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

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Summary of 1 Samuel 1:

A man named Elkanah of Ephraim had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah was childless. He would sacrifice to the Lord and give double portions to Hannah because he loved her. Yet, Peninnah taunted Hannah because she had no children, which made Hannah sad. So she prayed to God, vowing if He gave her a son, she’d give him to God. Eli thought her drunk, but she was only praying. Sure enough, Hannah had a son and named him Samuel, meaning “heard of God.”

When Samuel could leave his mother, Hannah took him to the temple at Shiloh and gave him to the Lord.

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

3) Hannah was provoked by Elkahan’s other wife, Peninnah, because she had no children. She took her tears to the Lord and gave it all to Him to handle. She was also the favored wife.

4) Personal Question. My answer: Eli was judging Hannah based off appearances. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t jump to conclusions. Ask questions before assuming.

5) Part personal Question. My answer: She prays a heartfelt prayer to God, giving Him all her anguish. She keeps her vow of giving away her precious son to God. I’m challenged by agreeing to give stuff up. It’s hard.

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

I love the example of faith of Hannah. So much more here about faith and prayer that BSF did not have time to touch on. Please read my End Notes for the full discussion and what Hannah teaches us.

Another amazing video on 1 Samuel HERE

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

God begins 1 Samuel 1 with a man He is going to use. God often uses man for His purposes.

He was a descendant of Zuph, and his family line shows he was a Levite (1 Chronicles 6:16-30). He is called an Ephraimite here because his family lived in a Levitical city in the boundaries of Ephraim, not because he was of the tribe of Ephraim.

Polygamy was a fact of life in the ancient world. However, the Bible never puts polygamy in a favorable light. Strife and conflict always characterize polygamous families in the Bible.

According to the Law of Moses, Israelites could not worship God through sacrifice at any time and in any way they pleased. They were to bring sacrifices to the tabernacle and the priests, which at this time were at Shiloh.

These priests are mentioned by name because they were known as notoriously wicked priests (1 Samuel 2:1724). Their mention here shows how godly Elkanah was. Even though the priests were wicked, he still offered sacrifices to the LORD, knowing that the wickedness of the priest did not make his own service to the LORD invalid.

As Elkanah brought his family each year to the tabernacle for sacrifice he ate a ceremonial meal at the tabernacle with his family, giving portions to his wives and their children. He showed his favor and love to Hannah by giving her a double portion.

Because of the conflict between the two wives, Hannah could not enjoy this display of love and favor from Elkanah.

Beyond Hannah’s painful trial, there was a purpose of God. God used the trial of a closed womb to accomplish something great in her life and to further the whole plan of salvation.

It seems strange that Peninnah (who seems of a bad character) was blessed with children and Hannah (who seems of a good character) was cursed with barrenness. God’s ways are not our ways.

What do we learn from Hannah’s hardship?

  • Even though things were hard, God was still in charge.
  • God has a purpose in all our trials.
  • Often, we don’t understand God’s ways until He completes His plan.

In Elkanah’s response to Hannah’s sorrow, we see that he really did love her; yet like many men he was insensitive. He did not recognize that she had needs he could not fulfill (such as the desire to be a mother).

Hannah was in bitterness of soul and great anguish, yet she did the right thing. Hannah took those bitter and anguished feelings to God honestly in prayer.

Fun Fact: Hannah began her prayer by calling on the LORD of hosts. This title is used some 260 times in the Old Testament and has the idea “LORD of the Mighty Armies.” Hannah felt attacked by her rival, so she called on the LORD of Mighty Armies to be her protector.

Hannah promised her son to the work of the LORD, vowing he would be a Nazirite from birth. According to Numbers 6, the vow of a Nazirite included:

  • Abstinence from any product from a grape vine, signifying distance from all fleshly pleasures.
  • Taking no part in any mourning for the dead nor to come near a dead body because the dead show the corruption and the fruit of sin. Also, this showed that the Nazirite had greater concerns than the ordinary joys and sorrows of life.
  • Never cutting the hair because it was a public, visible sign to others of the vow.
  • Typically, the vow of a Nazirite was taken for a set and rather short period of time. Samuel and Samson (Judges 13:5) were unique because they were Nazirites from birth

The child was already dedicated as a Levite because God regarded the tribe of Levi as His own special possession. But the time of a Levite’s special dedication to the LORD only lasted from the age of 30 to 50 (Numbers 4:2-3). Hannah took something that already belonged to the LORD and gave it again to Him in a greater way – for the whole life, and in the dedication of a Nazirite, which was a greater consecration than a Levite.

