BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139

Image result for psalm 139

Summary of Psalm 139:

David prays/sings to God, saying how God knows everything about him and where he’ll go and what he’ll say. God is everywhere, guiding him. God made David in the womb and knew what he’d do on earth. David prays for God to slay his enemies who speak evil of God’s name. He hates them for it. He prays to be tested for evil and to be lead in everything.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

3) God is omniscient. He has everything planned ahead of time and everyone’s life planned ahead of time. Darkness is as light to God. He is omnipotent.

4) David hates those who hate God. He cannot stand those who speak evil of God. He calls those who hate God his enemies. He requests for God to be in control of his destiny and all that he does. Most people today do not actively oppose God; they just dislike him. We are to love on those who don’t like God but not tolerate perpetual sin around us. We don’t have to be with unrepentant sinners; we can just pray for them. The balance comes in condoning or not condoning sin.

5) Personal Question. My answer: This Psalm reminds me how God does have my life planned out, and I merely have to be close to Him to follow it. It reminds me He knows everything and cares about knowing everything in my life. If I pray for God to lead me, He will. His will will be done in my life if I allow Him to do it.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

Reading the Psalms gives us an insight into David’s mind during this trying time in his life. We see his highs, his lows, and all his questions, doubts, and waverings as to what God is doing in his life. This gives us hope when we do the same thing. The power of prayer cannot be stated enough.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

This magnificent Psalm is titled, For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. It does not surprise us that such a significant Psalm came from David’s pen, who was “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). The Chief Musician is thought by some to be the LORD God Himself, and others suppose him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:3316:17, and 25:6).

David prayed to Yahweh, understanding that He had personal knowledge of him. Pagans often thought that their gods were hostile or indifferent to men and women; David knew the true God cared to search and know all of us.

What does God know about me?Image result for psalm 139

  • God knows me.
  • He is everywhere with me.
  • He created me.
  • God knows all my thoughts.
  • God knows all my words.
  • God knows me better than I know myself.
  • God is everywhere.
  • God knows me in the womb.
  • God sees me at all times.

As Jesus would later say, God knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30).

In the Hebrew grammar, You know (139:2) and You covered (139:13) the emphasis is on You. God is involved in everything we do.

The normal sense of a hedge in the Bible is of a protective barrier. God hedged David on every side, so that nothing could come to David unless it first passed through God’s permission. What was true for David is true for all who trust in the LORD.

The Psalmist speaks of God as a Person everywhere present in creation, yet distinct from creation. God is everywhere, but he is not everything.

God is present in Hell

David did not describe what we normally think of as hell – Gehenna (Matthew 10:2818:9), the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). The Hebrew word here is sheol, which has the sense of the grave or by implication the afterlife.

Even in hell, God will be present because there is no place where God cannot be. Yet God’s presence in hell will radiate none of His love and grace; only His righteous judgment.

“Wings of the dawn” may well refer to the spread and speed of light as it fills the morning sky from the east to the west. Light itself can not outrun God’s presence and knowledge.

Death and the grave cannot separate David from God’s love – as Paul would later write in Romans 8:38-39. In fact, God’s right hand – His hand of skill and strength – would hold David no matter what would come.

God’s constant presence with David was like a constant light in the darkness. As the pillar of cloud illuminated Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), so with God’s presence the night shines as the day.

Image result for psalm 139Skillfully wrought: “Hebrew embroidered; exquisitely composed of bones, and muscles, and sinews, and veins, and arteries, and other parts, all framed with such wonderful skill, that even heathens, upon the contemplation of all the parts of man’s body, and how excellently they were framed, both for beauty and use, have broken forth into pangs of admiration and adoration of the Creator of man, as Galen particularly did.” (Poole)

If God made us, why did He make birth defects?

The  “The root meaning of the word rendered ‘precious’ is weighty. The singer would weigh God’s thoughts towards him, and finds that they weigh down his scales.” (Maclaren)work of God in fashioning the body of the individual has made some wonder about the presence of birth defects, and what that may mean regarding God’s work. We should regard such birth defects as injuries to God’s original design, and even as a person may be injured out of the womb, so they can be injured while still in the womb and in the process of formation. Such injuries are the result of the fall and the corruption it introduced into the world, yet still the eye of faith can see the hand of God at work in what defects or injuries He would allow in His providence.

