BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 5: Exodus 4:18-31

Summary of passage:  Moses returned home and told his father-in-law he was going to return to Egypt to check on his people.  He left with his wife and sons with the assurance from God that those who wanted him dead are now dead themselves.  He took the staff of God with him.

God told Moses to go before Pharaoh and perform all the wonders God gave him the ability to perform but Pharaoh will have a hard heart.  Therefore, Moses must tell Pharaoh God will kill his first-born son since he won’t let Israel go free.

On the journey, God was about to kill Moses’ son but his mother, Zipporah, circumcised him so the Lord let him alone.  God told Aaron to meet Moses in the desert.  Together they gathered the elders of the Israelites and revealed God’s words to them and the signs from God.  They believed and bowed and worshiped the Lord.

Questions:

8 )  He asked permission from his father-in-law first.  He put his wife and sons on a donkey and started back to Egypt.

9)  “Israel is my firstborn son and I told you, ‘Let my son go, so he may worship me.’  But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.”

10a)  He didn’t circumcise son.

b)  His wife, Zipporah

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  Nothing that I know of.

11)  Aaron is a Levite who can speak well.  He will be glad to see Moses.  He will speak to the people for Moses.  He is obedient to God.  He helps Moses by bringing together  the elders and speaking to them.

12)  They followed all of God’s instructions.  They called together the elders, performed the signs, and spoke with them about what the Lord had told them.  The Israelites believed in the Lord again and that He had seen their misery and they bowed down and worshiped God.

Conclusions:  My favorite part was how Moses didn’t circumcise his son.  It makes sense cause his son was born in a foreign land so Moses probably thought “I don’t need to do this”.  Yet following God’s laws was so important that Moses’ indifference almost cost him his son’s life or his own.  Great example for us.  Just because we think it’s not important God may think otherwise.  I also like how his wife took up Moses’ slack.  Perfect picture of marriage!

End Notes:  Moses asked his employer as well for permission to leave.  He just didn’t shout out “I saw God!  Gotta go!!”  He followed the custom of the land as well as God.

Pharaoh could have had a soft heart if he had so desired.  But Pharaoh was given over to sin.  God withheld his mercy.

God exchanged the life of his firstborn (the nation of Israel) for the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn.

God is threatening to kill Moses (or some translations say his son) because he didn’t circumcise him.  Before Moses can return to the land of God’s people, all must be right with all members of the family.  Some scholars suggest his son was not circumcised because Zipporah was not a Hebrew and objected to the custom.  Perhaps this is why she herself had to perform the circumcision and not Moses.  Of course, this is all speculation since we are not told.  What is clear is that Zipporah is not happy afterwards, calling Moses a “bridegroom of blood”.  Whoever was at fault, it had to be put right before Moses could continue with his calling.  This shows the importance of following God’s laws–even ones that we may consider trite.

Everything happens as God promised Moses–Aaron helping him and the elders accepting him. God keeps his promises.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 4: Exodus 4:1-17

Summary of passage:  Moses, still doubting God and asking what happens if the people don’t believe him, is given three signs by God to use to show the people that God indeed appeared to him.  These signs are:  Moses’ staff turning into a snake when he throws it on the ground, his hand becoming leprous and then healing in his cloak, and Nile River water turning into blood.

Moses still says he is not eloquent enough to lead.  God says He will help him speak and teach.  Moses asks God finally to choose someone else as a rescuer of his people.  God got angry with Moses for his lack of faith and doubting him.  God tells Moses his brother Aaron will come and help him and God will help both to speak and lead but Moses will be the one in charge.

Questions:

7a)  The people would not believe or listen to him when he told them God appeared to him and that he isn’t eloquent enough to lead and that he doesn’t want to do it.

b)  God gave Moses miraculous signs to show the people (staff turning to a snake–verse 3, his hand turning leprous and then miraculously healing–verses6-7, Nile River water turning to blood–verse 9).  When Moses said he wasn’t eloquent enough, God said He would help Moses speak and teach–verse 12.  When Moses said he doesn’t want to go, God told him his brother, Aaron, would help Moses and God would help both of them to speak and teach–verses 14-16.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He closes the door when I veer off the path.  Sometimes when I insist on doing it anyways, the door slams harder!  God lets me do it, but then it closes anyways and I learn it wasn’t for me.

Conclusions:  I can almost hear the Lord’s frustration at Moses.  It’s ok to question God but I think when He answers you should believe and not keep doubting as Moses does.  We finally learn Moses doesn’t really want to go and God punishes him for it.  How many times have we said “not me” to God and we end up paying the price?  Nice short lesson.

End Notes:  Moses doubts God and “buts” Him.  Severe lack of faith.

