31 July, 2015
***Tomorrow we will dive into the book of
In Ps. 28 David’s prayer is answered. What difference does this make to him? Are you always as thankful about God’s answers to your prayers?
30 July, 2015
1. What does verses 1-6 reveal of David’s attitude in life and of his chief desire? Upon what is this attitude and desire based? What equivalent desire should we have today? Cf. 1. Pet. 2:4, 5; 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
2. In verses 7-14 what are David’s seven petitions? How does he address God, and how does he encourage himself to continue in prayer?
29 July, 2015
- Describe in your own words the main trend of David’s life as he describes it here. Can you make similar claim for yourself?
- In verse 12, David seems to be assured that God will answer his prayer. On what has it been based that he can have this assurance? Cf. Ps. 66:18; Jas. 4:3.
Note. Verse 12. ‘Level ground’: i.e., a place of safety and ease, where he can fulfill the promises of verses 6, 7
28 July, 2015
- What are the main petitions made here by the psalmist? What light do these petitions throw upon his circumstances and spiritual experience? How far can you make these petitions your own?
- In verses 6-15 what is said about God and what He does for those who fear Him? How far is this true in your own experience? What does this psalm teach about how you can experience more of the friendship, guidance and deliverance of the Lord?
27 July, 2015
- David knows the Lord as His shepherd. In Ps. 23 note the effect this has upon his thoughts about his present and his future. Has your knowledge of the Lord had this effect for you?
- From Ps. 24 what do we learn of the Lord? What is required, therefore of those who worship Him?
Note. Ps. 24 was probably written for the occasion when David brought the ark of God to Jerusalem. See 2 Sa. 6
26 July, 2015
- Trace in these verses the happy results of the sufferings described in verses 1:21. Note (a) how far-reaching is their effect, and (b) to whom they mean most.
- List those things that are stated will be the reaction of people to the deliverance of the sufferer, and see how far this is true of your own reaction to the resurrection of Jesus-Christ.
Note. Verse 22. This is applied to Christ in Heb. 2:12
25 July, 2015
- Note the things that seem to make the sufferings here described the harder to bear. How closely does this psalm picture the sufferings of Christ? Cf. Mt. 27:35-46; Jn. 19:23, 24.
- In these sufferings upon what does the faith of this man say itself?
24 July, 2015
These two psalms are closely linked together. In Ps. 20 a battle is about to take place between the king of Israel at the head of his people and his foes. Sacrifices have been offered, and the king and his people commit their cause in faith to God. In Ps. 21 the battle is won, and the people give thanks to God for their king and look forward to further victories.
- What does Ps. 20 reveal is the attitude of the king and his people as they set out against their foes? On what is the confidence of verses 6 based? Is this sort of confidence characteristic of God’s people today?
- Ps. 21 falls into two parts, verse 1:7 and 8-12, with a concluding prayer. To whom is the first part addressed, and to whom the second? In what ways does what is said of the king find its fulfilment in Christ?
23 July, 2015
- God has revealed Himself in His creation. What do the things the psalmist mentions in verses 1-6 tell us about God Cf. Mt. 5:45; Rom. 1:19-21
- Contrast this with the revelation given in ‘the law of the Lord’ (verses 7-11). Note how great the advance, both in clearness and in fullness of effect. Note in particular its effect upon the psalmist (verses 12-14). Is your study of God’s Word producing similar results in your experience?
Note verse 4. ‘Their voice’: the Hebrew (see mg.) says ‘line’, i.e, their ‘measuring line’. Cf. Je. 31:39. The boundary or extent of their message is earth’s farthest limit.
22 July, 2015
- Make a list of all that God did for David as set forth in these verses. What corresponding help may we expect from Him in spiritual service? Cf. 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 1:19.
- Verse 49 is in Rom. 15:9 referred to Christ. Does this mean that the whole psalm can be taken as being in some way prophetic of Christ? If so, what does it draw attention?
21 July, 2015
- David begins by expressing his love for the Lord (verses 1-3). God was to him a rock, fortress, shield and stronghold. What are the equivalent defences and securities in which men trust today? Is God to you all that these can give, and more? Cf. Hab. 3:17, 18; Heb. 13: 5, 6.
- From David’s testimony concerning God’s answer to his prayer, what can we learn as to (a) God’s power to help, (b) the sort of person God will help, and (c) the reasons why this help will be forthcoming?
- Verses 9-16 are probably not intended to be taken literally, but as a poetic description in vivid imagery of the strength and majesty with which God came to David’s aid.
- Verse 29a. There is a possible allusion here to 1 Sa. 30:8; and in verse 29b to 2 Sa. 5:6, 7
20 July, 2015
- In verses 1-7 on what two grounds does David base his plea? Cf. 1Jn. 3: 21, 22.
