BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34

Image result for psalm 34

Summary 1 Samuel 21:

David, now on the run, goes to Nob to the priest Ahimelech, asking for bread. He lies to obtain it since all the priestsImage result for 1 samuel 21 had was consecrated bread, which is bread reserved for the priests. But David is desperate. He is given the sword he killed Goliath with by the priest as well. One of Saul’s servants saw David at the priest’s place (which would later cost the priest his life).

David, desperate, flees to Achish, king of Gaul, who has heard of David. David pretends to be insane in order to stay.

Summary Psalm 34:

Written when David was with Achish and pretending to be insane, David is praising God for delivering him from evil, saving him from troubles, blessing him, and keeping him from want. David advises us to do good, seek peace, and don’t tell lies. He hears our cries and delivers us. He slays the wicked. He protects us and heals us.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

3) David is desperate, so he lies to the priest. God is always present, and Jesus as well.

4) The fact that they knew who he was. Word might get out to Saul where he was hiding. David pretended to be insane in order to stay. Psalm 56 tells us that the Philistines captured David and have no intentions of letting go the man who killed Goliath.

5a) David is grateful to God for taking care of him and providing all that he needs. He knows God will punish those who pursue him and do evil.

b) Personal Question. My answer: David is very positive and confident in God as he is on the run. He knows God is taking care of him and in His time, all will be as it is supposed to be. This is encouraging to stay upbeat and know God is in control and to let Him be in control.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Unimpressed with the questions. I just felt they were cursory to say the least.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Commentary 1 Samuel 21:

David flees to the right place — a priest. The priest, however, is confused on why such a prominent person would be alone. David lies about his situation, which he will regret later (1 Samuel 22:22).

Many of us would have lied in the same circumstances; but that does not excuse it.

What is holy bread?

The tabernacle of the Lord had a table that held twelve loaves of bread, symbolizing God’s continual fellowship with Israel.

  • Literally, consecrated bread means showbread or “bread of faces.” It is bread associated with and to be eaten Image result for 1 samuel 21before the face of God. F.B. Meyer calls the showbread“presence-bread.” To eat the showbread was to eat God’s bread in God’s house as a friend and a guest of the Lord, enjoying His hospitality. In that culture eating together formed a bond of friendship that was permanent and sacred.
  • The bread was always to be fresh. David receives the leftovers.
  • One must be clean to eat the holy bread.
  • It was to be eaten by the priests: And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place (Leviticus 24:9).

Why did the priest give the bread to David?

  • The priest understood human need was greater than customs, as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 12:1-8

POWERFUL LESSON FOR US:

We cannot add to God’s word. God never said the bread was “only” for priests. Human traditions are never more important than God’s word itself, but we must never elevate our extension or application of God’s Word to the same level as God’s word itself.

Doeg the Edomite: The word translated chief means mighty but can also be used to mean violent or obstinate. Doeg will show himself to be a violent and obstinate man. We shall meet him again.

David continues in his lies to get his sword. It appears David is now trusting in weapons over faith in God, as shown by his continued lies. To us, God’s word should be our “give it to me” cry.

Why did David flee to Gath?

David’s next move is confounding. David is now among the Philistines. He must be discouraged or deceived to think he could find peaceful refuge among these enemies of Israel.

  • It didn’t make sense for the man who carried Goliath’s sword to go to Goliath’s hometown (1 Samuel 17:4). It didn’t make sense for the man who was sustained by the sacred bread of God to find refuge among the pagans. It didn’t make sense for the man after God’s own heart to lie.

The Philistines of Gath recognized David as the king of the land of Israel. These ungodly men understood David’s destiny better than King Saul. Here, we see the price of fame (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

David is captured by the Philistines as Psalm 56 tells us.David thought he could find anonymity or sympathy among the ungodly Philistines in Gath and disappear, but he was wrong. Psalm 56 describes David’s journey from fear to praising as a prisoner in Gath.

Psalm 56 shows that David turned back to the Lord here. Hence, the slide that had started since he left Jonathan to now stops. Saul never turned back on his path.

Why did David act like a madman?

Basically, David humiliated himself before the Philistines. The saliva on the beard was a sign of madness because men in that culture would consider this something only a man out of his right mind would allow.

David’s plan worked. Achish decided that this wasn’t David after all, or if it was he was such a pathetic specimen that he may as well let him go.

Was David walking in the Spirit or in the flesh when he pretended madness?

