BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10

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Summary 1 Samuel 9:

Saul, a tall young man, was sent by his father, Kish, to find their donkeys. Saul’s servant suggests they go ask a man of God where the donkeys are because they couldn’t find the donkeys. The man of God is Samuel, and God had told Samuel the day before to anoint a man from Benjamin as the leader of the Israelites. God tells Samuel Saul is the one once Saul meets Samuel. Saul and Samuel ate together.

Summary 1 Samuel 10:

Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head, anointing him leader. Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him.

Image result for 1 samuel 10Samuel gathered the people of Israel at Mizpah to present Saul as king. Saul at first hid and had to be brought out. Samuel told the people the regulations of being king and wrote them down. Some were not happy with God’s choice of Saul as king.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

3) Directly. God told Samuel the day ahead of time of the circumstances of meeting Saul and that he was a Benjamite and then when Samuel actually met Saul, God spoke again to make it clear His choice. This had to be important for God to be so directly involved.

4) Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him. The king was to be commanded and directed by God and obey God. The prophets such as Samuel were to reveal God’s will to the king. The king, however, can prophesy as well.

5) Part personal Question. My answer:  God speaks directly sometimes, and we should obey. God has a ton of work for me to do from raising my kids to serving Him to my jobs, my writings, and my testimony of my life.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

I love God’s directness here in choosing Saul and re-iterating his choice with Samuel. I love how Saul at first shirks his duties and then embraces them, probably out of fear. I think we all are hesitant when called by God to do His work. It’s good to know this is a natural human reaction.

I love how unassuming Saul is as we all are. We all can be called and used by God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

1 Samuel 9:

Saul means “asked of God”. He came from a wealthy family and was good-looking and tall.

What do we learn from Saul and the donkeys?

  1. Not every event in our life holds great meaning from God.
  2. God uses situations to guide us.

Image result for saul and donkeysBible scholar Clarke explains seer: “The word seerroeh, occurs for the first time in this place; it literally signifies a person who SEES; particularly preternatural [supernatural] sights. A seer and a prophet were the same in most cases; only with this difference, the seer was always a prophet, but the prophet was not always a seer.”

When consulting a prophet, it was common courtesy to bring a gift (Amos 7:12), whether modest (1 Kings 14:3) or lavish (2 Kings 8:8-9).

Saul had no relationship with the LORD, so God spoke to Saul through lost donkeys. But Samuel knew and loved the LORD, so God spoke to Samuel in his ear.

In his ear is literally, “had uncovered his ear.” The same phrase is used in Ruth 4:4. “The phrase is taken from the pushing aside of the headdress in order to whisper, and therefore means that Jehovah had secretly told Samuel” (Smith, Pulpit Commentary). It doesn’t mean Samuel heard an audible voice from God.

God gave the prophet Samuel specific guidance regarding future events. Samuel received this guidance wisely and looked for the fulfillment of the words to confirm God’s choice of a king. But Samuel also wisely refused to manipulate circumstances to “make” what God said come to pass. Samuel felt that if this was God’s word, He was able to make it happen.

Though there were many problems with the reign of Saul, no one should think it was a total disaster. Saul led Israel to many military victories and greater independence from the Philistines.

God confirms his words to Samuel twice. This is something we should look for in our lives: a confirmation of God’s Word.

When Samuel spoke to Saul, he prove to Saul that he was a true prophet from God. He showed Saul he knew things that he probably could not have known unless it was revealed to him supernaturally.

What does the seating arrangement at supper between Samuel and Saul tell us?

  • The seat of honor was always on a particular side next to the host. It was a great honor to be seated in this place next to the prophet Samuel.
  • Saul was also given the special portion. In that culture every meal had a special portion to be given to the one the host wanted to honor. Saul was specially honored at this meal.

1 Samuel 10:

The word “anoint” means to rub or sprinkle on; apply an ointment or oily liquid to. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto Saul.

Fun Fact: This is one of the earliest references to prophets in the Bible.

How are Christians anointed?

As Christians under the New Covenant we also have an anointing: But you have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20). In the New Testament sense, anointing has the idea of being filled with and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

Kissing was a sign of Samuel’s support of Saul.

