BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13

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Summary of 1 Samuel 12:

Samuel, having found a king the people asked for and served the people of Israel faithfully, retires. Samuel warns God will be against them if they do not obey like it was against their forefathers.

Samuel called out thunder and rain as a sign the people did evil by asking for a king. The people were afraid then, but Samuel reassures them that if they obey, serve God faithfully, and fear Him and remember the great things the Lord has done for them, then the Israelites will prosper.

Summary of 1 Samuel 13:

Saul was 30 when he became king of Israel. He reigned 42 years. Saul’s son, Jonathan, took 3000 men and attacked the Philistines at Geba. The Philistines then prepared to counter-attack with 3000 chariots and soldiers as numerous as sand on the seashore at Micmash. The Israelites then hid in caves and thickets, afraid of the Philistines. Saul remained at Gilgal and waited 7 days for Samuel to show up. When Samuel didn’t show up, the men began to scatter. So Saul offered up his own burnt offerings.

Samuel shows up, sees the impatience in Saul, and rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s command. This cost him his kingship for all time. Now, the Lord has sought a man after His own heart to be leader of the Israelites.

Samuel departs, leaving Saul and his son, Jonathan, and a few men. The Philistines attacked in raiding parties. The Israelites had no weapons because the the Philistines had outlawed blacksmiths so the Israelites couldn’t get weapons. Hence, on the day of battle, no one was armed but Saul and Jonathan.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel :12-13:

9) Samuel said he has never cheated nor oppressed the people of Israel nor has he accepted a bribe. He told all of what God has done for the people, and he said if the people turn from God to evil, they will have God’s hand against them. He told them it was an evil thing to ask for a king and God confirmed this by sending thunder and rain.

10) The people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel and were afraid. Samuel told them as long as they obeyed the Lord and served Him and no others, God will be with them. Samuel said he would pray for them and teach them good from bad and that God would not reject them.

11) Saul disobeyed Samuel’s commands because he was impatient, and he was afraid. When his men got antsy and began fleeing, Saul panicked. Instead of praying to God for guidance, he took matters into his own hands. He felt like he needed to do something when, in fact, the something was praying and waiting for Samuel who wouldn’t break his word. How often do we do this?

The consequences were severe: God was going to use Saul to establish His kingdom for all time. Now, he’s choose another man after His own heart.

12) Personal Question. My answers: Society pressures us all the time with “Everything else is doing it and don’t you want to fit in?” crap. Friends pressure us as well (peer pressure). To compromise your own morals and values. Consequences are mostly delays or prolonged suffering.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 12-13:

Great lesson in waiting on God and seeking God. We do feel like we need to be taking action when often as not we need to be waiting on God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13:

1 Samuel 12:

Samuel takes the opportunity of Saul’s coronation to speak to the people.

Here he helped Israel make the transition from Samuel’s leadership to Saul’s leadership. Samuel made this clear when he said, “now here is the king” and “I am old and gray headed.” Samuel told Israel that his day was over, and Saul’s day was beginning.

Samuel’s life of Godly-devotion and Leadership

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15), but now that a king was raised up, his role would change and diminish. Samuel never officially “stepped down” from leading Israel as a judge but didn’t allow his shadow to eclipse Saul.

Samuel showed himself as a truly godly man. He was willing to pass from the scene when God brought up another leader. Samuel did not grasp onto a position when God wanted to change it.

Samuel wanted it clearly known that it was not his idea to appoint a king over Israel. This idea began in the hearts of Israel, not in the heart and mind of God.

In 1 Samuel 8:1-5, Samuel was challenged to take his sons out of leadership in Israel because they were not godly men. Though it must have been difficult, he did it. The words my sons are with you are proof; Samuel’s sons were simply a part of the assembly of Israel and not “up on the platform” with Samuel.

Unlike some political and religious leaders who get caught up in financial scandals, Samuel considered himself publicly accountable.

All parties agreed Samuel had led Israel well. This is the second time Samuel mentioned His anointed in this passage, and the phrase refers to Saul, because he was anointed as king (1 Samuel 10:1). Samuel deliberately included Saul in all this to make the idea of a transition between his leadership and Saul’s clear.

How could the Lord witness against them?

