BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:1-4:24

Image result for 12 stones of gilgal

Summary of Joshua 3:

After three days, the Israelites set out from Shittim, following the ark of the covenant as it leads the way to the Promised Land, careful to leave space behind the Ark. The priests went ahead of the people with the Ark of the Covenant. On God’s orders, the priests stood in the waters of the Jordan, damming up the water and allowing the people to cross the Jordan River. This was God’s way of showing the people He is with Joshua.Image result for gods people looking over jordan river

Summary of Joshua 4:

God told Joshua to have 12 men, one from each Israelite tribe, pick up a stone from the Jordan River and carry it over to their encampment for the night. The stones are to serve as a remembrance for the Lord cutting off the flow of the River Jordan before the Ark of the Covenant.

The priests stayed in the River until all the Israelites, including the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had crossed. 40,000 fighting men in all. Afterwards, the priests were commanded to leave the River Jordan and as soon as they did, the waters returned to flood stage.

The people camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. Joshua took the stones with him so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the Lord is powerful and that the Israelites might always fear the Lord.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:1-4:24:

9a) The people had to wait three days on the banks of the Jordan River. The priests are to go first into the Promised Land, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The people need to stay at least 1000 yards behind the Ark. The people were told to consecrate themselves before entering the Promised Land. The priests stopped the Jordan River, so the people could cross.

b) Joshua told the people that the Ark of the Covenant would go ahead of them into the Promised Land carried by the Levites, or the priests. The priests were represented by 12 men, one from each tribe. As soon as the priests’ feet touch the Jordan River, its water will stop flowing downstream and stand up in a heap. This is indeed what happened.

10) The Ark of the Covenant is, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in Exodus 25:10-22 as containing the two stone Ten Commandment tablets given to Moses by God. Hebrews 9:4 tells us it contains “the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.” Later, when Solomon would build the temple (which we get to read about as well!), the Ark will be housed behind the second curtain in the Most Holy Place where God dwelled.

The Ark of the Covenant is symbolically where God dwelled. Hence, it symbolizes God going before the people and leading them into the Promised Land.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3-4:

Love all of the allusions and throwbacks to Egypt! God goes before the people with the Ark (like He did in the cloud). God stops the Jordan River (like He did the Red Sea). God is omnipotent. God does things for our benefit.

Watch VIDEO of the Book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:

In 1927, and earthquake caused the 40-foot clay banks of the Jordan River to collapse, totally damming the Jordan for 21 hours.

Sitting by the swollen Jordan River for three days must have produced anxiety and doubt in the Israelites’ minds: how would they cross?

Theme of Joshua 3: God’s people are utterly helpless without Him.

Image result for gods people looking over jordan riverEverything God does is deliberate. Having the people wait three days would build their faith as they no doubt were growing restless and agitated.

Why stay 1000 yards behind the Ark of the Covenant?

  1. Respect of the holy nature of the Ark of the Covenant
  2. So all could see. After all, the Ark of the Covenant was leading the way to a land none of them have been to before. It was important to not get lost and to maintain order with millions of people.

Sanctifying themselves helped them keep a clear focus on God.

In faith, Joshua followed God’s commands. God in turn encourages Joshua.

Faith leads us into greater victories than law ever could.

The step of faith of the priests in the water happens to us all every day, every moment of our lives. The moment can be short or long. Regardless, take that first step!

Note: God begins the journey into the Promised Land with a supernatural miracle: the stopping of the Jordan. Out of Egypt (old life) with a miracle and into a new life with a miracle. God leaves no room for doubt.

Fun Biblical Fact:  The ark is referred to 14 times in these 17 verses.

Theme of Joshua 3:

To face the impossible in our lives, look to Jesus, our Joshua. He is the fulfillment of the Ark.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 4

Theme of Joshua 4: Trust – The Israelites knew they had to trust God with everything they had, because the challenges only got bigger in the Promised Land – but so did the blessings.

Remembering what God has done for you is huge. Most of us forget very easily God’s faithfulness in our lives when something bad happens. Using something concrete (here in Joshua 4 stones) as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness in your life is one of the best things you can do. It not only reminds you, but it also serves as a reminder to your children about God’s greatness.

The priests stood in the Jordan River throughout the entire crossing, representing God’s presence and strength.

Gilgal will become the Israelites base of operations for the conquest of the entire Promised Land. Therefore, the first step is to set up a memorial to God’s great works.

Fun Biblical Fact: Gilgal is mentioned 39 times in the Bible, primarily here, in the book of Joshua.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 5: Romans 15:30-33 with Acts 20:22-23

Summary of passages:  Romans 15:30-33:  Paul urges the Romans to pray for him, for his safety in Judea and for his service/offering to be accepted by the Jews in Jerusalem.

