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 The Life of Moses Lesson 26, Day 4: Deuteronomy 12-16

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

Summary of passages:  Deuteronomy 12:  Moses tells the people to destroy all the altars to other gods, burn their Ashram poles, and cut down their idols.  Don’t worship God in the way the pagans worshipped their gods.  The people shall rest once they have finished defeating the pagans.  Then God will chose the place they will worship Him and they are to bring their offerings to Him there.  Moses says they may kill animals but never eat their blood.  They are to eat their tithe only in the presence of the Lord.  Do exactly what God says to do without adding or detracting in any way.

Deuteronomy 13:  Do not believe false prophets who try to lead you into worshipping other gods.  This is a test sent by the Lord to test your heart.  That prophet must be put to death for his crimes.  If your brother, sister, son or daughter try to lead you to other gods, they must be put to death as well.  If people in your town are leading you astray, they must be killed and the town destroyed along with all the livestock as a burnt offering to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 14:  Lists clean and unclean food the Israelites could eat (repetition of Leviticus 11).  Moses reminds the Israelites about tithing.  Set aside one tenth of your produce each year for the Lord to eat in His presence or exchange it for silver if you live far away to but items at the tabernacle to be consumed in the Lord’s presence.  Every three years the tithes are to be stored for the Levites, aliens, orphans, and widows to live on.

Deuteronomy 15:  Review of Jubilee year (Leviticus 25), freeing servants (Leviticus 25), and setting aside the firstborn animal for God (Exodus 13).

Deuteronomy 16:  Review of the Passover Festivals, Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23).   Moses tells the people to appoint judges for each tribe in every town.

Questions:

9a)  Destroy completely all the places where the nations worshipped their gods.  Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, and burn their Ashram poles.  Cut down their idols and wipe out their names from those places.

b)  Because only in that place would the presence of God dwell.  The people are to worship in His presence.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be worshipping with God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Worship is to be taken seriously and if God is not invited in and not present, then it’s meaningless.  We are to worship Him and He is to receive it.  Going through the motions is unacceptable to God.

10)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  False prophets, relatives (brother, son, daughter, wife or other relatives), and townspeople (wicked men).  Honestly, they don’t trouble me because I don’t associate with them.  False prophets are easy to spot.  My relatives are mostly believers and the ones that aren’t aren’t close to me.  I also don’t associate with friends who would lead me astray (Admittedly, I don’t have much contact with the outside world so my connections are limited).

Conclusions:  Loved the emphasis on worshipping God where He is and taking it seriously.  Question 10 was a toss-out.  I am a very strong personality, very strong beliefs, and am very opinionated and not afraid to say it.  So it’s hard for me to be influenced by others.

Much of this passage was review of Leviticus.  Thank goodness!

End Notes:  Deuteronomy 12:  The destroying of the places of worship went completely against contemporary practice.  In the ancient world, it was difficult to build buildings and time consuming.  They had only simple tools and machines.  Nothing like we have today.  So the ancients would re-use buildings and if one empire conquered another, they’d simply remove the old temple’s accessories and replace it with theirs.  Not here.  God wanted no part in a building not meant for Him.

As usual, the Israelites did not fully follow these rules and tear down the places.  Hundreds of years later in a temple renovation a priest discovered the Book of the Law (scholars believe it was a copy of Deuteronomy), which resulted in a renewed vigor for God (2 Kings 22-23).  God’s work never ceases to mystify–how He uses disobedience for obedience hundreds of years later.

The Israelites had been doing their own thing with regards to worship.  “No more,” God says.  “Once you are settled, there will be a place dedicated to me.”  Rejoicing is commanded, both here and in the New Testament (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Animals could be killed for purposes of meat only.  It didn’t have to be just for a sacrifice.

Tragically, the Israelites were infected by the Canaanite worship of their god, Molech, that demanded children as sacrifices.  From Solomon on, the worship of Molech is recorded and was a systemic problem throughout Israel’s history.  One can only wonder what would have happened if the Israelites had done as the Lord said–destroyed the people and their places of worship and followed Him whole-hearted.  Wonder if earth would be any better off?

