BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 26, Day 5: Deuteronomy 17-26

Survival Tip of the Day:  If you just read Deuteronomy 17, 18 & 26, you’ll be able to answer the questions fairly quickly.

End Notes: My end notes will only cover the passages we are asked questions about. It is too much to do them all in one week.

Summary of passages:  Deuteronomy 17:  A person should be stoned if they are found guilty by two or more witnesses of doing evil in violation of His covenant or bowing down to other gods.  Have your cases judges in difficult circumstances and abide by the judge’s rulings.  If you want to appoint a king over you, it must a king of the Lord’s choosing and a native.  He must not be greedy and go back to Egypt for horses nor accumulate great wealth.  He must not take many wives.  He is to copy the law and read it always.

Deuteronomy 18:  Review of the offerings the people are to give the Levites.  If a Levite moves towns, he is to minister in the new town and receive a share of the offerings.  God warns against detestable practices, which would turn that person to detestable if they practiced it (child sacrifice, divination, etc).  God says He will send another prophet to speak for Him (Jesus).  A false prophet who says things that doesn’t come true must be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:  Review of cities of refuge (Numbers 35).  Need more than one witness to convict a man of a crime.  False witnesses are to be killed.  Exodus 21:24 is repeated “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

Deuteronomy 20:  Do not be afraid in war for God will be with you.  The priest shall offer up a pep talk.  The officers will allow soldiers with new homes, a fiancee, new vineyards, or just plain scared a chance to go home if they choose (very unconventional for that time).  Before battle, the Israelites are to offer the people peace.  If they accept, they all will become slaves.  If they don’t, lay siege to the city, kill all the men and the rest is plunder.  However, the cities that are your inheritance, you are to kill everyone and anything that breathes.  This is so all the detestable things will not infect you.  Do not cut down any fruit-bearing trees for use in battle; only use non-fruit-bearing trees.

Deuteronomy 21:  If a man is found murdered and the criminal is unknown, the priests must make atonement for the shedding of blood with a heifer that has never been worked.  The Israelites may take a captive woman as a wife after a month of mourning and she may leave if you are not pleased with her.  The firstborn son receives the inheritance despite which wife bore him.  A rebellious son is to be stoned to death.  Don’t desecrate the land God is giving you by leaving a hung man hanging from a tree.

Deuteronomy 22:  Various laws described here including returning your neighbor’s stray animals, not wearing the other sex’s clothing, not capturing a mother bird, building a parapet for your house, etc.  A man may not slander the name of his wife because he is displeased with her.  However, if the wife did have premarital sex, she must be stoned.  If you commit adultery, both the man and woman must die.  Rape is punishable by death.  A man must marry a girl he rapes if they are both unbetrothed.  A man must never marry his father’s wife.

Deuteronomy 23:  No one emasculated may enter the assembly.  No one born out of wedlock may enter.  No Amorite nor Moabite nor descendants for 10 generations may enter as punishment for Balaam.  Keep the camp clean by disposing of waste products in the ground.  Avoid anything impure.  A list of miscellaneous laws including give refuge to a runaway slave, don’t become a shrine prostitute, don’t charge a brother interest, keep your vows, and eat of your neighbor’s vineyard and grain but do not take any with you.

Deuteronomy 24:  A continuation of miscellaneous laws from Deut 23.  Do not re-marry a spouse.  Do not take away a man’s livelihood to pay a debt.  Don’t kinda an Israelite or you will be put to death. Follow the priests in the case of dealing with leprous diseases.  Do not take advantage of employees, orphans, foreigners, or widows.  Leave sheaves of grain, olives, and grapes behind for the poor to reap.

Deuteronomy 25:  More miscellaneous laws:  Take disputes to courts before a judge to decide.  A man should marry his brother’s wife if he die  without an heir.  Cut off the hand of a woman who touches a man’s private parts.  Use accurate measures and weights.