This is literally, “as she multiplied to pray.” We only have recorded a bare summary of Hannah’s prayer. Can you imagine her whole prayer?

What do we learn from Hannah’s prayer?Image result for mountain

  • Prayer does not need to be aloud.
  • Prayer only needs to be from the heart.
  • Pray your heart, soul, and anguish before the Lord, and give it to Him.

Eli misunderstood Hannah, but the fact that he suspected that she was drunk shows that it may not have been unusual for people to become drunk at the “fellowship meals” with the LORD at the tabernacle. The fact that Eli suspected Hannah of drunkenness doesn’t speak well for what went on around the tabernacle.

Hannah did not accept Eli’s accusation, but she did not respond in a haughty or arrogant tone or get defensive. She would explain herself, but she did it remembering that he was her high priest.

Eli may have spoken this only as a kind wish; but it was in fact a word from the LORD.

The change in Hannah’s countenance shows that she received the promise from Eli with faith, something necessary if we will inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).

Hannah shows how we can regain the joy of fellowship in the house of the LORD again: by pouring out our heart before the LORD and by receiving His word with faith.

Hannah could genuinely worship the LORD in faith while the promise was still not yet fulfilled. This is a glorious pattern of faith.

To use the term remembered is an anthropomorphism, a way of explaining God’s actions in human terms that we can understand, even if it doesn’t perfectly describe God’s action. It isn’t as if God ever forgot Hannah, but it is proper to say He remembered her.

What do we learn from Hannah’s example?

  • Patience. It didn’t happen right away. Hannah had reason enough to be discouraged, but when the promise of God was spoken she did not lose faith in the promise, even when it took some time. She is a great example of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
  • Keep your vows. Even in difficult situations, they could worship the LORD.

In that culture, a child was usually not weaned until two years of age, or sometimes three years. It is reasonable to assume that Hannah was in no hurry to wean Samuel.

The fact that 1 Samuel 1:24 mentions three bulls brought to Shiloh but 1 Samuel 1:25 mentions only one being sacrificed (with some of the meat available for a fellowship meal) emphasizes that one of the bulls was specifically made as a burnt offering for the cleansing and consecration of little Samuel.

This could be translated, “And I also made myself to present for the LORD.” The idea is not that Hannah “owned” the child and “lent” him to the LORD. Instead, the idea is that the child is her “prayer,” or the fulfillment of her prayer to the LORD.

The name Samuel means “Name of God” but Hannah – as was common among the Hebrews – made a pun on the name by saying that she had “asked the LORD for him.” Asked in Hebrew sounds like Samuel.

Worship is a repeated characteristic of this family (see also 1 Samuel 1:31928). Praising God on the day you give your little son away may not be easy, but it is praise God is pleased with even as we are told to bring a sacrifice of praise to God (Hebrews 13:15).

God helped several barren women in the Bible: Sarah (Genesis 11:30), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Rachel (Genesis 30:22), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7).

Image result for butterfliesWhat do we learn from Hannah’s life?

  • She did not cling to her woes.
  • She did not cling to her blessings.
  • All belong to God.

The longing for children may be the strongest in life. Look at the thousands spent on fertility treatments. Instead, with no such technology available, Hannah went to God. And God answered. Every year she made Samuel a garment–a huge expenditure when cloth and thread were made by hand.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4

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Summary of Ruth 4:

Boaz goes to the town gate and waits for the other kinsman-redeemer to come along. When he does, Boaz gathers 10 of the town elders and asks this guy if he is going to redeem Naomi’s property. If not, then he will. The man says he will redeem it until Boaz says he will have to marry Naomi.  The other kinsman-redeemer removed his sandal (to redeem and finalize the transfer of property) and handed it to Boaz.

Boaz announced in front of the witnesses that he had bought from Naomi all of Elimelech’s property and the right to have Ruth as his wife so Elimelech’s name will not disappear from the town records or the property. The elders witnessed the transaction and blessed Boaz.

Boaz and Ruth married and had a son named Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

12)  The definition of redeem is:  “to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).” The biblical definition is to describe God’s merciful and costly action on behalf of his people (sinful human beings). The basic concept is release or freedom on payment of a price, delivered by a costly method.

  1.  Redemption is a necessary act.  The only way the story of Ruth ends well is through redemption.  And because we are by nature children of wrath, the only way our story ends well is through redemption in Jesus Christ.
  2. Redemption is a solo act.  There can only be one redeemer.  For Ruth and Naomi, this is Boaz.  There is only one true redeemer, one name by which we can be saved: Jesus.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and No one comes to Father but by Him (John 14:6).
  3. Redemption is a sovereign act.  Ruth says, “Boaz, redeem me” and then Boaz does all the work to make this happen.  Ruth could not redeem herself and neither can we!  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  4. Redemption is a legal act.  There was a debt that had to be paid…a legal transaction!  Our sin demanded a payment (for the wages of sin is death) and the cross is the legal receipt that we have been purchased and are forever His!Image result for redemption god
  5. Redemption is a loving act.  What made Boaz willing to go the distance?  Not law, but love!  The cross is not only a legal act, but also a loving act.  For Christ so loved the Church that He gave Himself up for her.
  6. Redemption is an undeserving act.  Ruth is a Moabite; she doesn’t deserve the act of redemption.  We don’t deserve it either.  But the Bible says that “while we were yet sinners” Christ died for us.
  7. Redemption is a public act.  Boaz redeemed Ruth publicly in front of many witnesses; and Jesus died on the cross for all to see.
  8. Redemption is a costly act.  Redemption cost Boaz everything, which he gladly gave.  Our redemption required the “precious blood of Christ.”
  9. Redemption is a final act.  The exchange of the sandal proved it was a done deal, never to be reversed.  Jesus died for our sins “once and for all.”  It is finished!
  10. Redemption is a hopeful act.  It was this redeeming act that secured a future Ruth and Naomi.  The Bible tells us we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Your past may be dark, but your future is bright because of the redeeming work of Jesus.

13)  God promises David to make his name great, establish a house/throne for him, and one of his relatives (Jesus) will establish God’s house/kingdom forever. Jesus is the descendant of David. It shows how a Gentile (Ruth) became part of the Davidic ancestry as God planned it.

14) Personal Question. My answer: God is always faithful. He redeems. He rewards faith. He is there. He has a plan. Personally, I’m on the upswing of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and redemption. We’ve gone through some tough times, but through it all He’s been there and our future couldn’t be brighter. I’m in just such a state of gratefulness now for my life.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

I like how methodical, meticulous, and by the book Boaz is. He wants to make sure everything is done right. I love the happy ending here, and how good God is. I love the perfect example this is of life: tragedies coupled with triumphs. One of the best stories ever!

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

The gate of the city was always the place where the esteemed and honorable men of the city sat. For an ancient city in Israel it was a combination of a city council chamber and a courtroom.

Bible scholar Huey says the gate was, “A kind of outdoor court, the place were judicial matters were resolved by the elders and those who had earned the confidence and respect of the people… a place for business and as a kind of forum or public meeting place.”

Although it worked out that Boaz and Ruth could be married, the nearer kinsman-redeemer should have married Ruth and fulfilled his obligations as such. Instead, he is now treated with contempt.

Literally, in the ancient Hebrew, when Boaz greeted the nearer kinsman he called him “Mr. So-and-so.” The writer of Ruth never identified the name of the nearer kinsman because he was not worthy of the honor. He declined to fulfill his obligations as the nearer kinsman to Ruth.

Bible scholar Poole explains, “Doubtless Boaz both knew his name, and called him by it; but it is omitted by the holy writer, partly because it was unnecessary to know it; and principally in way of contempt, as is usual, and a just punishment upon him, that he who would not preserve his brother’s name might lose his own, and lie buried in the grave of perpetual oblivion.”

What was the duty of the kinsman-redeemer?

The duty of the goel – the kinsman-redeemer – was more than the duty to preserve the family name of his brother in Israel. It was also to keep land allotted to members of the clan within the clan.

