BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32

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Summary 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

The war between the Israelites and the Philistines continues as both sides prepare for battle at Socoh in Judah. A valley separates the two armies.

The Philistines send out a champion, Goliath from Gath, who was over 9 feet tall, wore armor weighing 125 pounds, and carried a spear. Goliath challenges the Israelites to send out a champion to overcome him. Whoever loses becomes the subjects of the other.

The Israelites were terrified of Goliath. Jesse’s 3 oldest sons served in Saul’s army, but David still had to tend sheep at home, so he split his time at the army.

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Goliath challenged the Israelites every day for 40 days. Jesse sends David who had been at home to his brothers in Saul’s camp with food for them and their commander and to check on them and bring back a token, so he knows his sons are ok.

David reached camp just as the army was going out to meet the Philistines. David heard Goliath’s challenge and found out that whoever kills Goliath will gain the king’s daughter in marriage and exemption from taxes for his family.

David’s oldest brother, Eliab, yells at David and accuses him of abandoning his duties and his sheep and only coming to visit to see the battle. David walks away. Saul, hearing of David’s return, sends for him. David says he will face Goliath, so no Israelite will lose heart.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:14-23:

9) They faced the Philistines but, in particular, Goliath of Gath, a Philistine who challenged a champion of Israel to a battle to determine who would become subjects of whom. Israel responded by running in fear.

10) Goliath taunted the Israelites by challenging them every day to overcome him. His idea was whoever won the face-off would the other would become the subjects of the winner.

11) David is seeing Goliath as defying God and the armies of God. He also saw the fear Goliath was bringing to the men and the effect this was having on morale. The men ran in fear, having no faith in God to overcome. David instead says he will go and fight Goliath, having faith God will overcome.

12) Personal Question. My answer: I hope I reveal my faith in my words and actions. I trust Him to put me where He wants me. I try to do His work and have faith in His way.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

One of the most famous stories of the Bible is David and Goliath. It’s interesting how David’s older brother accused him of wrong motivation, probably because he is jealous of David as the anointed one. I love how David says he’ll face Goliath for others. I always picture David as small (probably in relation to Goliath), so for a small man, he has a huge heart for God. Great lesson!

For a cute, short kids video on David and Goliath, click below

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 4: 1 Samuel 17:1-32:

This Valley of Elah of green rolling hills still stand today and is where one of the most remarkable battles in all the Bible and history took place. The Philistines, constant enemies of Israel during this period, assembled their army on a mountain and across from them on another mountain was the army of Israel.

Goliath was tall and probably suffered from Gigantism, a disorder of the pituitary gland that overproduces growth hormones. Men of unusual height have been recorded in ancient times. According to Joshua 11:22 Gath was the home of the Anakim, a race of people known for their height — which supports the belief that gigantism was present in the gene pool as a genetic disorder. Goliath’s weapons (probably weighing between 150 and 200 pounds) matched a man of his size.

Bible scholar Adam Clarke says that the word champion really comes from the Hebrew word, “a middle man, the man between two.” The idea is this was a man who stood between the two armies and fought as a representative of his army.

Why did Goliath challenge the Israelites?

  1. To strike fear in the Israelites. This worked. The Israelites were terrified of Goliath and the odds of them fighting were extremely low.
  2. Military strategy. If they did fight, the Israelites would be demoralized and probably not have the heart to fight and thus would be easily defeated.

Saul, who stood a head taller than most Israelites, was the likely choice to face off against Goliath. Instead, he fled too. Huge change in heart and spirit from (1 Samuel 14:52) and when the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).

David was balancing his duties at home with his duties to Saul, traveling back and forth as needed.

David is said to be the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. Yet Psalm 89:27 calls David God’s firstborn, demonstrating that “firstborn” is as much a title and a concept as a description of birth order. Therefore, when Paul calls Jesus firstborn over all creation in Colossians 1:15, he isn’t trying to say that Jesus is a created being who had a beginning. He is simply pointing to the prominence and preeminence of Jesus.

We can picture both armies lining up every day, Goliath taunting the Israelites, and then the Israelites retreating in shame. The situation had become so desperate that Saul needed to offer a three-part bribe including a cash award, a princess, and a tax exemption – to induce someone, anyone to fight and win against Goliath.

