BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 5: Matthew 24:37-51

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains that the coming of the Son of Man will be just like it was before the flood:  no one knew it was about to happen and everyone was just leading a normal life.  Believers will be saved.  So keep watch for the Son of Man.  Stay faithful and wise and care for Jesus’ flock and do not fall away because you think Jesus won’t come.  Jesus will come and send those who have fallen away to hell.

Questions:

10a)  Eating, drinking, marrying, giving

b)  People today think that Jesus will not come in their lifetime so they perpetuate sin and aren’t as strict.  In Noah’s time, God says man is corrupt, wicked and evil.  They lived for themselves.  Same mentality.  Even though we know Jesus is coming and in Noah’s time God was closer to His people, man turned his back.

11a)  A man of integrity, faithful and wise, who was put in charge to care for the servants while the master was away.  He was doing this when the master returned and was rewarded by being put in charge of all of the master’s possessions.

b)  As soon as the master is gone, the wicked servant begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  His actions are one of someone who believes he will never be found out.

c)  Those who obey God and His commandments faithfully will be rewarded.  Those who do not obey Him and His commandments will be thrown into Hell on the Day of Judgment.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says if you love him, then feed his sheep.  I interpret this as spiritually mostly.  Feed those Jesus has given you to care for by feeding them His word and caring for their needs.  There is also the physical need of actual eating as well, which is important, and the intellectual need of knowledge of Christ and who he is.

For me, this would be my children.  It is my responsibility and calling to raise my children and teach them about God and Jesus.  “At the proper time” is important as well for kids learn in stages and feeding them what they need to know at the proper time is important or it will be fruitless.  Basically, keep raising my kids in the Word and God will take care of the rest.

12a)  Keep watch for Jesus’ return and be ready for it.  Stay faithful to the master, stand firm to the end and you will be saved.  Care for those you are put in charge of faithfully so that they are ready as well.

b)  Watch out you are not deceived by false prophets.  Keep watch for the signs of his coming such as the abomination, the sun, moon, and stars, and the signs from heaven and the angels.  Do not fall away or you shall perish.

c)  As the elect, you will be saved and rewarded for your work on earth.  Jesus will return to establish his kingdom here on Earth!

Conclusions:  Please read the rest of John 21.  Talk about mind-opening!  If you love, then take care of Jesus’ sheep.  It just hit me hard that we love and take care of others because we love Jesus and Jesus loves us.  It’s Jesus at his best when he’s trying to get something through to us dunderheads!  Love it!  I love how John ends his book how there is just not enough pages to record all Jesus did.  I love that!

Question 12 was great in bringing the whole chapter together because piece-meal is great for study but hard to get the overriding message:  Stay faithful and Jesus will return!

End Notes:  Here we have another dilemma:  Jesus had previously said in the End Times the heavenly bodies will be out of whack and there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes.  Here, Jesus says the world will be a”as it was in the days of Noah” so life going on as normal until it started to rain.  How can you have normal in a world with major catastrophes and earth-moving signs?

Scholars resolve these “two comings” by saying one is for the church (believers who recognize the signs) and the other is for non-believers who don’t.

Note Jesus’ emphasis on constant readiness.  As Christians, we need to be about His work NOW and not LATER.  Don’t put off God for tomorrow for tomorrow may never come and your plans won’t materialize–only God’s will.  Respond now, Jesus says, and you will be rewarded.

Matthew Chapters 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21 is known as the Olivet Discourse, which is where Jesus discusses eschatology (the doctrine of the “last things” in Greek).  It was given to the disciples on the Mount of Olives (see fascinating history and pictures HERE).  Who knew it was a necropolis?  I didn’t!

Breakdown of the Olivet Discourse with side-by-side passages from all 3 Gospels HERE

This is the last of Jesus’ Five Discourses Matthew records before the cross.  Breakdown and summary of Matthew’s Five Discourses HERE.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 4: Matthew 24:24-36

Summary of passage:  False prophets will appear at the End Times to try and deceive the elect, Jesus warns.  The coming of the Son of Man will be visible.  Jesus quotes Isaiah, saying the sun will be darkened and the moon will have no light.  The stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

The Son of Man will appear in the sky and will come on clouds with power and great glory.  He will send his angels who will call the elect with a loud trumpet call.  This generation will not pass away until all these predictions have happened.  No one knows when Jesus shall return except the Father.

