BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 5: Psalm 90

Summary of passage:  A prayer by Moses to God.  Moses praises God’s majesty and His power and anger.  He says life is quick to man but not to God.  He asks for a heart of wisdom and asks God to relent His wrath and have compassion on His servants.  Show love and favor upon them.  Make His work the work of their hands.

Questions:

12a)  In this passage, Moses is praising God and has a healthy fear of God.  He is also afraid.  He is yearning for God to show him a heart of wisdom and for God’s favor.  He is pleading with God to have compassion and love on them.

b)  Omnipotence, omniscience, compassion, love, goodness, God’s wrath, God’s power, God’s judgment, God’s unchangingness

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anytime I think on God it helps me be a better person, inspires me, and gives me purpose in life.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I had underlined in my bible verse 12.  It’s a great, short prayer for us to use each day wisely and grow in Him.  It’s a good prayer model all around as it speaks to God’s greatness, God’s favor, God’s compassion, and God’s will for our lives.

Conclusions:  No one is sure when Moses wrote this.  It could have been at any time so to correlate it to Numbers 20 is a stretch.  I believe our time would have better been spent in Deuteronomy 3:23-27  where Moses pleads with God to undo His judgment upon Him.  Perhaps we will study this later but now would be a good time while all these events are swirling around in our heads.

Questions such as part d are becoming more and more frequent it seems and are just filler to me. I’m not sure how I feel about them as of yet.  They are so broad that it’s hard to truly get anything out of them.

End Notes:  If indeed Moses wrote this (scholars are not 100% sure but believe most likely only Moses could have written this), it’s about God’s eternal character and man’s limited time and ability to connect with God while on earth.  Therefore, we see Moses’s appeal for wisdom to not waste his life (or our lives) in such little time and do His will.  For living our way leads only to “trouble and sorrow”.

Moses speaks of being satisfied in the morning with God’s unfailing love.  This is the gathering of manna and for us the Word of God.

We see man’s frailness in the dust, a brief watch, and grass which ultimately dies.

Great verse 14 that shows Moses asking for joy and gladness and to know that their afflictions are for their own good.

Only when we do God’s work for our hands will we grow our hearts, souls, and minds. Not our will but His be done.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 4: Numbers 20:14-29

Summary of passage:  Moses sent a message to the King of Edom, requesting to pass through his territory.  The Israelites promised to not drink nor eat nor take anything from them–merely to stay on the road through their country onto the Promised Land.  Edom refused.  Moses asked again, this time offering to pay for any water used.  Again, they were refused.  Edom marched their army against the Israelites and the Israelites backed down.

At Mount Hor, near Edom’s border, the Lord told Moses and Aaron that it was Aaron’s time to die.  Aaron and his son, Eleazar, were to go up on Mount Hor, where Eleazar would put on Aaron’s garments and take over as High Priest.  Moses did as commanded and when Aaron died he was mourned 30 days.

Questions:

9a)  Possibly because the Israelites were related to the Edomites as descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau, and they didn’t want to fight their relatives.  Also because the Lord had not told Moses to go that way.  I’m assuming the Israelites are still being led by the cloud.

b)  Take a long, hard detour and go around through more desert .

c)  When God tells you to resist.  When God tells you to yield.  There are no hard, fast rules here and every situation is different.  It’s all on what God wants, not the individual.

10)  Aaron knew he was dying so he had time to say good-bye to his family and friends.  To make amends if he had to.  Presumably to offer sacrifices and die a cleansed man.  And he was honored by being taken away to Mount Hor ceremoniously.  Furthermore, Aaron was mourned by the people for 30 days.  Although we can’t say for certain Miriam didn’t have any of this, we know Aaron did.  And that is full of grace.

11a)  Aaron died a physical death.  Jesus’ priesthood is forever and perfect and ever-lasting.  Only through him can we have eternal life.  And on a chronological note:  Aaron’s passing tells us where we are at in history and just how much time has passed.  Important in the march towards Jesus.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  The power of the cross and what happens next sustains me when this life becomes seemingly impossible.  My home is not here.  I need not depend on man.  Only Jesus.