Some commentators believe that David was in the flesh and trusting in himself. But the change of Psalm 56 happened before David’s escape, and it made sense that the Lord would guide David into a path of escape that would humble him. When David tried to protect himself with lies and tried to find refuge among the ungodly, he really was acting crazy. Trusting in God was the only sane thing to do.

Commentary Psalm 34:

Psalm 34 is David’s declaration of joy when he escaped from Gath with his life. The title of Psalm 34 reads, A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. Abimelech was probably a title given to rulers among the Philistines; the ruler’s proper name was Achish (1 Samuel 21:20).

A fugitive from Saul, David went to the Philistine city of Gath but found no refuge there and narrowly escaped (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1). Following that, David went to Adullam Cave where many desperate men joined him. This joyful and wise Psalm seems to have been written from that cave, and sung in the presence of those men.

The structure of this Psalm is acrostic, or nearly so. Each verse begins with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for the letter waw. The purpose in this Psalm mainly seems to be as a device used to encourage learning and memorization.

Psalm 34 begins beautifully (Psalm 34:1-4) as David is full of gratitude to God who got him out of a mess he himself created.

Take away from 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

  • God’s amazing goodness is shown when He delivers us when we don’t really deserve it.

David was hiding in his heart from God. Paul, in his great passage on boasting, may have remembered this saying and this episode, and so recalled his own ignominious escape from another foreign king (2 Corinthians 11:30-33.

Glorify is magnify in Hebrew. David knew there was something magnetic about the true praise of God. When one genuinely praises God, he or she wants to draw others into the practice of praise.

Magnify means to make Him larger in one’s perception. Magnification does not actually make an object bigger, and we can’t make God bigger. But to magnify something or someone is to perceive it as bigger, and we must do that regarding God.

Keys to praying:

  1. David sought the Lord
  2. The Lord heard David
  3. The Lord delivered David

Commentators are divided as to if David sinned when he feigned madness among the Philistines or if he was obedient and guided by God.

“The more we can think upon our Lord, and the less upon ourselves, the better. Looking to him, as he is seated upon the right hand of the throne of God, will keep our heads, and especially our hearts, steady when going through the deep waters of affliction.” (Smith, cited in Spurgeon)

The idea is that they draw something from God’s own glory and radiance. Later, the Apostle Paul would explain much the same thought: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) This radiance is some evidence that one has truly looked to Him.

Radiant is a word found again in Isaiah 60:5, where it describes a mother’s face lighting up at the sight of her children, long given up for lost.” (Kidner)

What is a cry to the Lord?

  • A cry is short and not sweet.
  • A cry is brief and bitter.
  • A cry is the language of pain.
  • A cry is a natural sound.
  • A cry has much meaning and no music.

David is at a low point. A rag-tag group of desperate losers gathered to him at Adullam. David was still filled with praise and trust, even knowing that God had an angelic camp of protection all around him.

Image result for guardian angelDo guardian angels exist?

Many times in the Old Testament, the angel of the LORD is an actual material appearance of Yahweh Himself (as in Judges 13 and some other places). We don’t know if David meant that is an angelic being sent by God, or God Himself present with the believer. Both are true.

“The fugitive, in his rude shelter in the cave of Adullam, thinks of Jacob, who, in his hour of defenceless need, was heartened by the vision of the angel encampment surrounding his own little band.” (Maclaren)

David challenged the reader (or singer) of this Psalm to experience God’s goodness for himself or herself. It could only come through a personal encounter, in some ways similar to a taste or to see.

Taste and sight are physical senses, ways in which we interact with the material world. In some ways, faith is how we interact with the spiritual world. In this sense to taste and to see are trusting God, loving Him, seeking Him, looking unto Him.

“Both Hebrews 6:5 and 1 Peter 2:3 use this verse to describe the first venture into faith, and to urge that the tasting should be more than a casual sampling.” (Kidner)

Spurgeon: “There are some things, especially in the depths of the religious life, which can only be understood by being experienced, and which even then are incapable of being adequately embodied in words.”

David thought to fear the LORD was much like trusting Him and experiencing His goodness. This fear is the proper reverence and respect that man has for Deity. If you really experience God’s goodness, if you really experience the blessedness of trusting Him, you will also have an appropriate fear of the Lord.

