BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15

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Summary 1 Samuel 14:

Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines single-handedly with just his armor-bearer by his side. They both climbed up a cliff to where the Philistines were who told Jonathan to come to them. They took Jonathan’s approach as all of the Israelites were crawling out of their holes. They killed 20 Philistines.

Image result for 1 samuel 14The Lord struck confusion on the Philistines in their camp. Saul saw this and rallied his men to join in the attack. All the Israelites who had hidden came out to help in the battle when they heard what was happening. The Lord rescued the Israelites.

Saul had cursed his army not to eat, all of whom were ravished and hungry. Jonathan eats honey he finds, not knowing about his father’s curse. When he is told of his father’s curse, he ignores it. The men slaughtered the animals of the Philistines and ate all of it, including the blood, because they were so hungry. Saul sacrificed to the Lord and then wanted to kill his own son for eating honey, but the men saved Jonathan, saying he was the one who defeated the Philistines.

Saul continues conquests against the surrounding peoples and enemies of Israel.

Summary 1 Saul 15:

God orders Saul to punish the Amalekites for unprovoked attacks when the Israelites were leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and totally destroy them. Saul did not obey the Lord. He did not destroy everything, keeping the best of the plunder.

God is grieved by Saul’s misbehavior who has since set up a monument to himself. Saul claims the good plunder is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Samuel says obedience is better than sacrifices. He informs Saul God has rejected him as king. Only then does Saul admit he sinned, and Saul begs to be forgiven.

Saul says God does not change His mind. Samuel is the one to put the king of the Amalekites to death. Samuel returns home to Ramah, grieved over Saul.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

13) Personal Question. My answer: It encourages and inspires me that I can make a difference at just one person in this world. We all make a difference every day — I just think we don’t acknowledge it. I like how Jonathan is the wisdom here, eating honey and saying how his father is an idiot for that curse. Jonathan also is inspiring to see how he relies on God and bucks the trends when God says to do so.

14) Saul basically lets others do the hard work, and then he swoops in to claim all the credit. He waits until things are going his way to act. To me, he’s weak-willed and only a leader in good times, not bad.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul claims he was saving the best of the best to sacrifice to God, and he says how he was afraid of the people so he gave in (he blamed others essentially). We do the same thing: blame others for our actions. We procrastinate, saying now is not the right time. Or we say let someone else do it.

16) Personal Question. My answer: God wants total obedience. Even if we think we’re doing something for good and God says otherwise, follow God. He has his reasons for asking us to do things and we, not being omniscient, just need to obey. We can’t assume we know better than God. It’s easier just to follow God anyways. It takes all the decision making out of the equation.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

Following God is easier than you think: you just do it. I love these chapters. You see Jonathan taking matters into his own hands with God and you see Saul taking matters into his own hands against God. The results? Saul is rejected. Jonathan is saved. Nothing says it better.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

1 Samuel 14:

The armor bearer was just that — bearing the armor of the officer he served. He as like the squires of the Middle Ages–the person assigned to help the officer do his duty.

There are many stories in the bible where God multiplies forces (Judges 3:31 described Shamgar’s victory over 600 Philistines with a sharp stick and Leviticus 26:8 saysFive of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

This is where Jonathan is coming from. He’s going to rely on God and see what he’ll do. He does not tell his father who was lazily sitting under a tree.

Jonathan did not do this for glory because he did not tell anyone of his plans. God guided Jonathan to a narrow path through a pass with large, sharp rocks on either side — the perfect place to fight a few men at at time.

Why did Jonathan step out in faith and risk his own life?

  • Someone had to have faith. The situation for the Israelites was dismal: greatly outnumbered.
  • Someone had to allow God to use them.
  • Someone had to allow God to prove His word and that He was still with the Israelites.

What do we learn from Jonathan’s example?

  • Only unbelief restrains God (Matthew 13:58). God’s power is never restrained.

Jonathan’s armor-bearer encourages and supports Jonathan. When something is done in God’s name, support always follows.

