BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 5: Psalm 110; Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; & 6:18-7:28

BSF Study of Genesis and Hebrews

Summary of passages:  Psalm 110:  The Lord told my Lord (David’s Lord who is Jesus) to sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool.  God will extend Jesus’s scepter and rule in the midst of enemies.  On the day of battle your troops will be arrayed in holy majesty.

The Lord calls Jesus a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.  He will crush kings on the day of his wrath, judge the nations, and heap up the dead.

Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; 6:18-7:28:  Jesus had to be made like his brothers (flesh and blood) so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and to be able to make atonement for man’s sins.

4:14-5:10:  Jesus is our great high priest who has gone through the heavens who can sympathize with our weaknesses for he has been tempted in every way just as we are–and remain without sin.  Let us hold firmly to our faith, approach God with confidence so we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Every high priest is selected among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for our sins.  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray and offer sacrifices for our sins.

Priests must be called by God.  Jesus was called to be a High Priest by God in the order of Melchizedek.  Jesus prayed to God and he was heard because of his submission.  He was obedient and made perfect for our eternal salvation for all who obey him.

6:18-7:28:  God swore promises to us by Himself so that we may have hope and encouragement.  This hope anchors our soul and enters the inner sanctuary where Jesus has entered on our behalf.  Jesus is a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews Chapter 7:  This Melchizedek was king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the God Most High.  He met and blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.  His name means “king of righteousness” and king of Salem means “king of peace”.  He remains a priest forever without the proper lineage.

Just think how great he must have been for Abraham to give him a tenth of the plunder!  The law requires the descendants of Levi to collect a tenth from the people.  Melchizedek was not a Levite.  One could deduce that Levi collects the tenth through Abraham because Levi (who is Abraham’s descendant) hadn’t been born yet when Melchizedek collected.  Hence we have Levites paying tithes to Melchizedek, making Melchizedek greater than the Levites (or Abraham in this instance since the Levites are through Abraham).  Since the lesser is blessed by the greater, Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

Perfection could not be attained through the Levites so there was need for a priest in the order of Melchizedek (the mere fact that a priest in the order of Melchizedek shows up should be a clue that there is a need for something better than the Levites).  If the priests change, then so must the law.  The old law was weak and useless for it made nothing perfect and a better hope was introduced by God (Jesus!).

Through an oath Jesus became a priest and the author of a better covenant.  Jesus lives forever so his priesthood is forever; therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.

Jesus meets our needs as holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens with one sacrifice of himself who has been made perfect forever.

Questions:

11a)  Himself

b)  The Messiah will be both a king and a priest

c)  Melchizedek was a king and a priest of God.  He remains a priest forever.

Melchizedek and Christ’s similiarities:  1)  Both were kings  2)  Both were priests 3)  Both received a tenth of everything  4)  Both names mean king of peace  5)  Both are priests forever  6)  Both live forever (without beginning of days or end of life)

One difference: Only Jesus was the Son of God

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Christ is our hope. He died for us so we can live forever with him.  We won’t be lonely in Heaven.  The Holy Spirit lives inside of us as a reminder He is with us always, never forsaking us so we will never be alone.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was tempted as well.  He was fully man and fully God so he knows what we are going through.  Yet he resisted and we can use his power to resist the devil as well.  Open His Word and soak Him in.  You will become burning bright for Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus gives us hope and encouragement when we are down.  Cling to him.  Remember He speaks all the time if only I listen.

Conclusions:  Any one else irked with Hebrews yet?  We studied this exact same passage last year in Acts and we answered very similar questions.  HERE we studied Hebrews 7 WITH Genesis 14:18-20.

So why is this Melchizedek important?  Why is BSF spending so much time on him (this year and in other years)?

Here’s the crux:  For the Israelites, they had divisions within society and roles.  The leaders were priests, prophets, and kings.  Prophets told the truth, revealing God’s righteousness.  Kings implementing this righteousness as heads of the government.  Priests represented God to the people and brought God to them.  According to the God-given laws of Israel, kings and priests always came from different tribes.  Thus, a king could NOT be a priest.

