Introductory Remark: This is the first time I have ever seen BSF do two days assigned together. There are a lot of passages to look up.
Summary of passages: Various passages for the day.
6) Personal Question. My answer: I think because people are unhappy with their present life and instead of hoping in God, they are hoping in the future their life will be better. They will marry the man of their dreams, strike it rich, live long and healthy, and find joy.
This was especially true in the Middle Ages up until the twentieth century even. Most people were peasants. Their lives were hard with no hope of improvement. They toiled day in and day out just to survive with the prospect of an early death. In reality, until the advent of America where people saw the lower class becoming the upper class most lived lives of despair. I’m not saying America is perfect; what I am saying is that it is the model and the hope of many of what life can be.
Even today many are born in poverty around the world with little hope of betterment. So they seek out someone who will tell them life will get better and give them hope. This was the birth of fortune tellers.
Many people today will gladly pay someone to tell them what they want to hear–to give them the escape from their live they so desperately crave. I think even those who know better do this. They are so broken down by the fallen world we live in they seek whatever bit of heaven on earth available. And if someone tells them they will have it, they believe. Naively.
7a) Isaiah 45:21: Here, God is speaking and He is saying He is the only one who can predict the future–He and He alone. This is proof of His power and He is challenging the pagan gods of the day to foretell anything (read before and after this passage for the full context).
Amos 3:7: God does nothing without revealing His plan to his servants the prophets.
2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” We can believe the prophecies in the Bible.
Hebrews 11:32-40: All the prophets in the Bible through faith in God accomplished God’s will and fulfilled God’s promises to His people.
1 Peter 1:10-12: The prophets had the truth revealed to them by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven to enlighten us for our sakes and not their own.
b) Personal Question. My answer: All point to how the prophecy in the Bible is God-breathed. The prophets mentioned have all fulfilled God’s words and His will for this earth. He is the only god in history to predict the future. Never once has God failed to do what He has said He would do. We can trust in Him.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answers:
Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Luke 1:26-27: Two prophecies are here if you keep reading Isaiah 7:14-17. One is the prediction of the birth of the Messiah. But before the Messiah grew out of boyhood, the land of their enemies would be laid to waste and the king of Assyria will come. Twelve years after this prediction, Israel fell.
Matthew 1:22-23 directly quotes this verse from Isaiah and says it’s in reference to Jesus.
What I find interesting here is what BSF didn’t ask us to read: That Ahaz, the king of Judah, refused to “test” the Lord or ask for a sign but God through Isaiah gave it anyways. I love this! Even when us stubborn people don’t want to hear God and don’t want to do what He says, He speaks anyways whether we like it or not–good news or bad. Beautiful! (This is the beginning of Isaiah 7)
Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6: Micah foretells a ruler will come from Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and Matthew quotes Micah here.
Isaiah 53:3-6; Matthew 27:22-26: Isaiah describes Jesus here as one despised and rejected by men and pierced for our transgressions. Here in Matthew we see the people call for his execution and crucify (pierce) him.
What’s interesting is the fulfillment of God’s plan for mankind since the beginning of time and how many times God tells His people what will happen.
9) Personal Question. My answer: You can tell a false prophet because they can only bear bad fruit. Deuteronomy (remember from last year?) tells us that a false prophets prophecies will not come true. They will deny the Lord and further do not acknowledge Jesus (1 John 4:2-3). These prophets also don’t listen to us, meaning Godly-people of the Spirit (1 John 4:6). Ask yourself: Is this something in line with God and His character? If not, then it’s false.
10) It is important for our faith. If God has no track record, how can we be sure? God does what He says He will do and He has done it throughout history and the Bible records His predictions and fulfillments. This leads to faith in Him, in His prophecies, in His words.
Conclusions: Initially, I was hesitant on question 6. Then I started to answer it and it just flowed. The “why” of it all is powerful. I tend to dismiss all fortune tellers as malarky. It’s hard for me to see why anyone would believe any of these people. But this question answered that for me: it’s hope. People need hope in their lives or their lives are meaningless. And without God, people have no hope and are desperate. I’ve always had Him in my life for which I am blessed. But there have been times when my hope has waned. Now I see how these people have flourished in the past and in the present.
With God, there is hope. Without Him, there is nothing.
We did discuss false prophets and teachings last year because there are liars and cheats everywhere even today. We hear of cults and sect religions. Especially in ancient times when knowledge was minuscule to what we know today it was prevalent in society for fast talkers to make a buck.
Ask yourself: Is this something God would do or say? If not, dismiss it immediately as the devil.
End Note: This lesson did take two days for me. Break it up. Looking up all the passages takes some time.