Samuel was covering all his bases. If he were ever accused of wrongdoing, he could call the Israelites back to this moment where they said no. Furthermore, if Israel ever tried to blame Saul’s problems on Samuel, what they said here would be a witness against them.

What are the righteous acts performed by the Lord?

  1.  Israel was saved from slavery and given a new life by God in the Promised Land.
  2. God allowed a disobedient Israel to be dominated by their enemies (Sisera), as a chastisement intending to bring them to repentance.
  3. When Israel cried out to God, confessed their sin, and humbled themselves in repentance before Him, He delivered them.
  4.  Samuel linked together the story of God’s deliverance for Israel from the time of the Exodus to the God’s routing of the Ammonites.

Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon (Judges 6:32). There is no mention of Bedan in the Book of Judges. Perhaps he was a deliverer known in their history, but not recorded in the Book of Judges. Or, Bedan may be a variant spelling or name for Barak, mentioned in Judges 4:6. The Septuagint, an ancient translation of the Old Testament, translates the name as Barak. Other ancient translations have Samson, and some commentators believe Jair is intended.

As Israel made the transition into monarchy, they must remember the righteous acts of the LORD. Everything the LORD will do is in the setting of what He has already done in our lives.

The LORD was a good king for Israel, but an earthy king was for carnal and fleshly reasons only.

Even with one bad choice (earthly king) God would still bless Israel if they obeyed. The choice was theirs.

Why did Samuel ask for a sign from God now instead of earlier?Image result for 1 samuel 12

  • Because God had a purpose in allowing the “people’s king,” Saul, to come first.
  • Because if it had happened in the first days of Saul’s reign, the people would have cast Saul off just as quickly and just as wrongly as they asked for him. Now, that his reign has been confirmed by the victory of 1 Samuel 11 and accepted by the people, they can be more directly confronted with their sin.
  • Because Samuel might have been accused of reproving the people out of a personal sense of hurt. By waiting until now, everyone knew that Samuel wasn’t saying, “Get rid of Saul so I can lead the nation again.”
  • Because Israel rejoiced greatly (1 Samuel 11:15). They were perhaps a little too excited about their new king, and Samuel wants them to have a more spiritual perspective.

Thunder and rain were unusual during the wheat harvest. This was a remarkable sign from God and a sign of judgement (Prov. 26:1). Heavy rain during the harvest could destroy all their crops.

Finally, Israel saw their sin of wanting a king. They saw it too late; if only they had realized it in 1 Samuel 8, when Samuel first warned them! Now they are stuck with a king, yet God can still turn it for good if Israel will repent and seek the LORD.

What do we learn from the sin of Israel asking for a king?

  • God still loves Israel despite their sin. They could still serve the LORD and still see His blessing because God loves them. His favor towards Israel was for His great name’s sake because it pleased the LORD to do it. The reasons were in Him, not in Israel.
  • God still loves us despite all the mistakes we’ve done. It’s all in the past. Move forward in His name.

Image result for 1 samuel 12Samuel will not forsake Israel; he will still pray and teach them.

We serve God because of the great things He has done for us. We tend to focus on our problems instead of remembering His greatness.

Sad warning became the legacy of Israel when they were conquered and taken from the land in captivity as they persisted in doing evil.

Bible scholar Clarke says it best: “Never was a people more fully warned, and never did a people profit less by the warning.”

1 Samuel 13:

This was the first regular army for Israel. Remember Israel has been operating an army only during times of war.

Fun Fact: This is the first mention of Saul’s son Jonathan. He will be a prominent and wonderful part of 1 Samuel.

Jonathan was a remarkable military leader, leading one successful attack after another. This attack  awakened the Philistines who thought Israel was just another one of their subjects. They were wrong.

Archaeologists have found this Philistine fortress at Geba (also known as Gibeah).

Saul  took credit for Jonathan’s bold attack on the Philistines — not a good reflection of Saul’s character.

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What do we learn from the Israelites being afraid and scattering?

  • A king doesn’t solve the Israelites problems. God solves problems.

Saul was afraid too. He wanted to strike before the Philistines could assemble.

Why couldn’t Saul offer a burnt offering?

  1. Only priests could offer sacrifices.
  2. Saul didn’t wait on Samuel.

When you combine civic duties with religious duties, you often get a conflict of interest that just doesn’t ever work out.  In 2 Chronicles 26 King Uzziah tried to do the work of priest and God struck him with leprosy.