Image result for lion

“The word ‘lions’ may be a metaphor for those who are strong, oppressive, and evil.” (VanGemeren)

“Were there lions prowling around the camp at Adullam, and did the psalmist take their growls as typical of all vain attempts to satisfy the soul?” (Maclaren)

Hiding in Caves

Many who were in distress, in debt, or in discontent gathered at Adullam cave (1 Samuel 22:1-2) with David. Here, David teaches them and offers advice.

  • Fear the Lord by doing right and obeying
  • Don’t speak evil
  • Don’t lie or deceit
  • Do good
  • Pursue peace with man and God
  • God listens
  • God rewards and punishes

Spurgeon on this passage:  “To teach men how to live and how to die is the aim of all useful religious instruction. The rewards of virtue are the baits with which the young are to be drawn to morality.”

Meyer on this passage:  “A bird with a broken wing, an animal with a broken leg, a woman with a broken heart, a man with a broken purpose in life – these seem to drop out of the main current of life into shadow. They go apart to suffer and droop. Life goes on without them. But God draws near.”

According to the Gospel of John, David spoke not only of his own experience, but also prophetically of the Messiah to come, Jesus Christ. John explained that the Roman soldiers that supervised the crucifixion of Jesus came to His body on the cross, expecting to hasten and guarantee His death in the traditional way – breaking the legs of the crucified victim. When they looked carefully, they learned that Jesus was already dead, and they pierced His side to confirm it. John wrote, these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19:36).

The evil-doers own evil destroy himself or the evil-doer will be in misery.

There is no condemnation

Many centuries later the Apostle Paul would write, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Even under the Old Covenant, David knew something of this freedom from condemnation.

Image result for psalm 34

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 2: Romans 8:1-4

Summary of passage:  Those who have Christ Jesus in their hearts are now free from condemnation and live according to the Spirit.  With Jesus’s death believers were set free.  He served as our sin offering forever and did what the law could not do due to man’s sinful nature.

Questions

3a)  Before Jesus’s death, it was not possible to be free from the Law (that is why God’s people lived under the law).  Now, after Jesus’s sacrifice we are free from the Law and under no condemnation or death and are saved.

Condemnation according to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary describes the judgment against someone or treating a person as guilty.  It could also refer to the specific penalty for the guilt.

In this passage, Christ made salvation possible by bearing the sin of men and women, because thus he “condemned sin” (Romans 8:3); that is, he showed the guilt of sin and bore its consequences, so that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

b)  Personal Question I could do without.  My answer:  It doesn’t.  The only changes are the ones I constantly pray/ask for:  to make me more like Jesus.  To catch my shortcomings/sins before they happen.  To not judge or condemn others quickly.  I know I am free and harbor no guilt.

4)  God sent Jesus who brought the Holy Spirit to us to guide us.  God was in charge of sending His Son to save us forever from our sins and implant the Holy Spirit in our hearts to be our guide.

5)  We fulfill the righteous requirements by being washed in the blood of Jesus.  The how is accepting Jesus as our eternal sacrifice.  The Holy Spirit serves as our guide in obedience to God’s “laws” (way we should behave).

Conclusions: Paul finally goes into the Great Hope:  our life now with Jesus as our Savior!  Such a gift God has given us all with the Holy Spirit.  So amazing!

End Notes: Since God the Father does not condemn Jesus, neither can the Father condemn those who are in Jesus. They are not condemned, they will not be condemned, and they cannot be condemned.

The “Therefore” is Paul proving his argument logically.

“In Christ”:  Christ is in believers by His Spirit, and believers are in Christ by faith.

If you are not in Christ, then you are condemned.

Romans 8 is the peace from the conflict of Romans 7.

We are free from the guilt and power of sin.

Paul uses the word “law” in several different ways in Romans.  Here, it means controlling power.  God’s law (Romans 2:17-20; 9:31; 10:3-5).  The Pentateuch (Romans 3:21).  The Old Testament as a whole (Romans 3:19).  Principle (Romans 3:27).

The law guides us and teaches us and we obey out of love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it can never please God nor sanctify us.

Manson said, “Moses’ law has right but not might; sin’s law has might but not right; the law of the Spirit has both right and might.”

The law detects sin; Jesus defeats sin.  The law is weak because of human nature.  Hence, Jesus came “in the likeness of” meaning Jesus can’t be sin in order to defeat sin.  Jesus was righteous and since we are in Jesus we hence are righteous as well.  Jesus is our substitute.

