BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7

Image result for 1 samuel 7

Summary of 1 Samuel 7:

The ark of the covenant is now at Kiriath Jearim, guarded by Eleazar. The ark stayed here 20 years until the Israelites rid themselves of foreign gods and Ashtoreths.

All the Israelites gathered at Mizpah where Samuel interceded for them with the Lord. They fasted and confessed their sins. The Philistines, hearing of this gathering, went to Mizpah and attacked. Samuel continued to pray to God and sacrificed a burnt offering. The Lord sent loud thunder, panicking the Philistines. The Israelites routed the Philistines, slaughtering them as they fled beyond Beth Car.

Samuel set a stone to show the Lord helping them. The Philistines did not invade again. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, Israel regained the land taken from them by the Philistines and there was peace with the Amorites. Samuel served as judge all the days of his life, making his home in Ramah.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

9) Part personal question. My answer: Samuel told the Israelites to give up their foreign gods. When they did, he interceded for them with the Lord, offering up burnt sacrifices. He prayed for the people on Israel’s behalf and he served as judge for the people and priest as well. Give up idols and reflect God wherever we are. We need to pray for others and intercede for them with God if need be.

10) They gave up their foreign gods. They confessed their sins. They relied on God when threatened by the Philistines. They had faith. God defeated the Philistines for them and gave them lasting peace. God answered their prayers.

11) In chapter 4, the Israelites demanded God to be with them. They put their faith in the ark, an object, not God. Their hearts were twisted and not fully with the Lord. They were prideful. In chapter 7, they entreated God to be with them. They put their faith in God. They confessed their sins. Their hearts were full of faith. We learn we have to have true faith if we want God to fight our battles for us. We have to ask God, not demand God to help us.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Once your heart is right for God, He is there. All the pieces come together. He protects and saves and prospers. It’s as simple as believing faith in Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The ark did not rest in the temple; instead, it rested in the house of Abinadab.

For 20 years, the people weren’t right with God. Their cities were in ruins, their armies were defeated, and they were under Philistine domination. They refused to turn to Him.

Where was Samuel for all this time?

God raised up Samuel as a prophet and a judge (1 Samuel 4:1). Yet Samuel was strangely absent from the whole Ark of the Covenant fiasco. 1 Samuel 4:1 is the last place Samuel was mentioned, right before Israel schemed to use the ark as a good luck charm in battle. We don’t know where Samuel was but presumably in training still.

What was important about repenting to the Lord?

Samuel called the nation to repentance.

  • The repentance had to be inward (with all your hearts) and
  • Outward (put away the foreign gods).

The inward was more important than the outward, and it had to come first. That is why Samuel first called Israel to return with all your hearts, then told them to put away the foreign gods.

However, inward repentance is a secret thing. It is hidden. No one can really “see” the heart of another. Yet the inward was proved by the outward. We can know if Israel did return with all your hearts by seeing if they really did put away the foreign gods.

The Israelites were serving two gods and thought they weren’t rejecting him because of this. They felt they only added the worship of other gods to their worship of the LORD. Samuel called on Israel to turn their backs on these other gods and serve Him only.

Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex.

Why Mizpah?

  • This is where Jacob separated from Laban (Genesis 31:49) and was the gathering place for a repentant Israel in Judges 20:1. This was a place remembered for separation and repentance.
  • This showed the spiritual need Israel felt at the time. They expressed their repentance both by putting away the bad and by pursuing the good.

A ceremonial pouring of water demonstrated the soul poured out before the LORD. It was an expression of emptiness and need. Lamentations 2:19Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.

Israel also expressed their sorrow over their sin by fasting (a message that nothing else really mattered except getting right with God) and by confession (a straightforward claim of guilt and responsibility).

1 John 1:5-10 makes it clear that confession is vital to maintain relationship with God. As God convicts us of sin or sins that hinder fellowship with Him, we must confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our relationship with God to continue without hindrance.

“We have sinned against the LORD.” This is almost exactly what David said when he was confronted with his sin in 2 Samuel 12:13.

