BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

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1 Samuel 16:1-13:

God speaks to Samuel and sends him off to Bethlehem, where God has chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be king. He needs Samuel to anoint the new king. Samuel is afraid Saul will get wind of this and kill him. God tells him to take a heifer as sacrifice.

Samuel obeyed. The elders were afraid upon seeing Samuel. Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice and told them to consecrate themselves. Looking at the heart of man, God chooses Jesse’s youngest son, David, who was attending the sheep at the time. Samuel anoints him in front of the family and then returns to Ramah.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

3) Part personal Question. My answer: God gives Samuel encouragement by having him anoint the new king, which is always exciting news! He also tells Samuel not to worry about his life being threatened by Saul as He has a plan. When God tells you to do something, He will take care of all loose ends. All you have to do is obey. Let God do the rest and don’t worry about the logistics of it all.

4) Part personal Question. My answer: God tells Samuel “Do not consider appearance or height…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Appearances are deceiving and we have to look at the person underneath and what heart they have, not the physical appearance.

5) Personal question. My answer: God values the heart. God knows the secrets of the heart. You can’t hide from God. I value how I treat others and who I am as a person as a whole. Man’s nature is to judge by appearances. It’s really hard for first impressions, but if you consciously focus on it, you can see the heart of people. I think most of us get this beyond first impressions.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35:

We see how we’re supposed to see people, and we see the comfort of God with Samuel. Great stuff!

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

1 Samuel 16:1-13:

Jesse was the grandson of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:1722).

Samuel was committing treason by anointing another king. His first response is fear, as is most of ours. God overcomes all.

God ruled Israel whether they acknowledged Him or not. They faced a choice: submit to God and enjoy the benefits or resist God and suffer. The choice of Israel didn’t affect the outcome of God’s plans for them; it only made life easy or hard.

Today as we face uncertainty in politics, we don’t have to worry. God raises up leaders, probably in an unlikely place such as with David.

This is God’s king (“for me”). The people had had theirs (Saul).

Bethlehem was a small town not very far from Jerusalem. It was the home of Ruth and Boaz, from whom the family of Jesse descended. It was a hilly grain-growing region with many small grain fields carved into the hillsides. And, as we all know, Bethlehem hosted the birth of Jesus.

The elders had just experienced the death of the Amalekite king, Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), at the hands of Samuel. Thsi is why they are afraid.

The idea was not that Jesse and his sons were to just watch Samuel sacrifice this heifer. They would watch the sacrifice and then share in a large ceremonial meal, eating the meat that came from the sacrificed animal.

What’s the difference between a peace offering and an atonement offering?

  • When an animal was sacrificed to atone for sin, none of it was eaten. It was all burned before the LORD. But when an animal was sacrificed as a peace offering, a fellowship offering, or a consecration offering, then part of the animal was burnt before the LORD, and part of it was eaten in a special ceremonial meal.

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Samuel made the mistake of judging Eliab based on his appearance. This was the same mistake Israel made with Saul. He looked the part but lacked God’s heart.

Why was David not invited to the feast?

Tending the sheep was not a glamorous job and was usually a servant’s job. As the youngest, it fell to David to do so. The family must have been poor since they had no servants to do this work. David must not have been favored at all in his family. The youngest son stood to inherit no land in ancient Israel, so he was unimportant.

  1. His father didn’t even mention him by name.
  2. He wasn’t even invited to the sacrificial feast.
  3. He was only called to come because Samuel insisted on it.

I wonder if this was due in some part to jealousy like Joseph. David was obviously special in some way; family is usually not blind to this.

God often chooses unlikely people to do His work, so that all know the work is God’s work, not man’s work.

A shepherd’s work

  • As a shepherd, you had a lot of time to think and contemplate God’s greatness such as David did in (Psalm 19:1-4 and Psalm 8.
  • Sheep needed care and tending. God built in David the heart that would sing about the LORD as his shepherd (as in Psalm 23).
  • Sheep needed protecting. God protected David.
  • David was a great man and a great king over Israel because he never lost his shepherd’s heart. Psalm 78:70-72 speaks of the connection between David the king and David the shepherd: He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

The physical description of David tells us he had a fair complexion (ruddy), and a light complexion was considered attractive in that culture. He had bright eyes, which speak of vitality and intelligence. David was also good-looking.

