BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10

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Summary of Psalm 7:

A psalm of David’s concerning Cush, a Benjamite, David entreats God to save him and be his refuge. If he has done wrong, let his enemies overtake him. David pleads for justice to be done and violence to end. God is David’s shield and is a righteous judge. The trouble and violence one causes will be upon one’s own head. David gives thanks to the Lord and praise to Him.

Summary of Psalm 10:

Here in this Psalm, David feels God is far away. He describes the ways of the wicked who revile the Lord, are always prosperous, happy, and free from trouble, who are full of lies and murder, and take advantage of victims. David calls God to not forget the helpless and to call the wicked to account for their deeds. God is king over all and He defends the fatherless and the oppressed, so they may fear no more.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 & 10:

6) God is just. God is holy. God is faithful. God is pure. God is a refuge. God deals with evil and violence justly and righteously. God defends the helpless. Even in the bad times, God is there.

7) Those who perpetuate wickedness will be judged by God righteously. They only bring the troubles upon their own heads. Those who are affected will prevail, and God will avenge them. God shields those who are upright in heart. God will call the wicked to account. Those who are afflicted God hears, encourages, and listens to their cries, defending them, so they will terrify no more.

8 ) Part personal Question. My answer. God and justice. God and justice for me.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 emphasizes God as sanctitude and refuge and how God will avenge his believers for the evil they have done. Psalm 10 emphasizes God’s defense of the helpless and holding the wicked to account for their sins.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 Commentary:

The Hebrew title to this Psalm reads: A meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite. The New King James Version translates the Hebrew word “Shiggaion” as meditation, though the word is difficult to translate and is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 3:1. The specific occasion is not easily connected with an event recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament; it may be a veiled reference to either Shimei’s accusations against David in 2 Samuel 16:5 or to Saul’s slanders against David. More likely this Cush, a Benjamite, was simply another partisan of Saul against David. This Psalm contains both David’s cry of anguish and confidence in God’s deliverance.

Who was Cush the Benjamite?

  • When David was under attack from Cush the Benjamite, all he could trust was God.
  • “Nothing is known of Cush; but from Abasalom’s rebellion it emerged that Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, held some bitter enemies of David (2 Samuel 16:5ff20:1ff).” (Kidner)
  • Some believe that this Cush was really Saul or Shimei.
  • It appears probable that Cush the Benjamite had accused David to Saul of treasonable conspiracy against his royal authority.

God sometimes allows difficult circumstances, so they will awaken this urgency in us.

David knew what it was like to overcome a lion.

David had been accused of appropriating spoils which rightly belonged to the king, returning evil for good, and taking toll for some generosity.

Image result for psalm 7What do we learn from David’s prayers?

  • It’s a mistake to assume the passions of God are always with us or support our opinion. Many dangerous fanatics have been wrongly inspired by the mistaken assurance that God was for them when He was not.
  • David believed that God was for him and his cause; yet he did not hold this belief passively. He actively prayed for the accomplishing of what he believed God’s will to be.
  • David’s prayer for protection and vindication was not fundamentally selfish. He knew that his fate was vitally connected to the welfare of God’s people. His prayer was in large measure for their sakes, the sake of the congregation.

David wanted justice above all else. (Psalm 7:9)

While all sins are not equally sinful (some sins are worse than others and will receive a greater condemnation, Matthew 23:14); yet there are no small sins against a great God.

Adam Clarke believed a more accurate translation of Psalm 7:11 is, “He is not angry every day.”

Often wicked deeds may have the cover of respectability but are still filled with iniquity (as was the case with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day).

Violent endings of those who commit sin in the Bible include: Haman the enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, and the enemies of Daniel in the lion’s den.

Take aways from Psalm 7:

  1. God does not immediately judge the sinner out of mercy; He allows the sinner time to repent.
  2. God often brings the same calamity on the wicked that they had planned for the righteous.
  3. David could praise because he took his cause to God and in faith left it there.

