BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 5: Exodus 18

Summary of passage:  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, visits Moses, bringing him his wife and two sons with him.  Moses meets him and Moses explains all that the Lord has been doing for the Israelites.  Jethro acknowledges God above all other gods and offers a burnt sacrifice.

The next day Moses sits in judgement of his people.  Immediately, Jethro sees how Moses spent his whole day listening to disputes and suggests that Moses appoint others to listen to the easy disputes so as not to wear himself out.  Then Moses can settle only the difficult disputes, and have time to rest and attend to other matters.  Moses followed his father-in-law’s advice and then Jethro returned to his country.

Questions:

10a)  Probably right after the crossing of the Red Sea because it would be difficult terrain.  Maybe during the plagues as well so they wouldn’t suffer while they were still in Egypt.  The fact is that the Bible does not say so no one knows.  Why this is a challenge question is beyond me.  Nothing in the Bible tells us.

b)  To protect them from something or someone (diseases, plagues, a dictator, hardships, etc).  Or even to better focus on his job (in this case leading the people out of Israel) without distractions.

11a)  Jethro was “delighted”.  He praised the Lord, acknowledged his greatness above all other gods and offered up a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God in praise.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I tend to think my life is not that noteworthy and I haven’t had any great God event occur–certainly not like parting the Red Sea.  So that leaves me with little things:  how God provided during hard times, God protected me when I was young and stupid, God protected us all from things we don’t even know, and God’s faithfulness day-in and day-out.

12a)  Moses was wearing himself out with the heavy workload.  People were standing around all day, waiting for their turn, becoming impatient and angry.  His time was better spent concentrating on leading the people to the Promised Land, not on disputes.

b)  He told Moses to delegate the simple tasks so he would have more time to hear from God.  To train up Godly men to help him.  To teach God’s laws and decrees to the people so that they are better able to govern themselves.

c)  Capable men–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain.

d)  God

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Help me to be a better teacher of his decrees and laws to my kids and others around me.  Help me to ask for help when I need it.  Recently, we started a chore chart with the kids so they could help me keep up with the housecleaning duties.  This was something I desperately needed.  Help me to focus on God’s work and delegate the rest.  Help me to pray more and pray before decisions.

Conclusions:  Leaders must delegate if they are to lead properly.  Here we see the first Biblical example of doing so.  We also see God using others to promote His will and ease some of our burdens.  We see concern and compassion for others and the will to speak Godly advice into others’ lives.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  We assume Jethro worshipped the One, True God as scholars say a priest of Midian may be descended from Abraham (Genesis 25:1-2).

This is the only time Moses’ second son is mentioned.  Eliezer means “God is my helper.”  What a consrast with his first son’s name, meaning “alien there.”

Scholars believe this event is out of order, using Numbers and Deuteronomy as evidence.  They believe this scene happened much later, closer to coming near the Promised Land.

Moses took the advice; a great character trait in leaders.  Moses also prayed about advice from Jethro to make sure it was God’s will as well.

Note the importance of praying and teaching. Pray for others and teach them God’s laws so that they may settle disputes as well.  You are better when you develop those around you as well.  This also blessed those chosen, giving them the opportunity to serve God as well.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 4: Exodus 17:8-16

Summary of passage:  The Amalekites attack the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua out to fight while he, Aaron, and Hur went to a hill. Moses held up his hands and the Israelites would win. Aaron and Hur helped Moses to hold up his hands the entire day for if he didn’t, the Amalekites would win. Joshua overcame in the end and Moses built an alter to God and recorded the event and God’s promise to wipe the Amalekites from history.

Questions:

8a)  Moses calls it the “staff of God” in verse 9.  I think it represented God and God’s blessings

b)  The fact that Moses held up the staff because when Moses held up the staff, the Israelites were winning. When he lowered it, the Israelites were losing.  Presumably, if Moses didn’t hold up the staff, the Israelites would lose the war.  Plus, the staff represents God’s favor so God’s power is in the staff.  Furthermore, we are not told here what God said to do.  All that is recorded is Moses’ orders.  So God could have told Moses to hold up the staff and Moses could have told Joshua to go and fight.  We are not sure.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure what the pronoun “this” is referring to in this question.  “This” could be the whole passage.  “This” could be the previous question.  BSF is unclear here.  I’m gonna go with the previous question here.  Moses had to pray to win the battle.  So must I.  I must pray to win my battles and lately I’ve been remiss of this as I’ve felt a bit far from God.  Prayer is a weapon that I must wield much more often.