Conclusions:  Great chapter in the Bible.  I love how we see the death of Miriam, the condemnation of Moses and Aaron, the hard hearts of the Edomites, and the death of Aaron all together.  For here we see God’s amazing grace and mercy and will.  And I believe most of us would say it’s not our will but God’s for I’m not for sure any of us would have condemned Moses nor rejected Moses at the footsteps of Edom.  God’s ways, not ours.

Despite my belief that Aaron is nothing but a follower, God honors him here.  God honors followers as well as leaders.  Everyone matters to Him despite his or her sins.  Not everyone has the strength of character to be a leader.  And that’s okay.  Look at Aaron.  He was second in command to Moses, a man above all men in terms of closeness to God.  He was second in command to God.  God spoke to Aaron and appeared to him.  That’s something I can’t say about me.  Even in sadness there is God’s mercy.

End Notes:  We are in the final leg now of the approach to the Promised Land.  Scholars break the journey down into five stages:

Stage One:  The Exodus from Egypt and the journey to Mount Sinai (Exodus 12:31 to 18:27).
Stage Two:  The time at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1 to Numbers 10:10).
Stage Three:  The first attempt to enter the Promised Land, beginning at Mount Sinai, which failed as the people rebelled and refused to enter (Numbers 10:11 to 14:45).
Stage Four:  The 38 years of wandering in the wilderness, waiting for the generation of unbelief to die (Numbers 15:1 to Numbers 20:13).
Stage Five:  The Israelites succeed in their second attempt to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:14 to Joshua 2:24).

Why the Edomites refused such a simple request is not recorded (and seemingly unwarranted).  Perhaps out of fear or just because they didn’t want 2 million people traipsing through their backyard.  But there is no retribution on the part of the Israelites and Moses in fact commands the Israelites not to hate them (Deuteronomy 23:7).  Yet for the rest of Biblical history, there is war and strife between the two nations.

Note how 38 years is boiled down to a mere 5 1/2 chapters while the year at Mount Sinai is 50 chapters!  Presumably, nothing of note happened in 38 years.  The people lived out their lives normally, sadly waiting for God’s judgment time to pass.

Lesson to us:  we can exist, but not live.  We can wander around for years and find ourselves right back where we started.

Note how Moses who represented the law, Miriam who represented prophets, and Aaron who represented priests all died before the Promised Land.  Only Joshua (whose name means Jesus) led the way!  How cool is that!

Aaron as the first high priest of Israel deserved to be honored.  His position alone demands it.  The man may fail but the priesthood (and the path to God through our High Priest, Jesus) will not.

Map of Mount Hor:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/mount_hor.htm

Another Map of Mount Hor showing entire Exodus Route:  http://www.keyway.ca/gif/wildjour.gif

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 3: Numbers 20:1-13

Introductory Note:  Since Day 2 and Day 3 are the same passage, my summary and end notes are exactly the same as well.

Summary of passage: After 38 years of wandering, Miriam died (scholars date this as the first month of the 40th year of wandering). Again, grumbling by the Israelites against Moses and Aaron because there is no water. Same complaints about food, etc. Moses and Aaron feel down at the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses to speak to a rock with his staff and water would appear. Moses struck the rock twice with his staff and water rushed out. However, God rebukes Moses and Aaron for his lack of faith and sentences them to die before the Promised Land is reached as well.

Questions:

6a)  “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together.  Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.”

b)  Moses did take the staff as commanded and did gather the Israelites together in front of the rock.  However, here Moses did his own thing.  He rebuked the people and took credit for bringing water from the rock.  He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it.

7a)  They didn’t trust that God’s words were enough.  They thought they needed action so they struck the rock.

b)  They didn’t follow God’s commands.  They took credit for bringing up the water.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  This is one of those questions I’ll have an answer to when I get to heaven.

