BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20

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Summary 1 Samuel 20:

David leaves Samuel at Naioth and goes to Ramah to see Jonathan. David asks Jonathan why his father is trying to kill him. Jonathan didn’t know his father was trying to kill David again and offers his help. David devises a test to see if Saul still wants to kill him or not: Jonathan is to go to a dinner David is supposed to show up to during the New Moon festival. If Saul loses his temper when he finds out David has fled, then it is not safe to return. If Saul is indifferent, then it is safe to return.

David makes Jonathan re-swear his oath because he is afraid Jonathan will lead him into a trap and tell him the wrong thing. Jonathan will go to David’s hiding place and shoot 3 arrows. He will tell his boy to say different things, one meaning it is safe, one meaning David must flee.

When David doesn’t appear at the festival, Saul gets angry and accuses Jonathan of siding with David over him. Saul was so angry he hurled his spear at Jonathan to try and kill him as well. Jonathan then went to where David was hiding and gave the signal for him to flee. They wept and kissed and David fled, while Jonathan returned to the town.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20:

10) Jonathan has a great heart who believes the best in people. He puts his own life at risk to save his best friend, David. He doesn’t believe his father is capable of hurting David, even though he’s seen his father throw a spear at David. He thinks he can convince his father he’s wrong. Jonathan trusts in the Lord as shown when he single-handedly took on the Philistines. I like how he does believe the best in people, even when it’s obvious they are evil inside.

11) Jonathan knows right from wrong. He knows David is innocent and had done nothing to deserve death, yet Saul is bent on it. It angers Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:34), and he’s ashamed of how his father is acting. His own father even hurled his spear at him to try to kill him (1 Samuel 20:33). Jonathan seems to understand that David is the chosen king. He sees this in all the blessings God has heaped upon him in his victories against the Philistines and protections from Saul. He also understands David is doing God’s will; whereas, his own father is not.

As we’ll see, Jonathan knows David will be king, and he’s fine with being number 2 (1 Samuel 23:17).

12) Personal Question. My answer: True friendship is sacrificial. When you’re willing to sacrifice for the other person (time, help, money, etc), then you are true friends. And you stand with the friend who does right, not wrong. They loved each other deeply and were willing to do anything for the other — even risk their own life. This is true friendship.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20:

We see God at work in friendships as well and what a true friendship looks like. This is important in this day and age when people have thousands of “friends” on social media — relationships that aren’t real. Sacrificial love these days are rare and pretty much exclusive to immediate family members. This is definitely inspiring!

See this great summary video of the book of 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 20:

Here, we see a heart-to-heart with best friends. We just saw the Spirit of God protect David in Naioth. David could have simply stayed there for however long it took Saul to give up or die. However, David needed to know if there was still a chance to reconcile with Saul.

David needed to know where Jonathan stood. Jonathan reassured David of his love, telling him he had no idea of the attempted arrest. He warned him of Saul’s intentions.

David is discouraged, but Jonathan reassures him — the hallmark of a true friendship.

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David tests Saul

David comes up with a test to see where Saul’s heart lies. At a feast, David asks Jonathan to observe his father’s reaction, which will tell where Saul’s heart is. Since Jonathan is next in line for the throne and Saul’s son, David is unsure. Jonathan, however, is not.

Jonathan agrees to warn David of his father’s attitude and intentions

In those days when one royal house replaced another, it was common for the new royal house to kill all the potential rulers from the old royal house. Jonathan knew that one day David and his descendants would rule over Israel, and he wanted a promise that David and his descendants will not kill his descendants.

Jonathan and David agreed to care for one another. Jonathan agreed to care for David in the face of Saul’s threat, and David agreed to care for Jonathan and his family in the future. David fulfilled this promise to Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1-8 and 21:7).

Jonathan would use arrows as a sign of Saul’s heart.

The test is put into play

Ceremonial uncleanliness might cause a person to miss a feast such as this, but ceremonial uncleanliness only lasted a day (Leviticus 22:3-7). So when David’s place was empty the next day, Saul demanded an explanation.

Speaking of David derisively as ‘the son of Jesse,’ accentuated his lowly birth and place in the royal family.