Acts 20:22-23:  On Paul’s journey to Jerusalem Paul knows hardships and prison await as the Holy Spirit as given him this premonition.

Questions

13)  Hardships, prison, unbelievers in Judea

14)  Prayer.  He believes in its power.

15)  He prayed to be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that his service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there so that he can come to the Roman church with joy and refreshment.

16)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  First century AD was a period of constant upheaval and wars in this region–both spiritual wars and physical wars.  God grants peace in all of this.  It’s hard to convert people to Christ when their lives are in upheavals and survival is the primary goal in mind.  When our worlds are peaceful, so are our minds and therefore our minds are more open to conversion.  Financial and peace with finding His will in my life.

Conclusions:  We all face dangers in our lives (just not so extreme as Paul’s).  What does he do?  He prays and asks others for prayer while walking through the danger, which is God’s calling for Him.  So must we.  We must pray and ask others to pray for us in all areas in our lives, especially the upheavals.  Only God can grant us peace as Paul says.

End Notes:  Sensing that danger awaited him in Jerusalem (having been warned several times as recorded in Acts 20:22-23 and Acts 21:10-14), Paul knew he needed the prayers of God’s people to see him through the difficulty promised him.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 3: Romans 15:17-21

Summary of passage:  Paul once again explains his delay in coming to the Roman church:  he has been busy fulfilling his calling of missionary to the Gentiles and taking the gospel of Christ to places it has not been heard so that “those who have not heard will understand.”  He only speaks through the power of the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit lays on his heart to speak.

Questions:

6)  Paul glories in serving God through spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Our culture glories on self-satisfaction and laziness.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Christ.  Most of the time I don’t.  I’m very aware that I am powerless in this world and all is through Him so I try to give Him all the credit, even in my thoughts and mind.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul’s calling was to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles.  We all have different callings.  I’m trying to spread the word of God through the way I live my life, those I touch, the words you are reading right now, my books and novels, my conversations with friends and family and strangers, etc.  In your little world, in your job, in your family is where the difference is made.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Similar to number 8.  This blog, my other blogs, my work, my kids, friends, family, strangers, words, actions, deeds, volunteer opportunities, etc.  Little things and places in this world that mean a lot.

Conclusions:  Paul reiterates his calling here so BSF is asking us ours as well.  Don’t get caught up in trying to make such a difference in this world.  Most of us lead lives of ordinariness.  But in that ordinariness extraordinary things happen.  We just don’t perceive it because we are bombarded with stories of extraordinary people.  You are extraordinary as well.  Believe it.  Receive it.  Act on it.

End Notes:  Bible Scholar Morris explains Paul’s words here: “Paul will glory only in what Christ has done through him. He is sure that Christ has done great things through him, and he is glad that he can draw attention to those things. But he is not trying to attract adulation. It is what Christ has done that is his theme.”

Paul makes sure to point out it is the Holy Spirit who guides him and his ministry to others everywhere.

Notice how Paul mentions the Triune God in this passage:  God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Paul wanted to preach to new places.  He’s not saying to NOT preach to where the Gospel has been taken.  He is merely speaking of his particular calling, which he backs up with the Old Testament passage.  Again, this is his calling.  What is yours?

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 2: Romans 15:14-16

Summary of passage:  Paul says he believes the Jews are full of goodness and competent to instruct each other.  He is writing to remind them of God’s word and as a minister to the Gentiles to bring them the Good News so that they too may be sanctified by God.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”  I will encourage them with my presence, be a listening ear, offer up advice when needed, and support them in their dreams and God’s desire for their lives.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We all need reminders of God’s Word, how to live, and what God desires for our lives especially in today’s society because it’s so easy to get caught up in the lies of Satan and the evils of this world.  Paul is reminding the Jews that he is preaching to them as a reminder and he has confidence in them to follow God’s Word.  He is also preaching for the sake of the Gentiles as well.

5)  Paul says his priestly duty is “to proclaim the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament, the priest was our intermediary to God.  He was the only one who could approach God and cleanse the Jews of their sins.  Then Jesus came and became our high priest, our intermediary, eliminating the need for a formal priest to intercede for us.

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “the term is applied primarily to those authorized to perform the rites of the Israelite religion, but it can also be used with reference to pagan priests.

The formal priesthood in Israel began with the time of Exodus.  In the patriarchal times the heads of families offered sacrifices and intercessory prayers and performed general religious functions, but there seems to have been no specialization and no separate priestly office.  God appoints Aaron the tribe of the Levites to be the priests for the people in Exodus 28-29 and Leviticus 8.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only New Covenant priest, described in detail in Hebrews.  Traditionally, Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  With Christ’s death, the atonement was finishes, essentially eliminating the traditional role of priest. Now, priests are teachers, not atoners.  When Christ gave up his life on the cross, the atonement was finished once and for all with absolutely nothing more for God or man to add to it.  We are saved!

Conclusions:  Loved reading about the history of the priesthood in my Bible Dictionary!  Love knowing Christ once again is the end all.  Praise God for His almighty goodness to us sinners!

End Notes:  Paul’s whole point of writing the book of Romans is encouragement as he says in this passage.  He is also writing proclaiming the Gentiles as an offering to God as well.

Romans 15:16 is filled with the language of priesthood. Paul says he serves as a “ministering priest” of Jesus Christ presenting the gospel as a “priestly service” so Gentile converts would be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Scholar Murry explains:  “When Paul defines his ministry as ministering the gospel of God the apostle uses a word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament which may properly be rendered ‘acting as a priest.’ So the ministry of the gospel is conceived of after the pattern of priestly offering.”

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 5: Romans 15:13

Summary of passage:  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

13)  Trust gives us the faith we need in order to hope.  Without trust, hope is empty as we truly don’t believe it will come to pass.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we don’t trust, we have no hope.  God grants us both and is good for doing so.  At the end of the day, hope is all that gets me by sometimes.  I hope in God and trust in Him to do as He says He will.  As I see Him fulfill His promises, my faith grows as does my trust and hope.  It’s a beautiful cycle I never want to end!

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.

Conclusions:  Trust and hope are really broad topics and are tightly intertwined.  The more you trust, the more hope you have and the more faith is strengthened.

End Notes:   The prayer and blessing concluding the section is appropriate. As God fills us with the blessings of His joy and peace in believing, we are equipped to live in this common bond of unity God calls us to.

Throughout the Bible, hope is considered a desirable attribute of human life.  Hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and includes trust, confidence, and refuge in the God of hope.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 4: Romans 15:7-13

Summary of passage:  Paul is still urging unity and urging the Roman Jews to accept the Gentiles, which were always in God’s plan to believe in Him and Jesus which Paul backs up with Old Testament passages.  This will glorify God and is the reason Christ came.  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It brings praise to God.  It humbles me because none of us deserve acceptance, but if God can do it, I am inspired to as well.

11)  2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.  Everyone (including the Gentiles) will praise God and were all meant to praise Him as part of his plan for humanity.

12a)  It confirms to the Jews that the Gentiles were always part of God’s plan.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wants all of us despite our differences.  So must we.  Most of our differences are petty.  Have a unity of Spirit.  It’s all for Him.

Conclusions:  Paul brings in the Old Testament to confirm his urgings that the Gentiles are to be accepted as God’s children since they are a part of God’s plan.  In essence, it all comes down to love.  Jesus’s command to love one another as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

End Notes:  We are to give others the grace God has given us fallen humans.  Acceptance and love.  Christ covered our faults and welcomed us; in the same way we do to others.

15:9:  From the beginning, God’s redemptive work in and for Israel had in view the redemption of the Gentiles (Genesis 12:2-3).  They would both see God’s mighty and gracious acts for his people and hear the praises of God’s people as they celebrated what God had done for them (a common theme in Psalms).  Thus they would come to know the true God and glorify him for his mercy.  God greatest and climactic act for Israel’s salvation was the sending of the Messiah to fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs and so to gather in the great harvest of the Gentiles.

We are to unite in Jesus over the common ground of praise to God.  As God blesses us, so we are equipped to live in unity with others.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 3: Romans 15:4-6

Summary of passage:  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Scripture teaches us how to live and gives us hope.  We meet God in Scripture.  We grow closer to God.  We become more like Jesus.  It’s an act of obedience.  I’m realized all those goals:  I’m closer to God, more like Jesus, more patient, and more elucidated on the Word.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  A spirit of unity is when even we don’t come to the same conclusions on matters of conscience we agree to disagree in love.  I struggle with those who twist the Word of God or don’t believe in God especially when they spout violence and hate.  It’s hard to be patient and pray over them and let God handle it.

9)  We are to all work together for God’s glory despite our differences.  It’s all about Him, not our differences.  When we work together, God’s glory is amplified.  The goal of life as Paul says in Ephesians is to “attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.  We do this with the help of others.  We can’t do this on our own. We were created by God for His glory.  We best glorify Him the stronger we are as a whole.

Conclusions:  Great reminder on building up our Christian brothers.  We can get so caught up in our own narrow lives we forget we are a part of something greater.  As Paul says, if one of us is suffering, we all are.  Help others and you will grow stronger.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]  Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).