BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 17, Day 3: Leviticus 25:8-34

Summary of passage:  Every 50th year is to be a Jubilee year for Israel where all the people return to their family property and clan and do not sow the land and freedom for all.  Do not take advantage of people when selling the land and fear your Lord.  God will provide in the sixth year all the people need for the seventh and eighth year until the crop comes in.  The land is God’s.

People are to sell their property to relatives and property will be returned to the original owners in the year of the Jubilee.  Houses sold are not to be returned in the year of the Jubilee except for the Levites who can redeem their houses in Levitical towns.  They are not to sell their pastureland.


5a)  All the slaves are to be freed.  All the land is to return to the original owners.  The land is to remain fallow.

b)  The idea that servants are to gain freedom.

6a)  To ensure that the land remains in the hands of all the people and not just a wealthy few who bought up others’ land.

b)  The people are to follow God’s decrees and obey His laws and then they will live safely in the land, which will bear fruit.  God will bless the Israelites in the 6th year to provide for the fallow year of the 7th and into the 8th as they await the harvest.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  The sheer magnitude of managing the number of people in the world today and the number of individual properties would render the task impossible.  Plus, at least in the US, people hold the idea that they own land very close.  They would not be willing to agree to give up land to original owners and descendants.  It goes against all of the ideals the US holds dear:  hard work and you will succeed in anything in this life.

7a)  The nearest relative is to come and buy the land from the poor man in effect giving him a loan until the man could buy it back.  An example would be Boaz who bought Naomi’s husband’s land and married Ruth so the land would stay in the name of the dead (Ruth 4).

b)  Jesus redeems us from sin and purchases our freedom from the guilt of sin so that we can “receive the full rights of sons”, which is eternal life with God.  Ultimately, God reclaims the land which is His as He reclaims us.

Conclusions:  The neatest part of this for me is how Ruth popped in my brain immediately.  Normally, I’d have to google that.  That shows me just how much I am learning through BSF.  And I immediately saw Jesus.  Again, we see God providing for His people.

End Notes: Since Jesus quoted Isaiah 61, scholars say Jesus may have come in the year of a Jubilee although at the time the practice of land redemption had fallen out of favor especially since the Romans were in control of the land.

Basically, the whole point of the land in the year of the Jubilee was that it returned to the original owners so they would always have God’s Promised Land.  Land in effect could never be sold, only leased.  The intent was to ensure against people becoming poor.  However, the extent to which this was observed is difficult to say.  Some scholars say this was never observed.  God wanted His people to remember their home was in heaven, not in the land.

This land rule only applied in the country where the people needed the land to earn a living.  In a walled city, land could be bought and sold as it was seen as just a home and nothing more.

Fun Fact:  “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” is inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which is where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 17, Day 3: Matthew 16:13-17

Summary of passage:  In Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying were the Son of Man.  They said some thought John the Baptist or Elijah or Jeremiah or other prophets.  So Jesus asked them directly whom they thought was the Son of Man.  Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”


4a)  John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or other prophets

b)  Christ, the Son of the living God

c)  Neither.  Jesus says it was divine revelation from God, the Father in heaven

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Agree.  It affects every aspect of my life for once you believe in who Jesus is your life is no longer your own.  My every breath is for him and no other.  My righteousness is guaranteed and my home is in heaven forever.

5a)  God, the Father in heaven

b)  John 1:13:  Believers were all born children of God (read verse 12 as well).

1 Corinthians 2:8-14: God’s wisdom is revealed to us by His Spirit so that we may understand who He is.

1 Corinthians 12:3:  We know Jesus is Lord because of the Holy Spirit.  We can only know that if we are His.

Conclusions:  I always like an easy lesson after a rather difficult one (not that yesterday’s was difficult per se–but it did require a bunch more research).  I also like these lessons that have one simple lesson you cannot miss:  God reveals Himself to His children through His Spirit that He gives us freely and graciously.  We know we are His when We grasp who He is.

Map of Caesarea Philippi HERE

End Notes:  Jesus is once again retreated to a predominantly Gentile location away from the Sea of Galilee in order to escape the crowds and have some quiet in order to instruct his disciples and make sure they know exactly who he is.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in Matthew Jesus is confessed to be the Christ or Messiah.

