BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 3: Deuteronomy 28

Summary of passage:  If the Israelites obey all of the Lord’s commands, they will be blessed in everything:  food, livestock, children, defeat of enemies, and everything they lay a hand on.  They will be His holy people.  If the Israelites disobey, they will be cursed in everything they touch, defeated by their enemies, and scattered throughout all the nations (the Diaspora).

Questions:

5)  Obey God and you will be blessed.  Disobey God and face the consequences.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation.”

b)  After Joshua died, Samaria, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman empire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably all areas of my life.

Conclusions:  Granted, there was nothing new here we haven’t read already.  Moses is repeating himself.  Still, this is the first time I can remember in a long time where my answers are one-liners.  I was stumped on 6c.  Too broad.  All I know is I’m a sinner and can improve in every aspect of my walk with Him.

End Notes: The Israelites must decide if they will be cursed or blessed.  Nothing is hidden here.  If you obey and are blessed, you receive everything.  If you disobey and are cursed, you receive nothing.

The consequences of disobedience are almost overwhelming here.  This is purposeful.  Moses was trying to scare the people to obey because disobedience would not be a pretty picture.

The book of Lamentations is the grief suffered after Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Lamentations 4 describes the hunger and starvation that resulted in women eating their own children.  How tragic.

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 72 AD was horrendous.  Starvation from the siege.  Jewish people were sold into slavery.  There was in-fighting.  Even Christians persecuted the Jews especially in the Middle Ages, mistakenly applying this passage to themselves as being God’s instrument  who should curse the Jews.  The Diaspora.

Yet, God is not done with Israel.  No other nation on earth has lasted as long.  The greats are gone:  Egypt, Rome, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyria, etc.  Only Israel still stands.  They shall always be His chosen people.  As such, we need to pray for them.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 5: Numbers 9-10

Summary of passage:  Numbers 9:  We are again in the second year after the Exodus from Egypt.  God instructs Moses in the celebration of the Passover.  A few who were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body asked Moses if they could still celebrate the Passover.  Moses asked God who said yes, they could.  God then said though is someone chooses not to celebrate the Passover than that person will be cut off from his people and bear the consequences of sin.  Aliens could celebrate as well according to the rules.

When the Israelites were encamped, the cloud covered the tabernacle.  At night the cloud looked like fire.  Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites set out.

Numbers 10:  God had Moses make 2 silver trumpets used as communication tools with the Israelites.  When one sounded, the leaders assembled before Moses.  When both sounded, the whole community assembled before Moses.  A blast on the trumpet would be a signal for setting out.  The signals are to be different. The priests alone are to blow the trumpets.  It is to blow during battle as well so the Lord will remember His people and be rescued.  Finally, at festivals the trumpet is to be sounded over the offerings as a memorial to God.

Finally, the Israelites leave Mount Sinai in the second year in the second month, day 20.  The camp of Judah went first followed by the tabernacle.  Reuben went next followed by the holy things.  Then Ephraim.  Then Dan at the end.  Moses asked his father-in-law to accompany them and he said no.  Moses said he knows the desert so they needed him and he promised to give him food if he came.  The ark of the covenant went before them as they marched.

Questions:

11a)  2 years

b)  First, because it had been two years.  Second, the purpose of the Passover was to remember their slavery and exodus from Egypt so many wanted to celebrate God’s goodness and give Him thanks.  Third, because it was ordered by God as a command and as God later says in Numbers 9:13, it is a sin NOT to celebrate it, resulting in dire consequences of being cut off from their people.  Celebrating the Passover was an act of obedience by God’s people.  To not do so was a sin.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Usually not all that eager.  To remember His blessings, His goodness, His sacrifices, His grace, His mercy, and His centrality in my life.

12a)  When the Israelites were encamped, the cloud covered the tabernacle. At night the cloud looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites set out.  If the cloud moved, they moved.  If the cloud stayed, they stayed.  Simple directions the Israelites could not mess up.

b)  God had Moses make 2 silver trumpets used as communication tools with the Israelites. When one sounded, the leaders assembled before Moses. When both sounded, the whole community assembled before Moses. A blast on the trumpet would be a signal for setting out. The signals are to be different.

c)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Here, we see the Israelites with clear signs of God’s will and guidance:  a cloud they can see and a trumpet they can hear.  God guides us as well just with not quite so easily seen and heard methods.  I feel prayer and His word are the best way to hear God speak and see Him and His character.  Then I see Him guiding me in my life as I read His words and speak to Him.  I feel I hear Him speak as well through others who offer godly advice.  He is everywhere if we would only pay attention.

Conclusions:  12a was the same question as number 11a in Lesson 13 Day 5 where we were even told to read Numbers 9:15-23.  After doing this lesson, not sure why we studied the cloud the same way in Exodus 40 when the cloud was only briefly mentioned in relation to why Moses couldn’t enter the tabernacle.  Seems redundant here to study the same passage twice.

Overall, this was my favorite day of Lesson 18.  All the questions were good and meaningful.  I liked the trumpets.  That was cool.  Gets me ready for Revelation next year.  I liked the eagerness of the Israelites to celebrate the Passover and God’s openness to exceptions.  The lesson of obedience stuck out to me again.

End Notes:  Numbers 9:  Today we remember what Jesus did for us on the cross–sparing us judgment and forgiving us our sins once and for all–when we take communion, which is very similar to the Israelites’ remembrance of Passover every year.