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How David saw Goliath

  • David saw Goliath as threatening Israel and God’s honor
  • David saw Goliath in spiritual terms (uncircumcised Philistine, defy armies of living God, take away reproach of Israel)
  • David saw Goliath from God’s perspective
  • David was a man after God’s own heart

Why was Eliab angry?

  1.  Eliab was angry because he felt David was an insignificant, worthless person who had no right to speak up, especially with such bold words
  2. Eliab was angry because he felt he knew David’s motivation, but he didn’t really know David’s heart.
  3. Eliab was angry because he thought David tried to provoke someone else into fighting Goliath just so he could see a battle. Eliab himself was a tall man of good appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), and he may have felt David was trying to push him into battle.
  4. Eliab was angry because David was right! When you are dismayed and greatly afraid or dreadfully afraid, the last thing in the world you want is someone telling you to be courageous.

How our Friends and Family can Hinder Us

David is not deterred by his brother’s hurtful words, which probably were spoken amidst laugh and jeers at David’s expense. Instead, David is focused on God’s work above all else, his own personal safety, his own personal glory, and his own personal honor. David replied rightfully and answered softly.

Bible scholar Spurgeon on this scene: “Immediately before the encounter with the Philistine he fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries.”

Finally, Saul gets someone to volunteer. However, the volunteer is a youthful boy. We’ll see on Day 5 what this youthful boy knew more than others.

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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 People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36

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Summary of 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

Eli the priest’s sons were wicked. They were taking more than their share of the food offered to God, which angered God. Every year, Hannah would bring her son, Samuel, a new robe. She had more children. Eli chastised his sons who were also sleeping with the serving women to the Tent of Meeting. God wanted to put Eli’s sons to death because of their sins. God was in control, but the sons still chose to sin.

Samuel flourished, but Eli paid the ultimate price for his sons’ sins, cursing all his descendents to die young. God will kill both of Eli’s sons on the same day and raise up a new faithful priest who will follow His commands.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

9) Eli’s sons start taking the choicest pieces of the sacrifices for God for themselves, and they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Eli chastised them but didn’t do anything about it.

10) None of Eli’s descendants would live to be old men. His two sons will die on the same day. He is being replaced permanently as the priest to the people with someone else who has more faith.

11) Personal Question. My answer: I do let my kids get away with things such as doing chores or helping me out because it’s easier than fighting them on it. Be a better parent.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

This is the first time I’ve really noticed that Eli turns a blind eye to his sons’ sins despite the seriousness of the sins. As the parent, it’s Eli who suffers the consequences as well as the sons.  It shows the importance of dealing with sin.

Another amazing video on 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

The ancient Hebrew calls them sons of Belial. Belial was a pagan god and the phrase sons of Belial refers to worthless and wicked men. This was a significant problem, because the sons of Eli were in line to succeed him as high priest and they already functioned in the priesthood.

What was the first sin of the sons of Eli the High Priest?

With many of the sacrifices brought to the tabernacle, a portion was given to God, a portion was given to the priest, and a portion was kept by the one who brought the offering. According to other passages in the Old Testament, the priest received a portion of the breast and the shoulder. But now some 400 years after the Law of Moses came, the priestly custom changed – they did not take the prescribed portion of the breast and shoulder but took whatever the fork (fleshhook) brought up out of the pot.

God’s portion was always given first, so it was wrong to take the priest’s portion before they burned the fat.

The fat was thought to be the most luxurious, best part of the animal, so they gave it to God. The idea was that God should always get the best, and God should get His portion first. But in their pride the sons of Eli took their portion before they burned the fat.

Why did the sons of Eli want raw meat?

Perhaps it was so they could prepare it anyway they pleased; or more likely, it was because raw meat was easier to sell and they sold the meat and pocketed the money.

The greed of Eli’s sons was immense; they did not hesitate to use violence and the threat of violence to get what they wanted.

How was Eli’s sons’ sin so great?

  • Greedy for the best meat
  • Violent to get what they wanted
  • Intimidated others to the point they were scared to sacrifice to the Lord–this hurt others.

What is Samuel’s role?

