BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 & Psalm 36

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Summary Psalm 23:

David praises the Lord for his faithfulness. David wants nothing. God restores his soul; God guides him; God takes away his fear; God comforts him; God gives him an abundant life. Goodness and love will follow him, and he will dwell with God forever.

Summary Psalm 36:

The wicked do not fear God. They do not know they sin. The plot evil, do wrong, and follow a sinful course. God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice is unfailing. Men find refuge in God’s wings. In God’s light we see His love. God overcomes all evildoers.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 and 36:

13) “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me…surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” All of these. Guiding my life. Restoring me when I’m empty inside. Granting me rest when I am weary. Leading me on the path of righteousness. Dwelling with him forever. Love is with me every day.

14) Personal Question. My answer: David about sums it up perfectly. Most unbelievers don’t know they sin and don’t care. They plot evil, have no moral compass, and don’t fear God. But God will overcome. Sin does breed sin and perpetuates and is ignored.

15) Personal Question. My answer: David knows God overcomes all and is in control. His love is bountiful, and He grants us abundance. We will have hardships, but He is our shepherd, guiding us to Him. It’s good to know God is in charge and to rely on Him completely when the hardships come.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 and Psalm 36:

With arguably the most famous Psalm in the Bible as out study, BSF doesn’t dive into it enough. So much comfort, goodness, and wonder woven in Psalm 23. Please see End Notes for complete discussion of David’s heart and beauty in this amazing Psalm.

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 5 : Psalm 23 & 36:

Commentary Psalm 23:

This beloved Psalm bears the simple title, A Psalm of David. Scholars believe this psalm is a remembrance of David’s youth when he was a shepherd. Spurgeon wrote, “I like to recall the fact that this Psalm was written by David, probably when he was a king. He had been a shepherd, and he was not ashamed of his former occupation.”

This famous psalm has been the last words of thousands before they left this side of heaven.

Where is the Lord a shepherd in the Bible?

  • A shepherd to Moses, the Stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24).
  • In Psalm 28:9 David invited the LORD to shepherd the people of Israel, and to bear them up forever.
  • Psalm 80:1 the LORD as the Shepherd of Israel, who would lead Joseph like a flock.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:11 speaks of the words of the wise, which are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.
  • Isaiah 40:11 tells us that the LORD will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm.
  • Micah 7:14 invites the LORD to Shepherd Your people with Your staff… As in days of old.
  •  Zechariah 13:7 speaks of the Messiah as the Shepherd who will be struck, and the sheep scattered (quoted in Matthew 26:31).
  • John 10:11 and 10:14 Jesus clearly spoke of Himself as the good shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep and who can say, “I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
  • Hebrews 13:20 speaks of Jesus as that great Shepherd of the sheep
  • 1 Peter 2:25 calls Jesus the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls
  • 1 Peter 5:4 calls Jesus the Chief Shepherd

Ancient Middle Eastern cultures thought of their kings as shepherds as well.

The idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was precious to early Christians. One of the more common motifs in catacomb paintings is Jesus as a shepherd with a lamb carried across His shoulders.

It’s remarkable that the LORD would call Himself our shepherd. “In Israel, as in other ancient societies, a shepherd’s work was considered the lowest of all works. If a family needed a shepherd, it was always the youngest son, like David, who got this unpleasant assignment.” (Boice)

“David uses the most comprehensive and intimate metaphor yet encountered in the Psalms, preferring usually the more distant ‘king’ or ‘deliverer’, or the impersonal ‘rock’, ‘shield’, etc.; whereas the shepherd lives with his flock and is everything to it: guide, physician and protector.” (Kidner)

“A sheep is an object of property, not a wild animal; its owner sets great store by it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did, that we belong to the Lord. There is a noble tone of confidence about this sentence. There is no ‘if’ nor ‘but,‘ nor even ‘I hope so;’ but he says, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’” (Spurgeon)

“The sweetest word of the whole is that monosyllable, ‘My.‘ He does not say, ‘The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as his flock,’ but ‘The Lord is my shepherd;’ if he be a Shepherd to no one else, he is a Shepherd to me; he cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me.” (Spurgeon)

The idea behind God’s role as shepherd is a loving care and concern. David found comfort and security in the thought that God cared for him like a shepherd cares for his sheep.Image result for psalm 23

David felt that he needed a shepherd. The heart of this Psalm doesn’t connect with the self-sufficient. But those who acutely sense their need – the poor in spirit Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3) – find great comfort in the idea that God can be a shepherd to them in a personal sense.