Deuteronomy 26:  Review of first fruits from Numbers 18:12 but this was a special one right after the people celebrated their harvest after entering the Promised Land.  (Leviticus 23) and tithes (Deuteronomy 14; Leviticus 27).  Moses tells the people one of the first things they must do when they enter the Promised Land is make an offering to the Lord of their firstfruits in thanks for what the Lord has done for them.  Set aside the tenth for the Levite, widows, orphans, and foreigners in the third year.  Walk in the Lord’s ways as His treasured possession.

Questions:

11a)  The king must be one God chooses and a native.  He must not acquire a great number of horses nor return to Egypt to get more.  He must not take many wives nor accumulate vast wealth.  He is to write a copy of these laws on a scroll and carry with it and read it daily so he can follow the Lord’s decrees all of his days.

b)  Solomon

12a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Sacrificing sons and daughters in a fire, practice of divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, casts spells, is a medium or a spiritist, or someone who consults the dead.  No.

b)  Jesus.  (Also see Acts 7:37)

c)  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.

13a)  As a giving back to the Lord what He has given them.  As a goodwill offering for God’s promise of bringing them to the land of milk and honey.  As a celebration of God.

b)  Joyful (verse 11).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Work harder.  Sleep even less.  Remove my complacency and lack of motivation that has set in the last few weeks.

Conclusions:  Raise your hand if you knew the answer to 12b was Jesus without having to look it up?  Great nuggets in here that we just don’t have time to study (I highlighted some below:  care for animals and trees and the poor).  Loved Deuteronomy 24:5  “For one year he (newlywed husband) is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”  God so loves marriage and knows a strong bond is needed to endure.  Isn’t this awesome?

End Notes:  Deuteronomy 17:  Reflecting Exodus 21-23, the first part is directed towards judges.

By requiring the witnesses to be the first to cast the first stone, this ensured they were absolutely sure of what they saw and were testifying about.  John 8:7 refers to this.

Here we see the Biblical validation of appellate court system and contempt of court.

God knew 400 years into the future Israel would demand a king.  1 Samuel 8:6-9 records the moment.  It appears to be that God did not want an earthly king for He alone is king.  Furthermore, I’m sure “as all the other nations have” didn’t please God either since they were supposed to remain apart.  We see the difference immediately in following God’s word:  Saul versus David.  Which one was chosen by God and which wasn’t?  Maybe a king would do better since the Israelites history is not all that good.

Solomon broke all of God’s commands despite His closeness with God.  He wanted power, pleasure, and money–the sins that trip most of us up.

No better advice in the Bible is found here.  Carrying the word around with you, reading it and studying it daily, revering the Lord, staying humble, and knowing right from wrong.  There is no better way to keep one from sinning than reading and praying and studying God’s word.

Fun Fact:  Martin Luther once said he’d rather live in hell with the Bible than in Paradise without one.

Fun Fact:  The name “Deuteronomy” comes from this chapter and it’s a result of mistranslation.  “A copy of this law” used to read “this second law”.

Deuteronomy 18:  Witchcraft is a broad term here that could mean any thing dealing in the occult.  It is the same word used in Ezekiel 21:21.  Witchcraft is the work of Satan.  Period.  This includes so called “benevolent” witchcraft such as Wicca.

Astrology is forbidden as well since it encourages people to trust in things of creation (stars, moon, etc) instead of the Creator.

Those who “interpret omens” are the psychics.  The word omen means “to hiss” or “to whisper”.

A sorcerer is one who uses drugs to gain knowledge, which alters the mind.  Modern-day drug use is classified as this as well.  Same word seen in Micah 5:12.

A medium stands between our world and the spirit world and claims to channel both.

All are powers of the darkness and God does not look upon these sins lightly.  This is one of the reasons the Canaanites were judged so harshly by God.  Other cultures sinned, but not all of them engaged in the powers of darkness.

If God tells us something, that doesn’t mean we are commanded to speak it.  Prophets knowledge will come true if it is from God.