We don’t know how old David was at this time, but scholars estimate anywhere between 10 and 15 years old.

What do we learn from God’s choice of David as King of Israel?

God’s choice of David shows that we don’t have to quit our jobs and enter into full-time ministry to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be famous or prominent to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be respected or even liked by others to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need status, influence, power, the respect or approval of men, or great responsibilities to be people after God’s own heart.

Where did David get his heart?

Where did David get this heart? From time spent with the LORD. But someone started him on that path. David says nothing of his father, but twice in the Psalms he refers to his mother as a maid servant of the LORD (Psalm 86:16 and 116:16). Probably, it was David’s godly mother who poured her heart and love and devotion of the LORD into him and gave him a foundation to build on in his own walk with the LORD. Like Timothy, God used David’s mother to pour into him a godly faith (2 Timothy 1:5).

Probably no one thought much of this anointing. They probably didn’t think it was a royal anointing. The real anointing was the Holy Spirit upon David.

Fun Fact:  1 Samuel 16:13 is the first mention of the name “David” in the book of 1 Samuel. He has been referred to prophetically before (as in 1 Samuel 13:14 and 15:28). But this is the first mention of his name, which means “Beloved” or “Loved One.”

Fun Fact: David will become one of the greatest men of the Bible, mentioned more than 1,000 times in the pages of Scripture – more than Abraham, more than Moses, more than any man in the New Testament. It’s no accident that Jesus wasn’t known as the “Son of Abraham” or the “Follower of Moses,” but as the Son of David (Matthew 9:27 and at least a dozen other places).

Bible Scholar Meyer on David: “From whatever side we view the life of David, it is remarkable. It may be that Abraham excelled him in faith, and Moses in the power of concentrated fellowship with God, and Elijah in the fiery force of his enthusiasm. But none of these was so many-sided as the richly gifted son of Jesse.”

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 3: Romans 14:9-12

Summary of passage:  It is God’s job to judge and we are only accountable to Him.

Questions:

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any that would be asked of me if it’s a stumbling block.

7)  It is God’s job to judge, not ours.

8 )  Each of us will give an account of himself to God.  If we judge others, we are accountable to God for that as well.

Conclusions:  No comment.

End Notes:  We live for God alone.  Stop worrying about your brother.  You have enough to answer for on your own.

Smith explains the Judgment seat:  “This is the bema seat, equivalent to the judge’s seat in the Olympic Games. After each game, the winners came before the judge’s seat to receive crowns for first, second, and third places. Likewise, the Christian’s works will be tested by fire, and he’ll be rewarded for those which remain . . . The judgment seat of Christ is only concerned with a Christian’s rewards and position in the kingdom, not with his salvation.”  All Christians will be judged and the judgement will be based on works (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

The quotation from Isaiah 45:23 emphasizes the fact that all will have to appear before God in humility, and give account of himself before God.  Since this is the case, we should let God deal with our brother.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 5: Romans 8:14-17

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.

Questions:

11)  We are Christ-like.  We are heirs of God and Christ and share in his glory.  We relate to God as Christ did.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God knows what we need before we ask. God values us.  He disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness, peace, and righteousness.  We are loved and like God.  God has provided me with everything I need and more.  He cherishes me and takes care of me and loves me.  He grows me.  He walks with me and holds my hand and picks me up when I fall.  God is there always for me.

13)  Personal Question.  My response:  I don’t doubt God’s love.  I don’t understand it, but I know He loves me always.  With Christ, we are with God forever.  There is nothing to fear.  Only love.

Conclusions:  Overall, Lesson 13 was weak with repetitive questions.  Paul repeats himself a lot here and BSF would have been better not spending an entire lesson on these 17 verses.

