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BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Summary of James 2:1-13:

James tells believers bluntly not to show favoritism because Jesus didn’t. Favoritism is discriminating and passing judgment on others (Jesus’ job, not ours). God judges the heart, not appearances. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and yet the people (you) insult them. The rich often sin against you (the people) in their quest for money.

If you show favoritism you sin. Even if you stumble and break just one law you are guilty of breaking them all. We are not to choose which laws are more important. We are called simply to obey.

We are free to show favoritism or not but out of mercy we must choose not to for this mercy will then be shown to us on Judgment Day and mercy is greater than judgment.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

9) Basically when you are showing favoritism, you are discriminating against others and judging others, which is Jesus’ job. You have also insulted those whom you have not favored. You have sinned and broken the law.

10a) Similar to James’ example. By judging others on appearance, promoting people based off whether they like them rather than who’s the best for the job, and even favoring certain kids over others.

b) Then you will treat everyone the same.

11) Personal Question. My answer: He has shown me mercy in so many ways that it would take forever to recount. One, He has shown me mercy in still having a job in the coronavirus. He has shown me mercy with my intelligence, drive, and perseverance so we are financially better than others. I have a great, healthy family. That is merciful.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Great lesson since not judging others by appearances and not showing favoritism is really hard in this world. Great reminders, too.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

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James used strong words to refer to Jesus Christ: The Lord of glory. Moffatt comments: “The Christian religion [is here called] more explicitly belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the divine Glory – a striking term for Christ as the full manifestation of the divine presence and majesty. The Jews called this the shekinah.”

This is especially significant because James is widely (and properly) regarded as one of the first letters of the New Testament written (perhaps somewhere between AD 44 and 48). This means that the earliest Christians considered Jesus to be God, and said so in strong, unmistakable words.

James wrote to a very partial age, filled with prejudice and hatred based on class, ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. In the ancient world, people were routinely and permanently categorized because they were Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor, Greek or barbarian.

Jesus broke down these walls that divided humanity and brought forth one new race of mankind in Him (Ephesians 2:14-15).

In the ancient Greek, the word assembly is literally synagogue, the name of the meeting place for Jews. The fact that James calls a Christian meeting place a synagogue shows that he wrote before Gentiles were widely received into the church. At the time James wrote, most all Christians came from a Jewish heritage.

Fun Fact: This is the only place in the New Testament where an assembly of Christians is clearly called a synagogue.

“As Christians have no church-buildings at this period, their place of meeting was usually some large room in the house of a wealthy member or a hall hired for the purpose (Acts 19:9), where outsiders were free to attend the ordinary services… They were to be welcomed, but welcomed without any servility or snobbery.” (Moffatt)

“In Roman society the wealthy wore rings on their left hand in great profusion. A sign of wealth, rings were worn with great ostentation. There were even shops in Rome where rings could be rented for special occasions.” (Hiebert)

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The Dangers of Favoritism or Partiality

  • To show partiality shows that we care more for the outward appearance than we do upon the heart. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks at the heart, and so should we.
  • To show partiality shows that we misunderstand who is important and blessed in the sight of God. When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.
  • To show partiality shows a selfish streak in us. Usually we favor the rich man over the poor man because we believe we can get more from the rich man. He can do favors for us that the poor man can’t.

Since riches are an obstacle to the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24), there is a sense in which God specially blesses the poor of this world.

Remember that Judas appeared to be much better leadership material than Peter.

God also never calls for partiality against the rich. If one must judge in a dispute between a rich man and a poor man, they should let the law and the facts of the case decide the judgment instead of the economic class of those in the dispute.

Our King Jesus put special emphasis on this command (Matthew 22:36-40) from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). James is reminding us that the poor man is just as much our neighbor as the rich man is.

James here guards us against a selective obedience, the sort that will pick and choose which commands of God should be obeyed and which can be safely disregarded.

The whole law must be kept if one will be justified by the law.

The mercy we show will be extended to us again on the day of judgment, and that mercy triumphs over judgment.

James is relating another principle of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:2).

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 28, Day 5: 1 Kings 10:14-29; Psalm 72

Summary of 1 Kings 10:14-29:

Solomon accumulated gold and shields. He made a huge throne of ivory and gold. Everything was made of gold. He engaged in foreign trade with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and baboons. Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than any other earthly king. Everyone sought his advice and gave him gifts in return. Solomon accumulated chariots and horses, and silver was common in Jerusalem.