As we’ve just studied, when Israel came into the Promised Land during the days of Joshua, the land was divided among the tribes and then among the family groups. God intended that the land stay within those tribes and family groups, so the land could never permanently be sold. Every fifty years, it had be returned to the original family group (Leviticus 25:8-17)

But fifty years is a long time. So, God made provision for land that was “sold,” that it might be redeemed back to the family by the kinsman-redeemer.

Again, the kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility to protect the personsproperty, and posterity of the larger family.

Boaz’s strategy to win Ruth:

When Boaz brought the matter up to the nearer kinsman, he brought it up as a matter regarding property – something any man would be interested in. When Boaz put it in terms of purely a land transaction, there was no hesitation on the nearer kinsman’s part. Of course, he said, “I will redeem it.”

Boaz then surprised the nearer kinsman by telling him he’d have to marry Ruth as well if he wanted the property. Because Naomi was older and beyond the years of bearing children, the nearer kinsman was not expected to marry Naomi and raise up children to the family name of her deceased husband Elimelech.

Upon hearing of Ruth, the kinsman changed his mind. Probably the man had grown sons that had already received their inheritance of lands. The problem of dividing that inheritance among future children he would have with Ruth was more than he wanted to deal with.

Also, no doubt the man was married – and knew it would be awkward (at best!) to bring home Ruth as wife number two.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 describes the ceremony conducted when a kinsman declined his responsibility. The one declining removed a sandal and the woman he declined to honor spat in his face. But in this case, because there was no lack of honor was involved, they just did the part of the ceremony involving the sandal.

The Blessings of Faith

Back in chapter one, Ruth seemed to be giving up on her best chance of marriage by leaving her native land of Moab and giving her heart and life to the God of Israel. But as Ruth put God first, He brought her together in a relationship greater than she could have imagined. Today, God will bless those wanting to get married in the same way if they will only put Him first.

This explains why a marriage ceremony is important, and why it should be recognized by the civil authorities. Boaz had a love for Ruth that was public, a love that wanted to be publicly witnessed and registered.

Today, people wonder why a marriage ceremony, or a marriage license is important. “Can’t we just be married before God?” But there is something severely lacking in a love that doesn’t want to proclaim itself; that does not want witnesses; and that does not want the bond to be recognized by the civil authorities. That love falls short of true marital love.

No doubt, the crowd cheered! The men thought Ruth was beautiful and the women thought Boaz was handsome. Image result for ruth 4Everybody could see what a romantic, loving occasion this was.

Rachel and Leah had thirteen children between them and were the “mothers” of the whole nation of Israel. This was a big blessing to put on Boaz and Ruth.

The story of the birth of Perez is in Genesis 38:27-30. It seems that Perez was the ancestor of the Bethlehemites in general (1 Ch. 2:51850f.). Moreover, Perez gave his name to the section of the tribe of Judah that was descended from him (Num. 26:20).

The gift of children was never taken for granted in Israel. The fact that Boaz and Ruth were able to raise up a son to the deceased Elimelech was evidence of God’s blessing

What we learn from Naomi?

  • She got right with God–and was blessed because of it
  • God’s plan is perfect and filled with love, and even when we can’t figure out what He is doing and it all seems so desperate, He still knows what He is doing. We should learn that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose(Romans 8:28).

After saying in Ruth 1: the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me… the LORD has brought me home again empty… the LORD has testified against me (Ruth 1:20-21), she experienced God’s blessings beyond imagining.

Themes of Ruth 4:

“God’s hand is all over history. God works out His purpose, generation after generation. Limited as we are to one lifetime, each of us sees so little of what happens. A genealogy is a striking way of bringing before us the continuity of God’s purpose through the ages. The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God.” (Kidner)

Fun Biblical fact: Naomi’s return to Bethlehem, and the roots of David in Bethlehem, going back to Ruth and Boaz, are why Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to register in the census of Augustus (Luke 2:1-5). Ruth and Boaz are the reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem!

