BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15

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Summary of Joshua 10:1-15:

The King of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, heard about the Israelites’ conquering of Ai and Jericho and the peace treaty it had made with Gibeon. He gathered together 4 more kings of the Amorites–Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon– and attacked Gibeon, which was an important and large city.

The Gibeonites, now subjects of Israel, appealed to Joshua for help. He came up with his best fighting men from Gilgal. The Lord promised to deliver them into his hands. After marching all night, Joshua took the kings by surprise. The kings retreated and Joshua pursued them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

The Lord brought hail that killed many of the retreating army. Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. God fulfilled Joshua’s prayer as a sign He was with Israel.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

3) Joshua took his entire army, his best fighting men included, and marched overnight to surprise the kings of the Amorites. God told Joshua “Do not be afraid; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.

4)  “The Lord threw them into [the Amorites] into confusion before Israel.” “The Lord hurled down large hailstorms down on them from the sky, killing more than swords.” God stopped the sun on the request of Joshua so the conquest would be complete. God is good. God keeps His promises. God wants His glory to be known. God fights for us. God has His ways and uses various methods to achieve His history.

5) Personal Question. My answer: If you pray, God is there, and He will guide and lead you. God will work miracles to help you if you have faith. Definition of integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.

I love the second definition of integrity. When Israel is together, of one mind and united in a cause, they are unbeatable. They act as one unit and are much stronger and a more formidable opponent. Also, the Israelites defend the Gibeonites because they do have a treaty. They are honoring their commitment to others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

I love how the Lord doesn’t hold anything against Joshua; he is totally forgiven for his mistakes. We just saw Joshua disobey an order from God: don’t make treaties with the Canaanites. Now, when Joshua is called upon by the Gibeonites to help, he honors his word and God honors Joshua’s word as well as Joshua seeks the Lord here.

If God can let go of the past so easily, why can’t we?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

Why the Military Coalition of the Southern Kings?

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The Israelites had brought the unique judgment of God against the Canaanites (Jericho and Ai) and did not take any plunder or profit from the cities. An Israelite army fighting for the glory of God and as a unique instrument of God’s judgment made everyone shake in their boots.

The previous victories across the middle of Canaan effectively separated Canaan between north and south. “Israel controlled the Benjaminite plateau, the crossroads between the hill country and the Judean wilderness. It provided access to the coastal plain and lowlands to the west via the Beth Horon pass.” (Hess)

“It has been conjectured that the Canaanitish kings assumed this name in imitation of that of the ancient patriarchal king of this city, Melchizedek, whose name signifies king of righteousness, or my righteous king: a supposition that is not improbable.” (Clarke)

Remember the Gibeonites surrendered because they honored the God of Israel, not because they couldn’t defend themselves.

The Southern Kings gathered forces much as Satan does today. The enemy will use all he has against us.

It was only the Southern kings because the northern kings were already occupied by Israel.  “Jerusalem’s leader wrote at least five letters to the Pharaoh regarding his town and its security. These letters, part of the collection known as the Armana letters, are longer and more literate than the contemporary missives of other Palestinian town leaders.” (Hess)

Jerusalem, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, and Hebron were important cities either for their location or for the trade routes associated with them.

Afraid to attack Israel directly, the kings attacked the Israelites’ subjects, the Gibeonites.

Why are the Israelites still at Gilgal?

  • Gilgal was the place of memorial (Joshua 4:20).
  • Gilgal was the place of radical obedience (Joshua 5:2-3).
  • Gilgal was the place where reproach was removed (Joshua 5:9).
  • Gilgal was the place of obedience and the remembrance of salvation (Joshua 5:10).
  • Gilgal was the place where the manna stopped, and they began to live off what the Promised Land provided (Joshua 5:11-12).
  • Gilgal was the place where they met Jesus Christ in a dramatic way, as commander of the LORD’s armies – and took of their sandals in reverence to holy ground (Joshua 5:13-15).

What Lessons do we Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • It’s okay to call for help. God is our protector. Cry out to Him.
  • God commanded Joshua not to fear because He would deliver. Fear is a sign of unbelief in God doing what He says He’ll do.

Allowing these Canaanite kings to wipe out the Gibeonites would have been a convenient way to get out of a vow that should not have been made, but they will have none of it.

We should have the same sense of honor. Though Joshua was only bound to not kill the Gibeonites himself (Joshua 9:15), he also felt obliged to fulfill the spirit of the vow he made to the Gibeonites.

Why were the Southern Kings taken by Surprise?

The Southern Kings didn’t believe the march was possible in that short of a time. The march from Gilgal to Gibeon involved a climb of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) over a distance of about 20 miles (32 kilometers). This was eight to ten hours of hard marching all through the night.

God does His work, but He draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him before He does what only He can do.

This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done.”

What Did the Hailstorm Signify?

  • God’s hand in the battle.Image result for joshua 10 hailstorm
  • For the Amorites who worshipped nature, they must have thought their gods had abandoned them.
  • In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that this rain of hailstones was actually a sustained meteor show, the train of a comet. He also theorized that the passing of the comet was related to the next amazing work of God for Israel and Joshua.
  • God’s work is greater than man (Joshua’s) work.

Why Did Joshua Ask for the Sun to Stand Still?

  • Joshua wanted a complete victory and needed more time.
  • God would be glorified.
  •  God would be obeyed.
  •  God’s work would be continued without hindrance.
  •  God’s people would triumph.

How did the Sun Stand Still?

Beyond the reason, “Because God said so,” here are various scientific ideas:

  • A slowing of the earth’s rotation.
  • A tilting of the earth’s axis
  • A miracle of reflection of light
  • Simply the presence of God manifested in light.

In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that the long day was caused by the near pass of a comet, that was powerful enough to tilt the axis of the earth. “The tilting of the axis could produce the visual effect of a retrogressing or arrested sun; a greater tilting, a multiple day or night.” [385] He also noted that there are records among the ancient Americans that speak of an extraordinarily long night in the same approximate time.

Fun Battle Fact of the Bible:

This is the first time in Joshua of a counterattack – the enemy initiating a battle against Israel. “Here for the first time Israel does not initiate the aggression but responds to an ally’s appeal.” (Hess)

What Does Joshua 10 Teach Us?

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 2: Romans 2:1-4

Summary of passage:  We have no right to pass judgement on others cause we do the same things (hypocrites). God judges us based on Truth and He’ll judge us as well.  His kindness leads us towards repentance.

Questions:

3)  We have no excuse to pass judgment on others because we commit the same sins.  God bases His judgement on Truth (facts).

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Passing judgment in condemning others for sins when that is God’s job.  We should teach God’s standards instead of judging.  Our standards in judging is different than God’s standards.  I struggle with those who do things that to me is outrageous that I’d never do.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has given me all I have including my family.  He sticks by me when I’m stubborn and do dumb things.  He waits on me to figure out how dumb I’m being.  He forgives me for that and loves me anyways.  I try to be patient with others and kind.  I try not to judge because that is God’s job.

Conclusions:  This teaching is everywhere in our folklore:  It takes one to know one.  The pot calling the kettle black.  Paul is warning us to not be hypocrites as we all sin (often it’s the same sins) and then we criticize others for it.  God will handle it.  Let it be.  You insult God by trying to do His job.

End Notes:  Paul is going to set forth principles that govern God’s judgment.  God judges according to:

  1. Truth (verse 2)
  2. Deeds (verse 6-11)
  3. Light a person has (verse 12-15)

This will lay the groundwork for Paul’s discussion of the guilt of the Jews (verses 17-29).

Having pointed out some of the worst crimes in Romans 1, Paul doesn’t excuse those who may be thinking they are better than those in Chapter 1.  Man is not so different from each other.  We are all the same:  sinners.  We all deserve God’s judgment/wrath upon us.

We should repent and not have a superior attitude.

This teaching is in accordance with Jesus’s teaching who in Matthew 7:1 condemns hypocritical judging, not judging per se.  This is a warning for Jews who were inclined to look down on the Gentiles because of their ignorance of the Old Testament and their immoral lives.

God has been good to us because He has not judged us yet.  He tolerates our present sin.  He has patience knowing we will sin again and again–every day of our lives.  These riches show God’s mercy upon us.

God’s goodness and kindness towards the wicked (and us) is to lead us to repentance.  We choose.  He doesn’t make us.  Everything He gives us we don’t deserve.  For that alone, we must repent and lead a new life in Christ.  The Jews have misconstrued this patience to be a lack of intent to judge.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 3, Day 2: John 2:1-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus performs the first of his miraculous signs the day after having called Philip and Nathanael.  He attends a wedding in Cana still in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother told Jesus there was no more wine.  Jesus replied his time has not yet come.  Still, Jesus told the servants to fill 6 stone water jars with water and hand them to the master of the banquet.  The water had been turned into wine.  He then goes to Capernaum with his mother, brothers, and disciples and stays for a few days.

