BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 3: Romans 11:33-34

Summary of passage:  We humans are too stupid to know God’s wisdom and knowledge.


6)  Wisdom and omniscient

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

1 Kings 8:39:  “Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men).  Forgiving others is always a challenge.  If we keep Jesus in the forefront of our minds, forgiving is easy.  I need to release bitter feelings and bloom here where I’m planted instead of in the past.

Job 9:4:  “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?”  God is in control.  He knows what He’s doing.  We cannot hope to know or do more than God.

Job 28:12-28:  Only God knows and has wisdom.  Man needs only to fear God and shun evil.  God himself will handle the rest.  You cannot find wisdom by searching.  God is the source of wisdom.  I need to pray to Him for guidance in my life and to help me understand what is happening around me.  Only God knows the plans He has laid for me and where I’m going.

Psalm 147:4:  “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”  Knowledge.  God knows everything and puts everything in its place.  God is in control of everything that happens in my life.

Proverbs 3:19:  “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place (verse 20) by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”  God is Creator of all things.  Everything works together to create this amazing place we live.  God does not need my help to accomplish anything.  He needs me to pray and obey.  Period.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s everywhere in my life.  One of the ways is in my family.  When I was young I had a vision of being a world traveler, never marrying, never having kids, always on the move.  Then I met my husband and all that changed.  I have 3 beautiful kids because of it and I can’t imagine my life without them. God knew this all along.  I’m glad I’m not in charge!

Conclusions:  So comforting to know God does it all.  So humbling to admit and know I’m ignorant of God’s ways.  Good lesson of showing us to surrender our need to be in control and our need to know everything.  We don’t and we’re not.  The sooner you admit this and depend upon Him, the less drama will be in your life and the more content you shall be.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]

Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 3: John 15:1-8

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is the vine and God is the gardener. God cuts off those who don’t bear fruit and prunes the branches that do bear fruit. Believers will only bear fruit if they remain in Jesus. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. Ask whatever you wish and as long as you remain in Jesus, your wish will be granted. For God’s glory you will bear much fruit.


6)  Personal Question. My answer: My family, my job, my purpose in life. I could be doing more in writing my novel and helping others. I am failing in gentleness and self-control. These are my hardest areas especially since my heart towards the world and others is very hard. I can be brash and rude. Loving others is hard for me as well. I do have joy and peace though. I could always be more patient and kind. I’m pretty faithful though to God and others.

7)  Yes. No. Jesus says apart from me he can do nothing. He can bear no fruit. If believers stray, then they are leading lives of quiet desperation where nothing is being accomplished that God wants. Even if you are doing good but your heart is empty of God you are not growing and those around you are not growing or seeing God’s light. You are withering and you are empty inside. Eventually you will shrivel instead of bloom. God wants us to bloom and bloom for Him!  You must remain connected to God always.

8)  Personal Question. My answer: Well, you are constantly being cleansed and molded and growing if you abide with Christ and stay connected.  I hope I’ve been more fruitful. One, to you all. Two, to my family. Three, in my job. Four, in my personal life. I hope I’ve grown more mature and been more fruitful to others. I still have much to do though.  We have been abundantly blessed through Him.

Conclusions: Love this lesson! It’s great to reflect on how we are living out God’s calling in our lives and if we think we’ve grown or been more fruitful or productive in doing so. And the fruits of the spirit is something we all need to constantly ask ourselves and check in with how we are doing. Are we more patient? Kind? Loving? At peace? Etc. Great reflection time!

End Notes: [Same from yesterday]  Most scholars believe Jesus is speaking to the disciples here as they are standing in the upper room, preparing to depart.  Jesus only has a few more hours to prepare his disciples for the tumult ahead. These are his closest friends and he is about to leave them. He knows they will face fierce opposition, hatred, beatings, and execution. So, he reaches for an allegory to explain himself again.

One, grapes. They were just drinking wine. He says they must remain connected to him in order to bear everlasting fruit. Two, dead branches. They have lost their connection somehow and now useless.