  • God raised up Samuel because of the corruption of Eli’s sons. God knew how bad Eli’s sons were, so He guided the whole series of events that resulted in Samuel’s service at the tabernacle.

Corrupt ministers do not stop – or even hinder – the work of God. It may look like it; but every time there are men like Eli’s sons, God raises up someone like Samuel.

Image result for picture of ephodWhat’s a linen ephod?

  • A priestly garment, signifying Samuel as distinguished already (Exodus 39:27-29).

As a child, Samuel served the Lord. Often children are discounted. They can do great things for His kingdom.

What was the second sin of the sons of Eli the High Priest?

Eli is too old to deal with his sons, and thus only rebuked them. However, his sons were committing sexual sins at the tabernacle. This was an ancient version of the modern sex scandals among pastors or preachers. Exodus 38:8 refers to the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting

Even worse, the sons made people hate to worship God with their offerings at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:17).

Jesus intercedes for us. Unfortunately, the sons chose sin and thus the consequences were death.

We don’t know who this man of God was. He’s one of the wonderful anonymous characters of the Bible.

The father referred to is Aaron, who was the first High Priest. Since the High Priesthood was a hereditary office, Eli was a descendant of Aaron, whom God had revealed Himself to.

What are the duties of the priesthood of Ancient Israel?

  • The priest was first a minister of the LORD. Before he served the people, he was a servant of God.
  • The priest brought sacrifices for atonement and worship.
  • The priest was to lead the nation in prayer, and to pray for the nation.
  • The priest was clothed in specific garments, for glory and for beauty (Exodus 28:2). He was to represent the majesty, dignity, glory, and beauty of God to the people.
  • The priest was also charged with the responsibility to receive the offerings of God’s people and to make good use of them.

What was Eli’s greatest sin?

Eli put his sons before the Lord. By not correcting his sons the way he should, Eli showed he loved them more.

The arm was a picture of strength and might in Hebrew thinking (Psalms 10:1577:15, and 89:10). Thus, cutting off the arm  said the house of Eli would be left powerless and without strength.

God promised that the priestly line would not stay with Eli and his descendants but would pass to another line of descendants from Aaron. This was fulfilled many years later, in Solomon’s day. Abiathar (from Eli’s family) was deposed as high priest and replaced with Zadok (who was from another family).

1 Kings 2:27 reads, So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.

This was a promise to Aaron in passages like Exodus 29:9. God did not remove the priesthood from the line of Aaron, but He did remove it from the line of Eli.

Image result for picture of priestly kingWho is the “faithful priest?”

  1. This promise was partially fulfilled in Samuel because he functioned as a godly priest, effectively replacing the ungodly sons of Eli
  2. The promise was partially fulfilled in Zadok in the days of Solomon because he replaced Eli’s family line in the priesthood.
  3. The promise was fulfilled completely in Jesus Christ because He is a priest forever in the order of Melchezedek (Hebrews 7:12-17).

What’s the ultimate punishment for Eli?

Everyone in his family would be beggars.

What lessons do we learn from Eli?

  • Consequences are grave for greedy, lackadaisical behavior. Angry God enough and this is what happens.
  • We are all responsible for the consequences our behavior brings.
  • Take parenting seriously.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3

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Summary of Passage:

Naomi is now playing match-maker with Boaz. She tells Ruth to go to the winnowing party and look her best. Then, once Boaz is finished eating, Ruth is to uncover his feet and lie down. Ruth complied, and Boaz wakes up, realizing Ruth is lying at his feet. Ruth’s reputation as a noble woman has spread, and Boaz agrees to marry her if the other, closer kinsman-redeemer refuses.

Ruth leaves early, not wanting it to be known that she came to Boaz. Boaz gives her grain to take back to Naomi and heads off to see if he can marry Ruth or not.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

9) Naomi feels like it’s her obligation to try and find Ruth a husband to care for her because she knows she will die at some point. She picks this plan because she knows Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer, she knows Boaz knows who Ruth is. Naomi probably knows Boaz likes Ruth as well. The pros is what happened: Boaz realizes Ruth wants to marry him, and he goes off to see what can be done about it. The cons are what didn’t happen: Boaz refuses Ruth or someone finds out a woman came to the threshing floor or Boaz mistreats her in some way.