So how could Christ the Messiah be a king, a prophet, and a priest?  Wouldn’t that violate God’s laws?  We must remember at this time when Jesus is living he hasn’t yet died for our sins and ushered in the New Covenant.  So the Jews are trying to piece together who the Messiah is based on the Old Testament laws, which still govern how God’s people live.  Christ doesn’t “fit” these laws. [Cool, cause I don’t really “fit” either!]

Enter Melchizedek:  a priest AND a king.  He wasn’t even an Israelite let alone a Levite (the priests line) yet he was a priest.

Psalm says the Messiah will be greater than David and he will be “in the order of Melchizedek”, which means he will be both a priest and a king.  Melchizedek establishes the precedent and the credibility to be a priest and a king.

[Explanation summarized and credited to Zondervan NIV Student Study Bible].

Fun Fact:  Melchizedek was a Gentile.  So from the beginning God had intended Gentiles to inherit the kingdom of God.  I wonder why it was such a huge deal for the first century Christians to accept Gentiles when Melchizedek was one.

End Note:  Note the order of Melchizedek’s names.  He is king of righteousness and THEN king of peace.  As always you must have righteousness before you can have peace. Without righteousness there is no peace.  Jesus makes us right; thus we have peace with God.

Also, some commentators believe because Melchizedek remains a priest forever (verse 3) he was either a heavenly being or Jesus himself incarnate!  Jesus in the Old Testament! Now that’s cool!  Something to ponder at least.

Final Note:  Sorry!  This is a long one!  I didn’t really focus on the questions this time as you might have noticed.  I took the subject of Melchizedek and the passages given and investigated.  I had to get this straight in my mind.  I will concede we did study this last year.  But we hadn’t studied Genesis yet (at least I hadn’t).  In the context of Genesis and knowing Abram’s life and world, Hebrews 7 makes much more sense to me.

I often forget the HUGE differences between Old Testament way of life and New Testament living since I’m under the New Covenant.  I now understand the confusion more when Jesus showed up, proclaiming he’s the Messiah.  What? the people wondered.  He doesn’t “fit” the Messiah.

I believe following Jesus in first century AD was a HUGE leap of faith.  It was a total shift in paradigm.  Myself, having grown up with Jesus, saying “Yes” to him seems easier than it did 2000 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong:  following him is a BIG deal and is insanely difficult.  But I can see how it would be even tougher not necessarily for pagan worshippers but for God’s people.

Yes, I am sick of studying Hebrews.  But what I’ve learned is this:  you can’t get enough. You can’t read a passage enough times in order to have His word soak into your core. There are so many questions about God and who He is and our job is to answer as many of those as possible to draw near to Him.

Every time I read His word, I learn something about God:  how compassionate He is, who He is, who Jesus is, how the Holy Spirit works inside of us, how the early Christians suffered, or even how there were 7 clean animals on the ark and not just two.  But even the little details reveals God overarching omnipotence and control over this world.  How everything is planned, down to God foreseeing the need for Noah to sacrifice to Him. How God’s promises are Truth.

All of this makes me a better person especially in the realm of spreading the Good News. For if we ourselves don’t know God’s word, promises, and truths, how can we explain God’s greatness and goodness to others?

Ok, I’ll stop now.  You get my point.

Don’t stop reading His word.  Don’t stop craving Him.  For He never stops craving us.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 4: Genesis 14:17-24 & 15:1

Summary of passages:  Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him.  The king of Sodom came out to meet him.  Then Melchizedek king of Salem (or Jerusalem) and a priest of God brought out bread and wine.  He blessed Abram and Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

The king of Sodom asked Abram for his people back that had been carried away by Kedorlaomer but told Abram he could keep the goods.  Abram said he has sworn to God that he will accept nothing from him so that he could not say he had made Abram rich. He will only accept what they have eaten and what the men who accompanied him want.

