BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34

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Summary of Joshua 20:

God told Joshua to pick sanctuary cities for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The person was to state his or her case before the elders of the refuge city, and then he or she must be admitted and given shelter. He has to stay in that city until he has stood trial or the high priest dies. Then he or she may return home.

The chosen cities were: Kedesh, Shechem, Kiriath Arba (Hebron), Bezer, Ramoth, Golan.

Summary of Numbers 35:6-34:

48 towns were given to the Levites, which would serve as cities of refuge for those who accidentally killed someone. This does not apply to those who premeditate murder. Those shall be put to death. The one seeking shelter must stay at the city of refuge or be killed if he leaves if found by the avenger. Blood pollutes the land and thus must be paid for in blood if murder occurs.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

9) The sanctuary cities were for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The purpose and intent was to protect the person who accidentally killed someone until they could stand trial, so like our guilty before found innocent procedure in the US.

10) These cities reveal how God cares about justice enough to protect His people since in ancient times the policy was an eye for an eye with no questions asked.

11)  Personal Question. My answer: It’s a comfort, knowing how God thinks of everything, knows everything, and provides for everything. Justice is one of God’s defining characteristics. It’s why He is slaughtering the pagans in Canaan–as punishment for their sins–justice. God’s justice applies to all without exception. All are equal in His eyes. God loves us. Period.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

God is just and cares about the individual as much as the whole population. All are equal. He provides. He shelters. He protects. God is good.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

This is the fulfillment of Numbers 35.

The Hebrew word is goel, and in ancient times a representative from the victim’s family was charged with making sure justice is carried out against the murderer of the family member. Murderers were held responsible and it was the goel (avenger of blood)’s job to do so.

Capital punishment goes back to Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. The state’s right to use the sword of execution is also stated in the New Testament (Romans 13:3-4). Unpunished murderers defile the land (Numbers 31-34).

The avenger of blood tracked down the murderer and would delivered him over to the authorities for execution if the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses could confirm the guilt of the murderer (Deuteronomy 17:6-7).

Israel’s legal system was much advanced for the times.

After being declared innocent of murder by the proper authorities AND after the death of the standing high priest, the slayer could go back to his home and be protected against the wrath of the avenger of blood

On a map, we see that the cities of refuge were well spaced throughout the country. No matter where you were in Israel, you were not very far from a city of refuge.Image result for map of cities of refuge

Deuteronomy 19:2 tells us that proper roads were to be built and maintained to these cities of refuge. The city was not much good to the slayer if they could not get to it quickly.

The Cities of Refuge as Jesus

The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God:

Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless Image result for joshua 20someone could get to the place of refuge.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.
  • With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.

How are the Cities of Refuge different from Jesus?

  • The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.
  • Atoning grace (Old Testament) versus saving grace (New Testament).
  • Temporary and now permanent.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 2: Skim Joshua 13-14

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WHAT’S AHEAD: This is the dividing point in the book of Joshua.

The rest of Joshua tells about what happened 5-7 years after the crossing of the Jordan River. Chapters 13-22 give a kind of land-title record for the nation. Genesis 48-49 and Deuteronomy 33 provide background material. For example, Reuben’s tribe forfeited the right to first choice because of sexual sin, and Simeon and Levi lost their rights because of their violent past.

Summary of Joshua 13:

God tells Joshua there is still much land to be taken, and that He’ll drive out the Sidonians. The land east of the Jordan River is divided up amongst all the tribes except the Levites who were set aside as priests of the nation.

Summary of Joshua 14:

Caleb approaches Joshua and demands what God had promised him for his work 40 years prior as a spy who wholeheartedly followed God’s orders. At age 85, Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. The land had rest from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

3) All kept their word/promises. God rewarded Caleb with land for faithfulness (as most leaders do). The Israelites did not argue, but settled their portion of the land without question, nor were they greedy.

4) Personal Question. My answer: Caleb is rewarded for not following others and obeying God instead. He had faith the Israelites could take the land, and he had no fear as he encouraged the Israelites to do so. In the end, the bad report won out and God cursed His people because of it, dooming them to die in the desert–all except Joshua and Caleb. Caleb was promised land by Moses as his reward, and he asks for it. This inspires me to buck the trend and follow Jesus and be bold and ask for things from God.

5) Personal Question. My answer: He has always provided no matter what and always led us to the next step in His  journey for us. My whole family is flourishing and for that I am extremely grateful.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

I love the cooperation amongst the Israelites because what could have been a very ugly situation with the allotment of land was peaceful and faithful. I love Caleb’s reward–not only with seeing the Promised Land but with gaining a portion of it for himself. The whole process is very organized–impressive for such a monumental task.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13:

Age does not define you. Even though Joshua is old, God still has work for him to do.

The Israelites were meant to possess the Promised Land. We were meant to possess Jesus. How much of him do you have? How much of his words? How much of his heart for others?

God gave all the tribes the land, yet they still had to take it. We are to walk in God’s promises, not lie down and rest.Image result for joshua 13

Only two small tribes of peoples were not replaced by the Jewish tribes settling on the east side of the Jordan: the Geshurites and the Maachathites.

We see these tribes show up later in the Bible: David marries a princess from Geshur and had a son, Absalom, with her (2 Samuel 3:3). Absalom returned to Geshur and used it as a place to plot against his father, David (2 Samuel 13:37-38, 14:23, and 14:32). What a son to be proud of.

The Maachathites may have come from the Maachah mentioned in Genesis 22:24 who was a nephew of Abraham. Later, when Sheba rebelled against David and he fled, David may have taken refuge in one of the cities of the Maachathites (2 Samuel 20:14-15).

The Levites as priests would survive off of what the other tribes gave them for administering to the spiritual duties of the nation; they had no need of land to grow food. In fact, their inheritance was the greatest of them all since they were closest to God.

We are like the Levites as well.  We are called priests (1 Peter 2:5) and have a special inheritance in God (Ephesians 1:11Colossians 1:12, and 1 Peter 1:4).

Themes of Joshua 13:

Be happy with where God has placed you. He is our inheritance. Your lot in life is nothing in comparison.

Math Challenge: Just How Long Did the Capture of Canaan Take?

We can deduce this from what’s recorded in the Bible. Caleb was 40 when Moses first sent him to explore the land. Israel spent 38 years in the desert (Deuteronomy 2:14), making Caleb 78 at the beginning of the invasion. Caleb tells us here he is now 85, so for the last 7 years, the Israelites were fighting. Him and Joshua were the only old people still left.

Answer: 7 years.

Joshua 14:

Caleb was one of the only two spies to come back with a good report, a report of faith, believing that God had given Israel the land and would enable them to conquer it (Numbers 13:26-14:9). The other ten spies believed that Israel would be destroyed in the attempt to take Canaan, and Israel believed the ten doubting spies.

The other faithful spy was none other than Joshua. The ten faithless spies measured the giants against their own strength, but Joshua and Caleb measured the giants against God’s strength.

This was the cause of Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness; God would not allow that generation of unbelief to enter in, so He waited for them to die in the desert (Numbers 14:26-38). The only ones of age at the time of the rejection who actually entered the Promised Land were Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies.

Caleb asks for the land of the Anakim (the giants). He knows these enemies of God must be faced and defeated and he has the faith to do it. He did not pick the easy way out as he easily could have. The work is his, and he boldly claims it.

What if all of Israel had the heart of Caleb? What if no one in Israel had the heart of Caleb?

Theme of Joshua 14:

God rewards faith.

God rewards the wholly giving yourself over to Him.