“The Lord’s writing in the book (cf. Psalm 51:1Psalm 69:28) refers to God’s knowledge and blessing of his child ‘all the days’ of his life (cf. Ephesians 2:10).

“That God should think upon us is the believer’s treasure and pleasure.” (Spurgeon)

Discovering our own sin

  • We do not hate the person; we hate the sin.
  • “It is easier to glow with indignation against evildoers than to keep oneself from doing evil. Many secret sins may hide under a cloak of zeal for the Lord.” (Maclaren)
  • We often don’t know our own evil ways. Praying for God to flush them out is powerful.

David ended this majestic psalm by declaring his destination – the way everlasting. Trusting the God of complete knowledge and constant presence would bring David to everlasting life.

“The final words could be translated ‘the ancient way’ as in Jeremiah 6:16; but the majority of translators would appear to be right in rendering them the way everlasting, in contrast to the way of the wicked, which will perish.” (Kidner)

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 2: Romans 6:12-14

Summary of passage:  Sin is not your master since you are under grace.  Offer yourselves and your bodies to God, not sin, as instruments of righteousness.

Questions:

3)  We are alive through believe in Jesus Christ.

4a)  Negative:  “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  “Do not offer parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness.”

Positive:  “Offer yourselves to God” and “offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

In this instance, lasting change has to have both:  you cannot keep your evil ways AND be instruments of God.  You have to consciously lessen the evil and increase the good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any time I sin I’m giving myself up to sin and every time I choose God I’m giving myself to Him.  This is a daily, minute occurrence with no glaring examples that come to mind.  It could be when I’m being selfish or prideful or even mean.  This could be as well when I’m compassionate, giving, and kind.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with me always and I can draw upon His power and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very, very weak.

End Notes:  This is a call by Paul to Christians to live in the freedom Jesus’s blood provides us as many are unsure.  Paul says stop yielding to the fleshly desire to sin which leads to a life of discouragement, fear, anxiety, and defeat.

We are dead to sin and alive to God.  We must refuse to let sin reign in our lives and offer ourselves to God.

The parts of our body–eyes, ears, mouth, lips, etc–must be used for good and not given in to sin.  You could think of “instruments” as weapons.  How God used David’s hands to slay Goliath.  Later, how David allowed his eyes to be used for sin when he gazed upon Bathsheba.

Once we take away the sin we must use them for something–righteousness–offered to God.

The priests in the Old Testament consecrated their bodies to God. Sacrificial blood was applied to the ear, to the thumb, and on the big toe, showing that those parts of their body (and all other parts) belonged to God and were to be used for His glory (Exodus 29:20).  The idea is the same.

We present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead. This first has the idea that all connection with the previous life – the old man – must be done away with. That life is dead and gone. Secondly, it has the idea of obligation, because we owe everything to the One who has given us new life!

“For sin shall not be your master”:  Spurgeon said that these words give us a test, a promise, and an encouragement.

1) It is a test of our claim to be Christians. Does anger have dominion over you? Does murmuring and complaining? Does covetousness have dominion over you? Does pride? Does laziness have dominion over you? If sin has dominion over us, we should seriously ask if we are really converted.

2) It is a promise of victory. It doesn’t say that “sin will not be present in us,” because that will only be fulfilled when we are resurrected in glory. But it does promise that sin will not have dominion over us because of the great work Jesus did in us when we were born again.

3) It is an encouragement for hope and strength in the battle against sin. God hasn’t condemned you under the dominion of sin – He has set you free in Jesus. This is encouragement for the Christian struggling against sin, for the new Christian, and for the backslider.

Law clearly defined God’s standard, and shows us where we fall short of it. But it cannot give the freedom from sin that grace provides. Remember that grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). Grace (not law) provides the freedom and the power to live over sin.

