BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 23, Day 2: Matthew 22:15-33

Summary of passage:  Again, the Pharisees along with followers of Herod set out to trap Jesus. They asked him whether it is right to pay taxes to Caesar or not.  If he said yes, then he’d lose his supporters.  If he said no, he’d be arrested for breaking Roman law.

Of course, Jesus knew their evil intent and told them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.  The Pharisees and Herodians left, amazed.

That same day the Sadducees approached Jesus with a question.  They asked him if a woman marries seven brothers because she is following Moses’ law of marrying the brothers when her husband dies, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?

Jesus told them they had it wrong.  At the resurrection there will be no marriage and everyone will be like the angels in heaven.  God is the God of the living, not the dead.

Questions:

3a)  Most Jews hated paying the taxes (who does?) yet it was Roman law to pay taxes.  They were trying to either alienate Jesus’ followers if he said pay them (which would put Rome above God in the minds of the Jews) or get him thrown in jail if he said don’t pay them, which would be undermining Roman authority.

b)  Questions on abortion, gay marriage, divorce, adultery, etc.

c)  You owe Caesar (or the government) everything you owe God because God has established the government and rebelling against the government means rebelling against God.  Thus, you owe both taxes, revenue, respect, and honor.

4a)  They do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

b)  It is the source of a lot of sin in this world.  A lot of unbelief.  A lot of misinformation.  And tragically a lot of  unsaved lives.

5a)  Luke says believers are God’s children and will be resurrected.  God is the God of the living and even Moses knew the dead would rise.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That my permanent home is with God, living.

Conclusions:  I think we started out strong and petered out in the end.  I like the Romans passage since it is very apropos with tax season being upon us.  4b was way too broad.  The answers are infinite so I kept it simple by summing it up with sin, which covers a lot of the infinite.

I didn’t get much out of the resurrection bit probably because I believe in it.  I did find it interesting how Luke said Moses knew he’d be resurrected.  It makes me wonder just how much Moses did know and how cool it would be to be that close to God.  Can you imagine?

End Notes:  The religious leaders are now trying their best to trap Jesus.  They flatter Jesus, hoping he wouldn’t see through it.  The Jewish people were strongly against this tax as Rome was pagan and therefore they thought had no right to demand it from them.  It would be a sign of submission when only God was worthy of submission.  Our soul is God’s and everything material is Caesar’s.

The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection. They only believed in the first 5 books of the Bible (the Torah).  They were the wealthy, aristocratic class but small in number.  Their question was meant to show how ridiculous the idea of resurrection is by the ridiculousness of the scenario.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the law the Sadducees are referring to.

The Sadducees did not understand the Scriptures.  They knew what it said but had no idea what it meant.  Nor did they embrace anything unseen.  Hence, they didn’t believe God could do the unseen.

Jesus points out that life in heaven will be different than life here on earth.  He specifically uses the angels because the Sadducees didn’t believe in angels and Jesus uses Moses who is in the Torah to make his points.

By God using the present tense, “I am the God of Abraham” instead of the past tense “I was the God of Abraham”, this means that Abraham is still alive.  Hence, Abraham is resurrected.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 2: Genesis 29:1-30

Summary of passage:  Jacob travels to Paddan Aram and immediately meets Laban’s shepherds watering their sheep.  He helps them water the sheep by pushing the stone from the well.  Rachel who is a shepherdess and Laban’s daughter arrives.  Jacob kisses her and tells her he is Rebekah’s son (so they are cousins).  She ran home to tell her father Laban who welcomes Jacob as his own.

Jacob agrees to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. It seems as only a few days to him his love was so great for her.  But on the marriage night, Laban tricks Jacob into sleeping with Leah.  Jacob realized in the morning what had happened.  Laban told him the custom was he had to take the older daughter first and then the younger daughter.  And if he still wanted Rachel, he’d have to work another 7 years.

Jacob agreed and gained Rachel as a wife whom he loved more than Leah.

Questions:

3)  You can see God’s fingerprints everywhere.  The servant found Rebekah easily as the well.  She came up to the servant and happened to be from Laban’s family.  Jacob happened upon Laban’s servants and lo and behold Rachel shows up and Jacob falls in love with her.  God is in control here.  Neither incident happened by accident.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  It doesn’t seem so.  It seems to me as if they obeyed Laban out of daughterly duty.  I would imagine Rachel loved Jacob as much as he loved her so she was probably upset about it.  Not sure about Leah.  She might have been willing if she had no other suitors or if she herself loved Jacob as well.

5a)  Jacob pretended to be Esau by dressing up as him and Leah pretended to be Rachel in a similar manner.  Jacob exchanged the younger for the older.  Laban exchanged the older for the younger.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Cheating, lying, and deception are no way to live your life.  That what he did to Esau, although God’s will, was the wrong way to go about gaining God’s favor.  Cheating and lies have a heavy cost and take a huge toll on relationships.  That honesty is the best policy and is God’s way.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Haven’t learned anything new about deception.  I just try to be honest and up front with people.  Never take the short route for a minimal game.  The price is too high.  Be honorable.  Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  You don’t want to be cheated so don’t cheat others.

d)  Psalm 15:  “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…who keeps his oath..will never be shaken.”

Proverbs 12:22:  “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”

Proverbs 19:1:  “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.”

Proverbs 6:16-20:  “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  a lying tongue…a heart that devises wicked schemes…a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

2 Corinthians 8:21:  “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”

Others:  1 Peter 3:10-12, Philippians 4:8-9, John 8:32, Hebrews 13:18, Proverbs 11:3, Colossians 3:9

God honors those who are truthful.  Deception is from the devil and only causes heartache.  It’s just not worth it.  I’m encouraged by how much honesty is talked about in the Bible.  That tells me just how important it is to God that you are upright, righteous, and full of integrity.  You follow Him and not the world.

