BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 29, Day 3: Deuteronomy 33:6-25

Summary of passage:  Moses takes one tribe at a time and blesses them.  Let Reuben live and grow.  Judah help with his foes.  Levi bless him and his skills and strike his foes.  Benjamin rest in Him.  Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) bless him in all ways.  Zebulun and Issachar rejoice for they will prosper.  Blessed is Gad. Dan is a lion’s cub.  Naphtali is blessed.  Asher is blessed.

Questions:

5)  Simeon is missing in Moses’s blessings.  Moses’s blessings is out of birth order.

6)  Let Reuben live and grow. Judah help with his foes. Levi bless him and his skills and strike his foes. Benjamin rest in Him. Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) bless him in all ways. Zebulun and Issachar rejoice for they will prosper.  They will feast on the abundance of the seas and on the treasures hidden in the sand. Blessed is Gad. Dan is a lion’s cub. Naphtali is blessed. Asher is blessed.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’d take any blessings to be quite honest especially if they were pronounced by Moses.  I liked Levi’s to have his skills blessed and for the Lord to be pleased with his work.  I liked Benjamin’s to rest secure in Him.  Peace is hard to come by in this world.  And I want to do the Lord’s work in this world and I constantly wonder if I am or not.  That is what I want for my family as well–to do His will and not theirs.  That is so very hard in today’s culture.  Fighting selfishness.

Conclusions:  I liked BSF brought in the Genesis 49 passage.  Interesting to see God’s love for his people.

End Notes:  Verses 6-25 is the blessing of the 12 Tribes.

Reuben:  Jacob said “you shall not excel” (Genesis 49:4).  This blessing is similar.  Reuben produced no leaders nor anything beyond the normal.

Judah:  The name Judah means “praise”.  Moses prays God hears the cry of praise.  Moses knew the Messiah would come from Judah (Genesis 49:10) and prays for them to survive.

Levi (and Simeon not mentioned here):  Moses recounts the favored status of the Levites.  Genesis 49:7 says the tribe will be scattered.  Levi’s was a blessing–they spread the Good News.  Simeon was a curse–they disappeared as indicated here when they are not mentioned (although they are given a portion of the promised land–this prophecy was still many centuries to come).

Scholars debate whether Simeon was originally mentioned here or not.  Some ancient manuscripts have Simeon here; some don’t, which say “Let Judah live and not die and let the men of Simeon be few.”  Recall Simeon lost the most men in the second census (63%), which seems to support the idea Simeon was mentioned here.

Benjamin:  As the only surviving son of Rachel when Jacob thought Joseph had died, he was sheltered, protected, and favored.  This is echoed here when he is called “the beloved of the Lord”.  Benjamin was blessed with the city of Jerusalem as their inheritance, which became the center of the nation.  Genesis 49:27 called them “a ravenous wolf”.  They were fierce and loved.

Joseph:  Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which received a double inheritance when Jacob adopted both as his own in Genesis 48 were the most numerous tribes.  This was Jacob’s prophecy as well in Genesis 49:22.

“Him who dwelt in the burning bush” refers to the covenant God made with Moses.

Zebulun and Issachar:  They were given land by the Sea of Galilee and thus became fishermen. Jacob said this as well in Genesis 49:13.

Gad:  Gad turns into a war-like tribe with many soldiers.  1 Chronicles 12:14 says they have many good soldiers.  Genesis 49:14 says Gad will attack.

Dan:  Bashan is in northern Israel but if you look at a map of where the tribes ended up, Dan is in the South.  Judges 18 tells us that the tribe immigrated to the North centuries later.

Dan was a troublesome tribe.  They were the tribe to introduce idolatry into Israel (Judges 18:30).   Jeroboam set up an idolatrous golden calf in Dan (1 Kings 12:26-30).  Dan became a center of idol worship in Israel (Amos 8:14).  Jacob predicts this of Dan in Genesis 49:17, “Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backwards.”

Naphtali:  Naphtali was also given land around the Sea of Galilee.  Here Jesus would do a lot of his teachings.  Jacob describes Naphtali as “a doe set free, bearing beautiful fawns”(Genesis 49:21) as we were set free by Jesus.

Asher:  Jacob describes Asher in Genesis 49:20 as “food will be rich and he will provide delicacies fit for a king”.  Moses echoes this saying his feet shall be bathed in oil–something reserved for the rich of the time.

Map of 12 Tribes of Israel:  http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/large-map-of-division-promised-land-to-israel.jpg

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 29, Day 2: Deuteronomy 33:1-5

Summary of passage:  Moses blesses the Israelites before dying.  He says God loves them and is with them.  The people bow before Him and receive the law.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My friend because through the tough times she still gives God the glory.

4a)  He came, dawned, and shone forth.  He loves the people.  They bow down.  He teaches them.  He is king.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is king, Lord of all.  He is with you.  He teaches you.  He loves you.  He is always there.

