WHO IS JESUS?

In Lesson 9 of the Life Change Series of the Book of John 7:1-52, the question is raised, Who is Jesus? Despite the earlier signs and miracles performed by Jesus, there continued to be division and doubt as to Jesus being the Messiah. John states that even the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him (John 7:5). Jesus’ brothers advised him to show himself to the world; (John 7:4) No one who wants to be a  become public figure acts in secret. Jesus responded, (John 7:10) However after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Jesus stated earlier (John 7:6)My time is not yet here, for you any time will do Jesus statements and his subsequent actions were in accordance with the will of God, not the will of the Jewish people, and not the will of his brothers.   

One of miracles contested by the Jewish leaders was Jesus’ curing of the lame man on the Sabbath. Jesus responded in (John 7:21-24) that Jewish leaders circumcise on the Sabbath. He concluded in V.24 Stop judging by mere appearance, but instead judge correctly. Jesus asked them to look truthfully at his good and righteous act and not judge harshly because of their anger at him.

Who is Jesus? He is the son of God, teaching the word of God and doing the will of God, following what God wants him to do, in His plan and timing. .Jesus act of healing the lame man on th Sabbath was also the will of God allowable beacuse of its worth and merit to restore healing to a broken man.

References:

NIV Study Bible, Zondervan

Life Change Series, the Book of John,  NavPress

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The Woman of Endor

Bible Study for June 11, 2016

Background:  Saul was instructed to “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out (I Samuel 15:18).  Samuel told him: Why did you not obey the Lord?  Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the lord? “But I did obey the Lord, Saul said.   Saul’s explanation was:  The Soldiers took the sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God of Gilgal ( I Samuel 15:19 and 15:21).  Saul replied, “I have sinned.  I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions.  I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them (I Samuel 15:24).  But Samuel said to him (Saul), I will not go back with you.  You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as King over Israel! (I Samuel 15:26).

Her character: Compassionate to Saul on the eve of his death, she exercised power by acting as a medium.

Her sorrow: To have delivered a hopeless message to Israel’s king.

Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 28:3-25

  1. “Please,” the voice insisted, “consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one I name.”  This was Saul’s request out of desperation to the Woman of Endor.  In his desperation Saul turns to a pagan practice that he himself had previously outlawed. Saul’s desperation must have been very great for him to consult with a medium to dabble in the occult.
  2. Right from the start, God commended his people not to have anything to do with witch craft in any form.  “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death.  You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:27).
  3. “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” she replied.  The woman is very cautious about practicing her trade with strangers lest she be betrayed to Saul.  Cut off refers to expelled is used in verse 3; possibly a euphemism for “put to death.”
  4. Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said.  This was Saul’s reply to the question asked by The Woman of Endor.
  5. The same Saul who refused to heed Samuel’s prophetic words when he was alive now disobeyed the very laws he had put into effect in order to hear Samuel one last time.
  6. So the woman sat down and yielded herself, making her soul a bridge for the dead to    walk across.
  7. When the woman saw Samuel, She cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The episode has been understood in many different ways, among them the following:  1. God permitted the spirit of Samuel to appear to the woman.  2.  The woman had contact with an evil spirit in the form of Samuel by whom she was deceived and controlled.  3.  By using parapsychological powers such as telepathy or clairvoyance, the woman was able to discern Saul’s thoughts and picture Samuel in her own mind.  As Samuel had previously announced (15:26, 28), because of Saul’s unfaithfulness to the Lord, death from the impending battle would come; and his hopes of a dynasty would be dashed and his reign would conclude with a devastating defeat of Israel to the Philistines’.
  8. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.  These words are Woman of Endors      interpretation of Samuel appearing.
  9. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” In an answer to Samuel’s question; Saul admitted that he was in great distress, because God had turned away from him and that God no longer answers him.
  10. Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David.  Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”
  11. The woman shuddered, the message delivered. Little wonder the king had seemed so desolate. Fear had crushed the life out of his once-strong face, hollowing the eyes, etching deep lines across cheeks and forehead.
  12. Taking pity, she spoke to him: “Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
  13. Kindly, she served what may have been Saul’s last meal. The next day he was dead. Wounded in battle, he fell on his own sword, determined to finish the job before his enemies could reach him. True to form, Saul, who had always tried to control his destiny, controlled even the manner of his death. But he could not control what happened next. Discovering his body, the Philistines celebrated by severing his head and hanging it in the temple of their god. Then they tacked his naked corpse to the walls of a nearby town as a trophy. Israel’s first king had become a gruesome spectacle.
  14. The aged monarch tried desperately to find some advice or guidance from other prophets or priests, but the Lord would not speak to him. As a young man, Saul had been close to God. But after ascending the throne, he became cruel and rebelled against God’s Word. Once he even had a whole village of priests murdered. King Saul had persistently New International Version (NIV)