End Notes: Living under the law brought fear.  Paul says now we are in close kinship with God and call Him Abba!

In the Roman world of the first century AD, an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no inferior in status to a biological son.

Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more.  Hence, Paul’s listeners would have completely grasped what a privilege this is and its meaning.

Jewish law stated that at the mouth of two or three witnesses everything had to be established (Deuteronomy 17:6). There are two witnesses to our salvation: our own witness and the witness of the Spirit.  We know if we’re God’s children or not.

In sum, we relate to God as Christ did since we are in Christ.  Awesome!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 4: John 15:9-17

Summary of passage: Jesus loves us and tells us to obey his commands to remain in his love. If we do, we will have joy. We are to love others as Jesus has loved us. He has chosen us to bear fruit that will last and God will give us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. Love each other as friends.

Questions:

9)  God’s love is immeasurable.  If we remain in His love by obeying Him, we will have complete joy and whatever we ask for.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer: Because Christ loved us so much we are to love each other.  We were sent into this world and made for this purpose.  It is a pattern for a way of life.  If we love others, we build them up and strengthen them for Christ.  You can try to fake it until you make it.  If you choose to fake it, often it will not come.  If you choose not to fake it, blessings will come.  Pray and ask God for help to love those unloveables in our lives.  We all have them.  Exercise the fruits of the Spirit here: patience, love, kindness, and compassion.  God will help us.

11)  To bear fruit.  We are to remain in Christ and bear much fruit because of it.  If we obey His commands, discover God’s purpose for our lives, we will bear much fruit.  We pray.  We read His Word.  We grow closer to Jesus and God.  We become more Christ-like, loving others. We share the gospel.  Then His will will be done.

Conclusions: Another great lesson especially on loving others whom we cannot love.  Remember: All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.  Find your purpose.  Love others, including the unloveable.  You will then have great joy, peace, and prosperity through Him.  Love is the answer to all.  Think of the opposite:  evil and hate.  Where does that lead?  The opposite of joy and peace and eternal life and satisfaction.

End Notes:  Jesus compares his love for others with that of the love God has for Jesus.  It’s protecting, sacrificing, serving, guiding, and blessing.  It’s never-ending, personal and unchanging.

Obey God’s commands and you will remain and stay connected in God’s love.  Then and only then will your joy be complete.  Joy is not happiness or excitement or pleasure in life.  It’s walking in God’s love and care.  The picture is a pitcher of water filled to the brim.

Jesus uses repetition to emphasis love.  Giving up your life is giving up everything you have.  You have nothing else to give.  It is complete.

In ancient times, the rabbi was not friends with his disciples and definitely not servants.  You are friends if you actively obey.  There are no secrets between friends.

Normally, the disciples chose the rabbi they wanted to learn from.  Jesus chose us.  He holds us, not us him.  We are to go and bear fruit which Jesus enables us to do as his chosen disciples.  Then our prayers will be answered.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 2: John 15:1-8

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is the vine and God is the gardener. God cuts off those who don’t bear fruit and prunes the branches that do bear fruit. Believers will only bear fruit if they remain in Jesus. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. Ask whatever you wish and as long as you remain in Jesus, your wish will be granted. For God’s glory you will bear much fruit.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question. My answer: The Christian life is a life of being molded by God. As long as we believe and stay with God, he will grant us many blessings and we will accomplish many great things. It helps me to know God has my back and I will do great things and accomplish much in my time here on earth. It gives me hope and inspiration to do more than what I’m doing now.  Apart from Jesus, we are nothing.

4)  Part personal Question. My answer:  The work of pruning or cleansing has already begun in the disciples as they listen to the Word of God. There is an initial cleansing and then more (John 13:10). Through the Word, we are cleansed (Ephesians 5:26). It condemns sin, inspires holiness, and promotes growth.  Jesus cleans us or purifies us to be with God. No verse “made me clean”. Only the blood of Jesus did that (1 John 1:7).

