Thurs 29/10/20

Psalm 108:1-13 … GOD BRINGS VICTORY FOR THOSE THAT HAVE LOST THEIR WAY.

Q.1. What considerations about God helped the psalmist to be steadfast? What made his praise all the more meritorious? – (Ps.108:1-5) =

Q.2. How could Israel regain its confidence against its foes? How can you apply this to your life? – (Ps.108:6-13) =

With God We Shall Do Valiantly

A Song. A Psalm of David.

108 My heart is steadfast, O God!
    I will sing and make melody with all my being![a]
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
That your beloved ones may be delivered,
    give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

God has promised in his holiness:[b]
    “With exultation I will divide up Shechem
    and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
    upon Edom I cast my shoe;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 Oh grant us help against the foe,
    for vain is the salvation of man!
13 With God we shall do valiantly;
    it is he who will tread down our foes.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What considerations about God helped the psalmist to be steadfast? What made his praise all the more meritorious? – (Ps.108:1-5) = The psalmists never just praised the Lord. There were always reasons given for their praise and thanksgiving. Not only is such praise entirely appropriate but it also gladdens the heart of the worshiper (Ps.1-8:1-2). It makes believers steadfast when they can identify and number their blessings – 3 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations. 4 For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the skies (Ps.108:3-4). The fact that the psalmist felt that God had abandoned Israel makes David’s confidence in the Lord all the more amazing (c.f. Ps.108:11).

Q.2. How could Israel regain its confidence against its foes? How can you apply this to your life? – (Ps.108:6-13) = David and the people feel abandoned – Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God? (Ps.108:11). But he can rise above these gloomy feelings as he remembers that God is sovereign over all the surrounding nations and keep His promises to His own people (Ps.108:7-9). He accepts that salvation is not from man (Ps.108:12) but from God and is convinced that – Through God we will do valiantly, and it is He who shall tread down our adversaries (Ps.108:13). To include God in our trials makes all the difference!


(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 28/10/20

2 Kings 13:1-25 … ELISHA INFLUENCES ISRAEL IN LIFE AND DEATH.

Q.1. What prompted God to show favour to King Jehoahaz and Israel? – (2 Kgs.13:1-9, 22-23) =

Q.2. What kind of man was King Jehoash? Why was Elisha angry with his response to his instruction? – (2 Kgs.13:10-19, 24-25) =

Jehoahaz Reigns in Israel

13 In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Syria and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael. Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. (Therefore the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked[a] in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.) For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? So Jehoahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria, and Joash his son reigned in his place.

Jehoash Reigns in Israel

10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash[b] the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them. 12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, and the might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 13 So Joash slept with his fathers, and Jeroboam sat on his throne. And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

The Death of Elisha

14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord‘s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

22 Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

24 When Hazael king of Syria died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place. 25 Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from Jehoahaz his father in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What prompted God to show favour to King Jehoahaz and Israel? – (2 Kgs.13:1-9, 22-23) = Ever since the division of Israel into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Southern Kingdom of Judah, the north had continued in the apostate ways of King Jeroboam. Sadly, Jehu’s son, Jehoahaz was no different (2 Kgs.12:1-2). In anger, God sent the Arameans against Israel. But as so often happens, judgment brought about a change of heart and Jehoahaz cried out to God. On the surface, this is why God sent a deliverer to save His people even though there was no follow through from the people (2 Kgs.13:3-6). God demonstrated that He is a God of grace and – the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now (2 Kgs.13:23). Imagine if God only rewarded us for our faithfulness, who would stand? But we stand because God keeps His promises in spite of our sinfulness … and we stand because of the kind of God He has proved Himself to be.