Deuteronomy 20:  A great example of God’s care for all of His creations–the trees!  He ordered His people to leave the fruit-bearers alone.  God is practical.

Deuteronomy 22:  This is the most interesting thing to me in these chapters:  Leave the mother bird alone!  Can you imagine out of all the animals in the world God chose this?  God’s love for all His creations shines through here.  Even more reason we should all be animal lovers.

Deuteronomy 24:  Gleaning is still practiced today even in America.  Religious organizations contract with farmers to harvest what is left after the harvest in order to feed the poor.

Deuteronomy 26:  Even though Egypt was a pagan society God chose it to grow the Israelites into a nation.  Why?  The Egyptians were racists and looked down upon the Israelites so much that they would not intermarry with them.  They could be completely isolated per se; yet still in a protected place to grow.

The firstfruits offering was a way to worship the Lord as are our tithes.

Follow God with your HEART.  That is the message of Deuteronomy.

DEUTERONOMY WRAP-UP:  In Deuteronomy 4-26 Moses has reminded Israel of God’s commands.  He has warned of disobedience and encouraged in obedience.  He has done everything in his power to prepare the people before he leaves them.  He has instructed, reminded, and encouraged.  The rest is up to them and God.

Although Deuteronomy repeats large portions of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, Deuteronomy focuses on why people should obey the aforementioned laws:  because God loves them.  God asks for obedience in return.  15 times Deuteronomy says to love God.  Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 as the greatest commandment to Love God.  Important, wouldn’t you think?

Moses emphasizes the laws are for our good.  There would be no excuse from man about what was required of him.  Obeying the rules would be a whole other matter.

Christians often wonder why bad things happen to them when God promises so many good things.  Christians often get the Old Testament mixed up with the New Testament and forget that once Jesus came he changed everything.

The Old Testament covenant was only with the ancient Israelites.  It was nulled when Jesus came.  God promised prosperity beyond their dreams, protection, and even free from disease IF the people obeyed.  God said, “Do good; get blessed.  Do evil; get punished.”  Well, we all know they didn’t obey; hence, they never received the fulfillment of God’s promises.

We cannot apply Old Testament promises that were not made to us–to us!  Jesus promised certain rewards for Christians, most of which are not of this world.  He spoke of poverty, rejection, and persecution.  Our reward is eternal life in heaven.  Could we ask for anything more worthy?

Time Fact to Complete This Lesson: 3 days and 5 hours.

Total Time and Days to Complete This Lesson:  7 days and 18 hours!  I’m wore out!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:36-46:  Jesus and his disciples travel to Gethsemane where Jesus goes to pray, taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him.  He asks them to keep watch with him as Jesus is overcome with sorrow.  Jesus asks God to take his cup from him but only if it is God’s will.

Jesus returns after praying to find his disciples asleep.  He tells them to watch and pray and if they would do that, the spirit would give them the strength to stay awake.  Jesus goes away and prays a second time, the same prayer.  He came back to sleeping disciples again.  Jesus leaves them and goes away to pray the same prayer a third time.  He comes back and chastises the disciples, telling them he is about to be betrayed and they are sleeping!

Mark 14:32-42:  Jesus took his disciples to Gethsemane and told them to wait while he prayed.  Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to keep watch over him as his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow.  Jesus prayed to God, saying take the cup from him as everything is possible for God but only if it be God’s will.  Jesus returns and specifically chastises Simon for falling asleep, saying the body is weak but the spirit is strong.

The same as Matthew here:  Jesus asks God twice more to take away his cup and his disciples are found sleeping while Jesus is turned over to sinners.

Luke 22:39-46:  Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with the disciples following him.  He told them to pray that they would not fall into temptation.  He withdrew a stone’s throw from them and prayed for God to take the cup from him if He was willing.  An angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Jesus.  Jesus prayed more fervently and his sweat was like blood falling to the ground.

Jesus rose and went back to his disciples and found them sleeping.  Jesus told them again to get up and pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation.

