BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 5: Exodus 9:13-10:29

Summary of passage:  We embark on the third set of three plagues set on Egypt.  Here God sends the Plague of Hail in exactly the same way as before:  God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to release His people.  If Pharaoh does not, a hailstorm the likes of which have never been seen in Egypt will rain down and destroy everything left outside.  Pharaoh refuses and Moses brings about the Plague.  Pharaoh relents, saying he has sinned, and asks Moses to take away the Plague and he will let the Israelites go.  We all know what happens:  Pharaoh does not.

Exodus 10:  Interestingly here, God is the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart again and he tells Moses this plague is so that the Israelites will know and the following generations that he is Lord.  Moses delivers the message:  God will send a Plague of Locusts to devour what is left of Egypt.  Pharaoh’s officials beg him to let the Israelites go.  But Pharaoh tries to compromise with God again, only wanting to let the men go.  God (of course) does not compromise so He sends the plague.

Same thing as in the Plague of Hail:  Pharaoh says he has sinned, asks Moses to remove the plague and he will let the people go, Moses does, and Pharaoh refuses, God again the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

Last plague of this set is without warning again:  God sends a Plague of darkness to Egypt.  No one could see for three days except for in the land of Goshen, which was spared.  Pharaoh calls Moses to him again and again tries to compromise, saying he must leave the livestock behind.  Moses laughs, saying they need the animals for sacrifice.  Here, the Lord again hardens Pharaoh’s heart and banishes Moses from his court.


10)  In the Plague of Hail (the Seventh plague), Pharaoh for the first time says he has sinned and he is wrong.  In the Plague of Locusts, the officials are finally convinced of God’s holiness.  Here Pharaoh says he has sinned against God and against Moses.  He asks for his sin to be forgiven.  In the Ninth Plague (the Plague of Darkness), Pharaoh says to go and he becomes so enraged at Moses’ refusal to compromise that he banishes Moses from his court.

In the Plague of Hail, God reveals to Pharaoh that the plagues are so His power is shown to all for He could have just have wiped them off the face of the earth but He hasn’t yet.  In the Plague of Locusts (the Eighth), God tells Moses this Plague is for the Israelites’ sake so that they may know He is God.

11a)  This is all a power game, nothing else.  Pharaoh wants to first just let the men go, then let the women go but keep the livestock here.  He wants to be in control when it is obvious God is in control.

b)  Too many to list.  Everyone tries to sneak in a bit of sin here and there instead of turning totally toward God and rejecting Satan completely.  Things like, “God, if you’ll do such and such for me, then I won’t ever do such and such again.”  God doesn’t bargain.  It’s all or nothing with Him as it should be in our lives.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hate the instructions “be specific” because often I can’t be.  Here, I can’t say of a bargain I’ve tried to make with God.  I can’t say I have ever cognizantly made one.  I’m sure I have with my actions.  I am just unaware of it.

12)  Moses is very assured in his speech and posture with Pharaoh.  I think some of this is from frustration and anger that Pharaoh is being so obstinate.  We see this in verse 29 with Moses last words to Pharaoh.  It seems this exchange is almost a tiff!  Moses is saying, “Well, fine!  I’ll do as you say and never, ever see you again!”

I think Moses has lost all fear of Pharaoh as he sees the miracles God has performed and how God has used him to perform such miracles.  I think Moses has realized God’s omnipotence and that Pharaoh is just a man.  I think Moses has lost all respect for Pharaoh who is so evil he chooses to harm his own people rather than let the Israelites go.  What kind of leader is he?

Conclusions:  This lesson covers a lot of ground as does the forthcoming lessons so make sure you leave the time to complete it thoroughly.  I love the change in Moses.  I think we all feel that when we see God in our lives work His power we become more confident in God and in our faith and it shines outward.  I love the consequences of Pharaoh’s continued sin.  I love God’s grace towards Pharaoh.  I love God’s show of power and mercy in the plagues when He could have just been done with the Egyptians.  So many powerful lessons for us to remember!