Abram had a vision and received the word of the Lord:  Do not be afraid for I am your shield and your very great reward.

Questions:

8 )  Reverently.  The king of Sodom fled from the Babylonians and had their entire city plundered.  Abram, a Hebrew, regained all that was taken.  The king came to Abram after his victory and asked for his people back and told Abram he could keep the booty.  Abram said he would accept nothing belonging to them so all would know and testify that Abram’s wealth and success came from God, not from military might or pagan’s goods.

Melchizedek, king of Salem (or Jerusalem) and priest of God showed up.  Not for sure why since he and his people were not involved in the fighting.  He brought bread and wine to Abram and blessed him and in return Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Everything he took in the war or everything I wonder).

9a)  God will be his shield and his very great reward.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So Abram could conquer and prosper by God’s hand and not by others.  So he wouldn’t have to accept charity from unbelievers.  So he could be the example of God’s greatness.  So all would know blessings and rewards come from God.

I think we all need these promises.  God is our shield and He is the best reward.  Agree?

10)  If we do God’s will and live by Him, then He will prosper us.  We don’t have to prosper on our own.  Many people today think they are successful because of their hard work but it’s really by God’s grace and will even if you are an unbeliever for God has plans for ALL and He uses all to accomplish His purposes.  Look at all the kings and rulers throughout history who were successful and not believers.  Yet God was in control.

Give God the credit and do His will.

That being said I do see a place where accepting charity from unbelievers could grow their faith as it affords opportunities to share the gospel.

Conclusions:  Focus on this lesson was on Abram’s refusing to accept booty from unbelievers for he wanted God to have all the credit for his success and not man.  I hope we explore Melchizedek tomorrow for there is a richness we are missing otherwise with regards to the Messiah.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 3: Genesis 14:13-16

Summary of passage:  One escaped and told Abram his nephew had been captured. Abram, who was allied with his neighbors, called out all 318 trained men to go with him to rescue Lot.  Abram launched a night attack near the city of Dan, routed them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.  Abram recovered all the stolen goods, women, and others, and rescued Lot and his possessions, whom he brought back with him.

Questions:

5)  Abram is loyal to Lot.  Abram is allied with his neighbors so he has diplomacy skills.  He spares no expense, requiring all his trained men to fight for Lot; he has some military training (or guidance from God) for Abram divided his men and attacked.

This shows the extent of God’s blessings to Abram in terms of his wealth.  Abram had his own trained army to fight for him.  This is NOT cheap, especially in ancient times.  Metals and weapons (shields, swords, and armor) were expensive–way more expensive than I would say 90% of the population at the time could afford in their LIFETIME.

6a)  Abram gathers all his allies and men and we put on the full armor of God (all of our resources available) to fight. Abram stood firm in his belief to rescue Lot and he was ready like we are to be when fighting spiritual battles.  Abram had faith he would win as we are to in our battles.  We are to pray and use the Word of God.  We are not told if Abram prayed before he set out, during, or after.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Full armor of God I would say is the Holy Spirit indwelt.  The Holy Spirit will protect your entire body.  The belt of truth is God’s truths and righteousness is what Christians are if they accept Jesus as their Savior.  The shield of faith in trust in God.  The helmet of salvation is our knowledge that we will win and be saved.  The sword of the Spirit is the Bible, God’s word.  Prayer to God for help to overcome.

These weapons have divine power.  We take captive every thought and make it obedient to God and we can defeat every argument or pretension with God’s truth (His word).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Prayer and His Word.  Ask and you shall receive.  If Jesus chose God’s word to defeat the devil in the desert, then I will as well (Matthew 4).  “It is written….”

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is comforting and humbling to know God is with me and I have the knowledge (His Word and Spirit) and He will give me triumphs in life, beginning with His Son who conquered the grave.  We are as precious to God as Christ is to salvation.  Amazing!