Deuteronomy 13:  It is rare for God to speak solely through a dream.  One must look for confirmation of that dream.  Deuteronomy 18:22 speaks of the easier one to discern:  a dreamer whose prediction does not come to pass.  Here we examine a dreamer whose prediction does come to pass but then tries to turn you away from God.  This is a test from God of your heart for Him.

Jesus warns in Mark 16:17 that signs follow believers; believers are not to follow signs as Satan will arrive, performing miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

We must remember ancient Israel was a theocracy where the civil laws matched the religious laws.  Hence, some penalties that seem harsh to us today were permitted by God before Jesus came and ushered in the New Covenant.  Israel was the only true theocracy sanctioned by the One, True God.  Some say some Islamic countries are theocracies but non of them are pure–some secular laws are in existence there.

As we studied in Matthew 10:37 last year, God is above family.  The same is here.  Leading someone away from the Almighty is punishable by death since God is the giver of eternal life, you essentially have damned them.  Again, casting of the first stone is seen here as well.  (See also Matthew 18:6).

“Detestable” used to be translated “abomination”, which is a much stronger word and much more correct in translation.  It meant anything God could not stand and was impure, unholy, and unclean.

By destroying all within the city, it ensured no one would profit from the ruin of the city.  This deterred false reports.

The city was to remain a ruin forever.  Archaeologists believe these ruins (known as tel or tells) are the towns mentioned here.  Click HERE and HERE for examples.

Map Showing the King’s Highway and Israel’s Camp:  http://www.biblenews1.com/maps/moabcamp.gif

Time Fact to Complete This Lesson:  3 days and 4 hours.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 26, Day 3: Deuteronomy 4-11

Survival Hint:  For those of you with little time:  This day tells you where to find the answers in the passages; so if you are in a rush just read the passages for the questions.

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

Summary of passages:  Deuteronomy 4:  Moses tells the people to obey God’s laws and decrees without adding or subtracting from them.  God is near the people when they pray.  Teach the laws to your children.  Don’t worship idols nor make any.  Obey the covenant.  God will  not forget His promise to you.  Has any other god done what God has done:  revealed Himself and taken a people out of a nation?

Deuteronomy 5:  Moses reviews the Ten Commandments with the people and his account of receiving them on Mount Sinai.  Moses finishes with the command to follow all of God’s commands so that you may live and prosper.

Deuteronomy 6:  God commands the Israelites to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.  To fear God so that they may prosper and keep His decrees.  Moses warns them to not forget God once in the Promised Land and worship only Him.  To tell their children of the past and urge them to obey as well.

Deuteronomy 7:  Moses tells the Israelites they are to destroy the nations completely that they invade, showing no mercy.  They are not to intermarry with them for they will turn the Israelites away from God.   They are to smash their altars and burn their idols for it is detestable to the Lord.  The Israelites were chosen out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession out of grace and love alone.  God is faithful and will keep His promises and thus demands Israel keep His commands and you will be blessed.  The Lord will drive out the Israelites enemies as He did in the Exodus from Egypt.

Deuteronomy 8:  Again, Moses emphasizes to follow all of God’s commands so that you may prosper. God tested His people to know their hearts.  He tested our hunger so we would know we live on every word of God.  God disciplines His children.  Praise God for the good land He has given you so you don’t become proud in the good times and forget God and say it was you who did all these things.  God gives us the ability to produce wealth.  If you disobey, you will be destroyed.

Deuteronomy 9:  God will be the one going ahead of the Israelites as they take the Promised Land.  God will defeat them not because of anything the Israelites have done but because the nations were wicked and needed to be judged.

Moses reminds the people of God’s anger when He is disobeyed like at Mount Sinai, Taberah, Massah, and at Kibroth Hattaavah.  He reminds them of their rebellion at Kadesh and their subsequent punishment of wandering the desert for 40 years. (Numbers 11-14)

Deuteronomy 10:  Moses recounts how he made the stone tablets and the Ark of the Covenant to hold them.  He recounts Aaron’s death and the setting aside of the tribe of Levi to be the priests and caretakers of the ark.  He tells the people to fear God, walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him, and obey His commandments.