Jonathan covered for David, trying to give Saul a plausible (and truthful) explanation for David’s absence.

Saul’s response said it all as Saul would ignore his previous oath not to kill David  (1 Samuel 19:6)

Jonathan knew what was right before the Lord — and this wasn’t right.

Lesson from 1 Samuel 20

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The weeping is because both men knew they might never see each other again. In fact, Jonathan only sees David once more shortly before he is killed. A sad part of life sometimes how we don’t see loved ones again.

Why does God put David on such a path in life?

  • David needed to depend on God and God alone. Nothing does this more than solitude and persecution — especially unwarranted
  • God wanted to grow David and often uses bleak roads to do so — think Job, Joseph, Paul, and even Jesus
  • God needed to be David’s defense and promoter
  • God must alone be the authority in David’s life

Redpath: “A throne is God’s purpose for you; a cross is God’s path for you; faith is God’s plan for you.”

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 4: Romans 7:14-20

Summary of passage:  Sin makes man do what he does not what to do–evil things.

Questions:

8 )  Paul is unspiritual because he is corrupted by sin.  All believers have the seeds of rebellion in their hearts.  The law is holy because it has its origin in God.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is man’s nature and the struggle to overcome that is only won through Jesus’s death and the Holy Spirit within fighting daily.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Lose my temper too much.  Help others more.

Conclusions:  Again, I feel like so much is here and BSF does a poor job of pulling it out with these personal questions.

End Notes:  “I am” suggests Paul is describing the personal Christian experience here (see YESTERDAY for in depth on this analysis).

“Unspiritual” is usually translated as carnal.   Carnal uses the ancient Greek word sarkikos, which means, “characterized by the flesh.” In this context it speaks of the person who can and should do differently but does not. Paul sees this carnality in himself, and knows that the law, though it is spiritual, has no answer for his carnal nature.

“Sold as a slave to sin.”  Very, very strong description that many refuse to accept it as descriptive of a Christian.  However, it may graphically point out the failure even of Christians to meet the radical, ethical, and moral demands of the gospel.  It also shows the persistent nature of sin.

Paul is in bondage under sin and the law can’t help him.  The law can only help if he is innocent, but Paul knows that he’s guilty and that the law argues against him, not for him.

Paul is not saying how we hold no responsibility and sin is to blame for our actions.  No.  He’s merely pointing out how great control sin has over our lives.

You can be carnal and still be a Christian.  It’s the awareness of our fallen nature, our acknowledgment and hatred of it in ourselves, which leads to praising and loving God.

Paul describes in verses 15-19 his feeling of helplessness.  He wants to do what is right and indeed knows what is right but under his own power he cannot.  The law gives us no power to keep them; it merely tells us what is right and wrong.

This paradox of recognizing we are sinners, owning our sin, and repenting of it comes from the law and not from our Christian nature.

What is the law anyways?  To most of Paul’s audience, the word law stands for the huge collection of rules and rituals detailed in the Old Testament.  Whenever he starts talking about “the new covenant” or “freedom in Christ”, his Jewish listeners want to know what he things about Moses’ law.  Does God still require obedience?  That’s what all of chapter 7 discusses.

Thanks to his years as a Pharisee, Paul knows Moses’ law well. This chapter, the most personal and autobiographical in Romans, reveals Paul’s thoughts on this issue.

When the Law is Helpful:  Paul never recommends discarding the law.  He sees it reveals a basic code of morality, an expression of behavior that pleases God.  The law is good for one thing:  exposing sin.  Rules such as the Ten Commandments are helpful, healthful, and good.

When the Law is Helpless:  The law has one major problem:  After proving how bad you are, it doesn’t make you any better.  Paul’s conscience is very sensitive from his legalism days.  This makes him feel guilty.  This law that shows us our failures cannot provide the power to overcome them.  The law or any set of rules leads to death.

Romans 7 shows the struggle when an imperfect person commits himself to a perfect God.  How can I ever get rid of my nagging sins?  The invisible sins (lust, anger, coveting) can be just as toxic as the outward sins (stealing, adultery, murder).  In the face of God’s standards, all of us feel helpless and that is precisely Paul’s point and confession.  No set of rules can break the terrible cycle of guilt and failure.  We need outside help and Chapter 8 brings it!  Hint:  The Holy Spirit!