God uses what you have (a staff in your hand).

The tail of the snake is the most dangerous place to pick a snake up.  Here, Moses has faith in what God is saying.

The first two signs (staff and leprosy) has to do with transformation from good to bad and back to good.  The third sign is the sign of judgment–the water turns to blood and stays that way.  Either you turn to God and are transformed or you are judged.

Still, Moses protests.  He doesn’t believe in himself anymore that he can do the job.

Finally, Moses just says he doesn’t want to go.  “Send someone else,” Moses says.  He is unwilling to answer God’s call.  The other reasons were merely excuses.  Truly, Moses doesn’t want to go.

God brings Aaron as a punishment rather than help.  He will cause trouble for Moses the entire trip to the Promised Land.  This is God’s judgement for Moses’ unwillingness to go.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 3: Exodus 3:11-22

Summary of passage:  After God calls Moses to go to Egypt and rescue His people, Moses asks “Why me?”  God assures Moses He will be with him and he will return to this mountain again in worship.  Moses, still questioning, asks what should he tell the Israelites about who sent him.  God replies “I am has sent you and the Lord, God of your fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.

God says to assemble the elders of Israel and tell them of his commission to bring them up and out of Egypt.  Then take the elders and go to Pharaoh and tell him.  Pharaoh will not let you go but I will strike the Egyptians with all the wonders until they do.  God will turn the Egyptians’ hearts so that they will leave with silver and gold and clothing and plunder.

Questions:

5a)  Moses asks “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  He asks God what should he say once he tells the Israelites he has been sent by God and they ask who is God?  What is his name?

b)  Verse 12 reassures Moses that God will be with him and a sign will be that Moses will worship God on this same mountain afterwards.  Verse 14 & 15 says that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am has sent him” and that he is the God of their fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is with Moses on his journey because I know God is with me on mine.

6a)  Both Jesus and God call themselves “I am” and both existed before Abraham was born.

b)  Jesus says that he existed like God has existed and they are one and the same “I am”.

Conclusions:  It’s not hard to understand Moses doubt here.  After all, he tried once before 40 years ago to rescue the Israelites and they rejected him so Moses is confused.  He doesn’t quite understand yet that Moses needed God and God’s timing and that he couldn’t rescue the Israelites without God so he asks God “Are you sure you want me?”  God says yes.  He also wants to know what to tell the Israelites once he gets there so he’s not rejected again.

Again, I thought not a lot of meat to these questions.

End Notes:  The Israelites probably number around 3 million people now.  Can you imagine leading 3 million people out of slavery, across desert, to a Promised Land?

I read pages and pages of commentary on the revelation of God’s name here to Moses.  Fascinating.  But for me it came down to one point:  God says “I am” and then you fill in the blank with your need.  “I am the light” when it is dark.  “I am the bread of life” when we are hungry.  “I am your comforter” when you mourn.  God is everything to us and that is what He is saying here when He says “I am.”

Jesus calls himself “I am” as well (John 8:28; 8:24; 8:58; 13:19).

I found it fascinating that God tells Moses first to go to his people (the elders) and then go to Pharaoh.  God often starts with His people first and then the rest of the world.  Like Jesus who revealed the Good News first to the Jews and then the Gentiles.

God promises the people will listen this time around.  This must have been huge encouragement for Moses.  Note too the Israelites probably didn’t desire to leave Egypt.  After 400 years, they probably just wanted to improve their lives but not leave everything they’ve ever known.  All around, Moses did not have an easy task before him and he knew it; hence, his doubts.

Not only will the Israelites follow Moses, they won’t go empty-handed–the Egyptians will shower them with gifts.  This is fitting pay after 400 years of hard labor.  Deuteronomy 15:12-14 says to give slaves gifts when they leave your service.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 2: Exodus 3:1-10

Summary of passage:  Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  In the bush, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire but the bush did not burn.  When God saw that Moses had investigated, God called out to Moses and told him to remove his sandals for he was standing on holy ground.  When God spoke, Moses his is face because he was afraid to look at God.

God told Moses how he has seen and heard his people cry out to Him and seen their suffering.  So He is going to rescue them from Egypt and send them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  He sends Moses to  Pharaoh to bring his people out of Egypt.

Questions:

3a)  To get Moses to investigate the bush closer so God could speak to him.  Otherwise, I’m wondering if Moses would have ignored the bush (how you could with an angel in the bush I’m not for sure.  I would think it would be the angel that attracted Moses but the Bible says it’s the bush).  Hence, we must assume a burning bush in the desert is no big deal.  It’s the fact the bush was not consumed that was the big deal.

b)  God.

c)  “For the place where you [Moses] are standing is holy ground”  Moses was now in the presence of God.  Taking off one’s shoes shows humility as servants often went barefoot in ancient times.  It was a symbol of taking off your sins to be close to God.  Note only close:  we can never be equal with God as God is holy and man is sinful.

d)  God in the person of Jesus.