Deuteronomy 11:  Again, Moses says to love and obey God and keep His laws so that they may be able to take the land and live long.  God will provide rain and grass for the animals.  Moses warns to be careful not to turn to other gods.  The people will be blessed if they obey; cursed if they disobey.

Questions:

5a)  We are the people of God’s inheritance.  If you seek the Lord with all your heart and all your soul, you will find Him for he is merciful and will not abandon you nor forget His covenant with you.  Beside God there is no other–He created the earth and everything on it.  His love brought the Israelites out of Egypt and gave them the Promised Land.  No other god has spoken to His people nor rescued a chosen people like our God.

b)  God rescued the people from Egypt to be His inheritance, meaning we are to do God’s will and not our will.  God chose the Israelites as His people out of His great love for them.  They heard His voice, saw miraculous signs, and defeated enemies out of His love and mercy and so that they might know Him.  He spoke to them to discipline them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Born in the 21st century where life is considerably easier.  Born in the US where I am free and also where life is easier.  This privilege allows me to study the Bible and make Him known more as I know Him more.  And as at the Bible says, I was chosen to be a believer, to be saved for eternity–that is a privilege.  God has chosen me to be with Him all the days He gives–that is the greatest privilege of all.

6a)  Obey all His decrees and commands and laws.

b)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  To talk about them when they are sitting at home and when they are walking along the road, when they lied down and when they got up.  To make symbols of God’s commandments and bind them to their foreheads and hearts.  To tell them how God brought them out of Egypt and performed miracles and gave the land to them.  If they obey God, they will prosper.

I will try to give God all the glory for all of our blessings and our troubles.  To speak of Him daily. To pray daily.  To read His word.  To live out His teachings.  Let my children know it is all because of Him.

7)  We should follow all of God’s commands so that we may prosper. God tested His people to know their hearts. He tested our hunger so we would know we live on every word of God. God disciplines His children. Praise God for the good land He has given you so you don’t become proud in the good times and forget God and say it was you who did all these things. God gives us the ability to produce wealth. If you disobey, you will be destroyed.  God is the ultimate judge as He judged the occupiers of the Promised Land and destroyed them.

8 )  “To fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees.”

Conclusions:  Grace and love is the theme for all 8 of these chapters.  A ton here and a lot of it is review of things we’ve already read.  Moses is teaching the new generation, emphasizing how they must obey or face judgement.  If they merely obey and love God, they will prosper.  It is that simple.

End Notes:  Deuteronomy 4:  Moses just reviewed the past sins of the people.  Now he will review the laws and the importance of obedience so the people do not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Obedience would be key as the Israelites engaged in battles with the occupants of the Promised Land.  God had to be with them to defeat their enemies; and that required obedience.

God wanted them to be an example to others nations, which would spread the Gospel to come.

Moses especially pointed out their time at Mount Sinai.  This he wanted the children to be taught.  Here, the people heard God speak but saw no form–a powerful testament against idols.  Here the laws were given.  Moses warned them not to worship the creation but the Creator.

If God punished Moses, the closest person to God possibly ever besides Jesus, then He will punish them as well.  Still, the people would cross over without him.  Their lives didn’t depend on a man (Moses); it depended on God. Hebrews 12:29 quotes verse 24.

God often gives us what we want–the good and the bad.  If the people wanted idols, He’d give them idols–by sending them to a land full of idols.

Upon examination of your life, believers and unbelievers are confronted with the fact only God could do the miracles in their lives–providing the strength and courage to overcome every obstacle in our path.  Following God’s way is the only way in the face of all the other choices.  And all God asks is obedience.

As his final act Moses is giving the law to the new generation.  One can only hope they heed his/His words.

Deuteronomy 6:  Known as the Shema, verses 4-9 are recited every morning and evening by orthodox Jews and have been for hundreds of years.  They may very well be the most quoted verses in the entire Bible.

The Hebrew word used here for “one” encompasses a compound unity.  First used in Genesis, we see the word again used in Exodus 26:6 to describe the tents as one–meaning two parts joined together.  The word encompasses the Trinity.  The Hebrew for “Lord” here as well is a plural noun.  Moses was indicating the Trinity.

