BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12

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Summary of Joshua 5:1-12:

Upon hearing of God’s bringing of His people across the Jordan River by stopping its flow, all the Amorite king and Canaanite kings lost courage to face the Israelites. God ordered the circumcision of His people at Gibeath Haaraloth. These were the sons of the the wandering Israelites who had not been circumcised on the journey. They remained in camp until they were healed.

The Israelites celebrated the Passover, eating the produce of the land (unleavened bread and roasted grain). The manna stopped after this since the Israelites were now able to produce their own food.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

11) To circumcise all the Israelites who had not been circumcised previously. God had commanded Abraham that all Israeli males be circumcised as a sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God, which was God’s promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and receive the gift of the Promised Land. It was also a requirement to be circumcised to take part in the Passover, which is a celebration in remembrance of God sparing the Israelites in his judgment of Egypt, passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt.

Deuteronomy tells us also that “God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

12a) Passover. The passover signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

b) God stopped giving manna. This signified to the Israelis that they now would be able to provide for themselves–something all of us wants.

13) Personal Question. My answer:  God has given me a new job, so my husband and I can start getting out of debt and getting on the right path for our lives. It’s a job that grows me and will serve me (and Him) forever in the future. I will thank Him by following Him, giving Him the credit, and loving Him.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

It’s important to remember our blessings each and every day, which can easily get distracted with our daily struggles and problems. God chose circumcision and Passover for His people. Now, you can choose whatever you wish as a remembrance: just make it something concrete, visible, and meaningful to you.

Watch VIDEO of book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

Related imageSeeing the miracle of the Jordan River parted is only part of the reason the kings cower before the Israelites. The other reason: the Israelites trust in God. Trust is powerful. Think of all the people you trust enough to cross a parted river. Maybe a handful?

Apparently, no one was circumcised in the 40 years of wanderings. It was time to show your outward obedience to God’s commands and get circumcised. Circumcision is a consecration of yourself to God. It’s renouncing yourself and living for God. This had to be done before the conquering began.

Obviously, this was suicidal from a military standpoint.  All the men of fighting age were made completely vulnerable and unable to fight for a period of several days.

If you remember back in Genesis 34:24-25, Simeon and Levi killed all the men in a city after tricking them into having them all circumcised. While the men were unable to fight, they were slaughtered in retaliation, because the prince of that city had raped Dinah, the sister of Simeon and Levi. This could have been the fate of Israel here in Joshua 5.

  • Israel crossed over the Jordan at a militarily undesirable place (right in front of Jericho, the strongest military outpost of the Canaanites),
  • Then the Israelites incapacitated their army for several days.

The Israelites were circumcised because they trusted God.

God, in His infinite compassion, only asked the Israelites to do this AFTER the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. God gives us strength and courage before he pushes us again. Radical things happen when we trust wholeheartedly in God.

“Rolling away the reproach of Egypt” means the shame of being slaves in Egypt and the underlying sin and rebellion that had caused that punishment. The Israelites needed to stop seeing themselves as helpless slaves and sinners but as conquering warriors of God who were forgiven.

God did not want the Israelites to forget His deliverance of them. God never wants us to forget Jesus’ deliverance of us out of bondage and into freedom.

God didn’t want the Israelites to get lazy; they could provide for themselves. Again, they needed to trust in God’s provision–not in how it was provided.

Gilgal will become a base camp for the Israelites. After battles they will return here. They will remember God’s greatness with the stones and be strengthened and renewed.

Theme of Joshua 5: Trust in God.

Fun Biblical Fact: This is the only time Gibeath Haaraloth is mentioned in the Bible.

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BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24

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Summary of Joshua 2:1-24:

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.

Image result for banks of jordan river todayRemember, 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

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Banks of Jordan River Today

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.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 5: Romans 1:16-17

Summary of passage:  The gospel saves those who believe, first the Jew and then the Gentile, bringing righteousness through faith.

Questions:

12)  “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  It reveals “a righteousness from God” through faith.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m never ashamed.  However, I do live a cushy life in the United States so I’m sure some of you have a very different experience.  The gospel is for everyone.  All you need is faith.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  I’ve always had faith so it’s hard to me to imagine a life without God by my side. I’ve been blessed indeed.  It’s simple:  with Christ you have life.  Without him you have nothing.  For Paul, realizing that faith in Christ gets him to God changed everything.  He put Christ first.  To him, everything else is garbage.  Christ alone.  That simple.

Conclusions:  You could say this is the crux of the Christian faith, boiled down to two verses.  I love how it’s a faith that has always been there and will always be there.  Awesome!

End Notes:  Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the gospel that saves.  It is power from God.  To have that power all one has to do is believe.

Greeks used here is anyone non-Jewish.

Righteousness is God treating the sinner like he’s not a sinner.  It’s a gift given to those who believe in Christ as God’s Son and Savior.  God’s righteousness, which is the state of being in a right relationship with God.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 1, Day 2

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Visit psychics, witchcraft.  From the past we picture rituals such as reading the entrails of animals, cauldrons and potions, the heavens, stars, sun, and moon, and crystal balls.  In fantasy we see “seers” scrying the future, vampires with the gift of sight (Twilight, anyone?), oracle at Delphi, clairvoyants, and of course Nostradamus.  Tarot cards, ESP, dreams, and palm reading.  You name it, it’s been done in the millennia humans have walked this planet.

4)  Prophecy is from God carried along by the Holy Spirit.  Man has nothing to do with prophecy. Because what God says will happen, will happen. What man says will happen, will not.  God is in control, not man.  We can only be certain of prophecy if it’s from God.

5)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  The foretelling of the future does two things:  1) increases our faith in God  2) reveals God to be true.  When future events come true that were predicted ahead of time, it results in belief and conversion.  God wants believers to be stronger in faith and He wants unbelievers to believe.  When we see prophecy come to pass, our faith is strengthened and we become witnesses to others.

Conclusions:  I am excited that we are not diving right into Revelation, but this day didn’t do it for me.  In modern times, most of us are aware of the quacks out there.  Most of us don’t believe those who claim to predict the future.  Most of us know the future is unknown except by God.  However, the point BSF is making here is good:  God is the only one who does know the future and we can trust in Him when what He says comes to pass.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 1, Day 3: Exodus 1:22

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.'”

Questions:

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.