Only in Matthew do we see “Son of the living God”.  In Mark’s account (Mark 8:29) and Luke’s (Luke 9:20) we do not see this.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 17, Day 3: Genesis 21:1-7

Summary of passage:  The Lord gave Sarah and Abraham a son whom Abraham names Isaac (which means he laughs).  Isaac was circumcised at 8 days old.  Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.  Sarah said God has brought her laughter and everyone who hears about Isaac will laugh with her.


7a)  The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised at the very time God had promised.

b)  Abraham in hope believed that God had the power to do what He had promised.  He was strengthened in his faith and gave the glory to God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “This week” I haven’t experienced any new spiritual awakening.  However, I am trying to be more trusting and more faithful and maybe a spiritual awakening will occur.  But if it doesn’t, I know at least I’m growing closer to God and that’s all that matters to me.

8 )  John 3:3-6:  We must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven.  We must have the Holy Spirit indwelt to enter the kingdom of heaven (believe in God and Jesus as the Son).  Isaac was born of a woman but because of the Spirit.

Romans 4:17-25:  Abraham had hope and faith that Isaac would be born just like we have faith and believe Jesus died for our sins so we could be reborn.

James 1:18:  He gave us birth through the word of truth.  Because of God’s words Isaac was born and so are we–through faith in God’s words.

1 Peter 1:23-25:  We have been born again through the living and enduring word of God which is imperishable (eternal) as Isaac was born.

In general, Isaac’s birth was a miracle of God and came about because of the faith and belief Abraham and Sarah had in God to do the impossible.  The same is for us.  We have faith and believe Jesus died on the cross for us so thus we are declared righteous and justified in God’s eyes.

Conclusions:  Basically, believe in the God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit and you will be born again like Isaac was born because of Abraham and Sarah’s belief and God’s miracle.

I absolutely cringe every time I read “this week” in a question as if a change is supposed to miraculously happen inside of me and there’s something wrong with me if it doesn’t. Like I’ve stated before, I just can’t see the changes or “awakenings” God does in me.  I’m too close to myself and too selfish and blind probably to realize it.  But I know He is working.  How?  Couldn’t tell you.  When?  Definitely not “this week” in my view.  Why? Cause He loves me.  And that’s all I need to know.

Overall, didn’t like this lesson.  We read the passage and immediately got sent to other parts of the Bible.  I was kind of just hoping to hold Isaac the baby for a bit after all this build-up and anticipation and revel in God’s goodness and greatness instead of being distracted with how a real birth compares to a spiritual birth.  Couldn’t that have waited?

I’d take a study any day of God’s greatness over my spiritual birth (granted, a symptom of God’s greatness but nothing when compared to Him).  But that’s my opinion, of course.

End Note:  One commentary I read on this passage compared the birth of Isaac with the birth of Jesus with some rich scripture references.  Now THAT would have been a great question for this passage.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 3: Acts 19

Summary of passage:  Paul is now in Ephesus and he runs into some disciples who had not been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (this shows us still just how much misunderstanding and confusion abounded during these early days of the Church) so Paul re-baptized them.

Paul spoke in the synagogue there fore 3 months but left when some Jews were barring the Way.  He moved to the lecture hall (or gymnasium) of Tyrannus and spoke for 2 years to all the Jews and Greeks in Asia (what we call Asia Minor).  God did extraordinary miracles through Paul during this time and when the Seven Sons of Sceva tried to mimic him for their own personal gain, they were set upon by the evil spirit and beaten badly.

Yet God used this for when word spread of what happened to the Sons many more were converted and repented of their sorcery.  Others saw this and converted as well.

Then Paul decided it was time to move on.  He sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia while he planned to go to Jerusalem.  Before he left, a riot broke out instigated by the craftsmen who were losing business since Artemis was slowly being replaced by Jesus.  Finally, a city clerk had to quiet the crowd by saying they either bring up charges or be charged with rioting.  The group quickly disassembled.


5)  Holy Spirit

6)  Paul began in the synagogues (as usual) and preached there for about 3 months until some of the Jews became obstinate.  So he moved his teaching to the lecture hall (or gymnasium) of Tyrannus where he preached for 2 years.  He performed miracles and spread the Word to most of Asia (Asia Minor).

Paul then decides it is time to move on to Jerusalem via Macedonia and Achaia but before that happens a riot breaks out in Ephesus, led by the craftsmen who are losing customers as more people convert to Christianity.

7)  God does not like deception and to be careful when messing around with evil spirits and the occult and spiritual warfare.  What you may think is innocent or a mere profit scheme could lead to terrible repercussions.