God wants obedience first and then He wants our love as he states.  Everything else (our time, money, etc ) follows.

Here we see where phylacteries (little boxes worn on the forehead) came from as well as mezuzah (small boxes of scripture nailed on doorways).

Moses is warning about forgetting God, especially in good times.  God knows in the future the people will obey, prosper, and then fall into sin and do this again and again and again (book of Judges).

Like I said before, Jesus used these passages to rebuke Satan in the desert (Matthew 4).

Massah (Exodus 17:1-17) is where the Israelites doubted God’s love for them, which tested God–another no-no that Jesus used to rebuke Satan in Matthew 4.

Here we see stark examples of why the Old Covenant didn’t work and why we needed Jesus and the New Covenant he brought.  The Old Covenant demanded obedience or be punished.  As we’ve seen in this study, the Israelites failed miserably in this.  The New Covenant demands faith in Jesus.  Period.  We receive forgiveness instead of punishment.  The New Covenant brought us the Holy Spirit, written on our hearts, and giving us the ability to obey. (Romans 8:1-4).  This is the power of Jesus, the infinite wisdom of God, and the ultimate show of grace and love in all of the world.

In verse 25, we see you had to obey all the laws to be righteous before God (impossible).  Here, we have Jesus.  Faith in him and we are righteous.  How awesome!

It it imperative to teach your kids about God or they will become placid amid all the comforts of this world.  We see today in the entitlement generation.  Key is God and His word.  Recounting Him and reading His word and walking in His word.  That’s the best way to ensure your kids don’t take Him and His blessings for granted.

Deuteronomy 7:  This chapter is all about God’s grace to the Israelites.  How He chose them and how He will provide for them defeat their enemies.  Everything God does is for our good if we’d only listen.  He says to destroy the peoples and their idols to protect themselves from their influence.  Great stuff!

Deuteronomy 8:  God wants us to rely on Him and be content in the humility.  He tests us so that we would know our hearts; God already knows our hearts.  Be humble.  Depend on God.  Read His word.

God wants you to prosper; but not to worship prosperity.

Great reminders here about forgetting God in the good times and only needing Him in the poor times.  He blesses us to do His work and not ours.

Pride is dangerous as this is the sin that took Satan himself down.  We must be wary always.

Deuteronomy 9:  To defeat their enemies, the people would need God.  Complete faith in Him alone to do the impossible.

By reminding the Israelites of their past sins, God desires them to turn to Him in the face of sin.

Deuteronomy 10:  Circumcise your hearts refers to the circumcision of all Jewish (and now Christian) boys when there were 8 days old.  This not only sets the Israelites apart from their uncircumcised neighbors, but it’s a metaphor of how the Israelites are to live their life–out of the Spirit, not the flesh.  This command is repeated in Jeremiah 4:4, but uncircumcised hearts are recorded in Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:26, and Ezekiel 44:7 and 9.

God requires justice, compassion, and reverence from us.  “He is your praise” as you praise Him and all that you do is praise to Him.

Map Showing the Camp of Israel and the Tribes God commands them to conquer in Deuteronomy 7 (Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites):

http://www.kidsbiblemaps.com/joshua-promised-land.jpg

Fun Fact:  Deuteronomy promises the new land to the Israelites 69 times.

Fun Fact:  Deuteronomy commands us to love God 13 times.  Love is a decision, not a feeling.

Time Fact to Complete this Lesson:  3 days and 6 hrs.

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 Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:31-35:  Jesus tells his disciples they all will fall away from him and he will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.  Peter denied he ever would abandon the Lord but Jesus said he would 3 times.  Peter still denied it.

Mark 14:27-31:  Same as Matthew.

