BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 5: Exodus 20:18-26

Summary of passage:  The Israelites were afraid upon hearing God speak and asked Moses to speak to them now on for God because they were sure they would die if God continued to speak to them.  Moses told them to not be afraid and that God was testing them so that they would have the fear of God in them and they wouldn’t sin.

God told Moses to tell the people to not make any gods of silver or gold alongside of him.  Instead, make altars and sacrifice to Him and He will bless them.

Questions:

10a)  One is fear to the point of death or tormenting fear out of guilt; the other is a healthy fear which makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do because you are afraid of the consequences.  This leads to honor and reverence.  One is irrational; the other rational.

b)  The irrational fear can lead to sin in an effort to protect yourself.  You are so afraid that you’d do anything. This fear can drive you crazy.  The rational fear allows you to think through your actions first because of the consequences of your actions. This can lead to a better life if you think for example of how your words would hurt others before speaking them.  One leads to despair; the other leads to obedience and love.

Think of it like a parent:  we discipline out of love.  Our kids feel that love because we are teaching them how to be a human in this world.  God is our parent.  We should revere and fear Him.  For His love is beyond anything imaginable.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be honest, neither.  I don’t have a trembling fear for my life nor am I guilt-ridden.  Nor do I think I fear God enough for the consequences of my actions.  I am too selfish sometimes and thus should work more on this.  I fear I fail more than I would if I did fear Him more.  I think fear resides just sometimes it’s so repressed I don’t know it’s there when I should know it’s there.

11a)  That they have seen for themselves God speaking from heaven.  He is a spirit and not an image.  So we must worship Him as well with our spirit.

b)  To make any gods of silver or gold to go alongside Him.

c)  We worship God with our hearts.  We worship Him as the Holy Trinity.  We worship Him as the unseen Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us.  We worship His mightiness and His presence.  We do not worship the church or altar or any graven image of Him.

12)  Our God is not a God of adornment.  He does not need fancy or expensive gold and silver.  He is seeking our hearts and whatever you bring with the right heart is sufficient.  He would probably accept no altar but just the sacrifice if it was made from the heart.  Furthermore, an altar of dressed stone would draw attention more to the carver and “what a beautiful altar” it is.  This is all about God as it should be. Simple suffices.

13)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Wherever God is honored, He will come and bless you.  It gives me the hope that as long as God is honored, I will be blessed.  And even in my failings, God will bless me as I atone for my sins–ask forgiveness, receive His grace, and accept Jesus as my Savior.  All this He blesses.

Conclusions:  Good questions on healthy fear of God and the fleshing out of how God desires our hearts and our atonements for our sins, not meaningless presents covering in gold.  And as I honor God, He will bless me.  Honor His name and receive.  Simple!

Reminds me of those plaques with Joshua 24:15:  “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

End Notes:  Most encounters with God in the Bible inspire fear instead of awe.  I hope I would be awed and honored and desire more and more like Moses did, but it’s hard to say.

The Hebrew word here for lightning is the same as found in Genesis 15 when Abraham makes his covenant with God.

Note how Moses stands in the place where Jesus will stand in the future–between us and God.

1 John 4:18-19:  “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us.”

Interesting to Note:  God knew we would sin; hence, His provision of atonement with the offerings and the sacrifices.  How wonderful is our God!

God did not want human flesh to be seen on His altar because it was impure.

Personal Commentary:  To be honest, this passage stumped me.  I didn’t get much out of it.  Thus, I did resort to commentary to tell me what I was missing.  As a result, you see my answers.  Before, there were blanks.  Now, I feel like I got it somewhat.  I feel like I understand God and what He desires from me a bit more.  I feel closer to Him ever so slightly.  And this was all due to commentary from someone else who told me what God was trying to get at here.