Questions:

8a)  False prophets.  The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give any light, stars will fall from the sky, heavenly bodies will be shaken, and a sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.  He will come on clouds and angels will appear with a trumpet call.

b)  Zechariah 12:10:  A spirit of grace and supplication will be poured out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  They will mourn Jesus and grieve bitterly.

Matthew 24:30:  “The Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

Revelation 1:7:  Jesus will come with the clouds for all to see and all will mourn because of him.

c)  Nothing.  We learn that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return except God.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus uses the fig tree as a metaphor for his coming.  Fig trees bloom regularly and always.  Jesus says as surely as the fig tree blooms, surely I will return.

Conclusions:  This is a good warm up to Revelation for those of you doing that next year.  Still needed a commentary for the fig tree.  Chapter 24 is difficult in that it speaks to the future and prophecy, always difficult to interpret when no dates are given and generalities abound.

I liked the study of the abomination.  I missed that when I read the book of Daniel on my own.  Why I need a bible study to learn this stuff!

End Notes:  In addition to Isaiah, Joel 2:10, and Revelation 6:12-14 also mention what will happen in the heavens at the End Times.

Scholars debate what the sign of the Son of Man will be.  Basically, it’s all guesses since we are not told here.

The fig tree has been around since the beginning of time (remember what leaves Adam and Eve used to cover up after they ate of the Tree of Knowledge?).  The fig tree appears many times in the Old Testament, sometimes to represent abundance or even to represent Israel (Jeremiah 24:1-10 and Hosea 9:10).

If you read Luke’s version of this story, specifically Luke 21:29-31, you get a better picture of what the fig tree represents here.  Like I said, it’s an analogy assuring his disciples that Jesus will return.

Some say this “generation” could be translated as this “race”, meaning the Jews.  This is especially propounded by those who believe these events already happened in 70 AD.

So Jesus gives an outline for End Time events:  1) Catastrophes 2)  abomination of desolation 3)  Warnings to flee 4)  Hardships and heavenly signs  5)  Jesus’ return

Note the dilemma verse 36 poses:  Daniel says the day of Jesus’ return is exactly 1,290 days after the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 12:11).  Here, Jesus says only God knows his return.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 3: Matthew 24:15-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus continues telling the disciples what the Second Coming will be like.  When an abomination that causes desolation stands in the temple, flee.  There will be false prophets out to deceive the elect so don’t believe them.

Questions:

6a)  Jesus is speaking of his Second Coming and the end of the age.  The holy place is the Jewish temple.  An abomination is an idol that causes desolation.

b)  Flee to the mountains.  Take nothing with them.

c)  Daniel (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11)

7a)  Jesus says “there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.”  “How dreadful it will be.”

b)  To warn “the elect” or believers so they are not deceived and fall away by false prophets coming as himself.

Conclusions:  I had to use a commentary to know what Jesus was talking about in verse 15.  I knew it was the End Times, but specifically an idol in the temple was beyond me.  I don’t remember ever hearing about the abomination that causes desolation before even though I’ve read Daniel so that was cool for me.  Not a lot of meat here in my opinion without the rest of the passage that we study tomorrow.

End Notes:  This passage is much debated by scholars in terms of timing.  Did this happen prior to 70 AD?  Did this happen in 70 AD before the Romans burned the temple down (many say there was no time for an idol to be set up).  Does this mean a literal temple?  Many argue this has not happened yet and believe it would be a blatant sign such as an Antichrist in a temple.

Jesus is quoting Daniel here and Paul echoes this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 2: Matthew 24:1-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus leaves the temple and predicts that the temple will be leveled (70 AD).  As Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives, the disciples ask him when this will happen and what will be the signs of his Second Coming and the end of the age.  Jesus replies to be wary for many will come in his name.  There will be wars, famines, and earthquakes.  You will be persecuted because of him.  Many will turn away and turn to false prophets.  Love will lessen but those who stand firm in the end will be saved.  This gospel will be spread all over the world.

Questions:

3a)  “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Verse 2

b)  “When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7)

“When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24:3)

“When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Mark (13:4)

c)  That Christ’s kingdom will reign until the end of the age.

d)  The temple fell in 70 AD when the Romans sacked the city to put down the Jewish rebellion.  Soldiers knocked down every massive stone in search of the melted gold that had run down as the temple burned.

4a)  Jesus is speaking of different time periods in the future.  He mentions things such as people coming in his name, wars, revolutions, earthquakes, famines, pestilences (verses 8-10).  Some of these have already happened and continue to happen.