Questions:

11a)  Gave up his earthly life.  He was beaten.  He gave up his will (to live) for God’s will (to die).

b)  He is angry and chastises them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is sorrowful that is giving up his earthly life.  He asks to stay longer if it be God’s will.  He is sorrowful, troubled, and sad about giving up his life for others.  He knows the physical pain that is coming and he doesn’t want to experience that.  He feels just like us and needs God and God’s strength just like us.

12)  Mark tells us Jesus includes in his prayer to God that “everything is possible for him”.  Mark tells us Jesus specifically yells at Peter about falling asleep.

Luke is the passage that deviates the most from the other two.  Luke says that Jesus told all the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation and that presumably all of them fell asleep.  Jesus was only a stone’s throw from them while praying.  An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus as he was praying to strengthen him.  Sweat fell from Jesus like drops of blood to the ground.

13a)  Jesus prays the same thing 3 times “Father, if it be possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Luke says God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus.

b)  Lord, thank you for strengthening Jesus in his time of need that allowed him to sacrifice his life for our sins so that we may be with you.  May we all embrace your will as Jesus did.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclusions:  I find it fascinating how one passage usually always differs from the others.  How God wanted different facts recorded it seems.  It shows how each of us remembers things a bit differently and some things about experiences stand out to us while different things stand out to others.

End Notes:  The name Gethsemane means “olive press” so the area was surrounded by olive trees.  Olives are crushed to make olive oil.  Fitting then how Jesus was soon to be crushed.

Note the cup of wrath or judgment that we discussed in Matthew 20 (Lesson 21 Day 4).  Jesus is taking the cup that was meant for all of us.

Gethsemane was the last place Jesus needed to win in order to take our sins.  Imagine if Jesus had turned his back on us here.  The whole world would not be the same.

Jesus needed the disciples prayers here for him and for themselves in order to not deny him.  They failed miserably if you will.

Note the example Jesus sets here with repeated prayer.  If Jesus can repeatedly ask God for things, so can we.

Jesus knew Judas was coming, but he did not run.  Instead, he waited for him.  Jesus was the one in control of events.  As he continues to be today.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 38

Summary of passage:  After Joseph was sold to the Midianites, Judah left his family and went to Adullam.  He married a Canaanite woman names Shua and had 3 sons with her–the last of which was born in Kezib.  When Judah’s first-born son grew up (Er), he married a woman named Tamar.  But Er was so wicked that the Lord put him to death.

Onan, the second-born of Judah, now was ordered to sleep with Tamar since it was law back then to produce heirs for the line.  Onan refused and the Lord killed him too.

Tamar went to live in her father’s house until the third son, Shelah, was grown.  However, Tamar was not given to Shelah when he had come of age so Tamar dresses up as a prostitute in order to trick Judah into sleeping with her.  He does indeed sleep with her and she conceives twin boys.  She keeps his seal, cord, and staff in order to prove he is the father to avoid being accused of prostitution and put to death.  Judah admits he was wrong in not giving her Shelah so spares her life.

Their names are Perez and Zerah.

Questions:

12)  We see in Genesis 34:1 that Dinah apparently was a girl of the town who “visited the women of the land” frequently.  We see the horrendous retribution by Simeon and Levi wiping the town of Shechem from the map.  Joseph was sold to slavery by all the brothers in Genesis 37.  And now Judah marries a Canaanite.

13)  The whole family might have become pagans once again and the line to Jesus would have been tainted forever.  Belief in the One, True God could have vanished all together and God would have had to start all over again.  Remember, those who believed in God at this time were all from Abraham’s family.  And not that many generations have passed since then.  Perhaps hundreds?  Maybe a thousand people believed in God.

It’s not hard to imagine how these people could be swallowed up by the corruption and unbelief around them.

