The road to life has a small gate and is narrow and only a few find it. The road to destruction is wide and broad and many enter.
Watch out for false prophets whom you will know by the fruit they bear. They will bear bad fruit and can only bear bad fruit. Good trees bear good fruit, and bad ones bear bad. Bad trees are cut down and thrown into the fire.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20
9a) That the path to life (heaven) is only through him and not many will find this path. John 14:6 says he is the only way to God. He is the way, the truth, the life. Acts 4:12 says salvation is found only in Jesus.
b) They want to believe the path to heaven is more complicated than that, and they want to be able to do what they want without following God’s law and still gain access to heaven.
10a) They bear bad fruit. John 15:16 says God chooses those to be with Him to bear lasting fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
b) You have to have the ability to discern those who are false prophets from those who are true; those with good hearts versus those who are bad. Judging is about ensuring you are holding yourself to the same standard when you judge others. Thus, by looking at people’s fruit/good deeds, this can help you discern the truth.
11) Be careful of smooth talkers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and others who sound/say something that is too good to be true. Pray and discern to ensure you are not being led astray.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20
Good reminder that God chooses those who go to heaven, and that you have to be wary of false prophets.
Good read on false prophets.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20
As Christians know, the path to heaven is narrow and difficult and will not be easy to traverse. Jesus is telling his disciples to prepare for future hardships.
Being aware that there are false prophets is step one. Watch out for those who motivated purely by self-interest. Do these prophets teach God’s Word, are people growing in God, and do they live out God’s teachings?
Before judging others’ fruit, judge your own. Are you bearing good or bad fruit? You are either bearing one or the other. Those who bear neither good nor bad are considered bad.
Joseph died at age 110 and lived to see the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Joseph told his brothers that God will come to take them to the Promise Land. He made them swear to carry his bones out of Egypt and take him with them. He was embalmed in Egypt.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 29, Day 5: Genesis 50:22-26
16) God will come to take them to the Promise Land.
17) Joseph never doubted God and His promises. He knew the Israelites would be taken back to the Promised Land when the time was right.
18) Both died in faith surrounded by their family. It was a long journey, but God and His ways brought them both to Him. They were both honored and embalmed, and both will be buried in the Promise Land.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 29, Day 5: Genesis 50:22-26
Great ending to a life well lived.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 29, Day 5: Genesis 50:22-26
Joseph was led and blessed by God his entire life. He was 56 when Jacob died, and none of the details of Joseph’s live is recorded in scripture. We can presume that Joseph continued to lead the people of Egypt and his family. He lived 93 of his 110 years in Egypt. He was foreigner most of his life, but he was faithful to God throughout, and was rewarded for it.
It is said that Joseph was never buried in Egypt. His bones/coffin stood as a testament to the Israelites of the future of the Promise Land. Joseph would be taken out of Egypt by Moses to the Promise Land for burial in 400 years time. (Exodus 13:19)
Some promises of God take a long time to fulfill. The book of Genesis concludes with Joseph’s death — a death that looks forward to the future.
Reuben gathered mandrakes for Leah. Rachel asked for some and Leah refused. Rachel told Leah she could sleep with Jacob then that night in exchange for mandraks. Jacob slept with Leah and she had another son named Issachar, meaning “reward.” Zebulon, meaning “honor” was born to Leah next. She also had a daughter named Dinah. God listened to Rachel and gave her a son as well named Joseph, meaning “may he add.”
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
6) We are not told this. This is speculation. As the head of the household, Jacob could end all of this mess at any point. He is weak and does not. I have no empathy for him. The kids we do not know. They are obviously impacted by their respective mother’s strained relationships, but we are not told how. Probably sibling rivalry and jealousy, but that’s common in every household tody.
7a) God listened and opened her womb.
b) God is in control and sovereign.
8 ) I learned early on to depend on God because humans in my life have let me down so often. As my husband starts a new career, we all are depending on God to help make up the shortfall in income.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
We see the desperation of both women here. Leah is still desperate for Jacob to love her, and Rachel is desperate for children. God is the only one we should be desperate for. He is our everything. In Him lies the answers to everything we seek.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
Leviticus 18:18 woudl forbide the marrying of sisters. The Israelites will finally learn here that this is not a good idea.
