BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139

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Summary of Psalm 139:

David prays/sings to God, saying how God knows everything about him and where he’ll go and what he’ll say. God is everywhere, guiding him. God made David in the womb and knew what he’d do on earth. David prays for God to slay his enemies who speak evil of God’s name. He hates them for it. He prays to be tested for evil and to be lead in everything.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

3) God is omniscient. He has everything planned ahead of time and everyone’s life planned ahead of time. Darkness is as light to God. He is omnipotent.

4) David hates those who hate God. He cannot stand those who speak evil of God. He calls those who hate God his enemies. He requests for God to be in control of his destiny and all that he does. Most people today do not actively oppose God; they just dislike him. We are to love on those who don’t like God but not tolerate perpetual sin around us. We don’t have to be with unrepentant sinners; we can just pray for them. The balance comes in condoning or not condoning sin.

5) Personal Question. My answer: This Psalm reminds me how God does have my life planned out, and I merely have to be close to Him to follow it. It reminds me He knows everything and cares about knowing everything in my life. If I pray for God to lead me, He will. His will will be done in my life if I allow Him to do it.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

Reading the Psalms gives us an insight into David’s mind during this trying time in his life. We see his highs, his lows, and all his questions, doubts, and waverings as to what God is doing in his life. This gives us hope when we do the same thing. The power of prayer cannot be stated enough.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

This magnificent Psalm is titled, For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. It does not surprise us that such a significant Psalm came from David’s pen, who was “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). The Chief Musician is thought by some to be the LORD God Himself, and others suppose him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:3316:17, and 25:6).

David prayed to Yahweh, understanding that He had personal knowledge of him. Pagans often thought that their gods were hostile or indifferent to men and women; David knew the true God cared to search and know all of us.

What does God know about me?Image result for psalm 139

  • God knows me.
  • He is everywhere with me.
  • He created me.
  • God knows all my thoughts.
  • God knows all my words.
  • God knows me better than I know myself.
  • God is everywhere.
  • God knows me in the womb.
  • God sees me at all times.

As Jesus would later say, God knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30).

In the Hebrew grammar, You know (139:2) and You covered (139:13) the emphasis is on You. God is involved in everything we do.

The normal sense of a hedge in the Bible is of a protective barrier. God hedged David on every side, so that nothing could come to David unless it first passed through God’s permission. What was true for David is true for all who trust in the LORD.

The Psalmist speaks of God as a Person everywhere present in creation, yet distinct from creation. God is everywhere, but he is not everything.

God is present in Hell

David did not describe what we normally think of as hell – Gehenna (Matthew 10:2818:9), the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). The Hebrew word here is sheol, which has the sense of the grave or by implication the afterlife.

Even in hell, God will be present because there is no place where God cannot be. Yet God’s presence in hell will radiate none of His love and grace; only His righteous judgment.

“Wings of the dawn” may well refer to the spread and speed of light as it fills the morning sky from the east to the west. Light itself can not outrun God’s presence and knowledge.

Death and the grave cannot separate David from God’s love – as Paul would later write in Romans 8:38-39. In fact, God’s right hand – His hand of skill and strength – would hold David no matter what would come.

God’s constant presence with David was like a constant light in the darkness. As the pillar of cloud illuminated Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), so with God’s presence the night shines as the day.

Image result for psalm 139Skillfully wrought: “Hebrew embroidered; exquisitely composed of bones, and muscles, and sinews, and veins, and arteries, and other parts, all framed with such wonderful skill, that even heathens, upon the contemplation of all the parts of man’s body, and how excellently they were framed, both for beauty and use, have broken forth into pangs of admiration and adoration of the Creator of man, as Galen particularly did.” (Poole)

If God made us, why did He make birth defects?

The  “The root meaning of the word rendered ‘precious’ is weighty. The singer would weigh God’s thoughts towards him, and finds that they weigh down his scales.” (Maclaren)work of God in fashioning the body of the individual has made some wonder about the presence of birth defects, and what that may mean regarding God’s work. We should regard such birth defects as injuries to God’s original design, and even as a person may be injured out of the womb, so they can be injured while still in the womb and in the process of formation. Such injuries are the result of the fall and the corruption it introduced into the world, yet still the eye of faith can see the hand of God at work in what defects or injuries He would allow in His providence.

“The Lord’s writing in the book (cf. Psalm 51:1Psalm 69:28) refers to God’s knowledge and blessing of his child ‘all the days’ of his life (cf. Ephesians 2:10).