8a)  They will not live to see the Promised Land as well.

b)  Yes.  As leaders they are held to a higher standard than the other Israelites (James 3:1).  Their lack of faith can influence countless others.  Aaron is to be expected.  He’s a follower, period.  Moses, however, was so close to God–closer than anyone before or after–that God must have been heartbroken at Moses’s lack of faith.  It would be similar to a betrayal by your best friend–only infinitely more so.

Conclusions:  The personal question was again in my opinion questionable.  I see it as a reminder that our actions do affect those around us and it’s something we need to be cognizant of.

I’m seeing the overall pattern here:  Trust in God.  Never doubt Him.  He will reward you if you do.  Punish you when you don’t.  Either on this side of heaven or the other.  Trust, trust, trust.  He will never let you down.

End Notes: The Israelites are back at Kadesh (see MAP and MAP) where they first told God “no” about entering the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26-28).

Miriam’s death here is important; it showed the Israelites He was serious about everyone dying before entering the Promised Land. She’s the first of Moses’s family to suffer for their collective sins. Although Miriam had great moments of faith (Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21), one major sin marked her for life. We see this today in the downfall of politicians or celebrities. Great lesson for us: no one is exempt from God’s judgment.

Timeline: This is the beginning of the last year of wandering. It appears the Israelites camped at Kadesh here for 3-4 months (based off of Numbers 33:38) perhaps because of Miriam’s death. Aaron will die four months later. The bible doesn’t tell a lot of what happened in this 38 years. Presumably, nothing of consequence as the Israelites merely lived out God’s judgment.

Here we see a new generation of unbelievers as the old generation is dying.

Moses also was not commanded to speak to the nation nor to rebuke there. Here, we see Moses as we’ve never seen him before–utter contempt for the people he has so often saved from destruction. We also see pride when he says “we” as if God were not enough. Moses’s heart had twisted and God obviously didn’t like what He saw.

Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock. I can just imagine his frustration at the people boiling over. However, in his anger, he makes a fatal mistake–literally.

Yet God is so gracious and so good and so loving He provides for His people despite their sins.

Moses did not believe God. He probably remembered back in Exodus 17 where he had to strike the rock.

The punishment was strict. But as we all know, those who know God are called to a higher standard. Can you imagine the standard Moses had to live up to? A lot of pressure. Yet because he was so close to God and a leader, his punishment reflects God’s expectations of those who know Him. Great lesson for us as well.

Moses’s sin was small compared to the Israelites’ sins. Yet not in God’s eyes. God says in Deuteronomy 32:51 that Moses “broke faith” with Him and “did not uphold my [God’s] holiness amongst the Israelites.” A warning to us all–what we consider as a small sin can be huge to God.

Moses pleads with God to let him go over to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:23-27) and when God says no, Moses blames the people. Poor, poor Moses. He has seen time and time again of God reversing His initial punishment, not ridding the land of the Israelites and not giving Miriam leprosy that he thinks for sure God will relent and reverse His position. But God does not. Our hearts bleed for him; yet, God remains good and gracious and kind and judging. His ways, not ours.

The picture of Moses reflecting Jesus here is now tainted. Moses struck twice; Jesus only once.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 3: Matthew 21:23-32

Summary of passage:  The day after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the temple, Jesus returns to the temple to teach.  The chief priests confront him and ask him under whose authority he preaches.  Jesus once again answers a question with a question:  Where did John’s baptism come from?  The elders discussed it and realized they didn’t couldn’t answer the question.  Thus, Jesus didn’t answer theirs.

Jesus told a parable instead of two sons, both told to go and work in the vineyard.  One said no but later went and the other said yes and didn’t go.  Jesus said the ones who initially said no but went will go to heaven for they believe in him.  The others never believed.

Questions:

5a)  They asked Jesus who gave him the right to preach.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The leaders were worried what the people would think or do if they answered the question.  They were worried they’d be stoned.  They weren’t willing to stand up for what they believed in.  Fear was more powerful than their faith.  They were earthly centered, not God-centered.