Psalm 10 Commentary:

Because this Psalm has no title (in the midst of several Psalms that do), and because it shares some similar themes with Psalm 9, some have thought that it was originally the second half of Psalm 9. There are more reasons to doubt this than to believe it; this Psalm rightly stands on its own as a Psalm of lament at the seeming prosperity of the wicked, but ultimate confidence in the judgments of God.

David wrote this Psalm because it is arranged in the midst of several Psalms that are specifically attributed to David (Psalms 3-9; 11-32). Yet we know David to be a man of valiant action and warrior spirit; not the kind to stand passively back while the wicked murdered and terrorized the weak and helpless. The only exception to this would be if the wicked man were in a place of God-appointed authority, such as Saul was in Israel. Perhaps this Psalm was a cry of David for God to stop Saul because David knew that it was not his place to lift his hand against the LORD‘s anointed.Image result for psalm 10

David is expressing here what we all feel at times: concern and sometimes anxiety over the seeming inactivity of God.

Times of trouble: According to Maclaren, this was a rare word in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary, used only here and in Psalm 9:9. “It means a cutting off, i.e., of hope of deliverance. The notion of distress intensified to despair is conveyed.”

One who does not seek God and the one who does not think about God is put in the same category as the one who renounces the LORD. All are sins. Man has obligations to God as His creator and sovereign, and it is a sin to neglect these obligations.

Psalm 9:15 has the wicked being condemned; here it is a heartfelt prayer.

David asks God to not allow the wicked to prosper and to bring judgement sooner.

The wicked speech of men – which is often today regarded as no sin at all – is regarded as sin in the Psalms. Cursing, lying, threatening, and troubling and evil speech are all destructive. And these words are spoken because we believe we won’t be held accountable for what comes out of our mouths.

Characteristics of a Wicked Man

  • Secrecy
  • Bully
  • Murderer
  • Oppresses others
  • Blasphemies God
  • Curses, lies, threats
  • Haughty
  • Sneers at enemies (and God)

‘Helpless’ is a word only found in this psalm (vv. 8, 10, 14), which has received various explanations, but is probably derived from a root meaning to be black, and hence comes to mean miserable, hapless, or the like.

David wants God to take action against the wicked. And he knows God will because God has seen and God judges justly.

God had long been declared the king of Israel (Exodus 15:18), even when His people rejected His rule (1 Samuel 8:7-9). If David wrote this Psalm (especially during a time of persecution from Saul), the words “the LORD is King forever and ever” would have recognized the reign of God even over the troubled and dysfunctional reign of Saul.

Spurgeon states: “Sometimes, we have desires that we cannot express; they are too big, too deep; we cannot clothe them in language. At other times, we have desires which we dare not express; we feel too bowed down, we see too much of our own undesert to be able to venture near the throne of God to utter our desires; but the Lord hears the desire when we cannot or dare not turn it into the actual form of a prayer.”

The Psalmist reminds us that the spiritual preparation of the heart is a great gift, an answer to prayer, and a mark of God’s blessing.

Take away from Psalm 10:

  • What began with a sense of despair in times of trouble has ended with calm confidence in God’s justice and victory.

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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.

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.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15

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Summary of Joshua 10:1-15:

The King of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, heard about the Israelites’ conquering of Ai and Jericho and the peace treaty it had made with Gibeon. He gathered together 4 more kings of the Amorites–Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon– and attacked Gibeon, which was an important and large city.

The Gibeonites, now subjects of Israel, appealed to Joshua for help. He came up with his best fighting men from Gilgal. The Lord promised to deliver them into his hands. After marching all night, Joshua took the kings by surprise. The kings retreated and Joshua pursued them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

The Lord brought hail that killed many of the retreating army. Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. God fulfilled Joshua’s prayer as a sign He was with Israel.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

3) Joshua took his entire army, his best fighting men included, and marched overnight to surprise the kings of the Amorites. God told Joshua “Do not be afraid; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.

4)  “The Lord threw them into [the Amorites] into confusion before Israel.” “The Lord hurled down large hailstorms down on them from the sky, killing more than swords.” God stopped the sun on the request of Joshua so the conquest would be complete. God is good. God keeps His promises. God wants His glory to be known. God fights for us. God has His ways and uses various methods to achieve His history.