“That God should think upon us is the believer’s treasure and pleasure.” (Spurgeon)

Discovering our own sin

  • We do not hate the person; we hate the sin.
  • “It is easier to glow with indignation against evildoers than to keep oneself from doing evil. Many secret sins may hide under a cloak of zeal for the Lord.” (Maclaren)
  • We often don’t know our own evil ways. Praying for God to flush them out is powerful.

David ended this majestic psalm by declaring his destination – the way everlasting. Trusting the God of complete knowledge and constant presence would bring David to everlasting life.

“The final words could be translated ‘the ancient way’ as in Jeremiah 6:16; but the majority of translators would appear to be right in rendering them the way everlasting, in contrast to the way of the wicked, which will perish.” (Kidner)

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 11, Day 2: John 7:1-13

Summary of passage:  Jesus stays in Galilee because Jews in Judea were threatening his life.  When the Feast of Tabernacles approached, Jesus was urged by his brothers to go to Judea and perform miracles there so all can see.  Jesus said his time yet has not come, and he stayed in Galilee.  Later, by himself, Jesus went secretly to the Feast where the Jews were watching for him.  Some believed; others didn’t.  However, none spoke of him for fear of the Jewish leaders.

Questions:

3a)  Because in Judea the Jews were looking for him to kill him.  The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three required days Jewish men must appear before the Lord.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’ time is the time till the cross.  He knows when it will come; whereas, his brothers do not know their time or Jesus’.  He is following God’s will for his life and not conforming to what others tell him to do.  It’s very challenging to me.  My life is packed and it only seems to get even more packed!  What’s challenging to me is continuing to do God’s will in my life throughout the busy-ness.  So I blog and work and read and take care of my family and hopefully will return to writing my novel very soon.  I try to stay focused on His work and not mine.

4a)  Some think he’s good; others think he’s evil.  Some believe in him; others don’t.  The same is today.  Some believe; some don’t.  Some half-heartedly know him but don’t accept him as the Son of God.  Others think him pure evil.  Man never changes so why would opinions of Jesus change?

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Good question!  Honestly, no one asks me.  But I would say this:  Jesus is love.  He is good.  He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way.  Belief in him is the path to salvation.  Jesus forgives.  He listens.  He guides.  He helps.  He picks you up when you fall.  He’s there in your heartaches.  He never forsakes.  He is God.

Conclusions:  I like this lesson.  Good emphasis on “not following the crowd” and giving in to peer pressure.  Jesus calmly says, “It’s not time, yet, guys.”  I loved how BSF brought out that opinions on Jesus never change throughout time.  It’s our job to trust in him and guide others to him, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands who chooses Jesus and who doesn’t.

End Notes:  John chapters 7 & 8 is where John seems to have gathered the major arguments against Jesus as Messiah and answers them here.  Strong opposition to Jesus and repeated threats on his life is recorded (7:1, 13, 19, 25, 30, 32, 44; 8:37, 40, 59).

The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyful, weeklong celebration in September or October when families camped out in temporary shelters to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness on the way from Egypt to Canaan under Moses and celebrate the end of harvest.  It was also called the festival of booths (sukkoth) or ingathering because for the full week that it lasted people lived in makeshift booths of branches and leaves (Leviticus 23:40-43) to remind themselves of how their forefathers had wandered the wilderness and lived; town-dwellers erected them in their courtyards or on their flat housetops.  It was the last of the sacred festivals under the Old Covenant instituted by God.  It began 5 days after the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:34; Deut 16:13) and lasted for 7 days.  There were more sacrifices at this feast and it marked the conclusion to the ecclesiastical year.

Yes!  Jesus had real brothers as John has already mentioned (2:12; Matthew 12:46-7).  Matthew also mentions sisters of Jesus as well (Matthew 13:55-56).

In this light, the fact Jesus said no is even more impressive.  It’s harder to say no to family than it is to strangers.

Jerusalem Jews saw themselves as better than the Galileans (just like city folk versus country folk of today).  His brothers thought in order to be proved as Messiah, he needed to prove himself to them.  His brothers were thinking of the world (becoming a public figure and what others thought of Jesus) instead of heavenly and eternal rewards.

How sad that even his brothers didn’t believe in him (Mark 3:21) until after his death (Acts 1:14).  What a missed opportunity!  I can’t imagine growing up with Jesus and not believing in him.

Jesus emphasizes timing and will.  Both matter.  Just because it’s God’s will doesn’t mean the time has come yet and vice versa.  Both must align.  Any time was right for the brothers because they were not in tune with God’s will for them.