9a)  The account of this battle and that God will completely blot out the memory of the Amalekites.

b)  Two-fold:  So this battle can be remembered by future generations as a testament to God’s greatness and glory and mercy. So that His people would know that their enemies, the Amalekites, are insignificant and God will keep His promise to blot them from history.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s more oral tales than written records.  Give God the credit to all in my life.  Hopefully, my life will be a testament itself.

Conclusions:  Too many pronouns “this” in this passage.  I had to go immediately to commentary to answer some of these.  Other Bible translations proved helpful as well.

My take away:  Pray.

End Notes:  Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).  The Amalekites were a group of wandering nomads in the Sinai at this time.  In Deuteronomy 25:17-18 we learn that the Amelekites attacked the end of the line where the women, children, old, and the baggage lay.  This was a cowardly act of war, intent to just steal from the Israelites.

This was the first battle for the Israelites in 400 years.  They had to rely on God for this one.

Moses calls the rod “the rod of God”.  God calls the rod “the rod of Moses”.  Love the honor here!

This is the first time in the Bible we meet Joshua, who always is faithful to Moses and God.

Scholars believe Hur was Miriam’s husband.

Moses holding up his hands was the traditional way for the Israelites to pray much like we bow our heads.  Here, Moses is praying.  When he stops praying, God stops acting.  Great lesson for us to learn–the power of prayer.

Praying was the hard work here, not the battle.  Note Moses needed others to support him–just like we do in our Christian walks.

Today many of God’s peoples are defeated because they do not pray.  Fighting is important and with prayer it’s indestructible.

Moses is commanded five times to write down something by God (Exodus 17:14, Exodus 24:4-7, Exodus 34:27, Numbers 33:1-2, and Deuteronomy 31:9, 24).

More battles will give the Amalekites time to repent.  God is good.

Favorite Map showing Rephidim where the Amalekites attacked Israel:  http://headwatersresources.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ExodusColorNotesFramedCC.jpg

Fun Fact:  Jesus is the Greek pronunciation of Joshua.  They are the same name.  You can see why in the lives of both men.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 3: Exodus 17:1-7

Summary of passage:  The Israelites set out for their journey to Canaan, traveling from place to place, still in the Desert of Sin.  They reach Rephidim where there is no water so they again complain to Moses.  Moses asks them why do they test the Lord.  Still, they protest.  Moses, exasperated, asks God what to do.  God tells Moses to strike a rock at Horeb to bring forth water for the people.

Questions:

6a)  They complained they had no water and they accused him of bringing them out of Egypt so they could die–the same complaint they made in Exodus 16.

b)  Because they lacked faith in God to provide.

c)  He met their needs, specifically by sending out Moses to bring forth water from the rock of Horeb.

d)  Water, especially in the desert is precious and life-giving.  Jesus said he brings the water of eternal life if you choose to drink it (which is accept him as the Savior).  Jesus is our Rock, our salvation, and if you drink from the rock, you drink of him.  When Jesus was struck like this rock, living water flowed.  We received the Holy Spirit from that rock and water (Jesus).

7a)  The grumbled about water (Exodus 15:24; 17:2-3) and food (Exodus 16:3).  Three times they grumbled, repenting zero times.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am ungrateful a lot of the time, not remembering my blessings like the Israelites. I can be flippant as well to others and dismissive and selfish.  I will ask God to allow me to remember my blessings, have a more grateful heart, and be kinder with my words and attitudes towards others.  Lessen my selfishness.

Conclusions:  I liked this cause it was a short read.  It’s hard to read how much the Israelites grumbled cause I wonder how much I do the same thing.  I think they are idiots, but I’m sure God thinks the same of me as well.  Luckily, He showers me with grace like He did the Israelites as I continue on my imperfect path.

Please read John 7:39 for question 6d.  It specifically says the living water is the Holy Spirit.  I’m not sure why BSF cut that verse off.

End Notes:  We in the Western world have a hard time understanding thirst.  I know I don’t think I’ve ever gone without water for a day.  So to go three days without water I cannot imagine.  But without it you will die.  And when dehydration sets in, the mind starts going and I’m sure patience as well.  Thirst is the number one need and the most important here.

We can learn from Moses who took his problems to God in complete faith to solve them, which He did.

God has Moses perform this miracle for all to see so that they would know God is with them.

God answers with no words of reproach–something I know I need to work on.

In Deuteronomy, God specifically refers to this test at Massah and Meribah as examples of unbelief.