5) Personal Question. My answer: If you pray, God is there, and He will guide and lead you. God will work miracles to help you if you have faith. Definition of integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.

I love the second definition of integrity. When Israel is together, of one mind and united in a cause, they are unbeatable. They act as one unit and are much stronger and a more formidable opponent. Also, the Israelites defend the Gibeonites because they do have a treaty. They are honoring their commitment to others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

I love how the Lord doesn’t hold anything against Joshua; he is totally forgiven for his mistakes. We just saw Joshua disobey an order from God: don’t make treaties with the Canaanites. Now, when Joshua is called upon by the Gibeonites to help, he honors his word and God honors Joshua’s word as well as Joshua seeks the Lord here.

If God can let go of the past so easily, why can’t we?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

Why the Military Coalition of the Southern Kings?

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The Israelites had brought the unique judgment of God against the Canaanites (Jericho and Ai) and did not take any plunder or profit from the cities. An Israelite army fighting for the glory of God and as a unique instrument of God’s judgment made everyone shake in their boots.

The previous victories across the middle of Canaan effectively separated Canaan between north and south. “Israel controlled the Benjaminite plateau, the crossroads between the hill country and the Judean wilderness. It provided access to the coastal plain and lowlands to the west via the Beth Horon pass.” (Hess)

“It has been conjectured that the Canaanitish kings assumed this name in imitation of that of the ancient patriarchal king of this city, Melchizedek, whose name signifies king of righteousness, or my righteous king: a supposition that is not improbable.” (Clarke)

Remember the Gibeonites surrendered because they honored the God of Israel, not because they couldn’t defend themselves.

The Southern Kings gathered forces much as Satan does today. The enemy will use all he has against us.

It was only the Southern kings because the northern kings were already occupied by Israel.  “Jerusalem’s leader wrote at least five letters to the Pharaoh regarding his town and its security. These letters, part of the collection known as the Armana letters, are longer and more literate than the contemporary missives of other Palestinian town leaders.” (Hess)

Jerusalem, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, and Hebron were important cities either for their location or for the trade routes associated with them.

Afraid to attack Israel directly, the kings attacked the Israelites’ subjects, the Gibeonites.

Why are the Israelites still at Gilgal?

  • Gilgal was the place of memorial (Joshua 4:20).
  • Gilgal was the place of radical obedience (Joshua 5:2-3).
  • Gilgal was the place where reproach was removed (Joshua 5:9).
  • Gilgal was the place of obedience and the remembrance of salvation (Joshua 5:10).
  • Gilgal was the place where the manna stopped, and they began to live off what the Promised Land provided (Joshua 5:11-12).
  • Gilgal was the place where they met Jesus Christ in a dramatic way, as commander of the LORD’s armies – and took of their sandals in reverence to holy ground (Joshua 5:13-15).

What Lessons do we Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • It’s okay to call for help. God is our protector. Cry out to Him.
  • God commanded Joshua not to fear because He would deliver. Fear is a sign of unbelief in God doing what He says He’ll do.

Allowing these Canaanite kings to wipe out the Gibeonites would have been a convenient way to get out of a vow that should not have been made, but they will have none of it.

We should have the same sense of honor. Though Joshua was only bound to not kill the Gibeonites himself (Joshua 9:15), he also felt obliged to fulfill the spirit of the vow he made to the Gibeonites.

Why were the Southern Kings taken by Surprise?

The Southern Kings didn’t believe the march was possible in that short of a time. The march from Gilgal to Gibeon involved a climb of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) over a distance of about 20 miles (32 kilometers). This was eight to ten hours of hard marching all through the night.

God does His work, but He draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him before He does what only He can do.

This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done.”

What Did the Hailstorm Signify?

  • God’s hand in the battle.Image result for joshua 10 hailstorm
  • For the Amorites who worshipped nature, they must have thought their gods had abandoned them.
  • In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that this rain of hailstones was actually a sustained meteor show, the train of a comet. He also theorized that the passing of the comet was related to the next amazing work of God for Israel and Joshua.
  • God’s work is greater than man (Joshua’s) work.

Why Did Joshua Ask for the Sun to Stand Still?

