BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 5: Matthew 22:1-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus told another parable, saying the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He invited guests but they refused to come.  He told the guests about the succulent meal and they still refused to come.  Then they beat the servants who carried the message and killed them.  The king then sent an army and destroyed the murderers and their city.

Then the king invited anyone they could find both good and bad on the streets to come and the wedding hall was filled with guests.  The king discovered a man not wearing wedding clothes and had him thrown outside into the darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Many are invited but few are chosen.

Questions:

11a)  God invitation to us to accept Christ as the sacrificial lamb, believe in him, that he paid our penalty on the cross

b)  The servants would be prophets or missionaries or believers doing God’s work and then punished or martyred because of it.  All the disciples were martyred except John and Judas Iscariot.  Stephen.  Most likely Paul.  Joan of Arc.  Kenneth Bae.

c)  Jesus’ crucifixion or Jesus’ second coming

d)  Believers in Christ

e)  Isaiah says garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness and jewels.

f)  The will have God’s army sent upon them and be destroyed as murderers and their cities burned.  They will also be thrown out of heaven out into the darkness where there is weeping and a gnashing of teeth.

12a)  Same.  They are too busy to come or they are too preoccupied with things they bought (material items) or too distracted or they are worshipping an idol such as a new spouse.  Anything that is more important than God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Those who reject God and Christ will not have a taste of God’s banquet.  This is a warning to believe in Christ or face eternal damnation.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes because I have faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and are thus justified by His grace through Jesus’ blood.  Thus, I am therefore clothed in a robe of righteousness and a garment of salvation with jewels that symbolize the Holy Spirit within.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God extends His invitation to all but in the end He only opens the eyes and ears of those chosen to receive Him and His Son and accept Him and believe.  Those who put God first will be chosen.

Conclusions:  I like the wedding parallel as most people can relate to the symbolism.  A wedding is usually one of the biggest events in a person’s life.  Here, a royal wedding would have been a spectacular affair, one everyone would have prized an invitation for.  Similar to Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding.  This illustrates just how illogical people can be when refusing God’s invitation.

Those cast out of the party were because they did not have a heart for God.  They were there for selfish reasons (free food) and could care less about the people involved.

End Notes:  In Jewish culture invitations were often sent out twice, once announcing the event and second when the event was ready.  God is always ready for us.  Are we ready for Him?

Man chooses as does God.  Man refused to come.  God chose to not accept him.  The great dichotomy of the Bible.  We must choose God.  God must choose us by His grace.  It’s a two-way street.  Many hear the call.  Few respond.  Few God chooses to respond.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 4: Matthew 21:33-46

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells the Pharisees another parable.  A landowner planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug a winepress, and built a watchtower.  Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.  When harvest approached he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.  The tenants beat his servants and killed them.  They even killed his son.

The Pharisees said the landowner should kill the tenants and find new ones.  Jesus said that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to people who will produce fruit.  The Pharisees understood the parable and knew Jesus was talking about them but they couldn’t arrest him because of the people.

Questions:

9a)  God

b)  Isaiah says it’s the house of Israel and the men of Judah.  I was thinking earth.

c)  Unbelievers

d)  Believers or prophets

e)  Jesus

f)  AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple

g)  New believers who would give the landlord his share of the crops (the fruit) or give him their belief in Jesus as a Savior.  Or the apostles and the early church (the new tenants) who would bear fruit for God, serve Him, and give Him all the glory as deserved.

10a)  Psalm 118:22-23

b)  1 Peter 2:7-8:  The stone and rock are Jesus who is rejected by builders which has become the capstone and will cause unbelievers to fall

Romans 9:32-33:  The stumbling stone, stone, and rock are Jesus who will cause unbelievers to stumble and fall.

1 Corinthians 1:23:  Jesus is the stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

c)  By not believing in Christ as God’s Son and Savior

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Romans 9 says one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.  Ephesians says believers will be joined together and rise to be a temple as the Holy Spirit indwells them.  It is encouraging to know with God will never fall or stumble but will rise.

Conclusions:  My one quibble is Ephesians does not talk at all about how people reject and stumble over Christ.  In fact, none of the passages really do.  They merely say that people will stumble and fall.  We have to infer that this is because of their unbelief.

I know we have studied stone and block before and its meaning, I believe last year in Acts.  I think we would have been better off examining Mark and Luke where the parable of the tenants is told. Especially Luke where the people cried out to never let this be.  Interesting.

End Notes:  Other places the Bible mentions the vineyard as Israel:  Deuteronomy 32:32, Psalm 80:8, Jeremiah 2:21, and Isaiah 5:1-7.

Jesus is condemning the Pharisees here as the tenants who are plotting to kill him.  They deserve judgment and punishment as they themselves state.  Jesus clearly states that he is finding new leadership or tenants who will carry on his work, specifically the apostles and the early church.