The Greek word used here for time (kairos) means the best time to do something.

The brothers could not be hated because they are of the world.  Jesus was not.

Jesus does go the Feast but privately, not publicly like the brothers wish.  Most Jews traveled to these feasts in large caravans.  Jesus did not, not wishing to attract any attention and put his safety at risk.  His refusal is not to go at all but rather in the manner his brothers wished.

The “whispering” is often translated “complaining”.  Why?  Because we as man want Jesus to be who we want him to be (for the 1st century Jews, the overthrower of Rome).  Can you relate?

There was probably some penalty for talk of Jesus being heard.  Think Communist Russia.  The idea is to suppress talk so talk won’t gain momentum and lead to a revolution.  Quite common in ancient times for the people to fear their leaders and to fear something that would lead them to be accused of rebellion, which often led to execution.

 

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 11, Day 2: Exodus 32:1-14

Introductory Note:  This lesson we get a little reprieve from all the reading.  Enjoy!

Summary of passage:  While Moses was up on the mountain, the people became afraid and asked Aaron to make them new gods to go before them since something probably happened to Moses on the mountain.  So Aaron took all the gold earrings from the people and made them into a golden calf as their new god.  Aaron made an altar to the calf and made sacrifices to it.  Then they had a party.

God told Moses to go down off the mountain as the people have become corrupt.  God was so angry He told Moses to leave Him be so that He could destroy them and find a new people.  Moses pleaded for the people, saying the Egyptians would only gloat if God killed them.  Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and to make their descendants as numerous as the stars.  So God relented and did not destroy the people.

Questions:

3a)  Simple:  They were afraid and impatient.  They thought God had abandoned them and they wanted a god to go before them on their journey.  They were afraid Moses was dead on the mountain and they didn’t want to wait around any longer.

b)  Moses had left Aaron in charge while he was away (Exodus 24:14) so when the people asked Aaron to make a god, Aaron supported the idea and helped them.  Imagine what would have happened if Aaron had faith in God and had told the people they were idiots and to have faith and patience:  no golden calf would have been made.  This would be a completely different story.

Aaron HIMSELF made the golden calf.  Imagine his pride when the people bowed down to it.  Even though it wasn’t Aaron’s idea to make an image, he did it.  Imagine if he had refused to cast it.  Then what?  Maybe he would have faced stoning but death is better than betrayal.

As if this wasn’t enough, Aaron was the one who made the altar and declared a party.  It was his responsibility to lead the people and he failed—miserably.  He facilitated the sins of the people.  He is most to blame here.

c)  Gold that the Egyptians had given the Israelites when they left Egypt.

4a)  Anything put above God is an idol so spouse, money, fame, kids, sex, material items, pets, etc.  God gives us all of these things (His gifts) and we misuse them when they are more important to us than God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That everyone is tempted so you are not alone and that God has provided a way out when you are tempted.  I will ask God to remind me that He is first and nothing is more important than Him and to show me idols in my life that I may not recognize as such.

5a)  First, He called the people “your people”, meaning Moses’s people have become corrupt.  They have been quick to turn away from God’s commands and made an idol to worship.  They are stiff-necked.

b)  God offered Moses himself to be made into a great nation instead of His people.

c)  God brought them up out of Egypt and that the Egyptians would see God as evil and that God had planned to rescue His people only to destroy them.  Also, Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to make them into a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars in a Promised Land.

d)  “The Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.”

Conclusions:  Man, were the people lucky they had Moses to plead for them.  God reacted like most of us do when we see a sin or a wrong-doing:  with rage and with quick action.  Offers me some small comfort for my temper!  Only when God was reminded of His promises did He relent.  Great example of thinking before reacting!

It was only 40 days and 40 nights Moses was gone (not quite 6 weeks–Exodus 24:18) and the people were so impatient they acted rashly.  And Aaron didn’t help!  Here’s a guy who first-handed performed miracles with his staff and saw God (Exodus 24:9-10) and yet he doubted.  Hard to believe.  Yet, we see the power of crowd mentality once again here (see my article on what killed Jesus HERE) in action as I’m sure Aaron had all of Israel pleading to help them and he appeased them.  All failed God’s test.  Tragic!

End Notes:  This calf was probably small (only a few inches high) lifted onto a pedestal for the people to see.  It was not huge like depicted in the movies.

Some translations say Moses was “delayed”.  This was a test for the people and their faith which we failed.  This is a lesson for us:  how do we handle God’s delays in our life?  Do we fall into sin like the Israelites here or do we grow in our faith and strength in Him?

