A rich man asks Jesus what he must do to reach eternal life. Jesus said to obey the commandments. The man asked which commandments and Jesus answered, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
The man says he has done that, but what does he lack? Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions, give the money to the poor, and then follow him to have treasure in heaven. The man went away sad as he wasn’t going to do this.
Jesus said it’s hard for a rich man to enter heaven. The disciples ask who then can enter heaven. Jesus said with God all things are possible. Peter asks Jesus what the disciples will receive. Jesus says they will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel when he sits on his throne. Those who have left everything for Jesus will inherit eternal life and receive 100 times as much. But many who are first will be last and vice versa.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 5: Matthew 19:16-30
13) Heaven cannot be earned. By pointing out what matters most — the treasures you build in heaven not the treasures you build in your own life are what matter.
14a) That it’s not about possessions — it’s about following Jesus first with your heart. He has to put God first and be willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus and God.
b) Money and his possessions
c) It’s clear-cut what you must do to get to heaven. The rules apply to everyone across the board. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
15a) You must be willing to give up everything you own to follow Jesus and enter God’s kingdom.
b) Everyone can be saved who leaves everything for him.
c) Those who have left everything for Jesus will inherit eternal life and receive 100 times as much. But many who are first will be last and vice versa.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 5: Matthew 19:16-30
It’s quite simple to get to heaven but people complicate it — be willing to give everything up and put Jesus first in your heart to receive eternal life. Period.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 5: Matthew 19:16-30
Note you can’t earn eternal life as the rich man thinks — it is freely given.
All three gospels are clear that this man was rich, which is the point of the story. Luke says he was a ruler.
Jesus is called good by the man, but Jesus says the only good one is God. So if Jesus is good, then he is God. God requires perfect obedience, which only Jesus was able to keep.
Mark Mark 10:21 tells us that Jesus had compassion on the man because he could see his heart did not follow him 100%. He was concerned with earning heaven, not with accepting Jesus’s gift of grace and love.
Jesus lists 5 of the 10 Commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17. These are the easiest to follow and relate to how we should treat others.
The man knew something was lacking (sacrifice), but could not identify it. So many of us need someone else to tell us important things, too. An outside perspective can help.
The man thought he had to do something; all he had to do was accept Jesus’s doing — the cross.
The Meaning of The Rich Young Man
The message is clear:
We are to put God first in everything and be willing to give up everything in order to do so. For the rich man, his riches were the obstacle to God. Jesus calls him to be his disciple (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; Mark 2:14); the man cannot get over his pile of riches.
Note this command is not for everyone; it’s for this man whose riches were his hindrance to God, his idol. Many who are rich do God’s work with their money.
Everyone’s hindrance to God is different. Yours is what you must give up.
Riches are a hold up for many because they make us happy in this life; we need to be happy in eternal life.
The camel analogy was immediately known to the disciples and those of that time as being obviously impossible.
Wealth was seen as God’s blessing upon you, so the disciples were shocked that Jesus was saying to give that up.
The rich still enter heaven since everything is possible with God. God can turn a person’s heart from riches to Him.
Again, Peter’s heart is in the right spot, but he bumbles over it. Yes, the disciples will have a special place in heaven, but doing things for God for the sole purpose of that right spot is not what God wants. The disciples helped build the church, too. (Ephesians 2:20). We’ll all have a home (Revelation 21:14).
Everyone who sacrifices for Jesus will be rewarded here and in heaven richly. This is different for everyone, from riches to contentment and happiness.
Blessings here in this life
Future rewards in heaven
We will be surprised by who is first in rewards in heaven, Jesus says.
The Pharisees keep pressing Jesus, asking why Moses command a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away. Jesus said that Moses allowed divorce because their hearts were hard, but it was not that way from the beginning. Jesus said that any man who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness and marries another commmits adultery.
