BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24

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Summary of Joshua 2:1-24:

Joshua sends out two men to spy the land especially Jericho. The king of Jericho discovers this and know the men went to the house of Rahab, the prostitute. The king’s men go to Rahab’s house to arrest the men. Rahab protects the men, lying for them, and telling the soldiers the men left her house and to go and chase them.

The soldiers leave. Rahab tells the spies that she has heard of God and what He has done for His people and that everyone in the land is afraid of the Israelites. She begs the men to show mercy to her and her family when the Israelites invade as she has shown mercy to them.

The men agreed and Rahab lowered the men out of her house, using a rope, as her house was part of the city wall. The spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord in the window so all will know to spare that home. She must bring her family inside her home and not leave to be spared and not betray them to the king. Rahab agrees.

The spies hide for three days, giving the soldiers plenty of time to search and not find them. The spies return to Joshua, reporting all that happened with Rahab and how the people are afraid of them.

BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

6a) Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho.

b)  Rahab heard about the Lord’s deeds: how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape out of Egypt and about the destruction of Sihon and Og and their two kings. By her actions (saving the men), she herself was saved by God.  That would increase her faith.

7) Personal Question. My answer:  God is faithful. He will guide you and not lead you astray. I trust He puts me where He wants me with jobs and life.

8 )  Part Personal Question. My answer: He spared her and her family when the Israelites invaded, and allowed her and her family to live amongst the Israelites even though they were Gentiles. She was rewarded a unique place in Jewish history as becoming a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ and has been held up in the Bible as an example of faith. God has rewarded me with a rich life. I often feel undeserving and that I’m not doing enough for Him and His kingdom.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

I love this story. It shows how doing a good deed for others often blesses you ten fold. By saving the two men’s lives, Rahab saved her and gained a new home with the Israelites. Plus, she got to be a direct ancestor of Jesus. How cool is that! Great lesson about faith and doing the right thing.

Watch VIDEO of Book of Joshua if you didn’t yesterday.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

Forty years before, as the Israelites poised to take the Promised Land, the 12 spies brought back entirely different news (Numbers 13:31-33): they didn’t believe the land could be taken. Fast forward 40 years and with hand-picked reconnaissance team, these two spies come back and confidently say, Yes! The Promised Land is ours for the taking!

Theme of Joshua 2:

God honors true faith from anyone, regardless of race or religious background. Rahab, a prostitute (so someone very low on the totem pole) shows faith in God and is rewarded as Christ’s ancestor.

Image result for banks of jordan river todayRemember, the Israelites are literally standing on the banks of the Jordan River, awaiting Joshua’s command to re-take the Promised Land. He sends out spies to survey the land, not because Joshua lacks faith God will do what He says He will do, but because he’s taking action in faith by being prepared.

We aren’t told who the two spies are, but Jewish tradition – speculation, really – says they were Caleb and the High Priest Eliezer.

Joshua also shows wisdom by sending them secretly. The last spies that went out publicly turned out badly for Israel, when a majority of the spies came back with a discouraging report (Numbers 13).

Why did the spies go to a prostitute’s house? It was the perfect place to hide out.

In the culture of that day, there was a strong tradition of hospitality. If someone was a guest in your house, you had a strong duty to protect and care for them. However, Rahab went much further than the respect of cultural traditions regarding hospitality. She put her own life on the line for these men.

The Bible simply reports Rahab’s lie; it does not praise it or excuse it. Rahab’s lie is not justified, but it does show courage. Remember, she is not being held to our standards as Christians. She was a pagan in a city where morality didn’t exist and had no clue really who God was. Thus, we cannot judge her.

This surprising outburst of faith shows how God had a plan in bringing Rahab and the spies together. It is the same kind of thing we see when God supernaturally brings us to people who are believers or open to the gospel.

Rahab’s declaration that “God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” was proof of her faith. It was not strong faith, but her faith good enough to save her and her family and be remembered by Biblical writers of the day (Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25).

Note the color of the cord that ultimately saves Rahab: scarlet.  As early as the first century, commentators such as Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Origen saw this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.

Outcome of the Spies’ Mission to Jericho

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Banks of Jordan River Today

What was the outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho? It failed as a reconnaissance mission. The spies brought back no news of how heavily fortified the city was or how to penetrate it. Instead, all they brought back was news it could be defeated. The purpose of the mission was to encourage and fortify the people that Jericho could be taken–and that was exactly what the spies did.