End Notes:  “I will being judgment on the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12).  God is in an all-out war against the Egyptian gods.  Here we see the Plague of Darkness attack the sun god, Ra, one of Egypt’s most important gods.  Ra was considered to the the King of the Egyptian Gods and as such the Pharaoh represented Ra on earth.  He was the creator of everything and considered the father of the other gods.  The sun was important to the Egyptians as they relied on it for light, warmth, and growth.  It is fitting that God chose his final attack on Pharaoh himself and on Egypt’s supreme god.

The Ten Plagues serve two major purposes:  One, to convince Egypt to let their slave labor go.  Two, to convince the Israelites it was time to leave the life they’ve known for 400 years.  God uses his power to let everyone know who is in charge.

Pharaoh’s stubbornness merely glorified God.  God gives the Egyptians a chance to protect their livestock from the hail. Some did and some didn’t.  It hardly ever rains in Egypt so the idea of a huge hailstorm was probably unimaginable to the Egyptians.  It would be easy for them to dismiss this warning.  They must have been very frightened when it began to hail.  Some translations say fire instead of lightning, which would have been even more frightening.

Nut was the goddess of the sky that the Plague of Hail was against.

Note Moses’ candor in the Plague of Hail.  “I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”  I can just see Moses sighing, knowing Pharaoh is lying to him and that his heart is hard and his confession is insincere.  Yet, he grants Pharaoh’s request so there is no excuse by Pharaoh NOT to turn to the Lord.  Moses is probably thinking, Man, this guy is an idiot!  But Moses probably also is sorry for Pharaoh as well and probably prays for him to turn to God.

Here we find yet another purpose of the plagues:  to grow Moses’ heart and faith in God and in himself.  We can see the transformation in Moses whose most difficult task is ahead:  leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.

Pharaoh hates the consequences of his sin, but not the sin itself.  He’d do the sin all over again.  This is a warning to us all.

The plagues keep coming as Pharaoh refuses to humble himself before the Lord and as God intends to keep showing Pharaoh who He is until Pharaoh gets it!

The Egyptian god Set was the protector of crops.  Looks like Set failed in his job in this instance as the locusts devoured everything in sight!

Note how the darkness is one that “can be felt”.  God is light so God not only abolished the sun’s rays, but He also took away His presence from the earth as well, which we can feel.

Pharaoh is so exasperated that he banishes Moses from his court, which is effectively banishing God. God responds with the Tenth Plague, one that will affect Pharaoh is a personal way so that God will never be banished again!

The Bible gives several reasons for the plagues:  to verify to God’s people that Moses is His chosen one, to show His greatness, to give testimony for the future generations, to answer Pharaoh’s question of who is God, to judge the false gods, and as a warning to other nations of what will happen if you oppose His people.

Fun Fact:  Pharaoh’s admission to sin in Exodus 9:27 is one of eight in the Bible.  See if you can discover who else said as much and who was sincere and who was insincere.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 4: Exodus 8:20-9:12

Summary of passage:  Now the Lord tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that the next plague will be a plague of flies; however, this time there will be no flies upon God’s people in Goshen–only in Egypt–so that Pharaoh will see God’s power even more.  Pharaoh tells Moses to worship God in Egypt and Moses says that is impossible for the Egyptians would stone them to death for doing so.  Pharaoh again says he will allow the people to go if Moses takes away the flies.  Moses does and Pharaoh once again lies.

God tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that he will kill all of the Egyptians livestock but leave the Israelites’ livestock alone.  Still, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he refuses.  So with no warning, God sends the plague of boils upon the men and animals.  Still, Pharaoh refuses to believe.


7)  God decides to only send the plague of flies upon the Egyptians and spare His people.

8a)  Presumably to give Pharaoh time to repent and turn to God and let His people go after receiving the warning from Moses.  Hence, Pharaoh would have no excuse as to his refusal.

b)  This shows God’s infinite mercy.

c)  Pharaoh refused to honor God’s request and “his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”

9a)  The people themselves.  Before it was the water, the land, and animals around them.  Here, it’s against the people themselves with the boils.

b)  Yes and no.  Original sin by Adam brought upon us death.  Often, illness and disease lead to death.  So, yes, in this instance.  But in the Old Testament, people believed if you sinned you were punished by God with a disease or with death.  Here, Jesus says no in John 9 as he heals a blind man.  Romans 5:12:  “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Sickness is not a consequence of personal sin; it’s a consequence of original sin (Adam and Eve’s). But with forgiveness, we are cured of our “sickness” of sin.  [More explanation in End Notes].