The disciples ask then if it’s better not to marry then. Jesus says marriage is not for everyone. Some are eunuchs by birth or made that way and some have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 3: Matthew 19:7-12
6a) The Pharisees keep pressing Jesus, asking why Moses command a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away.
b) Jesus said that Moses allowed divorce because their hearts were hard, but it was not that way from the beginning. Jesus said that any man who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness and marries another commmits adultery.
7) Malachi 2:13-16: This says that the Lord has made man and wife one in flesh and spirit. He says to not break faith with your wife. Here, God says He hates divorce.
1 Corinthians 7:10-16: Here Paul says a wife must not separate from her husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to him. A husband must not divorce his wife. If one spouse is not a believer, you should still remain married so that your children will be holy. Yet, if an unbeliever leaves their spouse, let them do so because a believing man or woman is not bound in this circumstance.
Ephesians 5:21-33: Here Paul says to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives are to submit to their husbands and respect them. Husbands are to love their wives as he loves himself. A man will leave his parents and be united to his wife as one flesh.
8 ) God is and will always be the ultimate father and spouse. He is always there even if the other spouse is not. He understands mankind is broken, and He forgives.
9) The disciples ask then if it’s better not to marry then. Jesus says marriage is not for everyone. Some are eunuchs by birth or made that way and some have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.
10) The church can encourage them that marriage will come in God’s timing. If you are not married, God is there and fills that gap. Everything is God’s plan.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 3: Matthew 19:7-12
I love these passages so much. Such great review on the covenant of marriage as God intended.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 3: Matthew 19:7-12
The Pharisees wrongly believe that God commanded divorce. In reality, God permitted divorce, which Jesus sets straight.
Divorce is only permitted when someone is sexually unfaithful. They can then remarry, too.
Paul adds that God permits divorce if a believing spouse is left by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15).
Any other reason (abuse, conflict, irreconcilable differences, addiction, and more) spouses can separate but not remarry.
You have to be divorced in the eyes of God in order to remarry; otherwise, you are committing adultery.
You cannot break your promise; only God can.
Don’t try to undo the past or feel guilty for it. Live your life the best you can according to God’s will.
The disciples wonder if people shouldn’t marry since marriage is such a big responsibility.
Jesus says those who can accept celibacy should, but you should not burn with passion 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 Then, it’s better to marry.
Eunuch here may mean those who are called to not marry, either by birth, childhood trauma, or for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. Castration was common in ancient times for male servants in households. However, this does not apply to most of us today.
Some people will remain single for different reasons, Jesus says. You love them, too.
Jesus leaves Galilee and travels to Judea to the other side of the Jordan River. He healed many. Pharisees came to test Jesus again and asked him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus answered that God made man and woman to be one, and a man will leave his parents and be united with his wife. What God has joined let no man separate.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 2: Matthew 19:1-6
3) Pharisees came to test Jesus again and asked him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason. Matthew tells us they are testing Jesus. They are also looking for ways to trap him, to get him to say the wrong thing, so then they can accuse him of blasphemy and either throw him in jail or even kill him. They were also seeing which side of the law he fell on — if he supported the Mosaic law or not.
4a) Jesus is showing the Pharisees he knows and understands Scripture. He also is answering their question with God’s words, so they cannot counter him at all. He is ensuring his answers will not provoke the Pharisees so he can continue his earthly ministry. Jesus is emphasizing that marriage is from God, not man and man’s arbitrary rules.
b) God intends for man and woman to be together once they commit to a marriage; divorce was never God’s idea. Yet, He allows it because He understands we are broken. God commands a man to leave his parents, never his wife. Jesus is pointing this out to the Pharisees that their rules are wrong.
5) Because that is our ideal and what we should strive for every day of our lives. Does it always happen? No. But we can move towards God’s plan one small step at a time every day. That is all we can do and all that God asks of us.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 2: Matthew 19:1-6
I love studying about God’s plan for marriage. It’s so relevant in today’s world.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 2: Matthew 19:1-6
We only have a bit of Jesus’s ministry recorded in the Gospels. It’s safe to say that Jesus had many more adventures, healed many more people, and went to many more places that what is recorded here. Jesus made waves wherever he went — and for good reason. He is now headed towards Jerusalem and his ultimate destiny — the cross.