The mandrake (called love apple in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Bible here and in Song of Songs 7:13. It is common in Israel and often grows as a weed. It is a member of the nightshade family, which contains the tobacco plant, as well as common vegetables, such as potatoes and tomatoes. It resembles a human so it was regarded with superstition in ancient times. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to promote fertility, which is why Rachel was willing to trade time with her husband for it. While the mandrake is common in Israel, it is rare in Paddan-Aram where they lived. This shows that both women are relying on a superstitious plant to solve their problems, rather than turning to God.
We can gather from the text that Jacob had not been sleeping with Leah all that much since she accuses Rachel of stealing her husband. Rachel uses or prostitutes Jacob to get what she wants here. Both are trading sex and love, which should never be done. God is soveign though here again. He gives both women children, the one who gave the mandrake and the one who bargained for them, too.
The Bible warns of believing superstitions in our life. (Ex. 22:18; Rev. 22:15) Do you have any superstitions?
Issachar adn Zebulun are sons nine and ten for Jacob. Leah was done having children at this point.
Laban asks Jacob after a month what his wages were be (in sum, what he actually wants and why he is here). Jacob responds that he will work 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Leah was the older daughter, she is described as having weak eyes, while Rachel is lovely in form and beautiful. The time flew for Jacob so in love was he.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 3: Genesis 29:15-20
6) Apparently Jacob was working for Laban for free.
7a) It taught him patience to have what he wants, and it’s a fair price for his work.
b) Jacob could have offered to pay Laban; instead, he works for what he wants, which is the opposite today in this world of instant gratification
8a) Proverbs says God disciplines those He loves for His reasons and their good. Romans 8:28 is the famous verse of all things work for your good. James tells us that we are tested to develop perseverance. Peter tells us that grief proves our faith to be genuine and results in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus is revealed. We are filled with joy becaues of our faith.
b) Stay the course. Keep praying. Keep working. Keep following His lead despite the hardships and the setbacks.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 3: Genesis 29:15-20
I think Jacob’s mistake is not leaving as soon as he could, like Abraham’s servant did with Rebekah. It gave Laban time to plot.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 3: Genesis 29:15-20
While on the surface, Laban seems to be generous, he’s seen the good work Jacob could do and wants to see what Jacob wants in exchange for continued work.
Bible scholars debate what Leah’s eyes being weak or delicate actually mean. Does it mean she has a problem with her vision? Does it mean she has no life to them like her sister? Is it just a nice way to say she wasn’t pretty? Either way, we can guess that if Rachel is more beautiful than Leah that there was a sibling rivalry between the two.
Jacob offers to work for 7 years for Rachel as a dowry. This is over-the-top generous, which was probably his downfall. It showed how much he really wanted Rachel, which Laban would exploit next. Yet it shows his love for her. He was willing to wait. This is a long time in today’s culture and rare is this “I want it now” culture seen today. Time flew for him too.
We can surmise that Jacob and Rachel probably did not see each other much. First, in these times and culture, women did not spend time with men and were often relegated to the home, whereas the men worked the fields. Second, there were no date nights back there. Social propriety was strictly enforced to ensure no one questioned the woman’s purity. However, since both were shepherds, they could have spent some time together and got to know each other more.
Jacob is now 77 years old at this time and he kept sheep for Laban Hos. 12:12 Rachel was very young, maybe even barely marriageable age, which may be another reason Jacob wanted to wait.
Jacob awakes the next day, declaring that this place is the house of God. He poured oil on top of the stone he was sleeping on and called the place Bethel, which means House of God. Jacob vows the Lord will be his God if God is with him and watches over him and gives him food and clothes so that he can return safely home. He declares he will give God a tenth as well.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 5: Genesis 28:16-22
12) It’s as if Jacob finally realized that God is with him here. I don’t like how it seems like God will be God to Jacob only if God is with him and watches over him and gives him food and clothes so that he can return safely home. It seems like Jacob’s promise is conditional; whereas, God’s promises are not.
