Judges 7:24-8:35

  1. Note
    (a) Gideon’s dealings with the complaints of Ephraim and with the lack of co-operation of the elders of Succoth and Penuel;
    (b) the vigour of his pursuit and capture of Zebah and Zalmunna, and the respect that these princes showed him.
    What various aspects of character are revealed here?
  2. What temptation did Gideon overcome?
    Contrast, however, the frequent references to God’s guidance in the earlier part of the narrative with the entire absence of this in 8:24-27.
    Why did Gideon, who had given such able leadership in the national crisis, fail to give adequate leadership in a time of peace?
    Is it true that we tend to reply on God only when are ‘up against it’?

 

Note. The ephod of the high priest (Exod. 28) was a shoulder garment covering the breast and back, ornamented with gems and gold, and having in front the breastplate containing the Urim and Thummin, which were manipulated to discover God’s will. Gideon’s ephod (8:24-27) may have been an elaborate reproduction, or it may have been some kind of free-standing image. In any case it was used to ascertain God’s answer in a particular situation, but the people came to regard it as a kind of idol.

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Judges 4

  1. Why do you think Barak was unwilling to undertake the campaign without Deborah?
    Does this reveal a defect in his faith?
    What insight does this give into God’s willingness to bear with our human frailty?
    Cf. Exod. 4:13-16; Jer. 16-8; 2 Cor. 3:5,6.
  2. Who was the real architect of Israel’s victory?
    Cf. Exod. 14:13; 2 Sam. 8:6, 14; 2 Chr. 20:15-17. What practical has application has this for us today?

Joshua 24

  1. Note the place chosen by Joshua for this occasion. Cf. Gen. 12:6, 7; 33:18, 19; Josh. 8:32-35; Acts 7:16. In what other ways did he seek to make this as impressive and memorable an event as possible?
    Consider verses 2-13; 14, 15; 19, 20; 22, 23; 25-28.
  2. What evidence is there in this chapter, despite all that God had done, of the superficiality and instability of the Israelites’ religious life?
    Cf. Hos. 6:4.

Joshua 3

  1. Work out the order of events, as the people entered the Promised Land.
    Note the parts played by God and by the people.
    What principles for progress in the Christian life are illustrated here?

Map: Click on the map to see the 40kms from Adam to the Arabah (the dead sea.

Map of Israel for the crossing into the promise Land

Map of Israel for the crossing into the promise Land

Deuteronomy 24 & 25

  1. In chapter 24. The principle behind all these regulations is that of the eight commandment: equity and honesty in all walks of life.
    (a) Make a list of the ways in which this is to be practised according to this chapter.
    (b) Examine your own life by these standards in order to discover points on which you are prone to failure.
  2. What application does Paul make of 25:4? (See 1 Cor. 9:9; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18).
  3. Taking Amalek as a type of ‘the flesh’, that is of our fallen carnal nature, compare what is said here with Exod. 17:14-16; Gal. 5:17, 24.
    (a) When and where is such an enemy most likely to attack, and how ought such an enemy to be regarded by us?

Deuteronomy 6

In Chapter 6-10 Moses outlines some general implications of the Ten Commandments before proceeding to apply them in detail to particular situations.

  1. What was God’s purpose in giving the law, and what was the primary duty of the Israelite?
    What was he to do, and what was he to beware of and not to do? (list them)
  2. Verses 10-15 concern forgetfulness-of-God in a time of prosperity.
    What ways of guarding against this danger can be found either explicit or implicit in this passage?
  3. What insight is given in this chapter into the necessity and method of family religion?

Notes:

  1. . Verse 6. ‘Be upon’ literally ‘imprinted on’.
  2. Verse 13. Alluded to by Christ in answer to Satan (Matt. 4:10).

Numbers 6:22-7:89

  1. What did it mean for Aaron and his sons to ‘put’ God’s name ‘on the Israelites’? How did the blessing effect this? See Deut. 28:9, 10; Dan. 9:18 19; and cf. 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 13:14.
  2. Notice how often the words ‘offering’ or ‘dedication offering’ are used in chapter 7. The solemnity is emphasized by repetition. In what way is 7:89 a fitting climax to this ‘build-up’? What did it all mean to Israel? Do we ‘offer’ to God in this atmosphere of reverence? What similar climax can we expect when we thus approach God? Cf. Heb. 3:7; 4:16.

 

Note. 6:26. ‘Peace’ (Heb. Shalom) does not mean simply ‘cessation of hostility’. It indicates ‘completeness’, ‘perfection’ or ‘well-being’.