BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 30

Hey all,

As all of these are personal questions, I won’t be posting my answers here.  I’ll just give you all a summary of what I learned for the year.  This will be my Sharing Day so to speak.

I learned that God only desires our faith in Him and obedience.  That’s it.  Later, it’s changed to faith in His son, Jesus Christ.  It’s so simple that most people are tripped up by it.

I learned how truly amazing Moses was.  Everyone knows about Moses but most people just know him as the guy who parted the Red Sea and turned some water into wine (this was my impression at least).  But Moses was so much more.  He was the closest to God a person can be.  He did amazing things for 40 years for millions of people.  He had a heart for God.  He stumbled and paid the price like we all do.  But his life was extraordinary.  It gives courage to those of us who live ordinary lives.

I learned how incredibly stubborn God’s people were and how this explains much of how we are today.  Man’s nature never changes.  Neither does God’s.  Repeatedly, the Israelites fell. Repeatedly, they rebelled.  Repeatedly, they turned away.  Always God picked them up.  Always God forgave them.  Always grace prevailed.  God is amazing and loving and awesome. Compassionate, forgiving, and omnipotent.  Protector.  Provider.  Comforter.  The story of the Israelites journey out of Egypt is a story of grace and God’s goodness.  His will in all.

I learned about the importance of helpers.  How we all need them.  Asking for help is okay. Humbly receiving it is even better.

I learned how God’s grace and judgment are not to be questioned.  We all know His ways are not our ways.  We all deserve death.  Anything we receive in our walk on earth is all by Him.  Every breath is by His grace alone.  One day we will all take our last when He deems it so.  What would happen if we all lived out that truth?

The Study of Moses was a struggle for my kids, especially the giving of the laws.  The first half of Moses they loved.  Full of heroic stories and deeds.  The second half was a drag.  Archaic laws that went over their heads.  But they came and they had fun and I know they got something out of it. Even if they don’t realize it until later on down the road.

Anytime I read God’s word my faith is strengthened.  Moses is a man after God’s own heart. Knowing more about him helps me to know more about what God wants for me.  Moses’s walk was an extraordinary one.  I only hope I can lead one half as well!

Final Link:  Just a little summary in a nutshell of Moses’s life and some important lessons to glean:

http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Moses.html

Thank you all for studying with me, for sharing your thoughts, for being my “group”.  It was amazing.  I can’t wait for Revelation!  Bring it on!  Have a great summer break and God bless!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 23, Day 2: Numbers 21:1-3

Summary of passage:  The Canaanite king of Arad attacked the Israelites and captured some.  The Israelites prayed for God to help them destroy these people, which the Lord granted, and the place was named Hormah.

Questions:

3a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I expected them to do just this:  pray first and then do the Lord’s will because I think they would have learned their lesson from Numbers 14:41-45.

b)  The Lord listened and granted their request.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  I like to think I am depending on Him.  And I’m not for sure what if any situation in my life needs to be reversed at the moment.

Conclusions:  Sorely disappointed in this lesson.  I got nothing out of these 3 verses and the questions were lackluster.  I’m pretty sure BSF is looking for an answer to 3a to be:  Well, I expected them to just fight back without the Lord’s guidance.  Yet we have seen over and over again here the people’s turnarounds from sin to Him.  Thus, I expect the people to go to God first as I expect all Christians to do.

End Notes:  This was the exact same place I referenced in 3a–Hormah.  First, the Israelites were defeated there and now the Lord grants them victory when He is with them this time.  This would have been a much better question here for this section.

Map of Arad:  http://fgcp.org/system/files/images/Promise-Land-Era.jpg

Map of Hormah and the Route in Edom:  http://www.biblenews1.com/maps/Exodus.jpg

By totally destroying a city, the Israelites are turning it completely over to God.  This would ensure no one else could use this land; hence, dedicating it to the Lord.  This was one of the most sacrificial offerings to God because the land become His once again.

Expect to see more of the same once again of the Israelites to God as they proceed to the Promised Land:  faith and unfaith.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 4: Leviticus 11-15

Introductory Note:  Leviticus 8-10 is studied in Lesson 15.  There’s some good lessons in there especially Chapter 10 where Aaron’s sons are killed by God when they do not follow His instructions.

Summary of passages:  Leviticus 11:  God tells Moses and Aaron that the people may only eat animals that have a split hoof completely divided and chews the cud.  They may eat any animal that has fins and scales.  God lists the birds to not eat.  The people may eat only those winged insects that walk on all fours and have jointed legs for hopping.  God lists the ground animals that can not be eaten and says do not touch carcasses of dead animals or you will be unclean.

