BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

Image result for joshua 7

Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 2, Day 4: Romans 1:24-28

Summary of passage: God allowed those who rejected Him to sin through sexual impurity and to degrade others.  These sinners worshiped created things (lies) rather than the Creator (Truth).  Men lusted for other men and committed indecent acts and were punished for such.  Women did so as well.  Furthermore, God allowed their minds to be perverted with no knowledge of Him and they did what ought NOT to be done.

Questions:

9a)  That God is the Creator of all things.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Material things or the desire of, people, work or career, pets, images of god, other gods, nothing, and creation itself are common ones for people.  I think I do pretty good keeping Him the center of my world.  Sometimes passion overtakes God (when sin occurs like anger or love).  Like with any distraction, my life would be more God-centered, loving, compassionate, and kind-hearted without everything else pulling me in a thousand different directions.

10)  God created man and woman in His image to be together and I think sometimes man puts woman (or vice versa) ahead of Him.  Sexual sin is very intimate.  The Holy Spirit lives in our bodies, which we are to treat as a temple.  Hence, when we sin sexually, it is a greater sin (against our body) and we are the body of Christ.  It’s akin to worship and idolatry cause we are putting someone else ahead of God.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “God gave them over”  In essence, God has abandoned them to their sin.  He’s turned His back.  No one “gets away” with immorality and/or injustice.  All will pay the price before Christ on Judgment Day.  It doesn’t change my thoughts because I don’t worry about what other people do because I know God will judge them.  However, it does sadden me to think of God abandoning them.  I don’t want to be abandoned by God.  It’s as if God has given up.  Incredibly sad.

Conclusions:  We see the importance God places on us taking our bodies seriously.  Sex is never ‘just sex’.  Our bodies mirror God’s and He lives in us.  Other sins (murder, lying, cheating, stealing, etc) don’t directly affect the Spirit.  This one does.  God is saying sexual sin is a complete abandonment of Him, thus deserving Him abandoning us.  How tragic!

End Notes:  God’s wrath allows us to keep sinning.  Otherwise, He’d stop us.

It’s supposed to read “the lie”, not “a lie” in verse 25.  “The lie” is us putting ourselves in God’s place (Genesis 3:5).

Paul wrote this from the city of Corinth, where every sort of sexual immorality and ritualistic prostitution was practiced freely, including in their temples.   Spurgeon would not even read this passage outloud he was so offended by its description of man’s vices.

This passage is clearly a condemnation of homosexuality.  The Old Testament condemns it as well (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).

Paul uses the Greek words here for male and female, not men and women, a distinction to draw attention to the fact the sin is beyond human terms.

Roman culture approved of homosexuality and many practiced it openly.  Most Roman emperors had sex with young boys.  At times the Roman Empire specifically taxed approved homosexual prostitution and gave boy prostitutes a legal holiday. Legal marriage between same gender couples was recognized, and even some of the emperors married other men.  At the very time Paul wrote, Nero was emperor.  He took a boy named Sporus and had him castrated, then married him (with a full ceremony), brought him to the palace with a great procession, and made the boy his “wife.” Later, Nero lived with another man, and Nero was the “wife.”

Statistics show many homosexuals today have many more partners than non-homosexuals.  Sex is not honored.

The word debased or depraved (or, reprobate in the KJV) originally meant “that which has not stood the test.” It was used of coins that were below standard and therefore rejected. The idea is that since man did not “approve” to know God, they came to have an “unapproved” mind.  It is as if man were testing God to see if He passed and then rejected Him.

One commentator called the depraved mind “spiritually insane”.  I like this!  Our thinking is affected through sin.  Why else would one rebel against God?

Amen in verse 25 can mean either “Yes indeed, it is so” or “So be it”.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 4: John 1:35-42

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist points out Jesus as the Messiah.  Jesus gains his first 2 disciples (John and Andrew) who were followers of John the Baptist.  They spent the day with Jesus.  Then Andrew found his brother, Simon, whom Jesus called “cephas” or Peter.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal question.  My answer:  They followed Jesus.  Just listening to him as he moved us around the country and believing he had my life all worked out and I don’t have to worry at all.

9a)  Jesus invited the men to follow him and see.  They had to spend the day with him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Spending the day reading the Bible, praying, listening for answers and guidance from God.  Help others.  Walk in his ways instead of mine.

Conclusions:  The way to Jesus is simple:  He’s identified.  He invites you in.  You follow and spend time with him.  You believe.  Open hearts and open minds are all that are required.  If you follow these steps, belief and eternal life will follow.

End Notes:  Most scholars agree the 2nd disciple who is never named must be John.  John never names himself in this book and the account is so specific it must be made by an eye-witness.

“Look, the Lamb of God” is repeated from John 1:29.  Perhaps John always said this when he saw Jesus.  To him, it was the most important thing about Jesus.

John the Baptist did not care that his disciples left him for Jesus.  After all, that’s his mission in this world: to prepare the way for Jesus.

“What do you want?” or “What do you seek?” are the first words spoken by Jesus in the book of John.  And Jesus still asks us this today.

The disciples lived with Jesus and shared in his life.  Jesus did not separate himself from his followers.  The same is true today.

John remembers the time (the tenth hour) that he came to Jesus–another supporting detail that John was the 2nd disciple.

Every time we see Andrew in the book of John he is bringing people to Jesus (John 6:8 and 12:22). That is how most of us come to Jesus–through a friend or family member.  Every Peter has an Andrew.  Who was your Andrew?

“We have found the Messiah” is the simplest and greatest testimony for Jesus.

Jesus knew what kind of man Peter would become so he renames him.