So to those of you who struggle with the meaning of God’s word:  you are not alone.  Thousands of years and language barriers and translations is just one obstacle we must overcome. Not to mention how God’s ways are not ours.  So my encouragement:  keep at it.  Keep striving and learning and reading and re-reading the passages.  Yes, God will speak to you.  But He also speaks through others who have taken the time to write down analysis.  Take heart!  He is here.  Next to you.  And He will meet you so that you may know Him and be closer to Him.  Even if it’s just a millimeter.  And I’ll take every millimeter I can get!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 4: Exodus 20:12-17

Summary of passage:  The last six Ten Commandments given to Moses by God that apply to people’s relationships with one another.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Questions:

9)  Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16:  Honor your father and mother.  God promised if you do you may live long in the land the Lord gave you and Deuteronomy adds so that it may go well with you in the land.  Ask God to have a good relationship with my parents.

Exodus 20:13:  You shall not murder.  Ask God to tame my anger.

Exodus 20:14:  You shall not commit adultery.  Ask God to tame my emotions and capture my thoughts.

Exodus 20:15:  You shall not steal.  Ask God to tame my selfishness.

Exodus 20:16:  You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.  Ask God to quiet my tongue and follow Jesus’ Golden Rule and not engage in gossip.

Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21:  You shall not covet or set your desire on anything that belongs to your neighbor including his house, wife, servant, ox, donkey, etc.  Ask God to have peace with what I have and to focus on Him and His purpose for my life; the rest will take care of itself.

Conclusions:  Short but sweet.  These commandments are very straightforward so us dumb humans can comprehend them. Sometimes I think relationships with people are harder than a relationship with God because God is perfect and people are not.  Most of us will never murder one another but we could with our words and our spite.  Adultery can be committed in the mind as well.  Stealing is as simple as not paying for a forgotten item in a grocery cart.  Gossip for us women is hard to avoid but we can choose to not engage in it.  Coveting (desiring something that doesn’t belong to you) is especially hard for us in the Western World who are bombarded by advertisement and celebrities that fuel this desire and our lax culture who say it’s okay to want what others have.  If we have God, we have enough and I believe this is God’s point here.  You should desire Him more than anything else in this world.  Nothing else matters.

End Notes:  Fifth Commandment:  Care for your parents throughout their days.  Not all that long ago, it was customary for your parents to live with you until they died.  Now we shove them in homes and pay others to care for them.  Care for your parents as they have cared for you.

Sixth Commandment:  The two words in Hebrew here means “unjustified killing”.  This does not prohibit justified killing i.e. self-defense, etc.  Jesus expanded this to mean killing in the heart as well (Matthew 5:21-26) and wishing they were dead.

Seventh Commandment:  The Old Testament clearly outlaws adultery and the punishment is death (Deuteronomy 22:22).  The Old Testament also addresses sleeping with a virgin and the punishment for that (usually marriage–Exodus 22:16), which is pre-marital sex.  Again, Jesus expanded this in Matthew 5:27-30 to mean even just looking at someone in a desireous way can be committing adultery if it is committed in the heart.

Eighth Commandment:  We can also steal from God what is rightfully His by not fulfilling His commands such as tithing or serving Him or anything else that involves giving of ourselves up to Him. (Malachi 3).

Ninth Commandment:  This is also slander and gossip and lying.  This was the sin that sent Jesus to the cross when false witness after false witness testified against him.  Satan is behind it all and instead of “speaking our minds”, we should prayerfully control our tongues first–something I’m bad at.

Tenth Commandment:  This one is aimed at our hearts.  There is nothing wrong with desiring things except when it is something possessed by another.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 3: Exodus 20:1-11

Summary of passage:  God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  Here, we study the First Four, which address the people’s relationship with God.

1)  You shall have no other gods before me.

2)  You shall have no idols of any form for I am a jealous God.

3)  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

4)  Keep the Sabbath holy.

Questions:

7a)  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a tough one.  In every way.  God’s grace, love, mercy, understanding, light.

8 )  Exodus 20:3:  You shall have no other gods before me.  Ask God to always have Him at my center.

Exodus 20:4-6:  You shall have no idols of any form.  God warns that he will punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hat him but show love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and Keep His commandments.  Ask God to have Him at my center and to listen to Him and not to the world.

Exodus 20:7:  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.  God warns He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  Ask God to temper my anger and keep a clean mouth.

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15:  Keep the Sabbath holy.  God blessed the Sabbath.  Ask God to allow me to rest in Him always and forever.