Q.2. What kind of man was King Jehoash? Why was Elisha angry with his response to his instruction? – (2 Kgs.13:10-19, 24-25) = Joash is also named Jehoash to distinguish him from Joash, king of Judah (2 Kgs.13:9-10). It is clear that Joash was a more accomplished warrior king than his father (2 Kgs.13:12 & 25). His father, Jehoahaz had cried out to God for deliverance when the nation went astray (2 Kgs.13:4 & 5). Joash, however, was given an amazing opportunity to gain God’s help through the dying prophet Elisha. Though he said the right things, he was a stranger to God (2 Kgs.13:14). He was confident in war but weak when responding to the prophet’s call. He was promised much by Elisha – The Lord’s arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Aram; for you will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them (2 Kgs.13:17). Yet his response to the prophet’s call to strike some arrows brought an unconvincing response from Joash – So the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times” (2 Kgs.13:19). Joash was self-confident but not God-dependent. Elisha had been a faithful prophet of the Lord. His fame continued after he died as when the Moabites threw a body into Elisha’s grave – … and when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet (2 Kgs.13:21).  If the dead prophet brought a dead man to life, how much more the resurrected Son of God!


(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 27/10/20

Numbers 9:1-23 … GOD’S DIRECTIONS FOR THE PASSOVER AND JOURNEYS OF ISRAEL.

Q.1. What further instructions did God give so His people could celebrate the Passover Feast? – (Num.9:1-14) =

Q.2. Who decided when and where Israel was to travel on the wilderness journeys? – (Num.9:15-23) =

The Passover Celebrated

And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, “We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the Lord‘s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?” And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the Lord. 11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the Lord‘s offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. 14 And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”

The Cloud Covering the Tabernacle

15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day[a] and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. 18 At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out. 21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What further instructions did God give so His people could celebrate the Passover Feast? – (Num.9:1-14) = In the second year following Israel’s release from Egypt on their wilderness journeys, God reminded Moses that His people were to observe the Passover Feast (Num.9:1-5 c.f. Lev.23:1-8). However, some were unclean because of a death in the family and so disqualified from partaking. They asked Moses to rule on this and he in turn inquired of the Lord (Num.9:6-8). God told Moses to make it clear that a person that neglected to take the normal Passover would be cut off from Israel and bear his guilt. There was to be no slackness in keeping the Feasts. However, provision was made for those disqualified by uncleanness or those on a distant journey (Num.9:9-13). The Lord also encouraged them to include foreigners and travellers in their midst to share in the Passover celebrations (Num.9:14). Paul would later warn regarding the Lord’s Supper – 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (c.f. 1 Cor.11:27-30). To benefit from these solemn ordinances, our hearts must be right.

Q.2. Who decided when and where Israel was to travel on the wilderness journeys? – (Num.9:15-23) = The Lord led and protected His people in an extraordinary way with His Presence over the tabernacle – … the cloud would cover it by day and the appearance of fire by night. Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, they would camp. At the command of the Lord the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the Lord they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained in the camp (Num.9:16-18). The book of Numbers detailed where the tribes and Levites were to be located (see the diagram in Wk.34 Yr.3). Even the children knew where their tribe could be found relative to the tabernacle regardless of the new terrain in which they settled. Why they moved from one day to the next or stayed for many days or just a few days we are not told (Num.9:19-22) But their movements were directed entirely by God (Num.9:18-23). We learn through the prophets later that in those early days of nationhood, God was protecting them from their enemies, providing for their needs, and keeping them from diseases and plagues.


(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 26/10/20

Luke 16:1-18 … A PARABLE ABOUT LAYING A FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE.

Q.1. Why did the master of the careless steward commend him? What point was Jesus driving home? – (Lk.16:1-9) =

Q.2. What challenge did Jesus leave for those that serve Him? How did the Pharisees respond to Him? Why? – (Lk.16:10-15) =

Q.3. In what way does the gospel complete the message of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets? – (Lk.16:16-18) =

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[a] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[b] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[c] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[d] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Law and the Kingdom of God

14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[e] 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

Divorce and Remarriage

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did the master of the careless steward commend him? What point was Jesus driving home? – (Lk.16:1-9) = When the rich man realised that his manager had been squandering his possessions, he asked for the records of his dealings telling him he was to be dismissed (Lk.16:1-2). But even he could see the shrewdness of his servant’s dishonesty in building up some creditors that would be beholden to him in his time of need (Lk.16:3-7). The master commended the dishonest steward’s shrewdness acknowledging that – the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light (Lk.16:8). Jesus makes the point that if this steward prepared for his future on earth, how much more should believers use their wealth to build treasure in heaven – And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings (Lk.16:9).