This shows again that a life lived truly under grace will be a righteous life.

For the Jews, their life was completely about living under the Law.  Now Paul says after Jesus we live under grace.

Paul has answered his question from Romans 6:1. Why don’t we just continue in habitual sin so grace may abound? Because when we are saved, when our sins are forgiven, and God’s grace is extended to us, we are radically changed. The old man is dead, and the new man lives.

In light of these remarkable changes, it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Jesus to be comfortable in habitual sin. A state of sin can only be temporary for the Christian. As Spurgeon is credited with saying: “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

John states the same idea in another way: Whoever abides in Him does not [habitually] sin. Whoever[habitually] sins has neither seen Him nor known Him . . . Whoever has been born of God does not[habitually] sin, for his seed remains in him; and he cannot [habitually] sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:6 and 3:9).

The changes may not come all at one time, and they may not come to each area of one’s life at the same time, but they will be there and they will be real and they will be increasing as time goes on.

You cannot sin for you love God. We are changed and free through grace.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 11, Day 2: John 7:1-13

Summary of passage:  Jesus stays in Galilee because Jews in Judea were threatening his life.  When the Feast of Tabernacles approached, Jesus was urged by his brothers to go to Judea and perform miracles there so all can see.  Jesus said his time yet has not come, and he stayed in Galilee.  Later, by himself, Jesus went secretly to the Feast where the Jews were watching for him.  Some believed; others didn’t.  However, none spoke of him for fear of the Jewish leaders.

Questions:

3a)  Because in Judea the Jews were looking for him to kill him.  The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three required days Jewish men must appear before the Lord.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’ time is the time till the cross.  He knows when it will come; whereas, his brothers do not know their time or Jesus’.  He is following God’s will for his life and not conforming to what others tell him to do.  It’s very challenging to me.  My life is packed and it only seems to get even more packed!  What’s challenging to me is continuing to do God’s will in my life throughout the busy-ness.  So I blog and work and read and take care of my family and hopefully will return to writing my novel very soon.  I try to stay focused on His work and not mine.

4a)  Some think he’s good; others think he’s evil.  Some believe in him; others don’t.  The same is today.  Some believe; some don’t.  Some half-heartedly know him but don’t accept him as the Son of God.  Others think him pure evil.  Man never changes so why would opinions of Jesus change?

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Good question!  Honestly, no one asks me.  But I would say this:  Jesus is love.  He is good.  He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way.  Belief in him is the path to salvation.  Jesus forgives.  He listens.  He guides.  He helps.  He picks you up when you fall.  He’s there in your heartaches.  He never forsakes.  He is God.

Conclusions:  I like this lesson.  Good emphasis on “not following the crowd” and giving in to peer pressure.  Jesus calmly says, “It’s not time, yet, guys.”  I loved how BSF brought out that opinions on Jesus never change throughout time.  It’s our job to trust in him and guide others to him, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands who chooses Jesus and who doesn’t.

End Notes:  John chapters 7 & 8 is where John seems to have gathered the major arguments against Jesus as Messiah and answers them here.  Strong opposition to Jesus and repeated threats on his life is recorded (7:1, 13, 19, 25, 30, 32, 44; 8:37, 40, 59).

The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyful, weeklong celebration in September or October when families camped out in temporary shelters to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness on the way from Egypt to Canaan under Moses and celebrate the end of harvest.  It was also called the festival of booths (sukkoth) or ingathering because for the full week that it lasted people lived in makeshift booths of branches and leaves (Leviticus 23:40-43) to remind themselves of how their forefathers had wandered the wilderness and lived; town-dwellers erected them in their courtyards or on their flat housetops.  It was the last of the sacred festivals under the Old Covenant instituted by God.  It began 5 days after the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:34; Deut 16:13) and lasted for 7 days.  There were more sacrifices at this feast and it marked the conclusion to the ecclesiastical year.

Yes!  Jesus had real brothers as John has already mentioned (2:12; Matthew 12:46-7).  Matthew also mentions sisters of Jesus as well (Matthew 13:55-56).