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Copyright © 1999, 2002 by Anne Spangler and Jean Syswerda by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

biblegateway.com/devotionals/women-of-the-bible/2014/05/19 This devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.

Elizabeth of the bible

Elizabeth of the Bible, January 9, 2016, Key scripture Luke 1:5 – 80

Her name means “God is My Oath”

Luke 1:5 [ The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold ] In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

Luke 1:6 (refers to)

  • Elizabeth was a woman the bible calls “upright in the site of God.” Like very few others, male or female, she is praised for observing the Lord’s commandments and regulations without blame. (Footnote) They were not sinless, but were faithful and sincere in keeping God’s commandments.

Luke 1:7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Luke  1:13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

  • Zechariah was Elizabeth’s husband. He served in a priestly division burning incense in the Temple. He had been chosen by God to serve in this privileged position.

 

Luke 1:18

  • Zechariah questioned the angel saying, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in her years.” Because Zechariah questioned the angel, he was silenced, and not allowed to speak until the birth of his son.

Luke 1:24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.

Luke 1:26 [The Birth of Jesus Foretold] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee.

Luke 1:36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.

Luke 1:39 [Mary Visits Elizabeth] At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,

Luke 1:40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.

Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Luke 1:57 [ The Birth of John the Baptist ] When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.

Two themes that came to mind after reading the information above: “Faith Rewarded” and The Consequences of Disobedience.

Resources

  1. NIV Study Bible
  2. Syswerda, Jean E, Women of the Bible, Zondervan, 1999
  3. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+1%3A5-80&version=NIV

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals And Groups – 2016 Schedule

Schedule for Homewords  Bible Study 2016

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Jean E. Syswerda 2016.

Elizabeth – 01/09/16

The Woman of Samaria – 01/16/16

Herodias – 01/30/16

The Syrophoenician Woman – 02/13/16

Salome, Mother of the Zebedees – 02/27/16

The Widow with Two Coins – 03/12/16

Dorcas – 03/19/16

Leah – 04/02/16

The Woman Who Lived a Sinful Life – 04/16/16

The Woman with the Issue of Blood – 04/30/16

Joanna – 05/14/16

Michal – 05/28/16

The Woman of Endor – 06/11/16

10 Points The Woman of Proverbs 31

THE WOMAN OF PROVERBS 31 10 POINTS BIBLE STUDY BY Petra Vaughn

The Wife of Noble Character

  1. Her Character: She represents the fulfillment of a life lived in wisdom (page 146)
  2. V10: She is worth more than rubies…she is wisdom personified (3:15)

 

  1. V12: She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life… The Husband will find favor from the Lord (18:22 & 19:14).

 

  1. V13,V19,V21 & V22: She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. In her hand she holds a distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers, when it snows she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in scarlet, she makes coverings for her bed, she is clothed in fine linen and purple (distaff-stick or staff in which the wool and flax is wound around during the spinning) Scarlet & Purple: colors symbolized fine materials for the wealthy)  She makes clothes and bedding and rugs to care for her family.