The last minutes of waiting are the hardest and where we face the most temptation. If Saul had only waited an hour more, history would be different.

The Hebrew says that Saul wanted to bless Samuel – perhaps as a priest blesses the people. Saul apparently saw nothing wrong with what he had done as his ego is beginning to overinflate.

Saul spouts excuse after excuse when confronted by Samuel.Image result for 1 samuel 13

  • Saul felt he had to do something
  • Saul blames Samuel for his actions since he was late
  • The Philistines were about to attack
  • He had to do it (because a gun was to his head)

Classic excuses man always makes instead of taking responsibility for your actions. Given the fact he didn’t ask what he had done wrong, we know Saul knew he had done wrong. He willfully sinned.

A fool in the Bible is no light term. Samuel here is calling Saul morally and spiritually lacking.

Excuses don’t get you out of consequences. The whole point of having a king was to establish a dynasty where one’s sons sat on the throne afterwards. Saul messed that one up big time~

The punishment was harsh for seemingly a little sin. But like Moses who would die before stepping foot in the Promised Land for breaking faith with God (Deuteronomy 32:51-52), a sin is a sin in God’s eyes. Perhaps if Saul had repented, God might have relented. But he didn’t.

God rejected Saul, not Israel. He would provide a new king — a king after His own heart. Saul was clearly not a man after God’s own heart.

Who is someone after God’s own heart?

  • He or she honors the Lord. Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will. David knew God’s will was most important. Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important. All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God.
  • He or she puts God as king. For Saul, Saul was king. For David, the LORD God was king. Both David and Saul knew sacrifice before battle was important. But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God. Saul thought it was important because it might help him win the battle. Saul thought God would help him achieve his goals. David thought that God was the goal.
  • He or she has a repentant heart. When Saul was confronted with his sin, he offered excuses. When David was confronted with his sin, he confessed his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13).
  • He or she loves others. Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself, but David loved people. When David was down and out he still loved and served those who were even more down and out (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

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Saul’s army had shrunk from 3000 to 600. God was testing Saul, and Saul failed.

The Philistines had superior military technology and they wanted to keep it that way. Since they were a seafaring people, the Philistines traded with the technologically sophisticated cultures to the west, especially the Greeks. They imported weapons and know-how from those distant lands. By carefully guarding their military technology, the Philistines kept the Israelites in a subservient place.

Lessons We Learn from the Philistines

God has concluded 1 Samuel 13 with an army of nothing but their bare hands to fight with. He has taken everything away from them, forcing them to completely rely on Him to win and save their lives. How often does God do this to us?

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 9, Day 4: Romans 5:18-19

Summary of passage:  Adam’s sin condemned man but Jesus’s gift of sacrificial life justifies us!  Disobedience made us sinners; obedience makes us righteous.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal hell, earthly death, judgment, wrath, anger, trouble, distress, destruction, punishment, abandonment by God, the lake of Fire.  Basically, life without Jesus at the end will be tortuous.  It motivates me to tell unbelievers about their fate if they don’t turn.

9a)  Jesus’s death on the cross

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  A life of obedience and faith, peace, blessings, contentment, eternal life, experiencing the love of God, a life with God, God’s power in us to do His will, a purpose.  I try my best to rely on God and live out His principles amongst the sin of this world.  I feel very blessed and honored and although I’m not perfect I hope my intent is seen by others.

Conclusions:  Did we need another day on these two verses?  Repetitive from yesterday and personal with no meat.  The questions are the same just with different words and the answer is evident:  Jesus=life.  Adam=sin & death.  Choose.

I do like the reference verses because I’d never be able to find these on my own.  This is one of the changes I’m most grateful for from BSF because you used to have to find these on your own and at the time I didn’t know the Bible at all when I first began.  Albeit time consuming, it’s fun to read all these topics sprinkled throughout the Bible and how God and Jesus touch on the same themes over and over again.

End Notes:  [Notes from yesterday repeated here.]  Verse 18 Paul summarizes.  These verses has both Adam and Jesus known as the two men.  Between them they represent all of humanity and you are either identified with Adam or Jesus.  We are all born under Adam. We are born again when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

This idea of Adam and Jesus as two representatives of the human race is sometimes called Federal Theology, or Adam and Jesus are sometimes referred to as Federal Heads. This is because under the federal system of government, representatives are chosen and the representative speaks for the people who chose him. Adam speaks for those he represents, and Jesus speaks for His people.