We will be spending 3 weeks studying Chapter 8–hope!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 4: John 8:31-59

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains to the Jews that sinners are a slave to sin.  Only the Son can set them free.  The Jews insisted they were Abraham’s children; however, Jesus tells them if they were, they wouldn’t be rejecting him right now and they would love him.  Instead, their father is the devil who is a murderer and a liar.  If they belonged to God, they would hear what God says.

The Jews wonder if Jesus is a demon-possessed Samaritan.  Jesus rebukes them again, saying he is the way to eternal life.  Again, the Jews do not understand his words and say Abraham died and so did the prophets so how can he live.  Jesus says he was in existence before Abraham.  The Jews attempted to stone him, but he slipped away.

Questions:

9a)  Freedom from sin.  By holding to his teachings and knowing the truth (he is God’s Son).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Freedom from sin.  Freedom from guilt.  Freedom to fail and be forgiven.

10a)  Abraham.  The devil.  God is the ultimate Father, which the Jews say as well; however, their actions and words and deeds (trying to stone Jesus and not believing him) show they are of the devil and sinners.  Furthermore, remember the Jews are all descended from Abraham, which guarantees them eternal life (before Jesus).  Now that Jesus is on the scene he’s the only way to heaven, be it Gentile or Jew.  Jesus is speaking of spiritual father here.  If God were their spiritual father, they wouldn’t reject him.  They do; so they are of this world and the devil.  Huge difference between God’s children and the devil’s.

b)  When the devil lied to Eve about the tree of knowledge.  We are all born sinners and under sin until we accept Jesus as our Savior and his blood cleanses us completely of sin.  Some scholars say the first sin was the killing of Abel but most would argue for Eve’s initiation of sin into this world.

c)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By accepting Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins.  I was lucky:  I was chosen from early childhood to be a believer.  I don’t worry much.  I trust in Him.  I live my life.  I follow His voice.  It’s not been easy, but it’s easier day by day.

Conclusions:  Long passage which my summary condenses.  Jesus basically says those who believed themselves to be saved based solely on their heritage are not and are actually of the devil.  He calls them out, points out how he is in fact God, and they try to kill him for it–a heart act from the devil.  Freedom from sin is found only in Christ.  The alternative is the devil.  End of story.

End Notes:  Many did believe in Jesus so he is speaking to those who have the beginnings of faith but still have doubts.

Abide (hold to my teaching) means welcoming it, being at home with it, and living it.  When you do this, THEN you will be Jesus’ disciple and you will know the TRUTH and be set free.

The religious leaders don’t even consider Jesus’ words and ask more on how to be free.  Despite the facts the Jews have been in bondage on and off for 2000 years and Rome now controlled them, they say they are free already–because of Abraham.

“Sin” in this passage indicates habitual sin.  There is no escape from slavery to sin since it is within.

They are physically Abraham’s descendants but not spiritually.  Jesus knows their hearts and the Word (him) has no place there for him.

Again, they question where Jesus came from.  Jesus says bluntly, “You cannot love God or call him your Father without loving me and accepting me.”  It’s impossible.  The Jews found it incredibly hard to wrap their minds around the idea of the Trinity as we do today.

The ability to hear God’s word is a gift none of us should take for granted.

Instead, the leaders are spiritual children of the devil, indicated by their desire to kill him.  The devil lies.  They rejected Jesus because he spoke the Truth.

Jesus asks them to name one sin of his.  They cannot.  Instead, they just called him names!  They had nothing left to accuse him of and with each word of Jesus’ more and more believe him instead of them!

Jesus tells all the secret:  Accept the Word and receive eternal life!  Again, blasphemy from anyone but God’s Son.  Keep here mean continue and abide in it.

“See” is an intense word in Greek meaning long, steady vision.

Once more trying to trap Jesus, they try to get him to say something offensive by asking him again who he is.

Jesus again says he knows God and claims he is greater than Abraham who also acknowledged this fact.

Fifty was the age a priest retired.  The Jews are merely saying you are too young to have known/seen Abraham.