14)  No.  Judah.  Judah shouldn’t have married a Canaanite.  Period.  When God kills two of your three sons that should have been a hint that you made a mistake.  However, like Rachel, Tamar resorted to trickery to get what should have been rightfully hers.  This is not good in God’s eyes.  But I can’t help but wonder in ancient times how women had little other means to do anything.  Not that their behavior is justified.  But it is understandable considering women were mere property back then.

Furthermore, Judah wasn’t following the law either by refusing to give Tamar to Shelah. Judah held all the power in his hands to do what was right and he refused.

15a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Perhaps she came to believe in the Lord and back then there wasn’t a lot of believers in the One, True God to choose from as husbands.

However, this question may be misguided and makes a lot of assumptions.  How do we know she had her own friends and opportunities for marriage?  Tamar was now a widow and she had no land or anything to go with that status.  She had also married outside of her culture.  Normally, this causes a rift between her and her “friends” and family so she may have been labeled as an outcast.

Furthermore, as a widow, it was Judah, NOT her father, who now decided whom she should marry.  Only he could give her in marriage and provide a dowery.  And from what Tamar was seeing, it appeared Judah’s intentions were to leave her with her father for the rest of her life.

Well, an unmarried woman and childless in that culture was an outcast period.  She’d have no son to provide for her and would have no purpose outside of the marriage realm. She was facing a bleak future and hence took matters into her own hands.  Can anyone blame her?

In conclusion, I don’t think she had any other opportunities to marry.  I think this question is wrong in asserting that.  I think she had no friends either.  Her former friends were probably all married now with a family of their own.  And as a mother we all know once you have kids it is difficult to maintain friendships with your single friends who have no kids simply because you have nothing in common any more with them.  I think this is more likely the case.

Like I said, there weren’t a lot of other believers out there to marry at this time.  I believe she was stuck between a rock and a hard place and didn’t like either one.

It was obvious the Lord was with her.  If she was a believer, she could have been praying for a solution to her problem.  She probably acted before He answered.  But He never abandoned her and He blessed her in a way only we know (by being in Christ’s line). Amazing!

b)  Ruth, who was a Gentile as well, accepted the Lord as her God after her marriage to Ruth’s son. She would not turn back to her people who were unbelievers and who worshipped other gods.  Rahab has heard of God’s power and abilities and although it doesn’t say if she was a believer when at this time when she protected the two spies, she reveres God enough to get on his side and not the side of her people.

Tamar seems to be the same way.  She probably was converted when she was married to Er and would not turn her back on God no matter what happened to her.

16)  Judah sent Tamar back to her father to live because he thought “he may die too like his brothers” (verse 11) and then refused to give her Shelah, probably out of fear he would be stricken by the Lord as well (verse 14).    Verse 26 is where Judah mentions she is more righteous than him for her actions.

17)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First because her story takes up a whole chapter in Genesis.  And her actions were righteous and because of them we have Jesus.  Her story is an example of following the law.  If it hadn’t of been for Tamar’s actions, there would have been no Jesus.  She was responsible for conceiving, not Judah.  Hence, I believe she is mentioned in recognition of that fact.

Conclusions:  We look at some powerful women in this lesson that clung to God despite all the hardships involved.  For supposedly a “weak” lot, women play a powerful role in God’s world even when in man’s she is nothing.

Onan was more than happy to have sex with Tamar but didn’t want her to have a child that would not be considered his.  He was shirking the law and for that he is judged.

We must remember God caused Tamar to conceive.  It was His will that she carry the line even if she used deception.  Just like Rebekah and Jacob.  God is in control despite all man’s doings.

Both Tamar and Judah are shining examples of God’s grace.  Neither was worthy to be the heir of Jesus but they were both chosen by God to be so.  Despite our sins, God loves us anyways and uses us in powerful ways.

End Note:  I had never drawn the conclusion that Jacob and his family were meant to get out of Canaan for a bit in order to escape the pagans around them.  I had always assumed that they only went to Egypt for food.  Now I see God’s wisdom and purposes in a new light.

It is just absolutely amazing how God has everything planned and how we may only see one purpose (like the need for food); whereas, God has infinitely more (like getting them out of Canaan to protect them).  Good to remember in my life as well.

