BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13

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Summary Joshua 24:1-13:

Joshua assembled all the people at Shechem and reminded them of all God has done for them since calling Abraham to the Promised Land. This includes their time in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the wandering, the fight for the land east of the Jordan River, and the fight against Jericho and all the Western Kings. God did it all. God gave it all. God provides all.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

10) Personal Question. My answer: God had it all planned out. God did it all, and the Israelites did nothing. I love seeing God’s hand and knowing He has it all and I don’t have to worry. It’s a great comfort in times of trial. God has a plan. Give it over to Him.

11) God has history all planned out in His own time. God does it all. He loves us enough to plan for eternity. Who else in this world does?

12) Part personal Question. God is great, and we don’t remember that enough. It’s easy to push God aside in our busy lives and not think about Him. We have to remember Him and what he’s done for us continually. And the details and little things matter like food and shelter—all the things we take for granted every day.  My answer: we need to remember all God has done for us for 2 main reasons: 1) we have hope in the bad times 2) in the good times we don’t become prideful and think it’s us doing it all. God does is all. We’re merely His players.

It’s important to be a good witness, to tell of times in our past when God has been faithful. It encourages and strengthens other Christians and it may influence others to become Christ-followers. Re-living those moments strengthens your faith as well. We can’t let activities in our lives push God out. He is central, and we must keep Him there.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

It’s important to keep history alive or we are doomed to relive it. Most of the Israelites weren’t alive to experience a lot of what Joshua spoke about. Our past gives us courage to face our future. Courage and hope–two things we all need more of in this world.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

This was a dramatic last gathering of Israel before the passing of Joshua. It may or may not be part of the same farewell described in Joshua 23. No specific place of gathering is mentioned in Joshua 23, so it could have been part of this same meeting at Shechem.Image result for shechem

Shechem is modern day Tel Balata. This ancient city was situated on the floor of a valley with Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal forming the respective walls. The contour of the land resulted in a natural amphitheater, the acoustics of which were so good that the human voice carried to exceptional distances.

Image result for shechemImportant Events that Happened at Shechem:

Shechem was a place of rich history for Israel. Four notable events happened here in the lives of the patriarchs. In the first two instances, we see Shechem was a place of calling and commitment. In the second two, we see Shechem as a place of shame.

  1. Abraham came into the Promised Land and first camped at Shechem. There God appeared to Abraham and confirmed His promise; Abraham built an altar to the Lord there (Genesis 12:6-7).
  2. When Jacob came back into the Promised Land, he first camped at Shechem. He purchased land at Shechem and built an altar there, calling the place, El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel, Genesis 33:16-20).
  3. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi deceptively lured the men of Shechem into a massacre, murdering all the men of the city (Genesis 34).
  4. God told Jacob to go to Bethel. Jacob did so and commanded all in his household to put away their idols. Jacob took those idols and buried them at the terebinth tree near Shechem (Genesis 35:1-5).

Some scholars believe the Israelites presented themselves before the tabernacle, which seems at this time to have been at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). Either they presented themselves before God without the tabernacle, or it was moved to Shechem for this occasion.

We saw this same occurrence of the people presenting themselves to God in Exodus 19:17.

Joshua’s speech has many similarities to the much longer speeches given by Moses in Deuteronomy. Both speakers pattern their speeches after a treaty between a ruler and his people.

Here we see Joshua as a prophet, speaking God’s words. Prophecy is not necessarily a prediction of the future. It can simply be a uniquely direct and spontaneous word from God. The Lord reminded Israel that their forefathers came from the other side of the Euphrates River and worshipped pagan gods there.

At every point, Joshua emphasizes that God is the sole source of their success. Joshua reminds the people of all that God has done and of their obligation under the covenant with God.

What do We Learn from Joshua’s Farewell Speech?

  1. Note God does not remind the Israelites of their sin. It has already been forgotten (Jeremiah 31:34).
  2. All of God’s blessings are undeserved. A reminder of this should make the Israelites (and us) extremely grateful to God for all He has done in our lives.
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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23

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Summary Joshua 23:

Joshua, old himself, calls the Israelites together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

God fights for them and one of them is equal to 1000 enemies because of this so Love God. Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, they will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them and they will die if they forsake him and worship other gods.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

6) Joshua calls the Israelite leaders together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

7) God is faithful. God keeps His promises. God is with us. God does not forsake us. We are powerful in Him. God is just. God will punish us if we turn from him.

