BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 5: 1 Samuel 24 and Psalm 57 and 142

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Summary 1 Samuel 24:

Saul pursued the Philistines then learned David was in the Desert of En Gedi. Saul and 3000 men looked for David near the Crags of Wild Goats. Saul found a cave to use the bathroom in. David and his men were hiding in this cave. At the urging of his men, David cut a piece of cloth off Saul’s robe, but refused to kill him for he was the Lord’s anointed.Image result for 1 samuel 24

Saul left the cave, and David revealed himself, bowing down before Saul. He said he could have killed him but did not. He is guilty of no wrong-doing, and may God be the judge between them. Saul, in tears, admitted David is more righteous than he and asked the Lord to reward him for sparing his life. He knows David will be king, and had DAvid swear not to cut off his descendants. Saul went home; David to his stronghold.

Summary Psalm 57:

David takes refuge in God’s mercy. God fulfills His purpose for him, saves him, and rebukes those who pursue him. God sends His love and faithfulness. David is in the midst of lions, God be exalted. David will praise God. Great is God’s love and faithfulness.

Summary Psalm 142:

David tells God his troubles. God guides him through them. God is David’s refuge from those who pursue him. The righteous (supporters, friends) gather around him because of God’s goodness.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 5: 1 Samuel 24 and Psalm 57 and 142:

13) David’s men assumed they knew God’s will. They assumed because Saul appeared before them — alone and vulnerable — that God was delivering Saul into David’s hands. We make assumptions all the time — probably more so than in ancient times. We assume what people mean, what people’s actions mean, and what God wants us to do, often not asking first. We do the same thing.

14) David said the Lord forbid him to do anything to his master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift a hand against him. Personal desire in David wanted to kill Saul and finally have his revenge. God’s desire stayed his hand. It is all about God for David and what God wants.

15) Personal Question. My answer: He invites me to do the right thing in every situation. How often do I do it? Unsure. Probably not often. Fighting against your inner desire when you know God’s desire is difficult. Overcoming human emotions is difficult. Every day I pray God wins a little bit more in these situations.

16) Part personal Question. My answer: David’s ultimate prayer is for God to be his refuge and guide him, and for God to rebuke his enemies. Still David praises and exalts the Lord in all his troubles. David is praying in faithfulness that God has it and will handle all his problems. So must we. We need to pray, knowing God has got it, knowing God will take care of all of our worries and heartaches. We still must praise and exalt him for His goodness despite our ignorance of what His will is. He is our refuge, our guiding light, and our hope.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 5: 1 Samuel 24 and Psalm 57 and 142:

It struck me that Saul does not apologize for his actions. I sense no remorse for chasing David for years or disobeying God. It seems Saul has finally decided David will be king when he dies, so he’s happy to return home and live a kingly life. Very sad.

David’s faith once again shines in all these passages. He knows God will deal with Saul His way. He knows God will rescue him. He knows God is faithful and good. David sings as much. Honoring God despite our hardships has to be forefront. A faithful heart is what God wants first; the rest will follow.

Audio Version of 1 Samuel 24 HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 5: 1 Samuel 24 and Psalm 57 and 142:

Commentary 1 Samuel 24:

In the previous chapter, God miraculously delivered David by drawing Saul away to fight the Philistines at the moment Saul was ready to capture David. But when Saul was done with the Philistines, he went back to pursuing David.

We often wish that our next victory would be a permanent victory. We wish that the spiritual enemies who pursue us like Saul pursued David would simply give up, and we wouldn’t have to bother with them any more. But even when we have victory and they are sent away, they come back, and will keep coming back until we go to glory with the LORD. That is the only permanent victory we will find.

The Desert of En GediImage result for 1 samuel 24

The En Gedi canyon runs westward from the Dead Sea. One can still see the good-sized creek flowing down the canyon, making En Gedi, with its waterfalls and vegetation seem more like a tropical paradise than the middle of the desert.

One can also see the numerous caves dotting the hills. This was a great place for David and his men to hide out. In the middle of barren desert, scouts could easily detect approaching troops. There was plenty of water and wildlife and many caves and defensive positions.

In the Cave

The sheepfolds: This indicates that this was a large cave, big enough to shelter a flock of sheep. All or most of David’s 600 men could hide in the recesses of the cave.

Saul went in to attend to his needs: Since the Bible is a real book, dealing with real people living real lives, we aren’t surprised to see it describe Saul’s attention to his personal needs. But something as basic and common as this was timed and arranged by God without Saul having any knowledge of God’s timing or arrangement of things.

The fact that Saul went in to attend to his needs also meant that he went into the cave alone. His soldiers and bodyguards were out of the cave waiting for him.

Coincidence Saul chose David’s cave?

  • What are the chances? Saul must attend to his personal needs at the very moment he passes by the very cave where David hides. This was no coincidence but arranged by God to test David, to train David, and display David’s godly heart.