Q.2. What challenge did Jesus leave for those that serve Him? How did the Pharisees respond to Him? Why? – (Lk.16:10-15) = Jesus indicates that there is an eternity of reward awaiting His faithful servants on earth (c.f. Mt.19:28). These blessings will be entrusted to those that have acted as faithful stewards. However, we need to have the right perspective when it comes to wealth (Lk.16:10-12). Wealth is a means provided by God to serve Him. Yet it is difficult to keep the balance when you have plenty – No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Lk.16:13). You can use wealth to advance God’s kingdom but must avoid trusting in riches lest these material blessings turn into a curse. The Pharisees loved their wealth and scoffed at Jesus who told them – You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; For what is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God (Lk.16:15).

Q.3. In what way does the gospel complete the message of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets? – (Lk.16:16-18) = The Pharisees had completely missed the point of the Law and the Prophets that pointed to Christ and the sinner’s need of the Saviour (c.f. Lk.24:44; Gal.3:23-25). It held sway until John the Baptist preached the need for repentance as the prelude for the coming of the Saviour (c.f. Mt.3:7-9; Lk.3:3 & 16). Since then many had forced their way into the kingdom in response to the preaching of the gospel. Why forced? Because people had to embrace Christ despite the confusion caused by His rejection by the religious leaders (Lk.16:14 c.f. Lk.5:27-32; 12:49-51; Jn.9:22). The gospel does not dismiss the Law but fulfils and supersedes it. As Jesus declared – But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail (Lk.16:17). He warned that marriage was intended to be permanent (Lk16:18). The gospel does not cancel out these laws but will be the means of many turning in repentance to the Saviour (c.f. 1 Tim.1:8-11).


(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

Sat 24/10/20

1 Timothy 1:1-11 … PAUL CHARGES TIMOTHY TO HOLD FAST TO THE GOSPEL.

Q.1. What did Timothy mean to Paul? How could Timothy hope to successfully advance the gospel? – (1 Tim.1:1-7) =

Q.2. Why did God give the law? What place does the law have in helping believers to grow? – (1 Tim.1:8-11) =

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Warning Against False Teachers

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship[a] from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,[b] liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound[c] doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What did Timothy mean to Paul? How could Timothy hope to successfully advance the Gospel? – (1 Tim.1:1-7) = Paul was well acquainted with Timothy’s family. He led Timothy to the Lord on his 2nd missionary trip, and described him – … my true child in the faith (1 Tim.1:2). He was Paul’s disciple – the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek (c.f. Acts 16:1). Paul knew that Timothy had been introduced and grounded in the Scriptures from both his mother and his grandmother (c.f. 2 Tim.1:5; 3:14-15). He trusted Timothy to correct those who had a faulty understanding of the Gospel – …  furthering the administration of God which is by faith (1 Tim.1:4). This would be a difficult assignment for the inexperienced and fearful young leader. Paul advised him to stick to the game-plan – … the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Tim.1:5). His success would not rely on his personality, but on his steadfastness when there were those – wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions (1 Tim.1:7).

