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God's Solution Sanctuary
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Old Testament Questions and Answers


1.    What does it mean to be perfect?

Abram was instructed to “be blameless” (Gen. 17:1), similar to the way Job was described as ‘being perfect. In Job 1:1 – Job was described as both “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil”. This did not mean that he was exempted from sin, but rather that he had grown to a place of mature spirituality. The Hebrew word tamim may mean “perfect, wholeheartedly, or blameless.” The word depicts wholeness when used of attitudes and is translated “without blemish” when used in the context of sacrifice. In Abraham’s case, he was being called to maturity that he might be genuinely and unreservedly committed to God’s service. Essentially, when the Scriptures talk of perfection, they refer to three things. First, one is “perfect” if to the best of his ability he is walking before God with Him. Second, perfection is sometimes viewed as not offending one’s conscience. Finally, perfection is being fully conformed to Jesus Christ. When we walk by faith, we must have a perfect heart with God as its object (Heb. 12:2).


2.    From the life of Joshua, what are the qualities of a leader?

Joshua learned to lead as a result of disciplines learned early in life. He invested time and energy in learning how to lead by following a real leader – Moses. Joshua also realized that he had to allow God teach him based on the curriculum God had for him, even if the lessons were being passed down through a human leader. He was taught and learned to obey orders and it was not until he had spent a greater part of his life taking and executing orders that he was then permitted to issue orders. He learned that victory on the battlefield was that which the Lord gave, prayer is mightier than the sword and God was committed to the defense of His people. He went through being alone, self-evaluation, judgements, trial and proving. He learnt and developed a communion, fellowship relationship with God and that he should abstain from opposing the work of God simply because of ‘sectarian concerns’ or preconceived notions (Num. 11:28). He had strong faith in God, a sustained confidence even when he had to take an unpopular stance and was almost stoned to death (Num. 13:16-33). Importantly, Joshua had the call of God on his life to perform the leadership role he was stepping into (Num. 27; 34:17; Deut. 31:7-8). Lastly, he was empowered by the Holy Spirit for the work God called him to do as you cannot work for God without God. The Bible states he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Deut. 34:9), meaning he was yielded to the leading, direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit which enables the accomplishment of God’s purposes for the life of the leader.


3.    From a spiritual perspective, why were the ten plagues of Egypt significant?

The plagues were to prove to the Egyptians that God was supreme over all the gods that were being revered and worshipped in Egypt. The first plague of turning water to blood proved that Osiris, the god of the Nile River was not in charge of the Nile River. The second plague of frogs demonstrated that Hekt the Egyptian god of frogs was not in charge of the frogs. The third plague of Lice targeted Seb, the Egyptian god of flies; the fourth plague of flies proved Kephera the Egyptian god of flies could not control the flies. The fifth plague against cattle proved Apis and Hathor, Egyptian gods of cattle were powerless to protect the cattle. The sixth plague of boils proved that Typhon the god of boils could not prevent the boils from being on the Egyptians, the seventh plague of hails proved that Shu, the god of hail could not control hail. The eight plague of locusts demonstrated that Serapis, the god of locusts could not control the locusts. The ninth plague proved that Ra, the god of darkness, could not control darkness and lastly, the tenth plague of death of the firstborn of the Egyptians proved that Ptah, the god of death was powerless to protect the firstborn of the Egyptians from death. Hence, God proved his supremacy over all gods that had hitherto been considered by the Egyptians as being powerful or being in charge of affairs of Egypt.


4.    Why did Joseph’s brother hate him?

Joseph was the youngest of eleven brothers and yet was given the position of the heir, the firstborn. The coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3), a long-sleeved garment not only belonged to the heir but also meant the user was exempted from the normal work of sons in the field as the sleeves would interfere with the field work. This meant that the honor and privileges that should have been enjoyed by the older brothers was being enjoyed by Joseph. Secondly, it appears that Joseph had been reporting the evil actions of his brothers to Jacob, their father, ‘and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report’ (Gen 37:2). Thirdly, Josephs’ dreams were also a bone of contention and annoyance. Joseph would dream and tell his brothers dreams meaning he would be superior to them and together with their parents would bow to (serve) him. These apparently made the brothers dislike and hate Joseph.


5.    In what are some of the ways Joshua failed?

His children did not follow His ways. They could not be trusted to be judges, leading to a situation where there was no central leader that Israel could look up to. Further, Joshua had not developed a protégé, someone being mentored by him to succeed him as national leader, the way Moses developed and trained him.


6.    What does it mean to be a Nazarite?

A Nazarite is a provision to dedicate oneself to the service of the Lord, a form of consecration, through which an individual demonstrates his commitment to God and the work he was doing by observing three conditions which were symbols of his dedication. Usually, a Nazarite vow would be for a limited period of time. The conditions are firstly, not to eat or touch the unclean; secondly, not drink wine or strong drink; and thirdly, no razor to cut his hair.


7.    In what ways did Samuel fail?

Similar to Joshua, his children did not walk in his ways, they were perverting justice by collecting bribes and possibly judging the case in favour of the highest bidder. He may have been highly committed to his work as judge and priest. We were not informed about his wife and family life. This teaches us to also be committed to teaching our children in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from the way of Lord.


8.    What major lesson(s) can be learnt from Job’s suffering?

Don’t bother knowing or asking why. From Job’s story, we are comforted knowing that God will see us through and we will come out well in the end. As stated by the author, if someone had asked Job why the righteous suffer, ‘he probably would have said: “You don’t really need an answer”. We should not accuse God, but trust God in faith, in times of suffering, knowing we will come out well.