David’s men were excited at the opportunity and believed it was a gift from God. They knew it was no coincidence that Saul came alone into that cave at that moment. They thought this was an opportunity from God to kill Saul.

Apparently, on some previous occasion God promised David, “Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.” They believed that this was the fulfillment of the promise and that David needed to seize the promise by faith and by the sword.

We can imagine David listening to this counsel from his men and with his sword creeping quickly towards Saul, covered by the darkness of the cave. David’s men are excited; their lives as fugitives are about to end, and they will soon be installed as friends and associates of the new King of Israel. But as David came close to Saul and put forth his sword he didn’t bring it crashing down on Saul’s neck or thrust it through his back. Instead he secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

How did David sneak up on Saul unbeknownst?

  • Saul may have laid his robe down in one part of the cave, and attended to his needs in another part, so David did not have to get right next to Saul to cut off a corner of his robe.
  • There was enough noise and commotion from the thousands of men outside of the cave along with their horses that David was simply undetectable.

Why did David spare Saul?

  • David knew God’s promise said, “You will inherit the throne of Israel.”
  • David knew Saul was in the way of that promise.
  • David knew it was disobedient of him to kill Saul because God put Saul in a position of authority
  • David knew it was God’s job to take care of Saul not David’s. David wanted the promise to be fulfilled but he refused to try and fulfill God’s promise through his own disobedience.

Sometimes when we have a promise from God we think we are justified in sinning to pursue that promise. This is always wrong. God will fulfill His promises, but He will do it His way, and do it righteously. Instead, we need to be like Abraham, who obeyed God even when it seemed to be at the expense of God’s promise, willing to sacrifice the son of promise (Genesis 22). Even more, we need to be like Jesus, who didn’t take Satan’s offer to “win back the world” at the expense of obedience (Luke 4:5-8).

What did David know?

  • David knew how to wait on the Lord
  • David knew how to wait for the Lord

“We wait on the Lord by prayer and supplication, looking for the indication of his will; we wait for the Lord by patience and submission, looking for the interposition of his hand.” (Meyer) David was determined that when he sat on the throne of Israel it wouldn’t be because he got Saul out of the way but because God got Saul out of the way. He wanted God’s fingerprints on that work, not his own, and he wanted the clean conscience that comes from knowing it was God’s work.

We also see that David’s heart didn’t store up bitterness and anger towards Saul. Even as Saul made David’s life completely miserable, David kept taking it to the Lord, and he received the cleansing from the hurt, the bitterness, and the anger that the Lord can give. If David stored up bitterness and anger towards Saul, he probably wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to kill him at what seemed to be a “risk free” opportunity.

Image result for caveWhy did David feel guilty for cutting Saul’s robe?

  • The robe was a symbol of Saul’s royal authority, and David felt bad – rightly so, according to the heart of God – that he had done anything against Saul’s God appointed authority.
  • In that day, a man looked ridiculous with his clothes cut short. In 2 Samuel 10:4-5, cutting a garment was a deliberate insult that led to war.

David wouldn’t allow his men to kill Saul either, thereby taking the responsibility off his hands directly.

Why did David reveal himself to Saul?

  • David cares for Saul and wants to reconcile with him.

Saul could have killed David when David bowed before him. David believed God would keep him safe as he did right before God.

David covers Saul’s sin and is careful not to blame Saul directly. David shows mercy and kindness to Saul. David will fulfill Proverbs 10:12Love covers all sins, and 1 Peter 4:8Love will cover a multitude of sins.

It is entirely wrong for people to use the idea of touch not the Lord’s anointed to insulate a leader from all evaluation or accountability. We can criticize and confront our pastors when they sin.

What does the tearing of Saul’s robe symbolize?

  • The robe was a picture of Saul’s royal authority, and through this God said, “I am cutting away your royal authority.”

In 1 Samuel 15:27-28 the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for his hard-hearted disobedience to God. In his distress, Saul tried to keep Samuel from leaving, and grabbed his robe, and a portion of the prophet’s robe tore away. When Saul was left holding the torn piece of Samuel’s robe, Samuel said to him: The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. Now, when David confronts Saul with the torn robe, Saul must be reminded of this incident, and God’s message to him was loud and clear.

It was God’s business to take Saul’s throne and no one else’s. Jesus established the same principle in Matthew 18:7 when He said, offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! God’s judgment is God’s business. We put ourselves in a bad place when we make ourselves instruments of God’s judgment.

Saul softens

David’s obedience to God and his love to Saul made all the difference in softening Saul’s heart.

Saul wanted the same kind of promise from David that he made to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:13-16. In that day, 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. Saul knew that one day David and his descendants would rule over Israel, and he wants David to promise that David and his descendants will not kill or mistreat the descendants of Saul. David let Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth live (2 Samuel 9) in part because of his promise to Jonathan and Saul.

