Sat 22/9/18

1 Corinthians 3:10-23… PAUL APPEALS FOR BELIEVERS TO HAVE A RIGHT FOCUS IN MINISTRY.

Q.1. How did Paul’s foundation differ from Christ’s? What challenge does Paul bring believers? Will all our service stand the test of time? When will our service be rewarded? – (1 Cor.3:10-15) =

Q.2. How useful will your service be if you destroy your ‘temple’? What attitude at Corinth does Paul go on to address? Where was Paul in view of the authority of Christ? – (1 Cor.3:16-23) =

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled[a] master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you[b] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. How did Paul’s foundation differ from Christ’s? What challenge does Paul bring believers? Will all our service stand the test of time? When will our service be rewarded? – (1 Cor.3:10-15) = The foundation that Paul laid was the truth of the gospel. Others built on the foundation of the gospel such as Apollos and Peter ((1 Cor.1:12; 3:4-5). But the ultimate and only foundation is Jesus Christ – For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor.3:11). Not only did different gifted leaders build on the foundation but all believers are building upon this gospel foundation (1 Cor.3:10, 12-13). He warns – … each man must be careful how he builds on it (1 Cor.3:10). Whatever does he mean? Paul explains that we either build with quality durable or perishable materials which will be tested by fire (1Cor.3:12-13). Our service for Christ will either endure or perish and be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor.3:13-14 c.f. Rom.14:10; 2 Cor.5:10). Paul makes it clear that this judgment is not about salvation but awards granted for services rendered out of our love for Christ – If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor.3:15 c.f. Rev.4:10-11).

Q.2. How useful will your service be if you destroy your ‘temple’? What attitude at Corinth does Paul go on to address? Where was Paul in view of the authority of Christ? – (1 Cor.3:16-23) = It is a sobering thought that we can only bring glory to God in this world as long as we are in this earthly body (Ps.30:9; 115:17; Isa.38:18). So we need to look after our bodies which are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.3:16). So  – If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are (1 Cor.3:17). Some of the Corinthians were wise in terms of the spirit of the age (1 Cor.3:18).So Paul addresses the lack of humility which made many of the Corinthian Christians unteachable (1 Cor.3:19-20). He reminds them that even the apostles and gifted leaders that had ministered in their midst understood their place as under Christ. Though they had many of the world’s benefits they were to remember their place because – you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God (1 Cor.3:23). Their real advantage came through belonging to Christ and not because of their belongings – 21 let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you (1 Cor.3:21-22).


(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

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Fri 21/9/18

 Isaiah 38:1-22 … HEZEKIAH IS SAVED FROM DEATH WITH A SIGN AND A MEDICAL REMEDY.

Q.1. What devastating message did Isaiah bring to Hezekiah? How did the king respond? How did God answer his prayer? What sign accompanied His promise to Hezekiah? – (Isa.38:1-8) =

Q.2. How can we explain that Hezekiah was not dying from old age? How did the king argue his case before God? What does his prayer convey about God? How was Hezekiah healed? – (Isa.38:9-22) =

Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery

38 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.”[a] Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.[b] I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

“This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.[c]

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

10 I said, In the middle[d] of my days
    I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
    for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall not see the Lord,
    the Lord in the land of the living;
I shall look on man no more
    among the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
    like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
    he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night you bring me to an end;
13     I calmed myself[e] until morning;
like a lion he breaks all my bones;
    from day to night you bring me to an end.

14 Like a swallow or a crane I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes are weary with looking upward.
    O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety!
15 What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,
    and he himself has done it.
I walk slowly all my years
    because of the bitterness of my soul.

16 O Lord, by these things men live,
    and in all these is the life of my spirit.
    Oh restore me to health and make me live!
17 Behold, it was for my welfare
    that I had great bitterness;
but in love you have delivered my life
    from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
    behind your back.
18 For Sheol does not thank you;
    death does not praise you;
those who go down to the pit do not hope
    for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living, he thanks you,
    as I do this day;
the father makes known to the children
    your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
    and we will play my music on stringed instruments
all the days of our lives,
    at the house of the Lord.