4a)  Go to Egypt and bring my people out.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God cares about His people’s suffering and oppression and wants to rescue them.

Conclusions:  Right away, here’s God in week 3!  Funny how it’s known as the “Burning Bush” but it never burned.  I wonder why man is instinctively afraid to look upon God.  I know I’d love to see God but I’m wondering if God’s greatness is such that we are afraid of it since man himself is so evil.  I’m wondering if all of our sins flash before us in God’s presence and out of shame we hide.

Interesting how time is nothing to God and it is a lot to us.  Here’s Moses at the age of 40 where his life suddenly changes and he has to flee his old life.  Next thing we know, 40 years have passed and Moses is an old man who is now called to do God’s work.  Nothing is recorded about those 40 years except for God’s concern for His people.  This should encourage us:  nothing will be recorded about my life but God is watching me with concern!  Awesome!

For such a meaty passage, I expected much more meatier questions.

End Notes:  Note how Midian here is described as desert (BSF Lesson 2, Day 3 Question 6).  I picture this as Moses leading a completely obscure life in the middle of nowhere–as far from Egypt and his calling as could be.  In 40 years, he doesn’t even have his own flock of sheep (it’s his father-in-law’s) so Moses is as far from riches and nobility as anyone could be as well.

The mountain of Horeb is later called Mount Sinai where Moses receives the Ten Commandments.  So same place; different points in time.

Some say the burning bush represents Israel:  afflicted but not destroyed.  Some also say it represents the cross as well.

God does not speak to Moses until he has Moses’ attention.  How often do we miss God cause we aren’t paying attention?

God’s first words to Moses:  Moses’ name.  God knows Moses.  He knows his name.  He is important in God’s world even though he’s a nobody in our world.

Note also how God doesn’t just say Moses’ name once.  He calls him twice.  This shows the urgency of God’s plans.  God calls Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41), and Saul (Acts 9:4) all in the same manner.

God then said he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is the One, True God, the God of the covenant.  He has not forgotten His promise to His people.  He was reminding Moses of this.

God chooses Moses as His instrument to rescue His people.  God could do all of it himself.  But instead He chooses people.  (2 Corinthians 6:1:  we work with God).  I think God does this to increase our faith in Him and in other people.

Other places Jesus appears in Old Testament:  Genesis 16:7-13, Judges 2:1-5, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:3-22

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 5: Matthew 3:13-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus went to John the Baptist on the Jordan River and asked to be baptized.  John protested but in the end consented.  As soon as Jesus was baptized, heaven opened up and the Spirit of God descended and said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Questions:

12a)  “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

b)  The Spirit came down from heaven as a dove.

c)  “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

13a)  Confess their sins

b)  Jesus never sinned.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As an example to us humans what we are to do.  Jesus came to earth to not only save us from our sins and grant us eternal life with the Father but to show us how to live by his example.  We are to be baptized as an outward sign of our belief in Jesus; thus, he did it as well.

Jesus was identifying with us.

Only in Matthew is it recorded why Jesus said he needed to be baptized “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

You could also say this was a symbolic end to Jesus’ old life and the beginning or birth of his new life because he began his ministry after being baptized.

Conclusions:  Wish this was a bit more challenging but maybe it’s supposed to be a simple passage.  Did enjoy the different versions and it was interesting how God’s words are recorded the exact same in each passage.  Shows the importance of what God says.

Note also this is one place we see the Trinity all together:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 4: Matthew 3:11-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist is speaking and he says he will baptize the people with water for repentance but to be prepared for one is coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He will clear the threshing floor and burn up the chaff (basically judge).

Questions:

8 )  He baptized with water.  He did not baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

9)  Jesus would be more powerful than him.  He would not be fit to even carry his sandals.  He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.  He will judge.

10)  Joel 2:28:  The Spirit will be poured out and people will prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions.

Ezekiel 36:25-27:  You will be clean and cleansed from all your impurities and idols.  God will give you a new heart and spirit, which will move you to follow God’s decrees and keep His laws.

John 7:37-39:  Streams of living water or the Spirit will flow from within for those who believe in Jesus.

Acts 1:5, 8:  Baptized with the Holy Spirit and will receive power.

Isaiah 44:3:  The Spirit will be poured out as well as God’s blessing.

