BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9

 

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Summary of Joshua 9:

Hearing of Israel’s complete destruction of Ai, the peoples West of the Jordan decide to come together and take the offensive against Israel. Yet, when the people of Gibeon heard about Joshua’s exploits of Jericho and Ai, they decided to perform a trick on the Israelites in hopes their lives would be spared.

The Gibeonites dressed as if they had been on a long journey. They packed moldy food and old wineskins. They approached Joshua at camp and asked for a treaty. Joshua attempted to discern by himself the truth, but in the end, he agreed to the treaty because he did not inquire of the Lord.

Upon learning of the deception, Joshua is forced to abide by his sworn word by the Lord, but he deemed the Gibeonites be woodcutters and water carriers their entire lives.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

12) The surrounding nations joined forces against the invading Israelites. The Gibeonites, knowing the Israelites would totally destroy them (see Deuteronomy 7:2) if conquered, decided to resort to a ruse: their idea was to trick the Israelites into making a peace treaty with them so they would survive.

13)  Joshua should have inquired of the Lord and because he swore an oath by the Lord, they had to abide by their word. God had warned the Israelites not to make treaties with the people in Exodus 34:12, 15 because their pagan ways will corrupt the Israelites. Numbers 30:2 states clearly that when you make a vow to the Lord or take an oath to obligate yourself by the pledge, you cannot break your word and must abide by the conditions you swore.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

I love how Joshua tells the good and the bad. Good means the Israelites obey the Lord and they win. Bad means they disobey the Lord and love. However, we also see that God likes to be consulted and lead us down the right path. When He’s not consulted, bad things happen and His people are taken advantage of. How often have you been in a similar situation where you didn’t ask God and someone took advantage of you?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

The Israelites were allowed to make treaties with foreign nations, just not with the Canaanites.Image result for joshua 9

How do the Gibeonites Deceive the Israelites?

  • Clever (crafty)
  • Pretended (misrepresented selves)
  • Lied
  • Gave false evidence (moldy bread and ragged clothes)

Consequences of Not Inquiring of the Lord

What did the Israelites do wrong? They did not inquire of the Lord. Consequently, they had to let the Gibeonites live and not take their land. Now, the Gibeonites were relegated to slavery; however, they often caused trouble for the people of Israel.

This shows how much trouble you can gain when you rely on your own instincts instead of on God’s.

It is a mark of godliness to hold to an oath, even when it is difficult. But he honors those who fear the LORD; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change. (Psalm 15:4)

It is quite refreshing to see the Israelites didn’t even doubt about keeping their word.

Later, King Saul broke this vow to the Gibeonites and his sin brought famine upon Israel in the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

What do We Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites’ actions were all done because they feared the Lord. Joshua 10:2 tells us that Gibeon was full of “good fighters.”
  • The Gibeonites never complain. Here we see David’s Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
  • The Gibeonites value their life over their work. The alternative was death. Which would you choose?

What do the Gibeonites and Rahab have in Common?

  •  The Gibeonites and Rahab (Joshua 2) found salvation in God.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites came to God as sinners and liars
  • Both Rahab and the Gibeonites abandoned their former lives to be counted among God’s people. Gibeon faced a backlash from its neighbors (Joshua 10:4,) and were attacked.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites found salvation through God and had a rich history.

What happened to the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle just as Joshua had commanded.
  •  Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  •  God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  •  Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25).
  •  Prophets such as Hananiah the son of Azur came from Gibeon (Jeremiah 28:1).

Themes of Joshua 9:

  1. God does great things from repentant sinners.
  2. God desperately wants us to seek Him always in everything.
  3. We keep our word no matter the consequences.
  4. We are ever vigilant for Satan’s tricks.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

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Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

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Summary of Joshua 7:

The Israelite Achan disobeyed the Lord by taking some of the devoted things for himself instead of destroying them as ordered by the Joshua (Joshua 6:18), inciting the Lord’s anger.

Map of Ai
Map of Ai

Like with Jericho, Joshua ordered  spies to go to Ai to check out the region. The spies reported back that not all the men would be needed to defeat Ai, so only 3000 were sent. The Israelites were routed by the men of Ai, killing 36 Israelites. The Israelites were chased and the rest were destroyed.