Q.2. Why did God give the Law? What place does the Law have in helping believers to grow? – (1 Tim.1:8-11) = Paul clearly saw a place for the Law, and explained that there is a right and wrong way to apply it – … we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully (1 Tim.1:8). How do we apply the Law, now that the Gospel has superseded it? (c.f. Heb.8:7-13). Paul declared- realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners … (1 Tim.1:9 c.f. Gal.3:24-25). He then described many different kinds of sinners who are candidates for the Law, in order to lead them to repentance and faith in Christ (c.f. 1 Cor.6:9-11). D.L. Moody, when sharing why he preached the Law at his evangelistic rallies, wrote – ‘God, being a perfect God, had to give a perfect Law; and the Law was given, not to SAVE men, but to MEASURE them. I want you to understand this clearly, because hundreds of thousand stumble at this point. They try to save themselves by trying to keep the Law; but the Law was never meant for men to save themselves by.’ The Law (i) reveals us our sin (Rom.3:20) – (ii) it convinces us that we are without excuse (Rom.3:19) – (iii) it helps us conclude that we are guilty (Heb.9:27-28) – (iv) it is our schoolmaster to show us we need a Saviour (Gal.3:24). Paul summed it up – Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God (Rom.3:19). This inability to excuse our plight before a holy God is the prelude to repentance and faith in God. Having come to Christ, we must stand firm in the freedom that Christ purchased to set us free (Gal.5:1). However, neither should we turn this freedom from ‘salvation by Law-keeping’ into an opportunity to pamper the flesh (Gal.5:13). Jesus greatly simplified the Law this way – 37 … `You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, `You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:37-40). This is the best guide to help us to grow and know how to please God. Is there a legitimate way to apply the Law? James made it clear that we benefit from being informed about what the Law teaches (Jms.2:8-13 c.f. Rom.15:4; 2 Tim.3:16-17). Good works never saved anyone (Eph.2:8-9).


…(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 Community Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Fri 23/10/20

Ezekiel 15:1-8 & 16:1-29 … GOD ACCUSES ISRAEL OF INFIDELITY AFTER HIS LAVISH LOVE.

Q.1. Why does God accuse Israel of being a useless vine? What will happen to Israel? – (Ezk.15:1-8) =

Q.2. How did Israel respond to the history of God’s love? Has the church fulfilled its mission with greater faithfulness? – (Ezk.16:1-29) =

Jerusalem, a Useless Vine

15 And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it? Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything? Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! Therefore thus says the Lord God: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord God.”

The Lord‘s Faithless Bride

16 Again the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.

“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.

“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.[a] 11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.

15 “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore[b] because of your renown and lavished your whorings[c] on any passerby; your beauty[d] became his. 16 You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.[e] 17 You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. 18 And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. 19 Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord God. 20 And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter 21 that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? 22 And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.

23 “And after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! declares the Lord God), 24 you built yourself a vaulted chamber and made yourself a lofty place in every square. 25 At the head of every street you built your lofty place and made your beauty an abomination, offering yourself[f] to any passerby and multiplying your whoring. 26 You also played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger. 27 Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you and diminished your allotted portion and delivered you to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28 You played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied; yes, you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied. 29 You multiplied your whoring also with the trading land of Chaldea, and even with this you were not satisfied.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did God accuse Israel of being a useless vine? What will happen to Israel? – (Ezk.15:1-8) = The wood of the vine is almost useless for any purpose, except for firewood (Ezk.15:1-3 c.f. Isa.5:1-7). Applying this to the nation of Israel, God claimed that since it was already charred, it was ready to be totally consumed (Ezk.15:4-6). God’s fire of judgment would consume them – I set My face against them. Though they have come out of the fire, yet the fire will consume them. Then you will know that I am the Lord when I set My face against them (Ezk.15:7).