In this light, the fact Jesus said no is even more impressive.  It’s harder to say no to family than it is to strangers.

Jerusalem Jews saw themselves as better than the Galileans (just like city folk versus country folk of today).  His brothers thought in order to be proved as Messiah, he needed to prove himself to them.  His brothers were thinking of the world (becoming a public figure and what others thought of Jesus) instead of heavenly and eternal rewards.

How sad that even his brothers didn’t believe in him (Mark 3:21) until after his death (Acts 1:14).  What a missed opportunity!  I can’t imagine growing up with Jesus and not believing in him.

Jesus emphasizes timing and will.  Both matter.  Just because it’s God’s will doesn’t mean the time has come yet and vice versa.  Both must align.  Any time was right for the brothers because they were not in tune with God’s will for them.

The Greek word used here for time (kairos) means the best time to do something.

The brothers could not be hated because they are of the world.  Jesus was not.

Jesus does go the Feast but privately, not publicly like the brothers wish.  Most Jews traveled to these feasts in large caravans.  Jesus did not, not wishing to attract any attention and put his safety at risk.  His refusal is not to go at all but rather in the manner his brothers wished.

The “whispering” is often translated “complaining”.  Why?  Because we as man want Jesus to be who we want him to be (for the 1st century Jews, the overthrower of Rome).  Can you relate?

There was probably some penalty for talk of Jesus being heard.  Think Communist Russia.  The idea is to suppress talk so talk won’t gain momentum and lead to a revolution.  Quite common in ancient times for the people to fear their leaders and to fear something that would lead them to be accused of rebellion, which often led to execution.

 

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 2: Joel 1:1-2:11

Summary of passage:  Joel 1:  Joel describes an invasion of locusts and the devastation it wrecks on God’s people.  It was sent by God to turn them towards Him.  It destroyed their crops, vines, trees, fields, grain, wheat, and barley.  Joel calls for repentance and mourning and fasting before the Lord.  Turn to God since everything else is gone and there’s no where else to turn.  Call upon Him as the wild animals do.

Joel 2:  Joel says the Day of the Lord is coming and is close at hand.  On a dark day a large and mighty army led by God comes, laying waste to the land with fire and turning nations pale with fear.  The army charges, never deviating.

Questions:

3)  It is “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.  Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army (led by God–verse 11) comes…before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes…nothing escapes them….at the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale…before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.”  (All of Joel 2:2-11).

4)  Sin and a turning away from God.  Joel says for all to mourn and call out to God.  He also says the grain and drink offerings are withheld from the house of God because of this plague.  He calls for a fast and a summoning of the elders–all signs a sin has been committed.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Bankruptcy.  Depended on Him to bring us through.  He has.

Conclusions:  BSF tells us that we are studying Joel because he is speaking of the Day of the Lord. Joel is speaking of a current invasion of locusts in Chapter 1.  In Chapter 2 he turns to a general day of the Lord.

End Notes:

Joel offers a three-part message which we will study in three days:

  1.  A day of judgment (Today)
  2. A call to repentance (Lesson 11 Day 3)
  3. A future of hope (Lesson 11 Day 4)

What is the Day of the Lord?  The Day of the Lord is first mentioned in the Bible in Isaiah 2 and appears in other apocalyptic writings of the time.  The term appears again in Amos 5, here in Joel, and in Daniel 12:12.  The phrase “the day of the Lord” is used nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5) and five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). It is also alluded to in other passages (Revelation 6:17; 16:14).

In Old Testament usage, scholars think it was a common term God’s people would know and in the Old Testament the Day of the Lord is the day God would judge His people for previous sins against Him (like a locust plague here in Joel).  In Joel 2:32, we see, however, that all who do turn to God will be saved.  It has a near and a far away fulfillment.

In general, the Day of the Lord is any intervention of God in history for the purpose of judgment.  In eschatology (Joel 2:10-11), the Day of the Lord is the ultimate punishment of evil.