Joshua, distraught over the loss, falls prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant and beseeches the Lord, lamenting the fact the Israelites had come so far only to be defeated. Joshua questions God as to why and points out how this damages the Lord’s name with their enemies.

The Lord informes Joshua of Achan’s sin and orders him to destroy the devoted things Achan has taken or He will forsake them.  The Lord tells Joshua to have the people consecrate themselves, and in the morning, he will destroy by fire whoever has the devoted things.

The Lord leads Joshua to Achan who confesses he took the devoted things. Joshua takes Achan to the Valley of Achor, stones him and his sons and daughters, and then burns them. The Lord then turned from His anger.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

6) Joshua “tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there until evening.” Joshua questioned the Lord’s motives, wondering and praying to the Lord why did He deliver the Israelites only for them to be destroyed. He points out that now that the Canaanites have defeated Israel, the news will spread and the Lord’s name will be wiped out from the earth.

This prayer reveals that Joshua knows God well because he knows how much God wants unbelievers to fear His name. These battles are for God’s glory, not the Israelites. Joshua is close enough to God to be able to lay out his greatest fears before the Lord and question the Lord without fear of repercussions. Joshua and God are close.

7) God revealed to Joshua that someone had violated His covenant and stolen devoted things.  Israel had sinned and lied, and that’s the reason the Israelites lost to the Canaanites. God warns Joshua that He will no longer be with Israel unless the devoted things are destroyed. The Lord ordered Joshua to have the people prepare themselves, and He would reveal the thief and destroy him by fire along with all that belongs to him.

Achan admits he has sinned against the Lord and admits what he stole from the plunder. He reveals the hiding place of this treasure.

Joshua retrieves the stolen devoted things and spreads them out before the Lord. Joshua takes Achan and all that belongs to him (sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, his tent, and all his material possessions) along with the stolen devoted things (silver, robe, and gold wedge). All of Israel stones the family and animals and burns them and everything else.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I have lost friends, jobs, esteem, respect, confidence, money, and time. I have lost self-confidence, replaced by a feeling of shame and guilt.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

This lesson reminded me of how we all pay for one person’s mistake, which has been since Adam and Eve bit the apple. I thought of all the laws created because of one person’s actions, all the rules we have to follow because of one person, and all the nonsensical things we have to do because of one person. And it reminded me of how this world has changed because everyone is afraid they’re going to get sued if anything goes wrong.

End Notes for BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

The Israelites get cocky after Jericho. The conquered a city without firing an arrow. Now, Ai, the next target, is small and puny. The Israelites send a small army–and are thoroughly routed.

The conquering of Canaan by the Israelites was not for personal gain; it was to enact judgment on peoples who were unbelievers. By taking the devoted objects for personal gain, the Israelites were disobeying God and His plans.

Thirty-six men were more of a symbolic defeat. No men were lost at Jericho. With these men killed, it meant Israel could be defeated.

The tearing of clothes and dust upon the head is a sign of mourning: both for the 36 men and for God having forsaken them.

God wants us to be victorious; however, humans can still be defeated if we disobey God or choose evil over good. We always have a choice.

Sin can spread (1 Corinthians 5:6). It must be dealt with immediately and publicly to send a message. Especially when the sin is stealing from God himself!

Leviticus 22:1427:1527:19, and 27:31 each demonstrate that in Israel, if you wanted to keep something that belonged to God, you had to pay a 20% (one-fifth) penalty. This was the same amount required for restitution in theft (Leviticus 6:4-5).

The New Testament says giving should be regular and proportional (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), that it should be generous, purposeful, and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). When we don’t give as God directs us, we must regard it as sin and repent of it.

What happened to ancient Israel cannot happen to us. Israel was under a covenant with God that said blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Jesus frees us from such a burden. However, if we want God to show up in our lives, we must obey Him, turn from sin, and walk in fellowship with God (1 John 1:6).

God showed mercy upon the Israelites by revealing their sin to them. They cannot act on their own power and self-reliance. God is in charge and is the power.

Was Achan’s Children Stoned?