Conclusions:  Here we see the second set of three plagues.  God spares His people all of the plagues and God begins a more aggressive approach as it now afflicts the bodies of the Egyptians. Unbelievable how Pharaoh still refuses to relent. This must be the work of the devil for who else would still refuse to believe after seeing all of God’s miracles?

Question 9b is interesting because we get to see just what Jesus did for us on the cross.  Amazing!

I’m excited to be studying the plagues.  It’s been a long time for me and I had forgotten most of them!  Thank you, BSF!

End Notes:  The exact translation of flies is unknown in the original Hebrew.  This could very well be biting insects such as mosquitoes or fleas as well.  We can assume this had the same effect as the Plague of gnats/lice–that life as usual stopped in Egypt.

We can learn from Moses here.  Pharaoh tries to compromise, offering the Egyptians the right to sacrifice but here in Egypt.  Moses refuses.  Compromising in the face of evil/the devil is exactly what the devil wants us to do.  We must remain strong in our faith and not give in to any form of sin.

Did Pharaoh lie or did he change his mind once the Plague of flies was gone?  I tend to lean toward lying.  He never intended to give up his slaves and since he had already reneged on his promise with the frogs, who would believe him anymore?

Note how Pharaoh wanted God to help him and as soon as he was helped, he turned on God. Good lesson for us.  God is for us in the good and the bad.

Pharaoh knew God’s power enough to ask for God to remove the plagues.  But once done, he turned his back on God.  How many of us have done the same thing?

God is asking for Pharaoh to let His people go for His sake.  We are created for His sake.  So we must remember it is all about Him.

The cow was sacred to the Egyptians and their god, Hathor, was represented as a cow at times. There is record of an ancient battle where Egypt’s enemy put cows amongst the troops and the Egyptians would not shoot arrows at them for fear of killing the cows, forcing a retreat.

Even the magicians are struck with boils and their god of healing, Imhotep, was powerless.

For the first time, God hardens Pharaoh heart in fulfillment of scripture (Exodus 4:21; 7:3). In every example up to this point, Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Good lesson for us.  God gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent but eventually judgment is rendered.

This was a good website on the origin of sickness with many scriptural references thrown it:

Sickness is from the devil, not from God.  Sickness entered this world (and us) from man’s sins. But since we are forgiven if we accept Jesus as our Savior, illness is not from our personal sins. Does that make sense?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 3: Exodus 7:14-8:19

Summary of passage:  Since Pharaoh still refuses to let the Israelites go, God tells Moses to go out to the Nile River and meet Pharaoh and tell him that since he won’t let my people go, you will use your staff to turn the water of the Nile to blood so that the fish will die and the water will be undrinkable.  Then send Aaron to turn the rest of the water in Egypt to blood as well.  Moses obeyed but Pharaoh didn’t care since his magicians could do the same thing.  The Egyptians had to dig for their water.

After a week, God tell Moses to send a plague of frogs upon the people until Pharaoh relents and lets His people go.  So Aaron sends the frogs, which the magicians can do as well.  Pharaoh tells Moses if he takes the frogs away, he will release the Israelites.  So Moses agrees but Pharaoh reneges on his word.

So God has Aaron turn the dust of the land to gnats–something the magicians cannot reproduce.  They tell Pharaoh this is from God but he doesn’t care.


5)  Blood:  The Lord tells Moses and Aaron to turn the water in Egypt to blood.  Moses turns the Nile to blood while Aaron turns the rest of water to blood.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to Moses or Aaron and did nothing.