In ancient times, you were expected to get married and have many children. Remember, first the earth was not as populated as it is today. Next, people needed one another to work together; the idea of being independent did not exist. Family was highly valued and sacred. Finally, children were depended upon to help procure food and help the family survive. Jews were encouraged to marry and have many children — it was considered breaking the law of procreation if not.
Because the Pharisees had interpreted the Bible with the eye of man and not God, men could divorce their wives over the most frivolous things.
The “for any reason” is what is up for debate here. Mosaic law permitted divorce Deuteronomy 24:1, but what was up for debate was the reasoning. One school of thought believed divorce was only for adultery, while another taught it was for anything.
For Jesus, divorce is about marriage, which is why he talked about marriage. The emphasis on what God meant marriage to be is from the very beginning of time with Adam and Eve. Note that polygamy was never allowed either. The Bible clearly stated one man and woman, or two, are to come together as one. Polygamy was allowed but was never meant to be long term. Marriage is for our good.
In sum, what God has joined was never meant to be broken by man.
Jacob asks Laban if he may return to his home country with his wife and children and flocks. But Laban asks him to stay for he knows he has prospered only because of Jacob so he offers Jacob to name his price to stay. Jacob says he will stay if Laban will give him as wages every speckled or spotted sheep and every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat that is born. He will separate out the current speckled and spotted and dark-colored animals and those will be cared for by Laban’s sons, which will decrease the odds of these being born.
Laban divided the animals as agreed upon and separated the flocks. Jacob then placed tree branches in the water troughs so when the flocks came to drink they would mate. Jacob, caring for the solid-colored animals, kept his flocks separate from Laban’s and he only kept the strong ones. The weak ones went to Laban. Jacob grew exceedingly prosperous.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43
9a) Laban tries to say that he has learned by “divinination” that God has blessed him because of Jacob, which he did not. Jacob agrees with the idea in mind to trick Laban into him getting more sheep and goats by breeding for colors that he thought he could choose. He made separate flocks for him and Laban. Jacob’s grew strong, while Laban’s did not.
b) God, as always
10a) I always ask to myself when these “why did God do something,” why not? God can do what He wants. Why not bless Jacob if He wanted to? Why does/should God bless anyone? None of us deserve it. Genesis 12:1-3 tells us that God has promised to bless Abraham, and since Jacob now has the blessing, God will bless Jacob. Colossians 3:22-25 says we are working for God. 1 Peter 2:18-20 says to submit to your masters even if they are harsh. 1 Peter 3:9 says to repay evil with blessings. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says to give God your worries.
b) God has a plan, and it is good. He will bless you in His time.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43
Funny how neither one has learned anything as they have gotten older. Both Laban and Jacob are back at scheming again.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43
Jacob wants to go home, so he asks his master, Laban, for permission. Laban does not want him to go, knowing that he has prospered thanks to God’s blessing on Jacob. Jacob takes the spotted sheep and goats for his flock and intends to keep only the colored ones that are born, leaving Laban with all the others. Laban thinks he is getting a great deal since the spotted ones are rarer. However, he forgot who God is blessing — Jacob, not him.
Jacob cared for Laban’s solid color animals. Laban’s sons cared for the speckled and spotted ones three-days journey away.
Jacob put branches in the troughs to increase the number of spotted animals born so they could be his. He used the modern-day practice of selective breeding to get the characteristics (in this case, spots) that he wanted. We will see in Genesis 31:10-13 that God was behind it all.
God blesses Jacob because of the covenant promise, not because of anything he does/did. We are blessed through Jesus Christ, not anything we have done/did.
We see the example through Jacob of working for others in faith God will bless you, of working hard, and of trusting God to do the rest.
Reuben gathered mandrakes for Leah. Rachel asked for some and Leah refused. Rachel told Leah she could sleep with Jacob then that night in exchange for mandraks. Jacob slept with Leah and she had another son named Issachar, meaning “reward.” Zebulon, meaning “honor” was born to Leah next. She also had a daughter named Dinah. God listened to Rachel and gave her a son as well named Joseph, meaning “may he add.”
