BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 3: Romans 12:4-5

Summary of passage:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The human body.  The body works together for one goal, which is the health and function of the human body.  So are Christians. We all have different functions in the body, working together for Christ.

8 )  Each member depends on the other member to function properly and efficiently.  Each member has its own unique skills, designs, and qualifications to contribute to the smooth functioning of the body.

Conclusions:  Inherently self-explanatory passage.

End Notes:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 3: John 16:12-15

Summary of passage:  The Spirit of truth will guide you to truth and will tell you what is to come.  He will make known to you things from the Father.

Questions:

5)  The Holy Spirit will reveal what God wants to say to them and to us to write down.  All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)

6)  God guides the Holy Spirit and uses the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to us.  He brings glory to Jesus by revealing Jesus to us as well.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Similar to question 6.  The Holy Spirit guides us and reveals what is to come.  My writing career.

Conclusions:  Good emphasis about the Holy Spirit guiding us through Jesus and God (they are all one anyways).

End Notes: Jesus is saying he has much more to teach them but does not have the time.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit will finish his work, which will ultimately lead to the New Testament.

Guiding us into all truth means both the New Testament writings and us personally today.

The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 3: Revelation 17:3-6

Summary of passage:  John was then carried away into the desert where he saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed as royalty, dripping in jewels.  She held a golden cup filled with her adulteries.  She had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.”  She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.

Questions:

6)  The woman was riding on the beast.  She was “dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.”  The beast was “covered with blasphemous names and had 7 heads and 10 horns.”  The woman held a golden cup full of her adulteries and had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.”  She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.

7a)  She’s the corrupter of men and she’s drunk with the blood of the saints, those who bore testimony to Jesus.  She persecutes God’s people and revels in it.

b)  2 Chronicles and Jeremiah tells us how God uses Babylon as punishment for His disobedient people.  Daniel 5 tells how the King of Babylon did not honor God and instead insulted God by drinking from His sacred objects from the temple and praising false gods instead of God.  Same here.  The woman is false religion personified and she’s riding the Antichrist.  Babylon is a country known for its false gods and the one God chose to judge His people.  It’s appropriate then since she’ here to bring punishment for disobedience to Him.

8 )  Part personal question. My answer:  God’s “things” is Him and the actions we do for Him.  Material, glittering goods are just that–things of the earth we enjoy here but not in heaven and which often we spend too much time acquiring.  Our focus should be on God and His “things” which is loving others and being like Jesus.  The glittering things are meant to seduce us away from Him.  I’m more drawn to God’s things for they are everlasting.  All else falls away.

Conclusions:  Question 8 highlighted the seduction of man by Satan and how it’s all a just a farce and a show.  None of it is real.  Satan is out for blood as this passage clearly shows and if we’d remember that visual of him drinking our blood, we’d probably sin less.

End Notes:  John now is carried from heaven to earth in his vision.

This is the same beast we saw in Revelation 13:1.  The Antichrist.  The fact she’s sitting on the beast suggests she is supported by him and she is in some way dominating him and controlling him.  To earth she appears religious.  God clearly sees otherwise.

She is richly adorned.  As you may recall, only Roman Emperors can wear purple togas and only the rich were allowed to wear a purple outline on their togas.  Scarlet also was a costly cloth.

Roman prostitutes frequently wore a headband with their name on it.  Despite her appearance, she is nothing but a prostitute.

This woman is NOT the woman from Revelation 12 who represented God’s people, Israel.  Here, she is false religion and idolatry. The two women are meant as contrasts–God versus Satan.

She is the literal city of Babylon but the mystery of the other Godless cultures.  She is the mother of what Satan devised against God.  The beast will rebel against her and bring about her ruin (Revelation 17:16).  Revelation 16:6 describes the prostitute in the same way.

Jeremiah describes prostitutes (Jeremiah 4:30) and Babylon (Jeremiah 51:7-8) in the same manner.

John was amazed because of the ferventness of the religious persecution.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 3: Numbers 20:1-13

Introductory Note:  Since Day 2 and Day 3 are the same passage, my summary and end notes are exactly the same as well.

Summary of passage: After 38 years of wandering, Miriam died (scholars date this as the first month of the 40th year of wandering). Again, grumbling by the Israelites against Moses and Aaron because there is no water. Same complaints about food, etc. Moses and Aaron feel down at the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses to speak to a rock with his staff and water would appear. Moses struck the rock twice with his staff and water rushed out. However, God rebukes Moses and Aaron for his lack of faith and sentences them to die before the Promised Land is reached as well.

Questions:

6a)  “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together.  Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.”

b)  Moses did take the staff as commanded and did gather the Israelites together in front of the rock.  However, here Moses did his own thing.  He rebuked the people and took credit for bringing water from the rock.  He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it.

7a)  They didn’t trust that God’s words were enough.  They thought they needed action so they struck the rock.

b)  They didn’t follow God’s commands.  They took credit for bringing up the water.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  This is one of those questions I’ll have an answer to when I get to heaven.