One may object: “But I never chose to have Adam represent me.” Yes, you did–with the very first sin you committed. Hence, Jesus stands apart.

So, once you are old enough, you choose: Adam who brings judgment and condemnation or Jesus who brings grace and justification and thus life.

The important thing to note is not all are given free life.  The gift of life is presented. However, you must choose to receive it (verse 17).  The idea that all men are saved by the work of Jesus whether they know it or not is called universalism.  Paul never propounds this belief.  He clearly states not all will be saved in all his writings.  NIV Bibles take out the word “free” to avoid this confusion.

Verse 19 sums up this entire section:  Since we were made sinners by one man, we can be made righteous by one man!  Praise God!  This is God’s fairness and justice in play.  Paul is about to discuss our change in character (sanctification) in chapters 6-8.

To be clear:  none of us can stand by ourselves.  Remember, we are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s eyes without Jesus.  To choose to do so is death.  I choose life!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 9, Day 4: John 6:30-33

Summary of passage:  The people ask Jesus for a miraculous sign so they can believe he is the son of God (verse 29).  Jesus says he is the bread of God who comes from heaven to give life to the world.

Questions:

8 )  The Israelites received manna from God every day for 40 years in the desert for food.  They received it because they grumbled against God for bringing them to a desert with nothing to eat.

9a)  “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I live my life for Him now.  Follow His calling.  Obey.  Pray.  Listen.  And love like Jesus.  Try to walk in his ways and shine his light to the world.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “miraculous”  I haven’t demanded a miraculous sign from Jesus and it’s inappropriate to gossip about others.  That is between that person and God.  (Very similar question from Lesson 3 Day 4 when the people asked for a miraculous sign as well).

Conclusions:  I thought there was a lot here that got lost in the personal questions.  Very simply:  Jesus is our daily bread.  Feast on him!

End Notes:  So these people have just experienced the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.  However, the Jewish leaders have arrived (Matthew 15:1, John 6:41; Mark 7:1) and they want to see another miracle.  The people who got the free food are in it as well for free stuff!

The people brought up manna and Moses in hopes Jesus would do the same thing:  free bread for life!

Jesus corrects them by pointing out that the manna in the wilderness did not come from Moses but from God and that the Father still gives (present tense) the true bead from heaven (life through the Son).

Jesus replies with:  Yes, indeed, God gave you bread.  And here is the True Bread from God–me!  And then you’ll have eternal life.  Let’s move on from the physical to the spiritual.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 4: Revelation 4:8-11

Summary of passage:  John sees four living creatures with 6 wings and eyes all around.  They never stopped praising God.  The 24 elders fall down as well and worship him forever and ever, saying God is worthy of worship as the Creator of all things.

Questions:

8a)  Holy, holy, holy means God is infinitely holy.

b)  Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8). Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how he is fully God always.

c)  Who was, and is, and is to come means God has always existed and will always exist.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Giving glory to God means worshiping Him as the Creator, acknowledging that He is the source of everything you do and everything you are humbly, and being grateful for it.  Paul says in Romans to do God’s will and remember we are His and are created for worship.  Ephesians reminds us to live with a grateful heart as we praise God through singing hymns and doing everything in His name with thanks.

I am giving God the glory for all.  I am powerless on my own.  I pray for God’s will to be done in my life.  I listen and respond.  I worship and express gratitude at my complete inability to do anything without Him.

Note:  1 Chronicles 29:11-13 is David’s famous prayer of humility and giving God all the glory for everything.

Conclusions:  Would still like to explore the living creatures more.  Awesome passage in the Bible.  One of my favorites.  We see we were created by God for God to worship Him and we see in heaven complete and total worship of Him.

End Notes:  Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10). The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus. Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics. Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle. All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness. It is the only characteristic of God repeated 3 times.  Never do we see in the bible “love, love, love” or “anger, anger, anger”.  God wants us to know above all else He is HOLY.  It’s His authority and power emphasized here.