Frogs:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Pharaoh He will plague Egypt with frogs and tells Moses to tell Aaron to do so.  So Moses obeys and Aaron makes frogs come up out of the land from the waters in Egypt.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh tells Moses and Aaron he will release the Israelites if the Lord removes the frogs.  So Moses does but Pharaoh reneges.

Gnats:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Aaron to turn the dust to gnats.  Moses and Aaron do.  This is something the magicians can’t do so they tell Pharaoh that this must be the finger of God.  But Pharaoh as always has a hard heart and won’t listen and keep the Israelites enslaved.

Differences:  Moses participates in the plague of blood but strictly Aaron does so in the frogs and gnats.  Pharaoh obviously didn’t like frogs since he lies to Moses to get him to take the frogs away.  God is the same in all the passages.  The magicians can’t reproduce the gnats so they are now convinced that the Lord is who He says He is.  Pharaoh is the same obstinate person as before.

6a)  “This is what the Lord says”

b)  To underscore to Pharaoh that the message is from the Lord and not Moses just speaking.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is important to realize that the Bible is all that the Lord says, that it is from Him, and I’d better listen!

Conclusions:  I had never noticed before that Moses was the leader and Aaron did all the work for Moses.  From my childhood, I had always remembered it as Moses doing it all but it seems it’s his brother, Aaron, that does all the grunt work!  Aaron himself has no ability to perform miracles unless Moses says so.  It’s like Moses has to be seen as the leader just like Pharaoh is seen as the leader and like Pharaoh has minions and magicians to perform his work so must Moses.  I believe this is so in order to establish credibility with Pharaoh.  Furthermore, this is how it was in the ancient world:  you had an all-powerful ruler who dictated his orders and couldn’t possibly lower himself to do the work.

I always love how The Lord speaks to Moses cause it makes me jealous and I want God to speak to me!

End Notes:

Map of Ancient Egypt:

Up-close Map of Ancient Egypt:

This is the time of Ancient Egypt’s greatest power and the furthest extent of its empire.  And here’s Moses challenging arguably the greatest man on earth!  These maps are interactive and have a wealth of information on the time and the countries around Egypt.

There are 9 plagues sent by God upon Egypt (the killing of the firstborn is not really a plague per se).  They are grouped by threes with the first two always coming with warnings and the third with no warning.  This is by God’s mercy upon Pharaoh, hoping he will change his heart.  He never does.

Some say the plagues could all have happened by natural causes.  For instance, in the plague of the blood, the river Nile floods every year and deposits rich, red soil on the land.  This could taint the water and kill the fish.  However, in the time sequence of the Bible, not all could happen so close together.

Each plague attacked an Egyptian deity, showing God’s omnipotence over all and answering Pharaoh’s question from Exodus 5:2 “Who is the Lord?”

In the plague of blood, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a goddess. This shows her ineptitude.

Scholars debate whether the magicians were using tricks or were using powers from Satan.  Most lean towards Satan.  Note how Satan just replicates the miracle; he never fixes it for instance turning the Nile back to clean because Satan cannot cleanse anything.

Why all the plagues?  Why not just kill the Egyptians and be done with it?  Well, God has two purposes here.  One, to show his power over the Egyptian gods.  Two, to give Pharaoh and the Egyptians a chance to repent–to show mercy as God does to all peoples.

Plague of frogs:  Again, this is directed towards an Egyptian goddess who had the head of a frog.  Frogs were worshipped by the Egyptians and considered sacred and thus were not to be killed.  What did God do?  He killed the frogs!  I bet the Egyptians were outraged over this one!

Note the parallels with the Creation here:  First and Second plagues are about the waters.  Third and fourth plagues, earth.  Five, air.  Sixth, man.  Then God rested.  Genesis 1, anyone?

Note how God uses the lowly here to accomplish his goals:  gnats, frogs, etc.

Pharaoh had to ask for help with his frog problem since no one was allowed to kill frogs and apparently they were everywhere, so much so the land reeked of them.

Plague of gnats:  Many translations say plague of lice (which to me is worse!).  The Egyptians were obsessed with cleanliness and this hit them hard!  Plus, now their sacrificial animals were tainted and no longer clean and fit for sacrifice to their gods.

