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

Image result for joshua 7

Summary of Joshua 8:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

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

Note Israel’s History:

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

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

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

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

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 2: Romans 14:1-8

Summary of passage:  Accept those who are new believers and fail without looking down on him or condemning him.  The Lord will strengthen him.  We all belong to the Lord and God knows our heart for what we do.

Questions:

3)  Without passing judgment.

4)  Whether to eat meat or not to eat meat.  Disputable is open to debate whether it is acceptable or not meaning there is no agreement.  Forbidden are those things that are outlawed, meaning there is a majority agreement on what is acceptable or not.

5)  God is the standard and we are to live for Him.  Both the weak and the strong should be motivated to serve the Lord and give thanks for His provision.

Conclusions:  Acceptance is the theme here.  Mankind is messy.  All of us.  We are all equal.  None of us is better than the other.  Paul reminds us to accept each other and let God handle the rest.

End Notes:  Paul warns us not to judge others whose faith is weak, usually a newer Christian or one ignorant of God’s ways.  He was probably addressing Jewish Christians in Rome who were continuing to observe the hallmarks of Jewish identity, such as dietary restrictions and the keeping of the Sabbath and other special days.  Their concern was not the same as that of the Judaizers of Galatia  They Judaizers thought they could put God in their debt by works of righteousness and were trying to force this heretical teaching on the Galatian churches, but the “weak” Roman Christians did neither.  They were wrestling with the status of the Old Testament regulations under the new covenant that Christ ushered in.

In Paul’s mind, the weak brother is the stricter one due to their legalistic attitudes and lack of love towards others.

Undoubtedly these weak ones did not see themselves as such. They probably saw the meat eaters as weak.  Legalism has a way of making us think that we are strong and those who don’t keep the rules the way we do are weak.

Paul reminds us it is God’s job to judge, not ours.  We must rise above these petty arguments and be united in our faith in Christ.  Christians do not agree on all matters pertaining to the Christian life, nor do they need to.  Fellowship should not be based on agreement.

By bringing in the aspect of observing certain days, Paul is talking more about principles than specific issues. It’s up to the conscience of the individual. But whatever we do, we must be able to do it to the Lord, not using “conscience” as an excuse for obviously sinful behavior.

From birth to death, we are connected to one another and we are to live for the Lord always.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 3: 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:

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.  It’s my nature to be selfish and do whatever I want whenever I want.  It’s a struggle every day to put my needs/wants aside.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Serve the Lord always.  I’m currently trying to serve my community more and those around me more through doing what he wants me to do.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  It’s all about not being selfish and doing for others when man’s nature is to the opposite.

Conclusions:  All personal.  Unsure why.  Verses are clear cut on how to behave.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s].  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 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 22, Day 5: Romans 12:6-8

Summary of passage:  God has given each of us different gifts.  Let us use our gifts (whatever they may be) for His glory and to the best of our ability.

Questions:

12)  1 Corinthians 7:7b:  Each person has his or her own gift from God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6:  Each gift we have works to glorify God.

Ephesians 4:11-13:  God gave us each different works of service to build each other up and mature to the fullness of Christ.

1 Peter 4:10-11:  We should use our gifts to serve others, administering God’s grace and speaking as if we are speaking the very words of God.

13)  Prophesy:  “let him use it in proportion to his faith.”  If one hears a word from God, share it.

Serving:  “let him serve”  If one is called to serve in an area of church, serve.

Teaching:  “let him teach”  If one is called to teach, teach.

Encouraging:  “let him encourage”  If one is blessed with encouraging words, share them.

Contributing to the needs of others:  “let him give generously”  If one is called to contribute to the needs of others (which we all are to a certain degree), do so!

Leadership:  “let him govern diligently”  If one is called for leadership, govern according to God’s principles.

Showing mercy:  “let him do it cheerfully”  If we need to show mercy, do so with a kind heart in forgiveness.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s given me some of these and others not listed.  I’m always teaching my kids like in homeschool or in daily living.  I teach other how to workout correctly with my fitness/CrossFit jobs.  I serve others be it my family or in my work.  I donate to charity groups.  I serve on a local board and hope one day to be on the Town Board and mayor of my town.  I’m not the best at encouraging but I try.  Same with mercy.  I also write via this forum and my novels.  Every day is an opportunity to do His will in all areas of life and in the areas in which we are gifted.  Do you take advantage of it?

Conclusions:  Great reminder and verses to remind us all that we each have a different purpose here on this planet for Him.  We each have different gifts to use for His glory.  We need to take advantage of these and use them for Him and give Him the glory for all we accomplish for Him.  Is it for Him or for you?

End Notes:  The ancient Greek word for “spiritual gifts” is charismata, which means a gift of grace. This term was apparently coined by Paul to emphasize that the giving of these spiritual gifts was all of grace.