13) Every day.
14) Just to trust that I am where I need to be at this time in my life and doing what He wants me to do even though I’d like to be doing something else.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 5: Genesis 28:16-22
I like how Jacob has completely changed after this encounter with God. So it is for Christians, but we need to hold onto that when life does get us down.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 5: Genesis 28:16-22
Fun Fact: Bethel is mentioned more times in the Old Testament than any other place except Jerusalem.
God grasps its significance to Jacob by calling himself the God of Bethel. (Genesis 31:13).
You can translate this as “Since God is will be with me.” However, most Bible scholars believe if is accurate. Jacob is still not confident God will be with him, which is why he puts condition on God being His God. He had to see God do what he said he would before he would believe. Sadly, many are like this instead of just believing God. (Philippians 4:19) (Nahum 1:7).
Laban will help teach Jacob submission.
God did not back down from His promises despite Jacob’s response. He still is the God of Jacob (Exodus 3:6).
God’s promises were not good enough for Jacob. Are His promises good enough for you?
When Jacob stopped to sleep, he had a dream of a stairway to heaven that angels traversed. God appeared and told Jacob He would give him the land on which he was lying. His descendents will be numerous and fill the earth. All people will be blessed through him. God is with him and will watch over him no matter where he goes. God will bring him back and not leave until He has done what He has promised He will do.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 4: Genesis 28:12-15
9) When Jacob stopped to sleep, he had a dream of a stairway to heaven that angels traversed. God appeared and told Jacob He would give him the land on which he was lying. His descendents will be numerous and fill the earth. All people will be blessed through him. God is with him and will watch over him no matter where he goes. God will bring him back and not leave until He has done what He has promised He will do. John 14:6 is where Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to God except through him. Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us that we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. The stairwell is the way to heaven, namely Jesus, a descendent of Jacob’s. Jesus is the stairway.
10a) God would give him the land on which he was lying
b) His descendents will be numerous and fill the earth.
c) All people will be blessed through him
d) God is with him and will watch over him no matter where he goes. God will bring him back and not leave until He has done what He has promised He will do.
11) I love how God tells Jacob He is with him and will watch over him no matter where he goes. God will not leave him until His work has been completed. This is very comforting to know God is with you always as I still struggle to follow His will for me.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 4: Genesis 28:12-15
Love how God appears here and promises never to leave. I think He does this for us in subtle ways every day that we need to capture and hold on to when life does not go our way.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 4: Genesis 28:12-15
(John 1:51) is where we see Jesus speak of the angels going back and forth on the Son of Man. Jesus is the only way to heaven. Jacob sees access to Heaven but not yet that it is Jesus.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 3: Genesis 28:10-11
7) He was leaving his family for the first time. I’m sure he was scared. After all, travel was hard and scary in a time when no one traveled. He was leaving all he knew.
8a) Every time we’ve had to move.
b) James tells us to consider trials as joy because they produce perseverence, which then grows our faith. 1 Peter tells us to submit to rulers and masters for God’s sake. We must endure suffering as Christ suffered for us. You are blessed for suffering and doing what is right. Jesus cleansed us with his suffering and death. Pain allows us to grow in our walk with God. God can and will use our pain and suffering for His glory and for good.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 3: Genesis 28:10-11
Very short passage where we see how even when we move, God moves with us.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 18, Day 3: Genesis 28:10-11
Rebekah sends Jacob off to live with her brother, Laban, in Haran once she hears that Esau is plotting to kill him. She tells Jacob to stay until she sends for him that it’s safe to return. She then complains to Isaac about Esau’s Hittite wives and says if Jacob takes a Hittite wife, her life will not be worth living.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 5: Genesis 27:42-46
13) He would then be the only one whom God’s original promise could go through. He’d in effect have the birthright and all the wealth that entails. No one knows the consequences of this action, but it could have been severe. God might have killed Esau as retribution. No one knows, but when you go against God, you should expect the utter worse in consequences.