With God fighting for them, Israel was invincible. Small faith in the true and living God is more powerful than strong faith in a lie.

How 1 Samuel 4 is different from 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The last time Israel was in this kind of situation they said, “Let’s get the Ark of the Covenant and take it into battle with us. Then we can’t lose!” Now they are much wiser before the LORD, and instead of trusting in the ark they did the right thing and asked Samuel to cry out to the LORD our God for us.

The battle was won before it began because the LORD answered Samuel.

The Bible speaks of Samuel as a mighty man of prayer: Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the LORD, and He answered them. (Psalm 99:6)

God not only sent thunder, He also sent confusion to the Philistines and confidence to Israel.

Samuel was:

  • A man of faith
  • A man of peace
  • A man of military prowess
  • A servant
  • A man of prayer
  • A man of hard work
  • A judge
  • A leader


BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 8, Day 4: Romans 5:6-8

Summary of passage:  Christ died for sinners, a very rare occurrence indeed.


8a)  Powerless, sinners, ungodly.  Why wouldn’t it be good news?  Is it bad news when someone sacrifice’s their life for someone else?  So rare is this that it usually makes the news like a father rescuing his son from dying or a mother pushing her kids out of the way of a car, etc. Usually you’ll only give your life out of a deep, profound love.  It’s good news because Christ died for all of us who are all undeserving.

b) Part personal Question. My answer:  We were dead until Christ made us alive.  By grace, through faith, a gift.  The three words are painfully obvious why:  we have no power, we are sinners,  we are ungodly.  I do not fight this cause I know it’s only by God’s grace that I’m in Him.  I know I’m a sinner and need Jesus.  I’m under no delusions.  Overcoming sin is a daily struggle and I can only do it with God.  I totally surrender.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Christ gave his life for strangers because he loves us so much.  I’m not the best with other religions, but I believe most of them teach that you can overcome sin and be a good person through your own sheer will—on your own through your own power (like Confucianism and Buddhism).  You can attain “the One” by yourself.  Also, most believe man is fundamentally good.  Not Christianity.  Only here do we need a Savior and we admit we are imperfect sinners.  Only here are we humble.

Also, most pagan gods do not love their subjects and their subjects are afraid of the gods.  Take Roman and Greek gods.  There were many of them (polytheism as opposed to monotheism) and they were worshiped by their people and required sacrifices to appease them.  God gives one sacrifice (Jesus) out of love so that we may be with them.  No one could be/live with their gods of the day.  In essence, God gives us hope to live forever.  The Ancient Greeks and Romans had no hope outside of earthly circumstances nor no eternal life.

Conclusions:  Not the best lesson because these verses are clear-cut and self-explanatory.  The questions are “duh”.  And I’m just not familiar enough with other world religions to be much help on the last one.  I got enough to worry about just focusing on my religion!

End Notes:  The greatness of God’s love goes to the undeserving (which Paul just spent the first 2 1/2 chapters of the Book of Romans explaining that is ALL of us).  God loves us because HE wants to, not because of who we are.

As always, God’s timing is perfect.  The world was prepared for the arrival of Jesus.

The Greek word “for” is “huper” which means “in behalf of”, “instead of”, “for the sake of”.  Jesus died instead of us–in our place.  This is a much more rich translation that “for”.

Since we all are ungodly, Christ died for us all.  Why wouldn’t it be you?

Righteous man is only upright in his own character.  A good man thinks of others and is kind and caring.  That’s the difference here in Paul’s mind.  His point is God’s love is beyond any man’s love because of this sacrificial aspect.

God can give no greater proof of His love for us than sacrificing Himself for us.  The cross is therefore the ultimate show of man’s hatred for God (remember the scorn Jesus faced?)  The height of man’s hatred can’t defeat the height of God’s love.  Awesome!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 4: John 6:14-15

Summary of passage:  The people began to believe Jesus was the Messiah after all the miraculous signs Jesus had done so Jesus withdrew to a mountain by himself.


8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because they believed him to be the Promised Messiah of the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:15,18) who would provide food and water like Moses did in the wilderness.  However, they expected much more than this.  Many people follow Jesus for what they can get from him.  I follow Jesus because he is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only way to God and to eternal life.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus did this to rejuvenate after giving so much of himself as we saw (and were asked) in Lesson 8 Day 2 before the feeding of the 5000.  He also did this to avoid his enemies who are after him.  He went to be alone to pray and be closer to God, His Father.  Matthew 26:41 tells us he did it so as not to fall into temptation.  The same.  We must quiet our lives and mind in order to hear God and rejuvenate and be closer to Him.

Conclusions:  The take away here is to love Jesus in the good and the bad.  Many were converted when Jesus was providing and healing.  Many flee when hardship enters their lives.  Jesus left because the people only wanted Jesus to do things for them on earth.  Jesus wants to do things for us in heaven and forever.  He is there always as our heavenly king.  We turn to him always.  We retreat to be with him when this world becomes too harried.  We walk with him together, never away.

End Notes:  The feeding of the 5000 reminded all of Moses and his providing of manna for the people in the desert.  In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses himself predicted the coming of the Prophet.  The people assumed he would be like Moses and here’s a guy feeding people miraculously.  Surely, this is he!

Jesus gave away free food.  Of course he was loved.  We love Jesus too when he gives.  We must love him for who he is as well.

The people wanted him as their king to save them from Rome.  Jesus was not here to be a king to set the Jewish people free from Rome, which was the widely held view of the people.  He’s a different kind of king that the people have missed in Scripture.  Hence, he withdrew to be with his King, God.  Earthly kings hold no allure.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 4: Daniel 6

Summary of passage:  Daniel advanced in the kingdom of Darius of Babylon to the point he was about to be set above the whole kingdom.  His enemies tried to find something to take him down.  All they could find was his God.  So they suggested and had King Darius make a law that says anyone who prays to a god or man except to the king in the next 30 days be thrown into the lions’ den.

Of course, Daniel was discovered praying to God.  Much to Darius’ dismay, he was thrown into the lions’ den.  Darius worried all night.  The next day, Daniel was found unharmed thanks be to God.  The men who had urged the king to issue the decree and their families were thrown into the lions’ den and killed.

Darius issued a decree that God be revered throughout the kingdom.  Daniel prospered throughout Darius’ and Cyrus’ reigns in Persia.


8 )  A decree was issued that no god or man be prayed to except the King of Persia, Darius.  Daniel was a loyal subject of the king, but he was also a loyal subject to the King of Kings.  God won and Daniel prayed to God and he was thrown in the lions’ den.

9)  He was thrown into the lions’ den.  He stood for God.  God saved Daniel.  Darius issued a proclamation that the God of Daniel be revered.

10)  Personal Question.   My answer:  Kingdoms today could be “your little world and anything in it”.  For example, your job, your family, your schools, church, etc.  Truthfully, I’m not really facing any hard choices right now between my faith and the world.  I believe I’m following Him in all that I do and am blessed to be able to do so.  I pray every day for His will and not mine.  I pray for others around the world who do face such choices with such dire consequences.  In the United States, God has blessed the majority of us with an ease in life that we all should be grateful for.

The story alone encourages all Christians to stand tall for Him no matter what the consequences in the big and little things in life.

Conclusions:  I enjoyed just reading the story of the lions’ den again.  Such a powerful story it always strengthens my faith.  What does it have to do with Revelation?  Not sure.  Except to stand for God no matter what kingdom is in power.  The kingdom of God is supreme and no one on earth or in the universe will usurp God.  All kingdoms/governments exist because God allows them to exist for His purposes.  God is in control.

End Notes:  Daniel is in his 80’s now.  He’s been a powerful leader in Persia for six decades and his faith in God has never wavered despite being surrounded by a pagan society.  God used Daniel to spread His name and power to others.  Soon, the Jews will be allowed to return to the land of Canaan and rebuild their temple.  I’m sure the leadership and example of Daniel has gone a long way in bringing this to fruition.

Daniel was such a shining example of integrity that his political enemies had to make up something.  Not the first time man will resort to lies for political gain.