Isaiah 6:2-3 repeats these words but the creatures are called seraphs.  Psalm 99:1-9 also says God’s holiness above all else.

The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most scholars think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Next, we see the Lord WORTHY.  The 24 elders all wearing crowns symbolizing their authority lay down their crowns, giving God all authority under heaven.

Can you see it?  The living creatures are crying out God’s holiness and in response the 24 elders fall down before God and proclaim His infinite glory and worthiness and power.  This scene never stops repeating itself.

In days of old, lesser personages would lay down their crowns at the feet of rulers as a sign of submission.  In Roman times, the emperor would then give the crowns back to these lesser rulers most likely ones the Romans had conquered as a symbol that their authority comes from Rome.  Same symbolism here.

The crowns are the crowns of victory and rewards for deeds (Greek stephanos) like those given at Olympic games, not royalty.  The elders are giving their achievements over to God.

Smyrna was promised a crown of life for faithfulness (Revelation 2:10) and Philadelphia was told to hold onto their crown so no one will take it from them (Revelation 3:11).

Spurgeon points out the 24 elders acted as one and says how we all should be unified in our desire for God.

God is worthy because He is the creator of all things and He allows us to exist.  King James Version says “for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  We were created to please God and for nothing else.  We don’t fulfill our purpose here on Earth until we do.

The elders represent us.  God is waiting for us.  We each have a crown in heaven and a throne in heaven and a song in heaven and a part in giving God all the glory He deserves.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 4: Exodus 23

Summary of passage:  Laws pertaining to justice and mercy:  Do not gossip falsely.  Do not follow the crowd.  Do what is right.  Do unto your enemies as you would unto yourself.  Don’t put innocent people to death.  Treat the poor fairly.  Do not accept bribes.  Do not oppress foreigners.

Laws pertaining to Sabbath:  Sow the land for six years and leave it fallow the seventh year and allow the poor to glean from it.  So work six days and rest on the seventh day.  Do not worship false gods.

Three Annual Festivals:  Feast of Unleavened Bread where you eat bread for seven days made without yeast.  The Feast of the Harvest where you bring your firstfruits to me.  Feast of Ingathering at the end of Harvest season.  At these times you will offer sacrifices to God.

God’s Angel:  God is sending an angel ahead of His people to guard them and protect them and be an enemy to those who oppose His people as long as they do not rebel.  Do not bow down before other gods.  Worship God and He will bless His people.  God will drive out the other peoples of the Promised Land little by little to allow their numbers to increase enough to fill the land.  I will give you all the land between the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates.  Do not allow foreigners to live in your land for they will cause you to sin.

Questions:

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be nicer to my “enemies” or people I don’t really care for.  Help them instead of being indifferent.

b)  Worshipping and honoring God

c)  God will do everything for His people as long as they obey Him and revere Him.  He also wants His people to set the moral standard and do what is good and right towards others.  He wants the best for us, which includes telling us to rest, work, and honor Him.

8 )  Jesus.  In Exodus 14:19, Jesus is the angel of God here so Jesus has been with the Israelites all along.  In Exodus 3:2, Jesus is the angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush.  Hence, this must be the same angel of the Lord.

[See End Notes for thought-provoking article on the angel in this passage.]

9a)  11

b)  God promises to send an angel ahead of them to the place He has prepared for them (verse 20).  God will be an enemy to your enemies and oppose all who oppose you  and wipe them out (verse 22 & 23).  He promises to bless their food and water and take away sickness and barrenness and give them a full life span (verse 25 & 26).  He will send His terror ahead of them and throw into confusion  every nation and make them run (verse 27).  He will drive their enemies away (verse 28).  He will establish their borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates (verse 31).

c)  Pay attention to him (angel) and listen to what he says and do not rebel (verse 21 & 22).  Do not bow down before their gods or follow their practices and break their sacred stones (verse 24).  Worship God (verse 25).  Do not make a covenant with them or their gods (verse 32).  Do not let them live in your land (verse 33).

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God makes it easy for His people to take their land back.  He gives them only as much as they can handle though by not giving them all the land at once which would cause them trouble.  He waits on His people.  He allows them to grow steadily and not all at once.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has decreased my stress level enough so I can better deal.

Conclusions:  We basically copied out verses 22-33 for Question 9.  What I got out of it is God does much for us and asks so little in return.  We have an awesome God!