Q.2. How did Israel respond to the history of God’s love for them? Has the church fulfilled its mission with greater faithfulness? – (Ezk.16:1-29) = Just as Isaiah had described the people as children of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ezekiel identified the nation with the Canaanites and Amorites, since they no longer demonstrated that they were people of God (Ezk.16:3 c.f. Isa.1:10; Jn.8:44). Despite Israel’s helpless beginning as slaves – God chose her.  He took her naked and bare and gave her life – “Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord God (Ezk.16:8). He blessed her above all the nations, so that her fame spread throughout the world. How did she respond? – You trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing (Ezk.16:15). Worse still – 20 “Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? 21 You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire Ezk.16:20-21). She played the harlot with Egypt from whom God had set her free, and  also with the other nations’ gods (Ezk.16:23-29). History shows that the church from the first century onwards, (c.f. Rev.chpt.2-3), has constantly strayed from the paths of righteousness. This underscores the amazing patience of the Lord (c.f. 2 Pet.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@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 22/10/20

Proverbs 18:9-18 … LEARNING TO TRUST GOD FOR WISDOM AND GUIDANCE.

Q.1. Why is it better to trust in God than your own wealth and the help of others? – (Prov.18:9-12) =

Q.2. What insights does Solomon offer on giving advice? – (Prov.18:13, 15, 17) =

Q.3. How can we work best with the authorities and how can we gain clear direction? – (Prov.18:16 & 18) =

Whoever is slack in his work
    is a brother to him who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
    and like a high wall in his imagination.
12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
    it is his folly and shame.
14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him
    and brings him before the great.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.
18 The lot puts an end to quarrels
    and decides between powerful contenders.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why is it better to trust in God than our own wealth, and the help of others? – (Prov.18:9-12) = There is a direct connection between wealth and pride – A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own imagination (Prov.18:11). It often leads the rich to trust in their riches, rather than the Lord. As with the rich fool in the parable of Jesus –before destruction, the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honour (Prov.18:12 c.f. Lk.12:16-21). How much better off is the person who  learns to depend upon the Lord – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe (Prov.18:10).

Q.2. What insights on giving and receiving advice did Solomon reveal? – (Prov.18:13, 15, 17) = Some people are so sure of their own wisdom, that they won’t fully listen to what another person is saying. Solomon warned – He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him (Prov.18:13). A wise person is one who asks questions, and really listens to the information before he answers. Solomon observed that – the mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge (Prov.18:15). He warned that people will give us a subjective view of a case, so we should listen with caution, until we hear the other side of the story, because – the first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him (Prov.18:17).

Q.3. How can we work best with the authorities, and how can we gain clear direction? – (Prov.18:16 & 18) = Solomon shared a way to gain a positive hearing – A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men (Prov.18:16). So much depends upon proper preparation before facing someone in authority. We need to consider the wisest way to make an appeal. There will be times when there is no guiding principle or precedent to guide us. In such cases we can leave the outcome to the Lord – The cast lot puts an end to strife and decides between the mighty ones (Prov.18:18). This acknowledges that God is sovereign and that He has the power to both open or close doors (c.f. Rev.3:7-8).


(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 21/10/20

2 Kings 12:1-21 … THE INFLUENCE OF JEHOIADA ON THE REIGN OF JOASH.

Q.1. What were the good influences on the young King Joash? What is the lesson for us? – (2 Kgs.12:1-5) =

Q.2. How did the people respond to Joash’s initiatives to repair the temple? – (2 Kgs.12:6-16) =

Q.3. Why were the closing years of the reign of Joash unsatisfactory? – (2 Kgs.12:17-21) =

12 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash[a] began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.

Jehoash Repairs the Temple

Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house. Therefore King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your donors, but hand it over for the repair of the house.” So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house.

Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in the lid of it and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the Lord. And the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord. 10 And whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s secretary and the high priest came up and they bagged and counted the money that was found in the house of the Lord. 11 Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord. And they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the Lord, 12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the Lord, and for any outlay for the repairs of the house. 13 But there were not made for the house of the Lord basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, 14 for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the Lord with it. 15 And they did not ask for an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the Lord; it belonged to the priests.

17 At that time Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath and took it. But when Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem, 18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred gifts that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent these to Hazael king of Syria. Then Hazael went away from Jerusalem.