The men played off Darius’ pride.  Darius agreed immediately to such a decree.  Why not?  Who wouldn’t want to be worshipped for 30 days?  Also, this would bring some of the conquered peoples together.

The edict could not be undone because the king was thought to represent the gods.  And what god was ever wrong?

In today’s society, it seems as if men are the ones making our lives miserable by hiring or firing us, breaking our hearts, evicting us, etc.  Really God is in control of everything.  Obey Him and we will never be heartbroken or miserable or downtrodden.  Circumstances come and go but not God.

Daniel changed nothing after the decree.  He still prayed–no more, no less.

Darius did not blame others; the fault was his.  He took responsibility.  Great lesson for us.  Albeit we make foolish mistakes, God can and will amend them for good.  Like with Daniel here.  And the king never stopped working to fix his mistake.  Another good lesson for us.

Sealing the stone was for Daniel’s protection so his enemies couldn’t break in and kill him if they so desired.

Daniel had lions and angels for company all night.  Who wants to sign up for that?

Daniel did not wrong the king with malicious intent.

Daniel was saved by faith alone.  God honored and protected him.  Daniel’s testimony shone God to others.  This should be the pattern for our lives as well.

Key Point:  After the exile in Babylon, the Jews are never known again to practice idolatry. Lesson learned the hard way but one that has lasted!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 4: Exodus 20:12-17

Summary of passage:  The last six Ten Commandments given to Moses by God that apply to people’s relationships with one another.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.


9)  Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16:  Honor your father and mother.  God promised if you do you may live long in the land the Lord gave you and Deuteronomy adds so that it may go well with you in the land.  Ask God to have a good relationship with my parents.

Exodus 20:13:  You shall not murder.  Ask God to tame my anger.

Exodus 20:14:  You shall not commit adultery.  Ask God to tame my emotions and capture my thoughts.

Exodus 20:15:  You shall not steal.  Ask God to tame my selfishness.

Exodus 20:16:  You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.  Ask God to quiet my tongue and follow Jesus’ Golden Rule and not engage in gossip.

Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21:  You shall not covet or set your desire on anything that belongs to your neighbor including his house, wife, servant, ox, donkey, etc.  Ask God to have peace with what I have and to focus on Him and His purpose for my life; the rest will take care of itself.

Conclusions:  Short but sweet.  These commandments are very straightforward so us dumb humans can comprehend them. Sometimes I think relationships with people are harder than a relationship with God because God is perfect and people are not.  Most of us will never murder one another but we could with our words and our spite.  Adultery can be committed in the mind as well.  Stealing is as simple as not paying for a forgotten item in a grocery cart.  Gossip for us women is hard to avoid but we can choose to not engage in it.  Coveting (desiring something that doesn’t belong to you) is especially hard for us in the Western World who are bombarded by advertisement and celebrities that fuel this desire and our lax culture who say it’s okay to want what others have.  If we have God, we have enough and I believe this is God’s point here.  You should desire Him more than anything else in this world.  Nothing else matters.

End Notes:  Fifth Commandment:  Care for your parents throughout their days.  Not all that long ago, it was customary for your parents to live with you until they died.  Now we shove them in homes and pay others to care for them.  Care for your parents as they have cared for you.

Sixth Commandment:  The two words in Hebrew here means “unjustified killing”.  This does not prohibit justified killing i.e. self-defense, etc.  Jesus expanded this to mean killing in the heart as well (Matthew 5:21-26) and wishing they were dead.

Seventh Commandment:  The Old Testament clearly outlaws adultery and the punishment is death (Deuteronomy 22:22).  The Old Testament also addresses sleeping with a virgin and the punishment for that (usually marriage–Exodus 22:16), which is pre-marital sex.  Again, Jesus expanded this in Matthew 5:27-30 to mean even just looking at someone in a desireous way can be committing adultery if it is committed in the heart.

Eighth Commandment:  We can also steal from God what is rightfully His by not fulfilling His commands such as tithing or serving Him or anything else that involves giving of ourselves up to Him. (Malachi 3).