“A sheep, saith Aristotle, is a foolish and sluggish creature… aptest of anything to wander, though it feel no want, and unablest to return… a sheep can make no shift to save itself from tempests or inundation; there it stands and will perish, if not driven away by the shepherd.” (Trapp)

“I shall not want”

  • “All my needs are supplied by the LORD, my shepherd.”
  • “I decide to not desire more than what the LORD, my shepherd, gives.

Sheep don’t always know what it needs and what is best for itself, and so needs the help from the shepherd.

Sheep lie down (rest) only when it is without fear, friction, flies, and famine.

Restores may picture the rescue of a lost one. “It may picture the straying sheep brought back, as in Isaiah 49:5, or perhaps Psalm 60:1 (Hebrew 60:3), which use the same verb, whose intransitive sense is often ‘repent’ or ‘be converted’ (egHosea 14:1f.; Joel 2:12).” (Kidner)

“In Hebrew the words ‘restores my soul’ can mean ‘brings me to repentance’ (or conversion).” (Boice)

The shepherd would guide the sheep to what he needed.

The valley of the shadow of death

  • A valley is a low point — not the exhilaration of a mountaintop
  • Death — the ultimate end
  • Shadow — not death itself but the lurking evil in his path

David walks through the shadow of death; it is not his destination or dwelling place. In fact, it is only the Lord’s presence that makes this bearable.

We face only the shadow of death because Jesus took death itself for us.

Those facing death have been comforted, strengthened, and warmed by the thought that the LORD will shepherd them through the valley of the shadow of death.

Light must exist in order to cast a shadow. God as light is casting the shadow; all we do is walk through it to Him

Evil still lurks, but we do not fear it for the shepherd is with us. It is at this moment that the “He” of Psalm 23:1-3 changes to “You.” The LORD as Shepherd is now in the first person.

The rod and staff

The rod and the staff were instruments used by a shepherd. The idea is a sturdy walking stick, which was used to gently guide the sheep and to protect them from potential predators.

There is some debate among commentators as to if David had the idea of two separate instruments (the rod and the staff), or one instrument used two ways. The Hebrew word for rod (shaybet) here seems to simply mean “a stick” with a variety of applications. The Hebrew word for staff (mishaynaw) seems to speak of “a support” in the sense of a walking stick.

Kidner notes: “The rod (a cudgel worn at the belt) and staff (to walk with, and to round up the flock) were the shepherd’s weapon and implement: the former for defence (cf1 Samuel 17:35), and the latter for control – since discipline is security.”

Maclaren writes: “The rod and the staff seem to be two names for one instrument, which was used both to beat off predatory animals and to direct the sheep.”

Either way you look at it, the rod and staff was a comfort to David, knowing God guided him and corrected him.

The significance of the table

  • Table is bounty
  • Prepare is foresight and care
  • Before me is personal attention
  • Presence of enemies is always overcoming obstacles

Image result for psalm 23“Here the second allegory begins. A magnificent banquet is provided by a most liberal and benevolent host; who has not only the bounty to feed me, but power to protect me; and, though surrounded by enemies, I sit down to this table with confidence, knowing that I shall feast in perfect security.” (Clarke)

In the Old Testament world, to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty, and could be the culminated token of a covenant.

Mercy is the covenant-word rendered ‘steadfast love’ elsewhere. Together with goodness it suggests the steady kindness and support that one can count on in the family or between firm friends.” (Kidner)

Commentary Psalm 36:

This Psalm is titled, To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. Psalm 18 is the only other Psalm that uses the phrase “the servant of the LORD” in the title. Bible scholar Trapp observed that Psalm 18 comes from David’s old age and Psalm 36 from a younger David. From youth to old age, David was the servant of the LORD and “He took more pleasure in the names of duty than of dignity.” (Trapp)

An oracle of transgression could mean David were divinely taught by the sins of others or it’s the voice within a sinner.

We see “oracle of the Lord” in Genesis 22:16 and “oracle of David” in 2 Samuel 23:11.

It is likely that Paul had this Psalm in mind as he composed the opening chapters of his great letter since he quotes verse 1 in Romans 3:18.

The wicked thinks of himself much more highly than he should both in regard to his sins (his iniquity) and his prejudices (hates). Flattery can be us thinking we are more than we actually are; it doesn’t have to come from others.

How does one flatter himself with regards to sin?

Matthew Poole elaborates:

  • Sins “are not sins, which a mind bribed by passion and interest can easily believe.”
  • Sins “are but small and venial sins.”
  • Sins “will be excused, if not justified by honest intentions, or by outward professions and exercise of religion, or by some good actions, wherewith he thinks to make some compensation for them or some other way.”

“The phrase ‘on his bed’ is parallel with ‘on the way’. The ungodly considers evil both in his lying down and in his walking.” (VanGemeren)

Sin is found in what we don’t do as well as in what we do.