The challenge is to be that sweet aroma to others as I spread His message.

Conclusions:  Dreading this lesson when all the questions save one is on New Testament passages.  We studied this Ephesians passage in Acts last year, Lesson 25.  The questions are basically the same, just tweaked.  You can review my answers HERE and HERE.

Review.  I guess I’d better get used to this.  Seems to be the theme for this year.  I was honestly hoping for more in-depth on what’s happening in Genesis, not Ephesians.

Interesting Fact:  This is the first use of the word “Hebrew” in the Bible.

End Note:  My new favorite website.  I wish I could draw simple maps that make everything so clear!

http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/genesis/14_1.htm

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 2: Genesis 14:1-12

Summary of passage:  Basically, the Babylonians attacked a group of peoples living in the Siddim Valley who had been under their control but had rebelled.  The Babylonians defeated or re-conquered them and took even more territory.  The Babylonians sacked Sodom and Gomorrah, which included Lot and his possessions since he was living in Sodom.

Questions:

3a)  Amraphel King of Shinar (Babylonia), Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim

b)  Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (or Zoar)

c)  Plain of Shinar (or Babylonia)

4a)  Lot put himself in the midst of these pagan countries by choosing the most fertile land as he saw it and pitched his tent near the evil city of Sodom (Genesis 13:11-13) and so he was caught up in the wars and taken along with the rest.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All of our choices are the same–to either choose God or to not choose Him.  To choose God’s way or something else (either your way, the devil’s way, or some other idol or false god’s way).  This is what all of our choices come down to.  Obedience or disobedience.  It’s as simple as that.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like this lesson because we didn’t learn anything.  Of course, Lot would end up in trouble.  He chose to live with evil people.  The names of these kings are obscure to most and I would wager meaningless.  And the personal question?  I truly don’t think details matter.  What it comes down to is this:  you either choose God or you don’t.  Period.

My kids had this question too and they were stumped.  So this is their answer as well.

I do admire the note at the beginning.  This is unusual.  But it sums up typical ancient times:  people were conquered; the people rebelled; the conquerors put down the rebellion; prisoners and goods were taken.

End Note:  Great home drawn map of the region and the battles!  I love this website:

http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/genesis/14_1.htm

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 5: Genesis 13:14-18

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ONE AND ALL!!!

Summary of passage:  The Lord told Abram He was giving him and his offspring all the land Abram could see forever.  God will make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the dust on the earth.  God told Abram to walk his land.  So Abram moved his tents and settled near Hebron where he built an altar to the Lord.

Questions:

11a)  Read this question carefully.  According to Webster’s Dictionary, appropriate by definition means “to take exclusive possession of, annex; to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use; to take or make use of without authority or right.”

In this passage, God requires Abram to go and walk through the length and breadth of the land in order to appreciate God’s gift and to realize the immensity of God’s gift and promises.  God wants Abram to embrace His gifts and promises, to take possession of them like you would a home you just bought, and to make use of them.  God is granting Abram the right to make use of the land and His promises even though Abram has no right to it.  Make sense?

For us, figuratively, God wants us to explore his land, which is His word today, and embrace His promises–by FAITH.

b)  God promises us the world as long as we follow Him and we do not turn away from his law.  God gives Joshua the Promised land and tells him no one will be able to stand against him and He will never forsake him.  Success depends on obeying the law.  God will be with you wherever you go.

12)  Romans 14:10-12:  Because our actions could affect others coming to Christ.  Paul says to stop passing judgment on others for we will all give an account to God for our actions.  Verse 13 is the crux:  “not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

2 Corinthians 5:9-10:  We must make it our goal to please God for we will all be judged and we will receive what is due us for the things done in the body while her on earth.

1 John 2:28:  We must continue in him (obey his commands) so that we may be confident and unashamed for our actions when Christ comes again.