Map of Timnah, Bethel, and Adullum:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/timnah.htm

Adullum is beneath Timnah to the right a bit.  Bethel is in the upper-right hand corner in the brown.  So Judah left Bethel where his family had been staying, went to Adullum and got married, then went up to Timnah to shear his sheep.  The place where Tamar waited for Judah, Enaim, is right outside of Timnah on maps I found.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 5: James 2:14-26

Summary of passage:  James asks what good is it to have faith without deeds? Faith by itself without action is dead. You show your faith by what you do.  As shown by deeds, Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar which showed his faith complete by deeds.  A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Rahab was considered righteous when she gave lodging to the spies and sent the soldier off in different directions.  Faith without deeds is dead as the body without the spirit is dead.

Questions:

13) This is subtle and tricky.  Faith in Jesus Christ alone will save you.  You are saved by faith and receive salvation and a place in heaven when you accept Jesus in your heart.  But when you do have this faith, you are a changed person.  This new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) you have become has a new kind of faith: a faith that desires to prove itself through works.  This saving faith that we not have has works along with it.  James says in verse 17 faith now has action that accompanies it.

It mimics the saying “Actions are more powerful than words.”  You can say you believe in Jesus all you want.  You show you believe in Jesus through the actions of your heart.

14)  According to many commentaries I read, this is considered by some to be the most difficult verse in the entire New Testament to reconcile.  Wonderful (read sarcasm here). Further, one said the faith of demons should not be compared with the faith of human beings according to Hebrews 2:14.

Demons know Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 8:29) and they yield to His Lordship (Mark 1:24;  5:7; Matthew 8:29-30).

As in Hebrews 11, we see the pillars of faith (Abraham and Rahab) mentioned here yet again.  How by faith they followed God without question (Hebrews 11:8-13; 31).

I’m going to make my own conclusions here on the difference:  Man/Abraham/Rahab followed God out of love; the demons followed/obeyed God out of fear.  This I believe is the crux of the matter.

Side Note:  One commentator I read said demons are angels who have sinned.  This was interesting so I wanted to share.  Of course, we don’t know but it’s something to ponder anyways.

15a)  No.  I don’t despite the evidence in this passage.  I would like to hope so.  But I don’t.  I believe those who are converted on their death beds don’t have the opportunity. But Jesus is happy to have them despite the fact they didn’t have time to do good works. This is what Paul says (Ephesians 2:9).

It also brings into my mind the falling away passage we studied in Hebrews 4:4-6 (another passage I have difficulty with).  I believe once you accept Christ you are his.  You can’t fall away unless you deliberately deny him afterwards.  But those who stumble still have him.  For there is nothing in this world you can do that Jesus will not forgive.  He has claimed you and even after you accept you, you sin.  But He always remains.

Do I believe most people who are born again will produce good works?  Yes.  You have no choice.  If you accept Jesus, you are a new person and His.  Therefore, the deeds will follow.  But as I mentioned I do believe in exceptions.  So I don’t think every person will accomplish this.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t know honestly.  I can’t see myself through their eyes and no one has come up to me and said, “Wow!  You are obviously God’s as I see through such-and-such evidence.”

I hope they see something but I have such a low opinion of myself right now I would say nothing.  For I’m not where I want to be in my daily walk with Christ.  I’m just not.  So I’d say there is no evidence of my faith right now.

And to me I could care less what others thought/think of me or if there is evidence (in their eyes) of my faith.  It only matters what God thinks of me and what He knows I am accomplishing.  And right now I feel I am failing miserably.  It’s my daily prayer for God to heal my heart from past pains so I can move on to what He has for me.  For the devil will not claim me.  And I will win.

Conclusions:  This passage was very, very difficult for me to chew on.  Very.  For I believe once you accept Jesus in your heart you are in Heaven.  You do not get into heaven by works.  Yet works is what makes us alive in Christ.  Christ puts works in our heart once we have him and the Holy Spirit within that we must act on.  Otherwise, we are dead.