Even the foreigner could partake and must partake of the Passover.  This shows God’s infinite love and how even the Gentiles are included as God’s people.

Some scholars say it is better not to have the visual of the cloud for what would happen if the cloud left?  People would be devastated.  I don’t believe this.  I think more people would believe and more would desire God even more if He left like the Israelites, begging God to stay with them (Exodus 33) and not forsake them when they sinned at the golden calf.

Numbers 10:  God’s people have been prepared:  given the laws, taught the ceremonies, cleansed, and organized for the Promised Land.  Still, the journey would not be easy, but preparation is key to have any hope of completing their journey.

Great example by Moses asking for help.  God provides others for us to help us on our journey as well.

This is one of the most famous of the prayers in the Bible and still applies to us today.  Amazingly, for all of the rebelliousness of the Israelites, they did follow the cloud faithfully.  So must we.  We go when God says go and stay when God says stay and we pray for our enemies to be scattered where we are and for God to be with us wherever we are.

Proposal for Online BSF Study

To the Bible Study Fellowship Board of Directors and Director of New Start-Up Classes:

I am proposing starting an online BSF class strictly for those who are unable to attend a regular BSF class (disabled, elderly, can’t drive, rural communities, etc).  This would follow the BSF four-part model:  lecture, notes, discussion, personal study and questions but be available all online.

A BSF lecturer could videotape himself/herself (like at our class that is videotaped) and post it online.  You listen to the lecture and then can download the notes and next week’s questions.  Then in the forum you can discuss with others your findings.  This forum could be restricted to being open only on the designated meeting day.  Similarly with the notes.

I know this will challenge BSF’s paradigm and maybe financially but the I think the benefits will far-outweigh the costs.

With regards to the paradigm:  Times change.  Think of all the innovations since Jesus first walked the earth:  we’ve gone from camel and horse travel to train travel to cars and planes.  The printing press has allowed us to own a copy of God’s word.  Improvements on the printing press have allowed the Bible to be the biggest best-seller ever.  Now, you can even read the Bible on the Internet and on your phone!

Enrollment can be qualified.  For those who live in remote communities; those who attending a BSF class would be an inconvenience (flying, hiking, snowmobiling, driving over a certain number of hours, etc); disabled or elderly; those with kids in different age groups who can’t attend because they have both school-age kids and preschool age kids; those who can’t afford to pay for the gas to get to the class; and other extenuating circumstances, etc.

My story:  I had a very tiny blog.  Not many hits and few subscribers.  After my first day at BSF, I blogged about how much I loved it and was looking forward to it.  BAM!  87 hits.  So, I thought to myself I may be onto something.  I started posting my answers and my blog has skyrocketed to beyond belief.

Obviously, there is a need of some kind out there.

I have people from all over the world follow my blog.  One lady is going on a mission trip to Uganda.  She “met” a lady who lives in Uganda who is enrolled in BSF who posted on my site and now they are going to meet in Uganda!  How cool is that!

One lady who has severe health problems and is unable to attend classes at times uses my blog as her discussion time.  She swap prayer requests even.  She is just one among many who use my blog as such.  The Internet never shuts down during inclement weather.

One member whose friend lives in Hawaii would have to fly to her nearest BSF class.  When I move (our move has now been delayed), I would have to drive 6 hours to my nearest one.  Think of Alaska:  you’d have to snowmobile up there!

Funding:  I believe BSF could solicit funds specifically for such a purpose.  I for one am willing to donate to such a project.  You could have a designation added to your online giving system fairly easily to facilitate donations.  This money would go to help pay the initial start-up costs.

Someone can be trained to administer the program once it’s up and running.  This could even be a volunteer willing to post the videos, etc.

Please read some of the comments on my site about how much being able to have a discussion group 24/7 facilitates learning and ultimately growing with God means to others.  For some, it could be indescribable (I know it is for me!).

BSF Statement of Beliefs #14 (according to your website) says how BSF believes we are all called to study the Bible personally through the power of the Holy Spirit until each one is matured into God’s purpose for their life.  How better to aid in this for those who for whatever reason cannot physically make it to BSF classes?

I am asking you to please pray about this as with everything in BSF.  A pilot year could be set up to see if this idea works or not.  Limit the number of attendees and see what happens.  She what needs to be improved, changed, or scrapped all together.  A year to work out the bugs, evaluate at the end if it accomplishes BSF’s vision, and go from there.

I can only imagine the number of people who can be reached through the Internet (another invention God gave to someone).  His kingdom can grow by leaps and bounds through this measure.

Part of BSF is community.  Well, I can attest to the fact you can have a community over the Internet.  There are followers of my blog whom I consider some of my dearest friends.  They regularly offer words of sage advice that I appreciate beyond belief.  Even though I can’t see them and they can’t see me, this is vital to what my website has become.  Without them, my blog is empty.

Facebook is the second-highest ranked site (according to Alexa) in the world–a website dedicated to facilitating connections–existing only in cyberspace as this BSF class would do.

Community is what you make of it.  BSF is what you make of it.  I think a BSF online could thrive.  And grow.  But still remain true to BSF’s and Ms. Johnson’s vision.

I have been praying about this ever since the idea popped in my head.  I only ask you all do the same.

Thanks for listening, considering, and praying with regards to this proposal.