Jonathan tests God, but he tests God out of faith. Gideon doubted God’s word (Judges 6:36-40); Jonathan doubted himself. The battle was God’s, but Jonathan still had a role to play by fighting.

God uses the swords of the Philistines against themselves since the Israelites had no swords.

Saul procrastinates. He wants to see who is doing his job (and who’ll get the credit for it), and he wants to pray. The time to fight is now, which he eventually does.

Why the curse of Saul on his own men?

  • Saul’s curse was personal — so he could take vengeance on the Philistines. It was God’s honor and the security of his people he should have been fighting for.
  • Saul did not have the authority to order a fast — only Samuel, a priest, did.

Pursuing an army takes energy. God provided the honey for the men to replenish themselves. Jonathan understood this and said as much.

God commanded Israel to drain the blood from an animal before butchering it (Deuteronomy 12:23-25). The disobedience here stemmed from the people obeying Saul’s foolish command and them being so hungry they ate with the blood still in the animals, which resulted in disobeying God’s.

Legalistic rules lead us into sin because they either provoke our rebellion or they lead us into legalistic pride. Saul being Saul, blamed the people for their disobedience when it was his fault.

Background on Urim and Thummim

Image result for urim and thummimUrim and Thummim are mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:30Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63Nehemiah 7:65) and may have been used elsewhere to inquire of God (Judges 1:1 and Judges 20:1823).

Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most bible scholars think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

Saul wants to spare Agag (Chapter 15), but kill his own son.

Saul wanted to find the wrong doer by the casting of lots. They separated the people into two groups, and then selected one group by a “low” or “high” roll of something like dice. The group was narrowed until they found the one. This was meant to show he was innocent.

Perfect lot” in the Hebrew is very close to the word for Thummim. They probably used the Urim and Thummim as the way to cast the lot.

Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit that he was really at fault. All humility Saul had (1 Samuel 10:21), is now gone replaced by pride.

Why spare Jonathan?

  1. The oath itself to put Jonathan to death was foolish and should not have been enforced.
  2. Jonathan broke the oath in ignorance.
  3. Jonathan’s bold faith in God had much more to do with the victory on that day than Saul’s foolish oath. In fact, the victory would have been greater otherwise.

1 Samuel 15:

Totally destroy: This Hebrew verb (heherim) is used seven times in this account. The idea of total, complete judgment is certainly stressed. This verb refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

Even though God doesn’t have to, He explains to us why. Centuries before this the Amalekites were the first people to attack Israel after their escape from Egypt:

  • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16Deuteronomy 25:17-19 repeats this idea.

The Amalekites committed a terrible sin against Israel. When the nation was weak and vulnerable, the Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of the nation (Deuteronomy 25:18). They did this for no reasons except violence and greed. God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people.

Why did God wait to punish the Amalekites?

  1. God through his mercy gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent. They did not. Time does not erase sin before God.  Men should be forgiving of one another because we are not the judgers. Only Jesus can erase sin.
  2. God used the Amalekites as a test of obedience for Saul.
  3. God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

Would God call His people today to fight a war of judgment?

Under the New Covenant, we are called for (John 18:36).

Saul is merciful in letting the Kenites go.

Most armies worked for the plunder of the people they were conquering in ancient times. But with the Israelites, when the battle was for judgment, they were not to benefit in any way.

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Partial obedience is complete disobedience. There is nothing happy about plundering towns and killing people. God judges reluctantly.

When God explains Himself to man in human terms it’s called anthropomorphism. God does this out of grace so man can have some understanding of God’s heart. God knew from the beginning Saul’s heart, ways, and destiny. God already sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet as all this unfolded, God’s heart was not emotionless. Saul’s disobedience hurt God, and since we can’t grasp all what happens in God’s heart, the closest that we can come is for God to express it in the human terms of saying, I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king.”

Samuel had God’s heart. It hurt God to reject Saul, and it hurt God’s prophet to see him rejected.