The vine. Jesus’ 7th and last I am statement.  This would have stood out to both believers and unbelievers since everyone knew God as the great “I am”.  Jesus is equivocating himself with God in all these statements.

The vine was a familiar symbol. God repeatedly used a vine as a symbol of His people in the Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 80:8-9). Yet it was often used in a negative sense (as in Isaiah 5:1-2, 7 and Jeremiah 2:21). Just in the previous week Jesus publicly taught about Israel being like a vineyard in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-44).

Vineyards were everywhere in ancient Israel. There was a large golden vine set as a prominent decoration on the front of the temple communicating the idea that Israel was God’s vine. And it was a recognized symbol of the Messiah.

Jesus is the true vine. We must be rooted in him in order to bear fruit. The branch and the vine picture complete dependence upon one another as well. The vine in the Old Testament pictured Israel and God as the tender of the vine.

There are two understandings for verse 2. Either the branches are taken away because they were never abiding the first place (judgment) or they are lifted up (another possible translation of the Greek) to be taken care of.

The word for prunes does mean cleansing as well in the Greek. The vine will maximize its fruit if it is pruned. God removes the dead wood from his church and disciplines the life of the believer so that it is directed into fruitful activity. Good fruit in the New Testament represents a godly life (Matthew 3:8; 7:16-20) or virtues of character (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11).

The work of pruning has already begun in the disciples as they listen to the Word of God. There is an initial cleansing and then more (John 13:10). Through the Word, we are cleansed (Ephesians 5:26). It condemns sin, inspires holiness, and promotes growth.

Abiding or remaining is a two-way street. Choose to abide in Jesus and he will abide in you. You have to be connected to the vine, to Jesus, to bear fruit. Otherwise, it’s impossible.

Jesus repeats himself that he is the vine since so often they thought of Israel as the vine. The purpose of caring for the vine is to receive fruit. In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character (such as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5). God’s work in us and our connection to Him should be evident by fruit, and perhaps by much fruit. Fruits contain seeds which are meant to be spread.

Jesus abides in us in an active way.

We can do nothing of real, eternal value without Jesus. You must remain connected to the master or you will fail.

Note you are thrown away, withered, and then burned–a slow progression of losing that connection with the Father. Fire is associated with punishment and eternal repercussions like the burning lake of sulphur in Revelation. It also was an Old Testament symbol of punishment.

Verse 6 Interpretations of the cast out branches:

1) Believes are the cast out branches who, though once true believers, end up in hell for lack of abiding and fruit. They were once disciples, but are now cast out

2) The cast out branches are ones who only appeared to be disciples, and who never really abided in Jesus, and therefore go to hell (like Judas)

3) The cast out branches are fruitless disciples who live wasted lives that are in effect burnt up, and this passage doesn’t refer to their eternal destiny (like Lot, Abraham’s nephew)

However, all agree that there are no true disciples who do not abide. The branch must remain connected to the vine or it has no life and is of no lasting good. Genuine salvation is evidenced by a life of fruitfulness.

Verse 7: Jesus connected abiding to the idea of faithfulness to His words (John 14:23-24) and answered prayer (John 14:13-14).

Spurgeon says “Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. It comes spontaneously from those who abide in Jesus.”

It is impossible to pray correctly apart from knowing and believing the teachings of Christ.

Abiding in Jesus means abiding in His words, and having His words live in the disciple.

Tenney explains: “The connection is maintained by obedience and prayer. To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in oneself means a conscious acceptance of the authority of his word and a constant contact with him by prayer.”

This faithful, abiding disciple should expect answered prayer as part of their relationship with Jesus. A failure to see prayer answered means something is not right in the disciple’s relationship. Perhaps something is not right in the abiding, and prayers are amiss and unanswered. Perhaps something is not right in the asking and there is no perception of what Jesus wants to do in and through His disciple.