Jesus responds with the 3rd “I Am” statement (John 8:24, 8:28).  The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which is  the same term used in to describe the Voice from the burning bush.  Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus’ listeners (John 8:58-59).  I AM was recognized by the Jews as a title of deity.

Finally, the religious leaders understood as demonstrated by the stones.  They knew he was claiming to be God.  They saw it as blasphemy.  These stones would have been in the temple as it was still being constructed in some areas.  Jesus escaped, probably mixing himself with the people in the temple but he could have vanished miraculously.  We are not told.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 4: Revelation 6:9-11

Summary of passage:  When Jesus opened the fifth seal, John saw those who had been slain because of their faith.  They asked God how much longer until He judges the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.  They were given a white robe and told to wait until those who would die for their faith had been completed.

Questions:

9a)  Those who had been killed because of their faith and they wanted to know how much longer until God judged the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s not really something I desire.  I know God will do it, so I don’t worry about it or give it much thought.  I’d much rather focus on His work for me than His judgment on others.  It’s between them and God anyways.  I’m sure I’d feel different if some travesty occurred against me or my family, but it hasn’t.

10a)  To wait until the rest who would die for their faith had joined them.  God is waiting for all to come to Him in repentance before final judgment.  He is patient beyond words.

b)  Righteousness and salvation before God.

11a)  We are called to suffer since Jesus suffered.  Paul says in Romans to rejoice in our sufferings for suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.  We are blessed in suffering and it’s better to suffer for doing good than evil says Peter.  Suffering is a privilege and a way to participate in God’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-16) so rejoice in it.  We should commit to God and continue to do good (1 Peter 5:19).  After suffering in this life, we will be restored and made strong, firm and steadfast.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God listens; God answers.  God is full of grace, holy and true, and sovereign over all.  I trust in Him that He has a purpose I cannot see and He will pull me through.  For God is in control.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and persecution as a Christian is part of our life and our calling.  Encourage those in the midst of suffering with the grace of God, of His omniscient will, and His power to turn suffering into good.

Conclusions:  Good transition into suffering since John is talking about Christian martyrs.  Excellent!

I am amazed at my Bible knowledge and I don’t mean that in any pompous way.  When I think back to when I first started BSF five years ago, I had no clue where any of the books of the Bible were, which were in the New Testament and the Old Testament, and what they contained.  Now, when I’m asked a question here by BSF I often know the answer without looking it up.

I am telling you all this as an encouragement to those new to the Bible or still seeking Jesus.  Keep coming to class.  Keep doing your homework.  Keep attending lectures as much as possible.  Keep seeking Him.  Even if you feel inadequate and hopeless hang in there.  You will be rewarded.  By a greater knowledge of Him and His word and a greater heart for Jesus and His people.

Nothing in this world is free and nothing in this world is gained without hard work.  Knowing God is hard work.  Is there any other work more important?

End Notes:  “Under the altar” channels Leviticus 4:7; 17:11 and emphasizes their blood sacrifice for God.

“Testimony” comes from the Greek word martyria, meaning “witness.”  Since Christians were often killed for being faithful witnesses of the testimony Christ had given them, they came to be called martyrs.  These are the true believers in God being persecuted as Jesus warned would happen (Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-18; Matthew 24:9; John 16:2).

Crying out for vengeance is asking God to do what He promises to do which is administer justice.  People in the Bible have been doing this for ages (Genesis 4:10; Numbers 35:33; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 47:6; Zechariah 1:12; Luke 18:1-8).  David asked this question repeatedly (Psalm 13:1; 35:17; 74:9; 79:5; 80:4; 89:46).  “My soul is in anguish.  How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3).  Habakkuk asked: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2).

This is a call for judgment on the world, a necessary step for righteousness.

White we know is a symbol or purity, faithfulness, blessedness, and victory.  It is also a picture of the redeemed and justified (Revelation 7:11-14).