David stays away from Saul because he is unconvinced Saul’s heart is changed permanently.

Commentary Psalm 57:

Derek Kidner says of Do not Destroy: “This may well be a tune-indication. Isaiah 65:8, where the phrase is identified as a popular saying (perhaps a snatch of vintage song), and borrowed to become a reassuring word from God. Yet notice also David’s instructions about Saul, ‘Destroy him not’ (1 Samuel 26:9).”

Charles Spurgeon noted, “There are four of these ‘Destroy not’ Psalms, namely, the 57th, 58th, 59th, and 75th. In all them there is a distinct declaration of the destruction of the wicked and the preservation of the righteous.”

This is another Michtam, or Golden Psalm. The cave was probably Adullam cave, mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:1, though the caves of En Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1) are also a possibility. Adullam seems to be the best fit; therefore we can say that Psalm 34 is also associated with this period of David’s life.

David repeats the request of mercy twice. When he fled from Saul into the cave, he had been through several near-death terrors (see Psalm 56). David came to Adullam cave (1 Samuel 22) alone, discouraged, and in continued danger. He needs mercy right now, and God is his only hope.

Using a familiar image of a mother bird shielding her young from danger that we’ve seen before, David expressed his trust and hope in God for defense.

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FUN FACT: This figure of speech is also used in three other Psalms (Psalms 17:836:7, and 63:7). Jesus used this same word picture to show his love and desired care for Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37).

Morgan connected this with Psalm 55:6 (Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest). “There the desire was for the inefficient wings of a dove for flight. Here the sense is of the sufficient wings of God for refuge until calamities are past.” (Morgan)

God as Refuge

“We should notice that David does not call the cave his refuge, though it was a refuge in a certain physical sense. Rather it is God whom he calls his refuge.” (Boice)

David came to the cave alone, and God was his only help. Yet he was confident, knowing as a military man the strategic value of high ground in battle. He looked to help from the Most High who occupied the greatest high ground of all: heaven.

“It is a marvelous thing to consider God is literally willing to perform all things in us, and for us, if only we will let Him. The mischief is that most of us insist on performing all things in the energy of our own resolve, in the strength of our own power.” (Meyer)

Selah: “The Selah at the end of the clause is unusual in the middle of a verse; but it may be intended to underscore, as it were, the impiety of the enemy, and so corresponds with the other Selah in Psalms 57:6, which is also in an unusual place, and points attention to the enemy’s ruin, as this does to his wickedness.” (Maclaren)

Lions in the Bible

There may have been lions prowling around David’s shelter.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)

Spurgeon’s advice for believers who think they are among lions:

  • You have fellowship with Jesus
  • You will be driven closer to God
  • God has them on a leash
  • There is a more powerful Lion — the tribe of Judah

“The fiercest of beasts, the most devouring of elements, and the sharpest of military weapons, are selected to represent the power and fury of David’s enemies and the wretchedness of his present condition.” Horne

What did David know that we often forget?

  • David knew all his problems came from earth; he would glorify God above the earth.

The pit prepared by enemies has instead trapped themselves who dug it.

The Psalm began with David twice appealing for mercy; now David twice expressed his steadfast confidence in God and sang.

The Psaltery [lute] was a stringed instrument, usually with twelve strings, and played with the fingers. The harp or lyre was a stringed instrument, usually consisting of ten strings.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations: “These words, or their near-equivalent in Psalm 18:49, are taken with full seriousness in Romans 15:9as a prophecy which had to be fulfilled.” (Kidner)

Lessons from a cave:

  • A cave narrows and darkens the vision of most people, but David’s heart and song exalted the mercy and truth of God even from the darkness.
  • A cave was a long way from the throne of Israel God had promised David. David didn’t wait for his circumstances to change before he praised God. He knew they would change, and he thanks God ahead of time for it.

“The resurrection of Jesus from the grave, foreshadowed in the deliverance of David from the hand of Saul, was a transaction which caused the heavens and all the powers therein, to extol the mercy and truth of God.” (Horne)

Verse 11 repeats verse 5 because of its goodness and for emphasis (“Be exalted, O God”).

Commentary Psalm 142:

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According to James Montgomery Boice, the Hebrew word for Contemplation (maskil) might be better understood as instruction. “He calls this prayer Maschil, ‘a Psalm of instruction,’ because of the good lessons he had himself learned in the cave, learned on his knees, and so learned that he desired to teach others.” (Matthew Henry, cited in Spurgeon)

The cave was probably Adullam cave, mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:1, though the caves of En Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1) are also a possibility. Adullam seems to be the best fit; therefore we can say that Psalms 34 and 57 are also associated with this period of David’s life.

