Sat 24/8/19

2 Corinthians 11:16-33 … PAUL LISTS HIS CREDENTIALS AND SUFFERINGS FOR CHRIST.

Q.1. Why did Paul boast about his sacrifices for Christ? How did his credentials compare with his Corinthian critics? Are you surprised about his extensive trials? – (2 Cor.11:16-27) =

Q.2. How does Paul reveal his shepherd’s heart? What was unusual about Paul’s boast? What happened at Damascus? Why did he focus on this particular trial? – (2 Cor.11:28-33) =

Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would[a] but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[b] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did Paul boast about his sacrifices for Christ? How did his credentials compare with his Corinthian critics? Are you surprised about his extensive trials? – (2 Cor.11:16-27) = Sadly, Paul felt he had to resort to the boastful tactics of his opponents, because some of the Corinthians Christians were swayed by such arguments (2 Cor.11:16-20). He accepted that the Lord would never have stooped to this level (2 Cor.11:17). Nevertheless, his credentials were in no way inferior to these Judaizers who were undermining the church at Corinth – 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane), I more so (2 Cor.11:22-23). Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Paul’s list of sufferings for Christ, is that the apostle was not surprised by these trials, and readily accepted them. Though he was the great apostle to the Gentiles, he was not shielded from numerous hardships. He claimed that he had endured – 23 … far more labours, far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labour and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure (2 Cor.11:23-27). He had willingly suffered all these things for the sake of the gospel.

Q.2. How does Paul reveal his shepherd’s heart? What was unusual about Paul’s boast? What happened at Damascus? Why did he focus on this trial? – (2 Cor.11:28-33) = Paul had also been concerned about the churches that he had established, and felt it acutely when members were led into sin (2 Cor.11:28-29). However, if he was to boast, it would be about his own weaknesses. He recalled what for him was the most humiliating experience of all when – 32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands (2 Cor.11:32-33). Paul, the proud Pharisees, had journeyed to Damascus, to arrest Christians and have them killed. However, he had retreated in shame from his mission, in fear of his own life (c.f. Acts 9:1-2, 19-25).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

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Fri 23/8/19

Jeremiah 17:1-27 … GOD CALLS JUDAH TO TRUST IN HIM AND SHOW THIS BY OBEDIENCE.

Q.1. How would Judah pay for her sins? Why should we trust in God and not mankind? How had Jeremiah served the Lord? What was his prayer amid the looming crisis? – (Jer.17:1-18)

Q.2. Who was Jeremiah to address? How had the nation violated the sabbath day? What offer did God make for keeping the sabbath holy? Would the people change? – (Jer.17:19-27) =

The Sin of Judah

17 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,[a]
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
    and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,[b]
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

11 Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,
    so is he who gets riches but not by justice;
in the midst of his days they will leave him,
    and at his end he will be a fool.

12 A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
    is the place of our sanctuary.
13 Lord, the hope of Israel,
    all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you[c] shall be written in the earth,
    for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.

Jeremiah Prays for Deliverance

14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
    save me, and I shall be saved,
    for you are my praise.
15 Behold, they say to me,
    “Where is the word of the Lord?
    Let it come!”
16 I have not run away from being your shepherd,
    nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
    it was before your face.
17 Be not a terror to me;
    you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
18 Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
    but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
    but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
    destroy them with double destruction!

Keep the Sabbath Holy

19 Thus said the Lord to me: “Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 and say: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.

24 “‘But if you listen to me, declares the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever. 26 And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord.27 But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. How would Judah pay for her sins? Why should we trust in God and not mankind? How had Jeremiah served the Lord? What was his prayer amid the looming crisis? – (Jer.17:1-18) = God understands the plight of sinners, and knows that – “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds (Jer.17:9-10). Therefore, Judah was going to be removed from the Promised Land – O mountain of Mine in the countryside, I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty, your high places for sin throughout your borders. And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance that I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever (Jer.17:3-4). Trusting in people rather than God, had brought a curse on the people and the land (Jer.17:5-6). How different is God’s promise to those who trust in Him – “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit (Jer.17:7-8). Jeremiah’s critics mocked him, saying – Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now! (Jer.17:15). However he maintained his trust in the Lord, ‘the hope of Israel’ (Jer.17:12). We discern the calibre of the prophet when, rather than turn against these people, he could say – But as for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after You, nor have I longed for the woeful day; You Yourself know that the utterance of my lips was in Your presence (Jer.17:16). Nevertheless, the threats against Jeremiah were real, and he prayed to God – Do not be a terror to me; You are my refuge in the day of disaster (Jer.17:17).