Then Jesus switches to the immediate future, once he is gone, how the disciples will be persecuted, brought before kings and governors, betrayed, and put to death (verses 12-16).  This begins right after his death.

Jesus speaks of the End Times as well when he will come down in a cloud of power and glory to set up his kingdom on earth (verse 27).  He says this will take place when Jerusalem is surrounded (verse 20).

b)  “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Jerusalem has to wait on ALL nations and UNTIL the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, which is an indefinite amount of time.

5a)  Many will come in his name.  False prophets.  One William Miller in 1846 predicted Jesus would return and many believed.  When he didn’t, many fell away.  This is the warning to us all.

Wars and revolutions.  Too many to list: WWI, WWII, American revolution, French Revolution, Thirty Years War, Civil War, etc

Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Too many to list:  all the conflicts between England and France, American revolution where it was the US against England, conflict now in the Middle East, Turks versus the Ottomans, etc.

Great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences.  Too many to list:  Tsumani in 2004, Great San Francisco Earthquake, Dust Bowl, famines in Africa, Bubonic Plague, AIDS, etc.

Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies.  Too many times to list:  According to Wikipedia, Jerusalem has been fought over sixteen times in its history.  Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Increase in wickedness and loss of love.  Society will deteriorate, which I think most of us will agree is happening.  There will be less love for others and caring.

b)  The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through Christian missionaries in all parts of the world and even to the new generations at church and to current believers.  I don’t “preach the gospel.”  I teach it to my kids.  That’s about my extent.  I give to my church and they support missionaries.

Conclusions:  We spent most of this lesson in Luke.  Mark was ignored, a shame since I loved this nugget in Mark:  “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations (Mark 13:10)”, which makes question 5b clearer.  Jesus also mentions the Holy Spirit guiding the disciples during persecution, which must have been a great comfort upon hearing such dread events to come in their lives.  This was recorded in Mark only.

End Notes:  This is the last time Jesus will enter the temple.  He is departing for good.  The disciples are attempting to cheer Jesus after having been questioned by the Pharisees in the temple.  The temple was beautiful and magnificent to behold.  It was covered in gold and huge!

Titus’ soldiers burned the temple against his orders.  He wanted to preserve it.  However, once burned, Titus ordered the temple dismantled in order to retrieve the gold that had melted.

Titus was the emperor of Rome from 79-81 AD.  Before this, he was in charge of Judea and ending the Jewish rebellion there, which he did in 70 AD.  For this victory, he was awarded a triumph (a public ceremony honoring his achievement) and the Arch of Titus was built as a commemoration for him and for his military victories. It is one of two remaining arches still standing in the Roman forum and it was a model for the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The disciples probably correlated the destruction of the temple with the End Times.  Hence, Jesus’ long answer to correct their thinking.  There is much listed here, purposely vague, that scholars say are for different reasons including to confound the devil or have every generation ready for Jesus’ return.

These signs will intensify as Jesus’ return come near.  More and more earthquakes and famines. Luke says specifically there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.  The seas will toss; the heavenly bodies be shaken.

All we need to know is:  Jesus is coming!  So be ready!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 5: Genesis 33

Summary of passage:  Jacob sees Esau coming towards him with 400 men so he divides up the women and children, putting the maidservants first, then Leah and her kids and finally Rachel and Joseph in the rear (obvious preference here).  He went ahead and bowed 7 times to greet his brother.

Esau ran to meet Jacob and welcomed him with open arms.  They wept and kissed.  Jacob introduced his family and then insisted that Esau keep his gift of animals, saying to see his face is like seeing God’s.

Esau offered to accompany Jacob the rest of the way home, which Jacob refused, citing the fact his herds had a lot of babies and needed to go slow.  Esau offered to leave some of his men with Jacob but Jacob refused that as well.

So Esau went back to Seir while Jacob went to Succoth to shelter.  Then he ventured on to Shechem where he bought the land upon which to pitch his tent.  He set up an altar.

Questions:

14a)  He bowed down to the ground 7 times upon meeting Esau.  He calls himself Esau’s servant and his lord.  He insists Esau keep his peace offering of animals.

b)  They both wept.  He compared seeing Esau’s face to seeing God’s face (no light statement).

c)  Esau is genuinely glad to see Jacob.  He runs to him, embraces him, kisses him, and he weeps.  He asks to meet Jacob’s family and he attempts to refuse Jacob’s gift of animals. A selfish man would have gladly accepted.  He offers to accompany Jacob back “home” and to offer an escort of men as well.