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
6) We are not told this. This is speculation. As the head of the household, Jacob could end all of this mess at any point. He is weak and does not. I have no empathy for him. The kids we do not know. They are obviously impacted by their respective mother’s strained relationships, but we are not told how. Probably sibling rivalry and jealousy, but that’s common in every household tody.
7a) God listened and opened her womb.
b) God is in control and sovereign.
8 ) I learned early on to depend on God because humans in my life have let me down so often. As my husband starts a new career, we all are depending on God to help make up the shortfall in income.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
We see the desperation of both women here. Leah is still desperate for Jacob to love her, and Rachel is desperate for children. God is the only one we should be desperate for. He is our everything. In Him lies the answers to everything we seek.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24
Leviticus 18:18 woudl forbide the marrying of sisters. The Israelites will finally learn here that this is not a good idea.
The mandrake (called love apple in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Bible here and in Song of Songs 7:13. It is common in Israel and often grows as a weed. It is a member of the nightshade family, which contains the tobacco plant, as well as common vegetables, such as potatoes and tomatoes. It resembles a human so it was regarded with superstition in ancient times. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to promote fertility, which is why Rachel was willing to trade time with her husband for it. While the mandrake is common in Israel, it is rare in Paddan-Aram where they lived. This shows that both women are relying on a superstitious plant to solve their problems, rather than turning to God.
We can gather from the text that Jacob had not been sleeping with Leah all that much since she accuses Rachel of stealing her husband. Rachel uses or prostitutes Jacob to get what she wants here. Both are trading sex and love, which should never be done. God is soveign though here again. He gives both women children, the one who gave the mandrake and the one who bargained for them, too.
The Bible warns of believing superstitions in our life. (Ex. 22:18; Rev. 22:15) Do you have any superstitions?
Issachar adn Zebulun are sons nine and ten for Jacob. Leah was done having children at this point.
Rachel gets mad at Jacob, blaming him because she has had no children. Jacob rightly tells her that it is God, not he, that is preventing her from having children. So Rachel gave Jacob her servant, Bilhah, to have kids for her. Bilhah had Dan, which means “he has vindicated.” Bilhah had another son by Jacob named Naphtali, meaning “my struggle.” Leah, seeing what Rachel did, gave Jacob her maidservant, Zilpah, to bear kids for her. Zilpah bore Gad, meaning “good fortune, or a troop,” and Asher, meaning “happy.”
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
3a) Rachel says she’s jealous of Leah and angry. The names mean, “he has vindicated” and “my struggle” shows Rachel’s pain at not having children. Leah is just being petty and jealous too with Zilpah. She already had 4 kids; she does not need more. Pretty sure Leah and Rachel did not talk to each other and probably pretended the other didn’t exist, sad as sisters.
b) It’s human to be zealous of others. We all can relate, especially those who have struggled to have kids. Prayer truly is all that fixes it.
4a) He rightly corrected her, telling her God was in charge. Yet, he wrongly went along with her plan. No one learns in OT times, it seems.
b) Not slept with the maidservants and prayed to God instead.
5a) Pray about it. Pray about your feelings towards that person. Pray for that person. Love that person despite the pain or hurt. Pray to forgive them. Pray for God to solve the problem.
b) God is with you. God answers prayers, even when He doesn’t answer them, that is His answer. Have faith God knows what He is doing.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
Noticed Jacob didn’t protest any of this nonsense, especially Leah’s request. She already had kids. She was being petty here. No one learned from Abraham here. You could argue Jacob was a typical man here. Who turns down an offer of free sex? Since there is no mention of Jacob’s protest, this seems likely.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
Note that these are the first words recorded in the Bible that Rachel uttered, showing the depth of her despair: “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
Jacob seems unsympathetic to Rachel’s plight here, probably due to the culture at the time. Still, we saw in Genesis 25 how Isaac prayed for Rebekah to have a child. What would have happened if Jacob had done the same instead of answered with “that’s your problem”? Would God have answered and no maid servants would have been needed?