Lesson learned from God’s grieving heart:

  • We are close to God’s heart when the things that grieve Him grieve us, and the things that please God please us.

Saul wasn’t grieved over his sin. Saul was quite pleased with himself! There is not the slightest bit of shame or guilt in Saul, even though he directly disobeyed the LORD.

David, in contrast to Saul, was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even though David would also disobeyed God, David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame, and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God and still set up a monument for himself on the occasion.

Saul had such potential as we saw in (1 Samuel 9:21) and (1 Samuel 10:22). Humans are the same no matter what–evil. Saul let the evil prevail instead of letting God have his heart.

What lesson do we learn from Saul’s pride and monument to himself?

  • Pride and disobedience make us blind – or deaf – to our own sin. We need to constantly ask God to show us our sins: Psalm 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saul’s excuses:

  1. “The people did it.”
  2. “I destroyed the rest.”
  3. “I kept the only the best.”
  4. “This is all for God.”

This says it all (verse 15): “the Lord YOUR God.” Saul did not consider God his anymore. Tragic.

Saul did not even destroy the rest; there were still Amalekites left alive. David later had to deal with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 27:830:12 Samuel 8:12). Haman, the evil man who tried to wipe out all the Jewish people in the days of Esther, was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1). When Saul was killed on the field of battle, an Amalekite claimed to deliver the final thrust of the sword (2 Samuel 1:8-10).

Lesson learned when we don’t obey God fully:

  • When we don’t obey God completely, the “leftover” portion will surely come back and trouble us, if not kill us.

Saul again throws his own people under the bus even though they were only following orders.

What does God want from us?

God knew Saul’s heart — he would never be obedient to HIm. Rebellion lived in his heart.

Saul rejects his sin — with a caveat — the blame game again.

We see Saul’s desperation in the ripping of Samuel’s robe. Saul is desperately clinging onto pride and stubbornness instead of clinging to God Himself.

Fun Fact: Samuel uses a title for the LORD found only here in the whole Bible: The Strength of Israel or the Glory of Israel, reminding Saul who is in charge.

Saul is far more concerned with his image than his soul. Saul remains in power only because David is not ready yet.

Samuel completes God’s command and kills the king of the Amalekites himself by hacking him to pieces. He does this before the Lord and for the Lord.

Sadly, Saul never came to see Samuel even though Ramah and Gibeah were less than ten miles apart. Saul needed to come to Samuel to repent. He never did.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 9, Day 5: Romans 5:20-21

Summary of passage:  The purpose of the law was to show man his sin more so that God could show man His need for grace and a Savior more.

Questions:

10a)  If no one states the rules/laws, how would you know you are breaking them?  How would you know what God expects if He doesn’t state it?  Sin needed to be defined.  One can’t rely on self (which is full of sin) to say what’s right and wrong.  The law amplified our sins, showed us our need for a Savior, and in God’s perfect timing (when man was ripe to receive), God sent Jesus to save us.

The law draws clear lines between right and wrong and man (like little kids) want to cross those lines to test what they can get away with.  Hence, man sins even more because of man’s sinful nature.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As more and more sins are acceptable or tolerated (i.e. homosexuality, murder, rape, etc) more and more people follow the crowd and the power of crowd mentality.  As thus, our need for a Savior grows as our sins grow.

11)  Personal Question that really shouldn’t be asked.  My answer:  Generically, I know I’m a faulty parent.  I also know I’m a good parent.  But with God’s grace He’ll overcome my sins in my parenting and allow my children to grow up to awesome individuals.

12)  Heaven(Kingdom of God/Jesus where grace reigns through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus) and hell (Kingdom of Satan where sin leads to death).  They dwell permanently in each.

Conclusions:  Again, too little here to justify 4 questions (hence the personal nature of such).  Anyone else wish BSF would cut the study instead of add “fillers” to lengthen it?  6 months would be good.  Then they could throw on Galatians or something smaller to make it a full year.