15)  No where does it say in this passage Jacob passed 10 years at Shechem.  In fact, it doesn’t say.  This is a guess by scholars based off of a guess at Dinah’s age.  Genesis 31:13 seems to imply that God is calling Jacob to Bethel.  And in Genesis 35:1, God specifically calls Jacob to Bethel.

We all know if God calls, you go and go NOW!  Don’t wait!  Like the servant’s example in bringing back Rebekah, we must do God’s will and promptly.  There is no time to wait. Especially when we know life is so very short.

Conclusions:  In that culture, the act of Esau accepting the gifts was an act of forgiveness.  You never accepted gifts from an enemy.  With Esau’s acceptance, all was put right between the two brothers.

Jacob is still afraid of Esau.  He doesn’t want Esau to accompany him and he ends up lying to him, saying he will follow him when Jacob instead goes the opposite direction. Despite having wrestled with God, Jacob is STILL not trusting God to be in control and lead him.  Jacob inserts “Jacob” instead of “Israel” here and lingers where he should not.

Plus, Genesis 31:13 seems to imply God is calling Jacob to Bethel.  So why does he stop here in Shechem?  Fear.  Obstinance.  Desire to still be in charge.

One commentary I read suggested Jacob wanted to be close to the city (based off of Genesis 33:18), which is speculation in my view.  I believe Jacob just wanted to be away from Esau so he went in the opposite direction and stopped somewhere, which happened to be Shechem.

Interesting, however, to note that Jacob is repeating Lot’s sin of wanting to be close to Sodom.  As we shall see in chapter 34, sinful people have an unduly influence upon the godly.

Map Work:  Map of Shechem and Bethel with Jabbok River HERE

Another one with Succoth and Peniel HERE

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 32:20-32

Summary of passage:  Jacob sends pacifying gifts to Esau ahead of him while he stayed behind.  He sent his family and possessions across the River Jabbok.  He was left alone and he wrestled with a man all night.  The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip as they wrestled.  Jacob asked for a blessing from the man before he let him go.  The man asked his name and then changed it to Israel because he had struggled with God and men had overcome.

He was blessed by the man and the place was called Peniel.  Jacob was limping from his battle.

Questions:

9)  He hasn’t yet fully trusted in God.  He hasn’t submitted his will to God’s.  He hasn’t surrendered nor died to self.

10)  We are told Jacob struggled with the angel and overcame him.  Jacob then wept and begged for the angel’s favor.  We are told this took place near Bethel.

11)  The man was God in the person of Jesus for we know God himself never appeared to man (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; John 6:46).  Verse 28 says it clearly when the man speaks and tells Jacob “you have struggled with God”

12)  Ok.  A bit presumptuous, isn’t this question?  No one “forces” God to do anything.  So just knowing that one fact about God you know the answer to this question.

Jacob is accepting God’s blessing.

13)  When we fight His will for our life.

Conclusions:  Like Day 2, I’m left with mixed feelings on this lesson (as you may have been able to tell by their brevity). This is a very famous passage in the Bible.  My Bible heading is “Jacob Wrestles With God” and it seems as though BSF focuses too much effort on getting us to realize this is God (the obvious) instead of focusing on the end results and how Jacob needed God to show up in his life again (as I do right now)–and the not-so-obvious.

I would have preferred more questions like 13 instead of like 11 and 12.  My opinion, of course.  This passage has such depth and meaning as it shows how we all wrestle with God until we finally submit to Him.  Instead, we are left hanging.  A missed opportunity by BSF.

We all need to surrender our will and our self-reliance (hard to do in America) to God.  It is God’s way on His “Way of Holiness(Isaiah 35:8) or the other highway.  God must be our center.  God must be in control.  God must conquer us.  When we are defeated by this world and all that happens to us, we weep to God for His blessings as Jacob did.  We come crawling to Him, broken.  Right where we need to be in order to move forward into the Promised Land.  As Jacob shows us.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”.  Jacob grasps the Lord with all his strength, knowing how much he needs God.  We must do the same.  All the time.  Hold onto God and never let go.

Jacob’s enemy is not Esau.  It is self.  It is death to self that Jacob is struggling against.

The name change signifies the passing of Jacob’s old life into his new life of trusting God 100%.  Of being ALL in.

