BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15

Image result for 1 samuel 14

Summary 1 Samuel 14:

Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines single-handedly with just his armor-bearer by his side. They both climbed up a cliff to where the Philistines were who told Jonathan to come to them. They took Jonathan’s approach as all of the Israelites were crawling out of their holes. They killed 20 Philistines.

Image result for 1 samuel 14The Lord struck confusion on the Philistines in their camp. Saul saw this and rallied his men to join in the attack. All the Israelites who had hidden came out to help in the battle when they heard what was happening. The Lord rescued the Israelites.

Saul had cursed his army not to eat, all of whom were ravished and hungry. Jonathan eats honey he finds, not knowing about his father’s curse. When he is told of his father’s curse, he ignores it. The men slaughtered the animals of the Philistines and ate all of it, including the blood, because they were so hungry. Saul sacrificed to the Lord and then wanted to kill his own son for eating honey, but the men saved Jonathan, saying he was the one who defeated the Philistines.

Saul continues conquests against the surrounding peoples and enemies of Israel.

Summary 1 Saul 15:

God orders Saul to punish the Amalekites for unprovoked attacks when the Israelites were leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and totally destroy them. Saul did not obey the Lord. He did not destroy everything, keeping the best of the plunder.

God is grieved by Saul’s misbehavior who has since set up a monument to himself. Saul claims the good plunder is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Samuel says obedience is better than sacrifices. He informs Saul God has rejected him as king. Only then does Saul admit he sinned, and Saul begs to be forgiven.

Saul says God does not change His mind. Samuel is the one to put the king of the Amalekites to death. Samuel returns home to Ramah, grieved over Saul.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

13) Personal Question. My answer: It encourages and inspires me that I can make a difference at just one person in this world. We all make a difference every day — I just think we don’t acknowledge it. I like how Jonathan is the wisdom here, eating honey and saying how his father is an idiot for that curse. Jonathan also is inspiring to see how he relies on God and bucks the trends when God says to do so.

14) Saul basically lets others do the hard work, and then he swoops in to claim all the credit. He waits until things are going his way to act. To me, he’s weak-willed and only a leader in good times, not bad.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul claims he was saving the best of the best to sacrifice to God, and he says how he was afraid of the people so he gave in (he blamed others essentially). We do the same thing: blame others for our actions. We procrastinate, saying now is not the right time. Or we say let someone else do it.

16) Personal Question. My answer: God wants total obedience. Even if we think we’re doing something for good and God says otherwise, follow God. He has his reasons for asking us to do things and we, not being omniscient, just need to obey. We can’t assume we know better than God. It’s easier just to follow God anyways. It takes all the decision making out of the equation.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

Following God is easier than you think: you just do it. I love these chapters. You see Jonathan taking matters into his own hands with God and you see Saul taking matters into his own hands against God. The results? Saul is rejected. Jonathan is saved. Nothing says it better.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

1 Samuel 14:

The armor bearer was just that — bearing the armor of the officer he served. He as like the squires of the Middle Ages–the person assigned to help the officer do his duty.

There are many stories in the bible where God multiplies forces (Judges 3:31 described Shamgar’s victory over 600 Philistines with a sharp stick and Leviticus 26:8 saysFive of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

This is where Jonathan is coming from. He’s going to rely on God and see what he’ll do. He does not tell his father who was lazily sitting under a tree.

Jonathan did not do this for glory because he did not tell anyone of his plans. God guided Jonathan to a narrow path through a pass with large, sharp rocks on either side — the perfect place to fight a few men at at time.

Why did Jonathan step out in faith and risk his own life?

  • Someone had to have faith. The situation for the Israelites was dismal: greatly outnumbered.
  • Someone had to allow God to use them.
  • Someone had to allow God to prove His word and that He was still with the Israelites.

What do we learn from Jonathan’s example?

  • Only unbelief restrains God (Matthew 13:58). God’s power is never restrained.

Jonathan’s armor-bearer encourages and supports Jonathan. When something is done in God’s name, support always follows.

Jonathan tests God, but he tests God out of faith. Gideon doubted God’s word (Judges 6:36-40); Jonathan doubted himself. The battle was God’s, but Jonathan still had a role to play by fighting.

God uses the swords of the Philistines against themselves since the Israelites had no swords.

Saul procrastinates. He wants to see who is doing his job (and who’ll get the credit for it), and he wants to pray. The time to fight is now, which he eventually does.

Why the curse of Saul on his own men?

  • Saul’s curse was personal — so he could take vengeance on the Philistines. It was God’s honor and the security of his people he should have been fighting for.
  • Saul did not have the authority to order a fast — only Samuel, a priest, did.

Pursuing an army takes energy. God provided the honey for the men to replenish themselves. Jonathan understood this and said as much.

God commanded Israel to drain the blood from an animal before butchering it (Deuteronomy 12:23-25). The disobedience here stemmed from the people obeying Saul’s foolish command and them being so hungry they ate with the blood still in the animals, which resulted in disobeying God’s.