Verse 8: We must remember bearing fruit is for God’s glory, not our own. When we achieve great things, it is God’s will and through God’s might not ours. We give credit to Him for we ourselves can do nothing.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 3: Revelation 15:5-8

Summary of passage:  Out of the temple in heaven came 7 angels with 7 plagues.  One of the 4 living creatures gave the angels 7 bowls containing the wrath of God.  God was in the temple and all were banned until the 7 plagues had been completed.


6)  The tabernacle of the Testimony where 7 angels emerged wearing clean linen and gold sashes.  He saw one of the 4 living creatures give the 7 angels 7 golden bowls containing God’s wrath.  Then he saw smoke for God’s glory and power in the temple.

7)  Smoke accompanies God from His glory and power.  Exodus says God is a cloud from God’s glory and no one can enter the tabernacle when God is present.  2 Chronicles says the same thing:  the temple is filled with a cloud which is God’s glory and no one could enter.  Isaiah describes the temple as filled with smoke.  It also indicates God is about to act.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Been asked about comfort, help, and confidence so many times I’ve lost count. Basically because God is with me, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  I live and breathe because of God and will continue to do so in heaven afterwards.  And for that I am unequivocally grateful.

Conclusions:  Very basic questions.  Passage is straight forward.

End Notes:  This is the heavenly temple referred to in Exodus 25:8-9 and Hebrews 8:9.  It was also the dwelling place of God during the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings (Exodus 40:34-5).  It’s name comes from the fact the tent contained the two tablets of the covenant law brought down from Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:15; 38:21; Deuteronomy 10:5).

The angels come from God so there is no doubt this is His judgment.  Their clothing reminds us that God’s judgment is pure and holy and righteous.

We see bowls of wrath in Isaiah 51:17, 22.

Conclusions to Revelation 15:  Even though God is patient He will not excuse sin.  Because He is holy and just He must judge sin.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 20, Day 3: Numbers 13:26-14:4

Summary of passage:  The 12 scouts came back and reported what they had found in the Promised Land. They said it does flow with milk and honey, but the people who live there are powerful and the cities are large.  We saw descendants of Anak (giants).  Caleb suggests to go up and take possession of the land.  However, the others say they can’t attack the people for they are stronger than they are and are of great size.  They say they saw the Nephilim there.

All the community complained against Moses and Aaron, asking why God brought them there and saying they should have stayed in Egypt.  They wanted to choose a new leader and return to Egypt.


5)  But

6a)  Caleb had to go against the majority and step out in faith and say “we can take this land God has given us.”  He may have lost friends and he was definitely risking his life.  It took courage, faith, and trust in God–and he will be rewarded!

b)  10

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.

7a)  Moses and Aaron (the leaders)–ultimately God since God placed Moses and Aaron as their leaders. Caleb and Joshua called it what it was in verse 9:  “Do not rebel against the Lord”.  No sugar-coating here!

Their situation was false first of all.  They believed their situation to be one of impossibility.  They believed the 10 men who said the land was full of giants and Nephilim when it wasn’t.  They believed it would be impossible to defeat such men.  Thus, they wanted to turn around and go back to Egypt.

b)  “We” blame others when we should be blaming ourselves for lack of faith.  A better question here would be to replace the pronoun “we” with “you”.  It is always our fault even though we never admit it because we let circumstances dictate our response instead of trusting God.

Conclusions:  I don’t like the personal questions here.  6c I couldn’t come up with anytime “in faith” and 7b didn’t go far enough.

This passage is packed here and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the significance and I don’t think BSF did a very good job of unpacking this passage with the questions.  This rebellion was the defining moment of the Israelites, the moment that sealed their fate and punishment to wander the desert for the rest of their lives.

Ever since the Exodus, we have seen the Israelites go back and forth in their faith.  Here, there is no going back and there is no forgiveness for this rebellion.  Punishment is administered and it is just.  As we’ll see Moses begs one more time for the people and for God’s forgiveness (which God grants) but with this punishment tacked on.  We will see the sparing of Caleb and Joshua and hopefully we will take to heart the lesson of trusting in God whole-heartedly always.