“There are two notes running side by side throughout the song. The first is that of this terrible sense of helplessness and hopelessness so far as man is concerned. The other is that of the determined application of the helpless soul to Jehovah.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

David declares allegiance to God

Verse 1 is David’s declaration of allegiance to Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Spurgeon says of caves:  “Caves make good closets for prayer; their gloom and solitude are helpful to the exercise of devotion. Had David prayed as much in his palace as he did in his cave, he might never have fallen into the act which brought such misery upon his later days.”

Is it wrong to “complain” to God?

David asks God’s help in the face of enemies who hoped to trap him, so this complaint is likely against his enemies. David did the right thing with his complaint; he brought it before the LORD.

My complaint is not as petulant a word as in English, but might be rendered ‘my troubled thoughts’.” (Kidner)

“The outpouring of complaint is not meant to tell Jehovah what He does not know. It is for the complainer’s relief, not for God’s information.” (Maclaren)

I pour out: “Those words teach us that in prayer we should not try to keep anything back from God, but should show him all that is in our hearts, and that in his presence in our closet, with the door shut, but not before men.” (Neale and Littledale, cited in Spurgeon)

David had the heart later expressed by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

“David had no provisions, no followers, and no place to turn. David then went to Gath, the Philistine city, but this proved to be both dangerous and unworkable, and David eventually escaped into the wilderness again and hid in the cave of Adullam.” (Boice)

“It is not merely words that you have to utter, you have to lay all your trouble before God. As a child tells its mother its griefs, tell the Lord all your griefs, your complaints, your miseries, your fears. Tell them all out, and great relief will come to your spirit.” (Spurgeon)

God knows our journey

Anytime David felt overwhelmed, he found confidence in knowing that God knew his journey and his walk. God knows our path and our walk in all of its good and all of its bad.

Overwhelmed: “David was a hero, and yet his spirit sank: he could smite a giant down, but he could not keep himself up. He did not know his own path, nor feel able to bear his own burden.” (Spurgeon)

God could preserve him from secret snares.  David knew that even if he were forsaken by men, God had not forsaken him. He had the confidence that God Himself was his portion, his inheritance.

The ‘right’ signifies the place where one’s witness or legal council stood.

Among men, David had no refuge (Psalm 142:4). David could confidently proclaim that God was indeed his refuge. The cities of refuge were for the protection of an Israelite in special circumstances, and David found his place of refuge not in a place or in a particular circumstance, but in the Lord Himself.

We can’t pretend before God

David once again brought his cry to the Lord, this time honestly confessing his low circumstances. David didn’t feel a need to pretend that everything was fine or that he wasn’t weak; he could come to God for help even when brought very low by persecutors who were stronger than David.

“The song ends with an earnest cry for deliverance and an affirmation of confidence that the cry will be heard and answered.” (Morgan)

They are stronger than I: This means that David well understood his present weakness. The one who killed Goliath felt himself to be very weak, which was a good place for David to be. God’s strength would soon flood his life.

“‘My soul’ is frequently a longer way of saying ‘me’.” (Kidner)

“‘Prison’ may denote actual imprisonment but may also be a metaphor for his desperate condition in the light of the allusions to adversity and isolation (cf. Psalm 107:10Isaiah 42:7).” (VanGemeren)

Confidence in the Lord:

  • David began the song with complaint (Psalm 142:2); he closes confident of praise to come.
  • David began the song with a great sense of isolation (Psalm 142:4); he closes with confidence in soon companionship and support from the righteous.
  • David began with the sense of being low and weak (Psalm 142:6); he closes confident in God’s future goodness, knowing that God would deal bountifully with him.

The righteous shall surround me: “The Hebrew translation means ‘shall crown me’; that is, shall encircle me, as wondering at thy goodness in my deliverance; or they shall set the crown on mine head.” (Trapp)

“Perhaps when David wrote the song he already began to realize that the crowd of men in debt, in danger, and discontented who were coming to him would presently bring him into his kingdom.” (Morgan)

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 5: Romans 8:14-17

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.

Questions:

11)  We are Christ-like.  We are heirs of God and Christ and share in his glory.  We relate to God as Christ did.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God knows what we need before we ask. God values us.  He disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness, peace, and righteousness.  We are loved and like God.  God has provided me with everything I need and more.  He cherishes me and takes care of me and loves me.  He grows me.  He walks with me and holds my hand and picks me up when I fall.  God is there always for me.

13)  Personal Question.  My response:  I don’t doubt God’s love.  I don’t understand it, but I know He loves me always.  With Christ, we are with God forever.  There is nothing to fear.  Only love.

Conclusions:  Overall, Lesson 13 was weak with repetitive questions.  Paul repeats himself a lot here and BSF would have been better not spending an entire lesson on these 17 verses.

End Notes: Living under the law brought fear.  Paul says now we are in close kinship with God and call Him Abba!