Legalistic rules lead us into sin because they either provoke our rebellion or they lead us into legalistic pride. Saul being Saul, blamed the people for their disobedience when it was his fault.

Background on Urim and Thummim

Image result for urim and thummimUrim and Thummim are mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:30Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63Nehemiah 7:65) and may have been used elsewhere to inquire of God (Judges 1:1 and Judges 20:1823).

Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most bible scholars think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

Saul wants to spare Agag (Chapter 15), but kill his own son.

Saul wanted to find the wrong doer by the casting of lots. They separated the people into two groups, and then selected one group by a “low” or “high” roll of something like dice. The group was narrowed until they found the one. This was meant to show he was innocent.

Perfect lot” in the Hebrew is very close to the word for Thummim. They probably used the Urim and Thummim as the way to cast the lot.

Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit that he was really at fault. All humility Saul had (1 Samuel 10:21), is now gone replaced by pride.

Why spare Jonathan?

  1. The oath itself to put Jonathan to death was foolish and should not have been enforced.
  2. Jonathan broke the oath in ignorance.
  3. Jonathan’s bold faith in God had much more to do with the victory on that day than Saul’s foolish oath. In fact, the victory would have been greater otherwise.

1 Samuel 15:

Totally destroy: This Hebrew verb (heherim) is used seven times in this account. The idea of total, complete judgment is certainly stressed. This verb refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

Even though God doesn’t have to, He explains to us why. Centuries before this the Amalekites were the first people to attack Israel after their escape from Egypt:

  • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16Deuteronomy 25:17-19 repeats this idea.

The Amalekites committed a terrible sin against Israel. When the nation was weak and vulnerable, the Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of the nation (Deuteronomy 25:18). They did this for no reasons except violence and greed. God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people.

Why did God wait to punish the Amalekites?

  1. God through his mercy gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent. They did not. Time does not erase sin before God.  Men should be forgiving of one another because we are not the judgers. Only Jesus can erase sin.
  2. God used the Amalekites as a test of obedience for Saul.
  3. God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

Would God call His people today to fight a war of judgment?

Under the New Covenant, we are called for (John 18:36).

Saul is merciful in letting the Kenites go.

Most armies worked for the plunder of the people they were conquering in ancient times. But with the Israelites, when the battle was for judgment, they were not to benefit in any way.

What lesson do we learn from Saul?Image result for 1 samuel 15

Partial obedience is complete disobedience. There is nothing happy about plundering towns and killing people. God judges reluctantly.

When God explains Himself to man in human terms it’s called anthropomorphism. God does this out of grace so man can have some understanding of God’s heart. God knew from the beginning Saul’s heart, ways, and destiny. God already sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet as all this unfolded, God’s heart was not emotionless. Saul’s disobedience hurt God, and since we can’t grasp all what happens in God’s heart, the closest that we can come is for God to express it in the human terms of saying, I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king.”

Samuel had God’s heart. It hurt God to reject Saul, and it hurt God’s prophet to see him rejected.

Lesson learned from God’s grieving heart:

  • We are close to God’s heart when the things that grieve Him grieve us, and the things that please God please us.

Saul wasn’t grieved over his sin. Saul was quite pleased with himself! There is not the slightest bit of shame or guilt in Saul, even though he directly disobeyed the LORD.

David, in contrast to Saul, was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even though David would also disobeyed God, David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame, and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God and still set up a monument for himself on the occasion.

Saul had such potential as we saw in (1 Samuel 9:21) and (1 Samuel 10:22). Humans are the same no matter what–evil. Saul let the evil prevail instead of letting God have his heart.

What lesson do we learn from Saul’s pride and monument to himself?

  • Pride and disobedience make us blind – or deaf – to our own sin. We need to constantly ask God to show us our sins: Psalm 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saul’s excuses:

  1. “The people did it.”
  2. “I destroyed the rest.”
  3. “I kept the only the best.”
  4. “This is all for God.”

This says it all (verse 15): “the Lord YOUR God.” Saul did not consider God his anymore. Tragic.

Saul did not even destroy the rest; there were still Amalekites left alive. David later had to deal with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 27:830:12 Samuel 8:12). Haman, the evil man who tried to wipe out all the Jewish people in the days of Esther, was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1). When Saul was killed on the field of battle, an Amalekite claimed to deliver the final thrust of the sword (2 Samuel 1:8-10).

Lesson learned when we don’t obey God fully:

  • When we don’t obey God completely, the “leftover” portion will surely come back and trouble us, if not kill us.

Saul again throws his own people under the bus even though they were only following orders.

What does God want from us?

God knew Saul’s heart — he would never be obedient to HIm. Rebellion lived in his heart.

Saul rejects his sin — with a caveat — the blame game again.

We see Saul’s desperation in the ripping of Samuel’s robe. Saul is desperately clinging onto pride and stubbornness instead of clinging to God Himself.