End Notes:  With the word “but” the lack of faith is on full display.

Nephilim means giants and are the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men in Genesis 6:4.  There is debate if the sons of God were fallen angels who then laid with human females or if they were the offspring of Seth.

The Anakites are descendants of Anak (Joshua 15:13) and were compared to giants by the spies here.

Scholars say since each tribe was represented and 10 of the 12 tribes lacked faith that this shows the hearts of the majority of the people:  they lacked faith in God as well.

When the Israelites blame Aaron and Moses, they are really blaming God here for their problems. They expected the path to the Promised Land to be easy.  But we must remember Jesus’ example–the hardest single act ever done on this earth.  Who are we to question God’s methods?

This chapter is a stark contrast to the first 10 chapters of Numbers.  The people have been prepared, organized, and purified and right when the time has come, their true hearts are revealed.

We need to be careful what we wish for because the Israelites wanted to die and God grants their wish when they do not make it to the Promised Land.

This is deep-seated rebellion when the Israelites accuse God of bringing them to the land to die. We can be angry at God but the anger is never justified because God has done nothing to provoke our anger.

Israelites were rejecting God’s path for them.  They wanted their own path.  Note the words used here:  “we should choose” instead of God choosing.  “We should go back” instead of God wanting us to go.  Tragic, tragic tale here we all need to take heed of.

Take away:  This moment of rebellion scholars say is the most decisive event since the exodus from Egypt. All the Israelites have to do is trust God and they cower in fear and unbelief.  Here, God realizes His people are not ready for the Promised Land and with this act they seal their fate of having to roam the desert for 40 years.

Best part:  Caleb and Joshua will have the last laugh as they are the only adults to make it to the Promised Land.  God is good indeed!  He rewards the faithful beyond belief!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 3: Matthew 19:1-9

Summary of passage:  Jesus now has gone to Judea from Galilee to the other side of the Jordan.  Large crowds followed him and he healed them.  The Pharisees once again are trying to trick Jesus by asking when is divorce legal.  Jesus said that when a man and woman marries they become one and no man should separate them.  So why did Moses allows divorce the Pharisees ask Jesus.

Jesus said only because man’s hearts are hard and that is why divorce is allowed only in the case of marital unfaithfulness but God never meant for there to be divorce.


6a)  “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.  But it was not this way from the beginning.  I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Man is the one who separates what God has joined.  If you re-marry, you are committing adultery against your first spouse.  And if you marry someone who has been divorced before, you are committing adultery.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  You should not separate from one another if you are married.  If you do separate, you cannot remarry again.  You can only reconcile with your spouse.  If you marry an unbeliever, you are called to stay with them because you sanctify your spouse and children.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him or her.  Because God’s law only applies to believers, not unbelievers, and the believer is not bound by the unbeliever’s decision.

7a)  God hates divorce.

b)  Because Moses had made divorce legal in Israel and man had begun to twist the reasons for divorce.  God makes it clear that a man and woman are to remain together faithfully.  That is his original intent and his desire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Wives and husbands are meant to work in unity together, to love another, to submit to one another, to be the one flesh with common goals and purposes God designed us to be.  Marriage is supposed to be all about love, not hate or discord, which is what divorce is.  God hates divorce because it was never meant to be just as sin wasn’t.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God gave us such a blessing when he gave us a spouse to walk this troubled world through together that we should not take that for granted nor take it lightly.  We should love our spouse as much as Christ loved us: enough to die for.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’d use 1 Corinthians 7:17:  “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.”  Because of Jesus, we are cleansed of all of our sins.  There is no need to go and divorce your second spouse because of God’s commandments.  That would be committing even more sin.  First, repent.  Second, ask forgiveness.  Third, accept Jesus’ forgiveness.  Fourth, move on with your life.  You were called to be married again for whatever reason.  Stay there and follow God in your life.  Do not dwell on your sin.  But move forward in the place God has put you.