14a) Hebrews 12:6-11 shows that discipline is for our good so that we can grow in righteousness with God. Jacob has to work to earn Rachel as his wife. He also was tricked into marrying Leah, Rachel’s sister. That causes much pain and rift in the family. Rebekah disappears after this incidence in the Bible, skipping over her death as well, except to mention her burial place Genesis 49:29-31. Suffice it to say, with Jacob gone and her relationship with Esau strained, she probably led a very lonely life at the end of her years.
b) Things work out as God had planned them despite our bumbles. Although there may be consequences for our actions, we are to learn from them and grow in Him despite of ourselves. We turn towards God in these situations, not away from Him.
15) I’m just gonna throw this out there, but since we are all sinners, God has no choice but to use us as part of His plan if He is using humans at all. You should look at this as God using us despite our sins and flaws, and we should be privileged that He does. God uses us to teach us lessons, to grow our faith, and to draw us closer to Him. Otherwise, He could do it all Himself without the messes.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 5: Genesis 27:42-46
Because of previous actions of manipulation, Jacob must flee, most likely to never see his mother again. All because of a scheme to receive Isaac’s earthly blessing. We need to strive for God’s heavenly blessing, not earth’s.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 5: Genesis 27:42-46
We must remember that travel during ancient times is rough and takes a long time with no real paved roads and all of it mostly on foot. Thus, when Jacob leaves to Haran, odds are, he wouldn’t be back soon.
Jacob ended up staying in Haran for 20 years, marrying Leah and Rachel, Laban’s daughters. Rebekah tells Isaac that Jacob is leaving to find a wife, not to save his life from Esau. The tragedy here is that she may have died without ever seeing Jacob again (her death is not recorded in the Bible).
It seems like such a waste of time, effort, and energy to go against God. So why do all of us do it?
Esau returns, saying the same words as Jacob, asking his father to sit up, eat, and bless him. Isaac realizes he had been tricked with Esau’s arrival. Esau wants his father’s blessing, but Isaac says it is too late.
Esau is angry how Jacob tricked him into taking his birthright and his blessing. Isaac tells Esau that Jacob will be lord over him and everything and then tells him the future that he will dwell away from the earth’s riches and the dew of the heavens. He will live by the sword and serve his brother. But he will throw off his yoke. Esau plans to murder Jacob once Isaac has passed.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 4: Genesis 27:30-41
10) Esau does not respect the birthright by giving it to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:31). He marries pagan women who were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:35). Esau is angry and keeps demanding Isaac’s blessing in Genesis 27, which truly only God can give.
11a) Regret means,”feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).” You wish you had not done whatever you are regretting. Repentance means, “the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.” You look at your actions and feel regret for what you did wrong. According to Wikipedia, repetance means: Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better. In Judaism and Christianity it is often defined as an action, turning away from self-serving activities and turning to God, to walk in his ways.
b) Esau shows regret over selling his birthright and missing out on the blessing (Genesis 27:36). Isaac shows regret that he blessed Jacob instead of Esau (Genesis 27:33), but repentance when he realizes that God’s will is done (Genesis 27:37-40).
2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
12) Everything works together for my good (Romans 8:28). That God is in control. He has this; I don’t. It is as God has meant it to be.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 4: Genesis 27:30-41
Esau reacts out of anger and vows to kill Jacob instead of accepting God’s ulimate authority and will. Isaac realizes God’s will has been done, and he accepts it.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 17, Day 4: Genesis 27:30-41
Isaac’s trembling could be because he realizes that God is in control no matter what he tries to do. He also realizes he was wrong in trying to circumvent God and does not try to retract his blessing. He knows God’s will has been done and tells Esau this as well.
Esau is angry (rightfully so). However, he knows God’s words from His revelation to Rebekah, yet he fights against them. Now that he’s older, he understands that the birthright brings material advantages as well. Here, he cares about it for the first time and wants it back, blaming Jacob when God had already chosen.
Esau wept not out of a sense of wrongdoing or repentance, but out of sense of what he had lost in material wealth and privilege. (Hebrews 12:15-17) shows how Esau was rejected despite his tears and plea here.
Isaac Blesses Esau
These comforting words from Isaac about Esau’s future were not bad and could be considered a blessing. Many Bible scholars believe that “your dwelling will be away from the earth’s presence” should read “from” without the away. This means he will be a nomad, he will have to fight to live, but he won’t be under Jacob his entire life.