Fun Fact: Samuel uses a title for the LORD found only here in the whole Bible: The Strength of Israel or the Glory of Israel, reminding Saul who is in charge.

Saul is far more concerned with his image than his soul. Saul remains in power only because David is not ready yet.

Samuel completes God’s command and kills the king of the Amalekites himself by hacking him to pieces. He does this before the Lord and for the Lord.

Sadly, Saul never came to see Samuel even though Ramah and Gibeah were less than ten miles apart. Saul needed to come to Samuel to repent. He never did.

Image result for 1 samuel 15

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13

Image result for 1 samuel 13

Summary of 1 Samuel 12:

Samuel, having found a king the people asked for and served the people of Israel faithfully, retires. Samuel warns God will be against them if they do not obey like it was against their forefathers.

Samuel called out thunder and rain as a sign the people did evil by asking for a king. The people were afraid then, but Samuel reassures them that if they obey, serve God faithfully, and fear Him and remember the great things the Lord has done for them, then the Israelites will prosper.

Summary of 1 Samuel 13:

Saul was 30 when he became king of Israel. He reigned 42 years. Saul’s son, Jonathan, took 3000 men and attacked the Philistines at Geba. The Philistines then prepared to counter-attack with 3000 chariots and soldiers as numerous as sand on the seashore at Micmash. The Israelites then hid in caves and thickets, afraid of the Philistines. Saul remained at Gilgal and waited 7 days for Samuel to show up. When Samuel didn’t show up, the men began to scatter. So Saul offered up his own burnt offerings.

Samuel shows up, sees the impatience in Saul, and rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s command. This cost him his kingship for all time. Now, the Lord has sought a man after His own heart to be leader of the Israelites.

Samuel departs, leaving Saul and his son, Jonathan, and a few men. The Philistines attacked in raiding parties. The Israelites had no weapons because the the Philistines had outlawed blacksmiths so the Israelites couldn’t get weapons. Hence, on the day of battle, no one was armed but Saul and Jonathan.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel :12-13:

9) Samuel said he has never cheated nor oppressed the people of Israel nor has he accepted a bribe. He told all of what God has done for the people, and he said if the people turn from God to evil, they will have God’s hand against them. He told them it was an evil thing to ask for a king and God confirmed this by sending thunder and rain.

10) The people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel and were afraid. Samuel told them as long as they obeyed the Lord and served Him and no others, God will be with them. Samuel said he would pray for them and teach them good from bad and that God would not reject them.

11) Saul disobeyed Samuel’s commands because he was impatient, and he was afraid. When his men got antsy and began fleeing, Saul panicked. Instead of praying to God for guidance, he took matters into his own hands. He felt like he needed to do something when, in fact, the something was praying and waiting for Samuel who wouldn’t break his word. How often do we do this?

The consequences were severe: God was going to use Saul to establish His kingdom for all time. Now, he’s choose another man after His own heart.

12) Personal Question. My answers: Society pressures us all the time with “Everything else is doing it and don’t you want to fit in?” crap. Friends pressure us as well (peer pressure). To compromise your own morals and values. Consequences are mostly delays or prolonged suffering.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 12-13:

Great lesson in waiting on God and seeking God. We do feel like we need to be taking action when often as not we need to be waiting on God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13:

1 Samuel 12:

Samuel takes the opportunity of Saul’s coronation to speak to the people.

Here he helped Israel make the transition from Samuel’s leadership to Saul’s leadership. Samuel made this clear when he said, “now here is the king” and “I am old and gray headed.” Samuel told Israel that his day was over, and Saul’s day was beginning.

Samuel’s life of Godly-devotion and Leadership

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15), but now that a king was raised up, his role would change and diminish. Samuel never officially “stepped down” from leading Israel as a judge but didn’t allow his shadow to eclipse Saul.

Samuel showed himself as a truly godly man. He was willing to pass from the scene when God brought up another leader. Samuel did not grasp onto a position when God wanted to change it.

Samuel wanted it clearly known that it was not his idea to appoint a king over Israel. This idea began in the hearts of Israel, not in the heart and mind of God.

In 1 Samuel 8:1-5, Samuel was challenged to take his sons out of leadership in Israel because they were not godly men. Though it must have been difficult, he did it. The words my sons are with you are proof; Samuel’s sons were simply a part of the assembly of Israel and not “up on the platform” with Samuel.

Unlike some political and religious leaders who get caught up in financial scandals, Samuel considered himself publicly accountable.

All parties agreed Samuel had led Israel well. This is the second time Samuel mentioned His anointed in this passage, and the phrase refers to Saul, because he was anointed as king (1 Samuel 10:1). Samuel deliberately included Saul in all this to make the idea of a transition between his leadership and Saul’s clear.

How could the Lord witness against them?

Samuel was covering all his bases. If he were ever accused of wrongdoing, he could call the Israelites back to this moment where they said no. Furthermore, if Israel ever tried to blame Saul’s problems on Samuel, what they said here would be a witness against them.