10) Spreading of the wings is a sign of protection and refuge in ancient Israel. Ruth is asking for Boaz’s protection by marrying her. It’s similar to God’s protection.

11) Boaz always treated Ruth with respect and admiration as does Jesus. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer as Jesus is ours. Ruth and Boaz dipped their bread together in wine vinegar. The meal should remind us of our communion with Christ where the bread is symbolic of Christ’s flesh and the wine symbolic of His blood which is poured out for us (see Luke 22).  It is also significant that the narrative unfolds in the town of Bethlehem, the city where Christ was to be born many hundreds of years later.

Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Jesus declares Himself to be “the bread of life” (John 6:48).  Boaz loves Ruth; Christ loves us. Ruth as a Moabite is undeserving of Boaz; we are undeserving of Christ.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

I love how it’s Naomi who prompts Ruth. She cares for Ruth and wants to take care of her. I love Boaz. He does everything right. He wants everything to be legal. He loves Ruth. Great example of how one must keep striving to overcome adversity with faith and God will reward us.

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

It is now the end of the harvest and Ruth and Boaz have spent time together in the context of a group – the men and women who worked for Boaz in the harvest. There is no “dating” as we know it. They got to know each other pretty well – by seeing what kind of people the other was around a larger group.

What was the kinsman-redeemer?

The goel – sometimes translated kinsman-redeemer – had a specifically defined role in Israel’s family life.

  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to buy a fellow Israelite out of slavery (Leviticus 25:48).
  • The kinsman-redeemer  was responsible to be the “avenger of blood” to make sure the murderer of a family member answered to the crime (Numbers 35:19).
  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to buy back family land that had been forfeited (Leviticus 25:25).
  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to carry on the family name by marrying a childless widow (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

In sum, the goel, the kinsman-redeemer, was responsible to safeguard the persons, the property, and the posterity of the family. “Words from the root g’l are used with a variety of meanings in the Old Testament, but the fundamental idea is that of fulfilling one’s obligations as a kinsman.” (Morris)

Since Boaz was a recognized goel for the family of Elimelech – the deceased husband of Naomi and father-in-law of Ruth – Ruth could appeal to him to safeguard the posterity of Elimelech’s family and take her in marriage. It may seem forward to us, but it was regarded as proper in that day.

If Boaz did not fulfill this duty towards Elimelech (though he was now deceased), then the direct family and name of Elimelech would perish. Perpetuating the family name of Elimelech (and every man in Israel) was thought to be an important duty. These protections showed how important it was to God to preserve the institution of the family in Israel – and that it is also important to Him today.

What does Ruth lying at Boaz’s feet show?

Image result for ruth 3Ruth’s actions were one of submitting. In that day, this was understood to be the role of a servant laying at a person’s feet was the role of a servant. It showed he or she was ready for any command of the master. So, when Naomi told Ruth to lie down at Boaz’s feet, she told her to come to him in a totally humble, submissive way.

Don’t lose sight of the larger picture: Ruth came to claim a right. Boaz was her goel, her kinsman-redeemer, and she had the right to expect him to marry her and raise up a family to perpetuate the name of Elimelech. But Naomi wisely counseled Ruth to not come as a victim demanding her rights, but as a humble servant, trusting in the goodness of her kinsman-redeemer. She said to Boaz, “I respect you, I trust you, and I put my fate in your hands.”

Of course, this was a situation that had the potential for disaster if Boaz should mistreat Ruth in some way. But Naomi and Ruth had the chance to get to know Boaz, and they knew what kind of man he was – a good man, a godly man, one to whom Ruth could confidently submit.

What do we learn about marriage?

  • In the marriage relationship, many husbands wish they had a wife who submitted to them the way Ruth is being told to here. But do they provide the kind of godly leadership, care, and concern that Boaz showed towards Ruth and others?
  • In the marriage relationship, many wives wish they had a husband who loved, cared, and treated them the way Boaz did towards Ruth. But do they show the same kind of humble submission and respect Ruth showed to Boaz?

Why was Boaz sleeping on the threshing floor?

Boaz slept at the threshing floor to guard his crop against the kind of attacks described in 1 Samuel 23:1. In the days of the Judges where a lot of Israelites had turned their back on God, many turned to thievery and stole grain from farmers. Much political and social unrest was occurring as well.

