BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 5: Exodus 24

Summary of passage:  God summons Moses to come to the top of Mt Sinai.  The others must not approach God.  Moses told the people what God had said and wrote it all down in the Book of the Covenant.  Then he built an altar to God and offered sacrifices to Him.  Then he sprinkled the blood of the covenant over God’s people.  Moses and others went up and saw God and ate and drank.

The Lord called Moses up to receive the laws and commands on stone.  Moses went up further with Aaron.  Then Moses went alone and the cloud covered him and the glory of the Lord settled on the mountain.  Then Moses entered the cloud and remained for 40 days and nights.

Questions:

11a)  Jesus because he gave himself as a ransom for all men (1 Timothy 2:6) through his blood and Jesus’ covenant is superior to the Old Covenant with better promises

b)  Before

c)  It is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

d)  Trusting that Jesus’ death has freed us from all sins committed and cleansed our consciousnesses from acts that lead to death we should be able to serve the living God better without worry that we may not be offered forgiveness for our sins.  We are free; thus, we are free to obey.

12a)  They were allowed to worship God at a distance (closer than the rest of the Israelites) verse 1 and they saw the God of Israel (verse 9 & 11).

b)  Cloud, glory of the Lord or consuming fire, the smoke, and the stone tablets

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is tangible and personal.  He is light.  He is compassionate on His people.  He is awesome.

Conclusions:  Lots of cross references to Jesus here.  Too many in my opinion.  Wished we would have focused more on what this Old Covenant to us (but a new covenant to the Israelites back then) meant for them as this single act in Exodus 24 is/was one of the most important acts in the Bible.  This chapter is the basis for God’s people to live for hundreds of years.  The profundity of this chapter should not be ignored nor glossed over.

I just don’t understand how having seen the glory of the Lord you could then turn around and worship a golden calf.  I just don’t get it.  I say this because I fear I’d be just as stupid and do the same thing.

We are seeing over and over again (and it only goes downhill from here) how even God’s presence does not make people believe in Him.  This is human nature (which makes me wonder why God created us with this dilemma).  However, the consistent failure of the human race to obey God (as Paul argues in Galatians) was the reason we needed a New Covenant.  And aren’t we all glad of that?  As always, God’s ways are not our own and we only have limited understanding of His.

“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

God called to Moses “Come near!”  Can you imagine?  What a pleasure that must be!  Still, this is a promise to us all.  God calls us.  How do you respond?

End Notes:  The Old Covenant here in this chapter is Israel’s constitution, birth certificate, and marriage certificate all wrapped up in some stone tablets and Moses’ writings.  Here is recorded 613 commands on how to live your life as God’s chosen people, as His nation, and as a relationship to Him like a marriage full of love between God and His people.

God spoke to Moses alone Exodus 20:22-23. Then God speaks to others here in Exodus 24.

There is Four Steps to the Covenant:

1) The word of God must be written

2)  There must be a blood (life) sacrifice to be cleansed of sin

3)  There must be a response to the covenant

4)  The blood must be received and accepted to be binding and sealed.

These are true for both the Old and the New Covenant.

It is impossible to say what exactly the elders saw.  Some scholars say they merely saw the footstool of God, which is said to be made of sapphire (Revelation 4:6 & Ezekiel 1:26).  Some say it wasn’t God but a form of God.

The shared meal was a common way of sealing a deal in ancient times.  Hence, the face they ate and drank in God’s presence was normal and gave them renewed strength to trust Moses.

This is the same Joshua as the Book of Joshua.

So on Mt. Sinai, you have the 70 elders and Aaron and his brothers half-way up the mountain. Then Moses and Joshua went further up and there Joshua was left up by himself and only Moses continued on to the top to meet with God to receive the Ten Commandments.  Aaron and his brothers were supposed to be supervising the people.  We find out later how that turned out.

Though the people could not see God nor Moses they could not doubt His presence in the physical signs God left. How stupid are we?

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 2: Exodus 21:1-32

Note to Readers:  We are now entering the second half of Exodus.  Here, we will shift from the flight from Egypt (the first 20 chapters) to mainly laws and regulations given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai to govern the life of this new nation.  These are laws given specifically to the judges for the Israelites.

Summary of passage:  Laws regarding Hebrew servants:  A Hebrew slave may serve you for six years but then go free in the seventh year.  A wife may go with him.  However, if the wife has children, then they must stay behind as they belong to the master.  If the man wants to stay, he must pierce his ear with an awl and be a servant for life.  If a man sells his daughter as a slave, he gets her back if her master is displeased with her.