What are the righteous acts performed by the Lord?

  1.  Israel was saved from slavery and given a new life by God in the Promised Land.
  2. God allowed a disobedient Israel to be dominated by their enemies (Sisera), as a chastisement intending to bring them to repentance.
  3. When Israel cried out to God, confessed their sin, and humbled themselves in repentance before Him, He delivered them.
  4.  Samuel linked together the story of God’s deliverance for Israel from the time of the Exodus to the God’s routing of the Ammonites.

Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon (Judges 6:32). There is no mention of Bedan in the Book of Judges. Perhaps he was a deliverer known in their history, but not recorded in the Book of Judges. Or, Bedan may be a variant spelling or name for Barak, mentioned in Judges 4:6. The Septuagint, an ancient translation of the Old Testament, translates the name as Barak. Other ancient translations have Samson, and some commentators believe Jair is intended.

As Israel made the transition into monarchy, they must remember the righteous acts of the LORD. Everything the LORD will do is in the setting of what He has already done in our lives.

The LORD was a good king for Israel, but an earthy king was for carnal and fleshly reasons only.

Even with one bad choice (earthly king) God would still bless Israel if they obeyed. The choice was theirs.

Why did Samuel ask for a sign from God now instead of earlier?Image result for 1 samuel 12

  • Because God had a purpose in allowing the “people’s king,” Saul, to come first.
  • Because if it had happened in the first days of Saul’s reign, the people would have cast Saul off just as quickly and just as wrongly as they asked for him. Now, that his reign has been confirmed by the victory of 1 Samuel 11 and accepted by the people, they can be more directly confronted with their sin.
  • Because Samuel might have been accused of reproving the people out of a personal sense of hurt. By waiting until now, everyone knew that Samuel wasn’t saying, “Get rid of Saul so I can lead the nation again.”
  • Because Israel rejoiced greatly (1 Samuel 11:15). They were perhaps a little too excited about their new king, and Samuel wants them to have a more spiritual perspective.

Thunder and rain were unusual during the wheat harvest. This was a remarkable sign from God and a sign of judgement (Prov. 26:1). Heavy rain during the harvest could destroy all their crops.

Finally, Israel saw their sin of wanting a king. They saw it too late; if only they had realized it in 1 Samuel 8, when Samuel first warned them! Now they are stuck with a king, yet God can still turn it for good if Israel will repent and seek the LORD.

What do we learn from the sin of Israel asking for a king?

  • God still loves Israel despite their sin. They could still serve the LORD and still see His blessing because God loves them. His favor towards Israel was for His great name’s sake because it pleased the LORD to do it. The reasons were in Him, not in Israel.
  • God still loves us despite all the mistakes we’ve done. It’s all in the past. Move forward in His name.

Image result for 1 samuel 12Samuel will not forsake Israel; he will still pray and teach them.

We serve God because of the great things He has done for us. We tend to focus on our problems instead of remembering His greatness.

Sad warning became the legacy of Israel when they were conquered and taken from the land in captivity as they persisted in doing evil.

Bible scholar Clarke says it best: “Never was a people more fully warned, and never did a people profit less by the warning.”

1 Samuel 13:

This was the first regular army for Israel. Remember Israel has been operating an army only during times of war.

Fun Fact: This is the first mention of Saul’s son Jonathan. He will be a prominent and wonderful part of 1 Samuel.

Jonathan was a remarkable military leader, leading one successful attack after another. This attack  awakened the Philistines who thought Israel was just another one of their subjects. They were wrong.

Archaeologists have found this Philistine fortress at Geba (also known as Gibeah).

Saul  took credit for Jonathan’s bold attack on the Philistines — not a good reflection of Saul’s character.

Image result for 1 samuel 13

What do we learn from the Israelites being afraid and scattering?

  • A king doesn’t solve the Israelites problems. God solves problems.

Saul was afraid too. He wanted to strike before the Philistines could assemble.

Why couldn’t Saul offer a burnt offering?

  1. Only priests could offer sacrifices.
  2. Saul didn’t wait on Samuel.

When you combine civic duties with religious duties, you often get a conflict of interest that just doesn’t ever work out.  In 2 Chronicles 26 King Uzziah tried to do the work of priest and God struck him with leprosy.

The last minutes of waiting are the hardest and where we face the most temptation. If Saul had only waited an hour more, history would be different.

The Hebrew says that Saul wanted to bless Samuel – perhaps as a priest blesses the people. Saul apparently saw nothing wrong with what he had done as his ego is beginning to overinflate.

Saul spouts excuse after excuse when confronted by Samuel.Image result for 1 samuel 13

  • Saul felt he had to do something
  • Saul blames Samuel for his actions since he was late
  • The Philistines were about to attack
  • He had to do it (because a gun was to his head)

Classic excuses man always makes instead of taking responsibility for your actions. Given the fact he didn’t ask what he had done wrong, we know Saul knew he had done wrong. He willfully sinned.