Scholars debate if the surrogate (Bilpah) was sitting on the lap of the adoptive mother during conception and birth. There is no proof that this custom was followed or practiced. Some believe the child was merely placed n the knees of the one who adopted the child.
In the competition between the two women, Jacob’s 5th son was born, Dan, and his 6th, Naphtali. Rachel felt somewhat vindicted now, as Dan’s name implies.
Leah ups the ante in this petty competition by providing her maidservant, Zilpah. Jacob’s 7th and 8th sons are born, Gad and Asher, respectively.
Summary of passage: Isaac, now old and blind, asks Esau to hunt him some wild game and prepare him a meal at which he will give him his blessing. Rebekah overheard Isaac tell Esau this so she told Jacob to go and bring her some young goats to prepare for him so that Jacob can go and receive Isaac’s blessing. Jacob wonders though if Isaac touches him what to do because Esau is hairy and he is not. His mother said not to worry.
Rebekah prepared the food and then dressed up Jacob in Esau’s clothes. She covered his hands and neck with goatskins and sent him in to Isaac. Jacob says he is Esau and bids his father to eat. Isaac wonders how he found the game so quickly. Jacob says the Lord granted him success.
Isaac suspects a trick and asks to touch Jacob. He knows Jacob’s voice but falls for the goatskin trick. Isaac blessed Jacob but is still unsure if he is Esau or not. Jacob lies again, saying he is. Isaac ate of the game and then kissed his son. He smelled Esau’s clothes and concluded this was Esau.
Isaac blessed Jacob, asking God to give him abundance and have the nations serve him and bow to him, have him be lord over his brothers and have those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.
Esau returned from hunting and brought in the food to Isaac. Isaac realizes he had been tricked by Jacob. But it was too late. Isaac cannot bless both. He did not reserve another blessing. Esau wept and held a grudge against Jacob and planned to kill him once Isaac died.
Rebekah hears Esau’s plans and sends Jacob to live with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau’s temper cools. She tells Isaac she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman so Isaac blesses him and commands him to go to Paddan Aram to the house of his mother’s father Bethuel and take a wife from the daughters of Laban. He blessed him again with fruitfulness and with the blessing given to Abraham.
Esau learned what had happened and he took a wife from Ishmael’s line in an effort to please his father.
11) When God told Rebekah that two nations were in her womb and the older will serve the younger.
12a) He called Esau to him privately and was going to bless him without others around or tell anyone else.
b) Isaac knew Jacob was the chosen one but he was going to bless Esau instead (his favorite). But once he was tricked, he blessed Jacob willingly. He realized that God’s will would prevail, not his.
13a) Isaac definitely had a heart for God. He willingly submitted to being a sacrifice. He trusted God to bring him Rebekah as his wife. He dealt kindly with Abimelech when the disputes arose over the wells. The Lord appeared to him (Genesis 26:24) to reassure him of his covenant. His weakness was that he favored Esau over Jacob and tried to circumvent God’s will with the blessing. But God prevented that as well. He played favorites with his kids. In the end, Isaac does bless Jacob for he realizes God’s will after the trick.
Isaac is like most Christians I think. Has a heart for God but is human with faults and mistakes. But eventually he corrects them and comes back to God.
b) Personal Question. My answer: To always seek and trust God. He is in control. He will bless those who follow Him. To deal kindly with unbelievers. To not judge. To shine Christ as best as humanly possible. Even when you fall, Isaac showed you get right back on God’s path.
c) Personal Question. My answer: To not play favorites (which is hard with multiple kids). To treat all equally. To pray and follow God. It is useless to fight God for He will win every time. His will not mine.
Conclusions: God’s will prevails no matter what man does to circumvent it. So why do we fight it so?
End Note: Interestingly, even if Esau had received Isaac’s blessing, it wouldn’t have mattered. Only God can truly bestow the blessing and in God’s eyes it would have been invalid.