Unlikely. They were guilty in that they probably knew Achan had stolen the goods since he buried the devoted things under his tent. However, the singular is used when referencing the person being stolen. When the plural is used, it’s probably referencing Achan’s possessions.

Once the sin was dealt with and the people’s hearts were conquered again by God, He went with the Israelites.

Theme of Joshua 7:

  • Obey God=victory
  • Disobey God=defeat

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

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Summary of Joshua 5:13-6:27:

As Joshua is preparing to take Jericho, a man holding a sword appears before him. This man identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua prostrates himself, while the man tells him to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground.

Summary of Joshua 6:

The Lord spoke to Joshua and told him how to take Jericho, which had now retreated behind their city walls. The Lord tells Joshua to march around the city one time with all of his men for 6 days. Have 7 priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When the priests give a loud blast on the trumpet, have everyone shout and then the walls will collapse and you can just walk in and take the city.

So the people obeyed Joshua’s orders and did exactly as the Lord had commanded. On the 7th day, Joshua commands the people to shout and take the city that the Lord has given them, but to spare Rahab and all who are with her in house. He also warns the people not to take the devoted things or they will be destroyed. All the silver, gold, bronze, and iron (the devoted things) are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury.

The Israelites devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed everything and everything–every man, woman, child, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Rahab was escorted safely out of the city by the two spies whom she saved and placed into a camp near Israel’s camp. Then the whole city was burned to the ground, excepting the silver, gold, bronze, and iron, which went into the Lord’s treasury. Rahab lived amongst the Israelites all of her days.

Image result for battle of jerichoJoshua cursed the city never to be re-built. The Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

3) Joshua met a man with a sword in his hand who identified himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. The man is acting on the Lord’s orders to appear before Joshua. He is following a command and is therefore indifferent to whatever is happening in Joshua’s world.

4a) The Lord encourages Joshua, saying that Jericho is already his. He has delivered it into his hands along with the king and all the fighting men. Thus, Joshua’s faith and courage would be bolstered, and his trust grown deeper roots. God wants us to succeed. He is a loving God who encourages and cares for His people.

b) This is one of the most unique “battle” strategies ever. To begin with, there was no battle. The men marched around the city, blew some trumpets, the walls fell down, and Jericho was taken. The Israelites I’m sure were confused and wondering what was the purpose of this. The residents of Jericho must have thought the Israelites were insane and wondered what was wrong with them.

5a) God ordered Joshua to kill every living thing inside the walls of Jericho except Rahab and her family who were congregated inside her home because she had saved the lives of the two spies. God ordered the people killed as judgment upon them for their sins against the Lord–namely unbelief, worshipping other gods, and the so-called religious traditions they practice such as burning their sons and daughters as sacrifices to these false gods. The land was burned because even the land was defiled.

b) Personal Question. My answer: This is a perfect example of why so-called “innocent” people are killed and slaughtered.  None of us are innocent. We are all guilty of sin and deserve death. When what seems to us senseless killings (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or wars against each other) all serves a purpose in God’s plans for us. That’s why bad things happen to “good” people. None of us are good.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

Who doesn’t love this story? I would have loved to have been there to see such a sight, and I would have wondered what on earth these crazy people were smoking to be marching around a city and blowing trumpets. It’s such a classic tale of complete and utter trust in the Lord. Note no Israelite is killed as far as we know. The city was taken without a fight. That by itself is a miracle.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

We know that this man, standing before Joshua, was God. Although the man identifies himself as the Commander of the army of the LORD, leading some to say this may have been an angel (Revelation 12:7), angels are never worshipped (Revelation 22:8-9). Furthermore, Joshua calls the angel “My Lord” and removes his sandals like Moses did at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).

Army of the Lord does imply that this was an army of angels.

Some Biblical scholars speculate this could have been Jesus in bodily form, which we know he existed from the very beginning, so this could be possible (Genesis 18:16-3332:24-30, and Judges 13:1-23).

The whole point of this section of Joshua 5 is to show that Joshua is obeying God whole-heartedly and submitting to God’s will and not his own. With the army of the Lord on our side, how can we lose?