Conclusions:  Didn’t see the point to this lesson with only one factual question.  What I got out of it was from the commentary I read online.  The questions did nothing to further my knowledge of this passage.

End Notes:  This reflects Jacob’s blessings on his 12 sons in Genesis 49.  Scholars believe since Moses was the one who recorded Jacob’s blessing that he modeled his blessing of the 12 tribes (note how instead of 12 individuals we have 12 groups from those individuals) after Jacob’s.

Verses 1-5 of this blessing speaks of the glorious majesty of God.

Note how “the man of God” is in the third person tense.  This indicates that Moses did not record this blessing.  Scholars believe Moses’s writing stops at Deuteronomy 31.

Note how also “the people” does not include the Gentiles.  The Gentiles are not extended an olive branch until Jesus comes.  Every time we read “people” in the Old Testament, it is the Israelites, God’s first chosen people.

Moses does address himself in the third person in verse 4 (this part is quoted)–very unusual in the Hebrew language.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 5: Deuteronomy 32:44-52

Summary of passage:  After Moses sang the Song, he told the people to take his words to heart and live by them so that they will prosper in the new land.  That same day the Lord told Moses to climb Mount Nebo and view the Holy Land before his death.

Questions:

10a)  To take all of his words to heart.  Moses said to love and serve God with all of your heart and soul.  He said God would circumcise your hearts in order to love Him.  Because the heart is what matters to God.  We all will sin.  But are we truly sorry for our sin.  Do we have a heart for God?  Or do we not truly care about our actions?  God wants our hearts.  Once He has that everything else falls into place.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When you love and serve God, God happens.  Blessings happen.  To you and to others.  Peace happens.  Fulfillment.  God’s plan happens.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s words are our life.  His commandments.  His will.  Without God’s word and His Holy Spirit within we have no life.  We are empty shells.  For His word is Him.

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is just.  Moses didn’t physically enter the Promised Land but Moses is in heaven in a much, much better land than here on Earth.  That’s what matters.  Not what happens to Moses down here.  He was probably the most faithful man to ever walk the earth.  It is not for me to judge God’s judgements.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The part of my thinking that is selfish and all about me.  The part of my thinking that is not from God but from Satan.  The thoughts that need to be of God instead of of the world.

Conclusions:  Personal Day here.  12a was redundant.  We were asked before when Moses was first judged by God whether we thought it was just punishment or not.  The only question I liked was the non-personal question (10a).  I liked how we did examine the heart for that is what matters to God.  Whether we desire Him or we are indifferent to Him.  Moses knew what God wanted and he desperately tried to impart that to the people before he left.  Again, a man after God’s own heart who spoke face to face with God.

End Notes:  Moses is to “be gathered to your people”, which was the ancient Israelites way of saying going to heaven before Christ came to allow them to go to heaven.  I’ve posted about what this means before.  You can read HERE if interested.

Others who were “gathered to their people” in the Pentateuch:  Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and Aaron.

Quick Reminder of where Israelites are:  http://www.keyway.ca/gif/nebo.gif

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 4: Deuteronomy 32:15-43

Summary of passage:  A continuation of Moses’s song.  Moses says how Israel will grow lazy in their blessings and worship foreign gods.  So God will hide his face from His people, and God will send calamities upon them and scatter them.  Moses pleads for the people to understand what will happen and correct it before it occurs and before the Lord brings judgement upon them.

Questions:

8a)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Israel abandoned God and turned to false gods instead.  Mine is to remember God always and obey.

b)  God.  The people themselves.

c)  It says “their”, meaning others.  Their rock (false gods) is not the Israelites’ Rock (One, True God).  Their teachings (wine) is as fatal as poison.

d)  The Lord will have compassion on His people “when he sees their strength is gone and on one is left.” God will take vengeance on his adversaries when “he sharpens his flashing sword and his hand grasps it in judgment”.  God will do this because He loves us and offers us grace and mercy and forgiveness.  God will “make atonement for his land and people” ultimately through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:  Not like 8a.  Answer is obvious.  This lesson was hard for me to dig deeper than the surface meaning.

End Notes:  Israelites turned on God; in turn, He turned on them.  Not being enough, God punishes the people through calamities in order to turn them back to Him again.  Then God pleads for them to return.

Verses 15-18 is the first true apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of God) by the Israelites.  The golden calf was a sin but at least the people worshipped the golden calf as God.  Here, they abandoned God, completely rejected Him, and sacrificed to false gods.

Jeshurun means “upright one.”  We see it used again in 33:5; 33:26 and in Isaiah 44:2.  It’s a term of affection for Israel.

Paul quotes verse 21 in Romans 10:19.

Excellent explanation of the Song of Moses (Moses wrote at least three recorded songs scholars believe in the Bible) HERE.  If you were like me and didn’t get much out of this song, then this link explains succinctly what it’s all about.  Highly recommended.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 3: Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14

Summary of passage:  Moses spoke his song to the people.  Moses proclaims God’s greatness and the people’s sins.  Remember the days of old and what God has done for His people.  He cared for them and nourished them.  He alone.