8a)  They will not live to see the Promised Land as well.

b)  Yes.  As leaders they are held to a higher standard than the other Israelites (James 3:1).  Their lack of faith can influence countless others.  Aaron is to be expected.  He’s a follower, period.  Moses, however, was so close to God–closer than anyone before or after–that God must have been heartbroken at Moses’s lack of faith.  It would be similar to a betrayal by your best friend–only infinitely more so.

Conclusions:  The personal question was again in my opinion questionable.  I see it as a reminder that our actions do affect those around us and it’s something we need to be cognizant of.

I’m seeing the overall pattern here:  Trust in God.  Never doubt Him.  He will reward you if you do.  Punish you when you don’t.  Either on this side of heaven or the other.  Trust, trust, trust.  He will never let you down.

End Notes: The Israelites are back at Kadesh (see MAP and MAP) where they first told God “no” about entering the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26-28).

Miriam’s death here is important; it showed the Israelites He was serious about everyone dying before entering the Promised Land. She’s the first of Moses’s family to suffer for their collective sins. Although Miriam had great moments of faith (Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21), one major sin marked her for life. We see this today in the downfall of politicians or celebrities. Great lesson for us: no one is exempt from God’s judgment.

Timeline: This is the beginning of the last year of wandering. It appears the Israelites camped at Kadesh here for 3-4 months (based off of Numbers 33:38) perhaps because of Miriam’s death. Aaron will die four months later. The bible doesn’t tell a lot of what happened in this 38 years. Presumably, nothing of consequence as the Israelites merely lived out God’s judgment.

Here we see a new generation of unbelievers as the old generation is dying.

Moses also was not commanded to speak to the nation nor to rebuke there. Here, we see Moses as we’ve never seen him before–utter contempt for the people he has so often saved from destruction. We also see pride when he says “we” as if God were not enough. Moses’s heart had twisted and God obviously didn’t like what He saw.

Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock. I can just imagine his frustration at the people boiling over. However, in his anger, he makes a fatal mistake–literally.

Yet God is so gracious and so good and so loving He provides for His people despite their sins.

Moses did not believe God. He probably remembered back in Exodus 17 where he had to strike the rock.

The punishment was strict. But as we all know, those who know God are called to a higher standard. Can you imagine the standard Moses had to live up to? A lot of pressure. Yet because he was so close to God and a leader, his punishment reflects God’s expectations of those who know Him. Great lesson for us as well.

Moses’s sin was small compared to the Israelites’ sins. Yet not in God’s eyes. God says in Deuteronomy 32:51 that Moses “broke faith” with Him and “did not uphold my [God’s] holiness amongst the Israelites.” A warning to us all–what we consider as a small sin can be huge to God.

Moses pleads with God to let him go over to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:23-27) and when God says no, Moses blames the people. Poor, poor Moses. He has seen time and time again of God reversing His initial punishment, not ridding the land of the Israelites and not giving Miriam leprosy that he thinks for sure God will relent and reverse His position. But God does not. Our hearts bleed for him; yet, God remains good and gracious and kind and judging. His ways, not ours.

The picture of Moses reflecting Jesus here is now tainted. Moses struck twice; Jesus only once.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 3: Matthew 21:23-32

Summary of passage:  The day after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the temple, Jesus returns to the temple to teach.  The chief priests confront him and ask him under whose authority he preaches.  Jesus once again answers a question with a question:  Where did John’s baptism come from?  The elders discussed it and realized they didn’t couldn’t answer the question.  Thus, Jesus didn’t answer theirs.

Jesus told a parable instead of two sons, both told to go and work in the vineyard.  One said no but later went and the other said yes and didn’t go.  Jesus said the ones who initially said no but went will go to heaven for they believe in him.  The others never believed.

Questions:

5a)  They asked Jesus who gave him the right to preach.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The leaders were worried what the people would think or do if they answered the question.  They were worried they’d be stoned.  They weren’t willing to stand up for what they believed in.  Fear was more powerful than their faith.  They were earthly centered, not God-centered.

6a)  They refused to admit who Jesus was, repent, and believe in him.  Instead of embracing Jesus, they plotted to murder him.

b)  The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been hidden from Jesus’ opponents. They do not understand who Jesus is nor see his miracles.  Their hearts are calloused and they do not hear.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not sure if it’s a refusal but it’s hard to apply:  speaking positive words in the life of those around me.  It’s hard to overcome my ego and stress and selfishness and put others first.  It’s hard to get over the distractions in life (see post HERE about distractions) and focus.  I would say it’s more of a failure to prioritize than a refusal to apply God’s teachings because I do do this just not consistently. Thus, I must prioritize better and not let distractions creep in.

7a)  Unbelievers who later believed.

b)  Believers who said they believed but in their hearts they didn’t.

8a)  The son who said no but later changed his mind are those converted to Christ, those who were initially hard-hearted but now are God-hearted.  The son who said yes but did not actually go to the fields are those who profess Christ but have no heart for him.  Those who go through the motions with no feeling whatsoever. Those who want to please man and not God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The first.  I see these as reluctant in the beginning because of the sacrifices Christ-followers make but then go and do His work.