Conclusions:  I like how the Ten Commandments are broken up, especially after yesterday which I thought was a lot to take in.

End Notes:  We cannot underestimate the weight of the Ten Commandments here and what it meant.  Finally, for the first time in the history of the world, mankind (specifically the Israelites) have a binding treaty with their God.  For millenia, people worshipped fickle gods who may or may not be pleased with offerings or with their behavior.  Here, God has told His people exactly what He expects from them and what will please Him and how to live their lives.  This is a momentous occasion and the people know it.

This concept is very hard for those of us who have known God our entire lives to go back 4000 years. Can you imagine the hope?  God is promising if you obey Him, He will take away diseases, struggles, and war and usher in a secure, wealthy society.  It’s almost as if God is offering us a second chance after the Fall.  Can you know imagine and take in the heartbreak of God when His people failed Him again?

We must remember the people THEMSELVES heard God speak these words.  They were so afraid that they asked Moses to be the one to deliver God’s words from now on (Exodus 20:18-19).  Can you imagine?  I want to hear God’s voice!!

Are the Ten Commandments new?  No.  These are laws that have been in the heart of man since Adam.  They are deep in our consciouses, rooted in nature, rooted in our souls.  God just put these into words.

This is God’s Laws, NOT Moses’ laws despite the fact they are commonly known as the Mosaic Law.  God spoke these, NOT Moses.  This is ALL God.  NO man is above God. He is the highest law of the land.

The Code of Hammurabi, the closest analogy to God’s laws at this time, focuses on the ruler, Hammurabi. It is laws about his supremacy, not any god, much like rules from our government today.

God is the ultimate authority, not man’s fickleness or idea of what is right or wrong.  We need God’s moral code to teach us, to guide us, to set expectations and consequences if we fail, to serve as an impetuous.  Otherwise, it would be all about “me” and not about Him or others.

The Commandments and all of God’s decrees are a gift from Him to His people.  Without them, we’d be lost.  We need the moral guidance, instruction, and impetuous.  Otherwise, life would have no meaning.

First Commandment:  The Commandments are listed in order of importance.  We must remember polytheism is the norm.  Monotheism is a new idea.  Here God takes great pains to say He is the only one out there.

Note how first God delivers the Egyptians.  First He provides for them.  First He meets their needs.  Then He issues His laws.  He blesses first, then asks for obedience.  Amazing!

Second Commandment:  Again, this time period has people worshipping thousands of man-made objects. God spoke with words, not images.  God is a Spirit, not an object.

God must be supreme for our own good, not God’s.  With Him at the center, we flourish.  With other things at the center, we sin.

As long as you love God, you will not be punished.

Third Commandment:  Self explanatory.  Revere God and His name.

Fourth Commandment:  Remember the Rest.  Remember that we rest in Him through Jesus. Every day should be a rest as we remember the finished work of God.  We remember and celebrate God every day, not just on Sundays.

But as God rested physically, so should we.  From work.  We are not to be idle.  We are to work, THEN rest.

Under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 says Christians are not bound to observe any day or week in particular. “The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).”  Credit to Enduring Word commentaries.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 2: Exodus 19

Summary of passage:  Three months after leaving Egypt (Number 3 again), the Israelites enter the Desert of Sinai. Here, Moses goes up to God on Mount Sinai to receive God’s Word and Laws for His people.  God tells His people if you obey Him and keep His covenant, you will be a treasured possession and a holy nation.  Moses tells the people this and they agree.  Moses returns to God who tells Moses He will speak to him in a dense cloud so that all the people will hear Him and put their trust in Moses.

God told Moses to prepare the people for His coming by washing and consecrating themselves. The people are not to touch the mountain until the ram’s horn sounds or else they will die.

On the third day (3), God descended Mount Sinai as He promised in fire.  Trumpets blasted and Moses and God spoke.  Then God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai and told him again not to allow the people to come up to Him but to bring Aaron with him.  Moses obeyed.

Questions:

3)  His amazing love and care for us.  An eagle is considered the top of the food chain in the bird world.  It is also a symbol of power and majesty.  God is carrying us to Him, caring, shielding, guarding, catching and hovering over us the entire time.  See commentary below for more.