Luke 22:31-38:  Jesus says that Satan has asked to sift Simon Peter (test him) so Jesus has prayed for him that his faith may not fail and tells Peter to strengthen the brothers.  Peter says he is ready to go with Jesus to death.  Jesus says Peter will deny him 3 times before dawn.  Jesus tells the disciples to bring a purse, bag, or sword for they are about to be persecuted.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was arrogant and cocky.  He says he will never fall away after Jesus tells them all are going to and even after Jesus tells Peter he will deny him 3 times Peter says he won’t.  To deny someone 3 times is weak in my opinion

b)  He says he won’t fall away, not him.

c)  Peter thinks he won’t fall away and he’s sure of himself even to the point of death.  When one is over-confident, failure tends to happen.  He is more susceptible to tricks when he believes he isn’t.

9a)  God’s sovereignty over Satan:  Satan had to ask God for permission to “sift” Simon or test him.

The tempted Christian:  Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail and that we will be stronger afterwards to strengthen others

Jesus:  Jesus prays for us and is with us throughout the temptation.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure when I failed God knowingly although I’m sure I have failed many a time.  I definitely don’t feel like I have helped others because of my failures.  Hurt others would be more like it.

10a)  They will all fall away and Peter is going to deny Christ 3 times that night.

b)  Christ will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.

Conclusions:  Easier than the previous days for the mere fact the passages are shorter and only covers one small event.  Question 8 should have been one question for the answers were all similar in nature.

End Notes:  By telling Peter he will deny him 3 times, Jesus is giving him a chance to pray to God to strengthen him for on his own, Peter is weak.  Peter, over-confident of his own abilities, dismisses Jesus’ claims–a mistake on Peter’s part that will haunt him the rest of his life.

As Peter demonstrates, it’s okay to stumble in our walk with Christ as long as we get back up. Peter made some mistakes but did he ever make up for them!  We are human and we will stumble.  To expect otherwise is unrealistic.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus made preparations for the Passover dinner.  He told the disciples to go to Jerusalem to a certain man’s house and tell them the teacher is going to have Passover dinner at your house.  So they did.  So, at Passover, Jesus announces that one of them will betray him in less than 24 hours.  All denied it and Jesus pointed out it would be Judas, who was foolish enough to ask Jesus who told him the truth.  He told him it would be better if he had not been born.  (OUCH!).

Jesus blessed the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying eat this as my body.  He gave them wine and said drink this as my blood of the covenant.  They sung a hymn, presumably finished dinner, and went to the Mount of Olives.

Questions:

6a)  Passover

b)  The Jews celebrate Passover as a festival to remember God’s liberation of His people from Egypt.  The name comes from God’s instruction to the Jews to mark their homes with lambs’ blood so that the angel of the Lord would “passover” their homes during the 10 Plagues God inflicted upon the Egyptian people.  Exodus 11-12 records God’s instructions to Moses regarding the punishment of killing the first-born child of the Egyptians and His command to celebrate this as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread to remember God’s great deeds.

c)  He blessed bread, broke it, and said eat of his body.  He blessed wine, drank it, and said drink of this wine as this is the blood of the covenant.

7a)  Luke 22:19-20:  Bread:  Jesus’ body  Wine:  New Covenant in Jesus’ blood for us

John 6:51-58:  Bread:  Jesus’ flesh and whoever eats of it will live forever.  Wine:  Jesus’ blood and drinking it will give everlasting life.  Feed on Jesus and live.  Bread that came down from heaven.  Manna from Moses does not give everlasting life.  Here Jesus emphasizes the difference.

1 Peter 1:19:  “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”

1 Peter 2:24:  Bread would be his body here and our sins.  Wounds would be his blood and represent our healing and righteousness

1 John 1:7: Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin.

b)  Verse 24:  “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Verse 25:  “Whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Verse 26: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  You are remember Jesus as Lord and Savior and his suffering on the cross for me.  I personally think verse 28 is much more helpful  “a man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”  Take this seriously, take a moment, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and be close to God.  Don’t just go through the motions.

Conclusions:   It is a pet peeve of mine when BSF only puts the required reading at the top but then the first question requires us to read more.  This should be put in the headline.  Hence, this day is deceiving.  It’s just as much work as yesterday was.

Interesting that we didn’t read Mark’s, Luke’s and John’s account of this very important event especially since John, once again, varies widely and adds details no other does.  It is John who tells us Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.  It is him who tells us Judas has been prompted by the devil to betray Jesus and that Jesus sends Judas away to do it quickly.