Conclusions:  The verses in questions 12 I think emphasize the “me”.  I emphasized how it affects others.  True, we must please God and do what is right because we will be judged and our rewards in heaven is determined by our deeds here on earth.  But more importantly is how once you are a Christian people look at you differently.  You represent Christ here on earth and we must be especially careful because others are watching and what we say and do could determine whether or not they come to him or not.

My soul is saved.  Saving others souls’ should be the priority.  And that I believe will earn you greater rewards than just being good.  For their is no nobler a cause.  And naturally, through the goal of saving others, flows forth righteousness, love, and compassion–eternal rewards–God will give.

End Note:  Be careful of the verb appropriate here.  It’s got a tricky definition and I don’t think it means God doesn’t have the right to give the land.  For on earth it can mean taking someone’s property without permission.  Since it is all God’s He can do whatever He wants.  Still, the verb is not sitting well with me in this instance for it does have a negative connotation.  And nothing God does is.

Man seems to think it’s all “mine”.  Look at the Middle East right now.  Fighting again over the land–a gift from God.  Man has forgotten it is all God’s.

I think one of the biggest criticisms unbelievers say about God is this:  that He just forced the people already living in the Promised Land out and took it from them.  Unbelievers just don’t grasp the truth it was and is God’s to begin with and He can do whatever He wants.

Therefore, appropriate is a word man uses when someone takes land.  But here, I believe, it’s land for God’s purposes to be achieved.  Only man can twist the meaning.

Day 6, Question 13:  I normally don’t answer or post these but I couldn’t resist this one.  I was just on a BLOG where there were insanely beautiful pictures of bighorn sheep.  These creatures were magnificent, God’s creations, the epitome of beauty.

I think God’s order to walk the land is an order to appreciate the beauty and the miraculousness of life on earth–the only planet in our galaxy where life exists.  To truly understand God’s gift, Abram needed to see the entire land He had promised him.

We can “walk the land” in the same way.  Literally would be nice but in this day and age we don’t have to.  You can see the images others take and stand in awe of Him–like I was with these photos.

I would encourage you to appreciate God’s beauty around us.  For in all His Creations, is Him.  And we will get to know God the more we get to know His creations–the animals, plants, seas, mountains, and man–the more we embrace His Creations, the more we “take possession of” His Creations.  This is my prayer.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 4: Genesis 13:14-18

Summary of passage:  The Lord told Abram He was giving him and his offspring all the land Abram could see forever.  God will make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the dust on the earth.  God told Abram to walk his land.  So Abram moved his tents and settled near Hebron where he built an altar to the Lord.

Questions:

8a)  Lot chose the best, greenest, most fertile land for himself.

b)  Abram stayed in Canaan which had been overgrazed.

c)  Not everything is as it seems.  Matthew 6 says you need to be concentrating on storing up treasures in heaven and not treasures on earth (or having the best) for where you treasure is lies your heart.  Matthew 10 says its about following Jesus and sacrificing all for him.  Matthew 19 reminds us its about giving and not receiving to earn treasures in heaven.  Luke reminds us the earth is not our home.

9)  Abram got all the land he could see forever plus his offspring would inherit it and his offspring would be numerous as dust.  Lot’s was probably temporary and subject to takeovers.

10a)  Matthew 19:29:  “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5.  My favorite is Matthew 5:10:  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 6:22-23:  “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”

b)  Our greatest blessing is having our sins forgiven and promised an eternal life with God.  What we give up seems paltry next to Jesus’s sacrifice especially in the 21st century.  When I read the Bible, God’s commandments in essence are simple. He asks nothing impossible of us.  Yet we fail repeatedly.  Overcoming our sinful nature is where the battle is but with training and practice we can all become better.

God does not ask us to give up much it seems.  To just be a good person.  Do what Jesus would do.  Hard?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.

Conclusions:  For Question 8 I had to go back to Genesis 13:10.  I believe our sacrifices for Jesus are small compared to his.  We must remember this world is not our home and if we keep that in the forefront of our minds when we are tempted by our eyes then we should be alright.