In the Roman world of the first century AD, an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no inferior in status to a biological son.

Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more.  Hence, Paul’s listeners would have completely grasped what a privilege this is and its meaning.

Jewish law stated that at the mouth of two or three witnesses everything had to be established (Deuteronomy 17:6). There are two witnesses to our salvation: our own witness and the witness of the Spirit.  We know if we’re God’s children or not.

In sum, we relate to God as Christ did since we are in Christ.  Awesome!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 13, Day 5: John 9:35-41

Summary of passage:  Jesus heard what had happened to the man he healed and he hunts him down and finds him and asks him if he believes in him as the Son of Man.  The man believes and worships Jesus.  Jesus says those who see and do not believe in him are guilty of sin.

Questions:

12a)  Jesus heard what had happened to the man he healed and he hunts him down and finds him and asks him if he believes in him as the Son of Man. The man believes and worships Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.

13)  That the Pharisees who believe they can see the Truth and no not admit their blindness are therefore blinded to the Truth and thus remain in sin.  Those who admit blindness will see.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He cares for every individual follower of his to the point he finds him and makes sure he believes.  He cares about what happens to every follower.  He defends every follower.  We all matter in God’s eyes.  He even cares for those who are Spiritually blind and tells them to admit their blindness and they will see.  He offers everyone another chance.

Conclusions:  Wow! How amazing that Jesus came back for the man–which is what he does for each of us.  He never gives up.  He cares for us.  He wants us.  How cool!

End Notes:  The man had been rejected by his fellow humans, but not by Jesus.  He calls the man to declare his loyalty and he does.  For that he’s rewarded with more information: you are speaking to the Son of Man.  It is unlikely that this took place in front of the Pharisees so there’s a gap in time here.

Jesus dealt with this man differently than most. He met his physical need first, then allowed him to endure persecution, then called him to a specific belief.  God works differently in different lives.

When the man worshipped Jesus, Jesus received the worship. This is something that no man or angel in the Bible does. The fact that Jesus accepted this worship is another proof that Jesus was and is God, and that He knew Himself to be God.

We see an increasing awareness of Jesus by the blind man:

· Jesus is a man (John 9:11)

· Jesus is a prophet (John 9:17)

· Jesus is my master, I am His disciple (John 9:27)

· Jesus is from God (John 9:33)

· Jesus is the Son of God (John 9:35-38)

· Jesus is who I trust (John 9:38)

· Jesus is who I worship (John 9:38)

This is a common progression to accepting Jesus into our hearts.

Jesus is coming into this world to draw a line in the sand:  choose him or suffer judgement.  He didn’t necessarily come for judgment (John 3:17; John 12:47), but his coming divides people which always brings a type of judgment.  Those who reject his gift end up blind.

Those who admit blindness will see.  Those who think they are spiritually sound and aren’t won’t see and are stuck in sin.

The Pharisees’ claim to sight showed their complete unawareness of their spiritual blindness and need.  And though they claimed to have sight their actions were evidence of their blindness.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 5: Revelation 7:9-17

Summary of passage:  John saw an infinite number of people in white robes from every nation standing before the throne in front of the Lamb with palm branches in their hands.  Angels all around fell down and worshiped God.  One of the elders revealed the people in white robes to be those who have come out of the Great Tribulation.  They will serve God day and night, never again be hungry or thirsty or cry, and Jesus will be their shepherd and lead them to springs of living water.

Questions:

10a)  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  They were acknowledging that they were saved by God and the Lamb.

b)  They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb wearing white robes and holding palm branches.  Very similar.  Believers are from every nation on earth and they stand before the Lamb clothed in Jesus’s righteousness as the Savior.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am unsure about some family members’ faith.  Invite them to church and BSF to learn more about God.

11)  They are justified, made righteous, cleaned of all sin, so they can stand before God.  Isaiah calls them “garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness.”  Also, the white robes signify how we are made into priests, ready for holy service to the Lord.

Specifically here, these Christians have died for Jesus as he died for them, hence being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

12a)  Lamb:  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Shepherd:  Jesus is the shepherd for his people (lambs).  Whoever comes to him will be saved and have life to the full (eternal).  We will see this again in Revelation 21.

Living Water:  Jesus gives living water (eternal life) to those whom ask (have faith in him and believe in him).  John 7:39 says the living water is the Holy Spirit.  Both are correct for if you have the Holy Spirit, you are a believer and thus will have eternal life.  We will see this again in Revelation 22.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to serve the Lord day and night.  Overall, more reverence for what Jesus has done for me.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Brings out highlights of passage.  10c is very similar to question 5 in Lesson 7 Day 2  Good thing to keep in mind as we head up to the holiday season where we will mix with many family and friends who don’t know the saving grace of Jesus.