Questions:

3a)  The wine ran out.  In ancient times, it was custom to feed guests until they were full.  To run out of wine would have been a major faux pas.  The newly married couple would forever feel shame and be known for what happened at their wedding day.  Wine was also a symbol of joy, so the subliminal message would have been “We’re not happy.”

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  No.  Not to jump the gun and be patient and wait for Jesus to make the first move.  That doesn’t mean not to ask.  It just means to be patient.  Mary looks at Jesus expectantly.  We should not expect things from Jesus.  All we are is in His grace alone.  We must remember that when life doesn’t go our way and we’re tempted to blame God.

4)  He performs the miracle anonymously and without pomp.  He doesn’t stand up and announce to the whole wedding party:  “Hey, everyone!  I’m about to turn water into wine.  Everyone look at me!”  No.  Jesus performs miracles with no expectations of acknowledgment or anything in return.

Jesus is showing how he’s better than the Old Covenant if you think of Jesus as the wine and the Old Covenant as the water (See End Notes for more detail on this).

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It seems to indicate that the disciples believed in Jesus when they saw his glory through this first recorded miracle.  They believed before but this miracle deepens their faith just like ours is deepened when we see God in our lives.  Jesus is building up his men for their important work to come.

Conclusions:  Once Jesus decides it’s go time, it’s go time.  He doesn’t dilly-dally around and waste time.  He knows his time is limited here on earth.  This is a great lesson for us all.  Do God’s work for your life now.  You never know when you’ll be called home.

End Notes:  Note Jesus calls Mary “woman” and not mother.  There is a shift in their relationship as Jesus embarks on his plan for the world.  It’s like when our kids grow up.  We’re always parents, but we cut the cord and let our children make their own decisions.  This Greek word indicates this change between the two.

These are one of the few recorded words of Mary in the Bible.  Note what they are:  “Do whatever he tells you.”  What wisdom and advice for us today!

Jesus’ “hour” is his destiny of his death on the cross and John pictures Jesus moving towards it (John 7:6,8,30: 8:20).

The 6 stone jars show detail and show how Jesus uses what’s at hand.  He uses us right where we are today!

Note how Jesus didn’t just conjure up the water.  He uses man to aid him.  Like today when we’re called for Jesus’ work.  This is very typical in Jesus’ miracles and we’ll see this throughout the book of John.  Imagine the servants’ joy.  They didn’t do the miracle, but they shared in it’s joy.  They were blessed by obedience.

The master of the feast would have been angry if the wine ran out.  The servants showed courage in carrying the water to him.

Note how Jesus makes “choice wine”.  Jesus makes the best and goes above and beyond expectations.  We should expect the best when Jesus is involved.

Note Jesus’ first miracle is a miracle of conversion:  water to wine.  Old Testament law to New Testament law.  Cleansing from the blood of Jesus.  Old life to new life.  The water is God under the Old Covenant.  The wine is Jesus under the New Covenant.

The wine was after the water, from the water, and better from the water–all indicative of Jesus.  This first sign points to the redemption of creation from all its trials, allowing the wine of joy to flow fully as the prophets had announced (Isiah 35:1-2; Joel 3;18; Amos 9:13).

John always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs”, which speaks to the action not the marvel.  There are 7 signs in the book of John (the number of completion), which reveal Jesus’ glory and point to the completion of salvation.  The large catch of fish is in the epilogue.

Map of Cana HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 3, Day 2: Revelation 1:1-3

Summary of passage:  An angel appeared to John to deliver and bear witness the revelation of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, which was given by God.

Questions:

3a)  Jesus Christ

b)  An angel gave the revelation to John to reveal what must soon take place in order to bless the listeners.

4)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  The definition of bless according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word; to invoke divine care for; to confer prosperity or happiness upon”.  Basically, blessed in the religious sense describes the favorable circumstance granted by God to a person.  I anticipate furthering my knowledge of God’s word, of His character, of what is to come, and increasing my closeness to God.

5)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  To take to heart means to take something seriously and to internalize or live according to something.  Personally, it means to live like Jesus is coming at any moment.  Live in God’s ways.