4a)  “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant.”

b)  “You will be my treasured possession”, “You will be for me a kingdom of priests”, and “a holy nation”  The people responded “We will do everything the Lord has said.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With gratitude and honor.  By praising Him.  By extending mercy to others as God has for me.  By doing all in my power to be the holy nation He has called me to be.

5)  God appeared to the people in a dense cloud and allowed the people to hear Him speak with Moses so that they will always put their trust in Moses.

6a)  That they are unworthy to stand on the same ground God does for they are unholy.  Thus, the people need to be holy to be with God and thus need to purify themselves (or nowadays to accept Jesus as their Savior) in order to be with God.  Still, there is a separation of sin from God.  But if God is holy, then the people must strive to be holy as well by following His decrees.

b)  Jesus Christ.  Through faith in Jesus we are justified and thus able to stand with God in His presence through His grace and mercy.  Praise Him!

Conclusions:  Anyone else while reading this wished to be back with Moses to see God in the cloud and hear Him speak?  How awesome!  I’m always jealous that Moses is the one who gets to speak to God.  I imagine myself to be him.

End Notes:  Awesome commentary by Matthew Henry HERE about eagle’s wings.  Amazing our God!

Definition of pinion according to Webster’s:  “the terminal section of a bird’s wing including the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges.”  Our carpus and metacarpus is our hand and phalanges are our fingers.

So here God is carrying us in His hands.  These feathers are also the feathers that are clipped to prevent a bird from flying.  These are the primary feathers so to speak, the most important ones.  Reports exist of mother eagles carrying their young on their wings. Here God is telling us He is protecting us with all of His strength and carrying us and supporting us every step of the way, beginning from our youth.  He catches us when we fall and carries us till we can fly again.  He is protecting us because an arrow would have to pass through His body before it would hit the babies on His back.

We are going to hang out for 57 chapters until Numbers 10 here in the Wilderness of Sinai, an approximate one year period with the Israelites.  Shows you how important the events there are.  Here is where Moses met God at the burning bush.

IMPORTANT!  No one is sure exactly where Mt Sinai lies today.

God calls His people here “the house of Jacob” because they are acting more like Jacob than Abraham or Isaac right now.

God delivers Israel so that they can be with Him.

Israel is a special treasure to God.  They have the unique purpose of keeping God’s Word and spreading it to the world. We non-Jews should constantly remember Israel in our prayers as they struggle constantly for survival in today’s world. They (and we) are set apart, a holy nation, for His purposes.  We are His; thus, we are special.

At the trumpet sound, the people could come to God.  Revelation, anyone?

Notice it’s the third day God comes.  Number 3 again.

It’s important to note the differences here between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Where Moses stands in OT, Jesus stands in NT.  Jesus interceded for us so ALL can come to God.  Here, only Moses can.  Jesus brought grace, forgiveness, and justification. Here, the people are afraid and excluded.  With Jesus, we are loved and included.  One more thing we should be on our knees for–His Son, Jesus Christ.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 5: Matthew 7:21-29

Summary of passage:  Not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven; only those who do the will of the Father, whose heart is His.  The rest is merely an act.

Everyone who hears the Gospel and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his home on rock, protected because of its strong foundation.  Those who hear the Gospel and do not act on it is like a foolish man who builds his home on sand, which will fall and tumble because the foundation is weak.

Jesus finishes his Sermon on the Mount.

Questions:

11a)  Matthew 7:23:  A knowledge of Him and/or a heart for Jesus

Luke 6:46:  A will to do what Jesus said

John 5:40-43:  A love of God in their hearts, an acceptance of Jesus

John 6:29:  A belief in Christ

Hosea 8:2-4:  Following God’s laws.  They rejected Him by setting up kings and princes without God’s consent and making idols to worship.

b)  They believed they were doing the will of God when in reality they were doing their own will.  Their heart was not God’s heart.  They accept praise from one another (John 5:44) instead of attempting to gain God’s praise.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No one is coming to mind right now.  Truthfully, I don’t know a lot people all that well in order to say.  It’s hard to tell if they are following God’s will for their lives because it’s between them and God.  I guess you could look at the fruit to get a clue.

