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.”

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15

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Summary 1 Samuel 14:

Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines single-handedly with just his armor-bearer by his side. They both climbed up a cliff to where the Philistines were who told Jonathan to come to them. They took Jonathan’s approach as all of the Israelites were crawling out of their holes. They killed 20 Philistines.

Image result for 1 samuel 14The Lord struck confusion on the Philistines in their camp. Saul saw this and rallied his men to join in the attack. All the Israelites who had hidden came out to help in the battle when they heard what was happening. The Lord rescued the Israelites.

Saul had cursed his army not to eat, all of whom were ravished and hungry. Jonathan eats honey he finds, not knowing about his father’s curse. When he is told of his father’s curse, he ignores it. The men slaughtered the animals of the Philistines and ate all of it, including the blood, because they were so hungry. Saul sacrificed to the Lord and then wanted to kill his own son for eating honey, but the men saved Jonathan, saying he was the one who defeated the Philistines.

Saul continues conquests against the surrounding peoples and enemies of Israel.

Summary 1 Saul 15:

God orders Saul to punish the Amalekites for unprovoked attacks when the Israelites were leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and totally destroy them. Saul did not obey the Lord. He did not destroy everything, keeping the best of the plunder.

God is grieved by Saul’s misbehavior who has since set up a monument to himself. Saul claims the good plunder is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Samuel says obedience is better than sacrifices. He informs Saul God has rejected him as king. Only then does Saul admit he sinned, and Saul begs to be forgiven.

Saul says God does not change His mind. Samuel is the one to put the king of the Amalekites to death. Samuel returns home to Ramah, grieved over Saul.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

13) Personal Question. My answer: It encourages and inspires me that I can make a difference at just one person in this world. We all make a difference every day — I just think we don’t acknowledge it. I like how Jonathan is the wisdom here, eating honey and saying how his father is an idiot for that curse. Jonathan also is inspiring to see how he relies on God and bucks the trends when God says to do so.

14) Saul basically lets others do the hard work, and then he swoops in to claim all the credit. He waits until things are going his way to act. To me, he’s weak-willed and only a leader in good times, not bad.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul claims he was saving the best of the best to sacrifice to God, and he says how he was afraid of the people so he gave in (he blamed others essentially). We do the same thing: blame others for our actions. We procrastinate, saying now is not the right time. Or we say let someone else do it.

16) Personal Question. My answer: God wants total obedience. Even if we think we’re doing something for good and God says otherwise, follow God. He has his reasons for asking us to do things and we, not being omniscient, just need to obey. We can’t assume we know better than God. It’s easier just to follow God anyways. It takes all the decision making out of the equation.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

Following God is easier than you think: you just do it. I love these chapters. You see Jonathan taking matters into his own hands with God and you see Saul taking matters into his own hands against God. The results? Saul is rejected. Jonathan is saved. Nothing says it better.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

1 Samuel 14:

The armor bearer was just that — bearing the armor of the officer he served. He as like the squires of the Middle Ages–the person assigned to help the officer do his duty.

There are many stories in the bible where God multiplies forces (Judges 3:31 described Shamgar’s victory over 600 Philistines with a sharp stick and Leviticus 26:8 saysFive of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

This is where Jonathan is coming from. He’s going to rely on God and see what he’ll do. He does not tell his father who was lazily sitting under a tree.

Jonathan did not do this for glory because he did not tell anyone of his plans. God guided Jonathan to a narrow path through a pass with large, sharp rocks on either side — the perfect place to fight a few men at at time.

Why did Jonathan step out in faith and risk his own life?

  • Someone had to have faith. The situation for the Israelites was dismal: greatly outnumbered.
  • Someone had to allow God to use them.
  • Someone had to allow God to prove His word and that He was still with the Israelites.

What do we learn from Jonathan’s example?

  • Only unbelief restrains God (Matthew 13:58). God’s power is never restrained.

Jonathan’s armor-bearer encourages and supports Jonathan. When something is done in God’s name, support always follows.

Jonathan tests God, but he tests God out of faith. Gideon doubted God’s word (Judges 6:36-40); Jonathan doubted himself. The battle was God’s, but Jonathan still had a role to play by fighting.

God uses the swords of the Philistines against themselves since the Israelites had no swords.

Saul procrastinates. He wants to see who is doing his job (and who’ll get the credit for it), and he wants to pray. The time to fight is now, which he eventually does.

Why the curse of Saul on his own men?

  • Saul’s curse was personal — so he could take vengeance on the Philistines. It was God’s honor and the security of his people he should have been fighting for.
  • Saul did not have the authority to order a fast — only Samuel, a priest, did.