The Death of Joash

19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 His servants arose and made a conspiracy and struck down Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. 21 It was Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son reigned in his place.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Who were the good influences on the young King Joash? What is the lesson for us? – (2 Kgs.12:1-5) = The mother of Joash was from the tribe of Simeon, in the southern kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital. However, the main influence on his life had been from the godly Jehioada and his wife Jehosheba, who had rescued him. It is recorded that – Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him (2 Kgs.12:2). He was clearly acquainted with the Scriptures, when he ordered the use – of the money of each man’s assessment (2 Kgs.12:4 c.f. Ex.30:11-16) to repair the damage to the temple. This underscores the necessity that we follow godly leaders, and study and know the teaching of the Bible (2 Tim.2:15).

Q.2. How did the people respond to Joash’s initiatives to repair the temple? – (2 Kgs.12:6-16) = Initially the priests had drifted in their faithfulness. This happened because the people worshipped idols on the high places, and neglected the support of the priesthood (2 Kgs.12:3). To his credit, Joash persisted, and pressed Jehoiada into organizing a proper collection of the offerings (2 Kgs.12:6-8). The people responded magnificently, as did the priests and tradesmen – 11 They gave the money which was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of the Lord; and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the Lord; 12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the damages to the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it … 15 Moreover, they did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully (2 Kgs.12:11-12 & 15). The people also resumed supporting the priesthood (2 Kgs.12:16).

Q.3. Why were the closing years of the reign of Joash unsatisfactory? – (2 Kgs.12:17-21) = Here in 2 Kings we note that King Joash had only a limited dependence upon God. He readily gave away the treasures of the House of the Lord to stave off an attack from the Arameans, rather than trusting in God (2 Kgs.12:17-18). The rest of his life recorded here is a rather generous abridged version of the closing years of his life (2 Kgs.12:19-21). In Chronicles we learn that he departed from the ways of the Lord. God raised up Jehoiada’s son to appeal for the king to turn back to God. However, with appalling treachery, Joash slayed the prophetic voice – Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his (step)father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son (2 Chron.24:22 c.f. 2 Chron.24:17-27). What a lesson, and what a warning to us.


(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 20/10/20

Numbers 8:1-26 … THE UNIQUE ROLE OF THE LEVITES AMONGST THE ISRAELITES.

Q.1. Why were Moses and Aaron to take care to follow the instructions regarding the lamps? How do these lights prefigure the role of Jesus? – (Num.8:1-4) =

Q.2. How were the tribes of Israel involved in the consecration of the Levites? What made the Levites different? – (Num.8:5-22) =

Q.3. Were priest allowed to continue to minister into old age? What do we learn from these guidelines? – (Num.8:23-26) =

The Seven Lamps

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

Cleansing of the Levites

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the Lord. 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites. 13 And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the Lord.

14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. 17 For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Retirement of the Levites

23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they[a] shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister[b] to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why were Moses and Aaron to take care to follow the instructions regarding the lamps? How do these lights prefigure the role of Jesus? – (Num.8:1-4) = The priests were to keep the lamps burning in the Holy Place, so they could complete their mediatorial role for the people (Num.8:1-3 c.f. Exo.27:20-21). It was a pattern of a more perfect sacrifice that would be made in Heaven for us, so had to be – … according to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses … (Num.8:4 c.f. Heb.9:23-24). This all pointed to the mediatory role of Jesus, Light of the world, Who is in the presence of the Father in Heaven (c.f. John 14:6; 8:12; 14:6; Heb.4:14-16; 8:5-6; 9:23-24).