12)  That Jesus is Lord.

13a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Come to Jesus, hear his words, and put them into practice.

b)  When disaster strikes, their lives crumble around them.  By not following God’s commands.  By living out of self-reliance and self-pursuit.  By being hypocritical.  By pursuing the world instead of pursuing Him.

c)  Isaiah 28:16:  It is a tested stone laid in Zion, a precious cornerstone, built on trust in God.

1 Corinthians 3:11:  The true foundation is belief in Jesus.

1 Peter 2:4-8:  The true foundation is Jesus as we ourselves are being built into spiritual houses and we sacrifice for him.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus.

Conclusions:  The underlying message of this day is we must accept Jesus as the Son of God.  And once we do, our foundation for life will be strong and sturdy and our eternal life will be with Him.  Once we truly accept Jesus as our Savior, we cannot help but act upon His words for the Holy Spirit within compels us.  If we do not act upon Jesus’ words, then we have not accepted him yet.  We still have work to do.

Our actions must coincide with our words.  Otherwise, Jesus warns, “I never knew you.”

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to enter through the narrow gate for it is the one that leads to life.  The wide gate leads to destruction.  He warns against false prophets whom you can recognize by their bad fruit for only good trees produce good fruit.

Questions:

9a)  Wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing (verse 15).  Grapes and thornbushes and figs and thistles (verse 16).  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and vice versa (verse 18).

b)  Figs from thornbushes and grapes from briers.  Good must come from good and bad from bad.

10a)  Do not be fooled by outward appearances or pretenses as inside may lurk darkness and evil.

b)  Not a fan of how this question is phrased.  Everyone is sincere in whatever belief they hold and they are misguided if their belief is not adherent to the Truth.  Paul says in Acts men will distort the truth for the sole purpose of gaining disciples.  2 Peter is even stronger language, saying they will secretly (meaning purposefully and deceitfully) introduce destructive heresies in order to turn you from God.  Verse 3 uses the word “exploit” you.

The Bible is clear that there are false teachers, powered by the devil, out to turn us from God.  It seems that BSF is not so clear about that.  They are definitely misguided and corrupted and sincere in their beliefs which is not the belief in God.  “Possibly” needs to be stricken completely and misguided needs to be strengthened to deceitful.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We cannot judge people by outward appearances only by their actions will their heart be revealed.  Most people live fake lives for all to see but inside they may be hardened.

Conclusions:  This whole lesson has been hard for me to draw conclusions I think because it is self-explanatory.  Here, we learn we cannot trust what people project or say; only what they do.  Their heart will be revealed in their fruit.

It is also prudent here to ask ourselves:  “What kind of fruit am I bearing?”  For our own fruit will reveal our heart as well.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 3: Matthew 7:7-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We give our children what we ask for as the Father gives good gifts to those who ask as well!  Do to others what you would have them do to you as the law says.

Questions:

6a)  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We ask God, then we seek Him, and then we persistently knock until we receive.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.  For clarity in terms of what I’m supposed to be doing in my life and to quell my conscious.

7)  Luke replaces gifts with the Holy Spirit in the last verse.  We are promised if we ask, He will give us the Holy Spirit.

8a)  No.

b)  No.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It gives me great comfort to know that God does answer my prayers.  That He hears me.  That as I pursue Him, I will find Him.  As God pours out His gifts upon us, so we should do the same.  For we are all equally unworthy.

Conclusions:  I had high expectations for this lesson but it seems to have fallen short in terms of the questions.  Either that or it’s self-explanatory as in my answer to question 6a.  You really can’t explain that or put it better than Jesus did.

Notes on the Golden Rule:  The Golden Rule has been around for centuries before Jesus, most notably promoted by Confucius.  However, Jesus was the first to put this in the affirmative, saying do unto others instead of don’t do unto others.  This strengthens the rule and broadens it, desiring us to go above and beyond for others instead of just not doing one thing.

If we treat others how we want to be treated, we wouldn’t break any other law of God.  Hence, it’s the summation of the Law.  Of course, it doesn’t make it any easier to follow for we are all human and fail.  But keeping it in the back of your mind, behooves us all.