bsf acts lesson 1 day 3

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8

Summary of Acts 1:4-8:

Jesus tells his disciples one day after his resurrection and during the 40 day period of his teaching (before he ascends to heaven) to not leave Jerusalem to preach the Good News but to wait to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  The disciples ask Jesus if he is going to restore the kingdom of Israel, and Jesus basically says it’s not for you to know the time, but it is for you to be his witnesses to the world.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8

6) “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promied, which you hae heard me speak about.” The Spirit will empower them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem and the entire world.

7a) All the difference. You can do nothing without Christ.

b) Personal Question. My answer: God has guided my every step and gotten me to this place in my life right now where I can live the life He has for me.

Conclusions to BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8

Great emphasis on the fact that we can do nothing without God, and that God does not leave us to our own devices to do His will. He empowers us through the Holy Spirit with every step we take every day no matter our circumstances.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 3: Acts 1:4-8

Fun Fact: This is the last time the disciples see Jesus in His physical body, until they went to heaven to be with Him forever.

The disciples had asked when Jesus would restore Israel many times before, but it had a special relevance now. They knew that Jesus had instituted the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). They also knew that the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was part of the New Covenant (as seen in Jeremiah 23:1-8Ezekiel 36:16-30Ezekiel 37:21-28). Jesus tells them it is not for them to know.

Why not reveal God’s plan to the disciples?

  • It was wise for Jesus not to outline His plan over the next 2,000 years. It was good for the disciples to not know that the full restoration of the kingdom to Israel that they hoped would happen soon would not come for some 2,000 years. It might overly discourage them in the work they had to do right then and might make them think less of the aspect of the kingdom of God that was present with them.

The progress of the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and then to the end of the earth becomes the outline of Acts.

  • Acts 1-7 describes the gospel in Jerusalem.
  • Acts 8-12 speak of the gospel in Judea and Samaria.
  • Acts 13-28 tells of the gospel going to the end of the earth.

Jerusalem was where Jesus was executed at the word of an angry mob.

Judea rejected His ministry.

Samaria was regarded as a wasteland of impure half-breeds.

In the uttermost parts of the earth, the Gentiles were seen by some Jews of that day as nothing better than fuel for the fires of Hell.

Yet God empowers all through the Holy Spirit.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10

Image result for psalm 7

Summary of Psalm 7:

A psalm of David’s concerning Cush, a Benjamite, David entreats God to save him and be his refuge. If he has done wrong, let his enemies overtake him. David pleads for justice to be done and violence to end. God is David’s shield and is a righteous judge. The trouble and violence one causes will be upon one’s own head. David gives thanks to the Lord and praise to Him.

Summary of Psalm 10:

Here in this Psalm, David feels God is far away. He describes the ways of the wicked who revile the Lord, are always prosperous, happy, and free from trouble, who are full of lies and murder, and take advantage of victims. David calls God to not forget the helpless and to call the wicked to account for their deeds. God is king over all and He defends the fatherless and the oppressed, so they may fear no more.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 & 10:

6) God is just. God is holy. God is faithful. God is pure. God is a refuge. God deals with evil and violence justly and righteously. God defends the helpless. Even in the bad times, God is there.

7) Those who perpetuate wickedness will be judged by God righteously. They only bring the troubles upon their own heads. Those who are affected will prevail, and God will avenge them. God shields those who are upright in heart. God will call the wicked to account. Those who are afflicted God hears, encourages, and listens to their cries, defending them, so they will terrify no more.

8 ) Part personal Question. My answer. God and justice. God and justice for me.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 emphasizes God as sanctitude and refuge and how God will avenge his believers for the evil they have done. Psalm 10 emphasizes God’s defense of the helpless and holding the wicked to account for their sins.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 Commentary:

The Hebrew title to this Psalm reads: A meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite. The New King James Version translates the Hebrew word “Shiggaion” as meditation, though the word is difficult to translate and is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 3:1. The specific occasion is not easily connected with an event recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament; it may be a veiled reference to either Shimei’s accusations against David in 2 Samuel 16:5 or to Saul’s slanders against David. More likely this Cush, a Benjamite, was simply another partisan of Saul against David. This Psalm contains both David’s cry of anguish and confidence in God’s deliverance.

Who was Cush the Benjamite?