Leviticus 12:  A woman who gives birth is ceremonially unclean afterwards.  She must wait a certain number of days so that she may quit bleeding and then offer a sacrifice to make atonement and be clean from her flow of blood.

Leviticus 13:  If anyone has a spot on their skin, he is to go to Aaron to have it examined and diagnosed.  Aaron will decide if the person needs to be quarantined or cleaned.  If the disease is infectious, that person is to cry out “unclean, unclean” and live apart from others as long as he has the disease.  If any clothing is contaminated by mildew, it must be shown to the priest who will determine if it is destructive mildew or not and burn it if it is.

Leviticus 14:  If a diseased person with skin disease is cured, then he must be ceremonially cleaned by the priest who will sprinkle him with eh blood of a bird.  He must then wash, bathe, and shave and bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb to the Tent of Meeting as offerings or doves or pigeons if he cannot afford the others.

The priests are to inspect homes infected with mildew and remove the infected stones and areas.  If the mildew returns, then the house is unclean and most be torn down.  If there is no mildew, then the house will be considered clean and purify it with the blood of a bird.

Leviticus 15:  God lays down regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who lies with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.  If you become unclean, you must atone by bringing a sacrifice to become clean again and wait seven days after the ceremony.

Questions:

8 )  11:1-47:  Clean and unclean food and animals.  Eating of dead carcasses could have bacteria that can kill people or make them sick.  Pork carries many parasites.  Dead animal carcasses lying around attract disease and can spread disease (think Bubonic Plague here).

12:1-8:  Purification after Childbirth.  I see this as a protection from the woman’s husband who may try to have sex with her too soon after childbirth.  This regulation is to allow the woman to fully heal before sex again.

13:1-46:  Regulations about Infectious Skin Diseases.  To protect the people from contracting infectious diseases.

13:47-59:  Regulations about Mildew.  This was to prevent the spread of disease through the clothes people wore.

14:1-32:  Cleansing from Infectious Skin Diseases.  The only practical benefit I see here is this allowed the cured person to be accepted back into Hebrew society.  It does reflect Jesus’s ritual sacrifice for us however, which may have been the point by God.

14:33-57:  Cleansing from Mildew.  To ensure no one gets sick from mildew from the home.  If we use the translation of mildew, this is true as mildew can sicken us today if left in the home.

15:1-33:  Discharges causing Uncleanness.  These rules would help the Israelites avoid venereal diseases that plagued their neighbors.

9a)  Jesus explains in Mark that it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, not what goes in–for the heart is what is reflected by evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, slander, etc.  Acts says God makes things impure or unclean.  They were for spiritual health and to help the people follow God’s laws for their lives.  Jesus declares that all things are clean.  And if you believe in him, you are clean.

b)  That God is holy and His desire was for them to be holy as well, to be separate from other peoples.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to be mindful of what we ingest since our body is a temple to God.  We are to be mindful of what comes out, so we are clean which includes words, actions, and good works.  As long as I remember God’s purpose for my life and His ways, I will try to do my best to be more and more like Jesus every day.

Conclusions:  For Question 8, I just used the titles my Bible had given these sections.  Seemed to sum it up pretty well.  Most of us cannot imagine leading such lives where we’d become unclean and have to avoid such items and people and purify ourselves with sacrifices.  Yet, the lesson to learn is we must watch our own lives with just as much care and attention.  God is watching us with no less.

Keep reading the Mark passage.  Jesus goes on even further with specifics.

End Notes:  Dietary laws were meant to keep the Israelites apart from their neighbors.  Pigs were prominent in Canaanite worship; therefore the Israelites were not to eat pigs.  A different dietary standard would keep the two groups from mixing socially, for a meal was always part of Middle Eastern hospitality.

Some scholars think these rules fit into what the Israelites already thought was unclean–creeping insects, scavenger birds, bodily emissions, and skin diseases.

The point was not if you became clean or unclean since it was unavoidable in life.  The point was to watch your life with care in order to prepare themselves to meet God.  Clear standards were laid out about what was acceptable to God and God demands purity.

Jesus declared all things clean (Mark 7:19 and Acts 10:9-16).  He healed the lepers, made a bleeding woman clean.  Still, God may not be approached carelessly.  Your life must make sure God’s purity is not violated.  Jesus is the only thing that makes clean the unclean–forever.