Those who walk according to the Spirit means their life is directed by the Holy Spirit in continued and progressive motion.  Obedience is on display, not rebellion.  The flesh is always present, but it is powerless.

Fun Fact:  Romans 8 begins with no condemnation; it ends with no separation, and in between there is no defeat

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 13, Day 2: John 9:1-7

Summary of passage:  Jesus and his disciples come upon a blind man.  His disciples wonder who sinner that this man was born blind (a commonly held belief of the times).  Jesus said neither and is the result of God’s work.  He put mud on the man’s eyes made with spit and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam and he could see.  Still, no one believed he was the same man.

Questions:

3)  The Old Testament teaches that God punishes the children for the sin of the fathers for multiple generations.  Jesus says, “Neither, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The man was blinded since birth and as far as we know this was the first time a man was healed who has been born blind.  No other prophet has done so.  According to Isaiah 35:5, this is a sign of the Messiah.  I learn Jesus can do anything and that he is more concerned about helping people now than anything else.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He gives me the strength to overcome, knowing he is there with me.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very.  Please see End Notes for much more meaning.

End Notes:  In this story, Jesus corrects a commonly held notion that suffering comes because of sin.  The healed man became a loyal spokesman for Jesus.  His testimony, however, failed to convince the Pharisees , who also rejected Jesus’ teaching about why the man had been born blind.

This continues right from the moment he was about to be stoned.  Jesus was not ruffled by them.

The disciples were more interested in discussing the man’s case rather than helping him.  Jesus does not care; he will be more practical as we are to be.

They thought the man’s blindness was due to a previous sin.  Some Jews even thought babies could sin in the womb or some were punished for a sin they would commit in the future.

Jesus says right away that no specific sin caused this man’s blindness.  Most often birth defects are the result of Adam’s sin when he brought death into this world and our fallen condition.  Because we are to die our bodies die and this comes out in different conditions.

However, Jesus says there is always a purpose in such conditions so God’s work can be displayed.  In this blind man’s case, the purpose was so Jesus can heal him and be a testimony for him.  That doesn’t mean God made him born blind to show His character.  It means God overruled his blindness so that man could see the light.  In other cases, it’s to test someone through suffering.  Nothing happens by accident in God’s world.

Jesus worked like we all must work.  He saw the need and felt the urgency to help the man before his time on this earth was up.  We all must be thus.  Despite the fact Jesus knew he’d get in trouble for healing on the Sabbath, his compassion for man overrode that concern.  Can we say the same thing?

Why mud and spit?  He used dirt as God used dirt to make man.  Also, the emphasis was not on the method but the result.  He didn’t want anyone to believe he has a magic formula for healing that was outside of God.  Furthermore, spitting on the eyes was a common thing in ancient times to either remove dirt or as a cure.  Mark records two other healings where Jesus used his saliva (Mark 7:33 & 8:23).

Even though in this miracle Jesus approached the blind man, the blind man still had to show faith in Jesus to be healed.  Jesus asked him to go the Pool of Siloam and wash.  Siloam meant ‘sent’ because the water from the pool was sent through a conduit to the city and came through Hezekiah’s tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat built in Old Testament times.  This water was used at the altar of the Feast of Tabernacles and today is still used to represent the pouring out of The Spirit.

Pool of Siloam
Pool of Siloam

Again and again John refers to Jesus as having been ‘sent’ by the Father. So now blindness is removed with the aid of the ‘sent’.

Acting in faith, the man went and washed his eyes despite not being promised he’d be healed if he did.  He had to have had help down there since he was still blind.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in the Bible a man born blind has been healed.  This is the work of God.  Thus, Jesus is God.  Isaiah prophesied this to be a sign of the Messiah (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5 42:7).

Fun Fact:  Jesus performed more miracles of this kind than of any other.

Some scholars speculate this as a foreshadowing of Jesus helping the Gentiles.  They see the man in Chapter 5 as the archetype Jew to be healed and this man as the archetype Gentile to be healed.  Again, we are not told if his man is Jew or Gentile.

The one sent by God uses the pool of sent to prove he is God and the light of the world, offering the greatest gift–the living waters–to all who have faith.

History of Pool of Siloam HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 2: Revelation 7:1-3

Summary of passage:  John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth.  Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants.