Pursuing an army takes energy. God provided the honey for the men to replenish themselves. Jonathan understood this and said as much.

God commanded Israel to drain the blood from an animal before butchering it (Deuteronomy 12:23-25). The disobedience here stemmed from the people obeying Saul’s foolish command and them being so hungry they ate with the blood still in the animals, which resulted in disobeying God’s.

Legalistic rules lead us into sin because they either provoke our rebellion or they lead us into legalistic pride. Saul being Saul, blamed the people for their disobedience when it was his fault.

Background on Urim and Thummim

Image result for urim and thummimUrim and Thummim are mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:30Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63Nehemiah 7:65) and may have been used elsewhere to inquire of God (Judges 1:1 and Judges 20:1823).

Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most bible scholars think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

Saul wants to spare Agag (Chapter 15), but kill his own son.

Saul wanted to find the wrong doer by the casting of lots. They separated the people into two groups, and then selected one group by a “low” or “high” roll of something like dice. The group was narrowed until they found the one. This was meant to show he was innocent.

Perfect lot” in the Hebrew is very close to the word for Thummim. They probably used the Urim and Thummim as the way to cast the lot.

Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit that he was really at fault. All humility Saul had (1 Samuel 10:21), is now gone replaced by pride.

Why spare Jonathan?

  1. The oath itself to put Jonathan to death was foolish and should not have been enforced.
  2. Jonathan broke the oath in ignorance.
  3. Jonathan’s bold faith in God had much more to do with the victory on that day than Saul’s foolish oath. In fact, the victory would have been greater otherwise.

1 Samuel 15:

Totally destroy: This Hebrew verb (heherim) is used seven times in this account. The idea of total, complete judgment is certainly stressed. This verb refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

Even though God doesn’t have to, He explains to us why. Centuries before this the Amalekites were the first people to attack Israel after their escape from Egypt:

  • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16Deuteronomy 25:17-19 repeats this idea.

The Amalekites committed a terrible sin against Israel. When the nation was weak and vulnerable, the Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of the nation (Deuteronomy 25:18). They did this for no reasons except violence and greed. God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people.

Why did God wait to punish the Amalekites?

  1. God through his mercy gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent. They did not. Time does not erase sin before God.  Men should be forgiving of one another because we are not the judgers. Only Jesus can erase sin.
  2. God used the Amalekites as a test of obedience for Saul.
  3. God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

Would God call His people today to fight a war of judgment?

Under the New Covenant, we are called for (John 18:36).

Saul is merciful in letting the Kenites go.

Most armies worked for the plunder of the people they were conquering in ancient times. But with the Israelites, when the battle was for judgment, they were not to benefit in any way.

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Partial obedience is complete disobedience. There is nothing happy about plundering towns and killing people. God judges reluctantly.

When God explains Himself to man in human terms it’s called anthropomorphism. God does this out of grace so man can have some understanding of God’s heart. God knew from the beginning Saul’s heart, ways, and destiny. God already sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet as all this unfolded, God’s heart was not emotionless. Saul’s disobedience hurt God, and since we can’t grasp all what happens in God’s heart, the closest that we can come is for God to express it in the human terms of saying, I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king.”

Samuel had God’s heart. It hurt God to reject Saul, and it hurt God’s prophet to see him rejected.

Lesson learned from God’s grieving heart:

  • We are close to God’s heart when the things that grieve Him grieve us, and the things that please God please us.

Saul wasn’t grieved over his sin. Saul was quite pleased with himself! There is not the slightest bit of shame or guilt in Saul, even though he directly disobeyed the LORD.

David, in contrast to Saul, was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even though David would also disobeyed God, David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame, and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God and still set up a monument for himself on the occasion.

Saul had such potential as we saw in (1 Samuel 9:21) and (1 Samuel 10:22). Humans are the same no matter what–evil. Saul let the evil prevail instead of letting God have his heart.

What lesson do we learn from Saul’s pride and monument to himself?

  • Pride and disobedience make us blind – or deaf – to our own sin. We need to constantly ask God to show us our sins: Psalm 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saul’s excuses:

  1. “The people did it.”
  2. “I destroyed the rest.”
  3. “I kept the only the best.”
  4. “This is all for God.”

This says it all (verse 15): “the Lord YOUR God.” Saul did not consider God his anymore. Tragic.

Saul did not even destroy the rest; there were still Amalekites left alive. David later had to deal with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 27:830:12 Samuel 8:12). Haman, the evil man who tried to wipe out all the Jewish people in the days of Esther, was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1). When Saul was killed on the field of battle, an Amalekite claimed to deliver the final thrust of the sword (2 Samuel 1:8-10).

