Jesus tells his disciples one day after his resurrection and during the 40 day period of his teaching (before he ascends to heaven) to not leave Jerusalem to preach the Good News but to wait to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. The disciples ask Jesus if he is going to restore the kingdom of Israel, and Jesus basically says it’s not for you to know the time, but it is for you to be his witnesses to the world.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8
6) “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promied, which you hae heard me speak about.” The Spirit will empower them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem and the entire world.
7a) All the difference. You can do nothing without Christ.
b) Personal Question. My answer: God has guided my every step and gotten me to this place in my life right now where I can live the life He has for me.
Conclusions to BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8
Great emphasis on the fact that we can do nothing without God, and that God does not leave us to our own devices to do His will. He empowers us through the Holy Spirit with every step we take every day no matter our circumstances.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8
Fun Fact: This is the last time the disciples see Jesus in His physical body, until they went to heaven to be with Him forever.
The disciples had asked when Jesus would restore Israel many times before, but it had a special relevance now. They knew that Jesus had instituted the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). They also knew that the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was part of the New Covenant (as seen in Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 36:16-30, Ezekiel 37:21-28). Jesus tells them it is not for them to know.
Why not reveal God’s plan to the disciples?
It was wise for Jesus not to outline His plan over the next 2,000 years. It was good for the disciples to not know that the full restoration of the kingdom to Israel that they hoped would happen soon would not come for some 2,000 years. It might overly discourage them in the work they had to do right then and might make them think less of the aspect of the kingdom of God that was present with them.
The progress of the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and then to the end of the earth becomes the outline of Acts.
Joshua sends out two men to spy the land especially Jericho. The king of Jericho discovers this and know the men went to the house of Rahab, the prostitute. The king’s men go to Rahab’s house to arrest the men. Rahab protects the men, lying for them, and telling the soldiers the men left her house and to go and chase them.
The soldiers leave. Rahab tells the spies that she has heard of God and what He has done for His people and that everyone in the land is afraid of the Israelites. She begs the men to show mercy to her and her family when the Israelites invade as she has shown mercy to them.
The men agreed and Rahab lowered the men out of her house, using a rope, as her house was part of the city wall. The spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord in the window so all will know to spare that home. She must bring her family inside her home and not leave to be spared and not betray them to the king. Rahab agrees.
The spies hide for three days, giving the soldiers plenty of time to search and not find them. The spies return to Joshua, reporting all that happened with Rahab and how the people are afraid of them.
BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:
6a) Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho.
b) Rahab heard about the Lord’s deeds: how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape out of Egypt and about the destruction of Sihon and Og and their two kings. By her actions (saving the men), she herself was saved by God. That would increase her faith.
7) Personal Question. My answer: God is faithful. He will guide you and not lead you astray. I trust He puts me where He wants me with jobs and life.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answer: He spared her and her family when the Israelites invaded, and allowed her and her family to live amongst the Israelites even though they were Gentiles. She was rewarded a unique place in Jewish history as becoming a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ and has been held up in the Bible as an example of faith. God has rewarded me with a rich life. I often feel undeserving and that I’m not doing enough for Him and His kingdom.
Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:
I love this story. It shows how doing a good deed for others often blesses you ten fold. By saving the two men’s lives, Rahab saved her and gained a new home with the Israelites. Plus, she got to be a direct ancestor of Jesus. How cool is that! Great lesson about faith and doing the right thing.
Watch VIDEO of Book of Joshua if you didn’t yesterday.
End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:
Forty years before, as the Israelites poised to take the Promised Land, the 12 spies brought back entirely different news (Numbers 13:31-33): they didn’t believe the land could be taken. Fast forward 40 years and with hand-picked reconnaissance team, these two spies come back and confidently say, Yes! The Promised Land is ours for the taking!
Theme of Joshua 2:
God honors true faith from anyone, regardless of race or religious background. Rahab, a prostitute (so someone very low on the totem pole) shows faith in God and is rewarded as Christ’s ancestor.
Remember, the Israelites are literally standing on the banks of the Jordan River, awaiting Joshua’s command to re-take the Promised Land. He sends out spies to survey the land, not because Joshua lacks faith God will do what He says He will do, but because he’s taking action in faith by being prepared.
We aren’t told who the two spies are, but Jewish tradition – speculation, really – says they were Caleb and the High Priest Eliezer.
Joshua also shows wisdom by sending them secretly. The last spies that went out publicly turned out badly for Israel, when a majority of the spies came back with a discouraging report (Numbers 13).
Why did the spies go to a prostitute’s house? It was the perfect place to hide out.
In the culture of that day, there was a strong tradition of hospitality. If someone was a guest in your house, you had a strong duty to protect and care for them. However, Rahab went much further than the respect of cultural traditions regarding hospitality. She put her own life on the line for these men.
The Bible simply reports Rahab’s lie; it does not praise it or excuse it. Rahab’s lie is not justified, but it does show courage. Remember, she is not being held to our standards as Christians. She was a pagan in a city where morality didn’t exist and had no clue really who God was. Thus, we cannot judge her.
This surprising outburst of faith shows how God had a plan in bringing Rahab and the spies together. It is the same kind of thing we see when God supernaturally brings us to people who are believers or open to the gospel.
Rahab’s declaration that “God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” was proof of her faith. It was not strong faith, but her faith good enough to save her and her family and be remembered by Biblical writers of the day (Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25).
Note the color of the cord that ultimately saves Rahab: scarlet. As early as the first century, commentators such as Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Origen saw this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.
Outcome of the Spies’ Mission to Jericho
What was the outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho? It failed as a reconnaissance mission. The spies brought back no news of how heavily fortified the city was or how to penetrate it. Instead, all they brought back was news it could be defeated. The purpose of the mission was to encourage and fortify the people that Jericho could be taken–and that was exactly what the spies did.
The second outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho was the salvation of Rahab and her family. God will go to great lengths to save people–to bring them to Him. Here, He saved an ancestor of Jesus.
God will save those in your life as well if you have faith and pray for them. No one is truly lost and nothing is impossible with God.
Summary of passage: Paul thanks God for the Romans’ faithfulness. He says how he prays for them constantly and he prays God will allow him to visit them.
6) God through Jesus. He was grateful for the faith of the Romans.
7) Personal Question. My answer: Serving goes hand-in-hand with prayer. Prayer should be in the forefront of all of our lives and the decisions we make.
8a) He prays to be able to visit them by God’s will. Paul does visit them although as a prisoner.
b) Part personal Question. My answer: God answers prayers and it may not be in the way we envision but it’s in His way. I always ask. No matter what. If you don’t ask, God doesn’t answer (Matthew 7:7). I pray for the impossible and expect the impossible but am not disappointed if it doesn’t happen cause it is in God’s will. I have faith He’ll do His work through me.
Conclusions: Great lesson on prayer and gratitude. Paul is grateful and thankful. He prays for the prayers answered, people, and prayers he wants answers. Great prayer model!
End Notes: Paul is especially grateful because of the visibility of the Roman church. Rome remember is the most powerful place on the planet. A strong Christian community goes a long way toward the spread of the good news. In Rome, where the pagan Roman gods ruled, the Christians were strongly persecuted especially under Nero. They needed Paul’s prayers!
A lesson to us: remember to pray for your church as well!
Summary of passage: “The Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.'”
6a) He told everyone to kill every male child and did not leave it up to the midwives to accomplish this goal.
b) Personal Question. My answer: You are often taken down before you are brought back up. During our bankruptcy it seemed every time we turned around we lost something else. But it did get better and my family knew God had a plan.
7) Genesis 15:13-14: They are accustomed to suffering. They know they will suffer but that God is just and will punish their oppressors in His time. God’s plan is great. They will be blessed after their suffering.
Isaiah 43:1-4: God will redeem them after the suffering. Nothing shall harm them. They shall be rewarded.
John 16:33: In God we will have peace during our troubles. Since God has overcome the world, so we shall overcome our trials.
2 Corinthians 1:4,9: God comforts us in our troubles and our troubles allows us to rely on Him and not on ourselves.
8a) It would give them hope and strength and faith to endure the persecution for God’s planned redemption would come.
b) Personal Question. My answer: My current difficulty and frustration right now is my book. I am facing another whole re-write and no part of me wants to do it. I am sick of it. Hence, I am here, doing my blog instead, taking a break. Still, it gnaws at me as I do believe it to be God’s plan. But no part of His plan is easy.
Conclusions: We see Pharaoh’s determination to rid himself of the Israelites by commanding all his people to kill newborn males. Some scholars say this command also included killing male Egyptian babies as well but some translations just say Hebrew boys. This point is debated. Personally, I don’t see Egyptians killing their own for that would end their race as well. We can tell the conflict between the Egyptians and the Hebrews is about to come to a head.
Key Point: trust and obey even through suffering as we shall see God’s people do (for the most part–at least until the Wilderness where time takes its toll).
We have all suffered. It is how we respond to suffering that counts.