In the New Testament, Acts quotes Joel 2:28-32 in chapter 2.  The phrase appears again in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Revelation 6, Matthew 26, and 2 Peter 3.  These NT passages tie the Day of the Lord to the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world and fulfill God’s purpose for mankind here on earth.  It is almost exclusively used as a future fulfillment.  Scholars debate if it’s an actual “day” or if it’s a time period.

The main idea is the “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God will personally intervene in history to fulfill His plans for the world.

Background on Joel:  Joel was one of the earliest prophets.  Joel means “Jehovah is Lord”.  Scholars date this book to around 835 BC, a time in Israel’s history where there was great turmoil amongst the kings.  This was the time when Judah and Israel were split.  However, the date is debated and has been anywhere from the ninth to the third century BC.

Queen Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year (2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1).  Athaliah killed all her son’s heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped – one-year-old Josiah (2 Kings 11:3).  Her six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne (2 Kings 11:4-21).

It goes without saying that Athaliah’s reign was wicked for anyone who would kill her grandkids has problems.  Therefore, scholars best guess is that this plague of locusts came at the end of Athaliah’s reign in judgment for her wickedness.  Scholars do believe this was an actual plague despite the fact this is the only place this event is recorded in historical writings.

Little is known about the man himself.  No one knows for sure when he delivered these messages and no one even knows if he lived in Judah or Israel.

Joel 1:  We know Chapter 1 is describing Judah’s present situation due to the verbs used:  has left, have eaten.  This just happened!  And it’s so devastating he wants the people to tell their children about it for generation after generation so it is remembered.

Joel says to mourn and turn to God by fasting, calling a sacred assembly, summoning the elders to God’s house, and crying out to Him.  God tells us (the people) exactly what to do to come back to Him.  How amazing!

Remember God’s “day” is not our “day”.  Hence, scholars debate on how long this “day” will be.

Remember “Day of Lord” is judgment.  Here, it is immediate.  Ultimately, it’s Jesus’s Second Coming.

Only God can fix the people’s problems.  Everything is gone.  All that is left is God.

Disasters are wake-up calls from God to turn to Him and repent.  Nothing is accidental in God’s world.  Are you ready for just such a disaster in your life and will you call out to Him when it happens?

Joel 2:  Here Joel talks about future judgment known as the day of the Lord.  It’s dark and gloomy and black to those who are defying God as the Israelites are here.  Joel predicts an army will come but scholars believe this never happened because right after Joel’s prophecy here a Godly king named Joash (2 Kings 11:4-21) came to the throne and thus adverted judgment.

God’s army is disciplined, effective, and strong.  So should we be as His soldiers.

Joel minces no words here and the people heard.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 11, Day 2: Exodus 32:1-14

Introductory Note:  This lesson we get a little reprieve from all the reading.  Enjoy!

Summary of passage:  While Moses was up on the mountain, the people became afraid and asked Aaron to make them new gods to go before them since something probably happened to Moses on the mountain.  So Aaron took all the gold earrings from the people and made them into a golden calf as their new god.  Aaron made an altar to the calf and made sacrifices to it.  Then they had a party.

God told Moses to go down off the mountain as the people have become corrupt.  God was so angry He told Moses to leave Him be so that He could destroy them and find a new people.  Moses pleaded for the people, saying the Egyptians would only gloat if God killed them.  Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and to make their descendants as numerous as the stars.  So God relented and did not destroy the people.

Questions:

3a)  Simple:  They were afraid and impatient.  They thought God had abandoned them and they wanted a god to go before them on their journey.  They were afraid Moses was dead on the mountain and they didn’t want to wait around any longer.

b)  Moses had left Aaron in charge while he was away (Exodus 24:14) so when the people asked Aaron to make a god, Aaron supported the idea and helped them.  Imagine what would have happened if Aaron had faith in God and had told the people they were idiots and to have faith and patience:  no golden calf would have been made.  This would be a completely different story.

Aaron HIMSELF made the golden calf.  Imagine his pride when the people bowed down to it.  Even though it wasn’t Aaron’s idea to make an image, he did it.  Imagine if he had refused to cast it.  Then what?  Maybe he would have faced stoning but death is better than betrayal.