How Boaz represents Jesus:

  • The kinsman-redeemer had to be a family member; Jesus added humanity to His eternal deity, so He could be our kinsman and save us.
  • The kinsman-redeemer had the duty of buying family members out of slavery; Jesus redeemed us from slavery to sin and death.
  • The kinsman-redeemer had the duty of buying back land that had been forfeited; Jesus will redeem the earth that mankind “sold” over to Satan.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, was not motivated by self-interest, but motivated by love for Ruth. Jesus’ motivation for redeeming us is His great love for us.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, had to have a plan to redeem Ruth unto himself – and some might have thought the plan to be foolish. Jesus has a plan to redeem us, and some might think the plan foolish (saving men by dying for them on a cruel cross?), yet the plan works and is glorious.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, took her as his bride; the people Jesus has redeemed are collectively called His bride (Ephesians 5:31-32Revelation 21:9).
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, provided a glorious destiny for Ruth. Jesus, as our redeemer, provides a glorious destiny for us.

But it all comes back to the idea of Jesus as our kinsman-redeemer; this is why He became a man. God might have sent an angel to save us, but the angel would not have been our kinsman. Jesus, in His eternal glory, without the addition of humanity to His divine nature might have saved us, but He would not have been our kinsman. A great prophet or priest would be our kinsman, but his own sin would have disqualified him as our redeemer. Only Jesus, the eternal God who added humanity to His eternal deity, can be both the kinsman and the redeemer for mankind!

Image result for redemption godIsaiah 54:4-8 describes the beautiful ministry of the LORD as our goel – our kinsman-redeemer: Do not fear, for you will not be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame… your [Kinsman] Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel… For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit… with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says the LORD, your [Kinsman] Redeemer.

From eternity, God planned to bring Ruth and Boaz together, and thus make Bethlehem His entrance point for the coming of Jesus as our true Kinsman-Redeemer, fully God and fully man. Spiritually, we need to come to Bethlehem and let Jesus redeem us. The Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem, underscores this point.

Fun Fact: The narrator of the book of Ruth never once mentions God; yet, God’s fingerprints are everywhere in this story. He’s everywhere in ours as well.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21

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Summary Joshua 21:

The Levites receive towns and pasturelands as their inheritance out of the other tribes’ promised land as the Lord had commanded through Moses. They received a total of 48 towns scattered about within the other tribes’ land–4 from each tribe.

Every promise of God was now fulfilled as all of Israel took possession of the Promised Land and all the Israelites’ enemies fell.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21:

12) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship. They only received towns because they were to depend completely on God, not on the land. They were called to serve God. God was “their share.”

13) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship, so that all can hear God’s word. Remember, no one could read in ancient times but the priests. The people only knew of God from them.

14) 1 Peter says our inheritance “can never perish, spoil, or fade–and it’s kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The deposit is the Holy Spirit as Ephesians says was given to us as a gift from having believed in Christ as our salvation, which guarantees our inheritance (heaven and eternal life) until the Last Days.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: God keeps His promises–all of them. God is with me no matter what, directing me, taking care of me, fulfilling my every need. He is there, helping me in all my trials. He is the hope we all need.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

I love how God is there in the details (the allotting of land) as much as He’s there in the big picture (the taking of the Land). I love how this ends: With all of God’s promises fulfilled. Such hope. Even though it took 40 years. It’s all in God’s timing and not ours. Patience and He will do what He says He’ll do.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

God would be the Levites’ inheritance (Joshua 13:14, and 13:33).Image result for joshua 21

The Levites are the only ones without their own land and together. God wanted the Levites “sprinkled” all throughout the land of Israel. He never intended there to be one “state” of Levi, but every tribe was to have the priestly influence and presence in their midst.

In the same manner, Christians (being priests, 1 Peter 2:5 and 2:9) are to be “sprinkled” all throughout the world and society, instead of heading off to make a “Christian country” somewhere.

Further note the Levites or the priests received their cities last of all the tribes. Priests are appointed to serve, not to be served, and there is something priestly about letting others go first.

Historical Notes: This is the point where Israel stopped commemorating Passover as if equipped to travel as described in Exodus 12:11). Now they will eat the Passover reclining at rest (as described in John 13:23) because the LORD had given them rest in the land.

Our take-away from Joshua:

Any failure to fully possess the land was not because God had not made adequate provision, but because Israel had failed to fully follow the LORD.

Ask yourself: God has been completely faithful to you and made provision for continual victory. He has given greatly, but what do you possess?

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34

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Summary of Joshua 20:

God told Joshua to pick sanctuary cities for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The person was to state his or her case before the elders of the refuge city, and then he or she must be admitted and given shelter. He has to stay in that city until he has stood trial or the high priest dies. Then he or she may return home.