Laws regarding Personal Injury:  If a man strikes or kills another, he is to be killed.  If a man attacks his father or mother or curses them, he is to be put to death.  If he kidnaps others, he is to be killed.  If a man hurts another, he must be compensated monetarily.  If a man beats his slave, he is to be punished if the slave dies.  If a man beats a pregnant woman and she loses the baby, he is to be fined.  If she dies, then he is to die.  If a master hits a slave and blinds him or knocks a tooth out, the slave can go free.  If a bull kills someone, the bull is to be stoned.  If the bull has done this before, both the bull and its owner is to be stoned.  But if it’s a slave, the bull dies and the slave’s owner is to be compensated.

Questions:

3a)  The Book of the Covenant

b)  Israel is God’s treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation set apart from others.  God holds higher standards for His people and thus all these laws that set a moral precedent.

c)  James 3:1:  “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

Luke 12:48:  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

We have been given everything; thus, we are expected to be more and give more.  Teachers of God’s Word are also called to be more as they impart God to others.  Plus, we are doing God’s bidding, not our own, when He gives us a task.  It is His will and as He is the Lord of all we must obey whole-heartedly.  If we fail, we fail God and whatever purpose He had for us.  It has greater implications than just failing our own will.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It makes me strive for more, do more, and have a higher moral standard than others. Do the right thing always not just when “I feel like it”.  I do things I don’t want to do and am the better for it.  I go to church when I don’t feel like it.  I help others when I’d rather be home reading a book.  I give more and am enriched by God because of it.  I hope my kids see this example and I try to impart this knowledge to do more than what is expected.

4)  God talks a lot about slaves and women and their rights.  By beginning with laws protecting the lowest on the social scale (slave and women), God was teaching the value of every human being.  Every one matters is what God is saying here.  To Him.  Thus, they should matter to His people.

Conclusions:  We are about to embark on a bunch of boring and tedious regulations that is hard for us to grasp since most do not apply to us anymore (for example slavery but also because of the New Covenant).  However, there is much to be gleaned here as BSF did a fabulous job here flushing out what we can get out of laws regarding slaves and women and hurting one another:

To God, everyone matters.  You and I.  Our neighbors.  The beggar on the street corner.  The adulterer and murderer.  I love how God addresses pregnant women here, giving unborn babies value.  Thankfully, we (at least those of us in the West) don’t live in a society where it is common to hit women although it does happen.  But here God values even the unborn.  If He values them, then what does that say about our value?

End Notes:  Many of these forthcoming laws set a new standard of morality for God’s people to live by, giving value to slaves and women, the poor and the aliens.  Israelites were the first to give slaves rights and say what is right and what is wrong.

Note how God addresses slavery first–to a people whom He just rescued from slavery!  Slavery was a fact of life in the ancient world and here God is working to tame it.  He knows in time it will die out.  He is setting the first precedence for that.

Most of slavery with the Israelites was of an indentured servant type.  None was meant to be life-long and only was used to get out of debt or some other extreme life circumstances.  It was limited in other words.  Note how the life-long servitude was chosen–not mandated–by anyone else.

The piercing of the ear reflects Jesus as he was pierced for our sins and chose to die and be a servant to us all (Philippians 2:7).

The selling of the daughter in this passage was when a father sold his daughter as she was engaged to be married to a son in the family.  This may have been done ahead of time in order for her to work off her bride-price.  Hence, she was to be returned if the marriage did not take place.  She was to be treated and cared for and never harmed.

Our laws for murder and capital punishment originate here–the Bible.  Since Genesis 9:6, God has laid down what is just in this respect.  Furthermore, God says there is to be no mercy nor protection at the altar (in ancient times, people could find sanctuary at an altar).  God is clear on His desires here.  In Numbers, we learn unpunished murders defile the land.

God establishes sanctuary cities later on for those accused of murder to flee in order to await trial and to be protected from avenging relatives since in the ancient world if you murdered someone, their relatives then had the right to kill you.

Kidnapping for the purpose of enslavement is what God is aiming to punish here, something very common in the ancient world.

The cursing of your father and mother was to protect the older generations and establish respect.

Personal injury laws began here.  If you hurt someone, you were responsible, especially if they couldn’t work.

Slaves in ancient cultures were not human so could be killed at any time.  Here, God tells the Israelites this is not okay.

We are either slaves to Satan or to Jesus.  Which are you?