8 ) Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, the Canaanites will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns. The Israelites are to love God and obey God.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them, and they will die if they forsake the Lord and worship other gods.Image result for obedience to god

9) Part personal Question. My answer:  Joshua addresses the leaders separately for two reasons: 1) Practical. There are simply too many Israelites nowadays to call them all together. 2) There are higher expectations placed on leaders of the people by God than others, so Joshua expects them to lead by example and convey the message to the Israelites. We need strong, Godly leaders to guide us. When you find them, you keep them.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

I’m always amazed at how simple it is to get to heaven: choose Jesus and obey. Here, the Israelites must obey God and love Him. Not hard one would think, but, in actuality, it is. Joshua also says to avoid those who sin because they may influence you to sin and turn from God. We as Christians needs to love sinners, but we don’t have to be best friends with them. which I think is where people mess this one up.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

The Israelites number in the millions. It would be like getting the whole state of Delaware to a meeting! Thus, be effectively communicating to the leadership, Joshua can get his message across.

Joshua begins by giving glory to God. He does not begin by listing all he’s done and his military accomplishments.

Each tribe must still fully possess what God has given them. There is still work to be done, and we all have a part to play.

How will Israel succeed?

  • With courage to have complete obedience to God.
  • Don’t even talk about the Canaanite gods. Stay as far away from sin as possible.
  • Love God.
  • Separate from ungodly influences and don’t compromise.

God is faithful.

Joshua repeats the principle of blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience that was a part of Israel’s covenant with God (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). God will be just as faithful to judge as He had been to bless.

Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-14), so we no longer have to experience God’s curse. Instead, we are corrected (Hebrews 12:7) and will experience a lack of blessing if we do not abide in Jesus.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22

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Summary Joshua 22:

The eastern tribe that had before been asked to help the Israelites conquer the Promised Land on the western side of the River Jordan are now released from their service and able to return home. Joshua left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Joshua blessed the men and sent them away—but not empty handed. They had their share of the plunder from their enemies and were to share it.

On the way home, the Israelites built an “imposing altar” to God. Well, the rest of the Israelites took this as a sign they were turning from God so they sent representatives to see what was going on. They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan) and they would all suffer for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that witnesses they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River. Appeased, the Western Israelites returned home happy.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

3)  Joshua told them they had done all Moses had commanded them to do, and they had done all he had asked them to do left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

4) They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan and Peor), and they would all suffer (or perhaps be killed as well) for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River.

Deuteronomy tells us the Lord commanded the Israelites to only sacrifice burnt offerings at the place he commands as well as Leviticus 17:8-9.

5) Personal Question. My answer: Make sure you have all the facts first before accusing others of wrong-doing. Often, we don’t understand the situation or the other person’s side, and we get ourselves into trouble when we shouldn’t. We should confront with God’s heart, with a willingness to help, and with a clear idea of what God would want out of the situation. Come with an open mind.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

How frequently this happens in our lives when something simple blows up into something big—all because we didn’t have all the facts, and we didn’t take the time to discover all the facts. Many a relationship has been hurt and impacted by being falsely accused of something without a chance to explain ourselves. Great Biblical example of dealing with confrontation and misunderstandings.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

The Eastern tribes had fulfilled their obligation and helped the Israelites take the Western side of the Promised Land. Now it was time to return home. Joshua tells them what he tells all the Israelites all the time: Keep the commandments and the law, love God, follow God, obey God, and serve God. He then blesses them. The Eastern tribes left with riches and probably with a bit of sorrow to leave their brothers.

Before crossing the Jordan, the men build an altar, which was a place of sacrifice. When the other Israelites heard an altar had been built, they immediately gather arms to go and purge this scourge from the nation. There is no discussion, only action. They were going to fight to defend God’s holiness.Image result for joshua 22

Phinehas led the group because he had the authority as High Priest over the whole nation. The Israelites thought that the altar at the Jordan represented a rival place of sacrifice and worship, to compete with God’s tabernacle, presently at Shiloh.

Why the misunderstanding?

God had clearly commanded that there was one place of sacrifice and burnt offerings for Israel: Also you shall say to them: Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:8-9)

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

ii. We understand from this that we cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spiritand in truth. (John 4:24)

The reference to Peor was an example of when Israel had been punished for rebellion against God before. Peor was when Israel’s men had sex with Moabite women, and they gave themselves over to the worship of the Moabite gods. In judgment, God sent a plague that killed 24,000 people.

Phinehas was the one who stopped the plague by making a dramatic stand for righteousness in the midst of gross sin.

Just like Achan, Phinehas knew that the sin of these tribes would reflect on the whole nation. He knew that no one really sins unto himself.

Phinehas offers the returning Israelites to come to their land to avoid sin. This would have been a great sacrifice of land for the eastern side of the Jordan, but all that mattered was eradicating sin.

Who among us are willing to sacrifice to help others? We tell people to stop sinning, but are not willing to help them if it costs us something.

How does the Eastern Tribes respond when accused of sin?