Conclusions:  I liked the message to truly live out what is written.  It’s different to know something than do something.  That is the crux of good and wrong.

End Notes:  Revelation has a two-fold meaning.  Jesus is the one revealed, but he also is the one doing the revealing.

Note God gave this to us (believers) to know the future.  He gave us what we need to know.

This is predictive prophecy meaning it will come to pass.  Why are we studying prophecy?  Because it’s in the Bible.  If God deemed we should know it, then we should know it and try to figure out why He wants us to know it.  It also is proclaiming the word of God; hence, we need to know what God says/commands/ instructs.

Five keys parts here:  1)  Revelation  2)  Given by God  3)  To us  4)  Given to John  5)  John is witness

In the original Greek, what is translated here as soon is supposed to be shortly.  This word doesn’t mean it will happen soon.  It means when it does happen, it will be sudden.  “Time is near” is also soon to God for His time is not our time.

“He made it known” was originally translated as “signified”.  This word is rooted in signs.  Revelation is a book of signs.  These signs are from heaven and trying to put them into earthly words requires such means.  Paul says his message from heaven is “inexpressible” (2 Corinthians 12:4).  Can you see the difficulty?  Don’t worry.  We’ll all get it when we get to heaven.

Last year, in the study of Moses, we were asked repeatedly, “Why study the Old Testament?”  I asked myself this as well especially in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  Because 70% of the Book of Revelation is rooted in the Old Testament.  It contains more than 500 allusions to the OT and out of 404 verses in the Book, 278 refer to the OT.  Worth your time, yeah?

Many of the signs and visions are from an angel to John in the Book of Revelation.

We’ve already discussed extensively who John is (See my post HERE and BSF’s Lesson 2, Day 3)

Here, we receive the first of seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation.  This first blessing (“blessed are those who read, hear, and take to heart what is written”) also gives credence to the fact Revelation is meant to be holy scripture since blessings weren’t given to ordinary works.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 2: Exodus 3:1-10

Summary of passage:  Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  In the bush, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire but the bush did not burn.  When God saw that Moses had investigated, God called out to Moses and told him to remove his sandals for he was standing on holy ground.  When God spoke, Moses his is face because he was afraid to look at God.

God told Moses how he has seen and heard his people cry out to Him and seen their suffering.  So He is going to rescue them from Egypt and send them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  He sends Moses to  Pharaoh to bring his people out of Egypt.

Questions:

3a)  To get Moses to investigate the bush closer so God could speak to him.  Otherwise, I’m wondering if Moses would have ignored the bush (how you could with an angel in the bush I’m not for sure.  I would think it would be the angel that attracted Moses but the Bible says it’s the bush).  Hence, we must assume a burning bush in the desert is no big deal.  It’s the fact the bush was not consumed that was the big deal.

b)  God.

c)  “For the place where you [Moses] are standing is holy ground”  Moses was now in the presence of God.  Taking off one’s shoes shows humility as servants often went barefoot in ancient times.  It was a symbol of taking off your sins to be close to God.  Note only close:  we can never be equal with God as God is holy and man is sinful.

d)  God in the person of Jesus.

4a)  Go to Egypt and bring my people out.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God cares about His people’s suffering and oppression and wants to rescue them.

Conclusions:  Right away, here’s God in week 3!  Funny how it’s known as the “Burning Bush” but it never burned.  I wonder why man is instinctively afraid to look upon God.  I know I’d love to see God but I’m wondering if God’s greatness is such that we are afraid of it since man himself is so evil.  I’m wondering if all of our sins flash before us in God’s presence and out of shame we hide.

Interesting how time is nothing to God and it is a lot to us.  Here’s Moses at the age of 40 where his life suddenly changes and he has to flee his old life.  Next thing we know, 40 years have passed and Moses is an old man who is now called to do God’s work.  Nothing is recorded about those 40 years except for God’s concern for His people.  This should encourage us:  nothing will be recorded about my life but God is watching me with concern!  Awesome!

For such a meaty passage, I expected much more meatier questions.

End Notes:  Note how Midian here is described as desert (BSF Lesson 2, Day 3 Question 6).  I picture this as Moses leading a completely obscure life in the middle of nowhere–as far from Egypt and his calling as could be.  In 40 years, he doesn’t even have his own flock of sheep (it’s his father-in-law’s) so Moses is as far from riches and nobility as anyone could be as well.