The magicians cannot replicate this miracle and they say so to Pharaoh who apparently is insane and refuses to believe.  This shows how evil is limited and only God is omnipotent.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 2: Exodus 6:28-7:13

Summary of passage:  Moses again repeats how he is incapable of the task God has given him to speak to Pharaoh and demand that he let the Israelites go.  God tells Moses that He will make him like god to Pharaoh and Aaron will be Moses’ prophet.  They are to repeat everything God tells them to Pharaoh but Pharaoh won’t let them go.  So God will lay mighty acts of judgment on the Egyptians and He will bring out His people.  Moses did just as the Lord commanded them.  Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 years old.

God told Aaron to throw down his staff and it would become a snake when Pharaoh asks for a miracle.  Aaron did so but so did the Egyptian magicians.  Despite Aaron’s snake swallowing up the magicians’ snakes, Pharaoh still refused to listen.


3a)  First thought, because Moses is an idiot.  Real answer I’ll say in class:  Moses says Pharaoh won’t listen to him because he speaks with faltering lips.

b)  First thought:  God should have slapped Moses silly and then hit him over the head with a 2 x 4.  Real answer I’ll say in class:  God told Moses He would make Moses like God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Despite our doubt and unbelief, God in His infinite patience, will answer our prayers and provide us the strength to make it through our troubled times.  God doesn’t smack us silly when we just don’t get it.  He patiently waits and gives us the reassurance and the power to succeed in His will for our lives.  Comforting as I try to follow God’s will for my life.  I know God will provide everything I need to accomplish it.

4a)  If your heart is hardened, you refuse to listen to God.  You are being stubborn and even when you know the other person is right, you refuse to change your ways.  It’s when you know what the right thing to do is but you don’t do it.

b)  God will render mighty acts of judgment upon the Egyptians.

c)  It disappears.  Every ancient civilization fell.  Egypt.  Greeks.  Romans.  Persians.  Babylonians.  Mongols.  Hittites.  Nazi Germany.  They either disappeared or were conquered.  The only nation still standing after millenia is Israel.

Conclusions:  I couldn’t believe Moses–again protesting God’s will and his ability.  I wonder how much fear played a factor here.  After all, Pharaoh was the most powerful man in the known world at this time.  Just goes to show us how much we doubt God and His word and how much God props us up in our doubt.

I liked the hardened question because I believe this happens a lot.  People don’t do good when they know they should.  Instead, they listen to the devil and either don’t do anything (a choice as well) or do evil.  These days people claim ignorance or blame it on someone else but God knows their heart like He knew Pharaoh’s and in the end judgment will be forthcoming.

I also love how when Satan shows up God beats him every time.  The magicians’ snakes were eaten by God’s.  Great reminder to us that God is the one in charge and He will conquer all.

End Notes:  Scholars say either Moses had a speech problem or he just believed he was unclean or unworthy to be used by God.  Either way God uses us all despite our sins or our impediments. Trust in Him is the key.

Since Pharaoh won’t listen to God himself (Exodus 5:2), God will use Moses as a testament of himself.  So we all are God’s people, representing God to those who won’t listen to Him.

Note here God clearly puts Moses in charge and Aaron as the number 2 guy (God versus the prophet analogy). This will be important later on as Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and they wander around for 40 years.  We’ll see how this plays out later in our study!

When Pharaoh refused God the first go-around (Exodus 5:1-4), Pharaoh chose evil over God.  Hence, God reserves the right to strength this choice of evil in your heart if you chose to turn from Him.  Thus, he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  Note still there is time to turn to Him.  God will perform wonders throughout Egypt so Pharaoh could still turn to God.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to bring judgment on Egypt.  God’s plan was to show who He was and some did believe as in Exodus 12:38 where some Egyptians accompanied the Israelites.

Note how Aaron was older.  God broke with tradition and chose the younger brother for His work.  Anyone remember Joseph?  God’s ways and traditions are definitely NOT man’s!

