BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6

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Summary of 1 Samuel 6:

The priests and the diviners of the Philistines hatch a plan to send the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites: they made gold models as a guilt offering of 5 gold tumors and 5 gold rats in a cart with cows who had never been yoked before. They put the guilt offering and the ark in a cart. If the cart went towards Beth Shemesh, then it was God against them. Otherwise, it was chance.

When the ark returned to the Israelites, they sacrificed the two cows as burnt offerings to God and the large rock they set the ark down upon remained a witness. However, 70 Israelis died because they looked into the ark.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

6) The Philistines knew they had to send a guilt offering to God. By sending gold models, the Philistines hoped to send the originals out of the country as well. They put the objects in a cart and put stipulations on what it meant if the cows went one way or another, thinking the animals would prove it was by chance and not by God all of this happened. We put stipulations and meaning on objects or actions as well and say it means God is with us or it’s His will or not, when in reality we have no clue.

7) The people made a burnt sacrifice to God, using the cows sent over. However, 70 people looked into the ark and God killed them for it since this was against His laws. Believers blatantly disregard Him and His commands such as we see here with looking into the ark of the covenant.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: God is in control, and He rewards His people when they obey and puts consequences on them when they disobey. As long as I obey, I’m rewarded. When I disobey, I’m not.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

This isn’t exactly an encouraging passage. However, it does make a point: obey God or suffer the consequences.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

The Philistines kept the ark of the covenant for 7 months because they did not want to part with such a trophy. However, ultimately, they had to. It can take a long time before we realize the futility of resisting God.

The Philistine priests had enough sense to know they offended the LORD God. Therefore, they knew they should do something to express their sorrow and repentance before the LORD. We were not told in 1 Samuel 5 that the plague involved rats. Acknowledging God’s judgement is one way to give Him glory.

The Philistines admitted that the God of Israel judged their gods and had jurisdiction over their lands. They confessed that He was Almighty God, yet they did not worship Him instead of their gods. Big mistake.

The testing of God by the Philistines:

The Philistines decide to test God to make sure the plague was sent by Him. The test was stacked against God. Two milk cows which have never been yoked should not pull a cart at all; instead, they should have resisted their yokes. Additionally, the Philistines separated the babies from their mothers. The “maternal instinct” of the cows would draw them not towards the land of Israel, but back home to their own calves. The Philistines devised a test that “forced” the God of Israel to do something miraculous to demonstrate He really was the cause of the plagues.

God never wanted the ark to be transported by a cart. He wanted it to be carried by poles set in rings on the side of the ark (Numbers 4:15).

The ark didn’t have “handles” and was not to be carried by lifting it directly in one’s hands. Instead, it was to be carried by inserting gold-overlaid wood poles into gold rings at each corner of the ark. The poles were to remain inserted in the rings, and to be the source of contact with the ark. Apart from touching the poles, it was forbidden to touch the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:12-15).

Ironic how the Philistines were wise enough not to look in the ark of the covenant and instead placed the models next to it, but the Israelites weren’t.

Image result for 1 samuel 6Of course, the cows showed God’s glory. Two cows who never pulled a cart before with no driver left home and marched the ten miles or so to a city they had never been to. They left their own calves behind and went straight on a certain road, with never a wrong turn, never a stop, never turning aside into the fields to feed themselves, never turning back to feed their own calves. The cows were unhappy about doing God’s will cause they lowed.

The Israelites finally had God back (He had never left them, but in their minds He had).

What the Israelites did right upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • In a strict sense their offering was against the Mosaic Law. First, they offered female animals to the LORD, which was forbidden (Leviticus 1:322:19). Second, they made a burnt offering to the LORD away from the tabernacle, which violated the command in Deuteronomy 12:5-6. Yet God knew both their hearts and the remarkable circumstances, and He was no doubt honored.
  • The Israelites were careful to let the Levites handle the ark, as was commanded by the law (Numbers 4:1-615). Beth Shemesh was a priestly city (Joshua 21:16), so priests were on hand.

What the Israelites did wrong upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • The Ark of the Covenant was only to be touched and handled by specific Levites from the family of Kohath, and even they were commanded to not touch the ark itself (Numbers 4:15). The men of Beth Shemesh sinned by not only touching the ark, but also looking into it inappropriately.
  • God dealt with the Israelites more strictly than He dealt with the Philistines who just transported the ark by a cart. God did this because the Israelites, who had His law, should have and did know better. It is sad to consider that the Philistines showed more honor to the holiness of God than the Israelites.