  • Joshua wanted a complete victory and needed more time.
  • God would be glorified.
  •  God would be obeyed.
  •  God’s work would be continued without hindrance.
  •  God’s people would triumph.

How did the Sun Stand Still?

Beyond the reason, “Because God said so,” here are various scientific ideas:

  • A slowing of the earth’s rotation.
  • A tilting of the earth’s axis
  • A miracle of reflection of light
  • Simply the presence of God manifested in light.

In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that the long day was caused by the near pass of a comet, that was powerful enough to tilt the axis of the earth. “The tilting of the axis could produce the visual effect of a retrogressing or arrested sun; a greater tilting, a multiple day or night.” [385] He also noted that there are records among the ancient Americans that speak of an extraordinarily long night in the same approximate time.

Fun Battle Fact of the Bible:

This is the first time in Joshua of a counterattack – the enemy initiating a battle against Israel. “Here for the first time Israel does not initiate the aggression but responds to an ally’s appeal.” (Hess)

What Does Joshua 10 Teach Us?

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 3: Romans 15:4-6

Summary of passage:  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Scripture teaches us how to live and gives us hope.  We meet God in Scripture.  We grow closer to God.  We become more like Jesus.  It’s an act of obedience.  I’m realized all those goals:  I’m closer to God, more like Jesus, more patient, and more elucidated on the Word.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  A spirit of unity is when even we don’t come to the same conclusions on matters of conscience we agree to disagree in love.  I struggle with those who twist the Word of God or don’t believe in God especially when they spout violence and hate.  It’s hard to be patient and pray over them and let God handle it.

9)  We are to all work together for God’s glory despite our differences.  It’s all about Him, not our differences.  When we work together, God’s glory is amplified.  The goal of life as Paul says in Ephesians is to “attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.  We do this with the help of others.  We can’t do this on our own. We were created by God for His glory.  We best glorify Him the stronger we are as a whole.

Conclusions:  Great reminder on building up our Christian brothers.  We can get so caught up in our own narrow lives we forget we are a part of something greater.  As Paul says, if one of us is suffering, we all are.  Help others and you will grow stronger.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]  Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 2: Romans 12:9-13

Summary of passage:  Paul offers sage words for living:  Love others.  Honor others above yourselves.  Always serve God.  Be joyful, patience, and faithful.  Share with those who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

Questions:

3)  That love is sincere.  Cling to what is good.  Hate evil.  Be devoted to others.  Put others above yourself.  Serve God always.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with those in need.  Practice hospitality.  Remembering all this helps us to keep in God’s will and be of heaven and not earth.

4)  Paul’s definition is all about sacrificing for others and doing for others.  Love in our culture is all about how “you” feel and what is best for “you.”  Part of hating evil is recognizing and acknowledging what is evil.  So many today want to sugar coat sin.  Sin is sin no matter how big or how small.  Recognize for what it is, call it what it is, work to eradicate it from your life and the life of those around you.  Only then can you sincerely love like God loves.

5)  Proverbs 8:13:  “To fear the Lord (here means righteous living) is to hate evil”.  Evil includes here pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech.

Proverbs 13:5:  “The righteous hate what is false”.  God’s Word is truth.  False is Satan’s word.  We are to hate falsehood and Satan and sin, which brings “shame and disgrace.”  With Jesus, there is no shame nor disgrace.  Only grace and glory and honor.

Ecclesiastes 3:8: “A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”  Evil is a part of human nature.

Isaiah 61:8:  The Lord says through Isaiah that He hates robbery and iniquity.  This is the opposite of God.  He is complete good.  He cannot stand evil.

Amos 5:15:  “Hate evil, love good.”

Luke 14:26:  Jesus here says his followers should hate their earthly life and the evil inside of others when they are here on earth.

Evil is sugar coated in our culture.  It’s made to be not so bad.  These verses tell us how evil is against everything God and Jesus are and want.  As we grow to be more like Jesus, we need to treat evil like Jesus:  don’t abide it.  Period.

