.  To work through me for HIs will and His glory.

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  God, you alone are God of the Heavens.  You alone know what I need.  Please guide my path and send signs for moving, for starting something, and for using my novel to spread your word to young people.  Open doors for my husband at work as a sign for which place to move.  Thank you Lord.  Amen.

Conclusions:  I love how we can use Hezekiah as an example (at least in this instance) of what to do in the face of adversity.  His situation was grim and only God could intervene and Hezekiah knew this and he acted accordingly.  He prayed a powerful prayer to God and God answered.

I like question 9c.  It brings this lesson full circle so we can apply it to our lives.  BSF applies a lot of the lessons but physically writing a prayer is powerful and then praying it.  It makes you think of what you want to say rather than just praying.  Great stuff.

End note:  More maps of places listed in Isaiah 37 that Assyria had conquered.

Gozan:  http://bibleatlas.org/regional/gozan.htm

Haran:  http://bibleatlas.org/regional/haran.htm

Rezeph:  http://bibleatlas.org/regional/rezeph.htm

Tel Assar:  http://bibleatlas.org/telassar.htm