It was a secret anointing because it was not yet time to reveal Saul as king to the nation. As Christians, our anointing often comes in just such a private way.

3 Signs Saul knew he was anointed by God:Image result for saul and donkeys

  1. If there were no men by Rachel’s tomb, or if there was only one man and not two, then Saul would know that Samuel did not really speak from God.
  2. If the men by Rachel’s tomb didn’t tell Saul about finding the donkeys, Saul could know Samuel was not a true prophet. God gave Saul this sign to build confidence in the work of the LORD.
  3. The third confirmation: It would be unusual for men to simply give a stranger like Saul loaves of bread.

Prophesying isn’t necessarily predicting the future, but that they all spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

What does the group of prophets tell us?

The Holy Spirit was the real anointing.  “Will come upon you” is literally “will leap or rush upon thee, to wit [namely], for a season. So, it may be opposed to the Spirit’s resting upon a man, as in Numbers 11:25Isaiah 11:2.”

What do we learn from Saul:

God always confirms His anointing.

Saul had to wait for Samuel because Saul had to show that even though he was a king he was submitted to the LORD and the LORD’s prophet. We’ll see later on that when Saul doesn’t wait for Samuel, disaster strikes.

God’s heart:Image result for 1 samuel 10

We also can have another heart from the LORD, but we must receive it from Him. We can’t receive a new heart from anyone except from God, and we can never make a new heart in anyone else.

The LORD, speaking through Samuel, showed Israel how their rejection of Him made so little sense. It makes no sense to reject the one who saves you out of all your adversities and your tribulations. Yet so many of us do.

The choosing by lot simply confirmed the word of the LORD through Samuel.

God gave the Israelites what they wanted: a king who looked like a king.

Samuel taught the Israelites God’s guidelines for both rulers and subjects, probably using Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

It doesn’t seem that this book Samuel wrote is contained in any of the books of the Bible. This doesn’t mean that there is something missing from our Bibles. It simply means God did not want this book preserved in His eternal Word.

Saul had men to support him.

Bible scholar Meyer on Saul’s ignoring criticism:  “It is a great power when a man can act as though he were deaf to slander, deaf to detraction, deaf to unkind and uncharitable speeches, and treat them as though they had not been spoken, turning from man to God, leaving with God his vindication, believing God that sooner or later will give him a chance… of vindicating the true prowess and temper of his soul.”

Saul had great promise:

  • Saul was chosen and anointed by God.
  • Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Saul was supported by a great man of God.
  • Saul was given gifts appropriate to royalty.
  • Saul was enthusiastically supported by most all the nation.
  • Saul was surrounded by valiant men, men whose hearts God had touched.
  • Saul was wise enough to not regard every doubter or critic as an enemy

Despite all these great advantages, Saul could still end badly. Saul had so many advantages, yet it all comes down to choice. He had to choose to walk in the advantages God gave him and choose to not go his own way. The rest of the book of 1 Samuel shows how Saul dealt with that choice.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13

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Summary Joshua 24:1-13:

Joshua assembled all the people at Shechem and reminded them of all God has done for them since calling Abraham to the Promised Land. This includes their time in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the wandering, the fight for the land east of the Jordan River, and the fight against Jericho and all the Western Kings. God did it all. God gave it all. God provides all.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

10) Personal Question. My answer: God had it all planned out. God did it all, and the Israelites did nothing. I love seeing God’s hand and knowing He has it all and I don’t have to worry. It’s a great comfort in times of trial. God has a plan. Give it over to Him.

11) God has history all planned out in His own time. God does it all. He loves us enough to plan for eternity. Who else in this world does?

12) Part personal Question. God is great, and we don’t remember that enough. It’s easy to push God aside in our busy lives and not think about Him. We have to remember Him and what he’s done for us continually. And the details and little things matter like food and shelter—all the things we take for granted every day.  My answer: we need to remember all God has done for us for 2 main reasons: 1) we have hope in the bad times 2) in the good times we don’t become prideful and think it’s us doing it all. God does is all. We’re merely His players.