- Contrast the inward character, the aims and the actions of David and his enemies as revealed in this psalm. In what ways do you resemble David, and in what ways his enemies?
19 July, 2015
- Go through Ps. 15 verse by verse, and use it as a test for your own life and holiness. Then turn to 1 Jn. 1:8, 9.
- What according to Ps. 16 are the marks of the believing man (verses 1-4)? What his privileges (verses 5-8)? And what his prospects (verses 9-11)?
- 15:5a. Cf. Lv.25:35-38; Dt. 23:19, 20. The laws against usury were enacted more as a protection of the poor than against the legitimate use of capital in the interests of trade. Cf.. Mt. 25:27.
- 16:10. Quoted by Peter (Acts 2:27) and by Paul (Acts 13:35) with reference to Christ. As with Ps. 15, the psalm is fulfilled in Him, and in us through Him.
18 July, 2015
- In Ps.13 what is David having to endure? And how does he avoid depression and despair?
- What can we learn from Ps. 14 about the fundamental reasons why men say, “There is no God’? Cf. 2 Cor. 4:3, 4. How should this affect our approach to such people? How are they sometimes made aware of the living God?
17 July, 2015
This is the end of the study of the books of Amos & Hosea. Tomorrow, we will go back to the Psalms. We will be studying Psalms 13-29. Then, we will start with Thessalonians books.
- In what four ways is the coming judgment described in chapter 13 (verses 3, 7-8, 15, 16)? And what four reasons are given for this judgment (verses 1-2, 4-6, 9, 16)? What may we learn from this about the nature of sin?
- Chapter 14 describes the final triumph of God’s love. What according to this chapter, does repentance involve (14:1-3, 8), and what is the divine response?
16 July, 2015
In chapter 11 another aspect of God’s dealing with Israel breaks into view His persisting love. Judgement there must be (11:5-8), but God will not make a final end of His sinning people.
- How was God’s love manifested in Israel beginnings? See 11:1-4; cf. Dt. 7:6-8. How was this love still manifested, in spite of all His people’s backsliding? See 11:8-11.
- In chapter 11 God has spoken of His attitude to Israel; now in 11:12-12:2 He speaks of Israel’s attitude to Himself. Then the prophet reminds the people of the very different history of their ancestor Jacob (12:3, 4). What is the attitude to Himself which God desires (12:6; cf. 6:6; 10:12)? What, however was Israel’s response to all God’s pleadings (12:7-14)?
15 July, 2015
These chapters are prophecies of coming judgment, and show how the people’s sin will bring upon them (a) exile (9:1-8); (b) a diminished population (9:9-17); and (c) the destruction of both the sanctuaries and the throne, and the reducing of the nation to servitude (10:1-15).
- 9:1-8. This passage was perhaps spoken at a religious festival, when people were making merry after the manner of the heathen. At their festivals (9:1). How does Hosea describe the changes that exile will bring?
- 9:9-17. God Himself speaks. He sees lust prevalent in the nation as in the most shameful days of Israel’s history. To what results would it lead?
- What different kinds of sin are spoken of in chapter 10? What counsel does the prophet give as to the one way of escape from the coming judgement?
- 10:1. ‘Pillars’: a common feature of a Canaanite shrine, imitated by the Israelites in their worship.
- 10:5, 6. Cf. 1 Ki. 12:28, 29.
- 10:10. ‘Their double iniquity’: perhaps meaning the sins of the throne and of worship.
- 10:11. The position of Israel is to be changed from that of a heifer treading the threshing-floor and eating freely (Dt. 25:4) to the heavy labour of the yoke.
- 10:14. ‘As Shalman destroyed Beth-Arbel’: the reference is uncertain. Shalman is probably the same as Shalmaneser, 2Ki. 17:3
14 July, 2015
- The passage 5:15 – 6:6 is a dialogue between God and the people, in which God has expressed His purpose to withdraw His presence (5:15), the people light-heartedly profess repentance, and their confidence in God’s restored favour (6:1-3); but the true situation is far from what the people think (6:4-6). What does God desire to find in His people?
- The remainder of today’s portion consists of description of the state of the nation: the sinfulness of priest, kings, and people (6:7-7:7); their instability and folly (7:8-8:3); God’s anger against both their rulers and their idols---all alike man-made (8:4-13). What do you find here (a) about the sins that abounded; (b) about false alliances that blinded their eyes; (c) about the real cause of their perilous position?
13 July, 2015
- Note down in chapter 4: 1-14 (a) the outward sins which caused the Lord to have a controversy with His people, and (b) the inward condition of which these sins were the outcome. How far might this description be applied to our society today?
- 4:15:19. This passage may be interpreted as a warning to the southern kingdom of Judah not to ally herself with Israel. Why this warning and what message has it for us?