5)  Part personal Question. My answer: It means to always do what Jesus would do, follow God’s will for your life, and obey God and His Word. Remain connected to him.  The believer has no fruitfulness apart from union and fellowship with Christ.  A branch out of contact with the vine is lifeless.  By doing His calling in my life, living out the principles, values, and teachings of the Bible, and being a good mother, worker, and role model for a believer in Christ.

Conclusions: Good focus on what you’re supposed to be doing in this world and even if you aren’t sure, how you can still lead a life true to Christ’s by remaining in him through developing a personal relationship of prayer and dedication to His word.

End Notes:  Most scholars believe Jesus is speaking to the disciples here as they are standing in the upper room, preparing to depart.  Jesus only has a few more hours to prepare his disciples for the tumult ahead.  These are his closest friends and he is about to leave them.  He knows they will face fierce opposition, hatred, beatings, and execution.  So, he reaches for an allegory to explain himself again.

One, grapes.  They were just drinking wine.  He says they must remain connected to him in order to bear everlasting fruit.  Two, dead branches.  They have lost their connection somehow and now useless.

The vine.  Jesus’ 7th and last I am statement.  This would have stood out to both believers and unbelievers since everyone knew God as the great “I am”. Jesus is equivocating himself with God in all these statements.

The vine was a familiar symbol.  God repeatedly used a vine as a symbol of His people in the Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 80:8-9).  Yet it was often used in a negative sense (as in Isaiah 5:1-2, 7 and Jeremiah 2:21).  Just in the previous week Jesus publicly taught about Israel being like a vineyard in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-44).

Vineyards were everywhere in ancient Israel. There was a large golden vine set as a prominent decoration on the front of the temple communicating the idea that Israel was God’s vine.  And it was a recognized symbol of the Messiah.

Jesus is the true vine.  We must be rooted in him in order to bear fruit.  The branch and the vine picture complete dependence upon one another as well.  The vine in the Old Testament pictured Israel and God as the tender of the vine.

There are two understandings for verse 2.  Either the branches are taken away because they were never abiding the first place (judgment) or they are lifted up (another possible translation of the Greek) to be taken care of.

The word for prunes does mean cleansing as well in the Greek.  The vine will maximize its fruit if it is pruned.  God removes the dead wood from his church and disciplines the life of the believer so that it is directed into fruitful activity.  Good fruit in the New Testament represents a godly life (Matthew 3:8; 7:16-20) or virtues of character (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11).

The work of pruning has already begun in the disciples as they listen to the Word of God. There is an initial cleansing and then more (John 13:10). Through the Word, we are cleansed (Ephesians 5:26).  It condemns sin, inspires holiness, and promotes growth.

Abiding or remaining is a two-way street.  Choose to abide in Jesus and he will abide in you.  You have to be connected to the vine, to Jesus, to bear fruit.  Otherwise, it’s impossible.

Jesus repeats himself that he is the vine since so often they thought of Israel as the vine.  The purpose of caring for the vine is to receive fruit.  In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character (such as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5). God’s work in us and our connection to Him should be evident by fruit, and perhaps by much fruit.  Fruits contain seeds which are meant to be spread.

Jesus abides in us in an active way.

We can do nothing of real, eternal value without Jesus.  You must remain connected to the master or you will fail.

Note you are thrown away, withered, and then burned–a slow progression of losing that connection with the Father.  Fire is associated with punishment and eternal repercussions like the burning lake of sulphur in Revelation.  It also was an Old Testament symbol of punishment.

Verse 6 Interpretations of the cast out branches:

1) Believes are the cast out branches who, though once true believers, end up in hell for lack of abiding and fruit. They were once disciples, but are now cast out

2) The cast out branches are ones who only appeared to be disciples, and who never really abided in Jesus, and therefore go to hell (like Judas)

3) The cast out branches are fruitless disciples who live wasted lives that are in effect burnt up, and this passage doesn’t refer to their eternal destiny (like Lot, Abraham’s nephew)

However, all agree that there are no true disciples who do not abide. The branch must remain connected to the vine or it has no life and is of no lasting good.  Genuine salvation is evidenced by a life of fruitfulness.