Conclusions:  So focused on verse 9 today and evil.  BSF has a good point.  So many people today think evil is too strong of a word.  But all sin is evil.  It is not of God.  We must remember this and quit believing our little sins are okay.  They’re not!  Strive every day to eradicate evil from your life/nature.

End Notes:  Other translations say:  “Let love be without hypocrisy”.  This isn’t real love at all.  However, I firmly believe in “fake it till you make it.”  Some people are hard to love, but treating them with dignity and respect can grow into love.

We are to hate evil AND cling to what is good.  Most of time we pick only one to do.

Be affectionate and genuine to one another.

This is simply a call for good manners, right?  A lot of kids nowadays have no manners at all.

We are also called to work hard.

“Spiritual fervor” can be translated as “boiling.”

The call to hope in the Bible usually has in mind the call to our ultimate home with Jesus.  Everything we do must be with an eye towards heaven.  Difficult times and troubles do not excuse us to abandon our hope and love and prayer.  Just because we’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you should make others have a bad day.  Always cling to Jesus and what he offers.  It’s a cause for joy (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Leon Morris explains patient as: “denotes not a passive putting up with things, but an active, steadfast endurance.”  Enduring triumphantly which is necessary for Christians because affliction is our inevitable experience (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12)  Tribulation/affliction: “denotes not some minor pinprick, but deep and serious trouble.”

“Faithful in prayer”:  One must not only pray in hard times, but also maintain communion with God through prayer at all times (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

God’s people is sometimes translated as “saints”, which all believers are.  The idea here is practice what you preach. Put into action what you believe.  The ancient Greek word for hospitality is literally translated “love for strangers.” In addition, “given” (translated for us as practice) is a strong word, sometimes translated “persecute” (as in Romans 12:14).  The idea is to “pursue” people you don’t know with hospitality.  This is love in action, not just feelings.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 4: Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 2:1-2

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:2:  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Galatians 1:3-5:  This is part of Paul’s greetings to the church of Galatia where he offers up grace and peace from God and Jesus who sacrificed himself for you to rescue us from our sins and this evil age according to God’s will forever.

Ephesians 2:1-2:  Here Paul reminds the church of Ephesus how they were dead in their transgressions and sins when they lived in the world which is ruled by Satan who is still working in those unsaved by Christ.

Questions:

10)  The world is the world system that contains evil and corruption and is opposed to God and rebels against Him.

11)  Those who love the world are not in God.  The world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.  The world is temporal.  In my own words, the world is anything opposed to God’s Word and His will.  Anything the devil has a hold of.  Any temptation you face.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The world tries to justify sin.  And it puts a high priority on self.  I fight against selfishness every day and it’s hard not to get caught up in doing what “feels good.”  I’ve found putting God at the center of all you do helps to break the influence of the world and re-focus your attention on Him, His ways, His goals and priorities.

Conclusions:  It’s important to realize the influence of the world on yourself, which has some influence if you interact with anyone at all especially unbelievers.  Satan is sneaky and is always seeking your weaknesses.  Use His weapons (the Word, prayer, etc) against him always.

End NotesRomans 12:2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the live that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

Galatians 1:3-5:  Written by Paul to the churches in Galatia around 50 AD.

“Grace and peace to you”:  This was Paul’s familiar greeting, drawing from the traditional greetings in both Greek culture (grace) and Jewish culture (peace). Paul used this exact phrase five other times in the New Testament.

Fun Fact:  Paul used the word grace more than 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.” (Martin Luther)

Note the first thing Paul says about Jesus is he gave himself for our sins.  Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give–Himself.  There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.  Why did Jesus give himself?  For our sins.  If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus rescues us.

The purpose of Jesus’s sacrifice is to glorify God.  Yes, we are saved.  But it’s for the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2:   Paul ended the last chapter by considering that the ultimate example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul considers what the implications of Jesus’ resurrection power are for our life.

Paul is speaking of spiritual death here not physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.  Transgressions is crossing God’s boundaries.  Sins is falling short of God’s standards.

Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of air and is active in those who are disobedient to God.

Once walked is our old self.  We should now feel uncomfortable with sin in our new life.  Satan guided us in the old life.  Now God does.

This is a unique title that speaks to Satan’s authority and realm of influence.