Lesson learned when we don’t obey God fully:

  • When we don’t obey God completely, the “leftover” portion will surely come back and trouble us, if not kill us.

Saul again throws his own people under the bus even though they were only following orders.

What does God want from us?

God knew Saul’s heart — he would never be obedient to HIm. Rebellion lived in his heart.

Saul rejects his sin — with a caveat — the blame game again.

We see Saul’s desperation in the ripping of Samuel’s robe. Saul is desperately clinging onto pride and stubbornness instead of clinging to God Himself.

Fun Fact: Samuel uses a title for the LORD found only here in the whole Bible: The Strength of Israel or the Glory of Israel, reminding Saul who is in charge.

Saul is far more concerned with his image than his soul. Saul remains in power only because David is not ready yet.

Samuel completes God’s command and kills the king of the Amalekites himself by hacking him to pieces. He does this before the Lord and for the Lord.

Sadly, Saul never came to see Samuel even though Ramah and Gibeah were less than ten miles apart. Saul needed to come to Samuel to repent. He never did.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7

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Summary of 1 Samuel 7:

The ark of the covenant is now at Kiriath Jearim, guarded by Eleazar. The ark stayed here 20 years until the Israelites rid themselves of foreign gods and Ashtoreths.

All the Israelites gathered at Mizpah where Samuel interceded for them with the Lord. They fasted and confessed their sins. The Philistines, hearing of this gathering, went to Mizpah and attacked. Samuel continued to pray to God and sacrificed a burnt offering. The Lord sent loud thunder, panicking the Philistines. The Israelites routed the Philistines, slaughtering them as they fled beyond Beth Car.

Samuel set a stone to show the Lord helping them. The Philistines did not invade again. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, Israel regained the land taken from them by the Philistines and there was peace with the Amorites. Samuel served as judge all the days of his life, making his home in Ramah.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

9) Part personal question. My answer: Samuel told the Israelites to give up their foreign gods. When they did, he interceded for them with the Lord, offering up burnt sacrifices. He prayed for the people on Israel’s behalf and he served as judge for the people and priest as well. Give up idols and reflect God wherever we are. We need to pray for others and intercede for them with God if need be.

10) They gave up their foreign gods. They confessed their sins. They relied on God when threatened by the Philistines. They had faith. God defeated the Philistines for them and gave them lasting peace. God answered their prayers.

11) In chapter 4, the Israelites demanded God to be with them. They put their faith in the ark, an object, not God. Their hearts were twisted and not fully with the Lord. They were prideful. In chapter 7, they entreated God to be with them. They put their faith in God. They confessed their sins. Their hearts were full of faith. We learn we have to have true faith if we want God to fight our battles for us. We have to ask God, not demand God to help us.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Once your heart is right for God, He is there. All the pieces come together. He protects and saves and prospers. It’s as simple as believing faith in Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The ark did not rest in the temple; instead, it rested in the house of Abinadab.

For 20 years, the people weren’t right with God. Their cities were in ruins, their armies were defeated, and they were under Philistine domination. They refused to turn to Him.

Where was Samuel for all this time?

God raised up Samuel as a prophet and a judge (1 Samuel 4:1). Yet Samuel was strangely absent from the whole Ark of the Covenant fiasco. 1 Samuel 4:1 is the last place Samuel was mentioned, right before Israel schemed to use the ark as a good luck charm in battle. We don’t know where Samuel was but presumably in training still.

What was important about repenting to the Lord?

Samuel called the nation to repentance.

  • The repentance had to be inward (with all your hearts) and
  • Outward (put away the foreign gods).

The inward was more important than the outward, and it had to come first. That is why Samuel first called Israel to return with all your hearts, then told them to put away the foreign gods.

However, inward repentance is a secret thing. It is hidden. No one can really “see” the heart of another. Yet the inward was proved by the outward. We can know if Israel did return with all your hearts by seeing if they really did put away the foreign gods.

The Israelites were serving two gods and thought they weren’t rejecting him because of this. They felt they only added the worship of other gods to their worship of the LORD. Samuel called on Israel to turn their backs on these other gods and serve Him only.

Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex.

Why Mizpah?

  • This is where Jacob separated from Laban (Genesis 31:49) and was the gathering place for a repentant Israel in Judges 20:1. This was a place remembered for separation and repentance.
  • This showed the spiritual need Israel felt at the time. They expressed their repentance both by putting away the bad and by pursuing the good.

A ceremonial pouring of water demonstrated the soul poured out before the LORD. It was an expression of emptiness and need. Lamentations 2:19Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.