Why did God appear before Joshua?

God appeared to instruct Joshua on the very important taking of Jericho and, as we’ll see, it was such an unlikely scenario that it could have only come from God. God came to make sure Joshua was completely committed to Him–a lesson for our own lives. Are you completely and totally committed to whatever God tells you to do?

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Joshua 6: The Fall of Jericho

The City of Jericho:

Before, the Israelites have only had promises from God. Now it’s time to deliver. And God starts with the hardest first. Jericho, a formidable city, might possibly mean “city of the moon god.” It was located 5 miles west of the Jordan River and 7 miles north of the Dead Sea. It’s climate is tropical and in ancient times date palm trees flourished there as well as balsam, from which medicine was extracted. Today, banana groves grow, fed from springs of water, a green oasis in the middle of the dry Jordan rift area. It’s capture was the key to the invasion of the central hill country.

In the New Testament, its location shifted south a few miles. It yielded a large revenue to the royal family and Herod the Great’s winter palace was built here. The road from Jordan to Jerusalem passed through Jericho, making it a stopping place for Galilean pilgrims to Jerusalem who traveled this way to avoid contamination by the Samaritans.

Jesus passed through Jericho on a number of occasions (Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 19:1-10; Luke Image result for city of jericho10:29-37).

Fun Fact about City of Jericho:

Archaeology supports a city at Jericho since the seventh to sixth millennia BC, which puts Jericho as one of the oldest cities known–having existed 5000 years before Abraham.

Many archaeological digs have been conducted over the years to determine if Jericho actually existed. Some scholars believe it did, but Jericho was a much smaller fort. Evidence has been eaten away by the elements. So much digging has been done that the likelihood we’ll ever know remains doubtful.

God tests their faith first by having the city fall by the most unconventional of means. It required total faith by Joshua and total faith by all of the Israelites. Again, we see how God’s people have to do something; God just doesn’t give them the city.

Normally, the ark of the covenant does not go into battle. This was so the people know God was with them.

Key Points of the Battle of Jericho:

  • Joshua acted immediately, without delay.
  • The Israelties were open to attack as they marched around the city.
  • The Israelites had to be patient and persistent as they had to march for 6 days, doing something that required absolute faith.
  • The fall takes place on the 7th day, so the Israelites would have had to march on a Sabbath. Note how God does things in 7 days, the number of spiritual perfection (Creation, sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat, etc.)
  • All the valuables are set aside for God as Jericho is the first fruits.
  • Everyone (except Rahab and her family) in Jericho is destroyed because they are in total rebellion against God.
  • Israel took what God gave: the city.

When the wall fell, were the Israelites surprised? I’m sure the people of Jericho were shocked. How often are we surprised when God fulfills His promises?

Slaughtering everyone is a harsh penalty. But the Canaanites were in spiritual disobedience and this was their judgment. God chose His people to enact the penalty. Sometimes, He does the consequences like in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25).

We know that Jericho had heard about the God of Israel (Joshua 2:8-11), but only Rahab responded. Thus, she is rewarded with her life. Scholars say Joshua was written at the time these events occurred because of the line “she [Rahab] lives among the Israelites to this day.

Joshua’s curse in Joshua 6:26 was fulfilled literally when a man attempted to rebuild the city of Jericho in the days of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).

Themes of Joshua 6 and What We Learn from the Battle of Jericho:

  • Faith: Joshua and Israel believe God’s commands
  • Obedience: Joshua and Israel follow God’s commands.
  • Courage: Joshua and Israel execute God’s commands.

All while trumpets are the weapons, not swords.

Like we saw with the 10 plagues of Egypt, God is declaring war on all of Canaan who are wicked (Deuteronomy 9:5) and had forfeited their right to the land 400 years prior (Genesis 15:16).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 2, Day 5: Romans 1:28-32

Summary of passage:  God allowed man to do his will and sin as part of His divine judgment against him.  Man is full of very kind of evil.  Man continues to sin and approves of those who do so as well.