The not knowing drove the people to act.  How many times have we acted in the midst of our fear of the unknown?

Scholars say calf is not the best translation here:  it is meant to be a bull in the prime of its life–full of strength and vigor.

Aaron was a follower, not a leader.  He was weak.

Aaron still remembered the Lord here (verse 5) but God was not sufficient; they needed an image to worship.

Note how the people rose early to worship the calf.  Most people only get up early if they have to–work–or if it’s something important to them.  What do you rise early to do?  Is it to worship God first thing in the morning or do your BSF homework or read God’s Word?  You all know I post these things very early in the morning.  It’s important for me to meet God early in my day or I will fall into sin.  I also get up early to exercise, write books, read books, and have “me” time.  I also have “me and God” time.  Consider how you spend your early mornings and ask God how He wants you to spend yours.

Revelry here is sexual revelry.

God is disowning His people by calling them Moses’s people.  He wanted to start over with Moses.

“Stiff-necked” was a common phrase in Biblical times that refers to ox that won’t move.  It references stubbornness in man.

Moses pleaded with the Lord for mercy, grace, His glory, and His promises and goodness.

God knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people.  He was developing Moses and His heart for the people as He does often in us.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 11, Day 2: Isaiah 24:1-6

Summary of passage: The Lord pronounces a curse on the Earth–He will devastate it and all of its inhabitants without exception.  The Earth dries up along with its people because the people have broken the ever-lasting covenant, disobeyed the laws and violated the statutes, and defiled the Earth.

Questions:

3a) The Lord will lay waste and devastate the Earth.  It will be totally plundered, its inhabitants scattered.  The Earth will dry up and wither.

b) Everyone

c) God says it will happen so it will happen.  I think God will destroy so He can renew; God will cleanse so we can be pure of heart and soul.  We can be prepared for that day by living our life in God’s ways.

4) The Earth is defiled by its people who have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant.

Conclusions: Curious as to what exactly was in this “everlasting covenant” that the people had broken that caused all of this destruction (you have to know if you want to avoid it!), I googled it.  Knowing God made a covenant with Noah that He’d never destroy the Earth again and sent us a rainbow as a sign of this promise, how can He destroy the Earth?

A covenant is a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.  In this case between God and His believers.  God made many covenants with man over the course of history.  The Old Covenant would be between Noah and God, Abraham and God, etc all with the purpose and intent of having a relationship between God and man.

The New Covenant is a set of new agreements between God and man, outlined in Hebrews 8.  Here God promises to put his words into our minds and hearts (God will dwell in us not outside of us), forgive our sins, and offer us eternal life.

This New Covenant will be fulfilled when God/Christ returns to Earth to establish His kingdom.  This New Covenant provides a way for humans to have an intimate relationship with God.

Where does Jesus fit in?  Well, through the blood of Jesus, we were cleansed of our sins.  There is no other way to be cleansed and to dwell with God.

So what is Isaiah here talking about?  I’m not for sure because we haven’t studied all this in depth.  We must remember Isaiah lived BEFORE Jesus and although He prophesized the coming of Jesus, he probably didn’t understand what Jesus would mean for all believers after him and probably could not predict all the repercussions stemming from Jesus’s death on a cross.

So, based on the premise Isaiah did not predict the meaning of Jesus’s death, He is saying here in this passage:  for God to dwell with us here on Earth, man must be perfect because God cannot abide with sin.  So, to be perfect, we must be cleansed from sin so God can dwell with us.  Thus, I am extrapolating that these verses in Isaiah is the process Isaiah believed we must go through to be cleansed so God can live with us.  But this covenant Isaiah is referring to is the Old Covenant, and not the New Covenant just enumerated above.  So I am theorizing here that this prophecy will not happen literally; it will be figuratively.

Will the Earth be destroyed when Jesus comes back to bring His Kingdom to Earth?  My answer: doubtful.  I think a lot of people will be destroyed (the non-believers and such) but why would God destroy the place where He wants to set up His Kingdom?  There could be mass destruction of people and places when Jesus first arrives but I just don’t see the Earth vanishing in a puff of smoke and eradicated from the universe.  I believe God loves His creations too much to do such a thing.

Once again, I don’t know.  I’m just trying to figure all of this out in relation to Jesus.

The description of the New Covenant I summarized is taken from here:  http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/what-is-the-new-covenant-god-offers-to-man.html

This was a great, easy to understand explanation if you want more info.