Questions:

3)  Holding back the 4 winds of the earth to prevent disasters

4a)  The destructive force of God’s judgment (Hosea 13:15 is another example).

b)  He is marking all His people before judgment descends.  He is protecting them, saving them from destruction.  A secondary meaning may be God is giving His people more time to come to Him and repent and be saved, “not wanting anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).  He is full of grace, mercy, compassion, patience, and love.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By allowing me to live both earthly and eternally.  By choosing me in the first place to belong to Him.  God’s mercy is hard to describe.

Conclusions:  4c is weak in asking “how”.  Makes it broad.  “Why” would have been more fitting for this passage and the book of Revelation as a whole.  Rest of the questions dissects passage well.

End Notes:  In chapter 6, Jesus is revealing impending judgments upon the world with the breaking of the seals.  Here, in chapter 7, God sends an angel to first seal His people, a pause if you will, before judgments begin (Rev 9:4).

The 4 corners of the earth correspond to the 4 points on a compass, meaning being the entire earth, all of creation.  The 4 living creatures represent all of creation.

Some scholars say the 4 winds refers directly back to the 4 horsemen in Revelation 6 since “spirits” is the same Hebrew word as “winds” in Zechariah 6:1-8.

Another angel sealed the people of God.  Seals were common in the ancient world.  They were used by emperors and other people’s of import to seal communications by placing a special mark in the damp clay which authenticated and protected its contents.  They were also used by property owners to show ownership and seals on packages to show possession.  The best analogy is like branding cattle–a mark placed on something to show ownership.

The seal will be God’s name (Rev 14:1).  We see this in Ezekiel 9:4 given to the righteous before judgment of Jerusalem (it was the Hebrew letter Taw, made like an X or +.

Jesus was sealed (John 6:27).  Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

The sealing is for protection from the coming judgments (Rev 7:9-17; 9:4) and to mark His people.  Unbelievers will be marked with the sign of the beast (Rev 13:16-17).

It’s a comfort and a challenge to believers.  He is with us and we are called to turn from Satan.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 2: Exodus 35:1-39:31

Note:  This is the last lesson in Exodus.  We will be finishing the book and will start Leviticus after the Christmas break.

Also, most of this reading is a repetition of Exodus 25-31, which was Lesson 10.  See links here for detailed summaries:  Exodus 25, Exodus 26-27, Exodus 28-29, Exodus 30-31

Summary of passage:  Exodus 35:  Moses is giving more regulations to the people, saying the Sabbath must be holy and no work is to be done or face the penalty of death.  No fire is to be lit on the Sabbath.  All are to take an offering to the Lord of what they have in order to furnish the tabernacle or to use their skills to make all the furnishings such as the altar of incense, the table, the ark, the lamp stand, the curtains, the priests’ robes, etc.

All who were willing did as bidded–brought offerings of all kinds to furnish the Tent of Meeting.  Bezalel and Oholiab have been gifted with the Spirit of God to make such items for the Tent and they are to teach others as well.

Exodus 36:  All the items brought were given to the craftsmen and they discovered that the people were brining more than enough.  So Moses ordered the people to stop bringing offerings.  So the workers set about making all the items from the curtains to the frame for the tabernacle to the ark (Exodus 37), table, lamp stand, and altar of incense to (Exodus 38) the altar of burnt offering, basin for washing, and the courtyard.  All the materials used were recorded by the Levites at Moses’s command.

Exodus 39:  All the garments were made for the priests which were made sacred by the Lord.  The ephod, breast piece, tunics, sashes, etc were woven.

Questions:

3a)  To work for six days and rest on the Sabbath.

b)  So that the Israelites may have time to worship the Lord.  Furthermore, it was the best way to ensure continued obedience of His people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Our lives should revolve around worshipping God and we do that through our calling (our work, our purpose) and dedicating our days to His glory by setting aside time to come to Him and be with Him.  Doing His work such as my writings and this blog is resting in Him.  When I do His will, I worship Him.  When I go to church I worship Him.  When I open His word, I worship Him.  We need to remember the importance of resting in Him and in His finished work.  God wanted to make sure the Israelites realized the importance of this command.

4a)  The people themselves.

b)  The Lord chose Bezalel, son of Uri and Oholiab son of Ahisamach.  Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God with the skill, ability, and knowledge of all kinds of crafts to make artistic designs for the work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work the wood, and to engage in all kind of artistic craftsmanship.  Oholiab was gifted with the ability to teach others the skills to do all kinds of work as craftsman, designers, and embroiderers, etc.

c)  “Every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work.”

d)  Yes.  They received more than enough (Exodus 36:5).