This is not the same miracle as in Exodus 4:1-9.  Scholars say this Hebrew word for “snake” here is different and could connote a crocodile or some other animal that would be more meaningful to the Egyptians.  (They worshiped crocodiles by the way).

Satan was here, working his evil magic through the Pharaoh’s magicians and giving Pharaoh room to doubt. God showed Pharaoh He was more powerful than Satan by having his snake swallow up the others.  Still Pharaoh refused to believe the truth.

After thought:  Some wonder why we can’t narrow down which Pharaoh this is because the Egyptians kept detailed records of every pharaohs and their deeds.  However, Egyptians were notorious for changing records.  Often, a Pharaoh would try to erase the existence and/or deeds of his predecessor especially if a coup or a fight had been involved.  We see this with Hatshepsut, the most famous and prosperous female ruler of Egypt who ruled around 1500 BC.  This happened again with Akhenaten (1330’s BC–Tutankhamun’s Dad by the way) who tried to institute monotheism in Egypt which upset many.  There are other examples as well.

Hence, in my mind, this could be the case for this Pharaoh.  After all, who would want to write down in Egypt’s illustrious histories how a Pharaoh let all his slaves escape?  Especially during this time which was the time that the Egyptian empire was at its most powerful.  I’m sure the Pharaohs who came after this one were ashamed about what happened and didn’t want the word out, which would lessen their credibility as gods to their people and as powerful leaders to the surrounding nations.

History recording is not perfect by man.  Luckily, it is by God.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 5: Matthew 5:13-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells his disciples (and all those people on the mountainside as well as you and me) that they are the salt of the earth but if you lose your saltiness you are no longer good for anything and will be thrown out and trampled by men.

You (believers) are the light of the world meant to be seen by others.  So let your good deeds shine so that others may praise the Father in heaven.


9a)  In ancient times, salt was used to preserve meat and add flavor.  It was one of the valued “spices” in the spice trade along with many others that prompted the discovery of America.  It was a valuable and precious commodity of which men risked their lives for.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As disciples of Christ, we should preserve God’s word and His teachings in the hearts and minds of others.  We should add flavor to others lives by giving them something (God) that is valuable.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  Not feeling very upbeat this morning or useful so tend to feel I haven’t made as much an impact as I could.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I interpret this question to really ask in plain English the difference between living amongst Christians and living in a non-Christian environment.  Or it could be interpreted as what’s it like living when you have lost your flavor, meaning your usefulness in this realm.

For the former, we all can answer that due to the ungodly society we live in day-in and day-out. It’s an easy life amongst Christians, not so easy amongst others who are bent on tearing us down and trampling us.

For the latter, if the flavor of Christ is missing, you lead a tasteless life.  Non-impactful.  Dull. Blah.

I don’t think BSF meant the latter interpretation because it says you are living as salt, which is a shame since the passage addresses what happens when we lose our saltiness.

Christians can lead a flavorless life when they stop living an impactful life and spreading the word.

10a)  Light illuminates the dark and also pushes the dark back.  It also exposes what is in the dark.

b)  To be the light of the world.  To bring others the light of Jesus and to bring them out of the dark.  The Matthew passage says it better so I’m unsure why we were sent to Luke’s account of these words.  We are to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good deeds and be brought to Jesus and glorify God.

11)  God must work in you His good purpose so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault as we hold onto the word of life (God’s word).

12a)  Repeat of 10b.  We are to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good deeds and be brought to Jesus and glorify God.  So others may see grace in us and thus grace in God.  We are lead visible and intentional lives for all to see.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not to hide Him.  To credit Him in public for everything in my life.  To say more often how it is all God’s grace and will working in me.  To pray that I am a light to others.  That I be cognizant of that.  That I remember I’m His.  And that I remember others are watching and judging me all the time and one never knows when I could convert someone.

Conclusions:  I felt the boat was missed on this lesson.  9d did nothing more than confuse people.  BSF took the metaphor too far in my opinion.  Did not like being sent to Luke.  As I mentioned in Lesson 1, I foresaw this as a pattern that we’d be studying the other gospels alongside Matthew since the stories are frequently repeated and I accepted this.  However, in this case, Luke wasn’t helpful.  I feel Matthew’s version is much meatier and I feel we didn’t touch on the “city on the hill” at all.  This is such a common quote amongst Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) that I felt we should have unpacked it and explained it so that we can understand it.