Ninth Commandment:  This is also slander and gossip and lying.  This was the sin that sent Jesus to the cross when false witness after false witness testified against him.  Satan is behind it all and instead of “speaking our minds”, we should prayerfully control our tongues first–something I’m bad at.

Tenth Commandment:  This one is aimed at our hearts.  There is nothing wrong with desiring things except when it is something possessed by another.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to enter through the narrow gate for it is the one that leads to life.  The wide gate leads to destruction.  He warns against false prophets whom you can recognize by their bad fruit for only good trees produce good fruit.


9a)  Wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing (verse 15).  Grapes and thornbushes and figs and thistles (verse 16).  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and vice versa (verse 18).

b)  Figs from thornbushes and grapes from briers.  Good must come from good and bad from bad.

10a)  Do not be fooled by outward appearances or pretenses as inside may lurk darkness and evil.

b)  Not a fan of how this question is phrased.  Everyone is sincere in whatever belief they hold and they are misguided if their belief is not adherent to the Truth.  Paul says in Acts men will distort the truth for the sole purpose of gaining disciples.  2 Peter is even stronger language, saying they will secretly (meaning purposefully and deceitfully) introduce destructive heresies in order to turn you from God.  Verse 3 uses the word “exploit” you.

The Bible is clear that there are false teachers, powered by the devil, out to turn us from God.  It seems that BSF is not so clear about that.  They are definitely misguided and corrupted and sincere in their beliefs which is not the belief in God.  “Possibly” needs to be stricken completely and misguided needs to be strengthened to deceitful.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We cannot judge people by outward appearances only by their actions will their heart be revealed.  Most people live fake lives for all to see but inside they may be hardened.

Conclusions:  This whole lesson has been hard for me to draw conclusions I think because it is self-explanatory.  Here, we learn we cannot trust what people project or say; only what they do.  Their heart will be revealed in their fruit.

It is also prudent here to ask ourselves:  “What kind of fruit am I bearing?”  For our own fruit will reveal our heart as well.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 8, Day 4: Genesis 9:1-17

Summary of passage: God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to be fruitful and fill the earth. All animals will fear and dread you and God placed them in man’s hands. God gave everything that lives and moves now as food for man as well as the plants.

Man must not eat meat that has lifeblood still in it.  God will demand an accounting from every animal and from every man and accounting for the life of his fellow man.  “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God has God made man.”

God establishes His covenant with Noah and his sons and with every living creature on earth. God promises to never again destroy the earth with a flood.  The rainbow is the sign of this covenant between God, Noah, and all on earth.  God will see the rainbow in the sky and remember this covenant.


8a)  In John Jesus says we must be born again of water and of the Spirit in order to see the kingdom of God.  In Genesis, atonement of a blood sacrifice.

b)  I see no difference.  All the same.  Means we are the image of God and made to be like Jesus.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably enhance and ameliorate them.

10)  A believer’s mind and heart are opened and receive the indwelt Holy Spirit, which changes him or her to be more like Christ.  The veil of ignorance is lifted and Truth enters and reigns.  And we now reflect the Lord’s glory and are being transformed little by little into his image.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer.  I had forgotten the rainbow was a sign of the covenant!  I had just remembered it was a sign of God’s promise not to flood the earth. I’ll never look at a rainbow the same again.  God is good and He is faithful.

Conclusions:  Repetitive is the word that comes to mind with this lesson.  When I read question 10, I sighed and thought Not again.  This question has nothing to do with Genesis 9.  It just doesn’t.

Bay’s Last Rainbow

I liked the rainbow since me and my kids love rainbows and photograph them every chance we get!  We will definitely talk about this one this week!

Although not the best picture, this rainbow is special to me.  It was taken on my dog’s last day and she was in the car with us.  It was right after her vet’s appointment–the appointment that had given us hope.

I still wonder what God was trying to tell me with this.  It was so beautiful I had pulled over to take the picture and I had completely forgotten about it in the chaos of her death until I downloaded my pictures.  And Bay was with me that day.