The second outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho was the salvation of Rahab and her family. God will go to great lengths to save people–to bring them to Him. Here, He saved an ancestor of Jesus.

God will save those in your life as well if you have faith and pray for them. No one is truly lost and nothing is impossible with God.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 29, Day 5: Romans 16:25-27

Summary of passage:  Paul finishes this letter to the Romans with a shout out to God and Jesus, the ones who are responsible for their belief and obedience through the gospel and proclamation of Jesus who has finally been revealed after all this time.

Questions:

14)  Paul finishes this letter to the Romans with a shout out to God and Jesus, the ones who are responsible for their belief and obedience through the gospel and proclamation of Jesus who has finally been revealed after all this time.

15)  He is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again so that we may be forgiven for our sins by God forever and may have eternal life with God.

16)  Through God’s grace, we all share together in the promise of Jesus Christ as our redeemer, our living sacrifice, our Lord.  This is the gift of the Holy Spirit, available to Gentiles and Jews, and our share in the promises of God to His children that we will be justified and sanctified by the body and blood of Christ Jesus forever.

17)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Living every day for Him.  Striving every day to be closer to Him and to fulfill His purpose for our life here on earth.  Praising Him.  Worshipping Him.  Giving Him the credit for everything in my life.  Putting Him at the center of my life.  Obeying Him.  This is what God wants:  us.

Conclusions:  I love how the first sentence and the last sentence of Romans is about Jesus and praising him.  Gratitude.  Humility.  Grace.  Mercy.  Awesome!

End Notes:  Paul means the whole plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Though God announced much of the plan previously through prophecy, its final outworking wasn’t evident until revealed by God through Jesus.  And He calls all nations to faith and obedience.

My gospel:  not a gospel different from that preached by others but a gospel Paul received by direct revelation (Galatians 1:12)

In this conclusion Paul reflects on the wisdom of God’s plan in the gospel and the fact that such wisdom is beyond man. God had a plan no man would come up with, but the wisdom and glory of the plan is evident.

The Book of Romans explains from beginning to end the greatness and glory of this plan of God that Paul preached as a gospel – as good news. It’s entirely fitting that Paul concludes this letter praising the God of such a gospel.

The good news Paul devoted his life to: God chose to glorify Himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ, and who will glorify Himself that way forever. Amen!  The ultimate purpose of all things.

Final Thoughts on the Study of Romans: What an amazing book and gift from God.  What an amazing person Paul was and an amazing gift to us as well all these centuries later.  Definitely an anchor book in the New Testament.  I learned so much and grew so much with God over the past year.  My gratitude and faith are deeper.  My worship is better.  My humbleness as well.  With God all things are possible.  With God I am possible.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 4: Romans 14:13-18

Summary of passage:  Paul repeats to stop judging others and quit putting stumbling blocks in others’ way.  If someone believes something is unclean, fine.  Let it go.  If  you are having dinner with someone and you are eating something they disapprove of, stop eating it for that meal.  Don’t be a stumbling block.  What matters is serving God and have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

9)  Stop judging others.  Don’t put stumbling blocks in others’ way or be a stumbling block.  Let things go.

10)  Jesus’s sacrifice eradicated all the old rules so now all foods are clean.  The person’s beliefs himself makes food unclean–no rules do.

11)  By not being thoughtful of the other person.  If you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic, you are causing him or her to stumble.  Be considerate of others’ struggles.

12)  “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  God’s kingdom is not concerned with petty arguments.  God is concerned with the heart.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward passage with straight-forward questions.  Rise above the pettiness!

End Notes:  Paul summarizes Chapter 14 so far:  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helped us to understand that we should not judge others according to a standard that we would not want to have applied to our self.  We still need to and have a responsibility for admonishment (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). However, when we admonish or rebuke, we do it over clear Scriptural principles, not over doubtful things. We may offer advice to others about doubtful things, but should never judge them.

We might stumble or cause our brother to fall in two ways. We can discourage or beat them down through our legalism against them, or we can do it by enticing them to sin through an unwise use of our liberty.

Our freedom from Old Testament law is good unless we use it against another brother–then it is evil.

Love is the proper way to settle disputes.