Yet I believe there will be people in heaven who do not have works to show for their faith.  But they have faith.  This is what I believe at least.

This concept is very difficult for me to reconcile.  You don’t need works to get into heaven yet if you have faith you produce works.  And I just don’t see works in my life.  So does that mean my faith is dead?  It’s a bit of a dichotomy, isn’t it?

I just believe in my heart God wants our faith first and foremost.  He wants us.  He wants our hearts paramount.  Everything else is secondary:  our works and whatever else we do for Him.  As long as our hearts stay true to Him the rest falls into place.  Including works. We shouldn’t have to think about works.  They should just flow naturally out of our heart that is now God’s.  It should be joyful and unforced.  It should be with love and a deep gratitude.  It should be God/Holy Spirit–not something I could ever do or take credit for.

End Note:  Question 15b did not sit well with me after pondering it for a bit.  In this world where it’s a daily struggle to counter our culture of always being in each other’s business and trying to keep up with the Jones, I thought this question was in the same vein.  This was my first response at least.

We are not of this world and this question could be taken in the context of “Well, what have you done lately to show your faith?”, promoting pride over humility.  Yet, at the same time, we are to walk our faith and show non-believers what a believer’s life should look like.  So taken in this context it makes us ponder, “Are we walking our faith?”

I hope it’s the latter.  But for me, having been raised in the culture of nothing less than perfection will do, I did not like the wording of this question.  It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough and I’m inadequate in some way (something I already feel anyways.  Is any of us truly doing enough?  Consider Paul’s life…).  I’m doing the best I can under the circumstances God has given me.

I would have preferred apparent to “God”.  For He is all that matters.

If you are broken like me, you probably took this question hard like I did and immediately threw up walls because that’s what you do when you are reminded of past pains.  Then I read Matthew 5:16 where Jesus says, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

So it is all for God.  It’s for others to see God through us.  For His glory.  Never ours.  We do good deeds not for ourselves or what it brings us but what it brings God:  other broken people who need Him as much as we do.

Hopefully, in the end, maybe just a bit of our brokenness will be mended in the process.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 26, Day 5 Isaiah 59:16-21

Summary of passage:  The Lord saw there was no one to intervene for the people and was appalled.  So God used his own arm to bring salvation and righteousness, putting on a breastplate and helmet (reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-17).  He will come like a pent-up flood and will repay his enemies according to what they have done.  Men will fear the name of the Lord and revere His glory.  The Redeemer will come to those who repent of their sins.  The Lord’s covenant is with the people as His Spirit is upon them and His words He put in their mouths will not depart throughout the generations.

Questions:

10a)  There was no one, no man to intervene on Israel’s behalf–to show them the way back to God.

b)  Those needing redemption:  are lost and blind in the dark, rebellious, treacherous, liars, violent, evil, and have turned their backs on God.  The Redeemer:  just, righteous, truthful, honest, wears the helmet of salvation, will bring retribution to his foes, will come like a flood with the breath of the Lord behind Him.

11)  The Redeemer will come to those who repent of their sins and God’s spirit and words will never depart from them or their descendants forever

12)  Isaiah 51:16:  I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand…”

Matthew 4:4:  “‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Luke 4:1:  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan…”

Matthew 3:16:  “Jesus was baptized…and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.”

Conclusions:  Sometimes I wish I could come like a pent-up flood with the breath of the Lord behind me. Or at least live as such.

I scoured the Internet for a good 45 minutes looking for verses for Question 12.  I found a lot of implied fulfillments such as Luke 22:20, which did not satisfy me.  I was looking specifically for where the Bible says Jesus is the Spirit and God has put words in Jesus’s mouth and was pretty unsuccessful.  Let me know what you all found!

I did find this website.  Fascinating stuff about the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies with a chart that gives the OT prophecy next to the NT fulfillment:

http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/messiah.htm