I hope it was a sign that God was remembering her as He promised He’d remember all living creatures.  I call it “Bay’s Rainbow” for I truly believe it was put there by Him for her.  And for me.  She was truly special.  And in my heart forever.

And I liked the idea of seeing other’s as images of God.  So often we see people (especially relatives) as the broken humans we all are.   I would extend this to not just Christians but to all people.  For all are made in His image even if the Spirit is not in them.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 8, Day 4: Acts 15:13-35

Summary of passage:  James tells the Jerusalem Council that Peter’s words are in accordance with God’s word found in Amos 9:11-12 that he quotes.  James agrees they should not make it hard for the Gentiles (whom God has accepted) to turn to God and they should suggest they follow some of Moses’ laws such as abstaining from food polluted by idols, sexual immorality, and from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

The Council chooses some of their own men (Judas and Silas) to accompany Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch to give this agreement.  They send a letter with them and the people were glad to read its encouraging message.  Judas and Silas encouraged them and after a time they returned to Jerusalem.  Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch to preach the Good News.


9a)  James suggests that circumcision not be made a requirement but instead make certain suggestions to live by:  abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.  They chose some of their own men (Jews), Judas and Silas, to accompany Paul and Barnabas to verify this is a decree from both sides.

b)  On the words of the prophets found in Amos 9:11-12

10a)  Judas and Silas

b)  It gave credibility to Paul and Barnabas that all were in agreement on what the letter said.  It encouraged the church people in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia and strengthened them.

11a)  It avoided a potential rift in the new faith which very well might have caused separate religions (which happened anyways as in all the denominations and faiths we see today) but it provided some stability and harmonized beliefs so that the early church could continue to grow.  It confirmed that we are saved by grace and faith in Jesus alone and not by conformance to any laws.

However, some scholars argue this may have been the beginning of where Jewish Christians began to separate from the new Christians and retain their old beliefs.

Whatever the case, this compromise allowed the gospel to spread without major defects and all out condemnation on either side.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Fear of rejection and criticism.

Conclusions:  Great history lesson for us history buffs in terms of the new faith.  Also, great lesson on compromise and coming to terms that both sides can agree on.  Both sides came to the table, brought their major concerns in an amenable way, and produced results.  Wish we’d see more of that in today’s political arena.

End Note:  Great site that explains the Jerusalem Council along with references to the Judaizers point of view:

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 8, Day 4 Isaiah 11:10-16

Summary of passage: The Root of Jesse will be a banner for the peoples.  The Lord will reclaim His remnant (the exiles) from nations.  Ephraim and Judah will be united and together will conquer the surrounding peoples.  The Lord will dry the Euphrates River so His remnant can cross just like He did the Red Sea to bring His people out of Egypt.


8 ) Verse 15:  The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian Sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the Euphrates River.  He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals.  Exodus 14:29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

9a) Banner–a piece of cloth attached by one end to a staff and used by a leader as his standard.  It’s function is to bring people together and give them a bright symbol to follow.

b) Jesus is the Root of Jesse.  Jesus will be the pinnacle, the symbol of God for if you believe in Jesus and accept who He is, you will be saved.  This is the crux of God’s teachings and everything else is insignificant in comparison.  If you don’t get Jesus, you don’t get God.

10a) Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.  As a united peoples, they will conquer Philistia, people to the East, Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites and the remnant of His people will return from Assyria.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  I would probably be more like Jesus and be able to convey Him to others much more effectively.  I wouldn’t get stressed.  Life would be more peaceful.  I’d have deeper relationships, be more forgiving, and love others more.

Conclusions:  I liked the idea of Jesus as the banner.  I always picture a banner used in war that the troops on the ground carry so their side can follow the leader of the charge.  This is how I see Jesus:  carrying a huge flag, beckoning His troops, His people to follow Him in the war against the Enemy.  Further, I liked how this image did make me think that if you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing–not God, not eternal salvation–and life is utterly meaningless.  This is usually in the back of my mind but this passage brought it to the forefront–something important to remember especially as you share Jesus with others.