6a)  They refused to admit who Jesus was, repent, and believe in him.  Instead of embracing Jesus, they plotted to murder him.

b)  The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been hidden from Jesus’ opponents. They do not understand who Jesus is nor see his miracles.  Their hearts are calloused and they do not hear.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not sure if it’s a refusal but it’s hard to apply:  speaking positive words in the life of those around me.  It’s hard to overcome my ego and stress and selfishness and put others first.  It’s hard to get over the distractions in life (see post HERE about distractions) and focus.  I would say it’s more of a failure to prioritize than a refusal to apply God’s teachings because I do do this just not consistently. Thus, I must prioritize better and not let distractions creep in.

7a)  Unbelievers who later believed.

b)  Believers who said they believed but in their hearts they didn’t.

8a)  The son who said no but later changed his mind are those converted to Christ, those who were initially hard-hearted but now are God-hearted.  The son who said yes but did not actually go to the fields are those who profess Christ but have no heart for him.  Those who go through the motions with no feeling whatsoever. Those who want to please man and not God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The first.  I see these as reluctant in the beginning because of the sacrifices Christ-followers make but then go and do His work.

Conclusions:  I can almost see Jesus sighing as he once again has to deal with incompetents.  He has no patience it seems for hypocrites and those delaying his final days on Earth.  He quickly dismisses them with a question he knows they will not answer so that he can continue his work.

Good lesson on those who are too busy pleasing man to please God.  What men think don’t matter.  It only matters what God thinks.

Do you go when asked?  Or will you spend your days pondering if you will, only in the end to never take that final step and lose eternal life?

It’s a matter of doing the right thing, not saying the right thing.  Which are you?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 2: Matthew 21:18-22

Summary of passage:  The next day as Jesus was traveling back to Jerusalem from Bethany, he was hungry.  Jesus saw a fig tree without fruit and commanded it to never bear fruit again.  The tree withered.  The disciples wondered why the tree withered so quickly.  Jesus said if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  You can even move a mountain to the sea.

Questions:

3a)  “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” (Mark 11:14).  “May you never bear fruit again!” (Matthew 21:19)

b)  The tree withered.

c)  The religious hypocrites appeared healthy (with leaves) but upon close examination bore no fruit.  Their heart was twisted and unhealthy and they brought no one closer to God.

4a)  He encouraged them to have faith and not to doubt for if you have faith a mountain will throw itself in the sea at your command.  With faith all your prayers will be answered.  Mark adds to believe you have already received whatever you asked for in prayer.  It is about having the right heart and not about appearances.  It is about pleasing God and not man.  You will bear fruit with faith.

b)  As you pray, you must have a repentant, pure heart that is not holding grudges or grievances against others.  Forgive so God may forgive you.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jobs for my husband.  Guidance on which path to take.  God’s will for my life.  Fired from my job that was standing in the way of God’s path for my life.  I am currently praying God moves the monumental mountain of publishing.  I am praying for faith and patience and trust in this respect since rejection is everywhere.

Conclusions:  Again, sent immediately to another passage.  Mark should have been included in the required reading for this day if that were the case.  Good lesson on trusting God to move mountains for you so you can traverse His path.  Straightforward lesson on prayer and faith.

End Notes:  This is the second of Jesus’ two recorded destructive miracles (the other being the pigs that Jesus put demons into in Matthew 8:30-32) and both are not against mankind.

Fig trees typically do not bear leaves without fruit as BSF told us.  Hence, this is a sign of all show and unfruitfulness as the questions draw us to the parallel between the religious hypocrites and Israel in general.  God wants us to be fruitful and not just go through the motions in our lives.

Note Jesus is speaking to his disciples here or followers of him.  This message is for believers.  Have faith and you will have it.  Unbelievers this does not apply.

Note Jesus is hungry.  I love when we see the human side of Jesus!