The mountain of Horeb is later called Mount Sinai where Moses receives the Ten Commandments.  So same place; different points in time.

Some say the burning bush represents Israel:  afflicted but not destroyed.  Some also say it represents the cross as well.

God does not speak to Moses until he has Moses’ attention.  How often do we miss God cause we aren’t paying attention?

God’s first words to Moses:  Moses’ name.  God knows Moses.  He knows his name.  He is important in God’s world even though he’s a nobody in our world.

Note also how God doesn’t just say Moses’ name once.  He calls him twice.  This shows the urgency of God’s plans.  God calls Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41), and Saul (Acts 9:4) all in the same manner.

God then said he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is the One, True God, the God of the covenant.  He has not forgotten His promise to His people.  He was reminding Moses of this.

God chooses Moses as His instrument to rescue His people.  God could do all of it himself.  But instead He chooses people.  (2 Corinthians 6:1:  we work with God).  I think God does this to increase our faith in Him and in other people.

Other places Jesus appears in Old Testament:  Genesis 16:7-13, Judges 2:1-5, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:3-22

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 2: Luke 2:40-52

Summary of passage:  Jesus grew strong and full of wisdom and God’s grace.  At age 12, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover and stayed behind unbeknownst to his parents.  When his parents realized Jesus was not in the convoy, they returned to Jerusalem to find him.  He was in the temple, sitting among the teachers, asking them questions.

Mary asked Jesus why he worried them by staying behind.  Jesus said they should have known he would be in his Father’s house.

Jesus returned to Nazareth with them and continued to grow in wisdom.

Questions:

3a)  He was blessed by God and grew strong and wise.  God was with him.  He was eager to learn from others and his wisdom was already beyond others at age 12.

b)  Hebrews 2:10-18:  Because Jesus was made flesh and blood, he was able to suffer and experience temptation like man does and thus able to help those (us) who are being tempted.  By his physical death, Jesus freed us from the power of death and won for us an eternal life with God the Father and also cleansed us of our sins through his blood.

Hebrews 4:15-16:  Jesus has been tempted in every way like we have and he never sinned. He can sympathize with us and thus we are able to approach the throne with confidence that Jesus will help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 5:7-9:  Jesus submitted to God’s will while he was on earth and prayed and was heard.  He was taught obedience through his suffering and offered eternal salvation for all those who obey him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus being human strengthens our faith.  It wasn’t just some magic trick that saved us or an omnipotent being who waved his wand and poof, it happened.  Jesus was just like us in every way, faced the same things we face every day of our lives, and therefore can understand us more.  It was for our benefit, not God’s, that He became human so that we may believe in Him and trust in Him and be with Him.  Jesus set us free through his physical death.  In no other way could this have happened.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus shows us how to live a Godly life.  Through his example, it is easier for me to submit to God’s will, to overcome temptation, to pray to God to help me every day of my life, to obey unquestioningly, and to accept God’s grace and His eternal gift for my life.  Life is just easier knowing God is on my side every step of every day.

Conclusions:  This story is not recorded by Matthew so I’m assuming that’s why we are reading it now.  Plus, it picks up right after Jesus returned to Nazareth from Egypt so it fits in chronologically with Jesus’ life.

If you followed me last year, you know I dubbed the study of Genesis “The Study of Hebrews” as well since we read Hebrews umpteen times last year.

My study bible says this of Hebrews:  “The book of Hebrews explains why it matters that God descended to the earth and became a human being.  Hebrews goes further than any other New Testament book in explaining Jesus’ human nature.”

Since we are studying Jesus, it is only fitting we study why Jesus existed.

Interesting Facts:  The commandment to attend the Feast of the Passover can be found in Exodus 23:17 and Deuteronomy 16:16.

These are Jesus’ first recorded words.  Isn’t it cool they are about God?

We also must remember in ancient times, a 12 year-old was considered a young man, eligible for marriage.  He could have stayed in Jerusalem and not returned with his parents if he had so desired.  But here we see Jesus as faithful in his human duties as well, following in his father’s footsteps and being obedient to his parents before his calling from God.

Here, we see that at age 12 Jesus already knew who His father was and the calling on his life.  Normally, Jesus would have been a carpenter like his father for the rest of his life but here he makes it clear this will not be the case.

Age 12 is significant here because that is the time boys began to learn their father’s trade. Here, Jesus is learning God’s trade.

The mention of Mary in verse 51 probably means this story came to Luke through Mary.