A fool in the Bible is no light term. Samuel here is calling Saul morally and spiritually lacking.

Excuses don’t get you out of consequences. The whole point of having a king was to establish a dynasty where one’s sons sat on the throne afterwards. Saul messed that one up big time~

The punishment was harsh for seemingly a little sin. But like Moses who would die before stepping foot in the Promised Land for breaking faith with God (Deuteronomy 32:51-52), a sin is a sin in God’s eyes. Perhaps if Saul had repented, God might have relented. But he didn’t.

God rejected Saul, not Israel. He would provide a new king — a king after His own heart. Saul was clearly not a man after God’s own heart.

Who is someone after God’s own heart?

  • He or she honors the Lord. Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will. David knew God’s will was most important. Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important. All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God.
  • He or she puts God as king. For Saul, Saul was king. For David, the LORD God was king. Both David and Saul knew sacrifice before battle was important. But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God. Saul thought it was important because it might help him win the battle. Saul thought God would help him achieve his goals. David thought that God was the goal.
  • He or she has a repentant heart. When Saul was confronted with his sin, he offered excuses. When David was confronted with his sin, he confessed his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13).
  • He or she loves others. Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself, but David loved people. When David was down and out he still loved and served those who were even more down and out (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

Image result for man after god's own heart

Saul’s army had shrunk from 3000 to 600. God was testing Saul, and Saul failed.

The Philistines had superior military technology and they wanted to keep it that way. Since they were a seafaring people, the Philistines traded with the technologically sophisticated cultures to the west, especially the Greeks. They imported weapons and know-how from those distant lands. By carefully guarding their military technology, the Philistines kept the Israelites in a subservient place.

Lessons We Learn from the Philistines

God has concluded 1 Samuel 13 with an army of nothing but their bare hands to fight with. He has taken everything away from them, forcing them to completely rely on Him to win and save their lives. How often does God do this to us?

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 3: 1 Samuel 11

Image result for 1 samuel 11

Summary 1 Samuel 11:

The Ammonite threatened the city of Jabesh Gilead. Jabesh wanted to surrender, but the Ammonites said only if we gouge out the right eye of every one of you to disgrace Israel. When Saul heard the terms at Gibeah, the Spirit of God burned with anger. Saul took oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces scattered across Israel as a warning to those Israelites who didn’t follow him. The Israelites were afraid and rallied around Saul with 330,000 men. Saul slaughtered the Ammonites.

Saul was reaffirmed as king by the people in Gilgal. They sacrificed fellowship offerings to God.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 3: 1 Samuel :11

6) Part personal question. My answer: The Ammonites attacked Jabesh, a city in Israel, and wanted to gouge out the right eye of every one of the people to disgrace Israel. They were outnumbered and had little choice without rescue. We’ve had our share of money problems and layoffs. God has always provided.

7) Saul started prophesying (1 Samuel 10:10) and all the people saw the change upon him. He was calm, patient, and humble as he plowed the fields, waiting on God to call him to action.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I’m a better person. I act with confidence God is with me. I am God’s child. I do God’s work.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 3: 1 Samuel 11:

This lesson was okay. I wish we could have explored Saul’s actions more since this is a great example of him listening to God. Mostly, we study Saul when he doesn’t listen to God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 3: 1 Samuel 11:

1 Samuel 11:

Image result for 1 samuel 11The Ammonite enemy surrounded this Israelite city, and simply by doing so he made his demands clear. They must either surrender or be conquered.

Note this Israeli city is on the East side of the Jordan River, in Ammonite territory.

Balike says on this passage: “Instead of humbling themselves before God and confessing the sins that had brought them into trouble, they put God altogether aside, and basely offered to become the servants of the Ammonites… We see here the sad effect of sin and careless living in lowering men’s spirits, sapping courage, and discouraging noble effort. Oh, it is pitiable to see men tamely submitting to a vile master! Yet how often is the sight repeated! How often to men virtually say to the devil, ‘Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee’!”

Why gouge out the Israelites’ right eye?

  • First, it was to glorify himself by humiliating the men of this city and all of Israel. Half-blinding the men of this city would bring reproach on all Israel by making Israel look weak and unable to prevent such an atrocity.
  • Second, it would make the men of Jabesh Gilead unable to fight effectively in battle. In hand-to-hand combat the man with one eye has less depth perception and is at a disadvantage to a man with two eyes.

How does Nahash represent Satan?

  • Satan attacks us but cannot do anything against us without our agreement. He asks for and requires our surrender.
  • Satan wants us to serve him and will attempt to intimidate us into giving in to him.
  • Satan wants to humiliate us and exalt himself over us. Through humiliating one saint, Satan wants to bring reproach on all God’s people.
  • Satan wants to take away our ability to effectively fight against him.
  • Satan wants to blind us and if he cannot blind us completely, he will blind us partially.
  • The name Nahash means serpent or snake.