Spiritual gifts are given at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Paul is careful to warn us against being proud of our gifts and exalting them/us instead of God.

Prophecy:  God may give us something to say to an individual or church body that stretches our faith. If we can’t prophecy in faith and trust that God has really spoken to us, we shouldn’t do it at all.

Prophecy in the Biblical understanding, isn’t necessarily “fore-telling” in a strictly predictive sense. It is more accurately “forth-telling” the heart and mind of God, which may or may not include a predictive aspect.

This warns us against flippant, “stream of consciousness” prophecy that has no difficulty saying, “Thus says the Lord” at the drop of a hat.

In proportion to our faith: The ancient Greek text actually has “the” before faith. Paul may be cautioning that prophecy must be according to the faith, in accord with the accepted body of doctrine held among believers.

Some take the proportion of faith to be the proportion of the faith of the audience of the prophecy; this has truth also.

This was a warning that meant more in Ancient Times as many claimed that God spoke to them and then their words were not from God or Biblically-based.  This was a warning against false prophets.

Ministry can be seen as serving in practical ways and not necessarily as a pastor or priest. Paul sees this as important ministry from the Holy Spirit as well.

Teaching has in mind instruction, while exhortation encourages people to practice what they have been taught; both are necessary for a healthy Christian life.

When someone who is called and gifted to be a giver stops giving, they will often see their resources dry up – having forgotten why God has blessed them.

It is easy for leaders to become discouraged and feel like giving up, but they must persevere if they will please God by their leadership.

It can be hard enough to show mercy, but even harder to be cheerful about it. This reminds us that the gift of showing mercy is a supernatural gift of the Spirit.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 4: Romans 12:4-5 & Ephesians 4:1-6

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:4-5:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  Paul urges us to live a life worthy of Christ.  Be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with one another in love.  Be peaceful and unified.  Be one body along with the One God, One Spirit, and One Son.

Questions:

9)  Believers are the body of Christ and it is Christ who unites us all.

10)  By peace.  Through humility, gentleness, patience, and love.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Living a Godly life is how I promote unity.  Doing my part in God’s will in the way I interact with others and lead my life.

Conclusions: Didn’t get much out of the questions, but Paul’s exhortations are clear:  it is our responsibility as Christians to keep the unity amongst us and not let petty arguments/sin/Satan/the world divide us.  We are to keep Christ in the forefront always and forever.

End NotesRomans 12:4-5:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  We should want to walk in God’s way and serve Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.  It is God’s love that fuels us.

Let God be in control (humility).  Forgive one another out of love and peace as in this world we will inevitably sin against others.

This is spiritual unity, not structural unity i.e. unity of different denominations, etc.  The complete fusion of all churches would inevitably lead to corruption (think Catholicism in the Middle Ages).

We have unity because of what we share in common.  In Jesus we share one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father.

The baptism here is a baptism of water, an outward sign of acceptance of Christ into the soul.

Fun Fact:  Christianus sum, I am a Christian in Latin.  How Martin Luther answered all temptations from Satan.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 4: Romans 11:33-34

Summary of passage:  We humans are too stupid to know God’s wisdom and knowledge.

Questions:

9)  “Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?”  Answer:  No one.

10)  People often think they are greater than themselves.  They are blinded by pride and believe they can do no wrong.  They believe they have all the answers and don’t need help.  God points out in Job how He designed everything and virtually challenges him to do better than God.  After having experienced the Lord, Job admits he is no better than dust.  Job is the ultimate example of unfairness as is Jesus.  However, both have happy endings–something only God knows.

David explains in Psalm how lowly we are when compared with the God who created the universe.  Isaiah takes this even further by saying we are but dust in comparison to God and nothing.  Why waste time complaining when we have no knowledge of God’s ways?  He gives us strength and hope to continue on the path only He knows.

We believe we can do it all when in reality we do nothing at all.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting to know God’s in control and I don’t have to worry about things or others or their well-being.  God is in control of my relatives and my kids and our health and well-being.  It’s good to know He’s the one who prospers me, and not myself.  This is definitely a work in progress–letting go of things and giving God control.  But every day I become more like Jesus.  I need to trust God to bring me clients.  I need to trust God to put me where he wants me in terms of jobs.  I need to trust God to grow this blog how He sees fit.  I need to trust God to guide me always.  I need to trust God in the little things as well that I fret over that I shouldn’t (which I’m much better at doing).  I need to know God is there, doing everything, always and forever, and all I have to do is listen.

Conclusions: Another good lesson on the pride of man and how we are as little as ants and as helpless as newborns.  We know nothing and do nothing.  Only God knows it all and does it all.  Good lesson to keep us all humble!

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]

Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.