End Notes:  More laws for judges given by God to Israel.  The focus is on justice, truthfulness, and kindness.

Following the crowd has been around since the very beginning when Adam followed Eve into sin. This was important to remind the people to hear from God, not others.

Note how you feel about someone should not determine how you treat them.  You treat them like Jesus did.

Some interpreted the Sabbath law as only cultivating 6/7 ths of their land in any given year.  Failure to follow this directive by God extended the Israelites punishment in Babylon (Leviticus 26:32-35, 2 Chronicles 36:21).

Cooking a goat in its mother’s milk was a common pagan ritual at the time so God felt the need to specifically outlaw it. Pagans did just that–boil a young goat in its mother’s milk and sprinkle it all over their fields, hoping for a better harvest the next year.  Makes you wonder if God had to specifically outlaw this, then some or many of the Israelites themselves were doing this.

Jesus goes before us to prepare a place in heaven for us as well.

Note the stunning difference in the Old Testament Covenant and the New:  in the Old Testament you had to obey to be blessed.  Now, we are blessed through Jesus so although there are consequences to sin, we are still blessed.  I wonder if this is why others around us who are un-Godly, are richly blessed.

Just because God has given us things does not mean we will possess it.  Case in point in Israel’s boundaries.  Israel has never possessed all of God’s promised land.  When your faith is strong enough, you will have it.

The Israelites do make a covenant with others in their land (Joshua 9).  Note how no humans have ever kept God’s commands perfectly.

Fascinating article on the angel of the Lord, which here says that God never spoke to the people Himself but this is Jesus here who is communicating with Moses the entire time since no one has ever seen nor heard God.  See article HERE

This was an eye-opener for me.  I had always assumed this was God speaking and never thought it was God in the person of Jesus although I looked back at my answers and had put this previously.  It’s just now clicking for me!  I tend to think in terms of God and Jesus being separate and they are not.  This I think will be a grand theme for me this year.

Bible Scholars differ on the locations of the Promised Land from Genesis 15 to here in Exodus 23

One Interpretation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Map_Land_of_Israel.jpg

Another Interpretation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Greater_Israel_map.jpg

Modern Borders:  http://www.historicjesus.com/maps/israel.html

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 9, Day 4: Matthew 8:18-22

Summary of passage:  The crowds had grown so much that Jesus sought solitude by crossing the lake.  A teacher told Jesus he would follow him wherever he went and Jesus said his life is one of no home.  Another desired to bury his father first but Jesus said to follow him for he is the living one.

Questions:

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The teacher’s heart was not committed to him enough to follow him wherever he went.

b)  Jesus has come to save the living.  When his father dies, he will be buried.  Now is the time to proclaim the kingdom of heaven.  Basically, following him (Jesus) comes first.  Caring for and burying his father–second.

c)  Luke tells us that emphasis Jesus is placing on the here and now.  Time is of the essence in converting people and doing his work.  The time is now to proclaim the kingdom of God.  Excuses he will not accept.  Jesus first or forget it.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The time is now.  We must be willing to be inconvenienced for God and proclaim His kingdom.  Excuses are unacceptable to God.  Following Jesus must come first.  Family and everything else second.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a hard one because I hate my routine thrown off.  But I see this blog as my ministry and I get up early every day and type these answers to you all.  I put off cleaning the house, writing my novel, reading books for me, etc to do this.  I try to put others first and shine God’s light into this world.  Hopefully, it’s worth it in the end.

God must come first.  Our lives must be God-centered.  He is our number one priority.  We must be completely and totally His.  Otherwise, we are wasting our time here on earth.  I try to follow His calling no matter what.  It is hard but with His help I will succeed.

Conclusions:  Nice, succinct lesson.  God first.  Everything else second.  Period.

End Notes:  Perhaps those who asked to follow Jesus were in it for themselves.  Jesus was popular and perhaps they thought they’d benefit from this.  Just like groupies today.

“Let me go and bury my father” is probably an expression or figure of speech used that meant “Let me wait until my father is dead.”  The disciple did not literally mean bury his dead father.

We must remember in ancient culture and in some cultures today caring for elderly parents was a duty.  You cared for your parents until they died.  This was a priority.  In the US, elderly tend to be stuck in a home more and cared for others other than their direct descendants.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear:  following him comes first–above family obligations.