Christ died for both weak and strong Christians.  Surely, we can adjust our behavior accordingly (1 Corinthians 8:11-13; 10:23, 28-29, 32-22).

This passage is another great example of Paul’s concern for the moral and ethical dimension of the Christian life.

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 25, Day 3: Romans 13:11-12

Summary of passage:  The Second Coming will be here soon so walk right with God now, fully awake and cognizant of what you are doing for Him.  Set aside sin and put on Jesus!

Questions:

7)  The Second Coming is almost here where we will be with Jesus forever.  To live in the present moment and not just numbly go through the motions of life because Jesus could come any day!  Every day matters and all that you do matters.  Don’t dismiss your actions as frivolous.

8 )  Galatians 1:4:  “present evil age”.  Luke 19:44:  “the time of God’s coming to you.”  See also Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:36; Philippians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8; Titus 2:11-14; James 5:7-11; 2 Peter 3:11-14; 1 John 2:28; 3:2-3

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  People get stuck in the mundaneness of life and just go through the motions. They get complacent with their life and next thing they know 20 years has gone by with nothing to show for it.  I get this way at times as well.  Luckily, I’m an active person and I’m out in the world, trying to figure out what to do with my life.  Still, I get complacent about attending church, reading the Word, praying.  All things I need to remember–namely God and Jesus–first.  THEN everything else.

Conclusions:  Paul has a very good point:  stay present and remember life could be over any second.  Don’t take one moment for granted.  Make it about Him always.

End Notes:  In essence, be in the presence moment and don’t just go through the motions of life.

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

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

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

One of my favorite songs that speaks to Paul’s theme:

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 2: Romans 13:1-5

Summary of passage:  You must submit to government authorities because God is the one who has given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.  If you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God and are therefore subject to judgment.  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

3)  The definition of submit according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to yield to governance or authority; to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation; to yield oneself to the authority or will of another”.  Everyone must submit to governing authorities because God is the one who had given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The same reasons people struggle with submitting to God (which in this passage Paul says is the same thing i.e. God and authorities are the same):  people want to do what they want to do (selfishness) and not what others tell them to do.  Human nature is inherently evil and if a person wants to be able to kill another, that’s what he wants to do.  Man wants power and to lord over others.  God established rules/government so there would not be anarchy in this world.  I’m fine with following the government (when you’re brought up in society it’s relatively easy to obey).  It’s the daily selfishness I struggle with such as when I’m driving being nice to others or putting others needs before mine or giving up my time for others.

5)  When man/human authority asks us to go against God and His Word.  Daniel ignores the decree by King Darius to not pray to God.  This is against God.  When you’re asked to do something that goes against your conscience or that you know is wrong.  Then you can disobey.  Killing others, persecuting others, causing physical harm to others, etc.

Conclusions:  Great passage by Paul and very important today when people are so against governing authorities.  You may not like who is in office, but God put them there so respect them and the laws of your country.

End Notes:  Connecting Romans 12, people are not to take vengeance but the government can punish wrongdoers since God gave them the authority to do so.  Paul is speaking to some Jews who refused to acknowledge the authority of the rulers and thus paid no taxes.

“Be subject to” is a significant theme for Romans 13:1-7.  The civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing.  Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ.  Even the possibility of a persecuting state did not shake Paul’s conviction that civil government is ordained by God (1 Peter 2:13-17).

Government authorities serve a purpose for God.  God appoints a nation’s leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people like we read in Daniel and how God used the Babylonian empire to judge His people.

Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

“Your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’ ” (Newell)

Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).  Paul is describing the ideal rulers here.  Obviously, man is fallen so this is not always the case the rulers will do what is right.

God uses governing authorities as a check upon man’s sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man’s fallenness.

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

Fun Fact (taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary):  The Bible, by exhortation and commandment, requires submission and obedience to six principal authorities:

  1.  Parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 3:4)
  2.  Teachers (Proverbs 5:12-13)
  3.  Husbands (Ephesians 5:21-22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6)
  4.  Masters–or today, employers (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18)
  5.  Government (Romans 13:1-2, 5: Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13)
  6.  God (Genesis 26:5, Ephesians 5:24, Hebrews 5:9; 12:9, James 4:7)

The supreme test of faith is obedience (1 Samuel 28:18).  The Bible often links obedience to faith (Genesis 22:18; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 1:14).  Jesus obedience to the Father is the supreme example for Christians.

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.