More are going to die for God.  In the first century, the persecutors are mainly the Jews, the synagogue of Satan.  Later, it will be the Romans.  Today it is extremist Islam and non-believers.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 4: Exodus 34:1-9

Summary of passage:  God gives Moses another set of identical tablets that Moses broke in his anger at seeing the golden calf.  Moses chiseled out the tablets and went up on Mount Sinai so that God could re-engrave them.  Here, God proclaimed His name to Moses in a cloud, saying He is compassionate and gracious and loving but punishes the guilty.  Moses bowed down and once again asked for the Lord’s forgiveness of the people.

Questions:

8 )  God knew the importance of having written laws for the people’s sake so graciously made another set once Moses broke the first set.  He forgave the people their sin and continued on with His plans for them.

9a)  Compassionate:  Inspires me to be more compassionate as God is/was

Gracious:  Inspires me to extend grace to those who don’t deserve it

Slow to anger:  Inspires me to exercise more self-control

Abounding in love:  Inspires me to open up more and love more

Abounding in faithfulness:  Inspires me to keep my word and be more faithful to Him

Maintaining love to thousands:  Inspires me to care for others

Forgiving wickness:  Inspires me to forgive the evils of this world and those done to me

Forgiving rebellions:  Inspires me to forgive myself when I rebel inside

Forgiving sin: Inspires me to forgive myself of my sins and forgive others sins.

Punishes the guilty:  Inspires me to let things go for I know God is the mete of justice.

b)  Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped and asked for forgiveness and for God’s presence.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s goodness and faithfulness and grace.

Conclusions:  Liked the questions.  Not for sure they went deep enough.

End Notes:  This description of God became the cornerstone for the Jews as the most profound statement  of God’s nature.

As Christians, knowing God as Moses knew God–His character–should be our highest striving.

Fun Fact:  Exodus 34:6-7 is the most alluded to passage in the Old Testament.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 12, Day 4: Matthew 12:1-21

Summary of passage:  On the Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through grainfields and his disciples began to eat some of the grain.  The Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the law for “doing work” on the Sabbath.  Jesus chastised the Pharisees again, saying if you truly understood the Bible, then you would know of David who broke bread in the temple and how priests do it all the time and are not condemned and how you are to show mercy instead of condemnation.  Besides, Jesus says, one greater than the temple is here now, the Son of Man.

Jesus proceeded to the synagogue where the Pharisees malevolently asked Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  Jesus says it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, saying how they would rescue an animal on the Sabbath if it needed to be.  Jesus healed the man but the Pharisees still plotted against him.

Jesus continues to heal, warning them not to tell who he was.  This fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 where Isaiah calls Jesus a servant who will proclaim justice and bring victory to the nations.

Questions:

9a)  No because the law reads you are not to do any work on the Sabbath but you still must eat and technically the disciples were merely gathering in food for immediate consumption.  No where does the law read, “You must starve on the Sabbath because it’s work to chew your food.”  No!  It was not work to eat.

b)  Jesus uses the example of David and his men who had no food to eat and thus ate consecrated bread given to him by the priest.  Consecrated bread was bread reserved for the priests only to eat.  Yet the priests themselves are allowed to desecrate the day and are forgiven because the priests perform work on the Sabbath related to celebrating the Sabbath such as sacrifices, etc.  Jesus is suggesting here that the law is more important than survival.  Point of fact, the picking of grain on the Sabbath was forbidden by the Pharisees NOT by the law.

Secondly, Jesus basically says God is in their midst and he can do whatever he wants for he is Lord of the Sabbath.  He accuses the Pharisees of caring more about the law than people instead of being merciful when faced with sacrifice.

NOTE:  Jesus never violated God’s law of rest on the Sabbath.  Jesus violated man’s addition to the law.  At this time, the Pharisees had regulated practically everything on the Sabbath and had extensive lists of what a Jew could or couldn’t do.  Here, Jesus is pointing out the absurdity of some of these additions to God’s law.

c)  Jesus says it is more important to do good than to uphold laws for the Sabbath.  Taking care of sheep or people when they are in need is more important than what day of the week it is.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus does not care what others think of him or even of the danger to his own life.  He does good to the people, following God’s will and way for humankind.  Jesus is a servant whom God delights in and who will bring justice and hope to all peacefully.

It encourages me to serve more; to bring hope to others.  To follow God’s way despite what society thinks.  To go outside the norm and do what’s right in my heart.  To please God, not others.  To question rules and regulations if they are at the cost of sympathy for others.