End Notes:  John is speaking of two different groups of believers here.  The first are sealed prior to the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-8).  The second is this multitude who have come out of the Great Tribulation and made righteous (Revelation 7:9-17).

In the Greek, “the” is emphatic in verse 14, definitely referring to “the Great Tribulation” before the End Times.  This multitude were those who were rescued during that time, leading many scholars to speculate they are all martyrs.  Coming right after the 144,000, some scholars speculate this means the 144,000 were evangelists who saved the multitude.  Cool!

The phrase “great tribulation” is used only once outside of Revelation in the New Testament.  It’s in Matthew 24:21 and Jesus speaks of it.  He speaks of it in the same way Daniel does in Daniel 12:1, leading scholars to speculate that the scrolls Daniel speaks of in Daniel 5 are the same Jesus holds here in Revelation.

As a reminder, the Great Tribulation is a time of intense persecution for Christians.  Scholars debate when this will occur.  Some say its in the future right before Jesus’s Second Coming.  Others say it occurred during John’s time under the Romans.  Regardless, John’s point is the tribulation will not last forever.

The multitude is God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled (Genesis 15:5), which Jacob repeats (Genesis 32:12).

We will all be different in heaven just like on earth.

White robes appear again (Revelation 6:2, 11).

The palm branches harken back to Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-16), where Jesus was also praised as Savior and King.  They also signified victory after a war.  The Romans would wave palm branches during a triumphal procession after a great Roman war victory.  They would also wave it for emperors.

The victory here is God’s.  Our salvation is from Him.

All created beings will worship God on His throne as we saw in Revelation 4 with the living creatures and elders.

There are no barriers to God in heaven; all can come before His throne and dwell with Him. The Greek word for “temple” here is the temple proper where God dwells not the larger precincts.  Thus, no longer are the Levites the only ones allowed to approach God and be in His presence, but all believers will serve God and have been made priests in God’s service (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 10:6).

“Shelter them with his presence” harkens us to the tabernacle in the wilderness.

In heaven, the Savior protects and nurtures and provides.  Jesus does that here, but in heaven it’s so much more.  No sorrow or pain will exist in heaven as God wipes away the tears which are caused by our past sufferings.  On earth there is pain and He consoles us, but does not take it away.  God’s tend is spread over them–nothing more will ever happen to them.  There is nothing to worry about or fear.

But won’t we cry for loved ones in hell?  Spurgeon answered this by saying we won’t because we will so understand divine will and our compassion for those suffering will be balanced out by our detestation of sin.

Living water also appears in Isaiah 49:9-10.  He says they will neither hunger nor thirst nor be scorched by desert heat.

Conclusions to Lesson 13:  In Revelation 7, we see the first half (verses 1-8) of God’s promise to seal believers.  The second half (verses 9-17) is the result of the sealing, God’s promise being kept.  No more suffering.  No more pain.  No more tears.  Great images and hope to believers as the End Times ever creep closer to consummation.  Great summary of Bible’s message as a whole:  God chooses us, seals us, and dwells with us.  Who else can’t wait to serve God forever night and day?  What a glimpse God has given us into heaven via John.  Amazing!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 5: Exodus 40:34-38

Summary of passage: The cloud and glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle once it was completed and no one could enter. Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites would continue their journey. If the cloud stayed, they stayed. The cloud was over the tabernacle by day and fire by night during all the Israelites travels.

Questions:

11a)  The cloud controlled when the Israelites moved and when they camped.  When the cloud covered the tabernacle, the Israelites stayed put.  When the cloud lifted, the Israelites broke camp and moved towards the Promised Land.

b)  It provided shade for the people in the hot, desert climate.  It kept them from moving when their enemies may have been moving about so they didn’t run into anyone.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many times we have moved, always with a purpose.  I complied although begrudgingly.  We were protected and we served Him.  Now as we move from rental to rental it’s with a purpose as well.

12a)  He promises to guide us in His truth.  To have the light of the world (Jesus) to follow.  He guides us through His word.  He guides us when we ask Him through prayer.  He gives us the Holy Spirit within which guides us.  He anoints pastors and other Bible leaders to provide leadership and guidance as well in our lives.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He guides me continually when I read His word with sound advice and things I need to pray about.  It’s constant for me.

c)  He uses other people to guide others through Godly-advice or wisdom.  He performs miracles in answer to prayer. He closes doors when it’s not His will and opens them when it is His will.

Conclusions:  The Numbers passage only expounds on this passage.

My take away:  God is always with us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is just a prayer away.  He is always there when no one else is.  Take advantage of God’s closeness and use Him. That’s what He wants us to do!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 13, Day 5: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Summary of passages:  Matthew 13:24-30:  Another parable Jesus told was of a man who sowed good seed in his field but while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds alongside the seed.  Once the wheat and the weeds sprouted, the farmer will first pull the weeds and then harvest the wheat so as not to pull up the wheat with the weeds.