  1. The eastern tribe go to God first who knows their hearts. He is our refuge when we’re misunderstood.
  2. The eastern tribes put themselves in the shoes of the westerners and can see why they think what they think. We all must try to see the other person’s point of view in misunderstandings.
  3. The eastern tribes then explain themselves and acknowledge once again the western tribes concerns. They wanted to remain connected to their western brethren, and this is how they chose to do so.

The explanation is accepted, and the relationship between the western tribes and the eastern tribes is restored.

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

We cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

How to Respond to Misunderstandings with God’s Heart:Image result for altar at geliloth joshua 22

  • Have a concern for God’s holiness.
  • Have the courage to confront in love.
  • Attempt to reconcile before you fight.
  • You are willing to sacrifice to help them; don’t confront unless you are willing to help.
  • You will see the situation from the perspective of the other person.
  • You will believe the best of one another.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21

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Summary Joshua 21:

The Levites receive towns and pasturelands as their inheritance out of the other tribes’ promised land as the Lord had commanded through Moses. They received a total of 48 towns scattered about within the other tribes’ land–4 from each tribe.

Every promise of God was now fulfilled as all of Israel took possession of the Promised Land and all the Israelites’ enemies fell.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21:

12) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship. They only received towns because they were to depend completely on God, not on the land. They were called to serve God. God was “their share.”

13) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship, so that all can hear God’s word. Remember, no one could read in ancient times but the priests. The people only knew of God from them.

14) 1 Peter says our inheritance “can never perish, spoil, or fade–and it’s kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The deposit is the Holy Spirit as Ephesians says was given to us as a gift from having believed in Christ as our salvation, which guarantees our inheritance (heaven and eternal life) until the Last Days.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: God keeps His promises–all of them. God is with me no matter what, directing me, taking care of me, fulfilling my every need. He is there, helping me in all my trials. He is the hope we all need.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

I love how God is there in the details (the allotting of land) as much as He’s there in the big picture (the taking of the Land). I love how this ends: With all of God’s promises fulfilled. Such hope. Even though it took 40 years. It’s all in God’s timing and not ours. Patience and He will do what He says He’ll do.

[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 5: Joshua 21:

God would be the Levites’ inheritance (Joshua 13:14, and 13:33).Image result for joshua 21

The Levites are the only ones without their own land and together. God wanted the Levites “sprinkled” all throughout the land of Israel. He never intended there to be one “state” of Levi, but every tribe was to have the priestly influence and presence in their midst.

In the same manner, Christians (being priests, 1 Peter 2:5 and 2:9) are to be “sprinkled” all throughout the world and society, instead of heading off to make a “Christian country” somewhere.

Further note the Levites or the priests received their cities last of all the tribes. Priests are appointed to serve, not to be served, and there is something priestly about letting others go first.

Historical Notes: This is the point where Israel stopped commemorating Passover as if equipped to travel as described in Exodus 12:11). Now they will eat the Passover reclining at rest (as described in John 13:23) because the LORD had given them rest in the land.

Our take-away from Joshua:

Any failure to fully possess the land was not because God had not made adequate provision, but because Israel had failed to fully follow the LORD.

Ask yourself: God has been completely faithful to you and made provision for continual victory. He has given greatly, but what do you possess?

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 2: Joshua 1:1-18

Summary of Joshua 1:1-18:

God commissions Joshua upon Moses’ death to lead His people into the Promised Land, which extends from the desert to Lebanon and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean (Great Sea) Sea. God prompts Joshua 3 times to “be strong and courageous” and to meditate on the Book of the Law (the Bible as it existed at that time so sin the New Testament) and Joshua would be successful.

So Joshua goes and tells the people the moment has come that God is going to fulfill His promise and give them the Promised Land (can you imagine the excitement!). However, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh is to stay in the part of the Promised Land they are in except the fighting men are to go and help the rest of God’s people take possession of the rest of the Promised Land.Image result for map banks of jordan river

The people whole-heartedly support Joshua in this mission set forth by God.

BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 2: Joshua 1:1-18:

3) Part personal question. My answer: God commissioned Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land and to take possession of it. He tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and that He will never forsake him. God tells Joshua to follow the law and never to turn from it. For me, that God will never forsake Joshua.

4a) God commanded Joshua to take His people across the Jordan River. God sets out the boundaries of the Promised Land (desert to Lebanon and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea (Great Sea). God tells Joshua 3 times to be strong and courageous. He tells him to obey all the law Moses gave them and never turn from it. He tells him to meditate on His word day and night.

b) Part personal Question. My answer: Joshua did everything God asked him to do. He went to the people and told them to ready themselves to take the Promised Land, and he laid out a plan of how he was going to accomplish it. In essence, move when God says to move and don’t hesitate.  This is something we can apply in our lives daily. I need to apply this when God nudges me and not wait until He pushes me!