The greatest sin of the Israelites is right here in their own words:  “Is the Lord among us or not?”  I think even if God appeared personally, someone would doubt.  I wonder what quality this is in us humans to doubt our eyes and our ears.  Every lower animal relies on their senses to survive and we rely on our brain.  Sometimes I think this may not be such a good thing.  We overthink instead of just using our senses and knowing.

I wonder how much God’s heart broke because of this.  What God wants most from us–belief in Him.  Sad.  Very, very sad.

We cannot think of the Sinai Peninsula as barren with no life.  It is a desert but it’s a high plateau with mountains, trees, and some grasslands.  It cannot support a large population but it does support life.

Insane in-depth analysis of the Wilderness of Sin, using mostly ariel satellite images.  Great website to get an idea of what the landscape is like.  Remember, no one is sure of these exact locations.  These are the best guesses, using the Bible in terms of location.  To me, it’s a great visual to gain a sense of what the Israelites faced.

http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-wilderness-of-sin.htm

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 2: Exodus 15:22-16:36

Summary of passage:  The Exodus continues now as Moses leads God’s people from the Red Sea through the Desert of Shur.  Here, they could not find water so Moses cries out to the Lord.  God shows Moses a log which he throws in the water to purify it.  The Lord made a decree with his people that if they listened to Him and followed his command and kept his decrees, He would not bring any diseases upon them.

Exodus 16:  The march through the desert is not easy so the people begin to grumble against Moses and Aaron, saying they have brought them out here to die.  The Lord then promised to rain down bread from heaven and have the people gather the bread.  Moses told the people they would receive bread in the mornings and meat in the evenings from the Lord since He has heard their grumblings against Him.  The people could see the glory of the Lord speaking to Moses.  God did this so they would know He is the Lord their God.

God sent manna and quail for the Israelites to eat.  They were to take only what was needed and not save any. When some took too much, it rotted by morning.  On the sixth day, the people are to gather enough food for the Sabbath.  This they are allowed to store.  However, as always, some disobeyed and tried to find food, angering the Lord.

The Lord commanded the people to keep some manna as a reminder of their journey.  For 40 years, the people ate manna provided by God until they came to Canaan.

Questions:

3a)  Three days

b)  Moses cried out to the Lord and He heard and showed Moses a piece of wood, which he threw in the water, purifying it.

c)  The people must listen carefully to the voice of the Lord and do what is right in His eyes and pay attention to His commands and keep all of his decrees, then He would never bring diseases upon His people.

d)  He is the Lord their God who heals them.

4a)  The people think that Moses has brought them into the desert when it is the Lord who has done so.

b)  God. Verses 7, 8 & 9

5a)  He rained down bread (manna) for the people in the morning and provided meat (quail) for them in the evenings. He did this for 40 years.

b)  It was a test to see if the people followed His instructions exactly.  If they listened to God and followed His decrees.  It also tested their faith and reliance on God to provide for their needs.

c)  Jesus said that God gave them the bread from heaven but the true bread is himself–the one who came down from heaven and gives life to the world.  Jesus follows with one of his most famous statements, saying he is the bread of life and whoever comes to him in faith and belief will have everlasting life.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am assuming you can read this as how have you experienced Jesus.  For me, he is everywhere always in every nook and cranny of my being.  I experience him every day and praise and thank him for my life which he has blessed me with.  He is my bread, my salvation and I pray I live that every day of my life.

Conclusions:  My favorite part is how the Israelites grumble against Moses but it’s truly against God.  How often do we do this? Blame others and lash out at them when it’s not their fault and we are truly mad at God for our circumstances.  We blame others when it’s our lack of faith that is to blame.  I loved how both God and Moses called the people on it and highlighted their lack of faith and ungratefulness.  I also like how it only took 3 days from seeing God at His most powerful for the Israelites to forget.

I wonder what it must have been like to see manna fall from the sky.  Cool!

End Notes:  Experts say 3 days is the maximum amount of time the human body can go without water under desert conditions.

Why did Moses not use his rod he is carrying that have worked the wonders before?  Every time, God has granted Moses and the rod the ability to do His bidding.  The same here.  God must give the rod magic powers; the rod itself has nothing to do with it.  Hence, God chooses a log instead, reminiscent of the cross.  Scholars also say this water was purified with elements to cleanse the Israelites of any maladies from Egypt.  So it cleansed and it satisfied.

When God calls you to obey Him, it is really a test.