It’s important to be a good witness, to tell of times in our past when God has been faithful. It encourages and strengthens other Christians and it may influence others to become Christ-followers. Re-living those moments strengthens your faith as well. We can’t let activities in our lives push God out. He is central, and we must keep Him there.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

It’s important to keep history alive or we are doomed to relive it. Most of the Israelites weren’t alive to experience a lot of what Joshua spoke about. Our past gives us courage to face our future. Courage and hope–two things we all need more of in this world.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

This was a dramatic last gathering of Israel before the passing of Joshua. It may or may not be part of the same farewell described in Joshua 23. No specific place of gathering is mentioned in Joshua 23, so it could have been part of this same meeting at Shechem.Image result for shechem

Shechem is modern day Tel Balata. This ancient city was situated on the floor of a valley with Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal forming the respective walls. The contour of the land resulted in a natural amphitheater, the acoustics of which were so good that the human voice carried to exceptional distances.

Image result for shechemImportant Events that Happened at Shechem:

Shechem was a place of rich history for Israel. Four notable events happened here in the lives of the patriarchs. In the first two instances, we see Shechem was a place of calling and commitment. In the second two, we see Shechem as a place of shame.

  1. Abraham came into the Promised Land and first camped at Shechem. There God appeared to Abraham and confirmed His promise; Abraham built an altar to the Lord there (Genesis 12:6-7).
  2. When Jacob came back into the Promised Land, he first camped at Shechem. He purchased land at Shechem and built an altar there, calling the place, El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel, Genesis 33:16-20).
  3. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi deceptively lured the men of Shechem into a massacre, murdering all the men of the city (Genesis 34).
  4. God told Jacob to go to Bethel. Jacob did so and commanded all in his household to put away their idols. Jacob took those idols and buried them at the terebinth tree near Shechem (Genesis 35:1-5).

Some scholars believe the Israelites presented themselves before the tabernacle, which seems at this time to have been at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). Either they presented themselves before God without the tabernacle, or it was moved to Shechem for this occasion.

We saw this same occurrence of the people presenting themselves to God in Exodus 19:17.

Joshua’s speech has many similarities to the much longer speeches given by Moses in Deuteronomy. Both speakers pattern their speeches after a treaty between a ruler and his people.

Here we see Joshua as a prophet, speaking God’s words. Prophecy is not necessarily a prediction of the future. It can simply be a uniquely direct and spontaneous word from God. The Lord reminded Israel that their forefathers came from the other side of the Euphrates River and worshipped pagan gods there.

At every point, Joshua emphasizes that God is the sole source of their success. Joshua reminds the people of all that God has done and of their obligation under the covenant with God.

What do We Learn from Joshua’s Farewell Speech?

  1. Note God does not remind the Israelites of their sin. It has already been forgotten (Jeremiah 31:34).
  2. All of God’s blessings are undeserved. A reminder of this should make the Israelites (and us) extremely grateful to God for all He has done in our lives.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19

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Summary of Joshua 15:

The allotment of land for the tribe of Judah is laid out, which includes Hebron, the land Joshua gave to Caleb as his reward. Caleb drove out the Anakites from Hebron. He gave his daughter in marriage to whoever captured Kiriath Sepher in Debir. This was Othniel, son of Caleb’s brother. Judah cannot drive out the people in Jerusalem.

Summary of Joshua 16:

The allotment of land for Ephraim and Manasseh is laid out. However, they could not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer who became forced labor for the Israelites instead.

Summary of Joshua 17:

A continuation of the allotment of the land for the tribe of Manasseh. The daughters of the tribe of Manasseh also received an inheritance because there were no male heirs born. Again, the Israelites were unable to drive out the Canaanites in a few pockets, but did eventually force them into labor. Here, we see the first complaint as the people of Joseph (whose sons were Ephraim and Manasseh) claimed their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.Image result for map of promised land tribes land

The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country.

Summary of Joshua 18:

A gathering took place at Shiloh at the Tent of Meeting to divide up the rest of the land amongst the remaining tribes. Joshua appearing a bit aghast, asks those remaining why they haven’t taken over their share yet? Joshua is dividing the land into 7 parts once surveys are taken and will cast lots before God to divide them up. The tribe of Benjamin receives their lot.