Questions:

12)  I discussed this word YESTERDAY but in essence man didn’t want to know God.  Man chose to dismiss Him (not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of Him) so God allowed the evil inside of man to thrive and take over (depraved).  Webster’s says depraved means “marked by corruption or evil; perverted”.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I know homosexuality is wrong, not sure if I ever approved of it.  I’m unsure if I ever approved of any sin.  Yes, we all do it (especially gossip, envy, deceit, disobeying parents, etc).  But there’s a difference of approving of something.  When I sin, I know it’s wrong.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I know.  I’m just too weak to do anything about it.  Then I repent.  I’m not okay with sin.  Those with depraved minds are.

Conclusions:  If you re-read the sample list of sins Paul includes, you’ll see yourself.  Paul’s point here, however, is those who deliberately turn their back on God are given up to His judgment, which includes a depraved or evil mind that continues to sin and approve of sin.  As a Christian, we still sin, but it’s not willful.  It’s because we are weak and we Fall to temptation from our Enemy.  AND it’s not continuous.  We repent usually immediately, we are forgiven, and we are stronger for it.  We grow more and more like Jesus (free from sin); whereas, those who turn from Him drift more and more towards Satan, away from God, and sin snowballs.

End Notes:  Paul includes “socially acceptable sins” such as covetousness, pride, gossip, and envy along with the horrible sins such as murder.

Envy or covetousness means the itch for more.

Whisperers or gossip is those who secretly accuse and blast their neighbor’s reputation.

Why envy you say?  Envy is so powerful that there is a sense in which it put Jesus on the cross. Pilate knew that they had handed Him over because of envy (Matthew 27:18).

Small sins lead to bigger sins.  How many times has envy grown into a passion that lead to murder?  Sin is powerful. Very powerful.  We must remember no sin is good and dismiss our little sins as “no big deal”.  All sin is evil in God’s eyes.

Pride:   Clarke says this: “They who are continually exalting themselves and depressing others; magnifying themselves at the expense of their neighbours; and wishing all men to receive their sayings as oracles.”

We are all deserving of sin, Paul concludes.  Every last one of us.  Sinners and approvers of sin.

All this sin comes from man choosing to abandon the knowledge of God (rebel against Him) and the state of society shows God’s judgment upon them.

The extreme of sin is applauding, rather than regretting, the sins of others (Psalm 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 2, Day 4: Romans 1:24-28

Summary of passage: God allowed those who rejected Him to sin through sexual impurity and to degrade others.  These sinners worshiped created things (lies) rather than the Creator (Truth).  Men lusted for other men and committed indecent acts and were punished for such.  Women did so as well.  Furthermore, God allowed their minds to be perverted with no knowledge of Him and they did what ought NOT to be done.

Questions:

9a)  That God is the Creator of all things.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Material things or the desire of, people, work or career, pets, images of god, other gods, nothing, and creation itself are common ones for people.  I think I do pretty good keeping Him the center of my world.  Sometimes passion overtakes God (when sin occurs like anger or love).  Like with any distraction, my life would be more God-centered, loving, compassionate, and kind-hearted without everything else pulling me in a thousand different directions.

10)  God created man and woman in His image to be together and I think sometimes man puts woman (or vice versa) ahead of Him.  Sexual sin is very intimate.  The Holy Spirit lives in our bodies, which we are to treat as a temple.  Hence, when we sin sexually, it is a greater sin (against our body) and we are the body of Christ.  It’s akin to worship and idolatry cause we are putting someone else ahead of God.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “God gave them over”  In essence, God has abandoned them to their sin.  He’s turned His back.  No one “gets away” with immorality and/or injustice.  All will pay the price before Christ on Judgment Day.  It doesn’t change my thoughts because I don’t worry about what other people do because I know God will judge them.  However, it does sadden me to think of God abandoning them.  I don’t want to be abandoned by God.  It’s as if God has given up.  Incredibly sad.

Conclusions:  We see the importance God places on us taking our bodies seriously.  Sex is never ‘just sex’.  Our bodies mirror God’s and He lives in us.  Other sins (murder, lying, cheating, stealing, etc) don’t directly affect the Spirit.  This one does.  God is saying sexual sin is a complete abandonment of Him, thus deserving Him abandoning us.  How tragic!