Israel also expressed their sorrow over their sin by fasting (a message that nothing else really mattered except getting right with God) and by confession (a straightforward claim of guilt and responsibility).

1 John 1:5-10 makes it clear that confession is vital to maintain relationship with God. As God convicts us of sin or sins that hinder fellowship with Him, we must confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our relationship with God to continue without hindrance.

“We have sinned against the LORD.” This is almost exactly what David said when he was confronted with his sin in 2 Samuel 12:13.

With God fighting for them, Israel was invincible. Small faith in the true and living God is more powerful than strong faith in a lie.

How 1 Samuel 4 is different from 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The last time Israel was in this kind of situation they said, “Let’s get the Ark of the Covenant and take it into battle with us. Then we can’t lose!” Now they are much wiser before the LORD, and instead of trusting in the ark they did the right thing and asked Samuel to cry out to the LORD our God for us.

The battle was won before it began because the LORD answered Samuel.

The Bible speaks of Samuel as a mighty man of prayer: Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the LORD, and He answered them. (Psalm 99:6)

God not only sent thunder, He also sent confusion to the Philistines and confidence to Israel.

Samuel was:

  • A man of faith
  • A man of peace
  • A man of military prowess
  • A servant
  • A man of prayer
  • A man of hard work
  • A judge
  • A leader

 

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22

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Summary Joshua 22:

The eastern tribe that had before been asked to help the Israelites conquer the Promised Land on the western side of the River Jordan are now released from their service and able to return home. Joshua left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Joshua blessed the men and sent them away—but not empty handed. They had their share of the plunder from their enemies and were to share it.

On the way home, the Israelites built an “imposing altar” to God. Well, the rest of the Israelites took this as a sign they were turning from God so they sent representatives to see what was going on. They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan) and they would all suffer for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that witnesses they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River. Appeased, the Western Israelites returned home happy.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

3)  Joshua told them they had done all Moses had commanded them to do, and they had done all he had asked them to do left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

4) They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan and Peor), and they would all suffer (or perhaps be killed as well) for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River.

Deuteronomy tells us the Lord commanded the Israelites to only sacrifice burnt offerings at the place he commands as well as Leviticus 17:8-9.

5) Personal Question. My answer: Make sure you have all the facts first before accusing others of wrong-doing. Often, we don’t understand the situation or the other person’s side, and we get ourselves into trouble when we shouldn’t. We should confront with God’s heart, with a willingness to help, and with a clear idea of what God would want out of the situation. Come with an open mind.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

How frequently this happens in our lives when something simple blows up into something big—all because we didn’t have all the facts, and we didn’t take the time to discover all the facts. Many a relationship has been hurt and impacted by being falsely accused of something without a chance to explain ourselves. Great Biblical example of dealing with confrontation and misunderstandings.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

The Eastern tribes had fulfilled their obligation and helped the Israelites take the Western side of the Promised Land. Now it was time to return home. Joshua tells them what he tells all the Israelites all the time: Keep the commandments and the law, love God, follow God, obey God, and serve God. He then blesses them. The Eastern tribes left with riches and probably with a bit of sorrow to leave their brothers.

Before crossing the Jordan, the men build an altar, which was a place of sacrifice. When the other Israelites heard an altar had been built, they immediately gather arms to go and purge this scourge from the nation. There is no discussion, only action. They were going to fight to defend God’s holiness.Image result for joshua 22

Phinehas led the group because he had the authority as High Priest over the whole nation. The Israelites thought that the altar at the Jordan represented a rival place of sacrifice and worship, to compete with God’s tabernacle, presently at Shiloh.

Why the misunderstanding?

God had clearly commanded that there was one place of sacrifice and burnt offerings for Israel: Also you shall say to them: Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:8-9)

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

ii. We understand from this that we cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spiritand in truth. (John 4:24)

The reference to Peor was an example of when Israel had been punished for rebellion against God before. Peor was when Israel’s men had sex with Moabite women, and they gave themselves over to the worship of the Moabite gods. In judgment, God sent a plague that killed 24,000 people.

Phinehas was the one who stopped the plague by making a dramatic stand for righteousness in the midst of gross sin.

Just like Achan, Phinehas knew that the sin of these tribes would reflect on the whole nation. He knew that no one really sins unto himself.

Phinehas offers the returning Israelites to come to their land to avoid sin. This would have been a great sacrifice of land for the eastern side of the Jordan, but all that mattered was eradicating sin.

Who among us are willing to sacrifice to help others? We tell people to stop sinning, but are not willing to help them if it costs us something.

How does the Eastern Tribes respond when accused of sin?