The translation of mercy here is inconsistent for the same Hebrew word hesed is translated as loving kindness is both Psalm 36:7 and 36:10. This wonderful word speaks of God’s love and mercy, but especially to His covenant people.

David can only describe these attributes of God with the biggest things he can think of – the heavens, the clouds that fill the sky, the great mountains, and the great deep of the sea.

“The word precious establishes the change from the immense to the intimate and personal.” (Kidner)

Loving kindness in verse 5 1s too great to grasp and in verse 7 is too good to let slip. (Kidner)

What does shadow of Your wings mean?

Bible commentators see the shadow of Your wings 2 ways:

  1. The wings of the cherubim that are over the throne of God and represented in His tabernacle and temple, including the ark of the covenant, the very representation of His throne.
  2. Like a mother hen covering her young chicks under her wings to protect, hide, and shelter them.

We saw this in Ruth with Boaz (Ruth 2:12), and when Jesus was speaking of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37).

I’m inclined to think both.

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The word fullness here is literally fatness. “The fattest is esteemed the fairest and the most excellent food; therefore the saint was enjoined to offer the fat in sacrifice under the law. As God expects the best from us, so he gives the best to us.” (Swinnock, cited in Spurgeon)

The fullness (abundance) of your house is will one of our great joys in heaven when we come to our Father’s house. With unmeasured satisfaction we will have the right to roam heaven and say, “Is this ours? And is this ours?” and say it unto eternity.

River of delight/pleasures: “Possibly a reference to Eden may be intended in the selection of the word for ‘pleasures,’ which is a cognate with that name.” (Maclaren)

What does “in your light we see light” mean?

We see light twice: light discovering and light being discovered and enjoyed.

Light is invisible by itself. Everything is invisible until light strikes it. So it is with God: we can’t see Him, but “in his light” (under his loving influence), we see and understand His love in all that surrounds us. God’s overwhelming generosity stands in complete contrast to the self-important plotting of wicked humans.

John wrote in the opening words of his Gospel: He was the true Light which gives light to every man (John 1:9). “It is hard to doubt that John was thinking of Psalm 36:9 as he composed the prelude.” (Boice)

“The Hebrew is, draw forth, or draw out thy lovingkindness: a metaphor either taken from vessels of wine, which being set abroach once, yield not only one cup, but many cups; so when God setteth abroach the wine of his mercy, he will not fill your cup once, but twice and seven times” (Greenhill, cited in Spurgeon).

Unlike the righteous who may fall seven times yet rise up again (Proverbs 24:16), the workers of iniquity remain in the dust as God protects His servants.

‘They are struck down,’ (thrown down) is the same word as in the picture of the pursuing angel of the Lord in Psalm 35.” (Maclaren)

THERE: Some scholars think it refers to the pride mentioned in the previous verse, others to the place where the workers of iniquity practiced their sin.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 5: Romans 7:21-25

Summary of passage:  Man’s nature cannot help but sin (a war between the mind and the body/flesh) and be a slave to sin.  But through Jesus Christ we are rescued from sin’s power.

Questions:

11)  He’s very distressed.  He feels powerless (“wretched”), desperate, and overwhelmed like we all do at times at his inability to overcome sin.  He probably feels tired from the constant battle of mind and flesh.  We should feel the same: crying out against our self and unto God.

12a)  Jesus is the answer.

b)  As we’ve discussed in depth this week, the law pushes us to sin more as it’s our desire to break rules.  Jesus is the only one who has the power to overcome our nature.  Otherwise, under our own power, we are helpless to live in sin.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is always in my life and I feel like all my prayers to overcome sin are desperate.  I perpetually pray to have less of a temper and to soften my words towards others when flippant, indifferent answers arise.  The prayer is simple:  Jesus, give me your power to overcome sin.  I need you.  Come and fill me and let the Holy Spirit lead the way–not me.  I can do all things THROUGH you alone.

Conclusions:  The answers to these questions are done in 5 minutes.  The in-depth study I do afterwards is hours long.  This chapter is packed with our need for Jesus.  Please take the time to dwell on what Paul is saying and to not feel helpless and overwhelmed when you sin–for as Paul states we will sin because of our nature.  Rely on Christ.  Rely on Christ.  Rely on Christ.

End Notes:  We never know how hard it is to stop sinning until we try.  C.S Lewis said, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good.”

The real self (inner self) is the one who delights in God’s law.  The impulse towards sin is a different law.

The old man is not the real Paul; the old man is dead. The flesh is not the real Paul; the flesh is destined to pass away and be resurrected. The new man is the real Paul; now Paul’s challenge is to live like God has made him.