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” 22 Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What steps did Hezekiah take in the midst of Judah’s peril? How did Isaiah encourage the king? Why was God about to remove the threat of Assyria? – (Isa.37:1-7) = King Hezekiah responded in the cultural way (i.e. tore his clothes and put on sackcloth) recognising the immense peril he and Judah faced (Isa.37:1). He then sent his chief leaders on a mission to the prophet Isaiah acknowledging their fragile position (Isa.37:2-3). They hoped that the insults of Assyria’s army chief would be challenged by the Lord God and asked for the prophet to intercede for them (Isa.37:4-5). Isaiah sent them back with an encouraging message from God – 6 … Thus you shall say to your master, `Thus says the Lord, “Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumour and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”(Isa.37:6-7). It is a dangerous thing to blaspheme against the Lord! Might is not always right and is no match for the living God.

Q.2. How long did the threat last? What did Hezekiah do Rabshakeh’s message? How did Hezekiah address God? What was his key reason for wanting God to intervene? – (Isa.37:8-20) = Hezekiah had a promise from the prophet that all would end well for Judah and disastrously for Rabshakeh (Isa.37:6-7). But the faith and resolve of the king was sorely tested. How? Because the promise was followed by a deepening of the trial. Rabshakeh continued to rant against Hezekiah and insult God – 10 “Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, `Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? (Isa.37:10-11). In pride he boasted of his accomplishments against the nations he had conquered and all their gods (Isa.37:12-13). It is dangerous to bring the living God down to the level of man-made gods! But Hezekiah would not cave in to this propaganda and – Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord (Isa.37:14). His prayer to the Lord is classic! – 16 “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God (Isa.37:16-17). He acknowledged that the Assyrians had devastated many nations (Isa.18-19). But he concluded – Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God (Isa.37:20). Hezekiah was concerned for God’s name and this should always characterise our approach to God in prayer.


(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

Thurs 20/9/18

Psalm 31:1-24 …  DAVID’S JOURNEY FROM NEAR DEATH TO TRIUMPHANT PRAISE.

Q.1. What are David’s circumstances in this psalm? What is his petition and where is his confidence? How does this psalm relate to the sufferings of Christ? – (Ps.31:1-13) =

Q.2. How did David respond to his own sufferings? What does God do for those who fear Him? How close was David to death? What did his deliverance do for him? – (Ps.31:14-24) =

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

31 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!

For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

I hate[a] those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away.

11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
    especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
    I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
    terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
    as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love!
17 Lord, let me not be put to shame,
    for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
    let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
    which speak insolently against the righteous
    in pride and contempt.

19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
    which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
    in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
    from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
    from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord,
    for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
    when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,[b]
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord!

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What are David’s circumstances in this psalm? What is his petition and where is his confidence? How does this psalm relate to the sufferings of Christ? – (Ps.31:1-14) = David is in fear of his life at the hands of his enemies who have set a trap against him (Ps.31:4,8,11). He cries out for deliverance and prays that he might maintain his integrity in the midst of his trials (Ps.31:1-2). He affirms his commitment and confidence in God (Ps.31:3-5). The Psalm is messianic and an amazing insight into the sufferings of Christ – Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth … Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also (Ps.31:5,9 c.f. Lk.23:46). It particularly describes the mocking of Jesus on the cross – 11 Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbours, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; Those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. 13 For I have heard the slander of many, terror is on every side; While they took counsel together against me, they schemed to take away my life (Ps.31:11-13 c.f. Mt.27:1,27-31,39-44). This psalm also expresses the confidence of Jesus in His Father even in the face of death – As for me, I trust in You, O Lord (Ps.31:14 c.f. Lk.23:46).

Q.2. How did David respond to his own sufferings? What does God do for those who fear Him? How close was David to death? What did his deliverance do for him? – (Ps.31:14-24) = David reveals his attitude to suffering and rejection – 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me. 16 Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your lovingkindness. 17 Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You … (Ps.31:15-17). He shares his confidence His children can have in the Lord – How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! (Ps.31:19). This includes trusting God with our reputation from slander – You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues (Ps.31:20).  It is clear that David had despaired of dying in a besieged city – … Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You (Ps.31:22). David calls on those that have been saved to give praise to God even as he did for his deliverances – 23 O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. 24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord (Ps.31:23-24).


(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

Wed 19/9/18

Judges 13:1-25 … THE BIRTH AND UNIQUENESS OF SAMSON IS REVEALED TO MANOAH’S WIFE.