He was startled waking up to Ruth, thinking it may be a robber. Again, she submitted, identifying herself as his servant.

“The spreading of a skirt over a widow as a way of claiming her as a wife is attested among Arabs of early days, and Jouon says it still exists among some modern Arabs.” (Morris)

“Even to the present day, when a Jew marries a woman, he throws the skirt or end of his talith over her, to signify that he has taken her under his protection.” (Clarke)

In Ezekiel 16:8, God uses the same terminology in relation to Israel: I spread my wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the LORD God.

Was Ruth’s actions inappropriate?

This was not an inappropriate thing for Ruth to do towards Boaz. It was bold, but not inappropriate. Ruth understood this as she identified Boaz as her close relative (literally, you are a goel, a kinsman-redeemer).

Though deceased, Elimelech had the right to have his family name carried on and as goel, Boaz had the responsibility to do this for Elimelech. This could only happen through Boaz marrying Ruth and providing children to carry on the name of Elimelech. Ruth boldly, yet humbly and properly, sought her rights.Image result for ruth 3

Apparently, there was a considerable age difference between Ruth and Boaz. It also seems that because of this, Boaz considered himself unattractive to Ruth and had therefore ruled out any idea of a romance between them.

Boaz had the right to force himself upon Ruth as her goel, but he did not.

Ruth based her attraction to Boaz more on respect than on image or appearance.

Literally, Boaz called Ruth a hah-yil woman. The basic meaning behind this Hebrew word is “strength; moral strength, good quality, integrity, virtue.” This same word is used for heroes in the Bible: A mighty man of valor. Ruth showed courage and strength, shown in her virtue – make her a hero, on the Proverbs 31 kind of definition of a woman of virtue.

Boaz and Ruth were not trying to hide anything scandalous; it was just that Boaz didn’t want this nearer kinsman to learn that Ruth was now demanding her right to marriage to a goel before Boaz could tell him personally.

Fun Bible Fact: Jewish traditions say that the six measures of barley given as a gift to Ruth were a sign of six pious men who would descend from her, endowed with six spiritual gifts: David, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and the Messiah.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22

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Summary Joshua 22:

The eastern tribe that had before been asked to help the Israelites conquer the Promised Land on the western side of the River Jordan are now released from their service and able to return home. Joshua left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Joshua blessed the men and sent them away—but not empty handed. They had their share of the plunder from their enemies and were to share it.

On the way home, the Israelites built an “imposing altar” to God. Well, the rest of the Israelites took this as a sign they were turning from God so they sent representatives to see what was going on. They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan) and they would all suffer for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that witnesses they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River. Appeased, the Western Israelites returned home happy.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

3)  Joshua told them they had done all Moses had commanded them to do, and they had done all he had asked them to do left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

4) They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan and Peor), and they would all suffer (or perhaps be killed as well) for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River.

Deuteronomy tells us the Lord commanded the Israelites to only sacrifice burnt offerings at the place he commands as well as Leviticus 17:8-9.

5) Personal Question. My answer: Make sure you have all the facts first before accusing others of wrong-doing. Often, we don’t understand the situation or the other person’s side, and we get ourselves into trouble when we shouldn’t. We should confront with God’s heart, with a willingness to help, and with a clear idea of what God would want out of the situation. Come with an open mind.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

How frequently this happens in our lives when something simple blows up into something big—all because we didn’t have all the facts, and we didn’t take the time to discover all the facts. Many a relationship has been hurt and impacted by being falsely accused of something without a chance to explain ourselves. Great Biblical example of dealing with confrontation and misunderstandings.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

The Eastern tribes had fulfilled their obligation and helped the Israelites take the Western side of the Promised Land. Now it was time to return home. Joshua tells them what he tells all the Israelites all the time: Keep the commandments and the law, love God, follow God, obey God, and serve God. He then blesses them. The Eastern tribes left with riches and probably with a bit of sorrow to leave their brothers.

Before crossing the Jordan, the men build an altar, which was a place of sacrifice. When the other Israelites heard an altar had been built, they immediately gather arms to go and purge this scourge from the nation. There is no discussion, only action. They were going to fight to defend God’s holiness.Image result for joshua 22

Phinehas led the group because he had the authority as High Priest over the whole nation. The Israelites thought that the altar at the Jordan represented a rival place of sacrifice and worship, to compete with God’s tabernacle, presently at Shiloh.