Isaiah 55:8-9 shows this thought: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to respect the fact that God is God and we are not, and there are some things we just will not, and should not, know.

What is the holiness of God?

Holiness means that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes.

Image result for holiness of godWhen Peter saw the holy power of Jesus he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). When the disciples on another occasion saw the holy Jesus shining forth at the transfiguration, they were greatly afraid (Matthew 17:6). When we meet the Holy God, we are excited and afraid all at the same time.

Holiness is part of the new man we are in Jesus (Ephesians 4:24), and we are invited to be partakers – sharers of Jesus’ holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

Though God is holy and apart from us, instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. As it says in 1 Peter 1:16, God calls us to be holy, for I am holy. Holiness is not so much something we have as much as it is something that has us.

We don’t know why they picked this village. All we know is the men of Kirjath Jearim received the ark and it stayed there for many years until King David brought it to the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 8, Day 3: Romans 5:3-5

Summary of passage:  We rejoice in our sufferings since suffering produces perseverance, character and hope.  God has given us the Holy Spirit whereby He pours out His love to us.

Questions:

6a)  Believers rejoice in suffering because suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.  This is all because of God’s love poured out unto us by the Holy Spirit.

b) Personal Question. My answer:  If we didn’t suffer, we wouldn’t need God as much.  We seek Him more and seek to understand Him and His ways more in our suffering.  Otherwise, we’d be complacent in our faith.  I refuse to give up.  I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  All through God’s power.  Some days are rougher than others.  But keeping Him my focus and my light guides my way.

7)  God is with us always through the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we’re broken, the Holy Spirit puts the pieces back together.  It leads and we follow. Our path in life is taken care of.  Worries fall away and God shines.  Hope is the promise of a better tomorrow.  We all know where we’re spend eternity—the ultimate hope.  Everyday hope is where we find the peace of God in our steps.  It’s the courage to get out of bed in the morning and the courage to face the day.  Hope.

Conclusions:  One of the most often quoted verses in the Bible.  We all need a bit more perseverance, character, and hope and the daily struggle to achieve that is what makes life worth living.

End Notes:  Continuing from verse 3 where Paul says to rejoice  in the hope he now says to rejoice in tribulations (real hardships) in life.  Paul knows what he’s talking about, having been persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, etc.  These tribulations give us endurance (perseverance) to grow in our faith with God.

Hope is the confident expectation and blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.  Paul moves from faith (verse1) to hope (verse 2, 4-5), to love (verse 5).

Tribulations give us more character and more hope.  The easy life does not.  We must be stressed (like muscles in the body) in order to grow.

God pours His live into us through the Holy Spirit, which continues to live in us.

Everyone who is a Christian has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). But not every Christian lives in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and not every Christian walks in the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5).  Which are you?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 3: John 6:1-13

Summary of passage: After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee. He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again. Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers and asks Philip his opinion on what should be done as a test since Jesus already knows what he’s going to do.  Philip does not see Jesus as the miracle worker; he immediately answers with a world’s answer:  where will be get the money?  Andrew sees a boy with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and is being practical of the matter by finding a starting point.

5000 men sat down and Jesus prayed over the food and began distributing it.  It never ran out and they even had leftovers.  Jesus asked Philip as a test where will they get food to feed all these people as Jesus already knew what he was going to do.  Philip immediately said they don’t have enough money to buy food for all these people.  Andrew found a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish.

Jesus had the 5000 men sit down.  He took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed all to the people with leftovers.

Questions:

5)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Philip immediately thought of the expense of feeding the people.  Andrew found what was around.  The boy shared (we’re not told willingly or not).  They all thought practically, not taking into account who Jesus was.  I’d probably be the same.  How will we do this?  I do think practically but Jesus works in miracles and anything is possible with him.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He gave thanks.  Thankfulness does not play a big enough part in my life.  We’re supposed to be joyful, pray, and give thanks no matter your circumstances.  God is enough.  Yet we often don’t act like it or believe it.  Today I witnessed another lady pay her friend’s tax bill.  It was only $295.  The friend was in tears.  It made me think how blessed I am and how kindness can play a big part in others’ lives.  We in the developed world have nothing to be ungrateful for.  We live amazing lives full of ease and luxury compared to 2000 years ago and others around the world.  This is all thanks to Him.  We need to thank Him every day for His generosity and His Son and all we have because of Him.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He feeds them and abundantly blesses them.  He saw the need, had the people gather around him, he gave thanks for what they had, and provided all the people needed and then some.  Teach others about Jesus.  Have compassion on people.  You don’t know what they are going through.  Feed others literally–physical needs first.  Then feed them spiritually.  Take care of all their needs.  Look around and see the need even if others won’t ask.  It is there if only we’d open our eyes.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on God’s abundance to His people.  Believe in the impossible even when you can’t see it.  Pray for the impossible.  For God will answer and provide.  Classic story that embodies all Christ is about.  He gives and gives and gives some more.  He doesn’t stop giving at the expense of himself.  If only we could see that.

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan. Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD. This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action. It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover. These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast. Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt. Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day. Not John. He cuts to the chase: Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Jesus is testing Philip’s faith here as well as feeding the people.  Philip has been with Jesus long enough and seen enough miracles he should have known Jesus would solve this problem.  He’s teaching his disciples for when he is no longer here.

Some scholars say the disciples should have anticipated this miracle and not have doubted God’s provision (Psalm 78:19).  2 Kings 4:38-42 shows God multiplying barley loaves.

Philip thinks small, which we often do.  With Jesus we must think big.

Andrew introduces the boy to Jesus.  Again, he’s spreading the Good News.

Barley is worth less than wheat, meaning the boy is most likely poor.  It was most often fed to the livestock.

John uses a different word for fish than the other Gospels.  He indicates they are small.

Women and children are not included in the 5000 so Jesus actually fed many, many more.

In God’s hands, small is big.  God doesn’t need a lot to work with.  He doesn’t need anything but he’s waiting for us to participate.

In no hurry, the people sit down, invoking Psalm 23.  Jesus’ hands is what makes the miracle, not the act of distribution.  Note the bread and fish are dead.  Jesus gives life from death.

Jesus brought the disciples in to help him.  He could have made the food appear in everyone’s hands but instead he uses others to fulfill his desires.  Great lesson!

He makes food for others but not for himself in the wilderness.

Everything was abundant and everyone had more than enough.  Eating and drinking is a sign of prosperity in the Old Testament and is often used as a sign of blessing from God when our basic needs are met.

The boy ended up with more as well.

Nothing is wasted with Jesus either.  The leftovers are gathered up to be used later.

Fun Quote on this passage:  Augustine:  “God loves us for what we are becoming.”

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 3: Daniel 2

Summary of passage:  King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by dreams.  He asked his sorcerers, magicians, enchanters, and astrologers to interpret his dreams for him but if they were wrong, he’d kill them and destroy their houses.  If they were right, he’d reward them.  Not trusting his advisors, the King asked them to tell him the dream first, then the interpretation so he’d know they weren’t lying to him.

The advisors told him what he was asking was impossible.  The King, angry, ordered all the wise men killed.  Daniel, wisely, asked for time.  He, Hannah, Mishael, and Azariah asked God for help.  God answered.  Daniel praised.

Daniel told the King his dream:  Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a statue made of various metals.  A rock struck the statue and turned it into chaff, becoming a huge mountain and filling the earth.  Daniel’s interpretation:  the metals represented different kingdoms with the golden top being Babylon that will conquer one another.  God will set up His kingdom which will conquer all and endure forever–that was the rock cut out of the mountain.

King Nebuchadnezzar praised God and rewarded Daniel with ruler over the entire province of Babylon.  Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego appointed administrators as well.

Questions:

6a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He praised His name, wisdom, and power.  God changes times and seasons, He sets up kings and deposes them, He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning, He reveals deep and hidden things, He knows what lies in darkness and what light dwells within.

Daniel thanked and praised God for having given him wisdom and power, made known to him what he asked, and made known the dream.

I learned nothing I didn’t know before:  God is ruler of all earthly kingdoms and people.  He stands above and they exist only because He allows them to exist.  His kingdom is the only eternal kingdom.