Laws of retribution establish limits.  If injured, you are rightfully due compensation.  But limited to what was taken.  If an eye, compensation for an eye, not with a life.  Numbers 35:31 tells us money could be substituted instead of a life.

Caution when dealing with your slaves; least you hurt them they could be set free.

Interesting precedent here with animals as we can/should learn from this.  If the animal has no previous history, then the animal only dies.  If there is a previous history, then the owner dies as well.  This is the difference between intent and neglect.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 9, Day 4: Genesis 11:1-9 & Acts 2

Summary of passages:  Genesis 11:1-9:  A bit after the world had been repopulated some people moved eastward and settled on the plain of Shinar (Babylonia).  They used bricks and tar to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

The Lord saw what the men were doing.  He confused their language as punishment to prevent more un-Godly actions.  God scattered them over the earth.  Babel sounds like the Hebrew word for confused; hence the name “Tower of Babel.”

Acts 2:

On the day of Pentecost the 120 were all in one place (presumably praying still and waiting for the gift).  A sound like a blowing violent wind came from heaven and filled the house where they were sitting.  They saw tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit.

A lot of people in Jerusalem heard this sound and came together to see what was happening.  They were bewildered because each was speaking in his own language.  They asked, “Aren’t these all Galileans?  How is it we hear them in our own language?  What does this mean?”

Some made fun of them and said they were drunk.

Peter stood up the with the Eleven Apostles and told the confused crowd: we (the 120 and them) are not drunk.  Listen to Joel’s words:  God will pour out His Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, the young men will see visions, old men will dream, the servants will prophesy and have the Spirit as well.  Wonders will appear in the heaven and signs will appear on earth such as blood, fire, and smoke.  The sun will be dark and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord when everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.

Peter is still speaking to the crowd that has gathered on the day of Pentecost.  “Jesus who performed miracles was handed over to you for God’s pre-ordained purpose.  You killed him by nailing him to a cross.  But God has raised him from the dead.  David himself prophesied Jesus’ resurrection when he said he saw the ‘Holy One’ at the Lord’s right hand and raised him from the dead.”

It’s as if Peter is shouting, “Even though you idiots killed Jesus He is alive!”

Peter says that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God and pours out what we now see and hear.  He has received the promised Holy Spirit.  David did not ascend to heaven (for a detailed explanation of this see my previous post here.  David is in heaven now but not at the time of his death).  God has made Jesus Lord and Christ.

The people asked what should they do and Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus to be forgiven of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit.  Everyone of you can receive such a gift.  3000 chose to be baptized that day.

These people were considered the first church.  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread, and prayer.  They gave to everyone as needed.  They continued to meet and eat together and praise God.  The Lord grew their numbers daily.

Questions:

7a)  He confused their language.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Just like in Biblical times, God is in control of everything.  He’ll put a leader in power He wants to accomplish His goals.  He gives, He takes, He rescues, He allows Free Will.  Nothing happens without God.

8 )  That person doesn’t approach others in a loving manner.  Anger may rule over conciliation.  Right won’t win out over wrong like in government.

9a)  Speaking different languages can divide or bring together people.  Speaking in a different language but with the heart for God can convert others.  In Shinar, it divided.  In Acts, it converted and brought together.

As long as the heart is in the right place, the words you speak should not matter–especially if God and the Holy Spirit are behind them.  Others will understand.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The heart is what matters, not the words.  If you love others, your actions should speak louder.

Conclusions:  As someone who’s lived in many foreign countries that speak different languages, I know the difficulty it can be to communicate and get what you need to survive.  Yet most often when I encountered a native who realized I couldn’t express myself, I was met with nothing but helpful intentions.

I often hear the phrase “language is a barrier”.  But it’s not.  Because love is stronger.

Throughout history with all the conquerings and movement of people, you will notice an overarching theme:  integration and assimilation.  The native language mixed with the new language.  It changed.  Just look at English.  Over half of our words are Latin origin. Another 1/3 have Greek roots.  The rest is Old English, which is a mix of Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, and the mixture of Celtic, Welsh, and Scottish languages.

Even today, look at the number of foreign words we have adopted from French to Spanish to Italian to Russian.  You’ll find it in Webster’s Dictionary.

Man adapts.

Language can be a divider.  When God wants it to be like in the Tower of Babel.  Or when man chooses to let it be.