- What in chapter 5 are shown to be the real obstacles that separate the people from God, and God from the people? Who are charged with responsibility for this condition of things?
- 4:15. ‘Beth-aven’: house of vanity, ‘used ironically for ‘Beth-el’, house of God’.
- 4:17. ‘Ephraim’: the leading tribe of the northern kingdom, therefore used as a synonym for Israel. Only in chapter 13 does it refer to the tribe.
- 5:17. ‘The new moon’: i.e., the next new moon. Within a month ruin will be upon them.
12 July, 2015
- The adulterer seeks satisfaction in unlawful relationship; the harlot debases high possessions for material gain. How does Hosea show that this is what Israel has done in relation to the Lord Himself?
- What promise is given in verses 14:23 of the final triumph of God’s love? How is it to be achieve? Does this chapter in any way illustrate the conduct and the one sure hope of God’s people today?
- Verse 5. ‘My livers’: a reference to the local gods of the land (or ‘the baals’, verse 13), whom the Israelites in their backsliding conceived to be the givers of nourishment (‘bread and water’), clothing (‘wool and flax’) and joy (‘oil and drink’), and to whom accordingly they offered worship (verse 13).
- Verses 14, 15. The Israelites, after leaving Egypt, wandered in the wilderness, and entered the Promised Land by the valley of Achor. Now they shall again be brought into the wilderness (i,e. the exile), but after this time of affliction, they shall return to Canaan, and will find the valley of Achor, not as at the first, a place of trouble (Jos. 7:24), but a door of hope, Cf. Is. 65:10.
- Verses 18-23. A beautiful picture of peace (verse 18), communion with the Lord (verses 19, 20), and abounding blessing (verses 21-23). Jezreel, which means ‘God sows’ is used in verse 22 as a name of Israel.
11 July, 2015
Hosea’s life story is outlined in these two chapters.
1. What evidence do you find (a) that at the time of his marriage Hosea was already conscious of his prophetic calling, and did all things, including his marriage, with his eyes upon the Lord; (b) that he was not aware, when he married Gomer, that she would prove unfaithful; and (c) that on looking back later upon the whole matter, he recognized that God had brought him through this bitter experience in order that he might understand what Israel’s unfaithfulness meant to God? What ought we to learn from such a record? Cf. Gn. 50:20.
2. Gomer, having proved unfaithful appears to have forsaken Hosea and sunk to the position of a slave. Hosea, loving her still, redeemed her, but placed her for a time under discipline. How does the prophet use this to illustrate God’s love and Israel’s future?
- 1:4. See e Ki. 10:11, 30. Jehu was right in what he did, but not in the spirit in which he did it.
- 1:10-2:1 is a prophecy of the future, in which the divine love interrupts the message of doom. This is characteristic of Hosea.
- 3:4, 5. This is a reference to the exile.
10 July, 2015
1. Why is social injustice the burden of Amos’ prophecy? What seven forms of judgement are spoken of in 8:7-14? Are these in any way related to the sins of the nation?
2. 9:1-10. How does this final vision show that none can escape the hand of God?
3. What does this final chapter teach about the relationship between judgement and restoration in the purposes of God?
09 July, 2015
1. What is the significance of each of Amos’ four vision (7: 1-9, 8:1-3)? What truth is demonstrated by the difference between the first two and the last two?
2. 7:10-17. How does this section reveal the fearless courage of the prophet and the danger to which his obedience to God’s call exposed him? What may we learn from this concerning the demands of God’s service?
- 7:4. “The great deep”: probably a reference to the ancient belief in underground depths which supplied water for streams, springs, etc. Cf. Gn. 7:11.
- 7:10. Bethel was the chief sanctuary of the northern kingdom.
08 July, 2015
1. 5: 1-17. God uses various methods to draw men back to Himself. Chapter 4 mentioned natural calamities; this chapter, a plea for right living. What sins are rebuked in these verses, and what is the one way of escape?
2. 5:18-27. What is necessary to make our worship acceptable to God? How did Israel fail? Is our worship in danger of falling under the same judgement?
3. Chapter 6. Why were the Israelites insensitive to the approaching judgement? What warning does this contain for us?
- 5:25, 26. These verses are obscure, but seem to mean that the idolatrous tendency in Israel found expression in the day of the wilderness wandering as it was doing now in Amos’ day.
- 6:2. Probably a reference to cities which have recently fallen. Israel is no more secure than they were.
- 6:10. This reference to burning the dead indicates a time of emergency.
07 July, 2015
1. 3: 3-8. These verses, by a statement of the law of cause and effect, underline the fact that the unexpected prophecy of 3:1, 2 is indeed from God. What does this prophecy teach regarding the responsibility of the people of God?
2. 3:9-15. what is the significance of the invitation to the Philistines and Egyptians to come and see the evil done in Samaria?