Summation:  Praise for power, might, and communication to man.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Given us a house, given me hope my novel may be published by having agents interested in it, kept my husband’s job safe, healed some physical pain I’ve had this year, made my kids happy with all their activities, blessed us financially, and all the little daily things such as food, clothing, shelter, pets, etc.

7a)  Kingdoms exist only because God allows them to exist.  Kingdoms come and go upon God’s will.  Only God’s kingdom is forever and eternal.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith and my life lies with Him.  Period.

Conclusions:  Similar questions we’ve had before for 7b–hope the Second Coming gives us.  This passage relates to Revelation–the fact God’s kingdom is eternal and He will set up one that will never be destroyed (Second Coming).  Great reminder that kingdoms (governments for us) are transitory by God’s design.  Why worry over something God has?  Good lesson despite the preponderance of personal questions.

End Notes:  Debate continues over whether or not Nebuchadnezzar remembered the dream or not.  It’s hard to say from this passage.  What Nebuchadnezzar was asking from his advisors was not a stretch–their job was to be in contact with gods–the ones who sent Nebuchadnezzar the dream in the first place–so why shouldn’t they be able to tell it to him?

The Babylonians believed dreams were how the gods communicated to people.  If you try to remember this,  you can see how important this dream was to the King of Babylon and how important its interpretation would be.

Fun Fact:  Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic.  This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic.  Only the book of Ezra is similarly split.

Why?  Aramaic was the most common language of the people at this time (Alexander the Great is still 300 years away from conquering these peoples and spreading Greek culture and language throughout Asia).  Scholars say the people would have been interested in these sections of the Bible so Aramaic made it accessible to more people.  Furthermore, the astrologers spoke in Aramaic.

The astrologers knew only a god could interpret the dream.  Obviously, no god they knew could.

Why kill all your intelligent men?  Nebuchadnezzar was a new king at this time.  Perhaps he was seeking a reason to rid himself of the old king’s advisors and start anew.  He was probably also testing their loyalty to him and not to the old king (his father).

What do you do in a crisis?  What Daniel did.  Stay calm, ask God, listen and wait on God.  Awesome!

The power of prayer with friends! Awesome!

God reveals Himself to us.  It’s our job to understand His revelations–not to understand God’s ways.

Praising God indicates our faith.

Daniel gave God all the credit and diminished himself.  Do we?

Note the order of the metals–from most precious to least:  gold, silver, bronze, iron, clay–all destroyed by a mere rock–Jesus is the Rock.

The other three kingdoms:  Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Babylon was at the top because it was an absolute monarchy.  The others were in a sense but by the time we get to Rome, power by the people had taken root.  God is our absolute monarch and is the ideal kingdom.

Babylon lasted 66 years.  Medo-Persia 208.  Greece 185.  Rome over 500.

This prophecy is still in the future.  We will get to the number 10 (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12).  Rome was the last great empire and not one single event (the shattering of the statue) has eliminated governments today.

Interesting how man begins with gold and ends up as dust.  Amazing God’s power and our insignificance.

Friends were promoted as well–they helped when they prayed together.  Powerful!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 3: Exodus 20:1-11

Summary of passage:  God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  Here, we study the First Four, which address the people’s relationship with God.

1)  You shall have no other gods before me.

2)  You shall have no idols of any form for I am a jealous God.

3)  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

4)  Keep the Sabbath holy.

Questions:

7a)  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a tough one.  In every way.  God’s grace, love, mercy, understanding, light.

8 )  Exodus 20:3:  You shall have no other gods before me.  Ask God to always have Him at my center.

Exodus 20:4-6:  You shall have no idols of any form.  God warns that he will punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hat him but show love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and Keep His commandments.  Ask God to have Him at my center and to listen to Him and not to the world.

Exodus 20:7:  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.  God warns He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  Ask God to temper my anger and keep a clean mouth.

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15:  Keep the Sabbath holy.  God blessed the Sabbath.  Ask God to allow me to rest in Him always and forever.

Conclusions:  I like how the Ten Commandments are broken up, especially after yesterday which I thought was a lot to take in.