To me, “city on a hill” is Core Knowledge (yes, this is a throw out to you homeschoolers and educators out there), something everyone should know especially since it has been secularized and it’s meaning stripped (meaning Jesus has been taken out and man has been substituted).  And it was overlooked, bypassed if you will, for metaphors on salt.  Too many questions on salt.  Not enough on light (which is EVERYWHERE in the Bible) and a much more important study than salt.

For instance, did you know Jesus called himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12, John 9:5) as well and now he calls us that too!  Pretty cool!  I’m pretty humbled by it to be honest.  To be compared to Jesus!  Wow!  Makes my day.  It is both a compliment and a commission. Unmentioned by BSF.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in the New Testament God is referred to as Father.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 4: Matthew 5:11-12

Passage:  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


7)  Matthew 5:12:  “great is your reward in heaven” when you are insulted, persecuted, and spoken falsely against

Matthew 6:3-6, 16-18:  God will reward you when you give to the needy in secret, when you pray in secret, and when you fast in secret.

Luke 6:22-24:  “great is your reward in heaven” when you are insulted and rejected as evil

Luke 19:11-27:  “Everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.”  The two men who made the money grow were given cities to govern as well.

1 Corinthians 3:8-15:  “Each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”  “If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.”  Basically, what you put in, you get out.

Colossians 3:23-24:  “Work with all your heart as working for the Lord since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Hebrews 10:35; 11:26:  “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”  “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Hebrews 11:6:  God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

8a)  Half personal question.  My answer:  The Bible tells us to rejoice and be glad and to not be surprised and you are blessed because of it.  Not sure.  Haven’t truly been insulted or persecuted because of my beliefs.  But I have had false things spoken against me because of my beliefs (see Conclusions for full explanation).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Luke 19, 1 Corinthians, and Colossians are some of my favorites that I whole-heartedly believe in.  I believe those who have will receive more because they are good stewards.  You will be rewarded according to your labor whether lazy or not.  You do work for God.  I know I will receive God’s reward because I believe in Him, His word, and His son.

Conclusions:  Again, a lot of looking up that just takes time.  Great lesson to remind us that it’s the end game that matters, not what happens to us here on Earth.  We need to act with this in mind continually.  Then the daily dramas won’t be so dramatic anymore.

I pondered question 8a for a while, mainly because I felt bad because I haven’t been persecuted because of my beliefs.  Then I remembered the story I just shared with you all (read HEREany maybe that could be persecution.

Then I read a commentary that asked the question:  if no one speaks evil of you, are you living a life that the Beatitudes describe?

Well, put that way, yeah, people speak evil (or not nice things–evil is a bit strong in my opinion) things about me all the time because I do tend to offend (not as much anymore.  I have learned as I’ve gotten older!).

And then I thought:  we never know what others say about us behind our backs.  We never know how we come across to others or sometimes even if we do offend others.

There’s only one solution to this:  to live your life as the Beatitudes describe with the goal of being more and more like them.  Yes, you will offend people along the way because the world does not value these character traits and most people act the opposite of them in fact.

So, if you are a Christian, then we all have been persecuted because we all have had people who “falsely say all kinds of evil against” us because of God.  This is a consequence of living a Godly-life.  Of having the Holy Spirit indwelt who shines Him everywhere we go.  And it is “because of me”, because of God.  Because we are His.  Because we belong to Him.

And isn’t it wonderful?

So I say, “Say what thou wilt”.  For He is mine and I am His.  And there is nothing more wonderful in all of Creation.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 3: Matthew 1-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus is speaking on a mountain with his disciples to a crowd (this is also known as his sermon on the mount).  He says blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who search for righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, and who are persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You are blessed when people insult you and persecute you because of Jesus because great is your reward in heaven.