Myself, though, I’m jaded anyways.  I don’t believe half of what I see anyways.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably is, as the saying goes.

Yet so many get caught in the materialistic trap.  Just look at Black Friday.  I don’t leave the house on that day.  It’s not about the latest gadget.  It’s about the fact you are able to purchase the latest gadget through God’s provision.  So many lose sight of that.

Everything is God’s.  It is just on loan to us.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 3: Genesis 13:5-13

Summary of passage:  Lot, Abram’s nephew, was traveling with Abram until he had to separate because their herds of animals were growing too big to support both flocks. This caused quarrels between the two groups.  The Canaanites and Perizzites were living there as well so it was crowded.

Abram approached Lot and suggested they separate, giving Lot the choice of which lands he wanted.  Lot chose the plain of the Jordan which was well watered and they parted, leaving Abram in Canaan and Lot near Sodom.  Sodom was wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.

Questions:

5a)  Verses 10 & 11:  “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar…so Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan…”

b)  People live places because it looks good, it appeals to the eyes and not to the heart.  People live places for the climate and the beauty and for what the place can provide them.

c)  Verse 12 & 13:  “Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom”, which was “wicked and sinful against the Lord.”

d)  Lot got caught up in a neighboring war and him and his possessions were seized, causing Abram to rescue him (Genesis 14). Lot became entrenched in the society of Sodom for he was “sitting in the gateway of the city” (Genesis 19:1), a place reserved for city leaders.  He calls the people of Sodom “friends” when he tells them they cannot have the angels (Genesis 19:7).  Then Lot and his family did not want to leave Sodom when the angels warned him it was about to be destroyed (Genesis 19:16) and it seems they had to be forcefully pulled.

When told not to look back, Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).  Then his daughters got him drunk and lay with him, committing incest, and became pregnant, spawning the Moabites and Ammonites who throughout the Bible fought and tempted Israel into sin (Genesis 19:34-38).

Shows how even living near sin can infect your family who may fall into the world.  Lot’s wife died, his daughters committed incest, and Lot’s heart was not on God.  Reminds me of Paul’s warning (1 Corinthians 5:9; 15:33 & 2 Corinthians 6:14-17) to not associate with sinners and to be careful of the company you keep.  This is especially true when you have little kids who are very impressionable.

6)  John 14:27:  You will not have the peace Jesus gives.  You will have troubled hearts and be afraid.  Jesus brings peace.

Ephesians 4:17-20: You will have  hardened heart, live in darkness, and have no understanding.  You will have no sensitivity and indulge in every kind of impurity and lust.  You will develop a moral insensitivity, which will silence your conscience and harden your heart.

James 4:4:  You will be an enemy of God and will have hatred towards Him.

1 John 2:15-17:  If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything of the world comes from the world, not the Father.  The world and its desires fade away but the will of God lives forever.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a very tough question since it’s always hard to make self-assessments.  I would say no.  I try to pray before I make decisions.  I try to follow His guidance, where I think He is leading me.  I try to surrender.  And as I study His word and learn more about Him, I become less and less attached to this world.  It’s like a mother weaning her baby.  I feel I am being weaned from this world the closer I get to God.

Conclusions:  This lesson shows us that if you make choices based on your desires and wants, you will put yourself in risk of Falling.  From the moment Lot chose his piece of land, he declined–dramatically–and he became more and more attached to this world.  I think he was only spared because he was Abram’s nephew to be honest (Genesis 19:29).

I thought James 4:4 was powerful.  “Whoever chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God and shows him hatred.”  Those are strong words.  Think about it.  Who’s the arch-enemy of God?  The devil.  And here we are being equated with the devil.

And shows Him hatred.  I don’t hate anyone in my life and definitely not God.  But the world does.  And choosing the world means you hate God as well.

Powerful words to ponder as we examine our selves and our decisions and what’s important in this world.

God first.  Everything else a distant second.  This is my prayer for us all.