Q.1. Why was Israel oppressed by the Philistines? Why was Manoah’s family chosen to provide a judge? How would Samson be unique? How did Manoah and his wife respond? – (Jdgs.13:1-8) =

Q.2. Why did the angel appear to Manoah’s wife a second time? What information did Manoah want? What did Manoah and his wife learn about the angel? What did they do? (Jdgs.13:9-20) =

Q.3. Who was the angel of the Lord? Were Manoah and his wife suited to each other? How did she help him process the unique visit? What happened to their son? – (Jdgs.13:21-25) =

The Birth of Samson

13 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works[a] wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

 Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why was Israel oppressed by the Philistines? Why was Manoah’s family chosen to provide a judge? How would Samson be unique? How did Manoah and his wife respond? – (Jdgs.13:1-8) = When Israel strayed from God, He gave them over to be oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years (Jdgs.13:1). Out of the experience of barrenness God prepared Manoah and his wife to raise a deliverer from their tribe of Dan (Jdgs.13:2-3). She was told to refrain from drinking wine or eating anything unclean (Jdgs.13:4, 7,13-14). She would conceive a special son – For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Jdgs.13:5 c.f. Num.6:2-5). Samson would be the most famous of the –Nazarites to God from the womb to the day of his death (Jdgs.13:7). Manoah’s immediate response to his wife’s testimony was to ask for his own encounter from the man of God so – that he teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born (Jdgs.13:8). He believed his wife and the promise that they would at long last have a son.

Q.2. Why did the angel appear to Manoah’s wife a second time? What information did Manoah want? What did Manoah and his wife learn about the angel? What did they do? (Jdgs.13:9-20) = God answered Manoah’s prayer. The man of God appeared once more to his wife who immediately recognised him and called Manoah (Jdgs.13:9-10). Manoah took his calling seriously and was eager to know – … when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation? (Jdgs.13:12). After being instructed Manoah asked if the messenger would wait for him to prepare and offer a burnt offering (Jdgs.13:14-15). The angel of the Lord directed him to make the offering to God (Jdgs.13:16). Manoah asked the messenger for his name and is told – … Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful? (Jdgs.13:18). This suggests that the Angel of the Lord is an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament (a Christophany) since this is one of the names given to Jesus in Isaiah (Isa.9:6). The description ‘Wonderful’ should be understood as ‘Incomprehensible’ since even in eternity we will never encompass all the wonder and glory of God. When Manoah and his wife presented their sacrifice to the Lord – He performed wonders … then the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar (Jdgs.13:19-20). They fell to ground in worship (Jdgs.13:20).

Q.3. Who was the angel of the Lord? Were Manoah and his wife suited to each other? How did she help him process the unique visit? What happened to their son? – (Jdgs.13:21-25) = Manoah and his wife at first thought the messenger was a man, then a man of God, then an angel of the Lord. But after God’s display Manoah concluded – … We will surely die, for we have seen God (Jdgs.13:22). But his wife was thoroughly grounded and argues that they would have died earlier if that had been God’s desire (Jdgs.13:23). Manoah and his wife were ‘opposites’ and truly suited to one another. In due time, their special boy arrived and – the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him (Jdgs.13:24).


(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

Tues 18/9/18

Genesis 32:1-32 … JACOB WRESTLES WITH GOD BEFORE HIS REUNION WITH ESAU.

Q.1. What happened before Jacob was reunited with Esau? Why did Jacob divide into two companies? What is significant about his prayer to God? – (Gen32:1-12) =

Q.2. What strategy did Jacob employ to find favour from Esau? How did he protect his wives and children? – (Gen.32:13-23) =

Q.3. What was Jacob’s battle all about? Was the wrestling real? What is the significance of Jacob’s new name? What is the lesson for us? – (Gen.32:24-32) =

Jacob Fears Esau

32 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim.[a]

And Jacob sent[b] messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’”

And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”

13 So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove.” 17 He instructed the first, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.’” 19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he thought, “I may appease him[c]with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.”[d] 21 So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp.