The men of Jabesh Gilead were in a difficult spot. They were horrified at the demand of Nahash but they also knew they had no other choice. They knew they needed a savior.

Why would Nahash allow the Israelites to plead for help?

  1. He was confident of Israel’s disunity and figured they couldn’t find anyone to save them.
  2. By allowing the messengers to go through all Israel he made his name big and his reputation feared throughout the whole nation. The people weeping was exactly the response Nahash was seeking.

Why is the King of Israel working in a field?

Saul was the anointed king of Israel, but there was nothing for him to do. He really didn’t know where to begin when it came to setting up a royal court and a bureaucracy and Israel never had one before. So, he just went back home, went to work in the field, and figured God would tell him what to do when the time was right. He didn’t worry. He didn’t try to figure it out on his own. He waited on God, as well should.

This was Spirit-led anger within Saul. The Bible says we can be angry, and do not sin (Ephesians 4:26), but most of our anger is selfish. Saul’s anger was not out of a personal sense of hurt or offense, but out of a righteous concern for the cause of the LORD among His people.

Why cut up the oxen into pieces as a warning to Israel?

Saul delivered a clear threat with the cutting up of oxen into pieces to the people of Israel. The manner of the threat seemed more from the Mafia than from the people of God, but Saul wanted it clear that failure to step up and defend the cause of God at this time was sin, and it would be punished as sin.Image result for 1 samuel 11

When the cause is right and the need desperate, it is wrong to do nothing. Doing nothing in such cases is sin, and when it comes to the sin of doing nothing, be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23).

Jabesh Gilead was saved. Saul used military tactics and the people lied to Nahash about surrendering and God gave them a total victory. The supporters of Saul wanted to expose and kill those who didn’t support him as king before (as described in 1 Samuel 10:27).

But Saul wisely knew this was no time to take revenge on his opponents. Satan, having failed in the attack through Nahash now tried to attack Israel – even in victory – by dividing the nation against each other. Satan will attack us anyway he can, and he often uses times of victory to attack.

Saul proves himself as king of Israel

Saul had to prove himself before many would accept his reign as king. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is one thing for a person to be “anointed” or “appointed,” but the evidence must be in the doing. God used the Ammonites to prove to Israel His choice.

Analogy to Jesus by Bible scholar Meyer:  “Jesus is our King. The Father hath anointed Him, and set Him on his holy hill; and we have gladly assented to the appointment, and made Him King. But sometimes our sense of loyalty and devotion wanes. Insensibly we drift from our strenuous endeavour to act always as his devoted subjects. Therefore we need, from time to time, to renew the kingdom, and reverently make Him King before the Lord… There is a sense in which we can consecrate ourselves only once; but we can renew our vows often.”

Saul won the outward battle and the inner battle against pride, insecurity, and revenge with the Spirit of God’s help. He loses this Spirit and, hence, he falls as we shall see.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10

Image result for 1 samuel 9

Summary 1 Samuel 9:

Saul, a tall young man, was sent by his father, Kish, to find their donkeys. Saul’s servant suggests they go ask a man of God where the donkeys are because they couldn’t find the donkeys. The man of God is Samuel, and God had told Samuel the day before to anoint a man from Benjamin as the leader of the Israelites. God tells Samuel Saul is the one once Saul meets Samuel. Saul and Samuel ate together.

Summary 1 Samuel 10:

Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head, anointing him leader. Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him.

Image result for 1 samuel 10Samuel gathered the people of Israel at Mizpah to present Saul as king. Saul at first hid and had to be brought out. Samuel told the people the regulations of being king and wrote them down. Some were not happy with God’s choice of Saul as king.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

3) Directly. God told Samuel the day ahead of time of the circumstances of meeting Saul and that he was a Benjamite and then when Samuel actually met Saul, God spoke again to make it clear His choice. This had to be important for God to be so directly involved.

4) Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him. The king was to be commanded and directed by God and obey God. The prophets such as Samuel were to reveal God’s will to the king. The king, however, can prophesy as well.

5) Part personal Question. My answer:  God speaks directly sometimes, and we should obey. God has a ton of work for me to do from raising my kids to serving Him to my jobs, my writings, and my testimony of my life.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

I love God’s directness here in choosing Saul and re-iterating his choice with Samuel. I love how Saul at first shirks his duties and then embraces them, probably out of fear. I think we all are hesitant when called by God to do His work. It’s good to know this is a natural human reaction.

I love how unassuming Saul is as we all are. We all can be called and used by God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

1 Samuel 9:

Saul means “asked of God”. He came from a wealthy family and was good-looking and tall.

What do we learn from Saul and the donkeys?

  1. Not every event in our life holds great meaning from God.
  2. God uses situations to guide us.

Image result for saul and donkeysBible scholar Clarke explains seer: “The word seerroeh, occurs for the first time in this place; it literally signifies a person who SEES; particularly preternatural [supernatural] sights. A seer and a prophet were the same in most cases; only with this difference, the seer was always a prophet, but the prophet was not always a seer.”