  • When David was under attack from Cush the Benjamite, all he could trust was God.
  • “Nothing is known of Cush; but from Abasalom’s rebellion it emerged that Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, held some bitter enemies of David (2 Samuel 16:5ff20:1ff).” (Kidner)
  • Some believe that this Cush was really Saul or Shimei.
  • It appears probable that Cush the Benjamite had accused David to Saul of treasonable conspiracy against his royal authority.

God sometimes allows difficult circumstances, so they will awaken this urgency in us.

David knew what it was like to overcome a lion.

David had been accused of appropriating spoils which rightly belonged to the king, returning evil for good, and taking toll for some generosity.

Image result for psalm 7What do we learn from David’s prayers?

  • It’s a mistake to assume the passions of God are always with us or support our opinion. Many dangerous fanatics have been wrongly inspired by the mistaken assurance that God was for them when He was not.
  • David believed that God was for him and his cause; yet he did not hold this belief passively. He actively prayed for the accomplishing of what he believed God’s will to be.
  • David’s prayer for protection and vindication was not fundamentally selfish. He knew that his fate was vitally connected to the welfare of God’s people. His prayer was in large measure for their sakes, the sake of the congregation.

David wanted justice above all else. (Psalm 7:9)

While all sins are not equally sinful (some sins are worse than others and will receive a greater condemnation, Matthew 23:14); yet there are no small sins against a great God.

Adam Clarke believed a more accurate translation of Psalm 7:11 is, “He is not angry every day.”

Often wicked deeds may have the cover of respectability but are still filled with iniquity (as was the case with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day).

Violent endings of those who commit sin in the Bible include: Haman the enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, and the enemies of Daniel in the lion’s den.

Take aways from Psalm 7:

  1. God does not immediately judge the sinner out of mercy; He allows the sinner time to repent.
  2. God often brings the same calamity on the wicked that they had planned for the righteous.
  3. David could praise because he took his cause to God and in faith left it there.

Psalm 10 Commentary:

Because this Psalm has no title (in the midst of several Psalms that do), and because it shares some similar themes with Psalm 9, some have thought that it was originally the second half of Psalm 9. There are more reasons to doubt this than to believe it; this Psalm rightly stands on its own as a Psalm of lament at the seeming prosperity of the wicked, but ultimate confidence in the judgments of God.

David wrote this Psalm because it is arranged in the midst of several Psalms that are specifically attributed to David (Psalms 3-9; 11-32). Yet we know David to be a man of valiant action and warrior spirit; not the kind to stand passively back while the wicked murdered and terrorized the weak and helpless. The only exception to this would be if the wicked man were in a place of God-appointed authority, such as Saul was in Israel. Perhaps this Psalm was a cry of David for God to stop Saul because David knew that it was not his place to lift his hand against the LORD‘s anointed.Image result for psalm 10

David is expressing here what we all feel at times: concern and sometimes anxiety over the seeming inactivity of God.

Times of trouble: According to Maclaren, this was a rare word in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary, used only here and in Psalm 9:9. “It means a cutting off, i.e., of hope of deliverance. The notion of distress intensified to despair is conveyed.”

One who does not seek God and the one who does not think about God is put in the same category as the one who renounces the LORD. All are sins. Man has obligations to God as His creator and sovereign, and it is a sin to neglect these obligations.

Psalm 9:15 has the wicked being condemned; here it is a heartfelt prayer.

David asks God to not allow the wicked to prosper and to bring judgement sooner.

The wicked speech of men – which is often today regarded as no sin at all – is regarded as sin in the Psalms. Cursing, lying, threatening, and troubling and evil speech are all destructive. And these words are spoken because we believe we won’t be held accountable for what comes out of our mouths.

Characteristics of a Wicked Man

  • Secrecy
  • Bully
  • Murderer
  • Oppresses others
  • Blasphemies God
  • Curses, lies, threats
  • Haughty
  • Sneers at enemies (and God)

‘Helpless’ is a word only found in this psalm (vv. 8, 10, 14), which has received various explanations, but is probably derived from a root meaning to be black, and hence comes to mean miserable, hapless, or the like.

David wants God to take action against the wicked. And he knows God will because God has seen and God judges justly.

God had long been declared the king of Israel (Exodus 15:18), even when His people rejected His rule (1 Samuel 8:7-9). If David wrote this Psalm (especially during a time of persecution from Saul), the words “the LORD is King forever and ever” would have recognized the reign of God even over the troubled and dysfunctional reign of Saul.