End Notes:  God’s wrath allows us to keep sinning.  Otherwise, He’d stop us.

It’s supposed to read “the lie”, not “a lie” in verse 25.  “The lie” is us putting ourselves in God’s place (Genesis 3:5).

Paul wrote this from the city of Corinth, where every sort of sexual immorality and ritualistic prostitution was practiced freely, including in their temples.   Spurgeon would not even read this passage outloud he was so offended by its description of man’s vices.

This passage is clearly a condemnation of homosexuality.  The Old Testament condemns it as well (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).

Paul uses the Greek words here for male and female, not men and women, a distinction to draw attention to the fact the sin is beyond human terms.

Roman culture approved of homosexuality and many practiced it openly.  Most Roman emperors had sex with young boys.  At times the Roman Empire specifically taxed approved homosexual prostitution and gave boy prostitutes a legal holiday. Legal marriage between same gender couples was recognized, and even some of the emperors married other men.  At the very time Paul wrote, Nero was emperor.  He took a boy named Sporus and had him castrated, then married him (with a full ceremony), brought him to the palace with a great procession, and made the boy his “wife.” Later, Nero lived with another man, and Nero was the “wife.”

Statistics show many homosexuals today have many more partners than non-homosexuals.  Sex is not honored.

The word debased or depraved (or, reprobate in the KJV) originally meant “that which has not stood the test.” It was used of coins that were below standard and therefore rejected. The idea is that since man did not “approve” to know God, they came to have an “unapproved” mind.  It is as if man were testing God to see if He passed and then rejected Him.

One commentator called the depraved mind “spiritually insane”.  I like this!  Our thinking is affected through sin.  Why else would one rebel against God?

Amen in verse 25 can mean either “Yes indeed, it is so” or “So be it”.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 2, Day 3: Revelation’s Writer and Recipients

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

4a)  Matthew 4:21-22:  Here is where John was called by Jesus to be his disciple.

Matthew 17:1-3:  John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus.

John 19: 25-27:  The “disciple whom he loved” is the apostle John.  Jesus told John to take care of his mother.

John 20: 1-10:  The “other disciple” here is the apostle John.  John reached Jesus’ tomb first and saw that he had risen

John 21: 20-25:  The disciple here is the apostle John.  It tells us John is the one who testifies to these things and wrote them down.

Acts 4:13:  The apostle John had been with Jesus.

1 John 1:1-3:  [Note:  This letter does not outright say John is the author.  It is assumed by scholars that John is the author of 1 John based on writing style and hints that put the odds in John’s favor–like here where the author says he has seen Jesus with his own eyes.  Still, there is no conclusive proof John wrote this letter.]

Assuming John is the author, the author here reveals he has heard, seen, and touched “the Word of life” which is Jesus.

[Again, the John who wrote Revelation is also assumed to be the apostle John, However, like in my POST where I laid out the arguments, it may have been a different John who wrote Revelation.  Keep that in mind.]

Revelation 1:1-2:  John is God’s servant who was sent an angel to reveal “the revelation of Jesus Christ” and this is the testimony of everything he saw–the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

b)  Obviously if the author of Revelation is the Apostle John, then he is trustworthy.  He was hand-picked by Jesus, walked with Jesus every day and saw the miracles he performed, was at Jesus’ transfiguration, wrote down writings and the testimony an angel had given him.  Why wouldn’t he be trustworthy?

All of Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) so even if this John is not the Apostle John he is trustworthy because God is trustworthy.

5a)  The recipients were suffering and poor, but loyal to the church and tested false apostles.  Some were about to face prison for their beliefs and possibly death but if they were faithful to the end, they’d receive the crown of life.

b)  Same.  People are the same no matter the time period as are believers.  We are called to suffer like Christ suffered and we may (and do) face persecution and death because of it.  It is not as prevalent as it was 2000 years ago, but it exists and for those of us in the Western world it takes different forms.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As I do anytime I study God’s word, I desire to know Him more, to love Him more, to be more like Him, to do His will for my life and gain insight into His will for my life, and to love others more.  In one word:  closer.