Q.2. Who was Jeremiah to address? How had the nation violated the sabbath day? What offer did God make for keeping the sabbath holy? Would the people change? – (Jer.17:19-27) = God had warned Jeremiah that his mission would bring him into conflict with his people (c.f. Jer.1:17-19). God now told His prophet to proclaim His message without fear or favour, to the king and the people at Jerusalem (Jer.17:19-20). Jeremiah reminded the people that their forefathers had disregarded the guidelines for keeping the sabbath (Jer.17:21-23). He unfolded the basis for future blessings, should they – keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it (Jer.17:24). Obedience would ensure that there would be kings sitting on the throne of David, and people bringing worship and sacrifices to the house of the Lord (Jer.17:24-26). Dishonouring the sabbath would result in the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer.17:27). History recorded that the breaches of the sabbaths amounted to seventy years of desolation (2 Chron.36:21).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 22/8/19

Psalm 66:1-20 & Psalm 67:1-7 … THE PSALMIST EXTOLS THE BLESSINGS OF GOD OVER ALL.

Q.1. What does this song celebrate? Does God’s care preclude oppression? Why did the psalmist make vows? Did he keep his gratitude to himself? How gracious is God? – (Ps.66:1-20) =

Q.2. Why did the psalmist seek the Lord’s blessing? Who does God’s blessing benefit? What characterizes God’s rule over the nations? How should we respond to God? – (Ps.67:1-8) =

How Awesome Are Your Deeds

To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.

66 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
    sing the glory of his name;
    give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you
    and sings praises to you;
    they sing praises to your name.” Selah

Come and see what God has done:
    he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
    they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
    who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
    let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

Bless our God, O peoples;
    let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
    and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
    you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
    you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
    I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
    and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
    with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
    and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
    and high praise was on[a] my tongue.[b]
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
    he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
    because he has not rejected my prayer
    or removed his steadfast love from me!

Make Your Face Shine upon Us

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

67 May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
    God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What does this song celebrate? Does God’s care preclude oppression? Why did the psalmist make vows? Did he keep his gratitude to himself? How gracious is God? – (Ps.66:1-20) = This psalm was written to direct Israel’s attention to God’s sovereign watchfulness over His people, both in the past, and in the present. It also celebrated the nation’s deliverance from their oppression in Egypt. When we consider God’s awesome acts, our hearts should fill with praise to the Lord (Ps.66:1-2). Even Israel’s enemies were forced to acknowledge God’s special care over the nation (Ps.66:3-4). The psalm recalled how God – turned the sea into dry land … as well as paved a way through the Jordan River, when – they passed through the river on foot (Ps.66:6). The psalmist included the other nations, and declared – He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations (Ps.66:7). The writer wanted the people to understand that God is there amid trials and difficulties, and he reminded them that God – 9 keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip. 10 For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. 11 You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. 12 You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance (Ps.66:9-12). The psalmist revealed his trust in God, even when he was tested. Through these times, he made vows, and expressed determination to follow through with them – which my lips uttered, and my mouth spoke when I was in distress (Ps.66:14 c.f. Ps.66:13-15). The psalmist urged Israel not to be silent witnesses, and proclaimed – 16 Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. 17 I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue (Ps.66:16-17). He gave an important principle to help us in praying – If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear (Ps.66:18). With a clear conscience, we can be confident – 19 But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me (Ps.66:19-20 c.f. 1 Jn.3:21-22; 5:14-15).

Q.2. Why did the psalmist seek the Lord’s blessing? Who does God’s blessing benefit? What characterizes God’s rule over the nations? How should we respond to God? – (Ps.67:1-8) = Our prayers and promises to God can often be selfish. This psalm is generous, and extends to all peoples of all nations. The psalmist sought God’s blessing – God be gracious to us and bless us and cause His face to shine upon us (Ps.67:1). As we read, on we discover that his prayer was for OTHERS – That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations …God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him (Ps.67:2 & 7). He yearned that all – 3 the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy (Ps.67:3-4 c.f. Ps.67:5). Like God Himself, the psalmist knew that God – will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth (Ps.67:4). His theme was that God is a good God, and that – the earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us (Ps.67:6). This psalm is a beautiful expression of our God Who sent His One and Only Son to save a lost world. Paul used some of these verses to explain that it has always been God’s intention to reach out in love to the Gentiles (c.f. Rom.15:10-11).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Wed 21/8/19