Many of God’s laws is to keep the people safe from diseases.

Elim was a place of restoration for the people.  Testing would come later as they continued their journey across the desert.

Exodus 16 opens with one month after leaving Egypt.  The people are headed towards the Sinai but they must cross the Wilderness of Sin first.

Note the Israelites were the only ones to call the bread manna, which means “What is it?”  God almost always called it “bread from heaven”.  God provides in unexpected ways.

God could have been mad about the complaints.  Instead, He had compassion and mercy on them and gave them what they needed.

The quails here migrate over the Sinai Peninsula and at night they rest and are easy picking for predators.

Manna was a thin, flaky substance left over when the dew evaporated, which the people had to gather.  No one really knows exactly what it was but God.  No one knows exactly how much an omer was either.  It had to be gathered by each family when it appeared.  No laziness accepted.

The first mention of the Sabbath is right here!  The first mention since God rested after the creation, that is, in Genesis 2.  The root word of ‘rest’ and ‘Sabbath’ are the same.  I missed this because I am so used to the Sabbath being holy but here the Israelites had no clue what God was doing.  Hence, I think in some small way this can explain why some disobeyed (even though they shouldn’t have) to gather the bread.  God was teaching here and some unfortunately missed it.

Just as God provided, God stopped once they arrived in Canaan.  He blessed them instead with the joy of providing for themselves.

Here was our wonderful question to read from John as Jesus explains the true meaning behind manna and the bread of life.  Awesome!

Take away:  The details are truly unimportant here.  What we need to know is this:  depend on God who will provide in unexpected ways as long as you obey and trust in Him.  Feed daily from the true Bread of Life and you will be blessed forevermore.

Extras:  Short reading on Sabbath and this passage HERE

Interesting longer read on the Sabbath HERE, which details its beginnings, its meaning for the Jews at the time, and its meaning for Christians.  Very good article on the misunderstandings of the Sabbath and how Christians can distort the true intent behind it.  Excellent for those who think God can be compartimentalized to one day only!

More on the Sabbath will be forthcoming in our study, especially since it is one of the Ten Commandments so stay tuned!

My Favorite Map Showing Elim, Marah and Sinai:  HERE

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 5: Matthew 6:25-34

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not worry about anything (food, clothes, etc) for worry does not add a single hour to your life and if the Father provides for the birds, why wouldn’t He provide for us?  If you see first his kingdom and his righteousness all these things will be given to you.  Tomorrow will worry about itself as each day has enough trouble of its own.

Questions:

12a)  Life, what you will eat or drink, your body, what you will wear (clothes)

b)  Because life is more important than food (verse 25).  If the Father feeds the birds, why wouldn’t he feed us who are much more valuable than the birds (verse 26).  Worry does not add a single hour to your life (verse 27).  Since God clothes the lilies which are here today and gone tomorrow, why wouldn’t He clothe us? (verses 28-30)  Because pagans worry about these things (verse 32) and God knows our needs.  If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then all these things will be given to you (verse 33).  Tomorrow will worry about itself (verse 34).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I worry about money which is essentially the same as worrying about food and clothes since money buys all of the above.  Jesus says I should seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to me.

Conclusion:  I love lessons on worry.  I’m not one who overly-worries as I constantly remind myself that God is in charge and worrying does do no good but I think we all worry at points in our lives.  What a comfort these verses are when we are consumed by worry or anxiety.  It may help too to remember we are merely stewards of God’s blessings, which is hard to do in a society obsessed by material goods.

Jesus’ point is our life is more than physical concerns which is the primary concern of animals.  We have a purpose and if we worry about physical needs, we debase ourselves and our purpose here on Earth and we show we don’t trust God to provide for us.  So if we seek Him first in all things, the rest will fall into place.  Seek Him today and every day and tomorrow (the future which may or may not exist) will take care of itself.

As keeping the the Beatitudes, Matthew 6 has some wonderful, practical lessons for us on how to live our lives as a Christian.  Giving.  Praying.  Fasting.  Working for God.  Trusting in God.  Great lesson all-around.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 4: Matthew 6:19-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not store up treasure here on earth which is temporal but store treasure in heaven which is for all of eternity for that is where your heart will be.  If you eye is good, you will be full of light.  If you eyes are bad, you will be full of darkness.  No one can serve two masters.  You cannot serve both God and Money.