End Notes:  Compared to God’s holy standard, sin stands in stark contrast, which was the purpose of the law so man could see that.  However, God’s grace super-abounds (“increased all the more”) to cover man’s sins.  Thus, we can’t sin more than God can forgive.  However, we can reject his forgiveness.

Sin reigns in death.  Grace reigns through righteousness, granting eternal life, because of Jesus. Titus 2:11-12 tells us how to live (not sinning purposely) but living righteously.

Grace is not a license to sin.  Grace challenges us to overcome it through the power of Jesus!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 9, Day 5: John 6:34-40

Summary of passage:  Jesus declares he’s the bread of life and whoever believes in him will never be hungry nor thirsty.  He has come to do God’s will which is to raise up God’s people at the last day in eternal life.

Questions:

11)  Material.  No because once again Jesus chastises them with “You have seen me but still you do not believe.”

12a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  That God shall raise up believers at the last day.  Asking God into your heart and receiving the Holy Spirit ensures you’ll be among the last.  (Similar question on Lesson 4 Day 2)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With Jesus my every need will be satisfied.  It frees me from fear to do His will even when I don’t understand it.  (Similar question Lesson 4 Day 4)

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has come to give eternal life (life with the Father) to all who believe.  That is his fulfillment of God’s desire.  As I do His work, I am assured and content. (Similar question Lesson 8 Day 5)

Conclusions:  We’ve had many of these questions before.  Expect more repetitiveness in the weeks ahead.

End Notes:  This is the fourth question Jesus answers from the people in this scene recorded by John.  In some translations it says “always” instead of “from now on.”  The people still want material bread and they want it forever.

This is the first of the “I am” (ego eimi) in the Gospel of John and one of the most important.  There are 7 “I am ” statements (the number of completeness and perfection).  These echo the seven “I am” statements God says in Isaiah.

The bread of life may mean “the bread that is living” or “the bread that gives life”.  Jesus expands on verse 33 here by explaining what he means by the bread of God.  This is repeated in verses 41, 48 & 51.

Come to Christ out of your heart and desire.  That is all that is required to come.  It’s very simple like when someone asks you “to come here.”  That is what Jesus is doing here.

Coming to Jesus begins with God and all who come get God.  To do God’s will.  Mentioned by Jesus before in John 4:34.

This is an invitation to all believers and all in general.  Whoever comes willingly, gets God. Period.

True believers persevere because Christ holds onto them.

Fun Fact:  “The last day” expression is found only in John in the New Testament.  This probably refers to the day of resurrection followed by the day of judgment at the End Times.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 5: Revelation 4:9-11

Summary of passage: John sees four living creatures honoring and thanking God and when they do, 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:

10)  They are falling down before God, laying their crowns at God’s feet, and worshiping Him, giving Him all the glory, because He is the Creator of all things and it is by His will they even exist.  It’s important to note the elders are following the creatures lead.

11)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Worship.  We were created to worship and that’s what we will do non-stop in heaven.  It’s what we should do here.  Everything we do should be worshipful in some way to God.  I will try to be more cognizant of this and ask myself if what I’m doing is worshipful or not.  If not, then I will not do it.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Needs to be more about Him and not me or others around me.  At church it’s easy to look around and see what others are doing.  I need to focus more on God.  Focus more at home on God.  Analyze if what I am doing is worshipful or not.  Strive to put more worship in my daily life.

Conclusions:  Great application to the passage here.  Worship is central to God, who He is, and why we were created.  It can get lost in all of our busy-ness.  God’s will needs to be done on earth.  We each were given a job by God to accomplish here on earth and that needs to be central to our lives.  Discovering it and fulfilling it.  Along the way, we need to acknowledge it’s Him and praise Him for that.  That is our purpose.  Period.

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 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).