Why the misunderstanding?

God had clearly commanded that there was one place of sacrifice and burnt offerings for Israel: Also you shall say to them: Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:8-9)

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

ii. We understand from this that we cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spiritand in truth. (John 4:24)

The reference to Peor was an example of when Israel had been punished for rebellion against God before. Peor was when Israel’s men had sex with Moabite women, and they gave themselves over to the worship of the Moabite gods. In judgment, God sent a plague that killed 24,000 people.

Phinehas was the one who stopped the plague by making a dramatic stand for righteousness in the midst of gross sin.

Just like Achan, Phinehas knew that the sin of these tribes would reflect on the whole nation. He knew that no one really sins unto himself.

Phinehas offers the returning Israelites to come to their land to avoid sin. This would have been a great sacrifice of land for the eastern side of the Jordan, but all that mattered was eradicating sin.

Who among us are willing to sacrifice to help others? We tell people to stop sinning, but are not willing to help them if it costs us something.

How does the Eastern Tribes respond when accused of sin?

  1. The eastern tribe go to God first who knows their hearts. He is our refuge when we’re misunderstood.
  2. The eastern tribes put themselves in the shoes of the westerners and can see why they think what they think. We all must try to see the other person’s point of view in misunderstandings.
  3. The eastern tribes then explain themselves and acknowledge once again the western tribes concerns. They wanted to remain connected to their western brethren, and this is how they chose to do so.

The explanation is accepted, and the relationship between the western tribes and the eastern tribes is restored.

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

We cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

How to Respond to Misunderstandings with God’s Heart:Image result for altar at geliloth joshua 22

  • Have a concern for God’s holiness.
  • Have the courage to confront in love.
  • Attempt to reconcile before you fight.
  • You are willing to sacrifice to help them; don’t confront unless you are willing to help.
  • You will see the situation from the perspective of the other person.
  • You will believe the best of one another.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 2: Skim Joshua 13-14

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WHAT’S AHEAD: This is the dividing point in the book of Joshua.

The rest of Joshua tells about what happened 5-7 years after the crossing of the Jordan River. Chapters 13-22 give a kind of land-title record for the nation. Genesis 48-49 and Deuteronomy 33 provide background material. For example, Reuben’s tribe forfeited the right to first choice because of sexual sin, and Simeon and Levi lost their rights because of their violent past.

Summary of Joshua 13:

God tells Joshua there is still much land to be taken, and that He’ll drive out the Sidonians. The land east of the Jordan River is divided up amongst all the tribes except the Levites who were set aside as priests of the nation.

Summary of Joshua 14:

Caleb approaches Joshua and demands what God had promised him for his work 40 years prior as a spy who wholeheartedly followed God’s orders. At age 85, Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. The land had rest from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

3) All kept their word/promises. God rewarded Caleb with land for faithfulness (as most leaders do). The Israelites did not argue, but settled their portion of the land without question, nor were they greedy.

4) Personal Question. My answer: Caleb is rewarded for not following others and obeying God instead. He had faith the Israelites could take the land, and he had no fear as he encouraged the Israelites to do so. In the end, the bad report won out and God cursed His people because of it, dooming them to die in the desert–all except Joshua and Caleb. Caleb was promised land by Moses as his reward, and he asks for it. This inspires me to buck the trend and follow Jesus and be bold and ask for things from God.

5) Personal Question. My answer: He has always provided no matter what and always led us to the next step in His  journey for us. My whole family is flourishing and for that I am extremely grateful.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

I love the cooperation amongst the Israelites because what could have been a very ugly situation with the allotment of land was peaceful and faithful. I love Caleb’s reward–not only with seeing the Promised Land but with gaining a portion of it for himself. The whole process is very organized–impressive for such a monumental task.

[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 2: Joshua 13:

Age does not define you. Even though Joshua is old, God still has work for him to do.

The Israelites were meant to possess the Promised Land. We were meant to possess Jesus. How much of him do you have? How much of his words? How much of his heart for others?