Conclusions:  I can almost see Jesus sighing as he once again has to deal with incompetents.  He has no patience it seems for hypocrites and those delaying his final days on Earth.  He quickly dismisses them with a question he knows they will not answer so that he can continue his work.

Good lesson on those who are too busy pleasing man to please God.  What men think don’t matter.  It only matters what God thinks.

Do you go when asked?  Or will you spend your days pondering if you will, only in the end to never take that final step and lose eternal life?

It’s a matter of doing the right thing, not saying the right thing.  Which are you?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 3: Genesis 27:26-41

Summary of passage:  Isaac 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 Isaac tells him he will serve his brother and he will live away from the earth’s riches but eventually he will throw off Jacob’s yoke.

Questions:

6a)  God will grant riches of the earth and an abundance of grain and wine.  Many nations will serve Jacob and people will bow down to him.  He will reign over his brothers and mother’s sons.  May those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.

b)  God will punish the nation that enslaves His people (Genesis 15:14) but afterwards they will come out with great possessions.  Same as those who curse him be cursed.  Repeated in Genesis 12:3 where God says “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse.”

7a)  According to Webster’s dictionary, regret is “to mourn the loss or death of; to miss very much; to be sorry for.”  Repentance is “the act or process of repenting (to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret) for misdeeds or moral shortcomings.”

As you can see, their meaning are the same in a way.  Regret is more to feel sorry for what you did (or did not do).  Repentance is to feel sorry for what you did but also to resolve to change and it’s emphasis is more on sin.

b)  Esau is regretful.  He’s sorry for himself that he did stupid things like sell his birthright for a meal and marry unbelievers.  But he doesn’t change his ways. Immediately, he wants to kill his brother–for his mistakes (of selling the birthright) but also for God’s will as I’m sure they all knew the prophetic words revealed to Rebekah. His heart is not repentant at all.

Jacob is repentant.  He realizes he tricked his father and lied to him and I think he’s truly sorry.  God spoke to him afterwards and does not condemn his actions.  For He doesn’t need to as Jacob has learned his lesson.

8a)  It would have gone against God’s will as spoken to Rebekah (Genesis 25:23).  Esau was flippant and despised his birthright as we see in Genesis 25:29-34 when he sold his birthright for a meal.  Esau married Hittite women (Genesis 26:34) which would have jeopardized the raising of his sons in terms of faith in the Lord.  Esau wants to kill his brother (Genesis 27:41)–a direct violation of God’s law of murder.  He is vengeful and his heart is not God’s.  Definitely not something God wants in the line to Jesus.

b)  They doubt.  They sin when they know it’s wrong.  They have no desire to do God’s will here on earth. They are in the world instead of of the world.

c)  He’s a provider.  He brings home meat for the family.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope going in the right way.  I’m trying every day to be more like Jesus.  I’m trying to be in the Word as much as possible.  I’m trying to follow God’s purpose for my life.  I’m trying to raise my kids to know Him.  I’m trying to be a good wife and spouse to my husband.  We are at a turning point in our lives where we’re trying to plan for the future and put God at the center (both with our money and our hearts).  My husband and I are finally on the same page about this.  I pray I do His will every day.

9)  Isaac’s prophecy is:  Esau will dwell away from the earth’s riches.  He will live by the sword and will serve his brother.  But he will eventually throw off his brother’s yoke. During the Exodus, Moses asked to pass through Edom’s lands which they refused and so Israel turned from them (Numbers).  David conquered the Edomites (2 Samuel 8:14).

Edom did rebel against Judah (Israel) in 2 Kings 8:20-22.  Another war is depicted in 2 Kings 14:7 between Judah and Edom.  Another time Edom attacked Judah in 2 Chronicles 28:17.

Obadiah is where God has had enough of the Edomites and their sins against the Israelites.  God tells Israel to not abhor Edom for Edom is their brother (Deuteronomy 23:7) but when the Edomites cheer the fall of Jerusalem during the Babylonian invasion and help plunder the city and prey on fleeing Israelites God says through Obadiah “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau” (verse 18).

God says “As you have done, it will be done to you” (verse 15).  Like I said BEFORE, the Edomites were obliterated from history when Rome conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Conclusions:  Question 9 is almost the exact same as Question 4 on Lesson 21 except here they give us the passages and last week they did not.

I’m really struggling here.  I’m floundering to be precise.  So I’m praying through this. This repetition and re-wording of the questions with virtually the same concept is driving me mad to be honest with you.

I GET it!  I do.  Part of me feels like BSF doesn’t trust me to get it.  So I’m being bombarded with the same passages (which in my view is not really all that hard when compared to say Isaiah for instance).  So I’m spending 3 lessons on the same thing (and tomorrow is Hebrews!).

I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination.  But I understand right and wrong and why Jacob was the chosen one (simple–cause God chose him and God can do whatever He wants) and why Esau wasn’t worthy, etc, etc, etc.

Instead of growing I feel stuck.  I’m at the point of skipping some classes to be honest with you.  The last two weeks have been difficult.  My group has fallen to half its normal size from September.  So has my kids’ classes.

I can’t remember ever feeling like this with BSF before.  So I’m praying.  That’s all I can do really.