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The people gave more than they had to and as they were able.  God chose the leaders and gifted them.  My prayers would be for God to imbibe His people with the talents He needs for the church.  To imbibe me and my family with talents to fulfill His purposes for our lives.

5)  God gave the commands to Moses in chapters 25-31 and Moses is repeating the commands to the Israelites in chapters 35-39.  God told Moses to write down the commands twice when Moses was divinely inspired when he was writing the book of Exodus in which case God thought the details important enough to record twice so they wouldn’t be lost.  Repetition in the Bible is because we humans need to hear things more than once to “get it”.  Here, we get how important the tabernacle is to God when the instructions are recorded twice for our benefit.

Also, this demonstrates Moses faithfulness to us (those who came after Moses) so we see his faithfulness to God’s instructions and commands.  It strengthens our faith when God gives us commands and gives us a great role model.

Conclusions:  BSF combined all these chapters because they are a repetition of Chapters 25-31.  Good emphasis on faithfulness to God, praying for His gifts in our lives and to use them for His purpose, and for the importance again of resting in Him.

End Notes:  God could have created all the materials for the tabernacle Himself but the purpose was to teach His people to be cheerful givers and develop in them the quality of giving and generosity.  And the people were asked to give according to what they were able–great lesson for us as well.  What they were able to give and where God had moved their hearts to give.  Some gave work as well.

The need was presented–Moses led the people in the need, which is what we need today.  We need to be told the needs since often we don’t know them.  Then we need to respond.

Note when the need was met, the giving stopped.  As it should be today.  We should expect organization and management of our resources given and not asked to give and give.  Prudence reigned here.

Note how women gave up their mirrors to make the basin for ceremonial washing.  They gave up what looking at themselves to look at God.  Awesome!

The exact count of the money teaches us how accuracy is important when involving money and God’s work.  Prudence again.

Fun Fact:  Some commentators estimate that descriptions of the tabernacle make up the largest single subject covered in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 13, Day 2: Matthew 13:1-8, 18-23 and Luke 8:4-15

Summary of passages:  Matthew 13:1-8:  The same day that Jesus’ Mother and Brothers show up, Jesus sat by a lake.  Such large crowds gathered that he got in a boat and retreated to the middle of the lake to teach.  He told them the parable of the sower who scattered seeds which fell in different soils.  Those that fell in no soil got eaten up.  Those that fell on shallow soil withered because it had no root.  Those that grew amongst thorns were choked. Only those that fell on good soil produced a crop.

Matthew 13:18-23:  Jesus breaks up different kinds of people who hear the Word.  Those that hear the message and do not understand, the evil one comes and snatches it away–the seed along the path.  Those that hear the word and receive it but falls away quickly when trouble comes because he has no root–the seed in the rocky places.    Some hear the word but are choked by worries of life–the seeds with the thorns.  Only those who hear the word and understand it produce a good crop.

Luke 8:4-15:  Luke records the same parable but a shorter version.  BSF has us read Jesus’ explanation here (but not in Matthew verses 10-17 which is not sitting well with me) about why he speaks in parables.  The parables allow more people to understand the Word.  The disciples have been gifted by God with an understanding of the kingdom but many have not received such a gift.

Important differences in the passage:  Luke is succinct and a bit better.  He explains for those who don’t mature in the word fall away in times of life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.  Only those with a good and noble heart and who PERSEVERE retain God’s word and thus produces a good crop.

Questions:

3a)  A parable is a short, simple, everyday story with a point meant to convey a complex idea simply.  The definition of a parable according to Webster’s Dictionary is “comparison; a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle.”

b)  Yes and no.  He had been performing a lot of miracles as his primary way of showing and explaining the kingdom of God until he became frustrated in chapter 11 as people still failed to believe.  So he is beginning to switch to more stories to reach a wider audience.

It’s difficult to answer a definitive yes here because we only have a handful of Jesus’ teachings and actions recorded.  So much of his life we just don’t know.

c)  Luke says the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11).

4)  “it [seed] was trampled on”; “withered because they had no moisture”;  “the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved”; “in the time of testing they fall away”; “choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures and they do not mature”; “those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

5a)  God

b)  No soil at all–could not grow.  This represents those who hear the word but do not understand it.