Again, here’s the debate:  Was Paul a Christian during the experience he writes about here?  Some look at his struggle with sin and believe that it must have been before he was born again. Others believe that he is just a Christian struggling with sin. In a sense this is an irrelevant question, for this is the struggle of anyone who tries to obey God in their own strength. This experience of struggle and defeat is something that a Christian may experience, but something that a non-Christian can only experience.

Morris quoting Griffith Thomas: “The one point of the passages is that it describes a man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts and is beaten back every time by the power of indwelling sin; it thus refers to anyone, regenerate or unregenerate.”

Sin wins when you try to win the battle yourself.

The ancient Greek word wretched is more literally, “wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor.” Paul is completely worn out and wretched because of his unsuccessful effort to please God under the principle of Law.

Note how the great saints always speak of how bad they are, not how good.

Fun Fact:  Paul has referred to himself 40 times since Romans 7:13. In the pit of his unsuccessful struggle against sin, Paul became entirely self-focused and self-obsessed. This is the place of any believer living under law, who looks to self and personal performance rather than looking first to Jesus.

The words “Who will deliver me” show that Paul has given up on himself, and asks “Who will deliver me?” instead of “How will I deliver myself?”

“Body of death” is figurative for body of sin (6:6; 8:10) that hung on Paul like a corpse and from which he could not gain freedom.

Some commentators see a reference to ancient kings who tormented their prisoners by shackling them to decomposing corpses. Paul longed to be free from the wretched body of death clinging to him.

“It was the custom of ancient tyrants, when they wished to put men to the most fearful punishments, to tie a dead body to them, placing the two back to back; and there was the living man, with a dead body closely strapped to him, rotting, putrid, corrupting, and this he must drag with him wherever he went. Now, this is just what the Christian has to do. He has within him the new life; he has a living and undying principle, which the Holy Spirit has put within him, but he feels that everyday he has to drag about with him this dead body, this body of death, a thing as loathsome, as hideous, as abominable to his new life, as a dead stinking carcass would be to a living man.” (Spurgeon)

“Through” means that Paul sees Jesus standing between himself and God, bridging the gap and providing the way to God.”Lord” means Paul has put Jesus in the right place – as Lord and master of his life.

The last half of verse 25 is the summary of verses 13-24.  “I myself” is the real self–the inner being that delights in God’s law (vs 22).  “Slave to law of sin” is how Christians must reckon with the enslaving power of their sinful nature as long as they live–until “the redemption of our bodies” (vs 8:23).

Jesus does not take away the struggle; he only provides the victory over sin, hate, death, and all evil as we surrender our lives to Jesus and let Him live out victory through us.

Paul shows that even though the law is glorious and good, it can’t save us – and we need a Savior. Paul never found any peace, any praising God until he looked outside of himself and beyond the law to his Savior, Jesus Christ.

The law taught us what to do, encouraged us, and told us sin was our problem.  But it couldn’t save us–only Jesus can.  He is the answer!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 5: John 8:48-59 with Exodus 3:12-15

Summary of passages:  John 8:48-59:  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.

Exodus 3:12-15:  This is the scene of God talking to Moses in the Burning Bush.  God tells Moses to worship Him on this mountain.  God says His name is “I am who I am”.  I am has sent him.  This is His name forever.

Questions:

11a)  John 8:51:  Jesus tells all the secret: Accept the Word and receive eternal life!

b)  John 8:56:  Jesus says Abraham has acknowledged that Jesus is greater than he.

12a)  Every Jew knew the name of God”  Yahweh or “I am”.  By Jesus calling himself this, he declares he is God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  Jesus is God and accepting him grants me access to the Father for all of eternity and guides my decisions and plans God has for my life.

Conclusions:  Just a break down of Day 4 a bit more and reading the passage where “I am” came from.

End Notes:  John 8:48-59:  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.

Exodus 3:12-15:  God asserts how he will be with Moses and the sign is the burning bush and how one day all will worship Him on Mount Sinai.  Moses needed proof of his encounter with God so he asks him what he should tell the elders is his name.  God says “I am who I am.”  There is no equal. God is God.  This is the name by which God wished to be known and worshipped in Israel.  It’s the name that expresses his character as the dependable and faithful God who desires the full trust of his people.

This was not a new name for God.  The people knew it.  It’s recorded over 160 times in the book of Genesis.  It’s a call back to the patriarchs.

History of the word Jehovah:  In the English-speaking world, the pious Jews of later years did not want to pronounce the name of God out of reverence and thought it too holy to utter and feared violating Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 24:16, so they left the vowels out of His name and simply said the word Lord (adonai) instead. If the vowels of the word adonai are put over the consonants for YHWH, you can get the name “Jehovah.” All this came about much later; in the days of the Bible, the name was pronounced Yah-weh or Yah-veh although the proper pronunciation today may be different.

Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God and is not Jehovah.  It means “He is” or “He will be” and is the third-person form of the verb translated “I will be.”  When God speaks of himself, He says “I am”.  When we speak of him, we say “He is.”

I am.  God has always existed and always been.  He simply is.  God is completely independent.  He relies on nothing for life or existence (Isaiah 40:28-29; John 5:26). This is aseity (we talked about it in Lesson 7 Day 4), meaning  God doesn’t need anybody or anything – life is in Himself.

God is eternal and unchanging.  There is no past or future tense in the Divine Vocabulary.

God is “the becoming one”; God becomes whatever is lacking in our time of need.  The name I Am invites us to fill in the blank to meet our need – when we are in darkness, Jesus says I am the light; when we are hungry, He says I am the bread of life, when we are defenseless, He says I am the Good Shepherd. God is the becoming one, becoming what we need.

God’s name is both an announcement and an introduction. It announces God’s presence, and invites any interested to know Him by experience, to taste and see that the Lord is good.

I Am: This is a divine title that Jesus took upon Himself often, clearly identifying Himself with the voice from the burning bush.

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am [He], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am [He], and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58)

Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I Am (John 13:19)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I Am [He].” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am [He],” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:4-6)

Interesting Trend in the Bible:  The first word had to come to the people of God (Exodus 3:16) and then to the world (Exodus 3:18).  Often God will not speak to the wider world until He speaks to His people and He has their attention.  First the Jews, then the Gentiles.

This is My name forever: God refers to the name mentioned in the same verse, the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim). “Forever” emphasizes the eternal faithfulness of God to His covenant.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 5: Revelation 6:12-17

Summary of passage:  When Jesus opened the sixth seal, an earthquake happened, the sun turned black, the moon red, the stars fell out of the sky, the sky receded, and every mountain and island moved.  Everyone hid and asked the rocks to hide them from God and Jesus.

Questions:

12a)  Exodus 19:18:  “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire.  The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently.”  Both have earthquakes.

Isaiah 34:4: “All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall.”  Both times the stars fall out of the sky and the sky recedes like a scroll, rolling up.

Jeremiah 4:23-26:  The earth was empty and the light was gone from the heavens.  The mountains trembled and the hills swayed.  Everything was gone.  Both have earthquakes and no light in the heavens without stars.  Every landform was either moved around or trembled.

Joel 2:30-31:  Blood, fire, and billows of smoke will appear in the heavens.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood.  Both have the sun blackened and the moon red.

Zechariah 14:3-5:  The Mount of Olives will be split in two.  Both have mountains moving.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There will be clear physical signs when God/judgment comes.

13a)  Caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  God’s refuge.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  God is our refuge and strength and He is with us in our troubles.  We are not to fear for God controls all.  God.

14)  Personal question.  My answer:  Again, God is in control.  It is for our good.  Jesus has arrived to fulfill God’s promises to His people and judge nations.

Conclusions:  Started out strong and then petered out.  Good point about people taking refuge in the wrong place.  How true is that for you?

End Notes:  God’s wrath has come loud and clear here.  Some scholars say this passage is describing judgment on Jerusalem as seen in Isaiah 2:19-21 and Hosea 10:7-8.  Jesus spoke of this in Luke 23:26-31 and Matthew 24:29.  The first century Christians would have been familiar with these descriptions.  What Jesus once said on earth he now says from heaven.  However, all the earth is to observe and learn from Jerusalem’s judgment.  It makes sense to say judgment starts with Jerusalem and then spreads to the rest of the world from there; hence, all are judged and need to take heed.

Some scholars say the earthquake itself causes the sun to turn black (dust and dirt) and sun to turn red (volcanic eruptions).  Earthquakes are results of divine visitation (Exodus 19:18; Isaiah 2:19).  Stars falling is like meteors hitting the earth.

One thing is clear:  celestial disturbances in the bible signal the coming of the Messiah.  Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah and Jesus Himself all describe similar natural phenomena occurring.

These images were rampant in apocalyptic writings of the time.  The members of the seven churches of Asia hearing these words would have grasped the meaning immediately.

Sinners dread most God’s face not death.

These 6 seals is a description of the judgment that will occur before the Great Tribulation and the coming of Jesus Christ.  The first seal is the Antichrist and the seventh seal will be God (Revelation 8).

Fun Fact:  This is the only time “the wrath of the Lamb” is used in Revelation, referring to the calamities that will come.  The first century Christians still see God as the harbinger of wrath.  They have yet to fully grasp the meaning of Jesus.  Most have probably not heard the New Testament writings.

The wrath of God, or God’s holy response to unrepented sin is a huge theme in the Bible and Revelation has much to say about it. (6:17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15)  The people have experienced God’s wrath in the past.  His wrath is present (Romans 1:18) and future as well.  The Old Testament prophesises it as well (Zephaniah 1:14-18)

Are the seal judgment conditions right before the Great Tribulation or general conditions occurring over a span of time?  Opinions differ and either could be true.  We see these events happening now with war and famine.  However, these will intensify closer to the time of the Tribulation.

Conclusions to Lesson 12:  “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  This is actually a quote from Malachi 3:2.   Answer: Well, in Revelation 6 it seems no one can stand amidst God’s wrath, judgment we all deserve.  But the true answer:  Believers justified through the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus bore our wrath with God and paid the price for us.  Unbelievers will face His judgment alone.  We will see the white robes more fully explained in Chapter 7 of Revelation and see those who will be standing (those with God) when God’s wrath strikes in Revelation 7.

This concludes the judgments known as the seal judgments which occur when Jesus opens the seals.  Two more waves of judgment are coming, each worse than the previous.  Great connections made here with other parts of the Bible.  Overall, I think we all left this week with a greater understanding of the judgments to come.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 5: Exodus 34:10-35

Summary of passage:  God renews the covenant with Moses and His people, repeating the same stipulations as before, promising to make them into an amazing people as long as they obey His commands and not make treaties with neighboring peoples or worship any other god.  Don’t intermarry either because the foreigners will only lead you astray.

God reminds them to make no idols, observe His feasts of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Ingathering and give Him the firstborn.  Observe the Sabbath.  Moses stayed on Mount Sinai another 40 days and nights without eating or drinking and he wrote down God’s commands on the tablets.

Moses descended Mount Sinai and his face was radiant from speaking with God.  The people were afraid at first but then Moses veiled his face except when speaking with the Lord.  He would relay the commands of God and his radiant face proved he had spoken to God.

Questions:

10a)  The people had just been told God would not accompany them and had been threatened to be killed by God.  To know they were back in God’s favor would renew their faith in Him and His grace.

b)  God said He is making a covenant with the people and He would do wonders never before done in all the world so the people whom they live among will know He is God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope in my faith, my giving, my living out His commands and following Him, my prayers, my good deeds, and my love for Him and all.

11a)  God, being the One, True God must guard this position.  He must preserve His honor and supremacy.  And as the One, True God He demands of His people exclusive worship and devotion.  Hence, He is jealous when Israel turned from Him with the golden calf.

God wants everyone to obey Him.  He wants the best for us.  He wants to protect what is precious to Him (us).  God is jealous because He is sovereign over all.  He has to protect that which is His (us and Israel in the Old Testament).  Note God is jealous when the people are worshipping other idols because then they are not His.  God wants us completely and when He doesn’t have it, He is jealous.

This all comes down to the meaning of the word “jealous”.  God’s jealous is different than what we normally think of as “jealous”.  Hence, it confuses us.  In essence, God is jealous when someone gives to another what rightly belongs to Him.  In the case of the Israelites, their worship.  [See End Notes for wonderful links on this topic].

b)  To reassure the people who have just sinned against Him and almost paid the ultimate price. Obviously, the people need a reminder of just who God is and what He desires from them.  They aren’t understanding yet how they are His treasure.  He is trying to get them to understand their uniqueness and reveal in that and in Him.

12a)  This is a ‘DUH!’ question.  He was with God.  Anything is possible with God.  God sustained Moses.  He is enough.

b)  His face was radiant because he had spoken with God and some of God’s glory had been passed on to Moses.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  These are always hard ones because it is those around us who notice the changes more so than we do because the changes are usually so subtle every day that we absorb them and they go unnoticed.  It’s only when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while that the changes are noticeable.  It’s like when you lose weight and someone comments on it even though you never noticed it (this has happened to me a bunch of times in my life).

Anyways, this question is hard because we rely on others who sometimes don’t tell us when they notice changes in us for whatever reasons.  Honestly, none.  I haven’t heard anything from others.  No one has commented.  So it makes me wonder if I have changed or I’m still the same hard-hearted, selfish, conceited person.

Conclusions:  Loved the jealousy question as we as Christians need to understand why God is jealous and get the “envy” definition out of our minds in order to understand God more fully.  This is one of the hardest attributes of God to grasp and I am still trying to grasp it–how the Almighty Lord could so love me that He is jealous of me.  It is my prayer to have this penetrate deep into my soul.

The 2 Corinthians passage made it seem like Moses’ veil was a selfish thing because the glory faded.  I see it as for the people’s benefit who were afraid of Moses’s radiance.  Furthermore, because the glory faded, the people might begin to believe that the Lord faded from Moses as well and be afraid that God had abandoned them.  The veil was for the people; not for Moses.

Also, note how Moses’s shining face reflects the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant wasn’t powerful enough to give glory forever.  Only the New Covenant.  Hence, we can shine for all of eternity.

The personal questions are the same:  how do people see God in you?  Great question but unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to it.

End Notes:  We must remember that the covenant is all for God’s glory and Israel was the nation God chose to receive His blessing and grace.

Everything spoken here by God is repetition from before:  same laws, same stipulations, same requirements, same blessings.

Three times a year Israelites are to appear before God are Pentecost, Passover, and the Feast of the Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14-17).

Leaven or yeast frequently represents sin in the Bible.  Hence, it is outlawed here with the blood sacrifice.

No one in the Bible has ever gone 40 days or nights without water except in this instance.  Great illustration of how we are to live on the Word of God alone.

The remarkable thing about Moses’s face shining is that he had no clue he shone.  He was humble, not a bit of pride or superiority to be found.  Awesome!

Great reads on a jealous God:  https://bible.org/seriespage/jealous-god

http://www.gotquestions.org/jealous-God.html

Fun Fact:  Only two men in the Bible have faces that shone:  Moses and Stephen (Acts 6:15).

Cool Mistranslation Fact:  The verb “shone” in Hebrew has two meanings:  “shot forth light” and “having horns”. Hence, when monks first began to translate the Bible into Latin in the Middle Ages, Moses was thought to have horns so you often see depicted Moses with horns on his head in medieval paintings and drawings.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 12, Day 5: Matthew 12:22-50

Summary of passage:  Again, Jesus was brought a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute and Jesus healed him.  The people were astonished and wondered if this was the Son of David.  The Pharisees said no, it was Beelzebub.  Jesus said why would the devil drive out demons?  It just doesn’t make sense because a city divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus says if you are not with him then you are against him but every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven as long as it is against men but if it is against the Spirit, it will not be forgiven.

A good tree bears good fruit.  A bad tree bears bad fruit.  Evil cannot say good.  The mouth speaks what is in the heart and you will have to give account on judgment day of every word you have spoken.

The Pharisees ask for a sign to which Jesus responds harshly, saying none of you have repented and you are worse than Nineveh who repented after Jonah was swallowed by the whale.  This generation is more wicked.

Jesus explains that whoever does the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.

Questions:

11a)  It demonstrated his supernatural healing powers and that he is the Son of Man (or God) and it showed his compassion on people.  It also showed how Jesus is more powerful than demons (or the devil).

b)  Beelzebub is the prince of demons or the devil and the house is the human body or soul.  Basically, Jesus says here he has the power to bind Satan and steal his house (us) back from him and claim us for his kingdom.

12)  Because the Spirit indwells inside Christians and does not allow you to speak ill of the Spirit.  The Spirit will guide you into truth and can speak only what he hears.  You have the Spirit when you believe in Jesus.  Thus, if you believe in Jesus, if you desire and seek him, you cannot blasphemy the Holy Spirit.  It is just impossible.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My words sometimes reveal anger, bitterness, lack of compassion, selfishness, pride, ignorance, hurt, condescension, and a judgmental attitude.  Sometimes it reveals love, compassion, sacrifice, honor, goodness, righteousness, a desire to do God’s will, contentment, and happiness.  I will pray for more of the latter and an ability to recognize the evil BEFORE it spews forth and replace it with kindness, gentleness, peacefulness, patience, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, love, and joy (the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23).

14a)  Their intentions were wicked and adulterous.  They weren’t going to change their minds and believe in Jesus no matter what he did.  They were merely trying to trap him so they could execute him.

b)  The sign of the prophet Jonah and it points to how the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (before Jesus rose from the dead).  Jesus is using an analogy here.  Jonah died (was swallowed) for others sins but was resurrected (coughed up so to speak) after three days.  When the people saw this, they repented.  Jesus is saying he is the sign and the same will happen to him.

c)  If you rid yourself of evil but replace it with nothing, then you invite even more evil in.  You need to throw evil out of your life and then replace it with God and the Holy Spirit so that you become better and not worse in the future.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says whoever does God’s will is his brother, sister, and mother.  Basically, we are adopted into Jesus’ family as believers and if we do God’s will, we get to live with Him forever.  Thus, I am Jesus’ sister.  Pretty cool!