2 Samuel 2:1-32 … CIVIL WAR BETWEEN JUDAH AND THE OTHER TRIBES IS STOPPED.

Q.1. What made David settle at Hebron? Who made David their king? Why did he send messengers to Jabesh-gilead? Who was Abner? Where did Ish-bosheth reign? – (2 Sam.2:1-11) =

Q.2. What prompted the civil war in Israel? How did the battle go? Why did Abner slay Asahel? How was Abner able to stop the civil war? What were the casualties? – (2 Sam.2:12-32) =

David Anointed King of Judah

After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron.And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Ish-bosheth Made King of Israel

But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

The Battle of Gibeon

12 Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15 Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim,[a] which is at Gibeon. 17 And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

18 And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 And Asahel pursued Abner, and as he went, he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.22 And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” 23 But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the people of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and became one group and took their stand on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?” 27 And Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would not have given up the pursuit of their brothers until the morning.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men stopped and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight anymore.

29 And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, and marching the whole morning, they came to Mahanaim. 30 Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing from David’s servants nineteen men besides Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had struck down of Benjamin 360 of Abner’s men. 32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What made David settle at Hebron? Who made David their king? Why did he send messengers to Jabesh-gilead? Who was Abner? Where did Ish-bosheth reign? – (2 Sam.2:1-11) = David did not simply do what he thought best. He sought divine guidance,  to be sure of the place in which he should settle. After receiving the Lord’s direction, he and his men and their families settled in Hebron. Soon the tribe of Judah – … came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah (2 Sam.2:4 c.f. 2 Sam.2:1-3). David was told that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul in their territory. He sent messengers to commend them for their bravery, and told them that he had been anointed king over the house of Judah (2 Sam.2:4-7). Abner had survived the defeat of Israel, and the death of the royal family at the hands of the Philistines (c.f. 1 Sam.31:1-7). He had made Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth king over Israel, from the tribal region of Asher, all the way down to Benjamin (2 Sam.2:8-9). Ish-bosheth – was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for 2 years. The house of Judah, however, followed David (2 Sam.2:10).

Q.2. What prompted the civil war in Israel? How did the battle go? Why did Abner slay Asahel? How was Abner able to stop the civil war? What were the casualties? – (2 Sam.2:12-32) = Abner was the commander of Israel’s army, and Joab the commander of Judah’s troops (2 Sam.2:8, 13). David’s sister, Zeruiah,, had three sons – Abishai, Joab, and Asahel (1 Chron.2:16 c.f. 2 Sam.2:13). The opposing armies of Benjamin and Judah met by the pool of Gibeon (2 Sam.2:12-13). Abner and goaded Joab – Now let the young men arise and hold a contest before us (2 Sam.2:14). They agreed that twelve chosen men from the opposing armies would represent them. David’s men slew the twelve representing Israel, and – that day the battle was very severe, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David (2 Sam.2:17). Worse was to come, as the fleet-footed youngest brother of Joab took off after the battle-hardened Abner. Abner did not want to fight Asahel and face the consequences from Joab, so tried to persuade him to stop the pursuit. Asahel refused to stop, so when he caught up, Abner slew him (2 Sam.2:18-23). Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai chased Abner till sundown. Abner pleaded with Joab – … Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers? (2 Sam.2:26). Joab accepted that is was folly for two tribes to fight to the bitter end, and blew the trumpet to sound a retreat (2 Sam.2:27-28).  Nineteen men of Judah had died (beside Asahel), and 360 men from the tribe of Benjamin had been slain (2 Sam.2:30-31). The killing of Asahel fuelled a long war between the tribes, and caused simmering resentment between Joab and Abner (c.f. 2 Cor.3:1, 6, 23-27).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Tues 20/8/19

Exodus 27:1-21 … CONSTRUCTING THE BRONZE ALTAR AND THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE.

Q.1. What materials were used to make the altar? What were the utensils for and of what were they made? How could Moses relate so many exact details? – (Exo.27:1-8) =

Q.2. How was the court of the tabernacle constructed? What was its size and shape? Who was responsible for providing the oil and serving in the tabernacle? – (Exo.27:9-21) =

The Bronze Altar

27 “You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits[a] long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. And you shall make horns for it on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall also make for it a grating, a network of bronze, and on the net you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. And you shall set it under the ledge of the altar so that the net extends halfway down the altar.And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. And the poles shall be put through the rings, so that the poles are on the two sides of the altar when it is carried.You shall make it hollow, with boards. As it has been shown you on the mountain, so shall it be made.