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 5: Exodus 24

Summary of passage:  God summons Moses to come to the top of Mt Sinai.  The others must not approach God.  Moses told the people what God had said and wrote it all down in the Book of the Covenant.  Then he built an altar to God and offered sacrifices to Him.  Then he sprinkled the blood of the covenant over God’s people.  Moses and others went up and saw God and ate and drank.

The Lord called Moses up to receive the laws and commands on stone.  Moses went up further with Aaron.  Then Moses went alone and the cloud covered him and the glory of the Lord settled on the mountain.  Then Moses entered the cloud and remained for 40 days and nights.

Questions:

11a)  Jesus because he gave himself as a ransom for all men (1 Timothy 2:6) through his blood and Jesus’ covenant is superior to the Old Covenant with better promises

b)  Before

c)  It is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

d)  Trusting that Jesus’ death has freed us from all sins committed and cleansed our consciousnesses from acts that lead to death we should be able to serve the living God better without worry that we may not be offered forgiveness for our sins.  We are free; thus, we are free to obey.

12a)  They were allowed to worship God at a distance (closer than the rest of the Israelites) verse 1 and they saw the God of Israel (verse 9 & 11).

b)  Cloud, glory of the Lord or consuming fire, the smoke, and the stone tablets

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is tangible and personal.  He is light.  He is compassionate on His people.  He is awesome.

Conclusions:  Lots of cross references to Jesus here.  Too many in my opinion.  Wished we would have focused more on what this Old Covenant to us (but a new covenant to the Israelites back then) meant for them as this single act in Exodus 24 is/was one of the most important acts in the Bible.  This chapter is the basis for God’s people to live for hundreds of years.  The profundity of this chapter should not be ignored nor glossed over.

I just don’t understand how having seen the glory of the Lord you could then turn around and worship a golden calf.  I just don’t get it.  I say this because I fear I’d be just as stupid and do the same thing.

We are seeing over and over again (and it only goes downhill from here) how even God’s presence does not make people believe in Him.  This is human nature (which makes me wonder why God created us with this dilemma).  However, the consistent failure of the human race to obey God (as Paul argues in Galatians) was the reason we needed a New Covenant.  And aren’t we all glad of that?  As always, God’s ways are not our own and we only have limited understanding of His.

“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

God called to Moses “Come near!”  Can you imagine?  What a pleasure that must be!  Still, this is a promise to us all.  God calls us.  How do you respond?

End Notes:  The Old Covenant here in this chapter is Israel’s constitution, birth certificate, and marriage certificate all wrapped up in some stone tablets and Moses’ writings.  Here is recorded 613 commands on how to live your life as God’s chosen people, as His nation, and as a relationship to Him like a marriage full of love between God and His people.

God spoke to Moses alone Exodus 20:22-23. Then God speaks to others here in Exodus 24.

There is Four Steps to the Covenant:

1) The word of God must be written

2)  There must be a blood (life) sacrifice to be cleansed of sin

3)  There must be a response to the covenant

4)  The blood must be received and accepted to be binding and sealed.

These are true for both the Old and the New Covenant.

It is impossible to say what exactly the elders saw.  Some scholars say they merely saw the footstool of God, which is said to be made of sapphire (Revelation 4:6 & Ezekiel 1:26).  Some say it wasn’t God but a form of God.

The shared meal was a common way of sealing a deal in ancient times.  Hence, the face they ate and drank in God’s presence was normal and gave them renewed strength to trust Moses.

This is the same Joshua as the Book of Joshua.

So on Mt. Sinai, you have the 70 elders and Aaron and his brothers half-way up the mountain. Then Moses and Joshua went further up and there Joshua was left up by himself and only Moses continued on to the top to meet with God to receive the Ten Commandments.  Aaron and his brothers were supposed to be supervising the people.  We find out later how that turned out.

Though the people could not see God nor Moses they could not doubt His presence in the physical signs God left. How stupid are we?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 9, Day 5: Matthew 8:23-34

Summary of passage:  Fleeing the crowds, Jesus and his disciples get in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.  A storm arose and the disciples, scared, awoke Jesus from a much needed rest afraid they would drown.  Jesus rebuked them for lack of faith and calmed the storm.  The disciples were amazed at Jesus’ power.