God gave all the tribes the land, yet they still had to take it. We are to walk in God’s promises, not lie down and rest.Image result for joshua 13

Only two small tribes of peoples were not replaced by the Jewish tribes settling on the east side of the Jordan: the Geshurites and the Maachathites.

We see these tribes show up later in the Bible: David marries a princess from Geshur and had a son, Absalom, with her (2 Samuel 3:3). Absalom returned to Geshur and used it as a place to plot against his father, David (2 Samuel 13:37-38, 14:23, and 14:32). What a son to be proud of.

The Maachathites may have come from the Maachah mentioned in Genesis 22:24 who was a nephew of Abraham. Later, when Sheba rebelled against David and he fled, David may have taken refuge in one of the cities of the Maachathites (2 Samuel 20:14-15).

The Levites as priests would survive off of what the other tribes gave them for administering to the spiritual duties of the nation; they had no need of land to grow food. In fact, their inheritance was the greatest of them all since they were closest to God.

We are like the Levites as well.  We are called priests (1 Peter 2:5) and have a special inheritance in God (Ephesians 1:11Colossians 1:12, and 1 Peter 1:4).

Themes of Joshua 13:

Be happy with where God has placed you. He is our inheritance. Your lot in life is nothing in comparison.

Math Challenge: Just How Long Did the Capture of Canaan Take?

We can deduce this from what’s recorded in the Bible. Caleb was 40 when Moses first sent him to explore the land. Israel spent 38 years in the desert (Deuteronomy 2:14), making Caleb 78 at the beginning of the invasion. Caleb tells us here he is now 85, so for the last 7 years, the Israelites were fighting. Him and Joshua were the only old people still left.

Answer: 7 years.

Joshua 14:

Caleb was one of the only two spies to come back with a good report, a report of faith, believing that God had given Israel the land and would enable them to conquer it (Numbers 13:26-14:9). The other ten spies believed that Israel would be destroyed in the attempt to take Canaan, and Israel believed the ten doubting spies.

The other faithful spy was none other than Joshua. The ten faithless spies measured the giants against their own strength, but Joshua and Caleb measured the giants against God’s strength.

This was the cause of Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness; God would not allow that generation of unbelief to enter in, so He waited for them to die in the desert (Numbers 14:26-38). The only ones of age at the time of the rejection who actually entered the Promised Land were Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies.

Caleb asks for the land of the Anakim (the giants). He knows these enemies of God must be faced and defeated and he has the faith to do it. He did not pick the easy way out as he easily could have. The work is his, and he boldly claims it.

What if all of Israel had the heart of Caleb? What if no one in Israel had the heart of Caleb?

Theme of Joshua 14:

God rewards faith.

God rewards the wholly giving yourself over to Him.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12

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Image result for joshua 12Summary of Joshua 12:

Joshua 12 lists the kings of the land the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over. Included is the list of tribes Moses conquered (the land given to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) and the list Joshua conquered on the west side of the Jordan River.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

12) These are real events, not a fairy tale or made up. This is a way for the Israelites to remember the great things God did for them, and to make it clear that the land belongs to Israel. God keeps His word and His promises to His people.

13) Personal Question. My answer: I love how Joshua is human. He succeeds. He fails. He obeys. He missteps. He disobeys. Yet in the end, he has a heart for God, which I hope to have as well.

14) Personal Question. My answer: Being nicer to people. Watching my words. Speaking less. Listening more. Obeying more. Praying more.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

Even though God does not have to prove His existence and His omnipotence to man, He does with lists like this that match up with historical facts. Just another example of God’s grace to us who don’t deserve it, and another example of God’s relentless pursuit of His people and nonbelievers to become His people.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

Moses’ lands he conquered were on the East side of the Jordan River.

Although these lists mean little to us over 3000 years after the fact, this was important so all knew what land was theirs and the boundaries.

Half of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh lived on the East side of the Jordan River. The other half lived on the West side of the Jordan River.

Why List the Defeated Kings?

  • These are real events, not a fairy tale or made up. This is history and specifics are important.
  • A way for the Israelites to remember the great things God did for the them.
  • To make it clear that the land belongs to Israel.

Themes of Joshua 12:

We must remember the great things God does for us and the little things God does for us each and every day.