Jacob Wrestles with God

22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children,[e] and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,[f]for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,[g] saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What happened before Jacob was reunited with Esau? Why did Jacob divide into two companies? What is significant about his prayer to God? – (Gen32:1-12) = Jacob had warded off his fear of Laban (c.f. Gen.31:31) but now faced a potentially more hostile foe in Esau (c.f. Gen.32:11). Bravely Jacob heeded God’s call to return to Canaan (c.f. Gen.31:3 & 13). To assist him, God sent him angelic protection (Gen.32:1 c.f. Mt.18:10; Heb.1:14). He called the place Manahaim – ‘This is God’s camp’ or two companies (Gen.32:2 c.f. Gen.32:7). He divided his goods into two companies saying – … If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape (Gen. 32:8). He had run from Laban. Now he faced his dreaded brother with prayer: He approached God in obedience and his prayer was based on his covenant relationship with the – … God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, `Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ (Gen.32:9). He agreed that he was utterly unworthy and faced his fears head-on – 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children (Gen.32:10-11). He showed genuine concern for his wives and their children. He stood on the promises God had made to him – For You said, `I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’ (Gen.32:12). This represented enormous spiritual growth out of his deep trials.

Q.2. What strategy did Jacob employ to find favour from Esau? How did he protect his wives and children? – (Gen.32:13-23) = Jacob backed up his dependence on God with a strategy he hoped would win over Esau – … Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau (Gen.32:13). He instructed his servants to put a space between 200 female goats & 20 male goats – 200 ewes & 20 rams – 30 milking camels & colts – 40 cows & 10 bulls – 20 female donkeys & 10 male donkeys and when asked – then you shall say, `These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’ (Gen32:18 c.f. Gen.32:18-20). In this way he sought Esau’s acceptance (Gen.32:20). He took special action to protect his wives and children (Gen.32:22-23).

Q.3. What was Jacob’s battle all about? Was the wrestling real? What is the significance of Jacob’s new name? What is the lesson for us? – (Gen.32:24-32) = Jacob’s greatest battle became an all-night wrestling match with God (Gen.32:24 c.f. Gen.32:28). Was it real or imaginary? It left Jacob limping on his thigh but the cost was eminently worthwhile – therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip (Gen.32:32 c.f. Mt.18:8-9). This is generally understood to be another Christophany or appearance of Christ in the Old Testament since it is recorded that Jacob wrestled with God – He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” (Gen.32:28). But first Jacob had to face up to and admit who he really was – 26 Then He said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” (Gen.32:26-27). Jacob meant ‘Deceiver’,’ Twister’, ‘Swindler’. Until the sinner admits that he is a lost sinner he will not reach out for the Saviour. Though in a similar circumstance, Samson’s father is told by God that His name is ‘Wonderful’ … This is better understood  as  – ‘Incomprehensible’ and is likely the reason the Lord didn’t give Jacob a direct answer (c.f. Jdgs.13:17-18). It will take us an eternity to begin to understand the glory of His name!? The name change for Jacob is incredible – from ‘deceiver’ to ‘the one who strives with God’ (Gen.32:28). Jacob was blown away and exclaimed – … “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” (Gen.32:30). Jacob, now Israel, again marked the encounter with a name that unashamedly declared his faith and he called the place – … Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face” (Gen.32:30) i.e. literally ‘the face of God’ (c.f. Gen.32:1-2). Jacob is growing in spiritual confidence and went out to face his brother (Gen.33:2-3).


(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

Mon 17/9/18

Matthew 17:14-27 … THE AUTHORITY OF BELIEVERS OVER DEMONS AND PAYING TAXES.

Q.1. What was the father’s complaint to Jesus? What did Jesus do with the boy? Are you surprised with the response of Jesus? What troubled Him about His disciples? (Mt.17:14-18) =

Q.2. How did Jesus explain the powerlessness of His disciples? What did Jesus mean by His reference to a mustard seed and a mountain? What was destined to happen to Jesus? – (Mt.17:19-23) =

Q.3. Why would questions arise about Jesus paying tax? How did Jesus explain the place of believers in the world? What does the miracle reveal about Christ’s submission to authority? (Mt.17:24-27) =

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon,[a] and it[b] came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.[c] 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[d]