When Jesus arrived at the other side of the lake in Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men approached him.  They taunted Jesus and asked him to drive the demons into the pigs, which Jesus did.  The whole herd of pigs then drowned themselves in the lake.  The shepherds ran to tell the town and the whole town demanded Jesus leave, scared of what they just saw.

Questions:

12a)  Jesus understood the disciples genuine fear that they would die and how powerful of an emotion fear is so he calmed the storm not for himself but for them.

b)  Omnipotent (power over the wind and the seas).  Compassion in the midst of unbelief (even though the disciples didn’t deserve to have their fear calmed because they didn’t belief in who he was, Jesus did it anyways).  Love (Jesus loved his disciples enough to rebuke them and call them out for their lack of faith.)

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If the disciples had really, truly understood exactly whom Jesus was they would not have been afraid.  Imagine:  you are in a boat with God/Jesus.  Would He allow anything to happen to you?  No. Yet the disciples literally thought they were going to die.  That Jesus would not protect them.  That they were not safe in his presence.  How sad!

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There have been many, mainly with regards to money.  My husband has lost his job multiple times and we have gone through a bankruptcy where we lost our home but never once were we homeless or without food, clothing, or shelter.  God provides and He continues to this day.  I no longer fear job losses.  They make me upset.  But my fear is gone for I know He has my back.

13a)  “They were so violent that no one could pass that way.”  “This man lived in the tombs and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.”  “He tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.  No one was strong enough to subdue him.”  “He would cry out and cut himself with stones.”

b)  Jesus came to destroy the devil’s power over death and free us from our fear of death.  The demon-possessed men were as good as dead, leading a life not worth living, being chained up because they were crazy.  One cannot survive with demons inside of them as exhibited by the pigs.  The pigs, as lower animals, committed suicide because they could not handle the devil inside of them.

Jesus freed the men and gave them a live worth living again as he does for each of us who accept him.

c)  Personal Question.   My answer:  It’s interesting to me how Jesus chooses some to be disciples or witnesses and how he chooses others not to be.  Jesus healed the man with leprosy in Matthew 8:1-4 and told him not to tell anyone and here in Mark 18-20, Jesus tells the man to go and give testimony on what he has done.  I believe he has done this because the former needed to be cleansed to be accepted back into society and the demon man would have been accepted automatically.

Furthermore, Jesus came to free us from the power of the devil over our lives.  Driving out demons speaks to this point and is a more important testimony to who Jesus is.  Jesus healed the physical sick (the leper); but he is more interested in healing the people spiritually (the demon-possessed man).

d)  They pleaded with him to leave their region.  This shows they are scared of Jesus’ power.  They are angry at him because 2000 pigs as Mark tells us was worth a lot of money–probably most people’s entire income for the year.  They are indifferent to how Jesus saved the two men.  They could care less that they were saved.  They acted out of fear.

e)  They don’t like Jesus when he affects their money for the good of others.  When people are scared or they don’t understand something, they tend to run away or push back.  They close up and refuse to learn what is driving that fear so they ignore the Message.  People refuse to believe being saved is so easy so they reject Jesus.

Fear and unbelief go together.  What people fear, they don’t believe is true.  People fear what Jesus can do in their lives so they reject Jesus and choose what Satan is doing in their lives instead.

Conclusions:  I liked this lesson.  Full of action-packed stories and interesting characters.  Jesus calming a storm and freaky men running around, crazy, while a pack of pigs run off a cliff.  Cool!

Note how God always does what is best for us.  The man wanted to go with Jesus and Jesus said no.  Why?  Because this man would now serve God greater as he proclaimed his miracle to others.  Also, the man probably still harbored fears of the devil and Jesus wanted him to know he would be okay without Jesus nearby.