But with the right heart and Spirit, it’s a uniter.  Love conquers all.  As does God’s will.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 9, Day 2: Genesis 11:1-4

Summary of passage:  A bit after the world had been repopulated some people moved eastward and settled on the plain of Shinar (Babylonia).  They used bricks and tar to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

Questions:

3)  Here’s the best Bible Map I could find on the Internet.  My Bible Atlas has a much better one:

http://bibleatlas.org/regional/shinar.htm

It’s  basically where Babylonia was, which is between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

4a)  Verse 4:  “so that we may make a name for ourselves”

Verse 4:  “and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Verse 3:  “let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly…they used brick instead of stone and tar for mortar.”

Using these materials would make the tower waterproof, showing the people were afraid of another flood (didn’t believe God’s promise).  So reason:  to protect them against a flood.

b)  God told Noah’s sons to fill the earth.  They did not.  They came together and built a city instead (where a big group of people live).  Furthermore, they admitted they didn’t want to be scattered over the face of the earth (verse 4).  They wanted to live together.

c)  Exodus is the Ten Commandments.  Matthew is where Jesus tells the people the greatest commandment:  to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and the second which is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Timothy describes people in the Last Days (which in my opinion is people always).

Simple:  they do the opposite of what God says.  They follow self.  They ignore God’s words and commands.  Deliberately and intentionally.

Conclusions:  Question 3 is assuming everyone has a Bible map or access to one or the Internet (not everyone does).  So didn’t like this one.  Makes you feel like you should have a Bible map.  Some Bibles have maps in the back but not all.

In essence, Shinar is an early name for Babylonia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.  Hopefully, most of us know where this is from Lesson 3, Day 3 when we discussed the possible location of Eden.

I can see the chronological reason for studying these chapters switched but I like the way the Bible links the ends.  Chapter 11 tells of Terah who is Abram’s father which leads nicely into chapter 12 when God calls Abram.  Chapter 9 ends with Noah cursing/blessing his kids and Chapter 10 launches into Shem’s, Ham’s, and Japheth’s descendants.

So while I understand the reasoning for switching the order of study, I don’t feel it was necessary for a better understanding.

End Note:  Interestingly, Babylonia is where the descendants of Shem (the son blessed by Noah) settled (which we learn in Chapter 10–the chapter we skipped).  This ties in well with Question 4c.  Even though these were the blessed ones by Noah and will be the chosen ones that lead to Jesus, they too sinned.  Man never changes, does he?

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 9, Day 5: Hebrews 2:1-4

Summary of passage:  We must pay more careful attention to God’s gift of Salvation and the Holy Spirit lest we drift away.

Questions:

10a)  To pay more attention to what we have heard (Bible and God) so that we do not drift away.

b)  That Jesus is our salvation

11)  Everything in our culture entices us to drift away.  Turn on the TV and you see sex, drugs, and evil as glorified.  Jesus is never mentioned (unless you’re on a Christian station or movie) and has been banned in most places (schools, etc) and labeled as not politically correct.  Nothing in our culture helps us hold onto the gospel.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He showed His love when He sent His son to die for us so we can be with Him and when He granted us the Holy Spirit within.  I can try to remember this daily and be grateful for it even when I have no gratitude in my heart for anything around me.  I can never give up hope that this too shall change and hold onto God’s promises with everything I have.

Conclusions:  I’m really not for sure what Lesson 9 in Hebrews has to do with the Acts of the Apostles.  Nothing written here has been proven to be written by one of the Apostles we are studying.  I no where near filled up all the white space.  I’m thinking this is a filler lesson in my opinion. Not to dismiss it’s message; it’s one we all need reminding of.  I’m just wondering how this fits into the study of Acts.

Question 11 was just depressing for me as an American to think about. How our culture is so anti-Christ.  I found nothing positive in the mainstream culture.  Nothing.  I’m hoping other cultures are not this way but I don’t know since all I know is mine.  Maybe I’m too pessimistic but this has been my experience recently.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 9, Day 4: Hebrews 1:4-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus is superior to the angels because God called him his son; God said he is the Father to Jesus; Let all God’s angels worship him; God makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.

God has set Jesus above your companions by anointing him with the oil of joy.  His throne will last forever and righteousness shall be his scepter.

God will always remain, unchanging, as the Creator of heavens and the earth.

Jesus sits at God’s right hand; no angel does.

Angels are ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.

Questions:

8 )  1) God claimed Jesus as His son.

2)  God said He is the father of Jesus.

3)  God said let the angels worship Jesus.

4)  God has set Jesus above his companions by anointing him with the oil of joy.