Matthew 13:36-43:  Jesus explained this parable by saying the farmer was him, the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed are believers, the weeds are unbelievers, the enemy is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  At the end of the age, the angels will weed out all the evil and sin in the world and will throw them into the furnace.  Then the righteous will shine.

Questions:

12a)  The Son of Man (Jesus)

b)  The sons of the kingdom (believers)

c)  Earth

d)  The sons of the evil one one (unbelievers)

e)  The end of the age (Jesus’ Second Coming)

f)  Angels

13a)  He is sneaky and crafty.  He does come when we are least aware, when we are weak, when we are unprepared, when we are distracted, when we are needy.  He comes at our weakest point, when we are furthest from God.

b)  He said because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  Basically, you may damage the wheat along with the weeds.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  According to these verses, because Christians themselves will rise up and distort the truth or they will turn their ears away from the truth to myths and hear only what they want to hear because they do not like what they hear.

There has been and will continue to be Christians who don’t like what the Bible has to say so they ignore those parts and say it doesn’t apply to them or they will misconstrue the meaning and say it means something else.  An example are those who blatantly ignore what the Bible says about homosexuality and marriage.

Many Christians live how they want to live despite what the Bible says.  They are hypocrites and know it but continue to live in their sin instead of changing it.

Living a Christian life is hard work and many in today’s society aren’t up for the challenge.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  It gives me strength to know at the end of the day all my struggles and trials will all be worth it and are just temporary for I have a permanent home in heaven.

Conclusions:  I would say this is one of the best explained parables by Jesus in the Bible.  Very straight-forward and very encouraging.  Although I liked Question 13c, it really had nothing to do with this passage and I am not for sure why it was thrown in there.  Nothing else to ask?  Hmmm….

End Notes:  The commentaries I read said the weeds represent corruption (or false believers) amongst the people of God so people of God who are corrupt (hence why BSF asked 13c).  Well, I submit if they are false believers, then they are unbelievers and hence are not God’s people.

This parable show’s it is God’s job to judge at the end of the day, not man’s, and it is God who will call out the professed “believers” who truly aren’t.  Our job here on Earth is to follow God in our lives and do His purpose.  What others do, we should care about, but not judge them righteous or not.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 5: Psalm 110; Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; & 6:18-7:28

BSF Study of Genesis and Hebrews

Summary of passages:  Psalm 110:  The Lord told my Lord (David’s Lord who is Jesus) to sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool.  God will extend Jesus’s scepter and rule in the midst of enemies.  On the day of battle your troops will be arrayed in holy majesty.

The Lord calls Jesus a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.  He will crush kings on the day of his wrath, judge the nations, and heap up the dead.

Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; 6:18-7:28:  Jesus had to be made like his brothers (flesh and blood) so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and to be able to make atonement for man’s sins.

4:14-5:10:  Jesus is our great high priest who has gone through the heavens who can sympathize with our weaknesses for he has been tempted in every way just as we are–and remain without sin.  Let us hold firmly to our faith, approach God with confidence so we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Every high priest is selected among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for our sins.  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray and offer sacrifices for our sins.

Priests must be called by God.  Jesus was called to be a High Priest by God in the order of Melchizedek.  Jesus prayed to God and he was heard because of his submission.  He was obedient and made perfect for our eternal salvation for all who obey him.

6:18-7:28:  God swore promises to us by Himself so that we may have hope and encouragement.  This hope anchors our soul and enters the inner sanctuary where Jesus has entered on our behalf.  Jesus is a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews Chapter 7:  This Melchizedek was king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the God Most High.  He met and blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.  His name means “king of righteousness” and king of Salem means “king of peace”.  He remains a priest forever without the proper lineage.

Just think how great he must have been for Abraham to give him a tenth of the plunder!  The law requires the descendants of Levi to collect a tenth from the people.  Melchizedek was not a Levite.  One could deduce that Levi collects the tenth through Abraham because Levi (who is Abraham’s descendant) hadn’t been born yet when Melchizedek collected.  Hence we have Levites paying tithes to Melchizedek, making Melchizedek greater than the Levites (or Abraham in this instance since the Levites are through Abraham).  Since the lesser is blessed by the greater, Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

Perfection could not be attained through the Levites so there was need for a priest in the order of Melchizedek (the mere fact that a priest in the order of Melchizedek shows up should be a clue that there is a need for something better than the Levites).  If the priests change, then so must the law.  The old law was weak and useless for it made nothing perfect and a better hope was introduced by God (Jesus!).

Through an oath Jesus became a priest and the author of a better covenant.  Jesus lives forever so his priesthood is forever; therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.

Jesus meets our needs as holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens with one sacrifice of himself who has been made perfect forever.

Questions:

11a)  Himself

b)  The Messiah will be both a king and a priest

c)  Melchizedek was a king and a priest of God.  He remains a priest forever.