Rocky, thin soil–grew quickly but died in the hot sun and withered with no root.  Those who hear the word, take it in, but then fall when trouble arises.

Soil with thorns–plants grew but were choked.  Those who hear the word but are choked out by things in this world such as worries, wealth, and pleasures.

Good soil–produced a crop.  Those who hear the Word, understand it, retain it, sow it in their hearts, and persevere.

6)  John 14:15:  Those who obey God’s commands have good soil

John 15:5:  Those who remain in God bear much fruit

Acts 5:29:  Those who obey God rather than men have good soil

Philippians 2:12-13:  Obey God who works in you for His purpose

Conclusions:  Many beefs today.  First, you all know I hate skipping around.  I am very chronologically oriented.  I don’t understand why we didn’t read Jesus’ reason for telling parables in Matthew yet we read it in Luke and we were asked about it as well.  Why would we save that to come back to?  I guess we’ll find out soon.  No logic to me here.

Question 6 all had the same answer:  those that obey God have good soil.  And those that obey God more have better soil.  The more you obey, the greater the soil.  Fabulous.  Did we really need 4 verses to understand that?  No.  Should be intuitive.

Finally, for me, this lesson falls right at our Christmas break.  The next lesson is Part 2 in January.  So why split the two parts for a month?  We all know we don’t remember much after a month off if we do our lessons in December (which I do).  Don’t have a part one of a lesson and then wait a month for a part two.  Surely the timing here could be better.

End Notes:  Why did Jesus tell parables?  We must remember in ancient times most people were illiterate and farmers.  They had no experience with wrestling with foreign words and had a very limited vocabulary.  Jesus spoke in parables so they would remember his teachings, hold their interest, and be relatable to their difficult lives.

Also, as Jesus explains in the part we skipped, parables were meant to challenge the listener, to grow those deeper in the word, and to lessen the hardness of those not receptive to the Word.  They began in the face of growing opposition to Jesus so to lessen that, Jesus told parables.  In that sense, they were a form of mercy to those hardened against him because the message was hidden.

Here, Jesus is floating offshore in a boat.  Cool, huh?  I’d like to attend church on a lakeside.

The meaning of the word parable, which is Greek, is “to throw alongside of”, in this case thrown alongside the truth.  One commentator called them “earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.”

The soil represents the responses to the Word, which is us.  The soil on the path are those who never hear the word with understanding.  The soil that withers quickly are those who respond quickly but also wither away in the face of tribulations.  The thorny soil represents those who respond and grow in the Word but fall away in the face earthly things and competition for their attention such as material goods and pleasures.  And the good soil is those who whole-heartedly embrace God and His truth and bear fruit because of it.

At times in our lives, we are all of these.  Sometimes we ignore God, we allow other things and events to take precedence over Him, and at times we bear His fruit.

Notice the Sower (God) is the same as is the seed (His word).  The only thing that changes is the soil (us).

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 2: Genesis 14:1-12

Summary of passage:  Basically, the Babylonians attacked a group of peoples living in the Siddim Valley who had been under their control but had rebelled.  The Babylonians defeated or re-conquered them and took even more territory.  The Babylonians sacked Sodom and Gomorrah, which included Lot and his possessions since he was living in Sodom.

Questions:

3a)  Amraphel King of Shinar (Babylonia), Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim

b)  Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (or Zoar)

c)  Plain of Shinar (or Babylonia)

4a)  Lot put himself in the midst of these pagan countries by choosing the most fertile land as he saw it and pitched his tent near the evil city of Sodom (Genesis 13:11-13) and so he was caught up in the wars and taken along with the rest.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All of our choices are the same–to either choose God or to not choose Him.  To choose God’s way or something else (either your way, the devil’s way, or some other idol or false god’s way).  This is what all of our choices come down to.  Obedience or disobedience.  It’s as simple as that.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like this lesson because we didn’t learn anything.  Of course, Lot would end up in trouble.  He chose to live with evil people.  The names of these kings are obscure to most and I would wager meaningless.  And the personal question?  I truly don’t think details matter.  What it comes down to is this:  you either choose God or you don’t.  Period.

My kids had this question too and they were stumped.  So this is their answer as well.

I do admire the note at the beginning.  This is unusual.  But it sums up typical ancient times:  people were conquered; the people rebelled; the conquerors put down the rebellion; prisoners and goods were taken.

End Note:  Great home drawn map of the region and the battles!  I love this website:

http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/genesis/14_1.htm