We’ll see later that Esau was blessed, indeed. (Genesis 33:9)
Esau was jealous of Jacob and wanted to kill him when Isaac died. Little did he know this would be decades down the road.
A famine came into the land, and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar (different guy than Abraham’s Abimelech. Remember, Abimelech is the name they give to rulers). The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to not go to Egypt but to stay here. He will bless him and give all this land to his descendants. He repeats the oath He gave to Abraham. He will bless all nations because Abraham was faithful and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars.
Isaac, however, lied who Rebekah was, saying she was his sister just like Abraham had done in Egypt out of fear of being killed. But Isaac got caught in his lie and was chastised by Abimelech who orders no one to touch or molest Isaac or Rebekah.
Isaac planted crops in the land of the Philistines, and the Lord blessed him. He became rich and had so many flocks that the Philistines became jealous so they filled all his wells with dirt. Finally, Abimelech told Isaac to move away because he had become too powerful.
So Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar and re-opened the wells. Isaac’s servants dug two new wells, but the locals quarreled over them. He dug another well that was undisputed, which showed Isaac the Lord would provide.
At Beersheba, the Lord appeared to Isaac and told him He would bless him and increase his descendants. Isaac built an altar there and called on the Lord. He also dug a well there.
Abimelech saw how Isaac continued to prosper because the Lord was with him and became afraid. So he along with his adviser and commander approached Isaac to make a treaty not to harm them. This was done. Another well was dug.
Esau married Judith and Basemath, both of whom were Hittites, and they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26
12) The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” God was protecting Isaac and his family, as well as strengthening their faith.
13) Almost exactly the same. There was a famine in the land, and instead of praying for God’s guidance, they go to local kings for help instead of the One, True King. He told the men his wife was his sister like Abraham did. Yet God blesses Isaac as well with wealth despite his lie. He got into a water dispute with the locals after Abimelech kicked him out of Philistine. He built an altar for God there. Abimelech makes a treaty with Abraham, afraid of God’s power.
14) Personal Questions. My answer: Tell them to seek God instead. That’s all you can do. Some people have to learn by experience.
15) He made a treaty with them, and he left when he was told to leave. He tried not to quarrel over wells and left them until he dug one that had no quarrel over it. Always try to compromise and avoid conflict with your neighbors.
16) To teach them lessons, to grow their faith in Him, to appreciate the good times, to grow them as humans.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26
I had not seen the close parallels of this story before. So eerily similar. It just goes to show that no matter how good of a parent you are or try to be, your kids wil do what they want to do.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26
We see here Isaac facing almost the exact same challenges that Abraham faced, and we see that Isaac responds in almost the exact same way. We’ve saw Gerar in Genesis 20:1-18). where Abraham met a different Abimelech. Isaac begins to travel to Egypt to escape the famine, but this time God stops him before he gets there. God does not want Isaac to leave the Promised Land. He promised Isaac the same things he promised Abraham:
The Promised Land
A nation to come forth
Isaac stops in Gerar but tells the same lie his father did, saying Rebekah was his sister. Isaac is caught in this lie, and chastized, just like his father was for his behavior (Genesis 12:18-19) (Genesis 20:10)
God protects Isaac and Rebekah anyways.
Isaac prospered, worrying his neighbors who then stopped up all the wells and told Isaac to leave.
Remember names in the Bible have meaning. Esek means dispute. Sitnah means opposition. Rehoboth means room. Now Isaac has room to not have disputes.
Isaac returns to Beersheba, right where God wants him.
Fun fact: This is the first time God appears to Isaac in the Bible.
We see another past play when Isaac’s neighbors approach him for peace out of the fear of God, who is with Isaac, just like we saw with Abraham. Isaac forgives Abimelech for being kicked out of his lands and makes a treaty.
Shibah means oath of seven and Beersheba means well of the oath or well of seven.
Here, Esau is briefly mentioned as he marries two women who are Canaanites which is against God’s wishes and commands. (Genesis 24:3-4).