When consulting a prophet, it was common courtesy to bring a gift (Amos 7:12), whether modest (1 Kings 14:3) or lavish (2 Kings 8:8-9).

Saul had no relationship with the LORD, so God spoke to Saul through lost donkeys. But Samuel knew and loved the LORD, so God spoke to Samuel in his ear.

In his ear is literally, “had uncovered his ear.” The same phrase is used in Ruth 4:4. “The phrase is taken from the pushing aside of the headdress in order to whisper, and therefore means that Jehovah had secretly told Samuel” (Smith, Pulpit Commentary). It doesn’t mean Samuel heard an audible voice from God.

God gave the prophet Samuel specific guidance regarding future events. Samuel received this guidance wisely and looked for the fulfillment of the words to confirm God’s choice of a king. But Samuel also wisely refused to manipulate circumstances to “make” what God said come to pass. Samuel felt that if this was God’s word, He was able to make it happen.

Though there were many problems with the reign of Saul, no one should think it was a total disaster. Saul led Israel to many military victories and greater independence from the Philistines.

God confirms his words to Samuel twice. This is something we should look for in our lives: a confirmation of God’s Word.

When Samuel spoke to Saul, he prove to Saul that he was a true prophet from God. He showed Saul he knew things that he probably could not have known unless it was revealed to him supernaturally.

What does the seating arrangement at supper between Samuel and Saul tell us?

  • The seat of honor was always on a particular side next to the host. It was a great honor to be seated in this place next to the prophet Samuel.
  • Saul was also given the special portion. In that culture every meal had a special portion to be given to the one the host wanted to honor. Saul was specially honored at this meal.

1 Samuel 10:

The word “anoint” means to rub or sprinkle on; apply an ointment or oily liquid to. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto Saul.

Fun Fact: This is one of the earliest references to prophets in the Bible.

How are Christians anointed?

As Christians under the New Covenant we also have an anointing: But you have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20). In the New Testament sense, anointing has the idea of being filled with and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

Kissing was a sign of Samuel’s support of Saul.

It was a secret anointing because it was not yet time to reveal Saul as king to the nation. As Christians, our anointing often comes in just such a private way.

3 Signs Saul knew he was anointed by God:Image result for saul and donkeys

  1. If there were no men by Rachel’s tomb, or if there was only one man and not two, then Saul would know that Samuel did not really speak from God.
  2. If the men by Rachel’s tomb didn’t tell Saul about finding the donkeys, Saul could know Samuel was not a true prophet. God gave Saul this sign to build confidence in the work of the LORD.
  3. The third confirmation: It would be unusual for men to simply give a stranger like Saul loaves of bread.

Prophesying isn’t necessarily predicting the future, but that they all spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

What does the group of prophets tell us?

The Holy Spirit was the real anointing.  “Will come upon you” is literally “will leap or rush upon thee, to wit [namely], for a season. So, it may be opposed to the Spirit’s resting upon a man, as in Numbers 11:25Isaiah 11:2.”

What do we learn from Saul:

God always confirms His anointing.

Saul had to wait for Samuel because Saul had to show that even though he was a king he was submitted to the LORD and the LORD’s prophet. We’ll see later on that when Saul doesn’t wait for Samuel, disaster strikes.

God’s heart:Image result for 1 samuel 10

We also can have another heart from the LORD, but we must receive it from Him. We can’t receive a new heart from anyone except from God, and we can never make a new heart in anyone else.

The LORD, speaking through Samuel, showed Israel how their rejection of Him made so little sense. It makes no sense to reject the one who saves you out of all your adversities and your tribulations. Yet so many of us do.

The choosing by lot simply confirmed the word of the LORD through Samuel.

God gave the Israelites what they wanted: a king who looked like a king.

Samuel taught the Israelites God’s guidelines for both rulers and subjects, probably using Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

It doesn’t seem that this book Samuel wrote is contained in any of the books of the Bible. This doesn’t mean that there is something missing from our Bibles. It simply means God did not want this book preserved in His eternal Word.

Saul had men to support him.

Bible scholar Meyer on Saul’s ignoring criticism:  “It is a great power when a man can act as though he were deaf to slander, deaf to detraction, deaf to unkind and uncharitable speeches, and treat them as though they had not been spoken, turning from man to God, leaving with God his vindication, believing God that sooner or later will give him a chance… of vindicating the true prowess and temper of his soul.”

Saul had great promise:

  • Saul was chosen and anointed by God.
  • Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Saul was supported by a great man of God.
  • Saul was given gifts appropriate to royalty.
  • Saul was enthusiastically supported by most all the nation.
  • Saul was surrounded by valiant men, men whose hearts God had touched.
  • Saul was wise enough to not regard every doubter or critic as an enemy

Despite all these great advantages, Saul could still end badly. Saul had so many advantages, yet it all comes down to choice. He had to choose to walk in the advantages God gave him and choose to not go his own way. The rest of the book of 1 Samuel shows how Saul dealt with that choice.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 9, Day 3: John 6:28-29

Summary of passage:  The people ask Jesus what they must do to do God’s work.  Jesus tells them it’s simple:  believe in me.