Conclusions:  This shows the importance again of compassion on our fellow man versus following the laws of society to a T.  You can extend this idea to even following protocol or society norms and standards.  Young people would say doing what is “not cool”.  Bucking the trend.  Not following the crowd.  Pick your adage, it’s all the same idea.  Following our hearts is more important than what others may think of us.

I am surprised that BSF did not have us look up Deuteronomy 23:25 where the law does allow those who are traveling or otherwise hungry to pick grain to eat.  If you remember the story of Ruth, she gleaned the grain purposely left behind for widows and orphans and those otherwise unable to survive without the “leftovers.”  It was Jewish culture to provide for those hungry.

I found it fascinating how the disciples themselves were hungry.  How Jesus just didn’t perform a miracle when he needed one.  How following Jesus is never easy, even when you are walking beside him!

End Note:  Funny how the Pharisees seem to be stalking Jesus on the Sabbath!  Surely that is a violation of some law!

Note as we go along how we see the level of hostility towards Jesus and/or his disciples by the Pharisees and their supporters increase.

Note how Jesus himself went to synagogue.  He is showing us by example how important it is to attend public worship or church on Sundays.

The Pharisees are looking to trap Jesus with the withered hand man.  They know he will heal the man.  They have faith in Jesus’ compassion to do so.  Faith many of us might lack.  Ironic, right?

The Pharisees are so furious with Jesus (Luke 6:11) that they begin to plot to murder him.  Here is a man so unlike them, bucking the trends and threatening their way of life, that they are plotting to kill him (a sin itself in violation of God’s laws).  Yet, as we’ve seen, the laws apparently don’t apply to them.  Sound familiar in today’s land?

The Isaiah passage speaks to Jesus’ gentleness and his healings speak to Jesus’ overwhelming compassion on those of faith.  Imagine a huge crowd, all around Jesus, and all needing help.  Jesus is never overwhelmed or resentful or angry.  He is compassionate–something we all need to be in the face of need.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 4: Genesis 13:14-18

Summary of passage:  The Lord told Abram He was giving him and his offspring all the land Abram could see forever.  God will make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the dust on the earth.  God told Abram to walk his land.  So Abram moved his tents and settled near Hebron where he built an altar to the Lord.

Questions:

8a)  Lot chose the best, greenest, most fertile land for himself.

b)  Abram stayed in Canaan which had been overgrazed.

c)  Not everything is as it seems.  Matthew 6 says you need to be concentrating on storing up treasures in heaven and not treasures on earth (or having the best) for where you treasure is lies your heart.  Matthew 10 says its about following Jesus and sacrificing all for him.  Matthew 19 reminds us its about giving and not receiving to earn treasures in heaven.  Luke reminds us the earth is not our home.

9)  Abram got all the land he could see forever plus his offspring would inherit it and his offspring would be numerous as dust.  Lot’s was probably temporary and subject to takeovers.

10a)  Matthew 19:29:  “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5.  My favorite is Matthew 5:10:  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 6:22-23:  “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”

b)  Our greatest blessing is having our sins forgiven and promised an eternal life with God.  What we give up seems paltry next to Jesus’s sacrifice especially in the 21st century.  When I read the Bible, God’s commandments in essence are simple. He asks nothing impossible of us.  Yet we fail repeatedly.  Overcoming our sinful nature is where the battle is but with training and practice we can all become better.

God does not ask us to give up much it seems.  To just be a good person.  Do what Jesus would do.  Hard?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.

Conclusions:  For Question 8 I had to go back to Genesis 13:10.  I believe our sacrifices for Jesus are small compared to his.  We must remember this world is not our home and if we keep that in the forefront of our minds when we are tempted by our eyes then we should be alright.

Myself, though, I’m jaded anyways.  I don’t believe half of what I see anyways.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably is, as the saying goes.

Yet so many get caught in the materialistic trap.  Just look at Black Friday.  I don’t leave the house on that day.  It’s not about the latest gadget.  It’s about the fact you are able to purchase the latest gadget through God’s provision.  So many lose sight of that.

Everything is God’s.  It is just on loan to us.