BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21

Image result for joshua 21

Summary Joshua 21:

The Levites receive towns and pasturelands as their inheritance out of the other tribes’ promised land as the Lord had commanded through Moses. They received a total of 48 towns scattered about within the other tribes’ land–4 from each tribe.

Every promise of God was now fulfilled as all of Israel took possession of the Promised Land and all the Israelites’ enemies fell.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21:

12) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship. They only received towns because they were to depend completely on God, not on the land. They were called to serve God. God was “their share.”

13) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship, so that all can hear God’s word. Remember, no one could read in ancient times but the priests. The people only knew of God from them.

14) 1 Peter says our inheritance “can never perish, spoil, or fade–and it’s kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The deposit is the Holy Spirit as Ephesians says was given to us as a gift from having believed in Christ as our salvation, which guarantees our inheritance (heaven and eternal life) until the Last Days.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: God keeps His promises–all of them. God is with me no matter what, directing me, taking care of me, fulfilling my every need. He is there, helping me in all my trials. He is the hope we all need.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

I love how God is there in the details (the allotting of land) as much as He’s there in the big picture (the taking of the Land). I love how this ends: With all of God’s promises fulfilled. Such hope. Even though it took 40 years. It’s all in God’s timing and not ours. Patience and He will do what He says He’ll do.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

God would be the Levites’ inheritance (Joshua 13:14, and 13:33).Image result for joshua 21

The Levites are the only ones without their own land and together. God wanted the Levites “sprinkled” all throughout the land of Israel. He never intended there to be one “state” of Levi, but every tribe was to have the priestly influence and presence in their midst.

In the same manner, Christians (being priests, 1 Peter 2:5 and 2:9) are to be “sprinkled” all throughout the world and society, instead of heading off to make a “Christian country” somewhere.

Further note the Levites or the priests received their cities last of all the tribes. Priests are appointed to serve, not to be served, and there is something priestly about letting others go first.

Historical Notes: This is the point where Israel stopped commemorating Passover as if equipped to travel as described in Exodus 12:11). Now they will eat the Passover reclining at rest (as described in John 13:23) because the LORD had given them rest in the land.

Our take-away from Joshua:

Any failure to fully possess the land was not because God had not made adequate provision, but because Israel had failed to fully follow the LORD.

Ask yourself: God has been completely faithful to you and made provision for continual victory. He has given greatly, but what do you possess?

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 5: Romans 3:19-20

Summary of passage:  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

Questions:

11)  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

12a) Just that:  To silence every critic, God is making it clear ALL are guilty before Him.

b) So far, it hasn’t really. I’ve learned more about the importance of it, but it hasn’t had an concrete effects on identifying and confessing sins.  It’s Week 4.

Conclusions: Unsure why we need a whole day on these two verses (besides the obvious that Romans only has 16 chapters for a 30 week study), which in my mind only emphasizes the facts we’re not righteous just because we obey the law, which is what we’ve been talking about all week.

End Notes:  The law cannot save you.  It gives you knowledge of your sins, not salvation.  In fact, it condemns you, not saves you.  Yes, God wants you to keep His laws and walk in His ways.  But that alone will not give you eternal life.  Only the purifying blood of Jesus can do so under the New Covenant.

J.B. Phillip’s paraphrase of “through the law we become conscious of sin” is striking.  He writes, “it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 4, Day 5: John 3:22-36

Summary of passage:  After Jesus’ time with Nicodemus, he and his disciples began spreading the word of God in the Judean countryside and baptizing people.  John the Baptist was also still baptizing people at this same time.  An argument arose between the followers of John the Baptist and other Jews.  They were saying Jesus is baptizing as well.  John said that’s fine for Jesus is giving the same gift from heaven.  Jesus is above John the Baptist since he came from heaven.  He speaks the words of God and has been given everything by the Father.  Whoever accepts Jesus will have eternal life.

Questions:

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John said it’s fine Jesus is around and humbled himself by saying Jesus is greater than he since Jesus is from heaven.  He is joyful at Jesus’ presence.  The joy of others doing the same thing as you.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John says Jesus if “the one who comes from above”, “The one whom God has sent”, “the one who comes from heaven”, “the one above all”, the Son of God, and the one to bring eternal life.  The same.