 

  1. V14,V15: She is like a merchant ships bringing food from afar, She gets up while it is still dark; she prepares food for her family and portions for her servant girls. (She is an enterprising woman and not a sluggard) see note 31:15

 

  1. V16,V17, V18 & V24: She considers a field and buys it; out of earnings she plants a vineyard, she sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks, she sees her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night, she makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. (using her enterprising spirit she still takes care of her family and friends with the work she does)

 

  1. V20,V25,V26 & V27: She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy, she is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come, she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue, she watches the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (14:21 & 22:9, Job: 39-7, 1:8, 6:20, she is a God fearing woman and is living her life as God intends, faith,, dignity, love and not idle, not gossiping see foot notes)

 

  1. V11,V23,V28 & V31: Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value, Her husband is respected at the city gates…her children arise and call her blessed her husband also, and he praises her ( Her Husband and family love her because she cares for them so well, they praise her and tell others how wonderful she is… see foot notes)

 

  1. V29,V30: Many woman do noble things but you surpass them all, charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Loving the Lord and following his commands is the noble thing to do in our lives, see footnotes)

 

  1. Like many Hebrew Poems, Songs and Proverbs are a play on words for God, Church and us, so we could use those words to make a better connection with the statements and our lives today.

ESTHER – 10 Points for Bible study on Dec 5th 2015

10 Study Points for Bible Study of Esther

Esther’s Relationship with Xerxes

Xerxes in search of a Queen:

1-  2:3 Let the King appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa.
**NIV note 2:3 Parallel to the Joseph story of Israelite commoners rising to prominence and saving their people
2-  2:8 Esther was also taken to the King’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
**NIV note Neither she nor Mordecai had any choice in the matter.
** Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Probably not forced but to refuse the summons would have meant death**
3- 2:17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
**Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Favor or hesed was a reminder to Jewish readers of the divine hesed toward Esther and her people.

Esther’s Relationship to Mordecai

Family:
4-  2:7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
Obedience:
5-  2:20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
Loyalty:
6-  2:22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
Strong Influence:
7-  4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.
**NIV Note 4:14 Mordecai’s knowledge of God’s fulfillment of his promise to the Jews, his continued knowledge that there are consequences if one does not fulfill one’s own responsibilities and his wondering if God put Esther this influential position of queen to save their people.

Esther’s Relationship with God

Fasting:
8- 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.  And if I perish, I perish.
( Esther’s reply to Mordecai)
**Note NIV 4:16   Prayer usually accompanies fasting and presumably was a part of this fast.  Though God is not mentioned specifically in this whole narrative, God is who is orchestrating and directing all that occurs.
**Esther states a similar comment as Israel in Ge 43:14 If I am bereaved, I am bereaved. It is in God’s hand what happens to all us.

Devine Providence or Co-incidence

9-
a) 5:2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
Note 5:2 NIV
b)  6:10 “Go at once”, the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse  and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”
Note 6:1 NIV
c) 7:8 The  king exclaimed, “Will he (Haman) even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”  
d) 7:10 So they hung Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
Esther’s Legacy / The feast of Purim
10-
a) 9:31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to the times of fasting and lamentation.
 The 2 day celebration of Purim illustrates God’s sovereignty and fulfillment of his promise, preventing the annihilation of his people using commoners Esther and Mordecai who rose to prominence during the reign of a Persian king.
Sources:
1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995 (All scriptures, Footnotes)
2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups,
Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 1999
3. Ruth & Esther Life Change Series
Navpress, The Navigators 1987

 

 

Gomer—13 Study Points for Bible Study November 21, 2015

Key Scriptures: Hosea 1-3                                 

Supporting Scriptures: Genesis 22:17

1. Her Character: Though a married woman, she carried on numerous affairs, crediting her lovers for the gifts her husband had given her. (1; pg. 139)

 

2. God’s Instructions: Hosea 1:2a—“… the Lord said to him (Hosea) Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness,…”

 

3. God’s Explanation: Hosea 1:2b—“.….because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord”.

 

4. Obedience required: Hosea 1:3a—“So he married Gomer…”

 

5. God’s Wrath:

A. Hosea 1:3b—“she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to Hosea, call him Jezreel, because…I will put  an end to the kingdom  of Israel. ”

NOTE: NIV footnote 1:4—Jezreel means “God scatters”

B. Hosea 1:6—“Gomer conceived again….Then the Lord said to Hosea , call her Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel that I should at all forgive  them.