Fun Fact:  The phrase “Son of Man” is used 81 times in the gospels, each either by Jesus himself referring to himself or someone quoting Jesus as saying this.  It is used twice in the Old Testament:  Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 8:4

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 9, Day 4: Genesis 11:1-9 & Acts 2

Summary of passages:  Genesis 11:1-9:  A bit after the world had been repopulated some people moved eastward and settled on the plain of Shinar (Babylonia).  They used bricks and tar to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

The Lord saw what the men were doing.  He confused their language as punishment to prevent more un-Godly actions.  God scattered them over the earth.  Babel sounds like the Hebrew word for confused; hence the name “Tower of Babel.”

Acts 2:

On the day of Pentecost the 120 were all in one place (presumably praying still and waiting for the gift).  A sound like a blowing violent wind came from heaven and filled the house where they were sitting.  They saw tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit.

A lot of people in Jerusalem heard this sound and came together to see what was happening.  They were bewildered because each was speaking in his own language.  They asked, “Aren’t these all Galileans?  How is it we hear them in our own language?  What does this mean?”

Some made fun of them and said they were drunk.

Peter stood up the with the Eleven Apostles and told the confused crowd: we (the 120 and them) are not drunk.  Listen to Joel’s words:  God will pour out His Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, the young men will see visions, old men will dream, the servants will prophesy and have the Spirit as well.  Wonders will appear in the heaven and signs will appear on earth such as blood, fire, and smoke.  The sun will be dark and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord when everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.

Peter is still speaking to the crowd that has gathered on the day of Pentecost.  “Jesus who performed miracles was handed over to you for God’s pre-ordained purpose.  You killed him by nailing him to a cross.  But God has raised him from the dead.  David himself prophesied Jesus’ resurrection when he said he saw the ‘Holy One’ at the Lord’s right hand and raised him from the dead.”

It’s as if Peter is shouting, “Even though you idiots killed Jesus He is alive!”

Peter says that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God and pours out what we now see and hear.  He has received the promised Holy Spirit.  David did not ascend to heaven (for a detailed explanation of this see my previous post here.  David is in heaven now but not at the time of his death).  God has made Jesus Lord and Christ.

The people asked what should they do and Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus to be forgiven of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit.  Everyone of you can receive such a gift.  3000 chose to be baptized that day.

These people were considered the first church.  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread, and prayer.  They gave to everyone as needed.  They continued to meet and eat together and praise God.  The Lord grew their numbers daily.

Questions:

7a)  He confused their language.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Just like in Biblical times, God is in control of everything.  He’ll put a leader in power He wants to accomplish His goals.  He gives, He takes, He rescues, He allows Free Will.  Nothing happens without God.

8 )  That person doesn’t approach others in a loving manner.  Anger may rule over conciliation.  Right won’t win out over wrong like in government.

9a)  Speaking different languages can divide or bring together people.  Speaking in a different language but with the heart for God can convert others.  In Shinar, it divided.  In Acts, it converted and brought together.

As long as the heart is in the right place, the words you speak should not matter–especially if God and the Holy Spirit are behind them.  Others will understand.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The heart is what matters, not the words.  If you love others, your actions should speak louder.

Conclusions:  As someone who’s lived in many foreign countries that speak different languages, I know the difficulty it can be to communicate and get what you need to survive.  Yet most often when I encountered a native who realized I couldn’t express myself, I was met with nothing but helpful intentions.

I often hear the phrase “language is a barrier”.  But it’s not.  Because love is stronger.

Throughout history with all the conquerings and movement of people, you will notice an overarching theme:  integration and assimilation.  The native language mixed with the new language.  It changed.  Just look at English.  Over half of our words are Latin origin. Another 1/3 have Greek roots.  The rest is Old English, which is a mix of Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, and the mixture of Celtic, Welsh, and Scottish languages.

Even today, look at the number of foreign words we have adopted from French to Spanish to Italian to Russian.  You’ll find it in Webster’s Dictionary.

Man adapts.

Language can be a divider.  When God wants it to be like in the Tower of Babel.  Or when man chooses to let it be.

But with the right heart and Spirit, it’s a uniter.  Love conquers all.  As does God’s will.