Summary of Psalm 72:

David prays for Solomon. He asks God to endow him with justice. The people will prosper. He will defend the afflicted and help the children of the poor. Solomon will endure and be prosperous. All kings will bow to him. May he live long and his name endure forever. Let all nations be blessed by him. Praise to God.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 28, Day 5: 1 Kings 10:14-29; Psalm 72:

12) Part personal Question. My answer. Solomon was just to the people. He judged in righteousness. He defended the afflicted and saved the children of the needy. He lived a long life. He ruled a vast area. The desert tribes bowed before him. He was brought tribute by distant kings. The kings of Sheba and Seba presented him with gifts. All kings will bow down to Solomon and serve him. He rescued the needy. People prayed for him and blessed him. The land was plentiful. His name endures forever. All nations were blessed by him, and they called Solomon blessed. It doesn’t really encourage me to pray. We should be praying for all those lost anyways and for all we know to prosper, for those who are suffering, and for God to show up in lives and bless people.

13) Part personal Question. My answer: When you have great wealth, you have great responsibility.  People want to learn from you, and you are obligated to help them be better people. You also have an obligation to take care of those less fortunate than you — both financially and with your time. My lesson is when you’re successful, you need to help others who are struggling. Share your wealth. Bless others.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 28 Day 5: 1 Kings 10:14-29; Psalm 72:

This shows the power of prayer of parents for their children. King David prayed powerfully for Solomon, and God granted all of David’s requests. Solomon was indeed blessed by God, in part because of David’s faithfulness to God. It also shows the power of God’s blessings when you walk in His ways.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 28, Day 5: 1 Kings 10:14-29; Psalm 72:

Commentary 1 Kings 10:14-29:

This was a vast amount of gold, which came to Solomon yearly. One commentator estimated the value of the 666 talents of gold at $281,318,400. According to the value of gold in 2015, it would be just under $1 billion dollars. This speaks not only to the great wealth of Solomon, but it also makes him the only other person in the Bible associated with the number 666.

The other Biblical connection to 666 is the end-times world dictator and opponent of God and His people often known as the Antichrist (Revelation 13:18). In fact, the Revelation passage specifically says that the number 666 is the number of a man, and the man may be Solomon. This isn’t to say that Solomon was the Antichrist or that the coming Antichrist will be some strange reincarnation of Solomon.

1 Kings assumes that we know of the instructions for future kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. God blessed Solomon with great riches, but Solomon allowed that blessing to turn into a danger because he disobediently multiplied silver and gold for himself.

According to Dilday, each large shield was worth about $120,000 ($250,000 at 2015 values). The smaller shields were worth $30,000 ($57,000 at 2015 values). $33 million was invested in gold ceremonial shields.

Image result for 1 kings 10

King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom

The promises of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 were fulfilled in his reign: The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow(Deuteronomy 28:12).

There were few military conflicts during the reign of Solomon, yet he still saw the importance of a strong defense. Perhaps there were few military conflicts because Solomon had a strong defense.

Remains of Solomon’s fortress and stables at Megiddo can be seen today.

When we think of Solomon’s great wealth, we also consider that he originally did not set his heart upon riches. He deliberately asked for wisdom to lead the people of God instead of riches or fame. God promised to also give Solomon riches and fame, and God fulfilled His promise.

Solomon gave an eloquent testimony to the vanity of riches as the preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He powerfully showed that there was no ultimate satisfaction through materialism. We don’t have to be as rich as Solomon to learn the same lesson.

Image result for psalm 72Multiplying horses was in direct disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:16, which said to the Kings of Israel: But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, “You shall not return that way again.”

Solomon traded in horses with the kings of the Hittites and Syria. Solomon could have used this as an excuse, saying he was not using the horses for himself. Many examples of gross disobedience begin as clever rationalizations.

Commentary Psalm 72:

The title of this Psalm is, A Psalm of Solomon. It is possible to translate the Hebrew here (and in almost all the Psalms which reference an author) as “A Psalm to Solomon,” and some have regarded it as David’s Psalm to and about his son Solomon and his Greater Son the Messiah. Yet, the most natural way to take the title is as it is given, A Psalm of Solomon and that the line about David in 72:20 refers to the collection of Book Two of the Psalms, which is heavy with David’s Psalms, separating it from Book Three, which begins with 11 Psalms authored by Asaph.

It is possible that Solomon complied this second book of the Psalms (Psalms 42-72) and composed this Psalm as a fitting conclusion for the collection of mostly David’s Psalms. It is a fitting conclusion, because it unexpectedly does not focus upon David himself, but on the Messiah – the King of Kings and the Son of David.

“The New Testament nowhere quotes it as Messianic, but this picture of the king and his realm is so close to the prophecies of Isaiah 11:1-5 and Isaiah 60-62 that if those passages are Messianic, so is this.” (Derek Kidner)

Righteousness dominates this opening, since in Scripture it is the first virtue of government, even before compassion (which is the theme of verses 12-14).” (Kidner)

Sometimes mountains represent human governments in the Bible, and David may have intended this allusion. He had in mind a national government (mountains) that blessed the people and local government (the little hills) that ruled with righteousness. This godly government would accomplish at least three things:

  1. The king and his government will make sure that justice is administered fairly.
  2. The king and his government will rescue those most vulnerable in society.
  3. The king and his government will protect Israel, keeping them free from external domination and from internal corruption.