Conclusions:  I love the message of “There’s always hope” because with God and Jesus there always is.  Even if you are divorced and re-married, you are forgiven.  God forgets the past where we sometimes do not.  Move on with your life and do not dwell on past transgressions.  For God has a life planned for you and you may miss it if you aren’t looking for it.

These were tough passages to digest because divorce is so rampant and so accepted in our society today and for any reason whatsoever.  We either were a product of divorce (that’s me:  my parents were divorced).  We either have been divorced ourselves.  Or we know someone in our family or friends who have been divorced.  Odds are we have experienced at least one of these scenarios:  probably more than one.

It’s important as Christians to know and understand where God stands in this respect and that it’s not okay to just divorce someone because of “irreconcilable differences.”

Divorce has got to be one of the devil’s favorite tools.  It divides families.  It causes strife.  It causes heartache beyond belief.  We, as Christians and as a society, must come together to fight against this sin.  Especially since it affects our most precious commodity so deeply:  our children.

Children have enough to overcome to walk with God in today’s world.  Let’s not as adults make their lives any harder.  And divorce at a young age is a HUGE hurdle to overcome.  And many parents selfishly don’t see that so caught up are they in their pain and agony.  The children are the casualties, which should not be accepted as it is in society today.

Great lesson and something we should all be praying for God to strengthen his presence in marriages.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26:11

Summary of passage:  Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah.  Isaac prayed when he discovered Rebekah was barren and God granted her twins.  The Lord told her she carried two nations, one will be stronger and the older will serve the younger.  Esau was the first born (his name may mean hairy.  He was also called Edom which means red for he was red-headed).  The second born was Jacob who came out clasping Esau’s heel (his name means he grasps the heel or he deceives).  Isaac was 60 years old at their birth.

Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed home.  Isaac loved Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob more.

Esau sold his birthright for a meal, implying he despised his birthright.

A famine came into the land and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar (different guy than Abraham’s Abimelech.  Remember, Abimelech is the name they give to rulers).  The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to not go to Egypt but to stay here. He will bless him and give all this land to his descendants.  He repeats the oath He gave to Abraham.  He will bless all nations because Abraham was faithful and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars..

Isaac, however, lied who Rebekah was, saying she was his sister just like Abraham had done in Egypt out of fear of being killed.  But Isaac got caught in his lie and was chastised by Abimelech who orders no one to touch or molest Isaac or Rebekah.


5)  He prayed

6)  Isaac loved Esau because he brought him wild game to eat.  It’s a shallow reason.  Yes, providing food is important in life but to love your son just because he does this is not loving the heart.  It’s loving for actions and not for who the person is.  You love the entire person and not because of what they can do for you.  Sad, really.

7)  God commanded Isaac not to go to Egypt during the famine.  He promised him He would be with him and He would bless him.  He confirmed the oath He gave to Abraham, saying He will give all his descendants all these lands.  He will make Isaac’s descendants as numerous as the stars and all the nations will be blessed because Abraham obeyed and kept God’s laws.

8a)  He lied about who his wife was.

b)  I don’t think he could have.  Abraham’s sin was committed before he was born so Isaac would only have heard stories told and he would have seen first-hand the pain that Hagar had brought to all.  Sin is a personal choice, an act of Free Will.  Parents can no more prevent their kids from sinning than they can prevent themselves if they so choose.  We have no control.  Abraham could have told Isaac not to lie, etc but Isaac chose to follow his way instead.

[Note:  Commentaries I read said Abraham could have set a better example and that the sins of the father are often found in the children because of the sinful environment in which they grew up in.  I, however, reject this.  Abraham sinned before Isaac was born and we all have our own choices to make.  I’m sure Abraham told his son the story and not to do what he did.  Personal responsibility and Free Will reign here.]