Remember Our Blessings…

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday this week, in lieu of prayer requests I’d like to have a post devoted to God’s blessings and praises–what God has given us instead of what He hasn’t yet (which He has we just can’t see it).

Too often (myself included) we forget out blessings and instead focus on the little setbacks in life.  Granted, sometimes the setbacks are big but God is always in the midst.

Just some of my blessings:

I am blessed by my husband who sacrifices time with his family so we can live a good life. I am blessed to be able to write to you, to afford Internet, and to write somewhat intelligently.  I am blessed being able to take guitar lessons and learn alongside my kids. They are blessed in this as well.

I lead a pretty good life.  I don’t have to work.  I spend all my time with my kids.  I get to do whatever I want most of the time.

Sure, my husband is struggling in his career.  But God is there.  By his side the entire time.  And God’s faithful to move him where He wants him.

I am blessed by my three beautiful children who God has entrusted to me to raise in His name.

I am blessed that I still have one dog whose unconditional love is hard to surpass.

I am blessed with a home, a family, food, clothing, and shelter.  I am blessed by my blog and spreading His message.  I am blessed by BSF and the Bible, God’s word.  I am blessed by Him.

I am blessed by you all and your words of wisdom, different view points, prayers, encouragements, disagreements, opinions, answers, questions, challenges, and advice.  I am grateful for each and every one of you who visit and my heart sings when you post your thoughts and prayers here.  God bless you all.

What are your blessings?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 2: Genesis 13:5-13

Summary of passage:  Lot, Abram’s nephew, was traveling with Abram until he had to separate because their herds of animals were growing too big to support both flocks. This caused quarrels between the two groups.  The Canaanites and Perizzites were living there as well so it was crowded.

Abram approached Lot and suggested they separate, giving Lot the choice of which lands he wanted.  Lot chose the plain of the Jordan which was well watered and they parted, leaving Abram in Canaan and Lot near Sodom.  Sodom was wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.

Questions:

3)  Genesis 13:5-13:  Abram saw tensions rising and he took quick action.  He came up with a solution and gave the choice to Lot instead of Abram choosing which way to go. He approached Lot out of love and deferred to him.

1 Corinthians 6:1-8:  This passage says to settle disagreements between believers without bringing in unbelievers.  Appoint an arbitrator from the church.  Paul says it is better to be wronged than to wrong your brother.  Abram followed this advice Paul later wrote.  He approached Lot with their disagreement and came up with a fair solution and Abram humbly let Lot chose.

Ephesians 4:1-3:  Paul advised to live humbly and be patient and deal with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity, to get along.  Abram did just that.  He loved Lot as a brother so he wanted to settle the problem quickly.

Ephesians 4:31-5:2:  Paul says to not be angry or slanderous but to be kind and compassionate and forgiving to one another.  Be imitators of God and live a life of love. Abram did just that.

Seems Abram and Paul had a lot in common!

4a)  He was the eldest and God gave Abram the land (Genesis 12:1), not Lot.  Lot just tagged along.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I have no concrete example but no, I would say my attitude is usually pretty poor when it comes to submitting rights.  But I will say as time passes and I grow in God I do become more generous, compassionate, and yielding.  This is hard when we are born selfish.  It definitely takes time to develop.

In this day and age when it’s all about personal rights and people thinking others owe them, this is a shining example of how to show God’s love to others.  The Canaanites and Perizzites were watching.  They saw the quarrels and probably didn’t think much of Abram’s God.  But when Abram did something not many others would in the ancient world, the Canaanites and Perizzites probably wondered, Who is this God of theirs?  

And just like that, the seed is planted…

We must remember everyone is watching (this isn’t too hard in the age of YouTube and hidden cameras).  We must reflect God to the un-Godly.

Conclusions:  I liked this lesson.  It’s a great reminder that we don’t always have to be right or even exercise our rights.  By submitting our will and rights, we are submitting to God’s will and showing trust in God that all will work out as He planned (not as we planned) and God will take care of us.