Conclusions:  John’s reaction to Jesus is what’s important here.  He’s not jealous that people are going to Jesus instead of him.  He’s joyful and happy.  We should all be that way when our competitors in life do better than we do.  It’s very hard to repress that selfishness that arises but John’s example is inspiring to do so.

End Notes:  Notice John’s focus:  Jesus’ work in Judea.  The other gospels focus on Jesus’ work in Galilee.  Map HERE of region.

Jesus is continuing the work of John the Baptist, who was doing the work God told him to do.  Jesus baptized and preached repentance, the same as John.  All we know is we’re in the region of Judea.

Where John was (Aenon near Salim) is disputed.  Aenon means “springs”, which makes sense since you need water to baptize.  Two locations are suggested:  one is 7 miles south of Bethshan and the other near Shechem.

The details of the argument is unknown.  What’s important is John’s reaction:  joy!  Jesus is here.  Let him come!

John responds to his disciples:  all I have is Jesus’, Jesus is the one who he’s announcing is coming and has come (his life’s purpose), and he’s just the best man–not the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom arranges many parts of the wedding for the groom and is there only to help, which is John the Baptist’s role.  Saying Jesus is the bridegroom is saying he’s God.  All would have recognized from the Old Testament that Israel is the bride of Yahweh.

John is happy that Jesus is winning disciples.  That is John’s job–to bring them all to Jesus.  He’s doing a good job at evangelism.

Jesus is greater; the servant is less.  This John understood.  He kept doing the job he was sent to do even if the crowds lessened.  He’s still doing God’s work, which changes for us all.

Scholars debate whether verses 31-36 is John the Baptist still speaking or John the Apostle adding commentary.

Jesus is greater than everyone else and has first-hand knowledge of heaven since he’s from heaven.  This who we trust:  those who’ve been there and done that.  Jesus is the only one who’s been to heaven and back to tell.

No one will believe John says.  Jesus will be rejected.  He is prophesizing here.  This is relatively speaking.  Some did believe but most did not.

The Spirit is given freely to us all (without measure).

“The one whom God has sent” is a key theme in John’s Gospel (John 4:34; John 17:3).

“Without limit” here is debated:  is God giving the Spirit to only Jesus or to all believers?

“Has” means eternal life is a present possession, not something the believer will only obtain later.

Fun Fact:  “The Father loves the Son” is used only twice in the book of John (again in 5:20).  But a different Greek word is used in each case.

Using “the Son” to designate Jesus is a theme in this Gospel.

The wrath of God is brought upon man by himself.  God doesn’t do it.  Wrath is not a passion or an outburst.  It’s God’s displeasure that sin brings.  It’s God’s righteousness against unrighteousness.  So many churches these days downplay God’s wrath.  But without God’s wrath, there is no judgment, no morals, no values.

“God’s wrath” means that God is actively opposed to everything evil.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time John uses “wrath” in his Gospel.

“Abides” or “remains” means God’s wrath is for eternity (total and permanent) unless you accept Jesus who takes God’s wrath.

Conclusions to Lesson 4 and John 3:

John 3 is a must read for any Christian and a great place to point unbelievers.  It states:

You must be born again (John 3:7)

The Son of Man must be lifted up (John 3:14)

God must increase (John 3:30)

Man must decrease (John 3:30)

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 5: Revelation 2:8-11

Summary of passage: John’s letter to the church in Smyrna says Jesus knows their afflictions and poverty and knows of the false prophets. He says they will suffer but encourages them to be faithful and they will earn the crown of life (eternal life).

Questions:

13a)  Death, torture, death

b)  Death, torture, death

14a)  Because it is just the body that suffers, not the soul.  The soul is what lives on in heaven–which is what matters.  All believers in Christ go to heaven.  There is nothing to fear in Christ.

b)  Knowing there is something beyond this realm gives hope and faith in suffering.  Our suffering turns others towards Him as we are living examples of faith.  Jesus himself suffered as we are called to do as well.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We had this question last year as well.  I have not suffered anywhere remotely close to the first century Christians and living in the US has sheltered me from suffering physically.  I personally have not suffered in any life-impacting way.

Conclusions:  Not sure how any of these questions relate to the passage directly; they are extrapolations to Jesus.

End Notes:  See previous POST for commentary.

Conclusions to Lesson 4: We focused in on the first two letters John wrote to the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna.  We saw the major difference between the two is Ephesus was rebuked for turning from Christ; whereas, Smyrna was only encouraged and praised for its suffering for Christ.

A lot of repetition in questions from last year.  I suppose BSF asks these every year but it stands out to me this year.

I have also come to realize as I grow in Christ and as my knowledge grows these questions seem repetitive to me because I have answered them before and I know them.  I know more of the Bible and God’s Word and to me it’s easy because I do know it.  I’m trying to keep that in mind that BSF is appealing to all wherever their walk is with Christ so some questions will be repetitive and redundant to some of us but not others.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 4, Day 5: Exodus 6:1-27

Summary of passage:  The Lord answers Moses’ complaint in Chapter 5.  He says Pharaoh will let his people go because of Him.  God repeats himself a bit here, saying He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob whom He established a covenant with.  He has heard the groaning of the Israelites and He has remembered (Exodus 3:6-8).

God tells Moses to tell His people He will rescue them from the Egyptians as His own people and bring them to the Promised Land.  Moses again told the Israelites who again did not listen to him.  God again tells Moses to tell Pharaoha to let the people go and again Moses asks why would anyone listen to him.  A listing of Levi clan heads is given, showing Moses’ and Aaron’s genealogy.

Questions:

8a)  Repeated himself (Exodus 3:6-8), saying He will do what He says He will do and free the Israelites.

b)  I am the Lord

c)  That this is God speaking and God keeps His promises as the One, True, omnipotent God.

9a)  Pharaoh will let the Israelites go and will drive them out of his country.  He will bring them out from under the Egyptians’ yoke.  He will free them and redeem them with an outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgment.  God will take them as His own people and be their God.  You will know He is Lord.  He will bring them to the Promised Land and give it to them as their possession.

[Side Note:  These are the seven famous “I will”s in verses 6-8 and then add the one promise from verse 1.  See End Notes for more.]

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Too many to list here as I believe the entire Bible is God’s promise to me.  Some are:  He will provide for me, take care of me, comfort me, listen to me, answer me, guide me, protect me, and bring me home when He is done with me.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we are discouraged, our faith is weakened.  To be aware when I am down so I can consciously strengthen my faith and to be aware of those times when I tend to feel self-doubt so I can remind myself of God’s promises.

11a)  Levi, Kohath, Amram and Jochebed, Moses and Aaron

b)  Wife:  Elisheba.  Sons:  Nadab, Abuihu, Eleazar, Ithamar.  Daughter-in-law:  one of the daughters of Putiel.  Grandson:  Phinehas

Conclusions:  Do you ever think God gets tired of repeating Himself?  I know I do when I repeat myself over and over to my kids and I ask them “Are you listening to me?”  I know the answer is “no”.  God does as well.  Great lesson here in the workings of the human mind.  Repetition and lots of it especially in the learning phase.  God has patience and compassion on us when we forget things as we should with those around us as well.

God is also constantly re-assuring us when we doubt ourselves, telling us we can do this with Him by our side. He has given us His words to live by which should be taken as Him speaking to us like He did with Moses.  The Bible is God speaking to us–His promises, His help, His re-assurance, His guidance, His words of advice, His comfort, His love.  If only we could remember this each and every second of our lives…

End Notes:  In God’s grace, He is telling Moses He is in control, not Pharaoh.  In all fairness to Moses, God has only promised the covenant.  Here, He is about to fulfill the covenant after a 400 year wait.  It seems a long time for mankind when to God it is nothing.  But man and Moses are impatient and want it now!

What is famous in this passage is the Seven “I will”s in verses 6-8:

· I will bring you out
· I will free you from being slaves
· I will redeem you
· I will take you as My people
· I will be your God
· I will bring you to the land I swore
· I will give it to you as a possession

Before this, there is one more “I will”:  I will do to Pharaoh (verse 1).

Interestingly, here it is the future tense.  In the original Hebrew, it is in the past tense–meaning that God speaks as if it has already been accomplished.

Other famous “I will” statements in the Bible is those of Satan in Isaiah 14:13-15.

The Israelites now had a slave mentality after 400 years.  They were discouraged from their cruel bondage.  This way of life is all they have known.  Believing God would rescue them is something they needed to see before believing.  Ezekiel, having the word of the Lord, explains how the Israelites had turned from him to the gods of the Egyptians and it was only out of God’s grace and pity did He bring them out of Egypt and so His name would not be profaned in the nations around His people.  Once again, we see God forgiving us stupid humans again and again and again.

God told Moses to go once again to Pharaoh and demand the release of His people.  Moses objected because of “uncircumcised of lips”, which is the Hebrew translation.  This in not in the NIV version which uses the term “faltering”.  The former speaks volumes to Moses’ opinion of himself.  He now thinks he is unclean to deliver God’s message.  Moses needed his faith built just as much as the Israelites did and here God is doing so with all of these challenges and setbacks.

This genealogy seems unimportant to us mainly because of our culture where our heritage seems to be lost and because we in America at least are not dictated by a class system.  But this was hugely important to God.  There are 3 main tribes of the Levite clan, all sons of Levi:  Gershon, Kohath, and Merari which would have different jobs in relation to God’s future tabernacle.

We will see the sons of Korah again in Numbers 16 when they rebel against Moses.

Wow!  This passage is jam packed.  Every time God speaks in the Bible (or Jesus but for our purposes it will be God Himself in our study of the Old Testament) we need to pay attention and try to glean not only the message but God’s other hidden messages as well.  It is obvious Moses’ doubt.  What is not so obvious is God’s testing and building of faith in His people.  His purpose. His timing.  His omnipotence.  His control.  What we need to see in our own lives!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 5: Matthew 4:12-25

Summary of passage:  When John the Baptist had been put in prison, Jesus returned to Galilee.  He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, which fulfilled Isaiah 9: 1,2.

Jesus called Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew to follow him.  Then he called James and John.  Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching the good news and healing people.  News about him spread and people brought him man sick to heal.  Large crowds followed him.

Questions:

8a)  Isaiah 9:1-2:  Jesus visited the land of Zebulun and Naphtali and Galilee.  He was the light to those living in the shadow of death.

Isaiah 11:1-3:  Jesus will come from the line of Jesse and the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel, power, fear of the Lord and he will judge with righteousness.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is definitely the light in my otherwise dark world.  I know I am judged by righteousness and I am saved eternally.  I can go to him for wisdom, understanding, and counsel whenever I need him.

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It was immediate.  One command was all it took to obey Jesus.

b)  He will make them fishers of men.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Fishers of men is disciples so they would learn from Jesus first-hand as they followed him in his ministry and then go and “fish” out others to convert.  I believe I am learning every day to follow Jesus and be like him and as I do I gain the knowledge I need to speak the good news to others.

10a)  Repent, turn to God, and accept Jesus for the kingdom of God is near.

b)  John the Baptist was preaching the same thing of repentance, only saying that Jesus was coming as well.  When Jesus arrived, he brought the power of the Holy Spirit and the ability to grant people eternal life.

c)  Accept me (Jesus) and have eternal salvation.

11a)  Jesus has come to save you from you sins and offer you a way to God once again.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In Isaiah 35:10, we learn we will have everlasting joy and sorrow will flee away.  Jesus came to save us all and to heal the sick and the broken-hearted who desperately need him.  If we accept him, nothing can defeat us (including the devil) for Jesus is our guiding light in this dark world.

Conclusions:  Wasn’t feeling this lesson.  Not sure why.  It seemed to be the same idea and thought and question just worded differently.  We spent a lot of time in Isaiah looking at the prophecy of Jesus.

My favorite part was how the disciples immediately followed Jesus.  They didn’t say,”Hold on, Jesus.  I gotta go home and get a few things and make sure my house is in order.”  No.  They dropped what they were doing and followed him without question.  Great example for us when we are called to do His work.

Extras:  Great explanation of the phrase “fishers of men” HERE

Map showing Capernaum and Nazareth HERE

Map showing Zebulun and Naphtali HERE

Explanations:  Matthew leaves out some of Jesus’ first ministries that is recorded in the first four chapters of John.  Jesus left Nazareth because they did not believe in him (Luke 4:16-30) and chose Capernaum instead.  Galilee at this time is a highly-populated, very productive and economically viable state with very fertile land with a lot of Gentiles.

The Greek word for preach means a herald’s proclamation from a king.  Jesus was the herald for God.

Jesus had actually met these men previously (John 1:35-42 & Luke 5:3) but this was the first time he called them to follow him.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time demon-possessed is mentioned in the New Testament.  With the exception of Saul, it seems to be much more common in the New Testament than the Old Testament.