Other stones in the Old Testament depicting Jesus:  The stone of Isaiah 8:13-15 that people stumble over, the foundation and cornerstone of Isaiah 28:16, and the stone of Daniel 2:34, 44-45 that destroys the world in rebellion to God.

When we fall we surrender to God or you can reject Jesus and be crushed by judgment.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 3: Matthew 21:23-32

Summary of passage:  The day after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the temple, Jesus returns to the temple to teach.  The chief priests confront him and ask him under whose authority he preaches.  Jesus once again answers a question with a question:  Where did John’s baptism come from?  The elders discussed it and realized they didn’t couldn’t answer the question.  Thus, Jesus didn’t answer theirs.

Jesus told a parable instead of two sons, both told to go and work in the vineyard.  One said no but later went and the other said yes and didn’t go.  Jesus said the ones who initially said no but went will go to heaven for they believe in him.  The others never believed.

Questions:

5a)  They asked Jesus who gave him the right to preach.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The leaders were worried what the people would think or do if they answered the question.  They were worried they’d be stoned.  They weren’t willing to stand up for what they believed in.  Fear was more powerful than their faith.  They were earthly centered, not God-centered.

6a)  They refused to admit who Jesus was, repent, and believe in him.  Instead of embracing Jesus, they plotted to murder him.

b)  The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been hidden from Jesus’ opponents. They do not understand who Jesus is nor see his miracles.  Their hearts are calloused and they do not hear.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not sure if it’s a refusal but it’s hard to apply:  speaking positive words in the life of those around me.  It’s hard to overcome my ego and stress and selfishness and put others first.  It’s hard to get over the distractions in life (see post HERE about distractions) and focus.  I would say it’s more of a failure to prioritize than a refusal to apply God’s teachings because I do do this just not consistently. Thus, I must prioritize better and not let distractions creep in.

7a)  Unbelievers who later believed.

b)  Believers who said they believed but in their hearts they didn’t.

8a)  The son who said no but later changed his mind are those converted to Christ, those who were initially hard-hearted but now are God-hearted.  The son who said yes but did not actually go to the fields are those who profess Christ but have no heart for him.  Those who go through the motions with no feeling whatsoever. Those who want to please man and not God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The first.  I see these as reluctant in the beginning because of the sacrifices Christ-followers make but then go and do His work.

Conclusions:  I can almost see Jesus sighing as he once again has to deal with incompetents.  He has no patience it seems for hypocrites and those delaying his final days on Earth.  He quickly dismisses them with a question he knows they will not answer so that he can continue his work.

Good lesson on those who are too busy pleasing man to please God.  What men think don’t matter.  It only matters what God thinks.

Do you go when asked?  Or will you spend your days pondering if you will, only in the end to never take that final step and lose eternal life?

It’s a matter of doing the right thing, not saying the right thing.  Which are you?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 2: Matthew 21:18-22

Summary of passage:  The next day as Jesus was traveling back to Jerusalem from Bethany, he was hungry.  Jesus saw a fig tree without fruit and commanded it to never bear fruit again.  The tree withered.  The disciples wondered why the tree withered so quickly.  Jesus said if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  You can even move a mountain to the sea.

Questions:

3a)  “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” (Mark 11:14).  “May you never bear fruit again!” (Matthew 21:19)

b)  The tree withered.

c)  The religious hypocrites appeared healthy (with leaves) but upon close examination bore no fruit.  Their heart was twisted and unhealthy and they brought no one closer to God.

4a)  He encouraged them to have faith and not to doubt for if you have faith a mountain will throw itself in the sea at your command.  With faith all your prayers will be answered.  Mark adds to believe you have already received whatever you asked for in prayer.  It is about having the right heart and not about appearances.  It is about pleasing God and not man.  You will bear fruit with faith.

b)  As you pray, you must have a repentant, pure heart that is not holding grudges or grievances against others.  Forgive so God may forgive you.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jobs for my husband.  Guidance on which path to take.  God’s will for my life.  Fired from my job that was standing in the way of God’s path for my life.  I am currently praying God moves the monumental mountain of publishing.  I am praying for faith and patience and trust in this respect since rejection is everywhere.

Conclusions:  Again, sent immediately to another passage.  Mark should have been included in the required reading for this day if that were the case.  Good lesson on trusting God to move mountains for you so you can traverse His path.  Straightforward lesson on prayer and faith.

End Notes:  This is the second of Jesus’ two recorded destructive miracles (the other being the pigs that Jesus put demons into in Matthew 8:30-32) and both are not against mankind.

Fig trees typically do not bear leaves without fruit as BSF told us.  Hence, this is a sign of all show and unfruitfulness as the questions draw us to the parallel between the religious hypocrites and Israel in general.  God wants us to be fruitful and not just go through the motions in our lives.