The chosen cities were: Kedesh, Shechem, Kiriath Arba (Hebron), Bezer, Ramoth, Golan.

Summary of Numbers 35:6-34:

48 towns were given to the Levites, which would serve as cities of refuge for those who accidentally killed someone. This does not apply to those who premeditate murder. Those shall be put to death. The one seeking shelter must stay at the city of refuge or be killed if he leaves if found by the avenger. Blood pollutes the land and thus must be paid for in blood if murder occurs.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

9) The sanctuary cities were for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The purpose and intent was to protect the person who accidentally killed someone until they could stand trial, so like our guilty before found innocent procedure in the US.

10) These cities reveal how God cares about justice enough to protect His people since in ancient times the policy was an eye for an eye with no questions asked.

11)  Personal Question. My answer: It’s a comfort, knowing how God thinks of everything, knows everything, and provides for everything. Justice is one of God’s defining characteristics. It’s why He is slaughtering the pagans in Canaan–as punishment for their sins–justice. God’s justice applies to all without exception. All are equal in His eyes. God loves us. Period.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

God is just and cares about the individual as much as the whole population. All are equal. He provides. He shelters. He protects. God is good.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

This is the fulfillment of Numbers 35.

The Hebrew word is goel, and in ancient times a representative from the victim’s family was charged with making sure justice is carried out against the murderer of the family member. Murderers were held responsible and it was the goel (avenger of blood)’s job to do so.

Capital punishment goes back to Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. The state’s right to use the sword of execution is also stated in the New Testament (Romans 13:3-4). Unpunished murderers defile the land (Numbers 31-34).

The avenger of blood tracked down the murderer and would delivered him over to the authorities for execution if the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses could confirm the guilt of the murderer (Deuteronomy 17:6-7).

Israel’s legal system was much advanced for the times.

After being declared innocent of murder by the proper authorities AND after the death of the standing high priest, the slayer could go back to his home and be protected against the wrath of the avenger of blood

On a map, we see that the cities of refuge were well spaced throughout the country. No matter where you were in Israel, you were not very far from a city of refuge.Image result for map of cities of refuge

Deuteronomy 19:2 tells us that proper roads were to be built and maintained to these cities of refuge. The city was not much good to the slayer if they could not get to it quickly.

The Cities of Refuge as Jesus

The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God:

Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless Image result for joshua 20someone could get to the place of refuge.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.
  • With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.

How are the Cities of Refuge different from Jesus?

  • The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.
  • Atoning grace (Old Testament) versus saving grace (New Testament).
  • Temporary and now permanent.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19

Image result for joshua 15-19

Summary of Joshua 15:

The allotment of land for the tribe of Judah is laid out, which includes Hebron, the land Joshua gave to Caleb as his reward. Caleb drove out the Anakites from Hebron. He gave his daughter in marriage to whoever captured Kiriath Sepher in Debir. This was Othniel, son of Caleb’s brother. Judah cannot drive out the people in Jerusalem.

Summary of Joshua 16:

The allotment of land for Ephraim and Manasseh is laid out. However, they could not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer who became forced labor for the Israelites instead.

Summary of Joshua 17:

A continuation of the allotment of the land for the tribe of Manasseh. The daughters of the tribe of Manasseh also received an inheritance because there were no male heirs born. Again, the Israelites were unable to drive out the Canaanites in a few pockets, but did eventually force them into labor. Here, we see the first complaint as the people of Joseph (whose sons were Ephraim and Manasseh) claimed their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.Image result for map of promised land tribes land

The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country.

Summary of Joshua 18:

A gathering took place at Shiloh at the Tent of Meeting to divide up the rest of the land amongst the remaining tribes. Joshua appearing a bit aghast, asks those remaining why they haven’t taken over their share yet? Joshua is dividing the land into 7 parts once surveys are taken and will cast lots before God to divide them up. The tribe of Benjamin receives their lot.

Summary of Joshua 19:

The allotment of the land for the tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, and Joshua are assigned. The Simeon’s inheritance was taken from Judah’s since Judah’s portion was huge and more than they needed. The Danites had trouble defeating the Canaanites in their territory alloted so they took Leshem instead, thus dividing themselves in the land.