Summary of Joshua 19:

The allotment of the land for the tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, and Joshua are assigned. The Simeon’s inheritance was taken from Judah’s since Judah’s portion was huge and more than they needed. The Danites had trouble defeating the Canaanites in their territory alloted so they took Leshem instead, thus dividing themselves in the land.

Finally, Joshua himself received his inheritance–the town of Timnath Serah in Ephraim.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19:

6) God includes these detailed lists of land boundaries, so there would be no doubt and no disputes amongst the Israelites in the future. It shows how God keeps His promises to His people by giving them the land He promised hundreds of years before. We see God reward both Caleb and Joshua with land for being the only two men of faith.

7) Caleb gives his daughter to the strongest warrior, ensuring a strong husband and her protection in the future. His daughter, Acsah, asked Caleb for land, and he gave it to her as well. The Lord also put in provisions for when a man does not have a son (see also Numbers 27:1-11 & Numbers 36), which would ensure the father’s name would not vanish. The daughters also had to marry within the clan so the land would stay within the original tribe’s hands. This ensures that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. The Lord provides for those who ask and seek Him (Matthew 7:7).

8 ) The Manassites’ complained that their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites. The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country. In essence, they did not want to fight for the land; all they wanted was a free hand out.

Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to fight for his inheritance and his land and instead of asking for an unoccupied piece of land, Caleb asked for the hill country where the feared Anakites dwelled so he could drive them out himself. He relied on the Lord to do whole-heartedly what God said He would do.

Nothing is impossible with God. Have faith. He will guide you through the impossible every step of the way like He did with Caleb. God wants us to choose the good fight for Him and use God’s strength to spread the word and give God the glory. If we do, our rewards will be riches.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

We see God keep His promises, but the people still must do their part and continue to kick out the Canaanites. We see the difference in gratitude and ingratitude to what the people have been given with Caleb’s example and the example of the tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Dan. Great reminder for us that although God provides, He doesn’t want us to sit idly by and not do anything.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

Joshua 15:

Caleb was not only a man of great and bold deeds (the driving out of the children of Anak), but also a man who encouraged others to great and bold deeds as we saw with the giving of his daughter in marriage. Anyone bold enough to conquer a city for a woman is in love indeed. Caleb’s daughter inherited his boldness. We see her asking for blessing and choice springs. You cannot receive unless you ask. (Matthew 7:7)

We begin to see and in Judges 1 how pockets of Canaanites remain. Albeit Jerusalem is on a hill, Judah should have been able to drive them out if they had had faith in God. Instead, David must do so (2 Samuel 5:6-10). These unconquered tribes will become thorns in Israel’s side.

Joshua 16:

We see again how within the Promised Land important work remains to be done and battles still to be fought (like in our own lives) as the Canaanites live in the land of Ephraim. Perhaps the Israelites wanted forced labor (to be lazy and not do the work themselves in essence). This does not justify their disobedience to God. If you can subject people to work for you, you can certainly conquer them completely, especially since Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12).

Compromising God’s word and picking and choosing what to obey and not to obey is a sin. It’s the beginning of so much more and worse sins such as idolatry and immoral worship. This came to the people of Israel and the Canaanites are the reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.

Why did the Israelites allow some Canaanites to stay?

  • They wanted peace at any cost. Remember it took 7 long years to conquer the Promised Land. I’m sure many are weary of fighting.
  • They wanted wealth.

What do we Learn from the Israelites’ incomplete possession of the Promised Land?

  • Obeying God is a marathon. It’s hard. It’s unglamourous. It’s a lot of work.
  • The Israelites fell short of what God had for them – Will you fall short as well?

Joshua 17:

It was highly unusual for women to receive an inheritance and why it’s mentioned here. It was more important that the land remain in the ancestral families than it was to follow this custom. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad could inherit their father’s land. This is a decision arrived at by Moses (Numbers 27:1-11) and expounded on by God (Numbers 36).

Manasseh failed like Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites (Joshua 16:10). The Israelites lacked determination and fortitude to do so.