As if this wasn’t enough, Aaron was the one who made the altar and declared a party.  It was his responsibility to lead the people and he failed—miserably.  He facilitated the sins of the people.  He is most to blame here.

c)  Gold that the Egyptians had given the Israelites when they left Egypt.

4a)  Anything put above God is an idol so spouse, money, fame, kids, sex, material items, pets, etc.  God gives us all of these things (His gifts) and we misuse them when they are more important to us than God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That everyone is tempted so you are not alone and that God has provided a way out when you are tempted.  I will ask God to remind me that He is first and nothing is more important than Him and to show me idols in my life that I may not recognize as such.

5a)  First, He called the people “your people”, meaning Moses’s people have become corrupt.  They have been quick to turn away from God’s commands and made an idol to worship.  They are stiff-necked.

b)  God offered Moses himself to be made into a great nation instead of His people.

c)  God brought them up out of Egypt and that the Egyptians would see God as evil and that God had planned to rescue His people only to destroy them.  Also, Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to make them into a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars in a Promised Land.

d)  “The Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.”

Conclusions:  Man, were the people lucky they had Moses to plead for them.  God reacted like most of us do when we see a sin or a wrong-doing:  with rage and with quick action.  Offers me some small comfort for my temper!  Only when God was reminded of His promises did He relent.  Great example of thinking before reacting!

It was only 40 days and 40 nights Moses was gone (not quite 6 weeks–Exodus 24:18) and the people were so impatient they acted rashly.  And Aaron didn’t help!  Here’s a guy who first-handed performed miracles with his staff and saw God (Exodus 24:9-10) and yet he doubted.  Hard to believe.  Yet, we see the power of crowd mentality once again here (see my article on what killed Jesus HERE) in action as I’m sure Aaron had all of Israel pleading to help them and he appeased them.  All failed God’s test.  Tragic!

End Notes:  This calf was probably small (only a few inches high) lifted onto a pedestal for the people to see.  It was not huge like depicted in the movies.

Some translations say Moses was “delayed”.  This was a test for the people and their faith which we failed.  This is a lesson for us:  how do we handle God’s delays in our life?  Do we fall into sin like the Israelites here or do we grow in our faith and strength in Him?

The not knowing drove the people to act.  How many times have we acted in the midst of our fear of the unknown?

Scholars say calf is not the best translation here:  it is meant to be a bull in the prime of its life–full of strength and vigor.

Aaron was a follower, not a leader.  He was weak.

Aaron still remembered the Lord here (verse 5) but God was not sufficient; they needed an image to worship.

Note how the people rose early to worship the calf.  Most people only get up early if they have to–work–or if it’s something important to them.  What do you rise early to do?  Is it to worship God first thing in the morning or do your BSF homework or read God’s Word?  You all know I post these things very early in the morning.  It’s important for me to meet God early in my day or I will fall into sin.  I also get up early to exercise, write books, read books, and have “me” time.  I also have “me and God” time.  Consider how you spend your early mornings and ask God how He wants you to spend yours.

Revelry here is sexual revelry.

God is disowning His people by calling them Moses’s people.  He wanted to start over with Moses.

“Stiff-necked” was a common phrase in Biblical times that refers to ox that won’t move.  It references stubbornness in man.

Moses pleaded with the Lord for mercy, grace, His glory, and His promises and goodness.

God knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people.  He was developing Moses and His heart for the people as He does often in us.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 2: Matthew 9:35-10:4

Summary of passage:  After healing the blind and mute, Jesus then continued his ministry, preaching the good news and healing people all through his travels.  He had compassion on the throngs of people and realized he needed help so he told the disciples to pray for this.

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick.  The 12 disciples are:  Simon/Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James and Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.

Questions:

3a)  Because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

b)  Psalm 23:1-3:  God provides all that we need.  He restores us and guides us in righteousness.

Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24-25:  God takes away our iniquity for Himself, forgiven our sins, and allowed us to live for righteousness with Him.