End Notes:  We cannot underestimate the weight of the Ten Commandments here and what it meant.  Finally, for the first time in the history of the world, mankind (specifically the Israelites) have a binding treaty with their God.  For millenia, people worshipped fickle gods who may or may not be pleased with offerings or with their behavior.  Here, God has told His people exactly what He expects from them and what will please Him and how to live their lives.  This is a momentous occasion and the people know it.

This concept is very hard for those of us who have known God our entire lives to go back 4000 years. Can you imagine the hope?  God is promising if you obey Him, He will take away diseases, struggles, and war and usher in a secure, wealthy society.  It’s almost as if God is offering us a second chance after the Fall.  Can you know imagine and take in the heartbreak of God when His people failed Him again?

We must remember the people THEMSELVES heard God speak these words.  They were so afraid that they asked Moses to be the one to deliver God’s words from now on (Exodus 20:18-19).  Can you imagine?  I want to hear God’s voice!!

Are the Ten Commandments new?  No.  These are laws that have been in the heart of man since Adam.  They are deep in our consciouses, rooted in nature, rooted in our souls.  God just put these into words.

This is God’s Laws, NOT Moses’ laws despite the fact they are commonly known as the Mosaic Law.  God spoke these, NOT Moses.  This is ALL God.  NO man is above God. He is the highest law of the land.

The Code of Hammurabi, the closest analogy to God’s laws at this time, focuses on the ruler, Hammurabi. It is laws about his supremacy, not any god, much like rules from our government today.

God is the ultimate authority, not man’s fickleness or idea of what is right or wrong.  We need God’s moral code to teach us, to guide us, to set expectations and consequences if we fail, to serve as an impetuous.  Otherwise, it would be all about “me” and not about Him or others.

The Commandments and all of God’s decrees are a gift from Him to His people.  Without them, we’d be lost.  We need the moral guidance, instruction, and impetuous.  Otherwise, life would have no meaning.

First Commandment:  The Commandments are listed in order of importance.  We must remember polytheism is the norm.  Monotheism is a new idea.  Here God takes great pains to say He is the only one out there.

Note how first God delivers the Egyptians.  First He provides for them.  First He meets their needs.  Then He issues His laws.  He blesses first, then asks for obedience.  Amazing!

Second Commandment:  Again, this time period has people worshipping thousands of man-made objects. God spoke with words, not images.  God is a Spirit, not an object.

God must be supreme for our own good, not God’s.  With Him at the center, we flourish.  With other things at the center, we sin.

As long as you love God, you will not be punished.

Third Commandment:  Self explanatory.  Revere God and His name.

Fourth Commandment:  Remember the Rest.  Remember that we rest in Him through Jesus. Every day should be a rest as we remember the finished work of God.  We remember and celebrate God every day, not just on Sundays.

But as God rested physically, so should we.  From work.  We are not to be idle.  We are to work, THEN rest.

Under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 says Christians are not bound to observe any day or week in particular. “The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).”  Credit to Enduring Word commentaries.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 3: Matthew 7:7-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We give our children what we ask for as the Father gives good gifts to those who ask as well!  Do to others what you would have them do to you as the law says.

Questions:

6a)  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We ask God, then we seek Him, and then we persistently knock until we receive.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.  For clarity in terms of what I’m supposed to be doing in my life and to quell my conscious.

7)  Luke replaces gifts with the Holy Spirit in the last verse.  We are promised if we ask, He will give us the Holy Spirit.

8a)  No.

b)  No.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It gives me great comfort to know that God does answer my prayers.  That He hears me.  That as I pursue Him, I will find Him.  As God pours out His gifts upon us, so we should do the same.  For we are all equally unworthy.

Conclusions:  I had high expectations for this lesson but it seems to have fallen short in terms of the questions.  Either that or it’s self-explanatory as in my answer to question 6a.  You really can’t explain that or put it better than Jesus did.

Notes on the Golden Rule:  The Golden Rule has been around for centuries before Jesus, most notably promoted by Confucius.  However, Jesus was the first to put this in the affirmative, saying do unto others instead of don’t do unto others.  This strengthens the rule and broadens it, desiring us to go above and beyond for others instead of just not doing one thing.

If we treat others how we want to be treated, we wouldn’t break any other law of God.  Hence, it’s the summation of the Law.  Of course, it doesn’t make it any easier to follow for we are all human and fail.  But keeping it in the back of your mind, behooves us all.