11a)  John the Baptist baptized with water as a symbol of repentance and forgiveness by God for people’s sins.  It was an outward symbol that one was ready to receive the Holy Spirit.  Since Pentecost and Jesus’ death on the cross, when we are baptized we are not only repenting our sins and asking for forgiveness from God for our sins but we are also accepting that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  This faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior allows the Holy Spirit to indwell within us and now we are marked at His and guided by Him forever and accepted into His kingdom.

Romans 6:3-4:  Paul writes:  “…all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Ephesians 1:13-14:  “Having believed [in Jesus], you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…”

John 3:5-15:  “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit…no one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I love review and getting my thoughts straight.  Just remembering that when we accept Jesus, we are marked, we are His, and the Holy Spirit is there to help us follow Him.  Also, great comfort in remembering always where my true home is:  heaven.

Conclusions:  It is interesting to note  how much the Spirit is mentioned in the Old Testament before it even came upon us in the New.  I love how we can see and read how prophecy has been fulfilled and how it reassures us that prophecy will continue to be fulfilled in Jesus’ Second Coming.  Great ‘little’ lesson today!

Great little site I found that explains how one can receive and how one knows they possess the Holy Spirit:

http://www.gotquestions.org/receive-Holy-Spirit.html

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 3: Matthew 3:1-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist came to Judea preaching to the people that the kingdom of heaven is near (i.e. Jesus was coming).  He wore camel hair as clothes and ate locusts and honey.  People came from all over to confess their sins and be baptized by him in the Jordan River.

When the Pharisees and the Sadducees began coming, John warns them to repent for no longer can they hide behind Abraham as their father for Jesus is coming to judge.  He will baptize them with water but after him Jesus will come, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit.  He will clear out the evil-doers, gather his believers, and burn up whoever is left.

Questions:

4a)  Zechariah was a priest so he would have been an ideal choice to teach John the Baptist the laws.  His parents were upright and observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.  He was born about 6 months before Jesus and they were cousins.  I wonder if they played together as kids and learned from each other.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian.  I was raised knowing I had a purpose in this world and I believe I have all the experiences I need in order to fulfill His purpose for my life.

5a)  We are told the advice John gave to those wishing to avoid the fire.  He told those who have more than others to share.  He told tax collectors to not collect extra for themselves.  He told soldiers to not extort people.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.  Those who have more should give to those who have less.  We should not collect more from others than we need.  We should be content with what we have.  We should not be greedy and treat others how we want to be treated–Golden Rule.

6a)  Repentance for the forgiveness of sins and preparation for Jesus’ arrival

b)  In essence, John’s job was to tell everyone to ready their hearts for Jesus is about to come and set them free.  Thus, he baptized them with water as they repented (regretted) their sins and asked for forgiveness.  He doesn’t mention accepting Jesus into their hearts but I believe this is implied in believing the Messiah was coming.

7a)  I interpret this passage differently than BSF.  I see John’s job as making the path straight to Jesus and God.  Jesus levels every playing field for all are equal to come to him.  No more Old Testament stipulations of cleansing to come to God, which would be the mountains and the valleys and the hoops you had to perform to get to God.  Only Jesus is the way to Him now.

John’s job was to prepare the way for Jesus.  To tell those to repent and cleanse your hearts to receive him inside–to rid yourself of anything (mountains or valleys) standing in the way of Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My sins are the rough places but they are not a mountain or valley or rough place to overcome for Jesus had done that for me.  I know when I stumble, God picks me up, and I keep walking His path no matter the obstacles (mountains or valleys) that lay before me.

Conclusions:  Challenging lesson that’s for sure as we were all over the place in the Bible.  I had an “ah-ha!” when I connected the dots in my brain with Elizabeth and Mary. Before, we hadn’t read Luke 1:5-25  just Luke 1:26-38 in Lesson 1 so I hadn’t realized the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary.  I had always heard John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin but had never quite connected the dots.  Yeah, BSF, for making me read those passages TOGETHER!

I definitely had a different take on question 7 and an interpretation of the verse so would be curious to see your all’s answers.  In my life, I don’t see mountains anymore.  I see Jesus.  Plain and simple.

Interesting Notes:  Again, we see God choosing people off of ability, not what they look like.  John the Baptist dressed differently and ate bugs.  Not your ordinary guy in ancient times and not one you’d expect to deliver the life-changing message that the Messiah is coming.  God knows the heart; that is all that matters to Him.

It was commonly believed that if you were Jewish, you couldn’t go to Hell because of Abraham.  John tells them not to rest on their laurels but to be ready for if you are evil and produce bad fruit you will be cut down to Hell.

Begin to notice the predominance of the word “repent” in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings.  Here, it is the first word recorded that John the Baptist said.  And it is the dominant message of Jesus:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  Matthew 4:17