9.    What are the functions of judges?

The book of Judges reflect a season of departure from ‘God governance’ to patriarchal and self-governance with marked departure from God. God periodically raised several political, societal and sometimes spiritual leaders to lead his people of out of oppression and bondage and guide to the worship of the true God. These were referred to as Judges. Some of them included Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Tola, Ibzan, Elon, Samson, Eli and Samuel. Their stories highlight negative consequences and oppression hold sway for departures from God; freedom, peace and progress for commitment and worship of God. It also emphasized that even when people have departed from God, when they return in repentance and call on Him, God is ever ready to help and deliver them.


10. Did tithing start at the giving of the law or from Malachi?

No. Both Abraham and Jacob paid tithes before the law (Gen. 14:20, 22; 28:20-22). The principle was later incorporated under the law during the giving of the law (Lev. 27:30-33). Jesus and later, Apostle Paul affirmed the principle of tithing (Matt. 23:23, 1 Cor. 16:2).



11. Why is there so much emphasis on financial matters when tithing is discussed, should we not be focusing on spiritual matters?

Malachi emphasized that tithing is a spiritual matter not a financial matter. Failure to tithe is a personal affront to God and God will withhold blessings from the people if they refuse to tithe. In Abraham’s life, he recognized that when God asks for something, even if God does not need it, it must be given. Moreover, giving God what He has asked for represents submission to God.  


12. What does Christophany mean?

Christophany is the preincarnate manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament, where Jesus appears in person, or as an angel. When “an Angel” appeared to Abraham to prevent him from killing Isaac, the Angel stated He was the One to whom Isaac was being sacrificed.  The ‘Man’ who stood opposite Joshua and identified himself as the “Commander of the army of the Lord” was also a preincarnate appearance of Christ.


13. What were some of the reasons that propelled Jeroboam to establish false gods in the northern kingdom of Israel?

The first was the fear that the worship of Jehovah by both Israel and Judah may lead to the reunification of both nations, contrary to Jeroboam’s desire. Secondly, the worshippers would pay tithes in the place of worship, now situated in another nation, meaning 20 to 30 percent of the gross national product of Israel would go to Judah. Thirdly, the split of the nations happened physically because of an unwillingness to change the tax structure and burden, so Jeroboam had to be careful about how much taxes or levies he placed on his people. Fourthly, as a result of the above, he was limited in how much revenue he could raise and development and services he could provide in Israel. However, Judah was relatively unrestricted in how much it could raise. If the northerners keep visiting Judah in the south, there would be awareness of how better off Judah is and how worse off the people in Israel were, so he devised a means to keep his people in Israel and prevent them from going to Judah by establishing two golden calves as national gods, one in Bethel and the other in Dan.


14. What are some of the ways Samson failed God?

He broke his Nazarite vows of consecration to God, leading to a situation where God left him. Similarly, Christians should not break our stance of holiness and righteous living, so the Holy Spirit, who will not strive with man, will not leave us. He also could not control his desire for women, especially prostitutes and those nationalities God warned Israel not to be associated with in marriage.


15. What lessons can be learnt from the results of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah?

Trust even when you do not see the results of your prayer. Though Lot was saved, he possibly was not aware as no one told him. This lack of understanding that God answered his prayer appear to have resulted in Abraham’s lapse of faith. Notwithstanding what is going on around us, we should trust God that He is faithful and will not let us down.  


16. In what ways did God provide food and drink for Elijah when he was running away from Jezebel?

God directed Elijah to a mountain stream named Cherith, the prophet drank water from this brook and ravens to bring him bread and meat twice daily until the brook dried up. Elijah was then directed to a widow in Zarephat, who followed Elijah’s instructions to first prepare the prophet’s food from her remaining provisions, before preparing food for herself and her son. The widow’s provision was not exhausted as she, her son, and Elijah ate from the ‘last’ provision she had initially until the famine was over.


17. How come the lions did not eat Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den?

God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths, so they would not hurt Daniel because he was found innocent in God’s sight. (Dan. 6:22)


18. How did Elisha neutralize the poison in the food of the prophets?

When the prophets accidentally poisoned a stew they were making, Elisha neutralized the poison by adding flour to the pot.


19. How did Jezebel die?

Jehu was executing the mission given to him by God while he was being anointed to be king of the northern tribes of Israel, in the process he came to the city gate and Jezebel greeted him from a window in an upper room of her house. Jehu called out, asking who was in that room that was loyal to him. Two or three Eunuchs who responded were ordered by Jehu to throw Jezebel out. She died in the fall and when men came back to get her body for burial, all they could find were the palm of her hands and feet and part of her skull. The rest had been eaten by dogs according to the prophecy of Elijah (2 Kings 9:30-37).



20. Why was Deborah unique as a Judge in Israel?

Deborah was the only female Judge recorded in the Bible, she was also a prophetess, being close to God and was the voice of God in the land. She did something for God when the men refused. After giving God’s word of prophecy and encouragement to Barak to defeat Sisera the captain of the opposing forces. Barak said he would not go to war except Deborah went with him. Deborah agreed, to strengthen the arm of Barak and encourage him so Israel could have the victory. Even though many men from other Israelite tribes shied away from the war, Deborah went to the war and victory was obtained. The author remarks that the influence of dedicated women had been experienced throughout history especially in the field of missions and it would be difficult to imagine what would be accomplished in the field of missions if women had not done what men refused to do.