  1. The eastern tribe go to God first who knows their hearts. He is our refuge when we’re misunderstood.
  2. The eastern tribes put themselves in the shoes of the westerners and can see why they think what they think. We all must try to see the other person’s point of view in misunderstandings.
  3. The eastern tribes then explain themselves and acknowledge once again the western tribes concerns. They wanted to remain connected to their western brethren, and this is how they chose to do so.

The explanation is accepted, and the relationship between the western tribes and the eastern tribes is restored.

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

We cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

How to Respond to Misunderstandings with God’s Heart:Image result for altar at geliloth joshua 22

  • Have a concern for God’s holiness.
  • Have the courage to confront in love.
  • Attempt to reconcile before you fight.
  • You are willing to sacrifice to help them; don’t confront unless you are willing to help.
  • You will see the situation from the perspective of the other person.
  • You will believe the best of one another.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43

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Summary of Joshua 10:16-43:

The 5 kings retreated to a cave at Makkedah. Joshua ordered stones to be placed in front of the cave to prevent the men from leaving. He also told the Israelites to pursue the armies and destroy them. Joshua had the 5 kings from Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon brought before him. He humiliated them by placing feet on top of the kings’ necks.

Joshua killed the kings and hung them on trees as signs of what the Lord would do to all the Israelites’ enemies. Later, he threw the kings’ bodies back in the cave.

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Then Joshua took Makkedah and Libnah and humiliated the king in the same way and left no survivors behind. Joshua conquered Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir, humiliating the kings and completely slaughtering the people.

Joshua subdued the whole region from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from Goshen to Gibeon–all in one campaign. The Israelites returned to their base at Gilgal when finished.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

6) The Canaanites fortified themselves in their cities. The Israelites attacked while all the surrounding Canaanites hid behind walls. The Canaanites knew they would probably lose against Israel’s God.

7) “Come and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” This is an act of humiliation and showed utter submission. This points toward Jesus (most scholars compare Joshua to Jesus) and the Second Coming when all of Jesus’ enemies (Satan) will be put under his feet.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: So far, we’ve seen what happens when you have faith. You have faith, and God performs miracles for you. I know God is fighting with me and, at times, for me. Nothing is too big to overcome; thus, I should hand all of my battles over to God.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

The penalty for disobeying God is real. And it’s not pretty. Total annihilation. I wish this would be emphasized more at churches today. Healthy fear of the Lord is a good thing. Too many people sweep Him under the rug. Bad idea.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

We must remember Joshua is enacting God’s judgment against the nonbelievers by slaughtering them. The Canaanites knew now without a doubt God was with the Israelites–hence the retreat to their fortified cities.

Too many people today see the Church occupied by a cozy, warm, forgiving God–which He is. However, church is the place people should know that if you attend, you will be conquered. Surrendering to God is part of the bargain of redemption.

The Foreshadowing of the False Messiah

The king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, paints a fascinating picture of the false Anti-Christ to come:

Note the repetition of God promising victory over all your enemies.

What does the Treatment of the 5 Kings Signify?

  • Joshua performed the executions himself, thereby signifying there is absolutely no place in your life for sin.
  • The men were hung alive–again, a brutal symbol meant to tell the world sin would not be abided.

Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures frequently portray the stepping on the neck of a king. This would give the men courage, knowing they could defeat kings with God.

The forthcoming battles mentioned could have taken place over months. All were won, but one a time.

Lessons from Joshua 10:

  • Take every battle in your life one at a timeImage result for caves
  • The battle is one little by little
  • Know which battles to fight and when
  • God fights for us; we walk in His victory

God told Israel in Exodus 23:30 (and Deuteronomy 7:22) that He would drive out the Canaanites little by little. Israel wasn’t ready to take the land all at once, and God gave it to them in portions they could take as long as they trusted and obeyed Him.

God knew which battles to fight and when to fight them. These were not the only Canaanite cities in the region, but they were the military strongholds. God knew what He was doing in selecting which particular battles to fight and when they needed to be fought.

The Significance of Gilgal

  • Israel’s victories always came from Gilgal.
  • Gilgal was the place of total faith, commitment, and fellowship with God
  • Gilgal was the place where Israel had been conquered by God.

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

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Summary of Joshua 10:1-15:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the Military Coalition of the Southern Kings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are the Israelites still at Gilgal?

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

What Lessons do we Learn from the Gibeonites?

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

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

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

Why were the Southern Kings taken by Surprise?

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

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

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

What Did the Hailstorm Signify?

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

Why Did Joshua Ask for the Sun to Stand Still?

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

How did the Sun Stand Still?

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

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

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

Fun Battle Fact of the Bible:

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

What Does Joshua 10 Teach Us?

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