Jeremiah 50:6,17:  Shepherds have led God’s people astray and Assyria and Babylon have devoured them. God will punish them for this and restore His people (read verses 18-20)

Ezekiel 34:5-16:  The Lord will be the people’s shepherd, searching for them and looking after them, rescue them and gather them and bring them unto their own land.  God will feed them and tend them, heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring back the lost.  He will be just.  God will punish the selfish shepherds who have disregarded His flock.  They will be punished and held accountable for their actions.

John 10:11-15:  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  He brings other sheep that are not his to him as well.  He lays down his life for the sake of his sheep.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This would be everyone who does not know and accept Jesus. It’s hard to say amongst acquaintances if this is the case but I do have family members that don’t know Jesus.  I would say the best bet is to have compassion on everyone just like Jesus did.  That way, you’ll never lose.

4a)  “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We are to pray for God to send out evangelists for Him.

b)  “Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are all given a purpose from God in life and I believe we follow Him when we act on this purpose.  For me, I try to follow His call.  I feel I have a lot of calls on my life at the moment so it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which to focus on.  So I pray a lot and listen and go with what I feel is Him and what is most important to Him.

Conclusions:  Important follow up to why Jesus heals:  not because he has to prove anything but because he feels our needs and desires and heals for our sake, not his.  Most of us are not gifted to heal others physically but we can show compassion to all and pray for healing, for God to perform a miracle.  For He hears.

End Notes:  God as shepherd is a favorite image that spoke to an agricultural society such as God’s people in ancient times.  We see this imagery from Jacob in Genesis 48:15 all the way to Revelation 7:17 and all in-between.

The religious leaders of that time were poor shepherds like Ezekiel described.  They were selfish, only caring for themselves, neglecting the flock, especially those injured, diseased, sick, or lost.  They plundered the people for their own gain and for that they will pay.

Jesus has come to set things right and be the caring shepherd the people desperately need.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 2: Genesis 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan).  God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him.  He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.

Questions:

3)  Country, people, relatives (father’s household) so family.  Basically, everything

4a)  Matthew 4:18-22:  Peter and Andrew left their livelihood (fishing) and James and John left their boat and father (livelihood and family) to follow Jesus when he called. Called to stop whatever you are doing.

Matthew 8:22:  Jesus told one disciple to “let the dead bury their dead”, meaning let the other family members who were not alive in Christ bury his father (verse 21) who just died.

I take this not as callousness of attending a funeral but that Jesus had to attend to the living.  He had more important work for the disciple to do than funeral arrangements that someone else in the family could handle.

Mark 8:34-36:  “He must deny himself, take up the cross, and follow me….loses his life for me.”  You no longer live for yourself but for Jesus.  Deny your desires and embrace His.  Surrender yourself to Christ.

The meaning of cross bearing today is a bit different from Jesus’s time.  If you bore a cross in 1st century AD, you were sentenced to death.  You were dying and there was no going back.  Today it has softened to meaning bearing something irritating like “grin and bear it.”

Jesus meant there is no going back.  Surrender your life COMPLETELY to him.  Not just put up with Jesus.

Luke 14:26-33:  Must “give up everything he has” in order to follow Jesus.  Jesus must come before family members.  Allow nothing to come between us and God.  Even good things such as family.  We must abandon all striving after our own interests–die to self. Be like Jesus.  Not like our sinful self.

1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:15-17:  God chose us so we must declare the praises of him to others.  We must do the will of God in our lives and forsake everything in and of the world which will inevitably pass away.

Conclusions:  This lesson reminds me that everything has a cost in this world; nothing is free.  The same with following Jesus.  Once accepted, we are called to more.  Sinful living is no longer acceptable.  Jesus demands a lot from us:  total commitment to him! For he gave himself for us.

God’s will must be first above all else and anyone else.  It’s what He desires for your life not what you desire.  If it’s not for Him, it’s meaningless.  We must yield completely to Him and surrender all self-interest in order to follow Him.  We must think of ourselves as dead, yield our life completely, and place it in God’s hands.

Only then can we live.