Melchizedek and Christ’s similiarities:  1)  Both were kings  2)  Both were priests 3)  Both received a tenth of everything  4)  Both names mean king of peace  5)  Both are priests forever  6)  Both live forever (without beginning of days or end of life)

One difference: Only Jesus was the Son of God

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Christ is our hope. He died for us so we can live forever with him.  We won’t be lonely in Heaven.  The Holy Spirit lives inside of us as a reminder He is with us always, never forsaking us so we will never be alone.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was tempted as well.  He was fully man and fully God so he knows what we are going through.  Yet he resisted and we can use his power to resist the devil as well.  Open His Word and soak Him in.  You will become burning bright for Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus gives us hope and encouragement when we are down.  Cling to him.  Remember He speaks all the time if only I listen.

Conclusions:  Any one else irked with Hebrews yet?  We studied this exact same passage last year in Acts and we answered very similar questions.  HERE we studied Hebrews 7 WITH Genesis 14:18-20.

So why is this Melchizedek important?  Why is BSF spending so much time on him (this year and in other years)?

Here’s the crux:  For the Israelites, they had divisions within society and roles.  The leaders were priests, prophets, and kings.  Prophets told the truth, revealing God’s righteousness.  Kings implementing this righteousness as heads of the government.  Priests represented God to the people and brought God to them.  According to the God-given laws of Israel, kings and priests always came from different tribes.  Thus, a king could NOT be a priest.

So how could Christ the Messiah be a king, a prophet, and a priest?  Wouldn’t that violate God’s laws?  We must remember at this time when Jesus is living he hasn’t yet died for our sins and ushered in the New Covenant.  So the Jews are trying to piece together who the Messiah is based on the Old Testament laws, which still govern how God’s people live.  Christ doesn’t “fit” these laws. [Cool, cause I don’t really “fit” either!]

Enter Melchizedek:  a priest AND a king.  He wasn’t even an Israelite let alone a Levite (the priests line) yet he was a priest.

Psalm says the Messiah will be greater than David and he will be “in the order of Melchizedek”, which means he will be both a priest and a king.  Melchizedek establishes the precedent and the credibility to be a priest and a king.

[Explanation summarized and credited to Zondervan NIV Student Study Bible].

Fun Fact:  Melchizedek was a Gentile.  So from the beginning God had intended Gentiles to inherit the kingdom of God.  I wonder why it was such a huge deal for the first century Christians to accept Gentiles when Melchizedek was one.

End Note:  Note the order of Melchizedek’s names.  He is king of righteousness and THEN king of peace.  As always you must have righteousness before you can have peace. Without righteousness there is no peace.  Jesus makes us right; thus we have peace with God.

Also, some commentators believe because Melchizedek remains a priest forever (verse 3) he was either a heavenly being or Jesus himself incarnate!  Jesus in the Old Testament! Now that’s cool!  Something to ponder at least.

Final Note:  Sorry!  This is a long one!  I didn’t really focus on the questions this time as you might have noticed.  I took the subject of Melchizedek and the passages given and investigated.  I had to get this straight in my mind.  I will concede we did study this last year.  But we hadn’t studied Genesis yet (at least I hadn’t).  In the context of Genesis and knowing Abram’s life and world, Hebrews 7 makes much more sense to me.

I often forget the HUGE differences between Old Testament way of life and New Testament living since I’m under the New Covenant.  I now understand the confusion more when Jesus showed up, proclaiming he’s the Messiah.  What? the people wondered.  He doesn’t “fit” the Messiah.

I believe following Jesus in first century AD was a HUGE leap of faith.  It was a total shift in paradigm.  Myself, having grown up with Jesus, saying “Yes” to him seems easier than it did 2000 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong:  following him is a BIG deal and is insanely difficult.  But I can see how it would be even tougher not necessarily for pagan worshippers but for God’s people.

Yes, I am sick of studying Hebrews.  But what I’ve learned is this:  you can’t get enough. You can’t read a passage enough times in order to have His word soak into your core. There are so many questions about God and who He is and our job is to answer as many of those as possible to draw near to Him.

Every time I read His word, I learn something about God:  how compassionate He is, who He is, who Jesus is, how the Holy Spirit works inside of us, how the early Christians suffered, or even how there were 7 clean animals on the ark and not just two.  But even the little details reveals God overarching omnipotence and control over this world.  How everything is planned, down to God foreseeing the need for Noah to sacrifice to Him. How God’s promises are Truth.

All of this makes me a better person especially in the realm of spreading the Good News. For if we ourselves don’t know God’s word, promises, and truths, how can we explain God’s greatness and goodness to others?

Ok, I’ll stop now.  You get my point.

Don’t stop reading His word.  Don’t stop craving Him.  For He never stops craving us.