Spurgeon states: “Sometimes, we have desires that we cannot express; they are too big, too deep; we cannot clothe them in language. At other times, we have desires which we dare not express; we feel too bowed down, we see too much of our own undesert to be able to venture near the throne of God to utter our desires; but the Lord hears the desire when we cannot or dare not turn it into the actual form of a prayer.”

The Psalmist reminds us that the spiritual preparation of the heart is a great gift, an answer to prayer, and a mark of God’s blessing.

Take away from Psalm 10:

  • What began with a sense of despair in times of trouble has ended with calm confidence in God’s justice and victory.

Image result for psalm 10

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 5: 1 Samuel 17:33-58

Image result for 1 samuel 17

Summary 1 Samuel 17:33-58:

Saul tells David he’s only a boy; he can’t go and fight Goliath. David says he has killed bears and lions in defense of his sheep, and God will deliver him from this Philistine like he delivered him before. Saul dressed David in his armor, but David took off the armor because he wasn’t used to them. All he took was a staff and 5 smooth stones.

Goliath approached David with his shield bearer in front of him. Seeing he was only a boy, he taunted him. David responded by saying he comes against him in the name of the Lord Almighty and he will defeat him in God’s name, showing all gathered that the battle is the Lord’s. They approached each other, and David struck with a stone and hit Goliath between the eyes, felling him.

David cut off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s own sword. The Philistines ran when they saw Goliath fall and the Israelites chased them, cutting them down. The Israelites took their plunder and David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and kept Goliath’s weapons.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 5: 1 Samuel 17:14-23:

13) God protected David as he fought off lions or bear who were coming after his sheep. God also has anointed David and brought him to help Saul with his music. God has been faithful throughout David’s life, so why wouldn’t God be faithful now? David knows he will win cause God will win. It’s encouraging because God always wins and uses people and situations for your good.

14) David knew the Lord would deliver him, so he said so. By not taking any weapons of steel into the battle, David shows his utter reliance on God to use the stones to overcome. David gives God all the credit and knows it is God fighting the battle — he is only the instrument.

15) Personal Question. My answer: Same thing. Step out in faith every day in God’s plan for my life and give Him all the credit.

16)

  • Both David and Jesus represented their people. Whatever happened to the representative also happened to God’s people.
  • Both David and Jesus fought the battle on ground that rightfully belonged to God’s people, ground they had lost.
  • Both David and Jesus fought when their enemy was able to dominate the people of God through fear and intimidation alone.
  • Both David and Jesus were sent to the battleground by their father (1 Samuel 17:17).
  • Both David and Jesus were scorned and rejected by their brethren.
  • Both David and Jesus fought the battle without concern with human strategies or conventional wisdom.
  • Both David and Jesus won the battle but saw that their enemies did not give up willingly.
  • Both David and Jesus fought a battle where victory was assured even before the battle started.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 5: 1 Samuel 17:33-58:

David’s confidence is what stands out here. He knows God is with him, and he knows God will do it all. He doesn’t let the fact that he’s young stop him. He doesn’t use the armor and weapons provided because he knows he doesn’t need any of that. He knows God will overcome, and he acts on this knowledge. A great lesson for us all!

For a cute, short kids video on David and Goliath, click below

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 5: 1 Samuel 17:33-58:

God had been preparing David his whole life for this moment. With every defeat of lion and bear, David grew more confident with God. God often calls us to be faithful right where we are and then uses our faithfulness to accomplish greater things. In the midst of our preparation we rarely see how God will use it.

Saul only saw the outside: a small inexperienced boy; he did not see David’s heart of God.

David increases in boldness as the story progresses. First, he said someone should fight Goliath for a righteous cause (1 Samuel 17:2629). Then he said he would fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32). Now he says he will kill Goliath.

Image result for 1 samuel 17

Lessons Learned from David’s Confidence with Goliath

  • God often calls us to be faithful right where we are and then uses our faithfulness to accomplish greater things.
  • In the midst of our preparation we rarely see how God will use it.
  • David knew that God’s help in times past is a prophecy of His help in the future.

Saul, still seeing the practical tactics, offers David his armor. Saul’s armor does not fit David physically nor spiritually.

Why 5 Stones to defeat Goliath?

  • David only needed one stone to kill Goliath. Some suggest because Goliath had four relatives who were also giants, whom David and his associates later killed (2 Samuel 21:18-22).
  • Always have a back up plan. God is true, but God does not work always on the first try.

David followed through on his words. He went to battle.