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Tell them honestly what you have done and implore them to make better choices.  Show them the consequences of your sin and do not hide it. Kids need to know there are consequences for sin.  Don’t sugar-coat anything and live an honest, repentant life.

Conclusions:  We don’t know what Isaac knew about Egypt but we do know the pain Hagar and Ishmael caused so we can assume Isaac knew this as well and he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and let fear reign.  Like I said yesterday, fear is a motivating factor that often causes us to sin but God can help us trust Him and not let fear take over.

Sin is a personal choice, something we are all responsible for.  No one else is to blame. Isaac sinned just like his father.  For Isaac is human just like Abraham.  We can help our kids understand what sin is and what are the consequences and that they have a choice: to follow God or to follow themselves or the devil.

Sin is inevitable; but with Jesus sin is wiped away.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 3: 2 Corinthians 3-4

Summary of passage:  2 Corinthians 3:  Paul tells the Corinthians they themselves are his letter or recommendations, meaning what better proof of God’s omnipotence than His work in changing lives, written with the Spirit of the living God on their hearts.  God has made them (apostles) competent as ministers of the Spirit (bringing the Holy Spirit through the acceptance of Jesus Christ) which gives life.

Paul says if the ministry that brought death (Old Covenant) was so glorious no one could look at Moses’ radiant face will not the ministry of the Spirit (New Covenant) that brings life and righteousness be even more glorious?  How much greater is this glory that is ever-lasting!

Our hope in the New Covenant gives us boldness.  A veil remains when the Old Covenant is read and only Jesus can take it away, meaning until one accepts Jesus and the New Covenant they are unable to see the glory.  The Lord is the Holy Spirit and since we have the Holy Spirit we have the freedom to relate to God.

When we reflect Jesus and obtain the Holy Spirit we reflect the Lord’s glory and are transformed from the inside-out into His likeness a little bit every day (with ever-increasing glory).

2 Corinthians 4:  Through God’s mercy Paul does not lose heart.  He never distorts the word of God or uses deception.  He spoke truthful words before God.  The gospel is veiled only to those perishing (unbelievers).  The god of this age (the Devil) has blinded unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel.  God made his light of knowledge shine in our hearts through his son, Jesus Christ.

We have this treasure (Jesus Christ and God’s glory) in us (mere humans) to show that we and our work is from God and not ourselves.  We carry around in our body the death of Jesus (sufferings) so that we may reveal the life of Jesus to others. We suffer so others may live.

We have faith that the one who raised Jesus from the dead (God) will raise us as well and present us in His presence.  Be grateful for the glory of God.

Outwardly we are wasting away (our physical body is slowly dying) but inwardly we are growing with the Spirit of God.  Our troubles bring us glory so we must fix our eyes on the unseen (Heaven and rewards) which is eternal.


7a)  The letter is the law of the Old Covenant which without the New Covenant “kills” us (meaning we cannot be saved)

b)  The Spirit (or Holy Spirit) is the law written our our hearts.  The Spirit gives us life as it is what fulfills God’s “letter” or laws.  We are born again or alive when we receive the Spirit so we are better able to life out the “letter” or fulfill God’s laws.

c)  I see this as those who have not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  Here, Paul was referring to the Jews who still abide by the Old Covenant.  So those who have not accepted Jesus into their hearts are reading the Bible with a veil over their heart.

d)  The veil is taken away only when Jesus is accepted and the Holy Spirit is indwelt.

e)  When we accept the Holy Spirit, we are transformed little by little into Christ’s likeness.  But it is a process, one we must work towards every day by reading God’s word, coming to God in prayer, and living as Christ would.  Otherwise, we stagnate and growth ceases.

f)  The Lord who is the Spirit

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am inspired because every day I fail.  This reminds me that God lives inside of me; He is there always, helping and supporting me, and when I fail He is there to pick me up.  Those who are believers see the glory of the Lord and reflect Him.  We are ultimately able to reflect God to others and inspire them to lift their veil.  This message is full of encouragement for all that God is there.  We must only choose to see!