Note Jesus is speaking to his disciples here or followers of him.  This message is for believers.  Have faith and you will have it.  Unbelievers this does not apply.

Note Jesus is hungry.  I love when we see the human side of Jesus!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 5: Genesis 28:10-22

FINALLY!!!  SOMETHING NEW!!!!

Summary of passage:  So Jacob left Beersheba to Haran.  He stopped along the way, put a stone under his head, and had a dream.  In the dream he saw a stairway from heaven to earth on which the angels of God were going up and down.  The Lord was there and He repeated His promise to Jacob (the covenant He gave to both Abraham and Isaac), saying He’ll give Jacob the promised land and his descendants will spread out.  All people on earth will be blessed through him.  God said He is with him and will watch out for him wherever he goes.

When Jacob woke, he took the stone he had been lying on and poured oil over it and called the place Bethel. Then Jacob vows that God will be his God and the stone will be God’s house and he will give God a tenth.

Questions:

12a)  The stairway linking heaven and earth now reveals access to God.

b)  Jesus is the stairway, the way to heaven.  Jesus says the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man.  John 14:6 says he is “the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Hebrews says we will enter the Most Holy Place (heaven) “by the blood of Jesus.”

13a)  “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

b)  Same as a. “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

c)  “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

d)  “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have  done what I have promised you.”

14a)  He had the fear of God now and realized God was with him and in this place.  He took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil over it to make the place, which he named Bethel or house of God.  He made a vow, saying if God does what He promises, then God will be my God, the pillar will be God’s house, and he will give God a tenth of all that God has given him.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us and watches over us wherever we go.  He will not leave us until His work is done. (See Philippians 1:6 for a similar message).  We return a tenth to God of what is His.  He is our God and our pillar.  Hopefully, we believe first and then receive without the same stipulations Jacob makes (see Conclusions below for elaboration).

Conclusions:  Well, we moved on but I literally typed up most of the passage for my answers.  It felt like a copy exercise I might give my kids for school.  I did like saying specifically He is with us wherever we go and He will not leave us.  Something I needed to hear today.

The significance of this passage is that Jacob has finally realized God is everywhere and not just in certain places.

However, what BSF missed and what I find fascinating (of course we could see this next lesson if we repeat this passage again as seems to be the custom), is how Jacob responds to God’s promises.  Jacob doesn’t quite believe God will do all of these things He promises.  We see this in his response in verses 20-22:  IF God will be with me and IF He will provide, THEN the Lord will be my God.”

Do you see it?  He’s not quite sure if God will be with him and if God will provide.  But only after Jacob sees all this, then will God be his God.  Jacob is trying to make his own deal with God instead of humbly accepting God’s promise.  However, in God’s grace, He punishes Jacob through Laban in order to gain Jacob’s whole heart.

End Note:  Now God has personally appeared to all three patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob.

Fun Fact:  Bethel means “House of God” and is second only to Jerusalem to the number of times a town is mentioned in the Old Testament.  God even refers to Himself as the “God of Bethel” in Genesis 31:13.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 4: Genesis 27:42-28:9 with Hebrews 12:6-14

Summary of passages:  Genesis 27:42-28:9:  Rebekah hears Esau’s plans to kill Jacob so she sends for Jacob and tells him to go and live with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau’s temper cools. She tells Isaac she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman so Isaac blesses him and commands him to go to Paddan Aram to the house of his mother’s father Bethuel and take a wife from the daughters of Laban.  He blessed him again with fruitfulness and with the blessing given to Abraham.

Esau learned what had happened and he took a wife from Ishmael’s line in an effort to please his father.

Hebrews 12:6-14:  The Lord disciplines those He loves and punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline for God is treating you as a son.  For if you are not disciplines then you are not sons of God.  Everyone is disciplined.  God disciplines us for our good so we may share in His holiness.

Discipline is never pleasant but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Questions:

10)  Jacob got sent away from the only home he has known.  He has to endure Laban.  He is tricked into marrying Leah.  He had to work for 14 years to have Rachel.  He slept with her maidservant when she couldn’t have kids (sound familiar?). He has to flee from Laban.

Rebekah spends the rest of her days without Jacob.  She dies before he returns-never seeing him again or getting the chance to say good-bye.

11)  Just the fact that Isaac is giving Jacob the blessing willingly when he really wants to give it to Esau shows he trusts God when God chose Jacob to be the heir.  He trusts God to find a wife for Jacob.  He blesses Jacob with the same blessing God has blessed him with:  bless him financially and multiply in number and take possession of the Promised Land.

Conclusions:  I have nothing positive to say about this lesson so I won’t say anything at all.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 3: Genesis 27:26-41

Summary of passage:  Isaac kissed his son.  He smelled Esau’s clothes and concluded this was Esau.

Isaac blessed Jacob, asking God to give him abundance and have the nations serve him and bow to him, have him be lord over his brothers and have those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.

