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

Image result for joshua 21

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?

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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.”

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

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

Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 2: Romans 15:1-6

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

Questions:

3)  We are to subjugate our need to others’ needs.  We are to have unity amongst Christians in order to glorify the Father and Jesus.  We are privileged to have the Bible to guide us and teach us.  We are strong and should bear with the failings of the weak and bear the weak up.  We are to lead by example as Jesus did.

4)  People pleasing is where we do things or tasks so that others are happy, which includes things we probably shouldn’t be doing.  Pleasing your neighbor is doing something that the neighbor needs doing and sincerely helping him do it.  It’s making others stronger through your help.  These are things that make the neighbor a better person and more confident and hopefully more Godly.  The difference is the intent behind the act and the results.

5)  The big one is where Jesus gave up his life for us.  The results are eternal salvation for believers.  Everything Jesus did was for others:  healing, feeding the 5000, teaching, serving, etc.  He is our greatest example.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Selfish.  Greedy.  At times evil and corrupt.  Closed-minded.  Ultimately, miserable.  I can be very selfish.  Greedy.  Evil.  Definitely.  The difference is I fight against that with God’s and the Holy Spirit’s help and I hope I’m making progress, but oftentimes I don’t think so.

Conclusions:  I love the strong versus weak analogy.  I tend to think of myself as strong and I’m very impatient with those who aren’t.  This isn’t necessarily physical.  It’s emotional and mental as well.  This is a great reminder for me to see others with God’s grace.  I also love Paul’s reminder about unity with other Christians (BSF will explore this on Day 3).  I have drifted away from weekly church attendance (other than BSF) and I know I need a church home.  Desperately so.  Perhaps this will “kick me in the butt” to do something about it!

End Notes:  Paul says to use your strength to serve your brothers, not just yourself.  “Bear with” really means “bearing up” your brother i.e. holding him up.  This advice goes against the “me” society today.  Paul says if you build up others you will build yourself up in the process.

Paul gives the same advice in Philippians 2:3-4.  Put others first.  The goal is to make the weak strong.

We are to build each other up; not tear each other down.

Jesus is the ultimate example of one who did not please Himself, but put others first. Paul’s classic development of this idea is in Philippians 2:5-11.

Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

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

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

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

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

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 4: Romans 14:13-18

Summary of passage:  Paul repeats to stop judging others and quit putting stumbling blocks in others’ way.  If someone believes something is unclean, fine.  Let it go.  If  you are having dinner with someone and you are eating something they disapprove of, stop eating it for that meal.  Don’t be a stumbling block.  What matters is serving God and have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

9)  Stop judging others.  Don’t put stumbling blocks in others’ way or be a stumbling block.  Let things go.

10)  Jesus’s sacrifice eradicated all the old rules so now all foods are clean.  The person’s beliefs himself makes food unclean–no rules do.

11)  By not being thoughtful of the other person.  If you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic, you are causing him or her to stumble.  Be considerate of others’ struggles.

12)  “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  God’s kingdom is not concerned with petty arguments.  God is concerned with the heart.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward passage with straight-forward questions.  Rise above the pettiness!

End Notes:  Paul summarizes Chapter 14 so far:  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helped us to understand that we should not judge others according to a standard that we would not want to have applied to our self.  We still need to and have a responsibility for admonishment (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). However, when we admonish or rebuke, we do it over clear Scriptural principles, not over doubtful things. We may offer advice to others about doubtful things, but should never judge them.

We might stumble or cause our brother to fall in two ways. We can discourage or beat them down through our legalism against them, or we can do it by enticing them to sin through an unwise use of our liberty.

Our freedom from Old Testament law is good unless we use it against another brother–then it is evil.

Love is the proper way to settle disputes.

Christ died for both weak and strong Christians.  Surely, we can adjust our behavior accordingly (1 Corinthians 8:11-13; 10:23, 28-29, 32-22).

This passage is another great example of Paul’s concern for the moral and ethical dimension of the Christian life.