End Note:  It’s interesting the turn around in Abram.  We’re not told how much time has passed between Egypt and Abram and Lot separating but here was a man in Chapter 12 who did not trust God to save him so he took matters into his own hands by prostituting his wife.

Now we see Abram completely surrendering his rights to his nephew, trusting God will take care of him and his animals.

People do grow in faith.  This gives me hope that I can as well.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 12:10-13:4

Summary of passage:  Abram went to Egypt due to a famine.  Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him.  So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it.  He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.

The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land.  They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.

Abram traveled back to Bethel where he had built the altar earlier (Day 4) and called on the Lord.

Questions:

11a)  Nothing is an act of nature since God is in control.  I think it was a test of Abram’s faith as we see as the story unravels and Abram’s self-preservation and self-reliance is revealed.  God never told Abram to go to Egypt; he was to stop in Canaan.  The famine is a test to see if Abram would rely on God for all his needs.  Obviously, Abram doesn’t.  He schemes and ultimately failed in this test.

b)  Acknowledging God, calling on Him, faith and trust in God.

12a)  Verses 11-13  Abram is telling Sarai to lie because he is afraid of being killed.  Verse 15 shows how Abram just stood by while he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own and fornicate with her.  Because of this in verse 17 we see how God punished Pharaoh for Abram’s sin.  Abram in verse 13:2 became rich because of it and doesn’t seem to show any remorse.  Hagar will also enter the picture (Genesis 16), a source of jealousy for Sarai.

b)  Israel (Abram’s descendants) will bear the Lord’s wrath due to Abram’s sin until the Lord brings Israel into the light.  We will also see in Genesis 16:1 some of the consequences of this sin in the form of Hagar, one of the maidservants Abram and Sarai acquired while in Egypt and what harm she causes.

c)  He didn’t punish Abram but instead punished Pharaoh and He allowed Abram to profit financially from the sin.  God blessed and protected Abram because God had bigger plans for him than this sin.

13a)  Bethel

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I definitely don’t see any repentance.  Just because you build an altar doesn’t equate with asking for forgiveness for your sins.  I see faith in building an altar.  That’s about it.

My take-away is to ask for forgiveness for your sins where Abram did not and to have faith that God will protect you on your journey in this life instead of scheming, lying, and allowing your wife to fornicate with others.

Put your faith in God and His promises–not in lies–for ALL things.  Only you can fail God.  God will never fail you.

Conclusions:  I had completely missed this the last time I read Genesis.  I didn’t remember Abram doing this to protect his own skin.  To me, it seems like Abram was having a high ol’ time, living it up, at Sarai’s expense (unless she enjoyed being the wife of the most powerful man of the known world, but we are not told anything with relation to how Sarai felt).

Abram threw her under the bus and seemed content to have her stay there forever.  God’s the one who saved her, not Abram.  To me, Abram is callous and doesn’t care.  He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.

I see Pharaoh here as the victim and actually as a guy with a heart.  As soon as he found out Sarai was married, he corrected it.  He was angry he wasn’t told.  I don’t see Pharaoh here as a guy to take another’s wife.  Yet he was punished because of Abram’s sin.  Talk about unfair!  Life, right?

Abram was just lucky he was God’s chosen vessel for the future or he could have been incinerated on the spot!

This sin must have been HUGE to God.  Here’s the woman who will bear the line of Christ and Abram allows her to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever!  She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows?  Another slap in God’s face to how man has twisted the intent of marriage and not held it as sacred as God must.

Abram must have faith in God’s plans so we can only hope he learned from this and as Genesis unfolds we will see other tests he passes with flying colors.

But God’s plans are bigger than Abram’s sin so God worked through and in spite of Abram’s sin as He does always and for me and you.  Even when we sin, God is there to pick us back up and put us back on HIS path, not ours.

This is BSF at its best.  The facts of the story and then ONE application question that shows how to rely on God and not yourself.  Great stuff!