God graced Jacob with a limp as a reminder for the rest of his life to turn to Him.

“Why do you ask my name?” God asks.  For we all should know His name.

Analysis of Genesis 32 and Jacob:  You can see why Jacob needed to wrestle with God from this passage.  It starts out with God’s army camped next to Jacob.  Still, he is afraid.  Then Jacob prays to God.  Still, he is afraid.  Next, God wrestles with Jacob. Finally, he surrenders.

Good lesson for all of us how God never gives up on our unbelief and how He does whatever it takes to get us to SEE and turn and fall to the ground at his awesomeness.

Map of Peniel and Mahanaim:  Not my favorite but the best one I could find  HERE.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 3: Genesis 32:3-23

Summary of passage:   Jacob sends messengers ahead to tell Esau that he is coming.  He calls himself Esau’s servant and asks to find favor in his eyes.

The messengers return, telling Jacob that Esau is coming to meet along with 400 men. Jacob is afraid and assumes Esau will attack him so he divides his band into 2 groups in hopes if one is attacked the other group will survive.

Then Jacob prays to God, praising him and beseeching him to save him and his family from the wrath of Esau, quoting God’s promises to him.

Jacob decides to give Esau gifts of hundreds of goats, camels, and donkeys from his flocks. He told the servants to care for these animals, to go ahead of him, and to keep the animals separate.  He tells the lead servant to tell Esau that these animals are his and are a gift to him and to say that Jacob is coming behind.

Jacob’s goal was to pacify Esau with the gifts so when he finally meets up with him Esau will not harm him and receive him instead.

Jacob and his family crosses the Jabbok along with his possessions.

Questions:

5a)  Verse 3 Jacob calls himself “your servant”.  Jacob calls Esau “my lord” in verse 5.  Verse 7 “in great fear and distress” Jacob divides his group.

b)  In every way.  He had to leave so Esau wouldn’t kill him for Jacob’s treachery at stealing the blessing (in Esau’s eyes.  We all know the blessing was Jacob’s) in the way he did.

6)  Before, he was merely panicked and completely being subservient, humbling himself before Esau. He was fearful and full of unbelief.  He split his camps up, afraid Esau would attack and destroy at least one of them.  Then Jacob prays and the prayer is amazing!

Then he had a plan.  He offered animals to Esau as a peace offering.  But he is coming behind the procession.  Despite the fact Jacob offers up a prayer to God, he goes right back to relying on himself, not trusting God to protect him.  If he did, he would have been at the head of the procession and his gift might not have been so extravagant as he attempts to placate Esau.  He goes right back to relying on his own self and never surrendering himself to God.

7)  Yes.  He gave 580 (assuming every camel “with their young” had a baby) animals. That’s an incredible amount.  It’s hard to picture because most farms these days don’t have that many animals.  It takes an incredible amount of land to feed that many animals. And that’s just what Jacob gave!  Can you imagine how many he had?

Plus, note a lot were female.  These are more valuable in farmer’s eyes because they can produce young.  You only need a few males to have babies.

8a)  1)  He addresses God by his titles and names (verse 9)

2)  He quotes God’s orders and promises to Him (verse 9)

3)  Jacob says he is unworthy of God’s kindness and faithfulness.  He humbles himself before the Lord (verse 10)

4)  He lists the facts for God, saying what he had before and what he had now (verse 10)

5)  Then Jacob states the reason for his prayer and what he wants God to do, which is save him (verse 11)

6)  He lists the reasons why he is asking–because he is afraid of Esau and for the people with him (verse 11)

7)  Jacob ends by repeating God’s promise to him (verse 12)

Jacob used God’s word for thanksgiving and in faith.

Note:  Jacob is not only praying for himself (although that’s the primary reason) but he also states he is fearful for the women and children in his group.  Great example of praying for others as well as yourself.

b)  Although God knows our hearts and even what we will say (even if we can’t formulate the words), God likes to hear that we understand Him, that we know Him, that we acknowledge what He has done in our lives, that we know His promises and His character, and that we desire for Him to do His work in our lives.  That what we are asking for aligns with His will and not ours.  And that we are praying for others and not just ourselves.  That we are not just praying “to get things” but to have things done in our life in accordance with His purpose and will.  That we have faith in HIM and are surrendering it all to HIM.

Of course, we have to follow through.  Our actions will prove our words once the ‘Amens’ are over.