9a)  The god of this age (the Devil) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel.

b)  The perishing are those who are blinded and their hearts are veiled to God’s glory, truth, and gospel

c)  Jesus Christ whom God sent

d)  We are only capable because we have God’s glory.  If we do something great, it is because of Him and never us.

e)  Our goal in life is to be Christ-like and grow in Christ every day.  So since Christ suffered we must suffer.  There is something (whatever you want to call it) and is born in us and grows when we suffer that we can only get when we do suffer.  Through our suffering we reflect to others our faith and ultimately Jesus as well.  Thus when we suffer, life is produced in others.

f)  Although our physical body is dying our spiritual body is growing and being renewed as each day we get closer and closer to God (through spiritual growth).

g)  If we look to God and see the good in our afflictions we will gain eternal benefits.  Through affliction we receive glory.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Reiterates that through suffering and trials we grow in a way we couldn’t otherwise and everything is from God.  I must find the good in the bad.  My rewards are eternal and I must look past the temporal hardships and keep in mind the end goal.

Conclusions:  I loved this lesson!  I wish BSF would do more of this word for word analysis in question form.  Besides the eternal truths conveyed, it really makes you sit down and think “Ok.  What is this passage really saying?”  Great stuff!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 20, Day 3 Isaiah 45:1-13

Summary of passage:  The Lord says to Cyrus he will subdue nations for him, strip kings of their armor, open doors and gates, level the mountains, and give him treasures and riches so that Cyrus will know He is God.  God does this for Jacob’s sake (His people).  Cyrus will be the example for others so that they may know He is the only God; He alone brings prosperity and creates disasters; He alone forms the light and dark.  He gives righteousness.  God warns those who quarrel with Him and questions why they have been formed the way they were.  God created us and it is He who will command Cyrus to rebuild His city and free His exiles.


5) The definition of anoint according to Webster’s is:  to apply oil as a sacred rite; to choose by divine election.  Generally, the word anointed in the Bible means people were anointed to signify God’s blessing or calling on their lives.  Here, God chose Cyrus for a special purpose:  to subdue nations as a sign to others that He is Lord.  He intended to use Cyrus as an example to others:  He can use a pagan king to show “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

6a)  Cyrus will subdue nations, strip kings of their armor, open doors and gates, level mountains, break down gates and bars, give him riches and treasures.  God will make all of Cyrus’s ways straight; Cyrus will rebuild His city and free His exiles.  Yes.

b)  He gave God credit in his proclamation to his kingdom:  “The Lord, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for his at Jerusalem in Judah.  Anyone of his people among you–may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.  And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.”

c)  Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den and survived.  Then King Darius (a Mede who is now ruler of Babylon) issued a proclamation:  “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.  For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”

d)  God promised His people would be exiled for 70 years and then He’d punish the King of Babylon and lay waste to their land.  Isaiah told the people the specific name (Cyrus) of who would release them, which gave them hope and patience for God’s timing.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God does what He says He will do.  His punishment is always temporary and He always give Him people hope while being punished.  Philippians 4:6-7  “The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Conclusions:  God is the Creator and Maker.  He formed us how we are for a reason.  He gets upset when we are unhappy with ourselves because He is never unhappy with us, even at our worst.  He delights in us and if we only delighted in ourselves a fraction of God’s delight, we’d never be depressed, angry, or anxious.

God uses others to make Himself known.  He used Cyrus to free His people and in the process proved His awesomeness to non-believers.  He uses us for His glory even though we cannot possibly see the many threads of our impact.

End Notes:  Awesome explanation of anointing in the Bible with Biblical examples here:

Darius was probably the uncle of Cyrus.  He is called Darius the Mede to distinguish him from Darius the Persian who came after him.  Cyrus gave Darius the Mede part of the Babylonian empire to rule over but Cyrus was the head-hancho.  Darius reigned for only 2 years when historians think he died.  Good explanation here: