BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6

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Summary of 1 Samuel 6:

The priests and the diviners of the Philistines hatch a plan to send the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites: they made gold models as a guilt offering of 5 gold tumors and 5 gold rats in a cart with cows who had never been yoked before. They put the guilt offering and the ark in a cart. If the cart went towards Beth Shemesh, then it was God against them. Otherwise, it was chance.

When the ark returned to the Israelites, they sacrificed the two cows as burnt offerings to God and the large rock they set the ark down upon remained a witness. However, 70 Israelis died because they looked into the ark.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

6) The Philistines knew they had to send a guilt offering to God. By sending gold models, the Philistines hoped to send the originals out of the country as well. They put the objects in a cart and put stipulations on what it meant if the cows went one way or another, thinking the animals would prove it was by chance and not by God all of this happened. We put stipulations and meaning on objects or actions as well and say it means God is with us or it’s His will or not, when in reality we have no clue.

7) The people made a burnt sacrifice to God, using the cows sent over. However, 70 people looked into the ark and God killed them for it since this was against His laws. Believers blatantly disregard Him and His commands such as we see here with looking into the ark of the covenant.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: God is in control, and He rewards His people when they obey and puts consequences on them when they disobey. As long as I obey, I’m rewarded. When I disobey, I’m not.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

This isn’t exactly an encouraging passage. However, it does make a point: obey God or suffer the consequences.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

The Philistines kept the ark of the covenant for 7 months because they did not want to part with such a trophy. However, ultimately, they had to. It can take a long time before we realize the futility of resisting God.

The Philistine priests had enough sense to know they offended the LORD God. Therefore, they knew they should do something to express their sorrow and repentance before the LORD. We were not told in 1 Samuel 5 that the plague involved rats. Acknowledging God’s judgement is one way to give Him glory.

The Philistines admitted that the God of Israel judged their gods and had jurisdiction over their lands. They confessed that He was Almighty God, yet they did not worship Him instead of their gods. Big mistake.

The testing of God by the Philistines:

The Philistines decide to test God to make sure the plague was sent by Him. The test was stacked against God. Two milk cows which have never been yoked should not pull a cart at all; instead, they should have resisted their yokes. Additionally, the Philistines separated the babies from their mothers. The “maternal instinct” of the cows would draw them not towards the land of Israel, but back home to their own calves. The Philistines devised a test that “forced” the God of Israel to do something miraculous to demonstrate He really was the cause of the plagues.

God never wanted the ark to be transported by a cart. He wanted it to be carried by poles set in rings on the side of the ark (Numbers 4:15).

The ark didn’t have “handles” and was not to be carried by lifting it directly in one’s hands. Instead, it was to be carried by inserting gold-overlaid wood poles into gold rings at each corner of the ark. The poles were to remain inserted in the rings, and to be the source of contact with the ark. Apart from touching the poles, it was forbidden to touch the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:12-15).

Ironic how the Philistines were wise enough not to look in the ark of the covenant and instead placed the models next to it, but the Israelites weren’t.

Image result for 1 samuel 6Of course, the cows showed God’s glory. Two cows who never pulled a cart before with no driver left home and marched the ten miles or so to a city they had never been to. They left their own calves behind and went straight on a certain road, with never a wrong turn, never a stop, never turning aside into the fields to feed themselves, never turning back to feed their own calves. The cows were unhappy about doing God’s will cause they lowed.

The Israelites finally had God back (He had never left them, but in their minds He had).

What the Israelites did right upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • In a strict sense their offering was against the Mosaic Law. First, they offered female animals to the LORD, which was forbidden (Leviticus 1:322:19). Second, they made a burnt offering to the LORD away from the tabernacle, which violated the command in Deuteronomy 12:5-6. Yet God knew both their hearts and the remarkable circumstances, and He was no doubt honored.
  • The Israelites were careful to let the Levites handle the ark, as was commanded by the law (Numbers 4:1-615). Beth Shemesh was a priestly city (Joshua 21:16), so priests were on hand.

What the Israelites did wrong upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • The Ark of the Covenant was only to be touched and handled by specific Levites from the family of Kohath, and even they were commanded to not touch the ark itself (Numbers 4:15). The men of Beth Shemesh sinned by not only touching the ark, but also looking into it inappropriately.
  • God dealt with the Israelites more strictly than He dealt with the Philistines who just transported the ark by a cart. God did this because the Israelites, who had His law, should have and did know better. It is sad to consider that the Philistines showed more honor to the holiness of God than the Israelites.

Isaiah 55:8-9 shows this thought: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to respect the fact that God is God and we are not, and there are some things we just will not, and should not, know.

What is the holiness of God?

Holiness means that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes.

Image result for holiness of godWhen Peter saw the holy power of Jesus he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). When the disciples on another occasion saw the holy Jesus shining forth at the transfiguration, they were greatly afraid (Matthew 17:6). When we meet the Holy God, we are excited and afraid all at the same time.

Holiness is part of the new man we are in Jesus (Ephesians 4:24), and we are invited to be partakers – sharers of Jesus’ holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

Though God is holy and apart from us, instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. As it says in 1 Peter 1:16, God calls us to be holy, for I am holy. Holiness is not so much something we have as much as it is something that has us.

We don’t know why they picked this village. All we know is the men of Kirjath Jearim received the ark and it stayed there for many years until King David brought it to the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6).

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 3: 1 Samuel 2:1-11

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Summary of 1 Samuel 2:1-11:

Hannah praises God in her prayer as she leaves her son, Samuel. She boasts of God’s strength, His holiness, His omniscience, of how God feeds and raises up, He humbles and exalts, He silences the wicked, and God’s people prevail.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 3: 1 Samuel 2:1-11:

6) Personal Question. My answer: God is faithful. His will prevails. He is in charge of who wins and loses and who He exalts or humbles. He is our Rock. I’m encouraged to stay faithful.

7) Part personal Question. My answer: Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. God sacrificed Jesus. I’ll sacrifice whatever He tells me.

8 ) God will defeat those who come against Him. He will silence the wicked. He will give strength to the coming Kings of Israel. He is sending Jesus (the King and the Anointed) to conquer all. This is the time before the kings, so she must be speaking of Jesus here.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 3: 1 Samuel 2:1-11:

Great prayer example for us all. Praising God. Listing His character and power. Thanking Him.

Another amazing video on 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 3: 1 Samuel 2:1-11:

1 Samuel 1:28 ended, “So they worshipped the LORD there”. This song records the worship Hannah offered on the very day she left her little boy – her only child – at the tabernacle.

Hannah showed a depth of commitment and love for God that may humble us. On the day she made the biggest sacrifice of her life she rejoices in the LORD.

She could not rejoice in leaving her son. In the most desperate situations, when we have nothing else to rejoice in, we can rejoice in the LORD.

The horn is used often as a picture of strength in the Bible (Psalms 75:4-5 and 92:10). This is because the strength of an ox or a steer could be expressed in its horn. Hannah spoke of strength and power being exalted in the LORD.

What does the horn in the Bible signify?

  • Power
  • Might
  • Dominion

Hannah had a strong sense of vindication over her rival, Elkanah’s other wife named Peninnah. Peninnah cruelly brought Hannah low (1 Samuel 1:6-7), but now Hannah rejoiced because the LORD lifted her up.

Image result for 1 samuel 2We see a classic form of Hebrew poetry – repetitive parallelism–saying the same thing just differently.

  • “There is no one holy like the Lord.”
  • “There is no one besides you.”
  • “There is no Rock like our God.”

Hebrew poetry does not rhyme words by sound as much as it rhymes ideas. The ideas of the three lines of 1 Samuel 2:2 all rhyme together, having different words yet “sounding” the same.

Hannah had her rival in mind when she said not to talk so proudly. Pride can be expressed in many ways, but it usually is expressed by our words.

God humbles the strong, which He can change very quickly.

LORD can change our place quickly and exalt the weak (Luke 14:7-11).

Hannah knew she was barren because the LORD had closed her womb (1 Samuel 1:6). She knew God first set her low, and then brought her high. She could see the hand of the LORD in it all.

God is in control of the foundations of the earth.

God uses His power to set things right. It isn’t enough for us to believe God has this power. We must know He will use it for His glory and righteousness.

Who is “the king” and “the anointed”?

Hannah speaks of Jesus as the king and anointed one.

Fun Fact: This is the first place in the Bible where Jesus is referred to as the Messiah.

It’s MESSIAH in Hebrew, CHRIST in Greek, and ANOINTED in English.

Zecharias, the father of John the Baptist, quoted Hannah in Luke 1:69 when he prophetically called Jesus a horn of salvation, quoting from 1 Samuel 2:10. Mary the mother of Jesus quoted Hannah’s song often (Luke 1:46-55).

Young as he was, Samuel had a ministry to the LORD. Our young people can praise, serve, and please God too.

The Living Bible translates it well: And the child became the Lord’s helper.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2

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Summary of Ruth 2:

Now in Bethlehem, both Naomi and Ruth face reality: they need to eat. Ruth goes to glean grain in the fields and happens to find herself in Boaz’s fields, a relative of Naomi’s. Boaz returns from having been away (apparently unaware of Naomi’s return to Bethlehem) and notices Ruth. The foreman says she has been gathering behind them all day.

Boaz welcomes Ruth and tells her to stay in his fields. He will make sure she is treated rightly and offers her water as well. He says he is helping her because of how she is helping Naomi. She later eats a meal with Boaz as well. Boaz instructs his men to leave extra grain behind for her.

Image result for ruth 2Ruth finishes for the day, returns to Naomi with money and food, and tells of her day. Naomi realizes Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer. Ruth continues to pick up grain for the rest of the harvest season in Boaz’s fields.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

6) Boaz was of the same clan as Naomi’s husband, Elimelech. He is a relative by marriage of Naomi. He displays generosity, compassion, caring, rewarding for hard work, and a heart for others by helping them. Boaz’s mother was Rahab, a foreigner from Jericho. He probably intimately understood the hardships of being a foreigner in a foreign land, especially in ancient times and had pity for Ruth. Furthermore, God commanded others to help the poor by leaving some of the grain in the field for the poor to gather (Leviticus 19:9-10 & Deuteronomy 24:19-22).

7) Land is to stay in the family according to Leviticus and redeem it if necessary to keep it in the family if sold. Deuteronomy tells us a brother must marry his brother’s widow if he dies if they don’t have a son to carry on the name and the land.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: It makes me more compassionate for those going through rough times and inspires me to help those more who are going through rough times as well all experience. When you’re blessed, bless others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

I love how neither woman wallows in self-pity nor do they play the victim. They immediately set out to work to eat. Thanks to the generosity of the land-owners, they are able to take care of themselves. It’s not easy, but they are doing it. I also like how hard work is noticed.

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

God had rewarded Boaz during the 10 years of famine, as he was a man of wealth.

To say that Boaz was a goel (the ancient Hebrew word meaning a kinsman) was more than saying he was a relative; it was saying that he was a special family representative. He was a chieftain in the family.

How does God provide?

We see God’s amazing provision at work here in Ruth 2.

Leviticus 19:9-10 commanded farmers in Israel to not completely harvest their fields. They were commanded to “cut corners” in harvesting and always leave some behind. If they dropped a bundle of grain, they were commanded to leave it on the ground and to not pick it up.

This was one of the social assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselvesImage result for ruth 2

This is a wonderful way of helping the poor. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and it commanded the poor to be active and work for their food – and a way for them to provide for their own needs with dignity.

God guided Ruth to Boaz’s field.

Boaz’s workers loved him, and he had a good relationship with them. You can often tell the real character of a man in authority by seeing how he relates to his staff and by how they think of him.

How does Ruth distinguish herself?

  • She asked for permission to glean and she worked hard. She got noticed. She was being watched as we all are in our behaviors.

Gleaning was humiliating and sometimes dangerous work.

Boaz’s servant girls were the female field workers who tied together the cut stalks of grain. They would take good care of Ruth.

Boaz is exceedingly king to Ruth. Dipping the bread with Boaz showed favor towards her. Ruth ate and was satisfied. We eat and are satisfied in Jesus.

Gleaning among the sheaves was more generous than the command in Leviticus 19:9-10. Pulling out stalks for her was also generous and  beautiful. Boaz wanted to bless Ruth, but he didn’t want to dishonor her dignity by making her a charity case. So, he allowed some grain to fall, supposedly on accident, so that she could pick it up.

What do we learn from Ruth’s hard work?

  • This is how we glean God’s Word: work hard, stoop to gather every grain one at a time and don’t drop it. The take it home, thresh it, winnow it, and use it to nourish you.

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.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11

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Summary of Joshua 11:

When the Northern Kings heard of the complete destruction of the Southern kingdoms, they joined forces against the Israelites and met at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel. They were as numerous as the sands on the seashore. They also had a large number of horses and chariots.Image result for joshua 11 map of cities northern

Again, God encourages Joshua and tells him not to be afraid for He will deliver them, slain, into his hands. God tells the Israelites to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.

So the Israelites attack this huge army and defeated them. They chased them and slain all of them and hobbled their horses as the Lord directed.

Joshua returned to the city of Hazor and slaughtered everyone there as their king was the instigator of this attack upon Israel. He then totally destroyed all of the cities and kings that came against him as Moses had commanded. They did not burn any of the cities on their mounds. However, Joshua did all that Moses directed and killed everyone. All the plunder and livestock the Israelites kept for themselves.

Joshua continued the conquest of the Promised Land, taking the entire hill region, the Negev, Goshen, and more. All the kings and peoples were attacked and killed except for those living in Gibeon. The Lord had hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel so that they may face punishment.

Joshua took the entire land the Lord had promised, divided it up according to tribes, and rested from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

9) “Do not be afraid of them” and “hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” Joshua needed encouragement and direction from God (as we all do). The enemies were more advanced than the Israelites in terms of warfare since they had horses and chariots. So to ensure they wouldn’t fight them again, the horses were hobbled and chariots destroyed. God keeps His word and directs the Israelites exactly as needed.

10) The Anakalites were the reason the Israelites hadn’t entered the Promised Land sooner and were relegated to wandering the desert for 40 years. The Hebrews thought them to be descendants of the Nephilim, a powerful race who dominated the pre-Flood world (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33). When the twelve Israelite spies returned from exploring the Promised Land, they gave a frightening report of “people great and tall” whom they identified as the sons of Anak (Deuteronomy 9:2). The Israelites had finally conquered them.

11) Personal Question. My answer: None really. We all deserve death, and it’s only by God’s grace that we are still breathing today and saved by His Son, Jesus Christ. This is an evil world full of evil, violent people. God uses the sin that entered through Adam to punish His enemies. That is His prerogative, and we are to accept it without question. Furthermore, God has a reason for everything He does that is beyond our understanding.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

I love how God is always encouraging and always instructing His people. I love how even the impossible (the defeat of the Anakites) is possible through Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

The Israelites are now the target due to their success. The same applies to our success on this side of heaven. There’s always someone jealous of you who’s looking to take you down.

The challenges facing the Israelites are increasing with a gigantic foe and superior weaponry. Same for us: we often find that the challenges facing us in our Christian life increase at each step. God uses each previous victory as a springboard for what we face in the future.

Fear was an issue for Joshua and the Israelites; hence, God’s encouragement.

Again, we see Joshua’s military boldness as he initiates the attack once again. I’m sure an army that size would expect the Israelites to high-tail it out of there, not attack.

What is Hamstringing and Why did God tell the Israelites to use It?

Hamstringing is just what it sounds like: cutting the hamstring muscle in the leg, hindering proper movement and effectively hobbling the animal. This was common on animals and on humans in ancient times. It was also extremely painful.

  • Hamstringing rendered the animals useless, so they couldn’t come against the Israelites again.
  • Horses and chariots were an advanced weapons of war that the Israelites would not master for hundreds of years. It was far easier to effectively erase the threat than learn how to use the threat.
  • This showed complete trust and faith in God as the Israelites did what God told them to do, and didn’t try to use the enemies’ tools for themselves.

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What do we learn from the complete annihilation of the Enemy?

  • Israelites had complete faith and obedience in God.
  • Judgement was complete.
  • Canaanites were completely and totally unable to be redeemed and thus deserving of just punishment.

What is the “hardening of the hearts”?

The hardening of men’s hearts is when God gives man up to the sin that is in his heart (Romans 1:24-28). There was no grace shown to the Canaanites.

Who were the Anakites?

The last tribe to be defeated by the Israelites, the Anakites had prevented Israel from entering the Promised Land 40 years prior. They fall easily. God saves them for last as the Israelites needed supreme confidence to defeat them.

What do we Learn from the Anakites?

  • God knows how to manage the battles in our life.
  • Total surrender to God’s will is our response. Sometimes we have to fight last what we think is first.

Fun Fact of the Bible:

The giant Goliath is an Anakite from the descendants of the Nephilim. Goliath comes from the city of Gath some five hundred years later (1 Samuel 17:4).

Similarities between Judges 1 and Joshua 1-11

Judges 1 summarizes the incidents recorded in Joshua, but from a different point of view. Joshua presents the campaign as highly successful; Judges shows that many military goals were never achieved. One possible explanation: Joshua presented the wars as a series of raids on territory and did not include the “mopping up” and settlement process. Judges shows that, after the Israelites divided up the land, they proved fall less successful in the second phase of conquest.

This ends section 1 of the Book of Joshua as mission has been accomplished with the defeat and occupation of the Promised Land. Obviously, not every town and city had been conquered. That was left up to the individual tribes to accomplish within their individual territories.

Theme of Joshua 11:

Same with Jesus: he defeated the enemy, but we still must claim what is ours.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15

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Summary of Joshua 10:1-15:

The King of Jerusalem, ADoni-Zedek, heard about the Israelites’ conquering of Ai and Jericho and the peace treaty it had made with Gibeon. He gathered together 4 more kings of the Amorites–Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon– and attacked Gibeon, which was an important and large city.

The Gibeonites, now subjects of Israel, appealed to Joshua for help. He came up with his best fighting men from Gilgal. The Lord promised to deliver them into his hands. After marching all night, Joshua took the kings by surprise. The kings retreated and Joshua pursued them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

The Lord brought hail that killed many of the retreating army. Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. God fulfilled Joshua’s prayer as a sign He was with Israel.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

3) Joshua took his entire army, his best fighting men included, and marched overnight to surprise the kings of the Amorites. God told Joshua “Do not be afraid; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.

4)  “The Lord threw them into [the Amorites] into confusion before Israel.” “The Lord hurled down large hailstorms down on them from the sky, killing more than swords.” God stopped the sun on the request of Joshua so the conquest would be complete. God is good. God keeps His promises. God wants His glory to be known. God fights for us. God has His ways and uses various methods to achieve His history.

5) Personal Question. My answer: If you pray, God is there, and He will guide and lead you. God will work miracles to help you if you have faith. Definition of integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.

I love the second definition of integrity. When Israel is together, of one mind and united in a cause, they are unbeatable. They act as one unit and are much stronger and a more formidable opponent. Also, the Israelites defend the Gibeonites because they do have a treaty. They are honoring their commitment to others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

I love how the Lord doesn’t hold anything against Joshua; he is totally forgiven for his mistakes. We just saw Joshua disobey an order from God: don’t make treaties with the Canaanites. Now, when Joshua is called upon by the Gibeonites to help, he honors his word and God honors Joshua’s word as well as Joshua seeks the Lord here.

If God can let go of the past so easily, why can’t we?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

Why the Military Coalition of the Southern Kings?

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The Israelites had brought the unique judgment of God against the Canaanites (Jericho and Ai) and did not take any plunder or profit from the cities. An Israelite army fighting for the glory of God and as a unique instrument of God’s judgment made everyone shake in their boots.