Conclusions:  Some challenging passages here which I did my best to explain as we answered questions on them.  BSF did a great job in covering this passage.  The one thing I would emphasize more is Jesus’ words “He who is not with me is against me.”  If you do not work for Jesus, then you work against him.  This would be any other religion or even those passive in life.  This is black and white, something a lot of people don’t like to hear.  Either you accept Jesus and do his will or you don’t and then you are doing Satan’s will.  That’s the bottom line that many do not want to hear because they think they are doing good in this world.  The fact is Satan is in control of you unless you have the Holy Spirit to drive him away.

My favorite part is how the heart is shown in your words.  That’s one of my favorite passages from Paul’s writings (Ephesians 4:29; 5:19) and it’s an area I struggle with.

End Notes:  Here we see Jesus calling the Pharisees brood of vipers again (verse 34), basically calling them the sons of Satan.  Especially in ancient times the serpent was associated with evil because of its role in the Fall so that is why Jesus calls them vipers, associating them with Satan, which the Jewish people would immediately understand.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 12, Day 5: Genesis 13:14-18

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ONE AND ALL!!!

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:

11a)  Read this question carefully.  According to Webster’s Dictionary, appropriate by definition means “to take exclusive possession of, annex; to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use; to take or make use of without authority or right.”

In this passage, God requires Abram to go and walk through the length and breadth of the land in order to appreciate God’s gift and to realize the immensity of God’s gift and promises.  God wants Abram to embrace His gifts and promises, to take possession of them like you would a home you just bought, and to make use of them.  God is granting Abram the right to make use of the land and His promises even though Abram has no right to it.  Make sense?

For us, figuratively, God wants us to explore his land, which is His word today, and embrace His promises–by FAITH.

b)  God promises us the world as long as we follow Him and we do not turn away from his law.  God gives Joshua the Promised land and tells him no one will be able to stand against him and He will never forsake him.  Success depends on obeying the law.  God will be with you wherever you go.

12)  Romans 14:10-12:  Because our actions could affect others coming to Christ.  Paul says to stop passing judgment on others for we will all give an account to God for our actions.  Verse 13 is the crux:  “not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

2 Corinthians 5:9-10:  We must make it our goal to please God for we will all be judged and we will receive what is due us for the things done in the body while her on earth.

1 John 2:28:  We must continue in him (obey his commands) so that we may be confident and unashamed for our actions when Christ comes again.

Conclusions:  The verses in questions 12 I think emphasize the “me”.  I emphasized how it affects others.  True, we must please God and do what is right because we will be judged and our rewards in heaven is determined by our deeds here on earth.  But more importantly is how once you are a Christian people look at you differently.  You represent Christ here on earth and we must be especially careful because others are watching and what we say and do could determine whether or not they come to him or not.

My soul is saved.  Saving others souls’ should be the priority.  And that I believe will earn you greater rewards than just being good.  For their is no nobler a cause.  And naturally, through the goal of saving others, flows forth righteousness, love, and compassion–eternal rewards–God will give.

End Note:  Be careful of the verb appropriate here.  It’s got a tricky definition and I don’t think it means God doesn’t have the right to give the land.  For on earth it can mean taking someone’s property without permission.  Since it is all God’s He can do whatever He wants.  Still, the verb is not sitting well with me in this instance for it does have a negative connotation.  And nothing God does is.

Man seems to think it’s all “mine”.  Look at the Middle East right now.  Fighting again over the land–a gift from God.  Man has forgotten it is all God’s.

I think one of the biggest criticisms unbelievers say about God is this:  that He just forced the people already living in the Promised Land out and took it from them.  Unbelievers just don’t grasp the truth it was and is God’s to begin with and He can do whatever He wants.

Therefore, appropriate is a word man uses when someone takes land.  But here, I believe, it’s land for God’s purposes to be achieved.  Only man can twist the meaning.

Day 6, Question 13:  I normally don’t answer or post these but I couldn’t resist this one.  I was just on a BLOG where there were insanely beautiful pictures of bighorn sheep.  These creatures were magnificent, God’s creations, the epitome of beauty.

I think God’s order to walk the land is an order to appreciate the beauty and the miraculousness of life on earth–the only planet in our galaxy where life exists.  To truly understand God’s gift, Abram needed to see the entire land He had promised him.

We can “walk the land” in the same way.  Literally would be nice but in this day and age we don’t have to.  You can see the images others take and stand in awe of Him–like I was with these photos.

I would encourage you to appreciate God’s beauty around us.  For in all His Creations, is Him.  And we will get to know God the more we get to know His creations–the animals, plants, seas, mountains, and man–the more we embrace His Creations, the more we “take possession of” His Creations.  This is my prayer.