By spending the day with Jesus, the disciples would have first-hand testimony of Jesus and his doings to tell others instead of just pure faith alone.

Comparison of the gospels accounts of the first calling of the disciples HERE  Interesting to see the differences.

Fun post about the order of the calling of the disciples HERE  Only 4 people total in the New Testament got renamed.  This same post goes over each in detail.  3 were disciples and Saul/Paul is considered a close second disciple.  There are also 3 sets of the brothers of the original 12 disciples. Cool!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 2, Day 4: Revelation’s Subject: God

Summary of passages: Various passages for the day.

Questions:

6)  Rev 2:7: The Spirit speaks to the church and the tree of life is the paradise of God.

Rev 4:8-11:  God is holy and is eternal and through His will alone all living things were created and live.

Rev 5:9-12:  Jesus purchased men for God with his blood and made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve God.

Rev 19:10:  Worship God.

Rev 22:17:  The Spirit and the bride invite people to take the water of life.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Only God is worthy of our praise and worship as the Creator of all things.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  His holiness, goodness, and justness.  Remember how He alone is sovereign and in control.  Live every day full of gratitude, awe, and unworthiness/humility.  Study His word.  Listen for Him in my life.  Give myself to Him.  Complete and utter devotion to His will is the best worship possible.

Conclusions:  Didn’t get a lot out of this.  Number 7 is too broad.  7b we’ve been asked several times before in past years.  Seems intuitive to me–worship Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength as the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).  All else will fall into place if you do.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 4: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

8 )  Presumably because he met a woman and got married.

9a)  He didn’t feel at home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we moved to North Dakota.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I learned to be happy there but never content.  I fit in (kind of).  I endured.

d)  Letting him grow older and wiser.  Living as an Israelite also gives Moses credibility with the people and proves to them he is willing to give up all his advantages in life to help them.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, not very meaty questions and not sure why this needed to be two days worth.

End Notes:  I’m sure Moses felt defeated and deflated, sure he was doing God’s work only to be rejected.  Little did he know he just needed more preparation.

Why did Moses go to Midian in the first place?  Moses was now a fugitive on the run and if indeed the Pharaoh during this time was Rameses II (whom scholars say was the most likely candidate), then during this time Egypt had an agreement with the Hittites in the north to return any fugitives caught (like our extradition treaties we have with some nations).  Hence, Moses fled to Midian where he would be safe from extradition.

Did Moses marry an infidel?  Odds are highly unlikely.  Since Reuel was a priest, he was most likely a descendent of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-2) and worshipped the One, True God.  Hence, God brought Moses to this family specifically.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 2, Day 4: Matthew 2:19-23

Summary of passage:  Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.  Joseph obeyed but settled in a town called Nazareth in Galilee out of fear of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea. This fulfilled what the prophets said that Jesus would be a Nazarene.

Questions:

8a)  Because God told him to and he obeyed.  We learned unequivocal obedience is rewarded by God.

b)  For two reasons.  One, he was afraid of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea after Herod’s death.  Two, Joseph was warned again in a dream (presumably by the angel) to not settle there.

9a)  Because Micah predicts the king will come from Bethlehem, not Nazareth.

b)  It was God’s plan for Jesus to come from the humble so no one would think they were unworthy to be His.  It’s helpful to me because I came from a dinky town in the middle of a cornfield.  It gives us all hope that we are someone, that we can make a difference no matter where we are from, that we are all special and chosen for God’s plan, and we are loved and saved no matter our background or past indiscretions.  We are His just like Jesus.

c)  I think humans try to rationalize everything.  But in reality love is irrational.  And it is love that God acts out of.  Think of all the things we do for love that doesn’t make sense: we would sacrifice ourselves for those that love, perhaps the greatest act of love there is. We do stupid things.  We put ourselves in harm’s way.  We say stupid things.  We hurt others for those we love.

If we can compare God’s wisdom to the irrational acts of love, we might get some sense of God’s ways.  For they will never make sense to us.  The fact God would send His son to die for us doesn’t make sense.  Yet it is not for us to make sense of God.  Only to have faith in Him.  For man uses his mind to place value; God uses His heart.

Conclusions:  I groaned at question 9 because we were being sent all over the place.

Yet no matter our background, we are His.  If we just remembered that one fact throughout the day, we’d live in peace, joy, and comfort.

Interesting Notes:

Note that Joseph chose to settle in his hometown of Nazareth.  It was a small and insignificant place with a bad reputation.  But more than that, everyone would know the circumstances of Jesus’s birth since Mary became pregnant before her betroyal.

A BIG challenge this year will be keeping all the predictions of Jesus from the Old Testament straight and THEN sorting each prediction out as it is fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus’s life.

We have the benefit of a book to help us.  Being the average Joe in the first century AD who had to rely on memory, I’m not for sure I would have been able to do it.

Side Notes:  Every commentary I read said Nazareth had a “bad” reputation.  When I tried to find out why, I found nothing supporting this assertion.  All we have to go off of is Nathanael’s comment in Matthew and it can be interpreted many ways.  Nathanael was from Cana, a nearby village that might have had a rivalry with Nazareth.  Hence, presuming Nazareth had a “bad” reputation is just that:  a presumption.  In actuality, we have no concrete evidence or writings to support that presumption.

Map of Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Cana HERE

Archelaus is only mentioned this one time in the Bible.  He is the son of Herod who survived to succeed him.  He ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from 4 BC to 6 AD but was replaced by the Roman government and banished to Gaul (modern day France).

Some scholars think Archelaus is the man in the parable of the pounds found in Luke 19:11-27.