Finally, Joshua himself received his inheritance–the town of Timnath Serah in Ephraim.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19:

6) God includes these detailed lists of land boundaries, so there would be no doubt and no disputes amongst the Israelites in the future. It shows how God keeps His promises to His people by giving them the land He promised hundreds of years before. We see God reward both Caleb and Joshua with land for being the only two men of faith.

7) Caleb gives his daughter to the strongest warrior, ensuring a strong husband and her protection in the future. His daughter, Acsah, asked Caleb for land, and he gave it to her as well. The Lord also put in provisions for when a man does not have a son (see also Numbers 27:1-11 & Numbers 36), which would ensure the father’s name would not vanish. The daughters also had to marry within the clan so the land would stay within the original tribe’s hands. This ensures that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. The Lord provides for those who ask and seek Him (Matthew 7:7).

8 ) The Manassites’ complained that their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites. The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country. In essence, they did not want to fight for the land; all they wanted was a free hand out.

Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to fight for his inheritance and his land and instead of asking for an unoccupied piece of land, Caleb asked for the hill country where the feared Anakites dwelled so he could drive them out himself. He relied on the Lord to do whole-heartedly what God said He would do.

Nothing is impossible with God. Have faith. He will guide you through the impossible every step of the way like He did with Caleb. God wants us to choose the good fight for Him and use God’s strength to spread the word and give God the glory. If we do, our rewards will be riches.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

We see God keep His promises, but the people still must do their part and continue to kick out the Canaanites. We see the difference in gratitude and ingratitude to what the people have been given with Caleb’s example and the example of the tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Dan. Great reminder for us that although God provides, He doesn’t want us to sit idly by and not do anything.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

Joshua 15:

Caleb was not only a man of great and bold deeds (the driving out of the children of Anak), but also a man who encouraged others to great and bold deeds as we saw with the giving of his daughter in marriage. Anyone bold enough to conquer a city for a woman is in love indeed. Caleb’s daughter inherited his boldness. We see her asking for blessing and choice springs. You cannot receive unless you ask. (Matthew 7:7)

We begin to see and in Judges 1 how pockets of Canaanites remain. Albeit Jerusalem is on a hill, Judah should have been able to drive them out if they had had faith in God. Instead, David must do so (2 Samuel 5:6-10). These unconquered tribes will become thorns in Israel’s side.

Joshua 16:

We see again how within the Promised Land important work remains to be done and battles still to be fought (like in our own lives) as the Canaanites live in the land of Ephraim. Perhaps the Israelites wanted forced labor (to be lazy and not do the work themselves in essence). This does not justify their disobedience to God. If you can subject people to work for you, you can certainly conquer them completely, especially since Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12).

Compromising God’s word and picking and choosing what to obey and not to obey is a sin. It’s the beginning of so much more and worse sins such as idolatry and immoral worship. This came to the people of Israel and the Canaanites are the reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.

Why did the Israelites allow some Canaanites to stay?

  • They wanted peace at any cost. Remember it took 7 long years to conquer the Promised Land. I’m sure many are weary of fighting.
  • They wanted wealth.

What do we Learn from the Israelites’ incomplete possession of the Promised Land?

  • Obeying God is a marathon. It’s hard. It’s unglamourous. It’s a lot of work.
  • The Israelites fell short of what God had for them – Will you fall short as well?

Joshua 17:

It was highly unusual for women to receive an inheritance and why it’s mentioned here. It was more important that the land remain in the ancestral families than it was to follow this custom. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad could inherit their father’s land. This is a decision arrived at by Moses (Numbers 27:1-11) and expounded on by God (Numbers 36).

Manasseh failed like Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites (Joshua 16:10). The Israelites lacked determination and fortitude to do so.

Manasseh and Ephraim, large tribes, complain about the amount of land allotted to them. They have plenty of land, Joshua says. You just have to go and work to have it (clear the forests, etc). Joshua was a direct descendant of Joseph and one of them, so perhaps they thought he would show them favor.

Theme of Joshua 17: If you desire more, have faith first in where God has placed you and in what He has given you. More will surely come if you do so.

Joshua 18:

Why would the Israelites hesitate to take the Promised Land?