Verse 7:  Jesus connected abiding to the idea of faithfulness to His words (John 14:23-24) and answered prayer (John 14:13-14).

Spurgeon says “Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus.  It comes spontaneously from those who abide in Jesus.”

It is impossible to pray correctly apart from knowing and believing the teachings of Christ.

Abiding in Jesus means abiding in His words, and having His words live in the disciple.

Tenney explains:  “The connection is maintained by obedience and prayer. To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in oneself means a conscious acceptance of the authority of his word and a constant contact with him by prayer.”

This faithful, abiding disciple should expect answered prayer as part of their relationship with Jesus. A failure to see prayer answered means something is not right in the disciple’s relationship. Perhaps something is not right in the abiding, and prayers are amiss and unanswered. Perhaps something is not right in the asking and there is no perception of what Jesus wants to do in and through His disciple.

Verse 8:  We must remember bearing fruit is for God’s glory, not our own. When we achieve great things, it is God’s will and through God’s might not ours.  We give credit to Him for we ourselves can do nothing.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 19, Day 5: John 14:27-31

Summary of passage: Jesus says he’ll give the disciples peace. He tells them to not be afraid or troubled. He is going away and if the disciples loved him, they would be glad for he is fulfilling the Father’s wishes.

Questions:

12)  The Bible tells us that Satan is a fallen angel, a real being who tempts us and tries to destroy us. We see this in the temptation of Jesus. We are told he rules the world until Jesus comes again, hence a prince. He was hurled to earth and tries to lead us all astray.

13)  Personal Question. My answer: Jesus gives those who believe in him peace. Currently, I’m struggling with what God wants me to do in my life. Either quit my job and be a full-time mom or stay working and do everything else He calls me in this world. I know whatever I decide, it will be in His will and with His guidance. That gives me peace.

Conclusions:  If only we could grasp the peace Jesus offers every moment of our lives.  I know I struggle with peace and it only comes when I stay close to God and don’t stray or push him aside.  Staying in the Word like a bible study helps me to maintain that closeness we all so desperately need.

End Notes:  Jesus saying Peace be with you was and is a common Jewish departure saying and a common greeting as well.  However, Jesus is clarifying this customary saying to say my peace, or Jesus’ peace is the peace of God, an untroubled heart.  Hence, along with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is blessing his disciples with peace.

Jesus repeats 14:1.  With faith, the Holy Spirit, and peace, you will be untroubled.

The disciples were troubled at the news of Jesus’ departure.  Jesus says rejoice instead!  His work through the Holy Spirit will be greater than His work during the years of His earthly ministry.  For the sake of the world and yourselves, rejoice!  We sense that Jesus is joyful in his soon reunion with God.

The Father is greater than Jesus in position but not in being.  Both are equally God.

At this very moment, Jesus is arranging Jesus’ arrest–Satan is coming.  Jesus goes to the cross willingly. Satan has no hold on him since he is sinless.

Now Jesus and his disciples are ending dinner and going to go the Garden at Gethesemane.  They are still in the room because Jesus doesn’t actually leave until John 18:1.  We can imagine Chapters 15-17 is Jesus speaking as the disciples gather round him in the room.  As one probably knows when there is a gathering of a big group of people it takes a bit to get them moving.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 2: John 11:1-16

Summary of passage:  Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.  She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan.  He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.

Questions:

3a)  He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.

4a)  To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear.  Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing.  Great lesson for us.  Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait.  Rely on God and His timing, not ours.

End Notes:  You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last.  Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot.  This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).

Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.

John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all.  Why?  Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone.  Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord.  He was in Galilee preaching.  The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.

Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus.  Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough.  They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would.  They had faith.

By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead.  He knew this.  He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.

Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.

He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day.  This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver.  This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.

Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar.  Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea.  But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God.  There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it!  No harm will come to them during this time.

Sleep is a metaphor for death.

Jesus is glad for many reasons:  grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!

God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.

Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River.  He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.

All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin.  Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname.  Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus.  He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.