5)  Joshua told the tribes that the fighting men would have to journey with them and help them take over the rest of the Promised Land that had to be fought for. The tribes respond with unhesitating agreement. They plead allegiance to Joshua like they had Moses, pray for Joshua for God to be with him in the same way as Moses, and even say whoever disagrees, should be put to death (a bit over-reactive but effective!). This must have been hugely encouraging as this was Joshua’s first act after Moses died and as leader of the Israelites (Moses had just died in Deuteronomy 34). God was definitely behind Joshua!

Conclusions to BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 2:

What a great way to start this study off! This book is one of the most encouraging books in all of liturgy because it shows what can happen in your life when you obey God’s commands. We see Joshua commanded to take the people and he immediately does it. We see the people back Joshua, which is huge in accomplishing such an underdog mission.

Joshua is a great example of acting on God’s commands immediately and seeing results–an encouragement to us all when we don’t understand God’s timing.

Just a reminder: All of the notes and questions are now available online. You just have to set up an account HERE and voila! Yeah, BSF, for listening to the attendees and taking action (much like Joshua!).

Please watch the 8 minute video above. It is an excellent run-down of the Book of Joshua with cool illustrations!

End Notes to BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1: Joshua 1:

God speaks through history to give an example of our deliverance from the bondage of sin (as Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 10:6 and 10:11). In the New Testament, the central act of redemption is the work of Jesus on the cross. In the Old Testament, the central act of redemption is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

As Israel wandered in the Sinai wilderness, the people experienced supernatural providence such as the supply of manna, water from rocks, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, and Divine revelation: the Mosaic Law, which set forth God’s holy standard

The Promised Land represents heaven. We are brought out of sin so that we might be brought in to abundant life. The wilderness is never God’s permanent destination for us. Like those who never saw the Promised Land and died in those 40 years of wandering (including Moses), Christians today die in the dryness of spiritual experience, never walking in the fullness of what God has for them.

Remember that the Greek name Jesus simply translates the Hebrew name Joshua. Their names are identical. Whatever Israel received in the Promised Land, they received through the hand of Joshua; whatever we receive from God we receive through Jesus Christ, our Joshua.

Faithful in the little things, Joshua now is ready for something great: the leadership of Israel into the Promised Land.

Why did God not give the Israelites the Promised Land?

God made the Israelites fight for the Promised Land as we fight for God–to be with Him, to obey Him, to fight for Him.

As God’s chosen representative, Joshua had to speak God’s law, live God’s law, and meditate on God’s law. He needed to be bold for God. Success is guaranteed if we do so because God is with us.

Three days is waiting for God.

The tribe of Manasseh promises to help their brethren as we all must do–unity is important in battle.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 29, Day 3: Romans 16:17-20

Summary of passage:  Paul warns the Romans to be wary of and to stay away from those who will cause divisions or put obstacles in their way that is contrary to the Lord’s word.  These people deceive others and are serving only themselves.  Be wise and may the grace of Jesus be with them.

Questions:

7)  You yourself have to know the Word so you can make sure you are not being deceived by those who claim to be teaching the Lord’s Word.  Be careful of teachers who may be out for themselves.

8 )  These people teach contrary to the Lord’s Word.  Stay away from them.

9)  Being innocent is staying away from what you know to be evil such as anti-Christians, those doing evil things such as abusers or law-breakers, and those who encourage you to disobey God and His commandments and what you know to be right.  Basically, avoid amoral people.  Being wise about what is good is craving more of it, being near those who are leading a Godly-life, and following God’s commands and His purpose for you.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Satan will be destroyed.  I know God will win and I can overcome Satan and sin with God’s help.

Conclusions:  A lot here for such a short passage.  Great advice from Paul.  In essence, surround yourself with Godly-people who will support your calling on this side of heaven.

End Notes:  Paul is referring to those who will divide God’s people and those who will deceive God’s people.  We must guard ourselves against this and not tolerate it by being indifferent.

Morris speculates:  “It may well be that Paul took the pen and wrote these words himself . . . It is quite possible that Paul wrote these words, then passed the pen back to Tertius for a postscript. Something unusual happened at the end of this letter, and this is a very possible understanding of it.”

The smooth words and flattery is the weapon of deceivers.  They usually target the naive or those who do not know/understand God’s Word.  These people are selfish.

The Romans are doing a good job of avoiding these people, but Paul wants to emphasize it.

We see that God does the crushing, but Satan ends up under the feet of believers.

Satan will be crushed when he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3).  Every victory God wins for us right now is a preview of that event.

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.”