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

22 As they were gathering[e] in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.[f] Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What was the father’s complaint to Jesus? What did Jesus do with the boy? Are you surprised with the response of Jesus? What troubled Him about His disciples? (Mt.17:14-18) = Jesus had commissioned the Twelve with power and authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal diseases as He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God (c.f. Mt.10:1; Lk.9:1-2). Even the Seventy other disciples reported joyfully – Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name (Lk.10:17). But coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration they were greeted by a desperate father emerging from the crowd. He complained that His disciples had been powerless to set his afflicted son free (Mt.17:15-16). The response of Jesus is intriguing – You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me (Mt.17:17). Mark’s account explained that Jesus walked into an argument between His disciples and the scribes (Mk.9:14-17). The man’s son was in a terrible state and the factions were fighting about the right protocol (Mk.9:18). Jesus expressed His concern – How long shall I be with you? (c.f. Mk.9:19). He chided them for their insensitivity and failure to act. Demons were not defeated by a ‘magic formula’ but required dependence on the Living Christ. His disciples had been too easily side-tracked by the scribes. Jesus then rebuked the demon and the boy was immediately set free (Mt.17:18). Mark adds some further insights on the incident: As may often be the case, even with Jesus present, things became worse before they got better (c.f. Mk.9:20). Jesus spent more time checking the facts from the father who cried – If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us (Mk.9:22). Jesus pointed out – All things are possible to him who believes (Mk.9:23). After years of suffering the father responded honestly – I do believe; help my unbelief (Mk.9:24). This in no way hindered Jesus from casting out the deaf and mute spirit (Mk.9:25-27).

Q.2. How did Jesus explain the powerlessness of His disciples? What did Jesus mean by His reference to a mustard seed and a mountain? What was destined to happen to Jesus? – (Mt.17:19-23) = Power comes from our connection to Christ. The reason they had failed was – 20 … Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Mt.17:20). Matthew 17:21 – But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting … is not in the earlier manuscripts but is in the original of Mark 9:29. The growth of even the tiny mustard seed is dependent on its faith in God. The New Testament highlights the essentiality of faith in Christ since nothing is impossible with God (Mt.19:26; Lk.1:37 c.f. Heb.11:1-40). Here Jesus speaks figuratively about moving a mountain into the sea to illustrate the staggering things that faith in Him can produce. However, there was no easy road for Jesus as He again predicted His coming death and resurrection at the hand of wicked sinners – 22 … The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day. And they were deeply grieved (Mt.17:22-23). But His disciples could not imagine that such a One as Jesus could actually die and His claim that He would rise on the third day was hidden from them until later (c.f. Lk.24:8).

Q.3. Why would questions arise about Jesus paying tax? How did Jesus explain the place of believers in the world? What does the miracle reveal about Christ’s submission to authority? (Mt.17:24-27) = The question of paying taxes was raised with Peter by those who collected taxes (Mt.17:24). Peter responded that even the Son of God honoured the governing system of His day and paid taxes (Mt.17:25; 22:17-21; Rom.13:1, 6-7). Jesus overheard the conversation and drove home the point that the sons of the kingdom who were owners of the land should be exempt from paying customs and poll-tax (Mt.17:25-26). Nevertheless, He submitted Himself to the authorities to avoid causing offence and told Peter to – … go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me (Mt.17:27). God will provide whatever we need to do what is right.


(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

Sat 15/9/18

1 Corinthians 3:1-9… PAUL EXPOSES THE CARNALITY AND DIVISIVENESS IN THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH.

Q.1. What prevented Paul from sharing further spiritual truths? How did the immaturity of the Corinthian church reveal itself? Why is following personalities inappropriate? – (1 Cor.3:1-4)

Q.2. Why is such a ‘personality cult’ wrong? How is it that different servants are fruitful in ministry? Why should we not be pre-occupied with human applause? Who do we labour for? – (1 Cor.3:5-9)

Divisions in the Church

But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What prevented Paul from sharing further spiritual truths? How did the immaturity of the Corinthian church reveal itself? Why is following personalities inappropriate? – (1 Cor.3:1-4) = It is fine for a baby to lack adult skills. But should they fail to grow and develop these skills, parents would be heart-broken. This is how Paul felt about the carnality and lack of growth in the Corinthian church. They were still like infants requiring milk (1 Cor.3:1-2). This showed itself in jealousy ad strife between different factions in the church – For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?  (1 Cor.3:3-4). Following personalities shows a lack of understanding that our new life in Christ is not from people but God.

Q.2. Why is such a ‘personality cult’ wrong? How is it that different servants are fruitful in ministry? Why should we not be pre-occupied with human applause? Who do we labour for? – (1 Cor.3:5-9) = If Paul had been a ‘Prima Donna’ he would have revelled in this. However, he responds by claiming that he and Apollos were servants that had the privilege of establishing them in the gospel. Then he reminds them – 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth (1 Cor.3:6-7). Human recognition and appreciation may be helpful but it is not why we serve Christ for – he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labour (1 Cor.3:8). Paul understood his mission and where his strength came from – For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building (1 Cor.3:9).


(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