Leviticus 11:  None of these rules are new.  Noah discussed them as well (Genesis 7:2, 8:20).  God was merely putting them on paper.  The birds listed are either predators or scavengers, both of which eat meat that is already dead.  The Jews largely avoided the plague because of their removal of dead rats.  Pigs are known for tapeworms.  Shellfish carry a lot of mercury in their bodies and are the more likely to be improperly stored for food and thus make one sick.

All of these laws promote cleanliness which in the ancient world no one understood germs or viruses or how diseases spread.  But God did.

And all these laws set the Israelites apart from everyone else who ate whatever they could find no matter how diseased.

With Jesus, these laws are nullified as well and Christians are under no obligation to observe the kosher diet (Acts 15; 1 Timothy 4:1, 3-5).  Does that mean we eat junk food all the time?  Everything is permissible but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you!  (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Leviticus 12:  The idea is that children are good but are born sinners and God wanted the Israelites to know this and remember this.  Scholars say the woman here is symbolically responsible for brining forth more sinners in the world.

The girl child was usually not wanted or valued.  The extra time gave the family more time to bond with the child.  Girls were also more likely to be smaller than boys, so they needed extra care.  Plus, again, the mother brought forth a child who will bring forth more children/sinners.

Jesus was poor.  Luke 2:22-24 tells us Mary and Joseph only brought 2 doves for Mary’s atonement.

Leviticus 13:  Old versions of the Bible translated “infectious skin diseases” as “leprosy”, which was wrong.  Leprosy is barely contagious.  Think such diseases as smallpox, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, etc.  There was no cure for such diseases back then.

Leprosy was feared because it did result in the eating away of flesh, was slow and painful, and did lead to death eventually.  However, the Israelites believed it was inflicted as a punishment for sin and was thus feared.  The people were outcast as they believed they were sinners and unable to stand before God as such.  People’s fears led to discrimination and the lepers took the brunt of it.  Today, leprosy is unknown in the modern world due to drugs to cure it, but does still exist in third-world countries.

For a great synopsis I did of Leprosy last year during our study of Matthew, click HERE for Definition of Leprosy and how lepers were treated in ancient times.

Scholars say the Hebrew people were the first to practice isolation of victims suspected of being contagious in order to stop its spread.

Most Bibles have “mildew” translated as “leprosy” and thus these two sections go together.  If you read it with this translation, then it makes more sense.  The Israelites wanted to make sure the clothes were not contaminated with the disease as well.  Today we know clothes do carry disease and because washing was so infrequent back then it was feared the clothes could spread the disease as well.

Debate about how many people get sick from clothes goes on especially in hospitals when doctors wear the same scrubs for operations.  However, the transmission rate is small but possible.  Here, God says to make sure the clothes are clean as well.

[Side Note:  Anyone remember The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams?  The Velveteen Rabbit was the favorite toy of a boy.  But when he contracted scarlet fever, the boy’s doctor orders the room to be disinfected and all of the toys burnt.  He was thrown out by the boy’s nurse for fear he contained the dreaded disease.  Hence, he was unwanted and turned into a real rabbit and lived in the forest next to the boy’s home.

I thought of this story.  In the case of scarlet fever, it can only be spread through bodily contact and cannot survive very long outside the body so the bunny here was safe.  Back in 1922 when the book was written though no one knew that.  However, germs and diseases can survive outside the body for quite some time so it’s better to err on the side of caution God says.]

Leviticus 14:  The regulations for ceremonial cleansing seem to reflect Jesus.  One bird was killed and its blood was applied to a living bird and then the living bird is freed to live out its life, which is what Jesus’s blood does for us on the cross.  Even cedar wood is mentioned which scholars say reference the cross.  Hyssop as you may recall from last year in Matthew 27:48 was offered to Jesus while he was on the cross.  The shaving of the hair was like a rebirth like a newborn babe and live began all over again.

The leper was consecrated the same way as a priest and also anointed.  This meant he or she had a special calling on his life.  However, since the cure for leprosy was unknown in ancient times, this ceremony was undoubtedly rarely performed.

Scholars say here leprosy and mildew are related in the Hebrew word used here.

Leviticus 15:  We are to understand this as not any discharge from the body but an abnormal one.  In the case of sex or masturbation, both men and women had to cleanse themselves.  God is not saying these discharges are sinful, just made you ceremonially unclean to be in His presence.  He also made the distinction clear that sex was not to occur in His tabernacle or as a means of worshipping Him.  This was important because in pagan cultures sex was often associated with worship of gods and occurred quite frequently.  Remember the golden calf?  The people engaged in sexual revelry all in the name of worship.