Conclusions:  It is clear from these passages BSF is taking the position that John the Apostle wrote Revelation.  This is probably true and most scholars agree.  Just keep in mind we are not 100% sure whom John of Revelation is.  In fact, modern scholars tend to call the author John of Patmos (great explanation HERE of why they believe the author is not John the Apostle) to distinguish him from John the Apostle.

Not for sure how 5c is related to 5a and 5b.  Filler if you ask me.

More On the Recipients of Revelation:  It has been about 60 years since Christ walked the earth.  Most of the original witnesses who saw Christ in the flesh are dead.  Only a few are left and the writings left behind by the apostles and others to testify to Jesus’ time here on earth.

This led to speculation and a cult who claimed Jesus did not come in the flesh.  Known as the Gnostics, they believed a physical body was intrinsically evil and denied the fact a pure, omnipotent God would take such a form.  Hence, some claimed Jesus was a phantom or that God left Jesus before he was crucified.

Hence, John is faced with setting the record straight of who Jesus is, what he did, and what he will do in the future.  He spoke in their language, using language and symbols they would understand.

For instance, in 1 John 1, all Christians would have understood “the Word”.  All Jews knew the Word to be God.  For Greeks, the Word (or Logos in Greek) meant the Reason or the organization and control of the universe.

With only a 60 year history, early Christians needed encouragement.  They needed clarification.  They needed hope.  Remember in the first century, most people didn’t make it to age 50, all did back-breaking physical labor to survive, 99% of them never left the town they were born in, and various gods and myths and monsters were real.  The unknown was terrifying.  And most everything outside of their little circle was unknown.

Early Christians needed a victory.  The answer is clear:  Jesus is the victory.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 2, Day 3: Acts 2:14-21 and Joel 2:28-32

Summary of passage:  Peter stood up the with the Eleven Apostles and told the confused crowd: we (the 120 and them) are not drunk.  Listen to Joel’s words:  God will pour out His Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, the young men will see visions, old men will dream, the servants will prophesy and have the Spirit as well.  Wonders will appear in the heaven and signs will appear on earth such as blood, fire, and smoke.  The sun will be dark and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord when everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.

Questions:

5a)  They stood up with Peter as he spoke.

b)  I don’t like how this question is phrased at all.  It implies that  we don’t stand up with our family, church, or business.  This is a matter of English grammar.  The question would be better if stated “If you followed the example of the Eleven disciples what difference would it make in your family, church, or business?”  Subtle but a big difference.

My answer:  Obviously, unity is better than being alone.  But it also depends on the matter you are standing behind. You stand behind those whom you believe are right.  You don’t stand by those whom you believe are wrong.  My answer would depend on what exactly I’m called on to support.

Again, a matter of grammar and what this question is asking.  It seems like everyone’s answer would be the same here so not sure what BSF is trying to accomplish with this.

6) The last days begin with Jesus’ death as this ushers in and makes possible the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Joel is speaking of after Jesus has arisen into Heaven then the Spirit will be outpoured.

7) The Spirit will be poured out on all people.  Everyone will prophesy, see visions, and dream.  God will show wonder in heaven and give signs on Earth (blood, fire, and billows of smoke).  Sun will turn to darkness and the Monn to blood.

8 ) It’s for everyone who accepts Christ as their Savior.  Romans 10:11-13  Paul is speaking.  “As the Scripture says (Isaiah 28:16) ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.  For there is no difference between Jes and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

9) The Second Coming of Jesus who will judge all mankind and deliver the remnant.

Revelation 6: 12-17:  “…the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned red, and the stars in the sky fell to the earth…For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Matthew 24:29-31:  “…the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Matthew quoting Isaiah 13:10; 34:4)…At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and…they will see the Son of Man coming….”

1 Thessalonians 5:2:   “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

Conclusions:  You can almost feel Peter endeavoring to make the people understand the significance of what has just happened; the passion in his voice; the excitement he is fighting to contain; the anger from being called a drunk. He quotes Joel, an Old Testament prophet, almost as an attempt to prove he’s not making this stuff up.  Great study of Joel as well.

End Note:  This site lists all of the places in the Bible where “the day of the Lord” is said:  http://www.gotquestions.org/day-of-the-Lord.html