Manasseh and Ephraim, large tribes, complain about the amount of land allotted to them. They have plenty of land, Joshua says. You just have to go and work to have it (clear the forests, etc). Joshua was a direct descendant of Joseph and one of them, so perhaps they thought he would show them favor.

Theme of Joshua 17: If you desire more, have faith first in where God has placed you and in what He has given you. More will surely come if you do so.

Joshua 18:

Why would the Israelites hesitate to take the Promised Land?

Note the hesitation on the Israelites part to go and take the land. Probably they are afraid; afraid of change. Maybe even a bit incredulous: really?  This is all ours? Also, remember these people have been wandering the wilderness for 40 years with never a real home, living out of tents and nomadic, so the idea of living in a real “home” is a foreign (and perhaps scary) concept for them.

Joshua 19:

Joshua received his share but at the very end. He received humbly and after everyone else was taken care of–just like Christ.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9

 

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Summary of Joshua 9:

Hearing of Israel’s complete destruction of Ai, the peoples West of the Jordan decide to come together and take the offensive against Israel. Yet, when the people of Gibeon heard about Joshua’s exploits of Jericho and Ai, they decided to perform a trick on the Israelites in hopes their lives would be spared.

The Gibeonites dressed as if they had been on a long journey. They packed moldy food and old wineskins. They approached Joshua at camp and asked for a treaty. Joshua attempted to discern by himself the truth, but in the end, he agreed to the treaty because he did not inquire of the Lord.

Upon learning of the deception, Joshua is forced to abide by his sworn word by the Lord, but he deemed the Gibeonites be woodcutters and water carriers their entire lives.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

12) The surrounding nations joined forces against the invading Israelites. The Gibeonites, knowing the Israelites would totally destroy them (see Deuteronomy 7:2) if conquered, decided to resort to a ruse: their idea was to trick the Israelites into making a peace treaty with them so they would survive.

13)  Joshua should have inquired of the Lord and because he swore an oath by the Lord, they had to abide by their word. God had warned the Israelites not to make treaties with the people in Exodus 34:12, 15 because their pagan ways will corrupt the Israelites. Numbers 30:2 states clearly that when you make a vow to the Lord or take an oath to obligate yourself by the pledge, you cannot break your word and must abide by the conditions you swore.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

I love how Joshua tells the good and the bad. Good means the Israelites obey the Lord and they win. Bad means they disobey the Lord and love. However, we also see that God likes to be consulted and lead us down the right path. When He’s not consulted, bad things happen and His people are taken advantage of. How often have you been in a similar situation where you didn’t ask God and someone took advantage of you?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

The Israelites were allowed to make treaties with foreign nations, just not with the Canaanites.Image result for joshua 9

How do the Gibeonites Deceive the Israelites?

  • Clever (crafty)
  • Pretended (misrepresented selves)
  • Lied
  • Gave false evidence (moldy bread and ragged clothes)

Consequences of Not Inquiring of the Lord

What did the Israelites do wrong? They did not inquire of the Lord. Consequently, they had to let the Gibeonites live and not take their land. Now, the Gibeonites were relegated to slavery; however, they often caused trouble for the people of Israel.

This shows how much trouble you can gain when you rely on your own instincts instead of on God’s.

It is a mark of godliness to hold to an oath, even when it is difficult. But he honors those who fear the LORD; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change. (Psalm 15:4)

It is quite refreshing to see the Israelites didn’t even doubt about keeping their word.

Later, King Saul broke this vow to the Gibeonites and his sin brought famine upon Israel in the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

What do We Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites’ actions were all done because they feared the Lord. Joshua 10:2 tells us that Gibeon was full of “good fighters.”
  • The Gibeonites never complain. Here we see David’s Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
  • The Gibeonites value their life over their work. The alternative was death. Which would you choose?

What do the Gibeonites and Rahab have in Common?

  •  The Gibeonites and Rahab (Joshua 2) found salvation in God.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites came to God as sinners and liars
  • Both Rahab and the Gibeonites abandoned their former lives to be counted among God’s people. Gibeon faced a backlash from its neighbors (Joshua 10:4,) and were attacked.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites found salvation through God and had a rich history.