However, the mountains could stand for something else:

  • Geddes wrote they spoke of messengers placed on a series of mountains or hilltops distributed news through a land.
  • Mollerus wrote that it spoke of the fertility of soil on the mountains.
  • Caryl wrote that it speaks of the safety from robbers who often infested mountain passes.
  • Alexander Maclaren wrote of another sense: “The mountains come into view here simply as being the most prominent features of the land.”

Image result for psalm 72Psalm 72:5-7

  • The answer to the prayer would mean that the people of Israel – the king, his government, and the people – would fear the Lord forever, throughout all generations.
  • The Scriptures often connect the ideas of righteous, just government, and blessing upon the ecology and produce of the land.
  • As God sends such a rich blessing His people would flourish and there would be an abundance of peace (shalom) that will last beyond comprehension (until the moon is no more).
  • In a greater sense, it points to Jesus alone. The connection between the righteous and peace reminds us of Melchizedek, the One who was and is both the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace (Hebrews 7:1-3).
  • To oppose the King with such a great dominion meant certain defeat. His enemies would be brought low in a way associated with the curse upon The Enemy in Genesis 3:14-15.

“Bear in mind that it was a custom with many nations that, when individuals approached their kings, they kissed the earth, and prostrated their whole body before them. This was the custom especially throughout Asia.” (LeBlanc, cited in Spurgeon)

All kings shall fall down was prophesied in a beautiful word from the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7, which had in mind both David’s immediate son and successor (Solomon) and David’s ultimate Son and Successor (Jesus the Messiah). Both were in view in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, and both are in view in Psalm 72. The fulfillment in Solomon’s day is described in 1 Kings 10:23-25

“The distant nations are the kings of the ‘distant shores’ (72:10): Tarshish (cf. Psalm 48:7), Sheba (modern Yemen), and Seba (an African nation: cf. Genesis 10:7Isaiah 43:345:14

Tarshish may have been Tartessus in Spain; it was in any case a name associated with long voyages; likewise the isles or ‘coastlands’ were synonymous with the ends of the earth: see, e.g. Isaiah 42:10.” (Kidner)

Psalm 72:12-14

  • The justice and righteousness David prayed for and aspired to regarding Solomon’s reign (Psalm 72:1-4) will be perfectly fulfilled in the Greater King.
  • “The king is represented in Psalms 72:14 as taking on himself the office of Goel, or Kinsman-Redeemer, and ransoming his subjects’ lives from ‘deceit and violence.’” (Maclaren)

Blessed as it was, Solomon’s own reign did not live up to this fully. After his death they complained of his oppression (1 Kings 12:4). “Solomon continues to speak more wisely than he was ever to act.” (Kidner)

The lives of the poor and needy are often considered to be of little value. The Messiah, the Greater King, will regard their life as precious. This is especially meaningful when we consider the cheap regard for life outside and before the world influenced by Christianity.

Image result for animals of the biblePsalm 72:15-17

Commentators debate verses 15-17 if the He spoken of here refers to the ransomed man of the previous lines or of the King who ransomed him. Since the previous lines speak of a multitude redeemed and this He speaks of One, and because the following lines fit much better with the King, we regard He shall live as both a wish and a declaration for the King.

“How little this might mean is obvious from the address, ‘O king, live forever’, in the book of Daniel; yet also how much, can be seen from the Messianic prophecies and from the way these were understood in New Testament times.” (Kidner)

The Greater King would receive gifts and honor and praise. He would bestow great blessing on the earth (an abundance of grain in the earth) and upon His people (those of the city shall flourish).

“Gold, grain, and fruit were ancient measures of prosperity. So this is a way of saying that under the reign of Jesus there will be prosperity of every conceivable kind.” (Boice)

David recognized that this King of Kings was not only the fulfillment of the promise made to him in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. It was also the fulfillment of the great promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Themes of Psalm 72

Psalm 72 speaks powerfully of the kingdom of the King of Kings and speaks of it in terms of His personal rule, not ruling through an institution such as the Church. “In this Psalm, at least, we see a personal monarch, and he is the central figure, the focus of all the glory; not his servant, but himself do we see possessing the dominion and dispensing the government. Personal pronouns referring to our great King are constantly occurring in this Psalm; he has dominion, kings fall down before him,: and serve him; for he delivers; he spares, he saves, he lives, and daily is he praised.” (Spurgeon)

There is also a tragedy in this Psalm. As high as it soars with the concept of the king and his reign, we remember the sad disappointment of how quickly the monarchy in Israel declined after Solomon. There were certainly some good kings after Solomon, but the glory of the kingdom went from Solomon’s gold (1 Kings 10:16-17) to Rehoboam’s bronze (1 Kings 14:25-28) in only about five years.