Conclusions:  Did anyone else think Jabbok sounded like a name out of Star Wars?

I was hoping BSF would ask about the prayer model because when I read the passage, I thought to myself “Isn’t this a great example of prayer?”  It’s amazing how your thoughts change when you ponder God’s words often.

We see Jacob changing as well, praying before acting (well, almost!).  But we didn’t see the follow through that is so important to God.  It’s almost as if such a beautiful prayer is wasted.  God finally had to wrestle with Jacob to make him GET IT!  I hope I learn a bit quicker!

Great lesson and passage to sink your teeth into!

Map Work:  Seir is another name for Edom:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kingdoms_around_Israel_830_map.svg

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8 and 2 Kings 6:8-23

Summary of passages:  Jacob leaves Mesopotamia and heads for the Promised Land. On the way, he sees angels of God who meet him and camp beside him.  He sends messengers ahead to tell Esau that he is coming.  He calls himself Esau’s servant and asks to find favor in his eyes.

The messengers return, telling Jacob that Esau is coming to meet along with 400 men. Jacob is afraid and assumes Esau will attack him so he divides his band into 2 groups in hopes if one is attacked the other group will survive.

2 Kings 6:8-23:  Aram and Israel are at war.  A man of God (Elisha the prophet) tells Israel’s king exactly what the king of Aram is planning.  This enraged the king of Aram. He accuses his officers of warning the Israelites but they tell him it is Elisha.  So the king of Aram tries to capture Elisha in Dothan.  They surround the city.

Elisha’s servant who is afraid warns Elisha.  Elisha prays and the Lord opens the servant’s eyes to see horses and chariots of fire all around (the supernatural forces of God around us).

The Elisha prays and Aram’s forces are struck with blindness.  Elisha then leads Aram’s forces to Samaria.  He prays for their eyes to be opened and the Lord does so.  The king of Israel asks Elisha if he should kill them.  Elisha responds no but instead feed and water them and send them back home.

The king of Israel prepared a great feast for his enemies and they returned home and stopped raiding Israel.

Questions:

3a)  God is with us even when we can’t see him.  If you treat your enemies humbly and serve them, God will bless you.  Jacob humbled himself before Esau, calling himself his servant (when we all know the prophecy states otherwise) and Elisha feeds the enemy with a grand feast and sends them home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Treat even those whom we don’t like as we would want to be treated.  Remember God is all around us.  His forces surround us, protecting us from the devil even though we cannot see them.  If we call upon them, they will fight for us.  Something we need to remember.

4a)  Genesis 32:1-2:  God sends his angels to help us.  We can see angels.

Psalm 34:7:  Angels protect those who fear the Lord and delivers them.

Daniel 6:22:  Angels do God’s bidding.  Here, they shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel who was innocent before God.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3:  Since the saints (us) will judge the world we will judge angels as well (since we are above angels.  See Hebrews 1:4-14).

Hebrews 1:14:  Angels are ministering spirits sent to serve us.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Angels serve us and help us.  Good to know there are others sent to back me up in the spiritual battles I face.

Conclusions:  Mixed on this lesson actually.  It seems like every year we have a study of angels so I guess this was it.  I liked the 2 Kings passage.  It’s a great reminder that God is all around us, watching and helping us, even if we can’t see it, and He has sent helpers (angels) for our benefit.  And a reminder to treat our enemies kindly.  Then we will be blessed.

I would, however, like to see the camp of angels around me.  Cool, huh?

One interesting note:  Even though Jacob can see the angels around him, he quickly forgets God is with him and is still afraid–to the point he separates his group.  He should trust in God (and His army) to protect him from Esau’s wrath.

Map Work:  Map of Aram (or Syria) and Israel:  http://www.bccfbroadcasts.com/maps/Isrl_Jdea.gif

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 5: Ephesians 5:22-6:9

Summary of passage:  Wives submit to your husbands for the husband is the head as Christ is the head of the church (his body) and Savior.  The church submits to Christ so wives submit to husbands in everything.

Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and died for it and made it holy through the word and his blood.  Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies (I’m not for sure this is a good analogy this day and age when many people detest their looks) and feed and care for it as Christ did the church.  He will be united to his wife in one flesh.  Husband love wife as self.  Wife respect husband.

Children, obey your parents.  Honor your father and mother.  Fathers, bring your children up in the Lord.  Slaves obey your earthly masters as you would obey Christ from the heart.  Serve as if you were serving the Lord for you will be rewarded for the good you do.