End Notes:  Once again, John deviates from the others and thus throws a kink into the timing.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke present this event as happening on the Passover.  John says this happened before the Passover (13:1) and Jesus was crucified on the Passover (John 18:28).  Scholars argue that maybe Jesus ate earlier than Jewish custom or Jesus deliberately held this feast sooner so as to have the time with his disciples.  To me, this argument is unimportant with the result of Jesus’ death:  Salvation.  The rest is nice to know but not life-changing.

Jesus was hoping Judas would repent of his sin and this is why Jesus brings up the betrayal.  Jesus knew his betrayal was fixed and would not be changed, but he was hoping Judas could still be saved.  Psalm 41:9 by David “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Can you imagine how Jesus’ heart broke over this?  How many of us have experienced a similar kind of betrayal by a loved one; yet, thankfully, only our heart breaks and our lives are not threatened.

[Side Note:  Dante’s Divine Comedy has Judas in the lowest place in Hell.  This is suitable for Judas does the opposite of repenting:  he denies it as well and becomes as hypocritical as the chief priests.].

Every disciple was incredulous.  And none of them pointed a finger at others.  All were shocked.

Once again, it is John who throws a wrench in this debate:  Was Judas present at the Lord’s supper or did he leave before hand (John 13:30)?  Again, up for debate.  Most scholars say Judas was not present at the Lord’s supper for the mere fact of what the Lord’s Supper represents.  Another question we’ll have answered when we get to heaven.  There are no 100% answers here.

My Bible does not have New Covenant but New is in some manuscripts.  Hence, Jesus is God when he institutes the covenant as only God can.

For hundreds of years, there has been debate on if the bread and wine becomes actual blood and body of Jesus (transubstantiation and a Roman Catholic belief) or consubstantiation where the bread and wine are the blood and body of Jesus by faith and not transformed (usually propounded by Protestants from Martin Luther and Calvin on).

Whatever you believe, what matters is what your heart believes:  do you accept Jesus as your Savior?

We must take and eat.  We must choose to accept his life.

The Greek word for thanks is “eucharist”.  Hence, the Lord’s supper being known by some as the partaking of the Eucharist.

I’ve missed the fact Jesus sang at the Last Supper until now (Go BSF!).  Can you imagine?  Jesus singing?!!

What did Jesus sing?  It is traditional for Jews to sing Psalm 116-118. Beautiful.

Could you sing before your death?  If you have Jesus, you can do anything!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:1-16:  Jesus tells the disciples that the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.  The chief priests and elders assembled in the palace of the high priest of Caiaphas and plotted to arrest him and kill him.  But not during the Passover Feast or the people may riot.

That night while Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper a woman came to him and anointed him with expensive perfume.  The disciples were indignant, saying she could have sold that perfume and give the money to the poor.  Jesus chastised them, saying she was doing a beautiful thing for him who will not always be with them.  She was preparing him for burial.

Judas went to the chief priests and offered to hand Jesus over to them.  They offered him 20 silver coins and Judas agreed.

Mark 14:3-9:  Mark adds the details that the perfume could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and some present rebuked her.  She did what she could.

John 12:1-11:  John says this happens 6 days before the Passover while Matthew says it was only 2 days.  He says it happened at a dinner given in Jesus’ honor.  Martha served and Lazarus was present.  Mary was the one who took the bottle of perfume.  She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  It says Judas was the one to object and his motives were selfish:  he wanted the money for himself and since he was apparently in charge of the disciples’ money, he would take some for himself.

A large crowd came to the house to see Jesus and Lazarus.  Hence, the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well since many were being converted to Christ because of the testimony of Lazarus.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It challenges me to give the most precious possessions I own to Jesus as Mary did and to humble myself before him with no regard to how it may be perceived by others or what repercussions might come about.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Apparently, Judas was a greedy man and probably jealous of Jesus.  Jealousy and greed lead to even greater sins of betrayal and even selling your soul.  Lesson is to be on guard against such sins.

b)  He was paid 30 pieces of silver.  In Exodus we learn 30 pieces of silver was the penalty to be paid to a master if a man’s bull gores a slave.  The bull must also be stoned.  In Zechariah the shepherd was paid 30 pieces of silver for his work, which the Lord said to throw back to the potter so the shepherd did.  The shepherd here is Jesus.  Read more of Zechariah for context here.