5)  Poor in Spirit receive the kingdom of heaven

Mourners receive comfort

Meek shall inherit the earth

Hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled

Merciful will be shown mercy

Pure in heart will see God

Peacemakers will be called the sons of God

Persecuted because of righteousness receive the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 25:34 says those who are blessed will inherit the kingdom of God.  Matthew 25:40 says those who help others (any kind of help) are doing it for God.

Luke 17:21 has Jesus saying the kingdom of God is within you (referring to the Holy Spirit).

John 17:20-26 essentially repeats Luke as Jesus prays that God’s love will be inside of us and that he himself will be inside of us and his glory as well.  And Jesus prays that non-believers will see this love and come to him as well.

The Revelation passages speak of the Second Coming and how all of those who are blessed, who are believers in Christ, will reign on earth alongside Jesus.

6a)  Opposite of poor of spirit:  Those who do not repent over their sins, who do not fear God, who are prideful, and self-reliant.  This is most people today.  They think the world revolves around them and they can do whatever they want without consequences.

Opposite of mourn:  Those who do not feel, are unsympathetic to others, are indifferent to others and their suffering.  Those who are unrepentant and who truly don’t care mourn their sins.  Who chuck it up to life.  Those who don’t strive to be more like Jesus.  Again, this is a lot of people who are too selfish to notice others in the world are suffering and frankly don’t care to help.

Opposite of meek:  Prideful.  The need to be right and not submit.  A natural human condition we all must fight to overcome.  Most of us suffer from pride in some form during our lives.  It’s a daily battle to overcome.

Opposite of hunger and thirst for righteousness:  Those who disregard God’s laws.  Who commit adultery, who think homosexuality is okay, who take His name in vain, who worship other idols, who covet what they do not have.  Who submit to Satan’s lies in essence.  Those who do not seek to fill themselves up with God but instead use drugs, alcohol, sex, and evil to fill their emptiness inside of them.  This is a lot of people today as well.

Opposite of merciful:  Unmerciful.  Those who hold grudges and refuse to forgive.  Those who act out of spite.  Those who are mean and get some kind of sick pleasure out of it.  Bullies come to mind.  Many today do not forgive and it is one of God’s most important commandments as He forgave us everything.

Opposite of pure in heart:  Those whose treasure is of the world.  Who values material things over God’s things such as compassion and mercy.  The unrighteous.  Those whose heart serves two or more masters.  These again are many in this world.

Opposite of peacemakers:  Troublemakers!  Those who stir up dissent.  Who are infected with evil and thus do evil.  Those who reject God and are not reconciled to Him.  Of the world today, there are many.

Opposite of persecuted because of righteousness:  Those who will not suffer for God.  Who have not accepted Him wholeheartedly.  Who have limits on their faith.  Who will not go out of their way for Him.  It can be as simple as not attending church on Sundays because it’s an “inconvenience”.  Those who put their needs above Him.  Or those who renounce Him on penalty of death.  Or those who ignore Him when He speaks.  This is many today.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would like to say I hunger and thirst for Him and try to be pure of heart.  I try to do what is right in this world and what Jesus would do.  I study His word like I would anything else: with the goal of knowing Him and understanding as much as He will allow me to.  And I try to share Him with others as difficult as this may be (see HERE for a recent story on this).

I consider this a blessing because then I am able to share what I learn with others and my kids in a meaningful and understandable way in order to bring others to Him.  I write this blog in order to share my knowledge and have you all thirst for more!

In return, as I learn more and share more, I am encouraged and motivated to do His will and discover Him.

Conclusions:  Question 5 is very similar to Question 4 and I found myself repressing the scowl on my face.  For it was different.  Yesterday we examined the blessing.  Today we examined the reward for keeping the blessing.  And BSF took it one step further, asking us the opposite of the blessing, which allowed us to see our faults.

I thoroughly enjoyed this in-depth analysis of the Beatitudes and how I’m supposed to live my life. I have never studied this before so it was exciting to say the least!  I learned some new stuff, was reminded of some stuff, and encouraged to keep plugging away at my goal of being more Jesus-like.  And I hope you all were as well.  Long lessons but worth every minute!