NOTE: NIV footnote 1:6—“The naming represents a reversal of the love (compassion) that God had earlier shown to Israel.”

C. Hosea 1:8a-9—“…Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

NOTE: NIV footnote 1:9— “The name represents a break in the covenant relationship between the Lord and Israel, which later, however, would be restored. The warnings became more severe in moving from the first to the third child.”

 

6. Israel’s Disobedience: Hosea 2:4— “Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, I will go after my lovers, who gave me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink”

NOTE: Here Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is symbolic of God’s relationship with Israel. The Israelites had been unfaithful by worshiping other gods and attributing their blessings and prosperity to those false gods, not the Lord who was the true source.

 

7. God’s Promise: Discipline Not Destruction: Hosea 1:10-11— “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’. The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.”

NOTE: NIV footnote 1:10-11— “The threatened punishment would be for a limited time, and a period of blessing wouldfollow. The Israelites being like “sand on the seashore” refers back to God’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:17): “I will surely bless you and make your decendants….as the sand on the seashore.” The break in the covenant relationship signified by the name of the third child, Lo-Ammi, (for you are not my people) changes to ‘sons of the living God’. Also, the meaning of the first child’s name, ‘God scatters’ is reversed with Judah and Israel being reunited.”

 

8. God’s Punishment:

A. Hosea 2:2; 4— “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife and I am not her husband…I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery”.

B. Hosea 2: 6-13—“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I  will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,…therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine; I will stop all her celebrations, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees…I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals…and went after her lovers, but me she forgot, declares the Lord”.

NOTE: Israel’s disobedience by worshiping Baal and other gods brought dire consequences including separation from God and loss of blessings. During the period of Exile, all celebrations would be stopped (see NIV footnote 2:11) “in exile those joyous seasons  would be only a memory”.

 

9. Israel’s Repentance: Hosea 2:7b—“Then she will say, I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.”

NOTE: NIV footnote 2:7— “go back-The Hebrew for this expression often means ‘repent’; my husband –The Lord”.

 

10. God’s Forgiveness: Hosea 3:3a— “Then I told her, you are to live with me many days;….and I will live with you.”

NOTE: Hosea forgives Gomer and takes her back into his home, as God forgives Israel.

 

11. Repentance Necessitates Change: Hosea 3: 3b— “you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man.”

NOTE: Gomer’s behavior must change to signify sincere repentance. The same holds true for Israel.

 

12 God’s Restoration: Hosea 2:14-15; 18b; 19-20; 21a; 23 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. …give her back her vineyards, and make the valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the day she came up out of Egypt…. Bow and sword and  battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever… in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.…in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord”.  In that day, I will respond, declares the Lord…I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one’. I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.”

 

13. God’s Ultimate Desire-Reconciliation

A. Hosea 3:1—“The Lord said to me, Go show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites,”

NOTE: NIV footnote 3:1— “Hosea’s love for unfaithful Gomer illustrates God’s love for unfaithful Israel.”

B. Hosea 3:2— “So I bought her for fifteen shekels of  silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.”

NOTE: In spite of Gomer’s unfaithfulness, Hosea was willing to pay a price for her return to him. God also was willing to pay a price for His beloved people as shown in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…”.

C. Hosea 3:5— “Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their King. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.”

NOTE: NIV footnote 3:5— “Israel’s repentance is envisioned, the reverse of her present stubborn rebellion.”

 

  1. Women of The Bible; 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups; Jean E. Syswerda
  2. The NIV Study Bible; Zondervan Edition 1985