What happened to the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle just as Joshua had commanded.
  •  Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  •  God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  •  Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25).
  •  Prophets such as Hananiah the son of Azur came from Gibeon (Jeremiah 28:1).

Themes of Joshua 9:

  1. God does great things from repentant sinners.
  2. God desperately wants us to seek Him always in everything.
  3. We keep our word no matter the consequences.
  4. We are ever vigilant for Satan’s tricks.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

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Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 5: Romans 14:19-23

Summary of passage:  Paul reiterates getting along with others.  Don’t destroy someone’s belief over petty issues like food.  Avoid causing your brother to fail.  Keep your beliefs to yourself and don’t shame others into your beliefs.

Questions:

13)  It could cause others to stumble, feel shame and guilt and begin to doubt God and potentially sin.

14)  “Make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”  “Keep your beliefs about these issues between yourself and God.”

15)  “It is better for the stronger believer to not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”  The weaker believer should not “condemn himself by what he approves.”

16)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This has nothing to do with straying from God but the one thing I can think of is having candy in the house.  My kids eat candy and I don’t but my husband, who is trying to lose weight, can’t resist it. I’m becoming more cognizant of what I’m buying so he won’t stumble.

Conclusions:  Important passage.  We need to put others’ needs first.  Whether it’s not drink around those who struggle with drunkenness or not eat certain foods around those struggling with their weight/health.  It’s being considerate of others at its foundation.

End Notes:  Paul is not talking about catering to legalism here such as eating certain foods.

Keep your faith between yourself and God. You don’t have to parade it around weak Christians.  You can keep your standards and convictions.  However, you’re not permitted to flaunt it around others.

There are things God may challenge us to give up, but we go on approving them in our life – thus we condemn ourselves. It may not be that the thing itself is clearly good or bad, but it is enough that God speaks to us about the matter.

Each of us must ask: “God, what is there in my life hindering a closer walk with You? I want to know the happiness that comes from not condemning myself by what I approve in my life.” This takes faith, because we often cling to hindering things because we think they make us happy. Real happiness is found being closer and closer to Jesus, and by not being condemned by what we approve.

If we are troubled by something, it is likely sin, not faith.  We can check ourselves when we tend to justify things we permit this way.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 25, Day 4: Romans 13:12-14

Summary of passage:  Put aside sin (orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension, jealousy, etc) and put on Jesus (the armor of light).

Questions:

10)  I don’t know about normalized but it’s more ignored.  These behaviors are so widespread now that I think society has given up the fight.  We are so overwhelmed with the prevalence that we can’t handle it so we choose to ignore it.

11)  The opposite of verse 13:  sexual purity, abstinence or moderation in drink, compassionate, helpful, etc.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I do tend to get jealous when others do things I want to do or follow in my footsteps because I like to think I’m unique.  I tend to hold back instead of be forthright and giving.

Conclusions: More ways Paul encourages us to be good people and godly.  Remember our time here is limited.  Avoid sin.  Walk with Jesus.

End Notes:  Putting aside darkness (sin) and putting on light is a metaphor with putting on clothes (which we all do).  Put on Jesus (the armor of light) every morning!

Spurgeon explains this passage: “The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.”

The night is the present evil age.  This is a clear teaching of the nearness of the end times (1 Corinthians 7:29; Philippians 4:5; James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18).  Early Christians did not believe Jesus would return within a few years.  Instead, they saw the death and resurrection of Jesus as the events that began the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  “The night is nearly over” is the next great event in God’s plan, which is the Second Coming.  The day is when Jesus does come and ushers in the consummation of the kingdom.

The armor of light allows us to both defend and attack like in battle.

We have to work to not let sin creep into our lives since it is our nature to sin.  This is part of being present so you can stop sin in its tracks!

When we clothe ourselves with Jesus, he becomes our partner and helper and he works through us (not for us) to combat sin.

Fun Fact: God used this passage to show Augustine, the great theologian of the early church, that he really could live the Christian life as empowered by the Holy Spirit – he just had to do it. And so do we.