Masters treat slaves in the same way.  Do not threaten them for God is watching and He doesn’t play favorites.

Questions:

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Our goal in life is to be Christ-like.  Here, we learn Christ is the head of the Church so the Church must submit to him.  Christ, the leader, gave himself up for the Church (he died for us).  Christ fed and cared for the church (raised it essentially) and then sacrificed everything he had for it.

How we should live:  not for ourselves but for others.  Helping to raise up others in Christ and sacrificing for them.  We must submit to the leadership as they guide us and care for us.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Respect is missing these days.  We let pride get in the way, thinking we know it all, when we don’t.  Respect hierarchy.  If every act was out of love, peace would reign

Conclusions:  I felt these two questions were vague.  I think BSF didn’t want to offend anyone but I would have preferred more specifics.  This is a hard passage to digest and I think we could have chewed on it more.  I hope we do so in the lecture.

Like the word submit.  When most people hear this word, they immediately rebel and turn the other way.  Yet we submit our will every day.  When the light turns red, we stop the car.  When we apply for a driver’s license, we are submitting our will not to have one. When we submit our taxes, we are acknowledging the government’s authority over us.

Submit according to Webster’s Dictionary means, “to yield to governance or authority; to defer or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another”.

We submit to God every day by recognizing his authority.  Submitting DOES NOT MEAN inferiority.  Just because we follow someone else’s authority, doesn’t mean they are better than us.  We follow our bosses at work because they have been placed above us.

Next, we submit “to your husbands” not to every man in society.  We unequivocally submit to God.  However, we do not to others.  We are honoring God when we submit to our husbands.

There is a defined role for the wife and a defined role for the husband.  He is the head.  In turn, he protects, shields, nourishes, cherishes, and loves us.  Forever.

That’s my take anyways.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 4: Ephesians 4:17-5:21

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Ephesians they must no longer live in darkness and ignorance from the hardening of their hearts for this separates them from God.  These people indulge in impurity.  You (Ephesians) were taught the truth in Jesus.  You were told to put off your old self which is corrupted and put on your new self which is like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Put off falsehood and speak truthfully.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry which gives the devil a foothold.  You must work and not steal so you have something to share with the needy.

Do not speak unwholesome but only what builds others up.  Do not grieve, get rid of bitterness, rage and agner, slander, and every form of malice.  Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.

Imitate God and live a life of love.  Now that you are holy you must not have any kind of immorality (sexual, etc) or impurity.  No obscenity but thankfulness.  No immoral person will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Do not disobey.

Live as children of light (goodness, righteousness, and truth) and do what pleases the Lord.  Expose darkness and disobedience.  For eventually light will expose it.

Live wisely, making the most of every opportunity.  Understand God’s will.  Do not fill yourself with drink but with the Spirit.  Speak to one another in songs and praise and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to Him.  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Questions:

10)  Put off:  Old Self.  Put on:  New self.  4:22-24

Put off:  falsehood.  Put on:  truth.  4:25

Put off:  Stealing  Put on:  Work.  4:28

Put off:  unwholesome talk.  Put on:  encouraging words that build others up.  4:29

Put off:  malice of any kind be it bitterness, rage, anger, slander.  Put on:  kindness, compassion and forgiveness.  4:31-32

Put off:  sexual immorality, impurity, greed.  Put on:  imitation of God, a life of love  5:1-3

Put off:  obscenity, foolish talk or coarse jokes  Put on:  Thanksgiving 5:4

Put off:  darkness and deeds whereof.  Put on:  light (goodness, righteousness, and truth) and expose deeds of darkness.  5:8-14

Put off:  unwise.  Put on:  wise.  5:15

Put off:  drunkenness.  Put on:  Fullness of the Spirit.  5:18

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m trying to be encouraging and thankful and not engage in gossip or hurtful words.  I did fail once yesterday but I apologized and moved on.  It’s a work in progress and I do see it improving.

Conclusions:  Great do’s and don’ts of the Bible and ways for living.  Sage advice we all need to hear and apply in our lives.  My favorites:  don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.  Be imitators of God.  Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out but only encouraging words that build rather than destroy.  Speak to one another with psalms.

I love the sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, which I think we all do when we do His purpose in our life.  It fills us with song which the Lord hears.

Always giving thanks to the Lord for everything in you life:  possessions, health, happiness, trials, and triumphs.