Esau returned from hunting and brought in the food to Isaac.  Isaac realizes he had been tricked by Jacob.  But it was too late.  Isaac cannot bless both.  He did not reserve another blessing.  Esau wept and Isaac tells him he will serve his brother and he will live away from the earth’s riches but eventually he will throw off Jacob’s yoke.

Questions:

6a)  God will grant riches of the earth and an abundance of grain and wine.  Many nations will serve Jacob and people will bow down to him.  He will reign over his brothers and mother’s sons.  May those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.

b)  God will punish the nation that enslaves His people (Genesis 15:14) but afterwards they will come out with great possessions.  Same as those who curse him be cursed.  Repeated in Genesis 12:3 where God says “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse.”

7a)  According to Webster’s dictionary, regret is “to mourn the loss or death of; to miss very much; to be sorry for.”  Repentance is “the act or process of repenting (to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret) for misdeeds or moral shortcomings.”

As you can see, their meaning are the same in a way.  Regret is more to feel sorry for what you did (or did not do).  Repentance is to feel sorry for what you did but also to resolve to change and it’s emphasis is more on sin.

b)  Esau is regretful.  He’s sorry for himself that he did stupid things like sell his birthright for a meal and marry unbelievers.  But he doesn’t change his ways. Immediately, he wants to kill his brother–for his mistakes (of selling the birthright) but also for God’s will as I’m sure they all knew the prophetic words revealed to Rebekah. His heart is not repentant at all.

Jacob is repentant.  He realizes he tricked his father and lied to him and I think he’s truly sorry.  God spoke to him afterwards and does not condemn his actions.  For He doesn’t need to as Jacob has learned his lesson.

8a)  It would have gone against God’s will as spoken to Rebekah (Genesis 25:23).  Esau was flippant and despised his birthright as we see in Genesis 25:29-34 when he sold his birthright for a meal.  Esau married Hittite women (Genesis 26:34) which would have jeopardized the raising of his sons in terms of faith in the Lord.  Esau wants to kill his brother (Genesis 27:41)–a direct violation of God’s law of murder.  He is vengeful and his heart is not God’s.  Definitely not something God wants in the line to Jesus.

b)  They doubt.  They sin when they know it’s wrong.  They have no desire to do God’s will here on earth. They are in the world instead of of the world.

c)  He’s a provider.  He brings home meat for the family.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope going in the right way.  I’m trying every day to be more like Jesus.  I’m trying to be in the Word as much as possible.  I’m trying to follow God’s purpose for my life.  I’m trying to raise my kids to know Him.  I’m trying to be a good wife and spouse to my husband.  We are at a turning point in our lives where we’re trying to plan for the future and put God at the center (both with our money and our hearts).  My husband and I are finally on the same page about this.  I pray I do His will every day.

9)  Isaac’s prophecy is:  Esau will dwell away from the earth’s riches.  He will live by the sword and will serve his brother.  But he will eventually throw off his brother’s yoke. During the Exodus, Moses asked to pass through Edom’s lands which they refused and so Israel turned from them (Numbers).  David conquered the Edomites (2 Samuel 8:14).

Edom did rebel against Judah (Israel) in 2 Kings 8:20-22.  Another war is depicted in 2 Kings 14:7 between Judah and Edom.  Another time Edom attacked Judah in 2 Chronicles 28:17.

Obadiah is where God has had enough of the Edomites and their sins against the Israelites.  God tells Israel to not abhor Edom for Edom is their brother (Deuteronomy 23:7) but when the Edomites cheer the fall of Jerusalem during the Babylonian invasion and help plunder the city and prey on fleeing Israelites God says through Obadiah “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau” (verse 18).

God says “As you have done, it will be done to you” (verse 15).  Like I said BEFORE, the Edomites were obliterated from history when Rome conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Conclusions:  Question 9 is almost the exact same as Question 4 on Lesson 21 except here they give us the passages and last week they did not.

I’m really struggling here.  I’m floundering to be precise.  So I’m praying through this. This repetition and re-wording of the questions with virtually the same concept is driving me mad to be honest with you.

I GET it!  I do.  Part of me feels like BSF doesn’t trust me to get it.  So I’m being bombarded with the same passages (which in my view is not really all that hard when compared to say Isaiah for instance).  So I’m spending 3 lessons on the same thing (and tomorrow is Hebrews!).

I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination.  But I understand right and wrong and why Jacob was the chosen one (simple–cause God chose him and God can do whatever He wants) and why Esau wasn’t worthy, etc, etc, etc.

Instead of growing I feel stuck.  I’m at the point of skipping some classes to be honest with you.  The last two weeks have been difficult.  My group has fallen to half its normal size from September.  So has my kids’ classes.

I can’t remember ever feeling like this with BSF before.  So I’m praying.  That’s all I can do really.