Note the hesitation on the Israelites part to go and take the land. Probably they are afraid; afraid of change. Maybe even a bit incredulous: really?  This is all ours? Also, remember these people have been wandering the wilderness for 40 years with never a real home, living out of tents and nomadic, so the idea of living in a real “home” is a foreign (and perhaps scary) concept for them.

Joshua 19:

Joshua received his share but at the very end. He received humbly and after everyone else was taken care of–just like Christ.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 5: Romans 15:30-33 with Acts 20:22-23

Summary of passages:  Romans 15:30-33:  Paul urges the Romans to pray for him, for his safety in Judea and for his service/offering to be accepted by the Jews in Jerusalem.

Acts 20:22-23:  On Paul’s journey to Jerusalem Paul knows hardships and prison await as the Holy Spirit as given him this premonition.


13)  Hardships, prison, unbelievers in Judea

14)  Prayer.  He believes in its power.

15)  He prayed to be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that his service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there so that he can come to the Roman church with joy and refreshment.

16)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  First century AD was a period of constant upheaval and wars in this region–both spiritual wars and physical wars.  God grants peace in all of this.  It’s hard to convert people to Christ when their lives are in upheavals and survival is the primary goal in mind.  When our worlds are peaceful, so are our minds and therefore our minds are more open to conversion.  Financial and peace with finding His will in my life.

Conclusions:  We all face dangers in our lives (just not so extreme as Paul’s).  What does he do?  He prays and asks others for prayer while walking through the danger, which is God’s calling for Him.  So must we.  We must pray and ask others to pray for us in all areas in our lives, especially the upheavals.  Only God can grant us peace as Paul says.

End Notes:  Sensing that danger awaited him in Jerusalem (having been warned several times as recorded in Acts 20:22-23 and Acts 21:10-14), Paul knew he needed the prayers of God’s people to see him through the difficulty promised him.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 2: Romans 15:14-16

Summary of passage:  Paul says he believes the Jews are full of goodness and competent to instruct each other.  He is writing to remind them of God’s word and as a minister to the Gentiles to bring them the Good News so that they too may be sanctified by God.


3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”  I will encourage them with my presence, be a listening ear, offer up advice when needed, and support them in their dreams and God’s desire for their lives.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We all need reminders of God’s Word, how to live, and what God desires for our lives especially in today’s society because it’s so easy to get caught up in the lies of Satan and the evils of this world.  Paul is reminding the Jews that he is preaching to them as a reminder and he has confidence in them to follow God’s Word.  He is also preaching for the sake of the Gentiles as well.

5)  Paul says his priestly duty is “to proclaim the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament, the priest was our intermediary to God.  He was the only one who could approach God and cleanse the Jews of their sins.  Then Jesus came and became our high priest, our intermediary, eliminating the need for a formal priest to intercede for us.

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “the term is applied primarily to those authorized to perform the rites of the Israelite religion, but it can also be used with reference to pagan priests.

The formal priesthood in Israel began with the time of Exodus.  In the patriarchal times the heads of families offered sacrifices and intercessory prayers and performed general religious functions, but there seems to have been no specialization and no separate priestly office.  God appoints Aaron the tribe of the Levites to be the priests for the people in Exodus 28-29 and Leviticus 8.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only New Covenant priest, described in detail in Hebrews.  Traditionally, Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  With Christ’s death, the atonement was finishes, essentially eliminating the traditional role of priest. Now, priests are teachers, not atoners.  When Christ gave up his life on the cross, the atonement was finished once and for all with absolutely nothing more for God or man to add to it.  We are saved!

Conclusions:  Loved reading about the history of the priesthood in my Bible Dictionary!  Love knowing Christ once again is the end all.  Praise God for His almighty goodness to us sinners!

End Notes:  Paul’s whole point of writing the book of Romans is encouragement as he says in this passage.  He is also writing proclaiming the Gentiles as an offering to God as well.

Romans 15:16 is filled with the language of priesthood. Paul says he serves as a “ministering priest” of Jesus Christ presenting the gospel as a “priestly service” so Gentile converts would be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Scholar Murry explains:  “When Paul defines his ministry as ministering the gospel of God the apostle uses a word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament which may properly be rendered ‘acting as a priest.’ So the ministry of the gospel is conceived of after the pattern of priestly offering.”