The Court of the Tabernacle

“You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings of fine twined linen a hundred cubits long for one side. 10 Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 11 And likewise for its length on the north side there shall be hangings a hundred cubits long, its pillars twenty and their bases twenty, of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 12 And for the breadth of the court on the west side there shall be hangings for fifty cubits, with ten pillars and ten bases. 13 The breadth of the court on the front to the east shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for the one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases.15 On the other side the hangings shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 16 For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework. It shall have four pillars and with them four bases. 17 All the pillars around the court shall be filleted with silver. Their hooks shall be of silver, and their bases of bronze.18 The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits, the breadth fifty, and the height five cubits, with hangings of fine twined linen and bases of bronze. 19 All the utensils of the tabernacle for every use, and all its pegs and all the pegs of the court, shall be of bronze.

Oil for the Lamp

20 “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What materials were used to make the altar? What were the utensils for, and of what were they made? How could Moses relate so many exact details? – (Exo.27:1-8) = Moses was commanded to make the altar square, and – hollow with acacia wood splanks, as it was shown you in the mountain … five cubits long and five cubits wide, and its height shall be three cubits (Exo.27:8 & 1). Note: a cubit was about 18 inches. It had horns on each corner, and was to be overlaid with bronze (Exo.27:2). The utensils … pails, shovels, forks, basins, and firepans were to be made of bronze as well (Exo.27:3). Attached were bronze rings through which two poles, overlaid with bronze, were fitted for transportation. A grating of bronze was suspended inside the altar (Exo.27:4-7).

Q.2. How was the court of the tabernacle constructed? What was its size and shape? Who was responsible for providing the oil and serving in the tabernacle? – (Exo.27:9-21) = The outer court of the tabernacle in the wilderness was symbolic of the world, and everything outside of the Presence of God. It was made of bronze. It was adorned with fine twisted linen curtains. Moses was told the exact size of the area, which was 100 cubits, with the drapes hung on 20 pillars of bronze by 50 cubits wide with 10 pillars. The gate had a screen of 20 cubits with blue, purple, and scarlet twisted material, with 15 cubits of twisted linen on either side. The height of the screen was 5 cubits i.e. 7 ½ feet (Exo.27:9-19). All the pegs were made of Bronze. The beauty of the tabernacle would stand out from the tents of the Israelites. The light in the Holy Place came from clear oil of beaten olives, provided by the people, and attended to by the priests – to make the lamp burn continually (Exo.27:20). This tent of meeting had to be kept clean and tidy. It was – … outside the veil which is before the ark of testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the Lord; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel (Exo.27:21). Only the priests were allowed into the holy place, and only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies and that only once a year, on the day of atonement – Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb.9:6-12). The ministry of the priesthood was only relevant – until a time of reformation (Heb.9:10). That time occurred when Jesus made the perfect sacrifice, once for all sinners, and once for all time (c.f. Heb.10.10, 12, 14).


If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Mon 19/8/19

Mark 9:33-50 … JESUS WARNS ABOUT AMBITION, CHILD ABUSE, AND LACK OF SELF-CONTROL.

Q .1. Why were the disciples of Jesus embarrassed to tell Him about their discussion? How did Jesus respond to the twelve? How did He drive home the truth? – (Mk.9:33-37) =

Q.2. What issue did John raise with Jesus? How did Jesus answer him? Who are ‘these little ones who believe’? How will God deal with those who cause stumbling? – (Mk.9:38-42) =

Q.3. How can ‘your hand or your foot or your eye’ cause you to stumble? What are the consequences of lacking self-control? What did Jesus teach about salt? – (Mk.9:43-50) =

Who Is the Greatest?

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,[a] and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Temptations to Sin

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[b] it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,[c] to the unquenchable fire.[d] 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire.[e] 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Suggested Answers:

Q .1. Why were the disciples of Jesus embarrassed to tell Him about their discussion? How did Jesus respond to the twelve? How did He drive home the truth? – (Mk.9:33-37) = Jesus had observed the tension between His disciples, and asked what they had been discussing. They kept silent because they had argued –with one another which of them was the greatest (Mk.9:34). Jesus knew what is was, so He sat down with the twelve, telling them – If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all (Mk.9:35). Jesus reversed all the cherished views of greatness owned by the world. To drive home the message, He set a child in their midst. He took the boy in His arms and said – Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me (Mk.9:37). Unlike the way children were regarded throughout history, children were very precious to Jesus, and felt comfortable with Him.