Goliath had to look around to even see David, he was so small compared to Goliath. When Goliath did see David, he was insulted. The Hebrew word for dog (kaleb) is used in passages like Deuteronomy 23:18 for male homosexual prostitutes. Goliath felt that sending David was an insult to his manhood.

God is the only weapon David needs.

David responds, confident God is the only weapon he needs. We can imagine Goliath’s deep, deep, bass voice reverberating against the tall hills surrounding the Valley of Elah. The sound struck fear into the heart of every Israelite soldier, and probably even some of the Philistine soldiers! Then David answered with his teen-age voice, perhaps even with his voice cracking. The Philistines laughed when they heard David practically screaming in his cracking voice and the Israelites were both horrified and embarrassed.

This battle was for the fame and glory of God alone, which David makes sure to emphasize in his every word. He never uses the word “my” or “I”. It is God’s battle, and he stands for all of Israel. This battle will prove to all (including the Israelites) that God is the ruler of all and can give victory without sword or spear.

Image result for 1 samuel 17David runs out to meet Goliath. He doesn’t stop and pray. He doesn’t run. He doesn’t hesitate. God does it all, but we take action as well.

While a shepherd, David talked to God and took a lot of target practice with his sling. Now his communion with the LORD and his skill with the sling are both used by God. Bible scholar Clarke says, “In the use of the sling it requires much practice to hit the mark; but when once this dexterity is acquired, the sling is nearly as fatal as the musket or bow.”

What does David see that no one else sees in Goliath?

  • Everyone else thought, “Goliath is so big, I can’t beat him.” David thought, “Goliath is so big, I can’t miss him.”

Just as the Philistine god Dagon fell on his face before the LORD (1 Samuel 5:2-5), so now the worshipper of Dagon, Goliath, falls on his face.

God loves to use the weapons of  Satan against him (David using Goliath’s sword to cut his head off).

The Philistines agreed to surrender to Israel if their champion lost (1 Samuel 17:9). We should never expect the devil to live up to his promises. But the soldiers of Israel pursued and defeated the Philistines. David’s example gave them great courage and faith in the LORD.

Since it was many years later that Jerusalem was conquered (2 Samuel 5:6-10), this likely means David eventually brought Goliath’s head to Jerusalem. But David will use the sword of Goliath later (1 Samuel 21:9). David had some enduring reminders of God’s great work.

Bible scholars are unsure if Saul recognized David or not.

  • Some think David played behind a screen or a curtain for Saul so Saul never saw his face.
  • Others think because of the distressing spirit, Saul was not entirely in his right mind.
  • We also know David did not spend all his time at the palace but went home to tend sheep (1 Samuel 17:15). It’s possible David’s appearance changed during a time when he was away from Saul, so Saul didn’t immediately recognize him.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32

Image result for 1 samuel 17

Summary 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

The war between the Israelites and the Philistines continues as both sides prepare for battle at Socoh in Judah. A valley separates the two armies.

The Philistines send out a champion, Goliath from Gath, who was over 9 feet tall, wore armor weighing 125 pounds, and carried a spear. Goliath challenges the Israelites to send out a champion to overcome him. Whoever loses becomes the subjects of the other.

The Israelites were terrified of Goliath. Jesse’s 3 oldest sons served in Saul’s army, but David still had to tend sheep at home, so he split his time at the army.

Image result for 1 samuel 17

Goliath challenged the Israelites every day for 40 days. Jesse sends David who had been at home to his brothers in Saul’s camp with food for them and their commander and to check on them and bring back a token, so he knows his sons are ok.

David reached camp just as the army was going out to meet the Philistines. David heard Goliath’s challenge and found out that whoever kills Goliath will gain the king’s daughter in marriage and exemption from taxes for his family.

David’s oldest brother, Eliab, yells at David and accuses him of abandoning his duties and his sheep and only coming to visit to see the battle. David walks away. Saul, hearing of David’s return, sends for him. David says he will face Goliath, so no Israelite will lose heart.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:14-23:

9) They faced the Philistines but, in particular, Goliath of Gath, a Philistine who challenged a champion of Israel to a battle to determine who would become subjects of whom. Israel responded by running in fear.

10) Goliath taunted the Israelites by challenging them every day to overcome him. His idea was whoever won the face-off would the other would become the subjects of the winner.