Questions:

6)  Many people think/thought you have to earn your way into heaven by doing good works–helping the poor, etc.  Jesus says all you have to do is have faith in him.

7a)  That Jesus died for our sins.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Time, time management, organization, rid of distractions, prioritizing what is most important of the work God has for me, the energy to accomplish it.

Conclusions:  One of the most important passages in the Bible in my opinion.  Believe in Jesus and what he did on the cross for us.  If you do that, all else will fall into place.

End Notes:  “Work” is the same verb as Jesus used in verse 27.  They ask specifically what works he requires.  These people still want a quick fix and a quick answer.  Just tell us what to do so we can do it and receive more free stuff.  They still don’t get it.  Eternal life is a gift from Christ.  The “work” is belief in Jesus.  And for some this is the toughest job of all!

Trust God and believe.  Then our work will undoubtedly be His.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 9, Day 4: Matthew 8:18-22

Summary of passage:  The crowds had grown so much that Jesus sought solitude by crossing the lake.  A teacher told Jesus he would follow him wherever he went and Jesus said his life is one of no home.  Another desired to bury his father first but Jesus said to follow him for he is the living one.

Questions:

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The teacher’s heart was not committed to him enough to follow him wherever he went.

b)  Jesus has come to save the living.  When his father dies, he will be buried.  Now is the time to proclaim the kingdom of heaven.  Basically, following him (Jesus) comes first.  Caring for and burying his father–second.

c)  Luke tells us that emphasis Jesus is placing on the here and now.  Time is of the essence in converting people and doing his work.  The time is now to proclaim the kingdom of God.  Excuses he will not accept.  Jesus first or forget it.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The time is now.  We must be willing to be inconvenienced for God and proclaim His kingdom.  Excuses are unacceptable to God.  Following Jesus must come first.  Family and everything else second.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a hard one because I hate my routine thrown off.  But I see this blog as my ministry and I get up early every day and type these answers to you all.  I put off cleaning the house, writing my novel, reading books for me, etc to do this.  I try to put others first and shine God’s light into this world.  Hopefully, it’s worth it in the end.

God must come first.  Our lives must be God-centered.  He is our number one priority.  We must be completely and totally His.  Otherwise, we are wasting our time here on earth.  I try to follow His calling no matter what.  It is hard but with His help I will succeed.

Conclusions:  Nice, succinct lesson.  God first.  Everything else second.  Period.

End Notes:  Perhaps those who asked to follow Jesus were in it for themselves.  Jesus was popular and perhaps they thought they’d benefit from this.  Just like groupies today.

“Let me go and bury my father” is probably an expression or figure of speech used that meant “Let me wait until my father is dead.”  The disciple did not literally mean bury his dead father.

We must remember in ancient culture and in some cultures today caring for elderly parents was a duty.  You cared for your parents until they died.  This was a priority.  In the US, elderly tend to be stuck in a home more and cared for others other than their direct descendants.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear:  following him comes first–above family obligations.

Fun Fact:  The phrase “Son of Man” is used 81 times in the gospels, each either by Jesus himself referring to himself or someone quoting Jesus as saying this.  It is used twice in the Old Testament:  Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 8:4

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 9, Day 5: Hebrews 2:1-4

Summary of passage:  We must pay more careful attention to God’s gift of Salvation and the Holy Spirit lest we drift away.

Questions:

10a)  To pay more attention to what we have heard (Bible and God) so that we do not drift away.

b)  That Jesus is our salvation

11)  Everything in our culture entices us to drift away.  Turn on the TV and you see sex, drugs, and evil as glorified.  Jesus is never mentioned (unless you’re on a Christian station or movie) and has been banned in most places (schools, etc) and labeled as not politically correct.  Nothing in our culture helps us hold onto the gospel.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He showed His love when He sent His son to die for us so we can be with Him and when He granted us the Holy Spirit within.  I can try to remember this daily and be grateful for it even when I have no gratitude in my heart for anything around me.  I can never give up hope that this too shall change and hold onto God’s promises with everything I have.

Conclusions:  I’m really not for sure what Lesson 9 in Hebrews has to do with the Acts of the Apostles.  Nothing written here has been proven to be written by one of the Apostles we are studying.  I no where near filled up all the white space.  I’m thinking this is a filler lesson in my opinion. Not to dismiss it’s message; it’s one we all need reminding of.  I’m just wondering how this fits into the study of Acts.

Question 11 was just depressing for me as an American to think about. How our culture is so anti-Christ.  I found nothing positive in the mainstream culture.  Nothing.  I’m hoping other cultures are not this way but I don’t know since all I know is mine.  Maybe I’m too pessimistic but this has been my experience recently.