Q.2. What issue did John raise with Jesus? How did Jesus answer him? Who are ‘these little ones who believe’? How will God deal with those who cause stumbling? – (Mk.9:38-42) = Jesus had nicknamed James & John … Boanerges – i.e. Sons of Thunder!  John reported that the disciples had tried to put a stop to the ministry of others who were not part of their group. John probably thought Jesus would commend them. However, Jesus corrected their negative attitude towards others who were ministering in His name, adding –Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us (Mk.9:39-40). Jesus suggested that the followers of Christ may receive support from unexpected sources, and that these supporters will be rewarded (Mk.9:41). As in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus expressed His concern for defenceless and impressionable children (Mk.9:42 c.f. Mt.18:1-6). Despite all children being born with Adam’s sin nature, Jesus described them as – these little ones who believe (Mk.9:42 c.f. Mt.18:6; Rom.5:12). He was scathingly critical of those who would cause these little ones to stumble (Mk.9:42 c.f. Mt.18:6-7). Jesus had a key place for children in His ministry.

Q.3. How can ‘your hand or your foot or your eye’ cause you to stumble? What are the consequences of lacking self-control? What did Jesus teach about salt? – (Mk.9:43-50) = Solomon warned his son not to follow the wicked, whose feet run to do evil (c.f. Prov.1:15-16). In this day of technology, it is not hard to understand how many are drawn to do evil with their feet, hands, and eyes. What may come as a surprise, is that Jesus warned that failing to control these influences, can lead a person – into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mk.9:43-48). In fact, Jesus suggested that it would be better to lose these functions, than to suffer eternal consequences. The cost of lacking self-control is everlasting. Jesus taught that – 49 everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another (Mk.9:49-50). Before refrigeration, salt was used for savouring and preserving food. When salt is leached of its flavour, it becomes useless. Jesus advocated that believers should make a difference, yet at the same time, with the aim of promoting peace (c.f. Lk.14:34-35).


If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Sat 17/8/19

2 Corinthians 11:1-15 … PAUL EXPRESSES HIS CONCERN FOR THE IMPACT OF FALSE WORKERS.

Q.1. What was Paul’s concern for the Corinthians? Why was he reluctant to speak about his credentials? What point was he making about ministering free of charge? – (2 Cor.11:1-11) =

Q.2. Why did Paul fund his own ministry? What do false workers gain from doing ministry? How do they operate in the church? Why did Paul try to expose them? – (2 Cor.11:11-15) =

Paul and the False Apostles

11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What was Paul’s concern for the Corinthians? Why was he reluctant to speak about his credentials? What point was he making about ministering free of charge? – (2 Cor.11:1-11) = Paul had had the highest hopes for the Corinthians, that he – might present them as a pure virgin to Christ (2 Cor.11:2). He was reluctant to speak, fearing that – … as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor.11:3). He feared that they had received a different gospel from the one he had preached (2 Cor.11:4). He was afraid that these false leaders were preaching a gospel that had no power to save, but only to rob them of liberty.  He stressed that even if his ministry lacked persuasion, he did not lack either knowledge of the truth, or the credentials of the most eminent apostles (2 Cor.11:5-6). He reminded the church that he had – robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so (2 Cor.11:8-9). He asked why he had operated this way – because I do not love you? God knows that I do (2 Cor.11:11). Surely this was tangible proof of his love for them.

Q.2. Why did Paul fund his own ministry? What do false workers gain from doing ministry? How do they operate in the church? Why did Paul try to expose them? – (2 Cor.11:11-15) = Paul had written to them earlier, that it was acceptable for workers to be supported by the church (c.f. 1 Cor.9:8-14). However, many worked in a voluntary capacity because few churches could support their workers. For that reason, Paul refrained from accepting remuneration for his ministry, but supported himself, and often his companions as well (2 Cor.11:7-11 c.f. 2 Thes.3:7-9). It appears that Paul’s detractors were gaining a following, because they were working free of charge (2 Cor.11:12). That is why Paul felt obliged to explain to the Corinthians about his own ministry. He exposed those people as – false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ (2 Cor11:13). He reminded the Corinthians that this should come as no surprise, since – even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor.11:14). False servants of Christ are always active, as Paul also warned the Ephesian elders – I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, drawing away the disciples after them – Acts 20:29-30. You can recognize them, because true servants draw people to follow Christ, whereas false servants draw people to follow themselves.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009