11) David is seeing Goliath as defying God and the armies of God. He also saw the fear Goliath was bringing to the men and the effect this was having on morale. The men ran in fear, having no faith in God to overcome. David instead says he will go and fight Goliath, having faith God will overcome.

12) Personal Question. My answer: I hope I reveal my faith in my words and actions. I trust Him to put me where He wants me. I try to do His work and have faith in His way.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

One of the most famous stories of the Bible is David and Goliath. It’s interesting how David’s older brother accused him of wrong motivation, probably because he is jealous of David as the anointed one. I love how David says he’ll face Goliath for others. I always picture David as small (probably in relation to Goliath), so for a small man, he has a huge heart for God. Great lesson!

For a cute, short kids video on David and Goliath, click below

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

This Valley of Elah of green rolling hills still stand today and is where one of the most remarkable battles in all the Bible and history took place. The Philistines, constant enemies of Israel during this period, assembled their army on a mountain and across from them on another mountain was the army of Israel.

Goliath was tall and probably suffered from Gigantism, a disorder of the pituitary gland that overproduces growth hormones. Men of unusual height have been recorded in ancient times. According to Joshua 11:22 Gath was the home of the Anakim, a race of people known for their height — which supports the belief that gigantism was present in the gene pool as a genetic disorder. Goliath’s weapons (probably weighing between 150 and 200 pounds) matched a man of his size.

Bible scholar Adam Clarke says that the word champion really comes from the Hebrew word, “a middle man, the man between two.” The idea is this was a man who stood between the two armies and fought as a representative of his army.

Why did Goliath challenge the Israelites?

  1. To strike fear in the Israelites. This worked. The Israelites were terrified of Goliath and the odds of them fighting were extremely low.
  2. Military strategy. If they did fight, the Israelites would be demoralized and probably not have the heart to fight and thus would be easily defeated.

Saul, who stood a head taller than most Israelites, was the likely choice to face off against Goliath. Instead, he fled too. Huge change in heart and spirit from (1 Samuel 14:52) and when the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).

David was balancing his duties at home with his duties to Saul, traveling back and forth as needed.

David is said to be the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. Yet Psalm 89:27 calls David God’s firstborn, demonstrating that “firstborn” is as much a title and a concept as a description of birth order. Therefore, when Paul calls Jesus firstborn over all creation in Colossians 1:15, he isn’t trying to say that Jesus is a created being who had a beginning. He is simply pointing to the prominence and preeminence of Jesus.

We can picture both armies lining up every day, Goliath taunting the Israelites, and then the Israelites retreating in shame. The situation had become so desperate that Saul needed to offer a three-part bribe including a cash award, a princess, and a tax exemption – to induce someone, anyone to fight and win against Goliath.

Image result for 1 samuel 17

How David saw Goliath

  • David saw Goliath as threatening Israel and God’s honor
  • David saw Goliath in spiritual terms (uncircumcised Philistine, defy armies of living God, take away reproach of Israel)
  • David saw Goliath from God’s perspective
  • David was a man after God’s own heart

Why was Eliab angry?

  1.  Eliab was angry because he felt David was an insignificant, worthless person who had no right to speak up, especially with such bold words
  2. Eliab was angry because he felt he knew David’s motivation, but he didn’t really know David’s heart.
  3. Eliab was angry because he thought David tried to provoke someone else into fighting Goliath just so he could see a battle. Eliab himself was a tall man of good appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), and he may have felt David was trying to push him into battle.
  4. Eliab was angry because David was right! When you are dismayed and greatly afraid or dreadfully afraid, the last thing in the world you want is someone telling you to be courageous.

How our Friends and Family can Hinder Us

David is not deterred by his brother’s hurtful words, which probably were spoken amidst laugh and jeers at David’s expense. Instead, David is focused on God’s work above all else, his own personal safety, his own personal glory, and his own personal honor. David replied rightfully and answered softly.

Bible scholar Spurgeon on this scene: “Immediately before the encounter with the Philistine he fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries.”

Finally, Saul gets someone to volunteer. However, the volunteer is a youthful boy. We’ll see on Day 5 what this youthful boy knew more than others.

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

Image result for battle of jericho

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?

Image result for battle of jericho

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’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24

Image result for house of rahab

Summary of Joshua 2:1-24:

Joshua sends out two men to spy the land especially Jericho. The king of Jericho discovers this and know the men went to the house of Rahab, the prostitute. The king’s men go to Rahab’s house to arrest the men. Rahab protects the men, lying for them, and telling the soldiers the men left her house and to go and chase them.