Questions:

9a)  Praise, recognition, material items (cars, boats, houses or what goes in houses, etc), kids.  You can fall from a pedestal easier than the climb.  You can have all of your possessions taken away.  Your kids can die.

b)  Rewards for doing God’s work here on earth.  The good that we do for Him here on earth through our faithful giving will last forever.

c)  Psalm 119:72:  “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold”

Luke 12:15-21:  Storing up things for yourself and not for God yields you nothing.  Life is not about an abundance of possessions.

1 Corinthians 2:9:  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

Note:  This does not mention treasure so we assume the “what” is greater than treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18:  What is unseen is eternal; what is seen (treasure) is temporary.

Philippians 3:8:  Nothing is worth having except Jesus and Christ is worth losing all things for

1 Peter 1:4-5:  Our inheritance is kept in heaven with Jesus’ death–one that will never perish, spoil, or fade

10a)  The things you treasure are the things you believe you can’t live without.  Some people can’t live without their cars, their homes, their jobs, their looks, etc.  On the other side, some people can’t live without helping others, volunteering, doing God’s work.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I’d like to think it is God and my treasure is in heaven.  I don’t typically do things or buy things to impress others for I don’t really care what others think.  I try to do what I feel God wants me to and to follow His call in my life.  I try to live as much as possible for others and help others.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Speak kinder words.  Stop cussing.  Live more for others.  Put others first.  Desire more to help others.

11)  Light comes into the body through our eye and if we are generous, we will be full of light and contentment.  If we are not generous, darkness consumes us.  Either we are looking towards heaven (the light) or we are looking towards earth (the dark).  We cannot serve both so we will either have great light or great darkness in our lives.

Conclusions:  The term money is material things.  We are to use our money (which is not really ours it’s God’s) for Him and His purposes.  Again, it’s a matter of the heart.  Are we greedy?  Or are we generous?  Are you sacrificing for God?  Or are you sacrificing for money?  Do you treasure the things money buys or the things money can do?

The eye is where light enters through the body.  If the eyes are good means if you have light (God) in your life, your whole body (heart included) will be good and focused on the light (God) instead of in darkness (evil or earthly things).

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 3: Matthew 6:5-13

Summary of passage:  Pray alone to the Father and don’t pray just to be seen as holy or righteous.  Pray from the heart.  Don’t pray with meaningless words just so you can gain “bonus points” in heaven for God already knows what you need before you ask.

Jesus models how to pray by citing the Lord’s prayer:  Your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Forgive us our debts and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Forgive men who sin against you as God does or He will not forgive you.

Questions:

6a)  He said to not be like the hypocrites who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men for they have received their reward (praise from man) but won’t receive God’s reward (rewards in heaven).

b)  He said do not keep on babbling like pagans, thinking you will be heard because of your many words for God knows what you need before you ask him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No changes really.  Jesus wants us to pray with the right heart which I do.  Don’t pray to impress others, for length, or pray empty, meaningless words.  If you have the right heart when you approach God in prayer, you cannot go wrong.   I can be more humble and more delighted to be in His presence and to hear from Him.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, God, how great is your name.  Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today what we need and forgive our sins as you have forgiven our sins.  And lead us away from temptation and provide that way out from the evil one.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Praying quietly in commune with God with the right heart is what God is seeking.  Nothing is too small or big to ask for.  Nothing is too small or big to lay at His feet.  Praise Him.  Seek His will and trust it will be done and that God will do it.  Ask for strength under assault from the evil one.  Always seek the way out.  God knows.  All we must do is trust our lives to Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To always pray and not give up.  To cry out to Him no matter the time of day.  Justice will be done for God is just.  To have more small moments of prayer throughout my day.  To be ready with a prayer for me and others at all times.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Persistence and patience in prayer for God is building our faith as we continually pray our needs before Him.  I try to begin and end my day with God.  He is the alpha and the omega.  I get up early when the house is quiet.  I study His word.  Then I pray for needs in my life and others.  I thank Him and acknowledge who He is, often silently but sometimes aloud.  I try to live my life as He would want it and I acknowledge when I fail and ask for forgiveness.

Conclusions:  Prayer is powerful and the devil hates it!  It is also hard work and it’s easy to get discouraged when things are not going our way.  Keep prayer (a weapon) handy at all times.  Walk in a prayerful spirit throughout your day to be ready for combat at any time.  For if an unjust judge will answer prayer, how much more will a righteous judge answer?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to pray for or even to begin.  I have that at times.  Then I say, “Lord, you know what I need and I don’t so please provide that or do that in my life.”  He knows our heart and that is all that matters.  This lesson emphasized that point beautifully.