Maps:  This is an awesome site full of maps of where Jesus walked and the distances between places mentioned.  You can click on the red dots on the map which lead you to more detailed information with more maps and pictures of the ruins today.  You could spend hours on this site!

http://www.biblewalks.com/info/jesusfootsteps.html

This site has maps as well as the Bible verses that trace Jesus’ ministry:

http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN160-TRAVELS.htm

End Notes:  Some scholars believe the storm was sent by the devil in an attempt to drown the Son of God and his disciples because of the use of the word “rebuke”.

The demon-possessed men were exceedingly unclean since they lived among the dead.

The demon’s words to Jesus demonstrate they understood they were going to face torture for eternity and they asked to be left alone to inflict their damage on earth for as long as possible.

Pigs are unclean to Jews so these must have been owned by a Gentile.  Note how the demons needed permission to enter the pigs.  They just couldn’t do it themselves.

The pigs hurling themselves over the cliff shows the real reason for existence of demons:  to kill.  However, the demons may have achieved one end goal:  they turned the people away from Jesus through killing the pigs.  We must be wary always for the destructive tendencies of the devil.

Demons use human bodies as a weapon against God.  Demon-possession can be a reality today but note they have to be invited in; demons just can’t take control over you.

Note this is the only thing Jesus does in Gadarenes.  In Matthew 9, we learn Jesus returns to his own town.  Jesus came over just to save this one man.  This shows us the depth and importance we all hold in God’s eyes.  We matter just like this seemingly insignificant demon-possessed man did to God.  We all have hope.  This man’s life was admittedly over if Jesus hadn’t have banished the demons.  Now, the man can live again.  Just like we all can.

Mark mentions the Decapolis.  Deka is ten in Greek which was adopted into Latin to be dec and polis is Greek for cities so this literally means Ten Cities.  These were mainly on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, which were mainly Gentile.  See link HERE for a great history lesson and map on the ten cities which are the ones in black.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 9, Day 5: Genesis 10

Summary of passage:  Genealogy of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Noah’s sons).

The sons of Japheth were maritime peoples and spread out with their own language.

Cush was the son of Ham who was the father of Nimrod who grew to be a mighty warrior and hunter on earth.  The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in Shinar.  Then Cush went to Assyria to build Ninevah, Rehoboth, Ir, Calah, and Resen.

Later, the Canaanites scattered, pushing out the borders from Sidon to Gaza and Lasha.

Shem’s ancestors lived in the eastern hill country from Mesha to Sephar.

Questions:

10a)  Cush was Nimrod’s father and Nimrod’s grandfather was Ham.  He was a mighty warrior and hunter on earth.  He ruled a kingdom that included Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh.  He then conquered Assyria and established more cities.

Fun fact:  Nimrod’s name means “let us rebel”.

b)  Bad.  “The mighty hunter before the Lord” is not a hunter of animals but of humans.  This is not a compliment.  This is also the first use of the word “kingdom” in the bible, which implies he consolidated the peoples and probably in a ruthless manner.  Ultimately, he relied on his own strength instead of God’s.

11) “because in his time the earth was divided”

12)  Uz and Jobab.  Job came from the region of Uz and Jobab may be the one we know as Job.

13)  Like most lists of names and genealogies in the Bible, it is used to chronicle the line of Jesus and collaborate God’s words to man (who always seems to need evidence).  Also, it explains how the world was re-populated after the flood and who and how founded the nations of the earth.

Conclusions:  Keep in mind the distribution of peoples:  Japheth was the father of the western Europeans, the Medes, and the Greeks.  Ham was the father of Africans (Egypt and Ethiopia) and the far East (including Babylon and Canaan).  Shem was the father of the Persians, the Assyrians, the Hebrews (Abram), and Asia Minor.

Best map I could find on the Internet of the table of nations:  http://www.bible-history.com/maps/2-table-of-nations.html

In general:

Japheth-Europe

Ham-Africa

Shem-Asia

Good map of Fertile Crescent, showing Nimrod’s kingdom:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/nimrod.htm