The soldiers leave. Rahab tells the spies that she has heard of God and what He has done for His people and that everyone in the land is afraid of the Israelites. She begs the men to show mercy to her and her family when the Israelites invade as she has shown mercy to them.

The men agreed and Rahab lowered the men out of her house, using a rope, as her house was part of the city wall. The spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord in the window so all will know to spare that home. She must bring her family inside her home and not leave to be spared and not betray them to the king. Rahab agrees.

The spies hide for three days, giving the soldiers plenty of time to search and not find them. The spies return to Joshua, reporting all that happened with Rahab and how the people are afraid of them.

BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

6a) Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho.

b)  Rahab heard about the Lord’s deeds: how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape out of Egypt and about the destruction of Sihon and Og and their two kings. By her actions (saving the men), she herself was saved by God.  That would increase her faith.

7) Personal Question. My answer:  God is faithful. He will guide you and not lead you astray. I trust He puts me where He wants me with jobs and life.

8 )  Part Personal Question. My answer: He spared her and her family when the Israelites invaded, and allowed her and her family to live amongst the Israelites even though they were Gentiles. She was rewarded a unique place in Jewish history as becoming a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ and has been held up in the Bible as an example of faith. God has rewarded me with a rich life. I often feel undeserving and that I’m not doing enough for Him and His kingdom.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

I love this story. It shows how doing a good deed for others often blesses you ten fold. By saving the two men’s lives, Rahab saved her and gained a new home with the Israelites. Plus, she got to be a direct ancestor of Jesus. How cool is that! Great lesson about faith and doing the right thing.

Watch VIDEO of Book of Joshua if you didn’t yesterday.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

Forty years before, as the Israelites poised to take the Promised Land, the 12 spies brought back entirely different news (Numbers 13:31-33): they didn’t believe the land could be taken. Fast forward 40 years and with hand-picked reconnaissance team, these two spies come back and confidently say, Yes! The Promised Land is ours for the taking!

Theme of Joshua 2:

God honors true faith from anyone, regardless of race or religious background. Rahab, a prostitute (so someone very low on the totem pole) shows faith in God and is rewarded as Christ’s ancestor.

Image result for banks of jordan river todayRemember, the Israelites are literally standing on the banks of the Jordan River, awaiting Joshua’s command to re-take the Promised Land. He sends out spies to survey the land, not because Joshua lacks faith God will do what He says He will do, but because he’s taking action in faith by being prepared.

We aren’t told who the two spies are, but Jewish tradition – speculation, really – says they were Caleb and the High Priest Eliezer.

Joshua also shows wisdom by sending them secretly. The last spies that went out publicly turned out badly for Israel, when a majority of the spies came back with a discouraging report (Numbers 13).

Why did the spies go to a prostitute’s house? It was the perfect place to hide out.

In the culture of that day, there was a strong tradition of hospitality. If someone was a guest in your house, you had a strong duty to protect and care for them. However, Rahab went much further than the respect of cultural traditions regarding hospitality. She put her own life on the line for these men.

The Bible simply reports Rahab’s lie; it does not praise it or excuse it. Rahab’s lie is not justified, but it does show courage. Remember, she is not being held to our standards as Christians. She was a pagan in a city where morality didn’t exist and had no clue really who God was. Thus, we cannot judge her.

This surprising outburst of faith shows how God had a plan in bringing Rahab and the spies together. It is the same kind of thing we see when God supernaturally brings us to people who are believers or open to the gospel.

Rahab’s declaration that “God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” was proof of her faith. It was not strong faith, but her faith good enough to save her and her family and be remembered by Biblical writers of the day (Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25).

Note the color of the cord that ultimately saves Rahab: scarlet.  As early as the first century, commentators such as Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Origen saw this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.

Outcome of the Spies’ Mission to Jericho

20100923 mer morte13.JPG
Banks of Jordan River Today

What was the outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho? It failed as a reconnaissance mission. The spies brought back no news of how heavily fortified the city was or how to penetrate it. Instead, all they brought back was news it could be defeated. The purpose of the mission was to encourage and fortify the people that Jericho could be taken–and that was exactly what the spies did.

The second outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho was the salvation of Rahab and her family. God will go to great lengths to save people–to bring them to Him. Here, He saved an ancestor of Jesus.

God will save those in your life as well if you have faith and pray for them. No one is truly lost and nothing is impossible with God.