Conclusions:  I enjoyed looking up honesty in the Bible.  I would hope living a life full of integrity is ingrained in all of us, but alas I know that not to be true.  If you struggle, with honesty, please pray.  God will change your heart.

Keep the Golden Rule in mind that Jesus spoke and was recorded in Matthew 7:12:  “So in EVERYTHING, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

It’s hard for our culture to imagine Rachel and Leah going along with Laban’s plot but it was expected and demanded in ancient times.  We must honor our father and mother but not if it goes against God’s word.  Luckily, we have that right today to stand up and say, “No, I can’t do that because it’s a sin.”  But in ancient times, you had to submit.  No matter how sinful your father’s plan was.

I had to wonder (assuming Leah may have protested the arrangement), why would Leah want to marry Jacob, someone who didn’t love her?  Either she didn’t think anyone else would marry her or she loved him herself.  Either way she sinned as well either complicityly or complyingly.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 23, Day 2: Ephesians 2:1-10

Summary of passage:  Paul in a letter to the Ephesians says you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ays of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of air (Satan) when you were disobedient to God.  All of us at one time (before accepting Jesus) gratified our cravings and sinful nature and followed its desires and thoughts.

But now, God, because of His great love and mercy for us, made us alive with Christ and saved us through His grace.  God will raise us up with Christ and seat us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, which shows his grace and kindness to us.

It is a gift from God you have been saved–by grace alone–and not by works so that no one can boast.  We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Questions:

3a)  Someone who follows the ways of the world and the ruler of the kingdom of air (Satan), disobeyed God’s word, following our sinful nature, its desire and thoughts.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Trust and believe that once you believe Christ went to the Cross for you and rose from the dead and you’ve received him as your personal savior that the Holy Spirit indwells in you and you have been stamped with God’s name as a guarantee.  God’s word says it’s so and He promises it will be.

4)  Made us alive with Christ (verse 4) and through grace been saved (verse 5 & 8).  God will raise us up and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (verse 6).  It is a gift from God not by works (verses 8-9).

5)  From hearing the message (the word of Christ).  Trust and believing in God and His word.

6a)  Yes.  Works that are done for the reason of boasting in them.

b)  Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  my novel that is driving me.  Being a role model for my kids.  Finding a church to contribute to God’s work.  Tell others the Good News.  Live a Godly-life.  Do what Jesus would do.

Conclusions:  Reading Paul’s writings here, I am baffled how the Church misconstrued this and twisted it (besides out of pure greed) in the sale of indulgences in medieval times and the pronouncement of purgatory.  We will be studying this next year in homeschool and I can hardly wait because I know very little on this phase in history (being we never studied this in school and churches today definitely don’t do much history teaching).

Even today there is much misunderstanding on good works and what is exactly required of us in terms of this.  Here, Paul lays it all out:  we are saved by God’s gift and grace nothing more.  However, once saved, we are held to higher standards by God, meaning we are expected to live Christ-like, and not revert back to our old selves before being in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit.  We are expected to do good in this world.  Great lesson!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 23, Day 2 Isaiah 50:1-5

Summary of passage:  The Lord begins by asking His people where are the divorce papers?  Whom has He sold His people to? God explains Israel was sold because of their sins and transgressions.  When God came and called, no one was there and no one answered. God asks if He lacks the strength to rescue Israel.  The answer:  of course not because God can dry up the sea or rivers and control darkness and light.

The Lord has given His servant words to sustain the weary.  The Lord awakens the servant every morning and the servant listens and does not rebel.

Questions:

3)  Because of their sins and transgressions.  When God did come, no one answered.  When God called, no one answered.  I see this as Israel being so wrapped up in self-pity, thinking God abandoned them, that they missed Him when He called and knocked on their door.

4a)  God has given Jesus wise words–just the right words to lift up the weary.  God wakes Jesus every morning and wakens His ear to listen and learn.  Jesus has not been rebellious nor drawn back (retreated) from God.

b)  This verse is beautiful.  I picture God whispering softly in Jesus’s ear–tender, kind, uplifting, fulfilling truths–every morning Jesus can share with others.  This is what I want.  I get up early in the morning when all is quiet and with little distractions and read His word, pray, and listen to what pops in my mind or inklings that lead me to ponder Him.

5) Luke 2:40-52  Jesus grew in wisdom (instructed tongue) and went to the Father’s House

Luke 4:14-21  Jesus preaches good news to the poor and releases the oppressed, prisoners, and blind

Matthew 11:28-30  Jesus beckons all who are weary to come to him and rest and learn from Him

Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35  Jesus went in the morning to a solitary place to pray

John 12:49-50  Father commanded Jesus what to say and how

Conclusions:  I tend to think of Jesus and God as separate beings which they are and they aren’t.  Jesus was really God in a different form–part of God.  This helped solidify that understanding by reading in John 12 that nothing Jesus said wasn’t from God.  God is Jesus and Jesus is God.

I liked the imagery of how God incessantly beckons His people and they frequently ignore God and when He says, “Enough” then we are the ones who feel abandoned (typical, selfish humans). Imagine how God must feel being ignored and forgotten repeatedly by His people and then being blamed as the one who forgot.  No wonder He demands to see the divorce papers!

I also liked how the words of Jesus and God were all planned out.  God knew what He was going to say to man through Jesus and through His prophets.  It’s yet another reminder of how God has everything in the universe pre-planned