1. What does chapter 4 teach on the following issues: (a) the evil of luxury, (b) religious formalism, and (c) God’s attempts to bring Israel to her senses? Notice the solemn conclusion of verse 12.
- 4:1. A reference to the wealthy women of Samaria. The cattle of Bashan were noted for their quality.
- 4:5, 6. These verses are ironical in tone.
06 July, 2015
- What are the particular sins of the nations (1:3-2:3) which call for God’s judgment? What may be learnt from this about the things God hates?
- Judah and Israel are judged because they have failed to live up to God’s law—a different standard of judgement from that applied to the nations. In what ways does 2:4-16 show the social, economic, and religious guilt of God’s people? How do we fall short on the same issues?
1. 1:3. Heavy machines for threshing grain had been used as instruments of torture on the people of Gilead.
2. 2:1. Desecration of the dead as considered specially wicked
3. 2:8. Cf. Ex. 22:26. The judges demanded unjust fines, accepting payment in clothing and wine, then made use of these at their sacrificial feasts.
05 July, 2015
WHY THESE TWO BOOKS TOGETHER?
These two prophets are linked together in that both prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel about the same time.
Amos was the earlier by a few years, His ministry took place in the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II. He himself belonged to Judah, and was a herdsman when called of God to prophesy to northern Israel (Am. 7:14, 15). The kingdom was at that time outwardly prosperous, but all kinds of evil were rife in the land, and the people, thinking themselves secure in Jehovah’s favor resented any reproof (Am. 5:10) They did not realize that they were not worshiping Him in the way that He desired, and that their sins were bringing judgement near. Amos, filled with a vision of the majesty and righteousness of God, denounced the sins of the land, and the false worship that was offered. Let them not imagine that because they were the people of Jehovah, therefore they would escape punishment (Am.3:2).
The first three chapters of Hosea also belong to the closing years of the reign of Jeroboam II, but the remaining chapter reflect the chaotic conditions of the periods that followed Jeroboam’s death. Hosea was a native of the northern kingdom, and had been deeply taught in the school of sorrow. His own sad history was used by the Holy Spirit to fit him in a unique way to see into the heart of God, and to depict the sorrow which His people’s ingratitude and unfaithfulness cause Him. No prophet so clearly shows us the love of God, without in any way weakening the claims of His holiness; and thus he prepares the way for the perfect revelation of God’s love and holiness given in our Lord Jesus Christ. In understanding Hosea’s message, however, it must be borne in mind that the Israelites had adopted many Canaanite religious practices, including that of gross sexual immorality in worship. In the light of this, the ‘harlot’ theme in Hosea has both a literal and a metaphorical meaning.
04 July, 2015
We have reached the end of the book of Acts
- Trace through the following key verses in the book: 1:8; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20 and 28:31. What reasons can you list from them for the growth of the early church? What lessons do you learn about obedience to God’s Word, trust in God’s power, and witness to the Lord Jesus Christ?
- In such passages as 20:18-35; 21:13, 14; 23:1; 24:16; 26:19-23, 29 and 27:22-35, we have an insight into the real personality and spirit of Paul. List the qualities that are outstanding. Were these natural or divine qualities? Can they be yours?
03 July, 2015
- Paul at Rome (verses 17-22). What was Paul’s chief concern on reaching Rome? It would seem he was anxious that no discredit should be laid against the Christian faith by his house-arrest. Are you anxious always to commend the Christian faith by your life?
- Verses 23-28. What was Paul’s message to the Jews at Rome? What reason does he give for the persistence of so many in unbelief? What reaction did he expect the Gentiles would show? Is this still the same today?
- List the main facts with which Luke summarizes Paul’s ministry as a prisoner at Rome(verses 30, 31) Consider the influence Paul had during those years through people coming to him, and through letters he wrote to the churches he had visited.
02 July, 2015
- The disastrous journey is almost ended. What opportunities of service and witness did Paul find in Malta? Have you found opportunities of service for Christ when things, seemingly, go wrong in your life?
- ‘So we came to Rome’ (verse 14.) Cf. 19:21; 23:11; Rom. 1:13; 15:22, 23. This was the goal, but what can one learn from the fact that God had other ways for it to be achieved than Paul at first realized?
01 July, 2015
- In the time of testing and danger that all on the ship went through, compare the reactions of Paul (verses 24, 25; 33-36) with the sailors (verses 30-32), and the soldiers (verses 42, 43). Why was Paul able to behave so calmly and inspire others with his example? Do you have inner resources that help you to stand in times like these?
- Notice that the shipwreck was caused through not taking Paul’s advice. See Study 52, Question 2. Is this a warning to you not to make shipwreck of your life through disobedience of some plain command of God (e.g., 2 Cor. 6:14 and Mt. 6:33)?