Semen and menstruation are connected with the seed and the blood of man.

In Mark 7:1-9, Jesus emphasized the need for internal cleanliness, not external.  Our outward cleanliness does not make us right with God.  Only Jesus can cleanse us spiritually.  If you have him, then you are clean.  Period.

Summary of Exodus…

God chose the Israelites out of pure grace alone.  They didn’t deserve it any more than any other group of people.  They were all sinners as the incident with the golden calf clearly pointed out.  He chooses a mediator, Moses, a man who had killed another to lead his people out of Egypt.  Once out of Egypt, God continues to lead His people in a cloud or by fire through the desert to the Promised Land with Moses as the communicator with the people.

God orders the people to build Him a tabernacle to exact specifications, which takes up one-third of Exodus.  Every detail reveals God’s character and the rituals described means God must be taken seriously.  We will continue to see this in the next three books of the Bible (the rest of our study).

The furnishings are sparse compared to most temples to gods of that day.  Each had a purpose in approaching God and nothing extra.  The tabernacle was not a gathering place–it served one purpose only namely to worship God.

And so God moves in in only five verses at the end of Exodus.  He cannot be experienced directly; yet, He is near, visible over the tabernacle, guiding and protecting His people, for no other reason than He wants to be near them–and us.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 5: Exodus 40:34-38

Summary of passage: The cloud and glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle once it was completed and no one could enter. Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites would continue their journey. If the cloud stayed, they stayed. The cloud was over the tabernacle by day and fire by night during all the Israelites travels.

Questions:

11a)  The cloud controlled when the Israelites moved and when they camped.  When the cloud covered the tabernacle, the Israelites stayed put.  When the cloud lifted, the Israelites broke camp and moved towards the Promised Land.

b)  It provided shade for the people in the hot, desert climate.  It kept them from moving when their enemies may have been moving about so they didn’t run into anyone.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many times we have moved, always with a purpose.  I complied although begrudgingly.  We were protected and we served Him.  Now as we move from rental to rental it’s with a purpose as well.

12a)  He promises to guide us in His truth.  To have the light of the world (Jesus) to follow.  He guides us through His word.  He guides us when we ask Him through prayer.  He gives us the Holy Spirit within which guides us.  He anoints pastors and other Bible leaders to provide leadership and guidance as well in our lives.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He guides me continually when I read His word with sound advice and things I need to pray about.  It’s constant for me.

c)  He uses other people to guide others through Godly-advice or wisdom.  He performs miracles in answer to prayer. He closes doors when it’s not His will and opens them when it is His will.

Conclusions:  The Numbers passage only expounds on this passage.

My take away:  God is always with us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is just a prayer away.  He is always there when no one else is.  Take advantage of God’s closeness and use Him. That’s what He wants us to do!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 4: Exodus 40:34-38

Summary of passage:  The cloud and glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle once it was completed and no one could enter.  Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites would continue their journey.  If the cloud stayed, they stayed.  The cloud was over the tabernacle by day and fire by night during all the Israelites travels.

Questions:

9a)  “The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

b)  That He would dwell amongst His people

c)  When the Holy Spirit filled the early Christians.

d)  Acts 2:38:  “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

10a)  Moses could no longer enter the Tent of Meeting.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Moses couldn’t enter the Tent of Meeting because God’s glory was too powerful to be near.  He did not have the Holy Spirit within.  As a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, I have the Holy Spirit within and I can be next to God.  I can use God’s power and guidance to serve Him in His ways.

Conclusions:  Short and sweet.  When we obey God, we are blessed.  He is pleased with us and He dwells with us and walks with us.  He does anyways if we are believers but when we do His will, He rewards us.

We should feel immensely blessed that we live on this side of heaven and have the Holy Spirit to help us through this rough and turbulent life we lead.  It’s something we should thank God for daily–for His Son, Jesus Christ, who saved us so we can be with God.  Amazing and wonderful and compassionate and inspiring!

End Notes:  The same thing happened to Solomon when the Temple was completed (1 Kings 8:10-11).  Without God, it was just a tent.  With God, it’s holy.

God kept His promise to stay with the Israelites and the book of Exodus ends with such hope and obedience. Awesome!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 2: Exodus 35:1-39:31

Note:  This is the last lesson in Exodus.  We will be finishing the book and will start Leviticus after the Christmas break.