8a)  Those who repented backed up their words with actions.  They burned their scrolls (basically flushed money down the toilet) to show their hearts to God and so no one else could use them.  Faith is more than words.  It’s actions.  You must walk the talk.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Hurtful words.

9)  In John 19:10-11 we are reminded powerfully how God allowed Jesus to be crucified even though Pilate wanted Jesus to go free.  God is in control of all.  In Acts 16:37-9, Paul’s Roman citizenship protected him in the Roman Empire and allowed him to spread the word more freely.  In Romans 13:1-7, God has established all authority over us (which includes our parents) so if you rebel against authority you are rebelling against God.  If you do what is right, you will be rewarded.

In our passage, Acts 19, a riot threatens Paul and his journey (a riot is outside the established authority) but a city clerk finally contains the crowd enough to allow reason to prevail.  Here, Paul once again escapes the wrath of non-believers because they are outside of the law.  God used the clerk to allow Paul to continue his missionary journey despite the resistance all around him.

Conclusions:  Lots of nuggets in this passage.  I see again the message of doing what is right over what is evil (2 Thessalonians 3:13) from the riot.  The Seven Sons of Sceva felt first hand what it is like to mess around with evil spirits.  People today take this lightly (like palm-reading and contacting the dead and the occult and such) but God does not.

We learned the importance of being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and how powerful that is.  You must accept Jesus or you won’t receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life.  Anything else falls short of this.

We see mob mentality and how powerful it is.  I actually blogged about this in relation to Jesus’ death (see post HERE).  The power of people to “follow the crowd” is real and something we must always be wary of.  It is outside the confines of the government authority and therefore something we should not obey since it is not in God’s authority.

Map of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey, with a great commentary to sum up his Journey:

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 17, Day 3 Isaiah 40:18-20

Summary of passage:  Isaiah asks who or what will we compare God to.  If we compare Him to an idol, an idol is first cast and then covered in gold and silver chains.  A poor man selects good wood (presumably instead of metal or some material more durable for an idol that a richer man would choose) and looks for a skilled craftsman to make sure his idol does not topple.


5a) A craftsman and a goldsmith and a poor man who looks for a skilled craftsman.  A craftsman casts the idol in an image and a goldsmith covers it in gold and silver ornaments and a poor man tries to find someone who will make a nice idol without it toppling over.

b)  Psalms 115:4-7; 135:15-18  Idols are made by the hands of men; they cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, talk and those who make them and trust in them will be like them (the idols)

Jeremiah 10:8-16  Idols are worthless, objects of mockery; they are a fraud with no breath in them; they will perish from the earth.  Idol-makers are foolish and senseless.  The makers are shamed by their idols and when their judgment comes, they will perish.

Habakkuk 2:18-19  Idols have no value since a man has carved it; they have no breath in them and cannot give guidance.  Woe to idol-makers who trust in their own creation.

c) God is Creator; idols are created.  God made people; people make idols.  God breathes life; idols are breathless.  God speaks and God lives; idols don’t.  God sees, hears, smells, feels, and answers prayers; idols just sit there.  God is everything; idols are nothing.  Structurally speaking, God is the action and idols are acted upon.  God is the verb.  Idols are nouns.  God does.  Idols  don’t do anything.

6a) Celebrities, money, material objects and wealth, other people in power

b) Sometimes I envy everything in 6a but as far as actual worship, I am not sure.  But I do allow life elements to get put before God–busy deeds such as surfing Internet and just getting caught up in the day-to-day living instead of being still and knowing He is God.  I am guilty of allowing life to lead me at times but as always I am trying to keep Him as my center in my fallible human way.

Conclusions:  First Commandment:  You shall have no other gods before me.  Second Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  Exodus 20:3-6

I would think these are important to God since they are above the others we tend to remember:  don’t commit murder, adultery, steal, or covet your neighbor’s house or wife.

Bowing down and praying to foreign idols was a real problem in Isaiah’s time.  The influence of foreign cultures and their gods was one of the sins that led to God’s punishment of exile of His chosen people. People were (and are today) easily influenced and didn’t have the benefit of technology and an interconnected world as we do to more easily know the One, True God.

We, in the twenty-first century, have trouble relating to such a culture since ours is mostly homogenous in the sense people worship one God.  But instead of a physical idol like a golden calf or something, people today do worship other things such as material wealth, people, etc so in this sense we can relate.

It’s important to be cognizant of our God, who admits he is jealous over us (of all insignificant things!) and of putting Him first and to make sure He knows He is first in our hearts.