5)  God set Jesus at His right hand.  Jesus has sat down, having completed his work.  The angels on the other hand never sit, always standing the presence of God, their work never finished.  They are still serving.

6)  God gave Jesus the authority of righteousness (judgment) which will be the scepter of His kingdom.

7)  God made his angels out of wind and fire to be His messengers.

8 )  God says Jesus shall remain, unchanging, forever.

9)  God calls Jesus “God” Verse 8, which is quoting Psalm 45:6-7

9a)  That angels are God’s messengers made from wind and fire.

b)  I think angels are idealized.  People picture dead relations as angels, which is not true since angels are created beings different than humans. But because of movies, psychics, and not wanting to tell little kids the truth misconceptions abound.  Thus, these wrong notions lead people to elevate angels above Jesus/God.  Some people would rather believe such things because they cannot let go on Earth.

To be honest though, I don’t think many people ponder angels much beyond the angels in the birth of Jesus story.  God sent an angel to Mary and Joseph. He sent an angel to the wise men to announce Jesus’ birth.  That’s probably the extent of most people’s knowledge of angels.

Or people picture angels floating around Heaven without thought as to their place.

Therefore, I’m not sure how many people actually do elevate angels.  I just don’t see much thought here.

c)  If people do, then it’s dangerous because it could turn into borderline worship.  Only one being deserves our worship:  God.  Not his servants or messengers.

Also, not all angels are good.  Some angels are sent by Satan.  One must be careful when dealing with celestial beings.

Conclusions:  Great lesson for planting a seed to think about and understand angels and their role in the Bible and God’s universe.  I believe most people think about angels only in passing (if at all).  The key is in understanding their role in the Bible.

Still, this lesson left me wondering if perhaps I’m missing something in the angel debate. Maybe angels are elevated in other religions I just don’t know about.  You’d think since BSF spent a whole day on angels (and on the same passage as yesterday), this would be a problem with people.  For me, it’s not.  Never has been.

Thinking I’m missing something, I did some research and discovered yep, I’ve been missing stuff.  Here’s a great article on culture’s view of angels.  I guess I just don’t get out much to know this stuff!

http://bible.org/article/angels-god’s-ministering-spirits

Here is a quick synopsis on angels with references:

http://www.gotquestions.org/angels-Bible.html

End Note:  After doing my own research, I would have liked to have seen more passages referring to angels for us to ponder. Now, I do think there are tons of misconceptions out there (including  misconceptions among Christians since I had some) about angels.  This is a great topic to explore more in depth if you have time.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 9, Day 3: Hebrews 1:4-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus is superior to the angels because God called him his son; God said he is the Father to Jesus; Let all God’s angels worship him; God makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.

God has set Jesus above your companions by anointing him with the oil of joy.  His throne will last forever and righteousness shall be his scepter.

God will always remain, unchanging, as the Creator of heavens and the earth.

Jesus sits at God’s right hand; no angel does.

Angels are ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.

Questions:

6a)  Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 104:4; Psalm 45: 6-7; Psalm 102:25-27; Psalm 110:1

b)  The author is making the point that God’s plan, unfolding from the beginning of time, has now culminated in the visit of His Son to Earth.

In reference to angels, the author is proving through God’s word that Christ is superior to angels.  In Old Testament times, people freely accepted the existence of angels and accorded them respect.  The Jews were familiar with all the stories of angels helping Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Balaam, and Daniel.  It was common practice to worship angels due to this fact.

Here, the author shows that angels were God’s servants who served God’s purposes and not vice versa.

(All information in Question 6 taken from my study Bible, Zondervan, New International Version).

7a)  Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 40:3

Malachi 3:1

Isaiah 50:4:  “…He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”

Isaiah 61:1-2:  “…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…”

Isaiah 35:3-6:  “…Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…he will come to save you.”

b)  The Old Testament shows how God had planned everything from the beginning.  How He had planned to send His son, Jesus, to die for our sins so we may be with God in the end.  It is important documentation of God’s all powerful authority and reign over this world and His people as we read the events that unfolded before our time.  Without the Old Testament the significance of Jesus would be very hard for us to grasp for we would only know a world with Jesus and not know of the times before Jesus and how fundamentally transforming his coming was to us humans here on Earth.

Conclusions:  Noticed on 7a I picked the ones from Isaiah.  Remember talking about comfort in the book of Isaiah last year and how God constantly comforted His people in their need?  Great words to hear over and over again:  “Be strong, do not fear, he will save you.”

Great job, BSF, in reminding us what we need to hear.