Also, most of this reading is a repetition of Exodus 25-31, which was Lesson 10.  See links here for detailed summaries:  Exodus 25, Exodus 26-27, Exodus 28-29, Exodus 30-31

Summary of passage:  Exodus 35:  Moses is giving more regulations to the people, saying the Sabbath must be holy and no work is to be done or face the penalty of death.  No fire is to be lit on the Sabbath.  All are to take an offering to the Lord of what they have in order to furnish the tabernacle or to use their skills to make all the furnishings such as the altar of incense, the table, the ark, the lamp stand, the curtains, the priests’ robes, etc.

All who were willing did as bidded–brought offerings of all kinds to furnish the Tent of Meeting.  Bezalel and Oholiab have been gifted with the Spirit of God to make such items for the Tent and they are to teach others as well.

Exodus 36:  All the items brought were given to the craftsmen and they discovered that the people were brining more than enough.  So Moses ordered the people to stop bringing offerings.  So the workers set about making all the items from the curtains to the frame for the tabernacle to the ark (Exodus 37), table, lamp stand, and altar of incense to (Exodus 38) the altar of burnt offering, basin for washing, and the courtyard.  All the materials used were recorded by the Levites at Moses’s command.

Exodus 39:  All the garments were made for the priests which were made sacred by the Lord.  The ephod, breast piece, tunics, sashes, etc were woven.

Questions:

3a)  To work for six days and rest on the Sabbath.

b)  So that the Israelites may have time to worship the Lord.  Furthermore, it was the best way to ensure continued obedience of His people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Our lives should revolve around worshipping God and we do that through our calling (our work, our purpose) and dedicating our days to His glory by setting aside time to come to Him and be with Him.  Doing His work such as my writings and this blog is resting in Him.  When I do His will, I worship Him.  When I go to church I worship Him.  When I open His word, I worship Him.  We need to remember the importance of resting in Him and in His finished work.  God wanted to make sure the Israelites realized the importance of this command.

4a)  The people themselves.

b)  The Lord chose Bezalel, son of Uri and Oholiab son of Ahisamach.  Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God with the skill, ability, and knowledge of all kinds of crafts to make artistic designs for the work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work the wood, and to engage in all kind of artistic craftsmanship.  Oholiab was gifted with the ability to teach others the skills to do all kinds of work as craftsman, designers, and embroiderers, etc.

c)  “Every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work.”

d)  Yes.  They received more than enough (Exodus 36:5).

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The people gave more than they had to and as they were able.  God chose the leaders and gifted them.  My prayers would be for God to imbibe His people with the talents He needs for the church.  To imbibe me and my family with talents to fulfill His purposes for our lives.

5)  God gave the commands to Moses in chapters 25-31 and Moses is repeating the commands to the Israelites in chapters 35-39.  God told Moses to write down the commands twice when Moses was divinely inspired when he was writing the book of Exodus in which case God thought the details important enough to record twice so they wouldn’t be lost.  Repetition in the Bible is because we humans need to hear things more than once to “get it”.  Here, we get how important the tabernacle is to God when the instructions are recorded twice for our benefit.

Also, this demonstrates Moses faithfulness to us (those who came after Moses) so we see his faithfulness to God’s instructions and commands.  It strengthens our faith when God gives us commands and gives us a great role model.

Conclusions:  BSF combined all these chapters because they are a repetition of Chapters 25-31.  Good emphasis on faithfulness to God, praying for His gifts in our lives and to use them for His purpose, and for the importance again of resting in Him.

End Notes:  God could have created all the materials for the tabernacle Himself but the purpose was to teach His people to be cheerful givers and develop in them the quality of giving and generosity.  And the people were asked to give according to what they were able–great lesson for us as well.  What they were able to give and where God had moved their hearts to give.  Some gave work as well.

The need was presented–Moses led the people in the need, which is what we need today.  We need to be told the needs since often we don’t know them.  Then we need to respond.

Note when the need was met, the giving stopped.  As it should be today.  We should expect organization and management of our resources given and not asked to give and give.  Prudence reigned here.

Note how women gave up their mirrors to make the basin for ceremonial washing.  They gave up what looking at themselves to look at God.  Awesome!

The exact count of the money teaches us how accuracy is important when involving money and God’s work.  Prudence again.

Fun Fact:  Some commentators estimate that descriptions of the tabernacle make up the largest single subject covered in the Bible.