The previous victories across the middle of Canaan effectively separated Canaan between north and south. “Israel controlled the Benjaminite plateau, the crossroads between the hill country and the Judean wilderness. It provided access to the coastal plain and lowlands to the west via the Beth Horon pass.” (Hess)

“It has been conjectured that the Canaanitish kings assumed this name in imitation of that of the ancient patriarchal king of this city, Melchizedek, whose name signifies king of righteousness, or my righteous king: a supposition that is not improbable.” (Clarke)

Remember the Gibeonites surrendered because they honored the God of Israel, not because they couldn’t defend themselves.

The Southern Kings gathered forces much as Satan does today. The enemy will use all he has against us.

It was only the Southern kings because the northern kings were already occupied by Israel.  “Jerusalem’s leader wrote at least five letters to the Pharaoh regarding his town and its security. These letters, part of the collection known as the Armana letters, are longer and more literate than the contemporary missives of other Palestinian town leaders.” (Hess)

Jerusalem, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, and Hebron were important cities either for their location or for the trade routes associated with them.

Afraid to attack Israel directly, the kings attacked the Israelites’ subjects, the Gibeonites.

Why are the Israelites still at Gilgal?

  • Gilgal was the place of memorial (Joshua 4:20).
  • Gilgal was the place of radical obedience (Joshua 5:2-3).
  • Gilgal was the place where reproach was removed (Joshua 5:9).
  • Gilgal was the place of obedience and the remembrance of salvation (Joshua 5:10).
  • Gilgal was the place where the manna stopped, and they began to live off what the Promised Land provided (Joshua 5:11-12).
  • Gilgal was the place where they met Jesus Christ in a dramatic way, as commander of the LORD’s armies – and took of their sandals in reverence to holy ground (Joshua 5:13-15).

What Lessons do we Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • It’s okay to call for help. God is our protector. Cry out to Him.
  • God commanded Joshua not to fear because He would deliver. Fear is a sign of unbelief in God doing what He says He’ll do.

Allowing these Canaanite kings to wipe out the Gibeonites would have been a convenient way to get out of a vow that should not have been made, but they will have none of it.

We should have the same sense of honor. Though Joshua was only bound to not kill the Gibeonites himself (Joshua 9:15), he also felt obliged to fulfill the spirit of the vow he made to the Gibeonites.

Why were the Southern Kings taken by Surprise?

The Southern Kings didn’t believe the march was possible in that short of a time. The march from Gilgal to Gibeon involved a climb of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) over a distance of about 20 miles (32 kilometers). This was eight to ten hours of hard marching all through the night.

God does His work, but He draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him before He does what only He can do.

This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done.”

What Did the Hailstorm Signify?

  • God’s hand in the battle.Image result for joshua 10 hailstorm
  • For the Amorites who worshipped nature, they must have thought their gods had abandoned them.
  • In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that this rain of hailstones was actually a sustained meteor show, the train of a comet. He also theorized that the passing of the comet was related to the next amazing work of God for Israel and Joshua.
  • God’s work is greater than man (Joshua’s) work.

Why Did Joshua Ask for the Sun to Stand Still?

  • Joshua wanted a complete victory and needed more time.
  • God would be glorified.
  •  God would be obeyed.
  •  God’s work would be continued without hindrance.
  •  God’s people would triumph.

How did the Sun Stand Still?

Beyond the reason, “Because God said so,” here are various scientific ideas:

  • A slowing of the earth’s rotation.
  • A tilting of the earth’s axis
  • A miracle of reflection of light
  • Simply the presence of God manifested in light.

In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that the long day was caused by the near pass of a comet, that was powerful enough to tilt the axis of the earth. “The tilting of the axis could produce the visual effect of a retrogressing or arrested sun; a greater tilting, a multiple day or night.” [385] He also noted that there are records among the ancient Americans that speak of an extraordinarily long night in the same approximate time.

Fun Battle Fact of the Bible:

This is the first time in Joshua of a counterattack – the enemy initiating a battle against Israel. “Here for the first time Israel does not initiate the aggression but responds to an ally’s appeal.” (Hess)

What Does Joshua 10 Teach Us?

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

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Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.