The point here is that 30 pieces of silver (about $25 today) was a small amount–the amount a slave was worth and a slave’s life was worth.  Christ was valued as nothing when in reality his gift to us is priceless.

5a)  According to Jesus and recorded in all 3 gospels here, the perfume was serving as an anointment for burial.  Here, the heart gift is important.  Mary was giving Jesus all her heart and all her worship.  She was giving him all she had–all his due–all that is his.  She (a woman) understood the coming days.

When you do, when you give, and when you live all for him, you do no wrong.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, “good things” is subjective.  I don’t think any time spent in prayer, reading the Bible, or worship is a waste.  Could I be doing other things and do others things call my attention?  Yes.  Time is a precious commodity and it is always a trade-off when we decide how to spend our time.  But I don’t “consider” any time I do spend a waste.  I am called to spend time with the Lord and I consider it a privilege every time I do.

I’m not tapping my foot during worship, impatient if that’s what this is about.  I think it’s all a priority.  You spend time with God first, others second, your stuff last.  Whether you always do this or not is a different question.  But no time is a waste when spent on God.  No matter how little or how much you do do.

Conclusions:  Lots of reading for this day and in the coming days of parallel passages.  It was interesting just how much different John is from Matthew and Mark.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is a contradiction.  Since Matthew and Mark doesn’t give dates, it could be a flashback for Matthew and Mark as they record events out of order.  They really don’t say specifically like John does.  Jesus was at Bethany for a whole week before Passover so this could have taken place any time during that week.

I wonder why Mary wasn’t mentioned by name in Matthew and Mark and neither was Lazarus.  Fascinating.

End Notes:  Jesus is now done with his teachings.  The rest is preparing for his crucifixion.

Matthew’s use of the words “assembled” and “plotted” is deliberate.  It is supposed to remind the readers of Psalm 31:13.

Simon the Leper is unknown in Scripture outside of this verse.  We can presume he was one Jesus cured but his distinction still stuck.

Caiaphas was high priest from 15 AD-36 AD.  This was an extraordinarily long time for a high priest.  This shows just how skilled Caiaphas was in keeping the Jews and the Romans happy.

Two years after the crucifixion of Christ, both Caiaphas and Pilate were out of power, replaced by the future Roman Emperor Vitellius.  Caiaphas killed himself after this, some say out of guilt of the crucifixion of Christ.

Amazing how the high priests thought they were in control.  They did not want to kill Christ during Passover; but as we’ve seen, Christ is in control and his plan was different.

Scholars believe the Mary in John is the sister of Lazarus and Martha.

Why is this story not recorded in Luke?  There is in Luke 7:36-50.  Scholars believe Luke’s a separate anointing that took place in Galilee.  Still, some of the details in Luke’s account mirrors John’s account such as the anointing of the feet and the wiping of the hair.

This is one of those things we’ll have to ask John and Luke about when we get to heaven!

Was this waste?  If everything is from Jesus, then it’s all for Jesus as well.  This was an intense act of love, giving Jesus all his due.  Hence the chastisement of Judas and others.

Judas, having been rebuked publicly by Jesus here, probably took this as the last straw.  Hence, his desire to turn Jesus over for profit.  His jealousy probably raged here and he desired revenge.

Many scholars have speculated as to Judas’ motivations.  Some point out he may have been from Judea, making him the only disciple from that area.  Hence, he might resent the prominence of the others.  Some say he wanted Jesus to reveal himself so he thought his actions would hurry this up.  Some even say he didn’t believe Jesus to be the Messiah and he decided to cut his losses.

Whatever Judas’ motivations, we only know the outcome:  Judas sold Jesus for greed.  He profited.  That’s all the Bible says and that is sufficient for us believers.  All of God’s word is sufficient.