Q.2. How were the tribes of Israel involved in the consecration of the Levites? What made the Levites different? – (Num.8:5-22) = The priests were washed and shaven all over. This made it obvious that they were set apart (Num.8:5-7). After this, they were presented before the Lord in the presence of millions of Israelites – 9 … You shall also assemble the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, 10 and present the Levites before the Lord; and the sons of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites (Num.8:9-10). All Israel were to lay hands on the priests, and thus ratify their role on their behalf. Moses was to remind them that the priests represented them before God – 16 for they are wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel. I have taken them for Myself instead of every first issue of the womb, the firstborn of all the sons of Israel. 17 For every firstborn among the sons of Israel is Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself (Num.8:16-17 c.f. Ex.13:11-15). The Lord told the people – 18 I have taken the Levites instead of every firstborn among the sons of Israel …  19 to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary” (Num.8:18-19). By the laying of hands on the Levites (and by the sacrifices) the people were taught the principle of substitution (c.f. 1 Pet.2:24, 3:18).

Q.3. Were priests allowed to continue to minister into old age? What do we learn from these guidelines? – (Num.8:23-26) = There were many prohibitions placed on the priesthood. Not only was it restricted to the descendants of Levi, no one who drew attention away from the Lord to himself, qualified to serve (c.f. Lev.21:1-24). The public priestly functions were also restricted to those of sound mind, and those physically competent – …  to perform service in the work of the tent of meeting (Num.8:24). This required that a priest had to be aged at least 25, and was to retire upon reaching 50.  Ageing and frailty would prevent a priest from fulfilling the exacting demands of the priesthood. However, there were provisions made to continue – They may, however, assist their brothers in the tent of meeting, to keep an obligation, but they themselves shall do no work (Num.8:26).


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 19/10/20

Luke 15:11-32 … A PRODIGAL SON LEAVES AND IS WELCOMED BACK BY HIS FATHER.

Q.1. How badly did it go for the prodigal son after he left his father? What brought him back? What does this say to you? – (Lk.15:11-18) =

Q.2. How was he received by his father after wasting his fortune? What is behind the father’s reception? What does this say about God? – (Lk.15:19-24)  =

Q.3. How did the father respond to the angry older brother? Who is the older brother like? – (Lk.15:1-3, 25-32) =

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[a] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] 22 But the father said to his servants,[c] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. How badly did it go for the prodigal son, after he left his father? What brought him back? What does this say to you? – (Lk.15:11-18) = The younger son asked for, and was given his share of his father’s estate. He couldn’t wait to get away to – a distant country (Lk.15:13). He wanted the freedom to live as he pleased, and satisfy his lusts  – he spent everything … with loose living’ (Lk.15:14 & 13). He had plenty of friends while his money lasted. Then a severe famine came. He fell so low that he had to resort to filling his stomach with food only fit for pigs (an unclean animal for Jews). His lowest point proved to be his best, for it was then that his thoughts turned to his father. In this forlorn state – he came to his senses, and said, `How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! (Lk.15:17). He saw the utter stupidity of maintaining his separation from his father. In brokenness he concluded – I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight (Lk.15:18). The best place for us is always in our heavenly Father’s presence.

Q.2. How was he received by his father, after wasting his fortune? What was behind the father’s reception? What does this say about God? – (Lk.15:19-24)  = We have an amazing heavenly Father: He does not abandon us when we leave Him and suffer loss – But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (Lk.15:20). The son tried to recite his well-rehearsed words of penitence. However, the father knew what his return meant, and – 22 … said to his slaves, `Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found’ (Lk.15:22-24). All that matters to God, is that we have chosen to be part of His family again. His love is so much greater than our hearts can conceive (Jn.3:16).

Q.3. How did the father respond to the angry older brother? Who is the older brother like? – (Lk.15:1-3, 25-32) = The father had divided his wealth between his two sons (Lk.15:12). The older son had lost nothing by his brother’s returning. He should have shared in the joy that this event brought. The father had been much more concerned about a lost son, than a lost fortune. The older brother could only think of himself – … and said to his father, `Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends (Lk.15:29). He was angry and unresponsive to the pleading of his father to join the celebrations. This summed up the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees, in their response to the outcasts of the nation who were coming to Jesus  (Lk.15:1-2).  Jesus is the Head of the church and the Owner and Heir of all things. We must play our part in seeking the conversion of sinners from a life of sin, as Jesus did.


(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