Questions:

5)  Let his words fall like rain, descend like dew, shower new grass, and abundant rain on tender plants.

6a)  God is first in his life.  It’s the first thing he talks about is how great is the Lord, how faithful and just and perfect.  He talks of God’s character with very intimate words.  His love for God is obvious.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By speaking of all of the blessings upon me and not complaining.

7a)  Even when the people acted corruptly and foolishly, God cared for His people, giving them the land, bringing them through the desert, shielding them and guarding them, and letting them take flight while watching over them to make sure they didn’t fall.  He fed them with the fruit of the fields, nourished them with honey and gave them labs and goats and rams and wheat and drink.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Lessened my fear of my husband’s job being lost.  Blessed me with a free gym membership.  Given me more time to write.  Things are winding down (school and BSF) so I will have more time to write.  I thank Him in prayer, living out my life like Jesus, and doing His will as much as possible.

Conclusions:  Love the prayer model of proclaiming who God is, what He’s done for us, and who He is. Good stuff!

End Notes:  Moses asks for attention from Israel and all of creation, praising God for who He is and what He has done.  He calls attention to the Israelites’ sin, and speaking of God’s love and grace, he hopes to call the people back.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time God is called “the Rock” in Scripture.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 2: Deuteronomy 31:1-29

Summary of passage:  Moses, at 120 years old, tells the people Joshua will be their new leader and the Lord will go before them and destroy their enemies. He tells the people to not be afraid for God will never forsake them.  Moses wrote down the law, placed it beside the ark of the covenant, and commanded the people to read it every 7 years so all will know it.

The Lord appeared to Moses and Joshua in a cloud over the Tabernacle and told them that the people would turn from Him and worship other gods.  When the people did this, God would turn His back on His people.  He taught Moses a song to teach the people so they would know why God turned on them.  Moses warned the people of the evil they would do and consequences of the Lord’s anger against them.

Questions:

3a)  He commanded the people to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or terrified because the Lord goes with them and will never abandon them (the promise).

b)  Joshua had some big shoes to fill so I’m sure leading the people was daunting, challenging, and scary. God wanted to make sure Joshua knew he could do it because He Himself was with him and would never leave him.  God Himself would defeat His enemies, and Joshua had nothing to fear.  He was chosen by God for this task like Moses.  Confidence is what Joshua needed–in himself and in the Lord.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting.  When no one else is there, God is.  He knows my pain, my heartache, my struggles, my passions, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my victories, my failures.  And He shares them.  He works them for His purposes.  And I just need Him and faith.

4a)  God commanded Moses to write down the law and keep it in a safe place and once every 7 years for the law to be read to all the people so they would know God’s laws.  It was a resource for the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders, so they could look back and learn God’s laws as well and teach it accordingly.

b)  It would serve as a warning so the faithful would be aware of what was to come and perhaps spot the temptation and turn away before they sinned.  Perhaps they could warn others and turn them away as well.

Conclusions:  Love how God appeared to Joshua personally to commission him and reassure him that he could do this monumental task and that God would be his strength and his rock.  God’s care for us is unfathomable!  I like how everyone from young to old was gathered to hear the law once every 7 years.  I wonder how many of us read God’s word every 7 years.  Can you imagine our society if we did?

End Notes:  The people needed to know God was with them.  All most of them had ever known was Moses.  The people needed to know God was bigger than one man and God was enough.

God does His work through people–God’s work is the giving of the Promised Land and Joshua would be the one God would use to accomplish His work.

What a blessing Moses is to Joshua!  He encouraged him in his walk.  How many of us have wise counselors to encourage us to do the great things God has in store for us?

The first recorded reading of God’s law to the people is in Nehemiah 8:1-8.  It is recorded three more times in the Bible of the law being read to the people (Joshua 8:30; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 34:30).  Between these readings are hundreds of years.  Certainly, the law could have been read and not recorded but scholars say that the fact the reading of the law is recorded with so many years in-between was because it was such a rare event.  Can you imagine how history would be different if the people had obeyed and read the law–like today if we did as well?

Deuteronomy 32 is the song Moses wrote down for God’s people.

Here we see the completion of the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch which means five scrolls in Greek or the Torah in the Jewish tradition) in verse 24 written by Moses.  It is assumed by scholars that the last three books of Deuteronomy were written by Joshua (or by a scribe he appointed) to record the end of Moses’ life.

Note how the Ten Commandments is inside the ark but the first five books of the bible is beside the ark. I see this as so it’s readily available to the priests for teaching purposes.

God’s word is also a witness against us.  We often think of the Bible as our helper, which it is. It is also our condemner as well when we don’t read it, don’t follow it, and don’t obey.  For it is right before us and we choose to turn the other way.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.