Week 13 Bible Study
Find the full reading plan here.
- Blessings and curses: The importance of these cannot be understated. Practically every blessing and curse comes upon the people of Israel in the remaining books of the Old Testament. It is through this lens that we must read Joshua through Malachi. This represents the conditions of their occupancy of the land. The promises to/covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were unconditional, and are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. However, Israel’s quality of life in the land depends upon faithfulness, and Moses and Joshua both indicate that they will fail. In fact, the covenant as a whole is declared a failure by the prophets and the New Testament having been broken by the people of Israel.
- Coming Exile: Deuteronomy 28:36-37, 28:63-68, state graphically that they will eventually go into exile for their disobedience. Yet even this exile is a testimony to the true God, Deuteronomy 29:22-28. But think about this: Why in Acts 2 did Peter and the others need to address these Jews in multiple languages? And why in the rest of the book of Acts, does Paul visit so many synagogues in distant cities? See how Romans 8:28 works out in real life?
- Coming Restoration, and the New Covenant: Yet despite their unfaithfulness to the point of exile, Deuteronomy 30 turns to the topic of restoration – and we get to see this played out in the coming books of the Old Testament. Future generations will repent, and indeed God does restore them to the land, but not to try again, rather to bring His New Covenant, Deuteronomy 30:6. See also Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:26; Hebrews 8:8-12, 10:16.
- Introducing Joshua: Here comes Joshua, Deuteronomy 30:14. His name is the same as the name, Jesus, but is transliterated because of the Hebrew versus the Greek pronunciation.
- The church predicted: Deuteronomy 32:21 is quoted in Romans 10:19. It is also significant that Moses refers to God here as the Rock. This indeed is a foreshadowing of Jesus who will be referred to as the rock in the New Testament.
- Moses: Moses teaches the people a song he wrote, and then recites blessings over them before his death. He is indeed laid to rest before the people enter the promised land. Deuteronomy 34.
- The New Leader: Joshua is introduced. Notice God’s priorities for him!
- The spies and Rahab: This encounter with Rahab is important because it reveals: The people in the land knew who the Israelites were, what their God had done, and why they were now here! See Joshua 2:2, 8-11. Rahab believed correctly about God, Joshua 2:11. For Rahab, see Matthew 1:5 and Hebrews 11:31! This answers a common objection to the Old Testament: Some will say that God is a bad God because of his commands to the Israelites to commit genocide or that this was “ethnic cleansing.” But understand that God gave the people of the land over 400 years to straighten up, Genesis 15:13-16; the option to join them like Rahab, Joshua 2:9; the ability to negotiate like the Hivites, Joshua 11:19; and other options discussed in Joshua 9, although the Gibeonites were deceitful. They were granted much grace. Furthermore, it was not done by God on the basis of race, but on the basis of their idolatry. Idolatry is always self-destructive.
- Crossing the Jordan: Joshua 3-4. A miraculous entry! Did you notice that the river was at flood, and the Levites had to enter into it before it stopped? They put a memorial to the occasion – the first of several. What must it have been like to eat real food after nearly 40 years of manna?
- Jericho: Joshua 5-6. The commander of the Lord’s army may have been a pre-incarnate Christophany – that is an appearance of Jesus Christ. He accepted Joshua’s worship unlike angels. How was the plan concerning Jericho a trial of faith? Including the ban on the spoils? Did you notice the promise to Rahab kept?
- Defeat at Ai: Joshua 7-8. Now we see the nature of Israel’s covenant as all the people suffer for the sins of one among them. How serious is it being a member of the people of God?
- The Gibeonite deception: How did Israel fail here? Was being deceived a valid excuse? How could they have avoided it?
- Victories: God miraculously defeats the enemies of Israel. A summary is given, and details of land allotments.
- A turning point occurred at Luke 9:51. The narrative accounts the journey toward Jerusalem. Resistance increase toward the leadership of the Jews, and they are increasingly agitated at Jesus.
- Who is Jesus? It’s very important to understand exactly what Jesus’ message was. What was his primary reason for coming? What was the emphasis of his teaching? Many just have an impression of Jesus from the highlights of his life like the birth narratives, the suffering on the cross, the victory of the resurrection, and they lose sight of the basics. Jesus came to save sinners. He preached an emphasis on being heavenly minded, and giving priority to serving God and serving others. He preached strongly against self-righteousness, emphasizing the importance of humility.
- Luke 12-13 emphasizes much teaching. The leaven of the Pharisees; Fear God, not man; Acknowledge Christ publicly. For the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Luke 12:8-12, read the context – what were these leaders saying about the works of Jesus which he performed by the power of the Holy Spirit? The clear message of Jesus’ works is his identity, and should inspire faith and repentance. Without faith and repentance, no one is saved. Therefore this kind of attitude toward the works of Jesus is truly damning. This is not something believing people can accidentally do. The parable of the rich fool (12:13-21) leads right into not being anxious about physical needs. Seeking the kingdom as a priority does indeed carry a promise to meet your needs, Luke 12:22-34. The problem some of us may have is defining needs. Who is it that should remain awake? See Luke 12:35-48.
- Kingdom parables: In the kingdom parables, Jesus is describing the church age that we are now in and what it will be like. He discusses the importance of repentance and humility for entering the kingdom, how the kingdom will spread, and what kingdom people will be like. These pointers should aid your interpretation.
- How to become a disciple: Luke 14:1-33 establishes Jesus as a king who makes an invitation, or comes for war. Neglecting the invitation, or not respecting his great power, has severe consequences. It’s a battle no one can win. We must come to terms of peace with him.
- Teaching AT the Pharisees: Building on chapter 14, Jesus begins to explain his mission and therefore his association with sinners. So who is the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son? Did you notice that he didn’t come into the party? Remember Luke 14? What does that say about this attitude? The parable of the dishonest manager (Luke 16:1-13) is directed at the Pharisees who were lovers of money, and understood their wealth to be an testimony of God’s pleasure with their lifestyle. In the parable, the rich man represents God and the manager the religious leaders of the Jews – like the Pharisees. The manager uses his position to gain worldly favor with people while clearly misrepresenting his master. This would apply to anyone who would lead people astray, but was particular pointed at them. Given this, what does Luke 16:19-31 say about them? Now connect 16:19-31 to verse 9!
- Psalm 13 – Although the Psalm begins from a perspective of someone in difficulty asking how long this will go on, the Psalm ends with affirmation of faith, rejoicing, and thanksgiving. No matter how bad things are, go to the Lord with it in prayer, and He will turn your sorrow to joy!
- Psalm 143 – Verse 2 reminds us that God answers not because of our righteousness, but because of his faithfulness (v1), righteousness (v1, 11), steadfast love (v8, 12), and reputation (v11). What if we prayed verses 8-11 sincerely every day?
- Psalm 14 – Psalm 14:1 defines biblical foolishness. This is consistent in both testaments. This Psalm is quoted in Romans chapter 3 as Paul makes the case for the universal condemnation of mankind. That the poor describe the humble that are in Christ is echoed in Matthew 5, Isaiah 61:1-2, etc.