Introduction: What good are prophets? Since we have learned that
prophets give us messages from God, it seems the answer is obvious:
we get to hear God’s will. Ask yourself: “Are you sure you really
want to hear God’s will for your life?” Considering the reaction of
many to the Bible, I suspect the answer is “no” for some people.
Let’s dive into our Bible study this week and find out was blessings
are in store for those who desire to know and follow God’s will.

  1. God’s Love and Will

    1. Read Deuteronomy 7:7-8. On what basis did God choose His
      people? Was it because He felt sorry for them because they
      were the “runts” of the litter? (God loved them and He had
      made a promise to their ancestors.)

      1. Doesn’t God love everyone? If you say, “yes,” then
        how do you explain this text?

      2. What promise had God made to their ancestors? (Read
        Exodus 19:5-6. If they would obey God they would be
        His treasured possession. This promise goes back to
        the Genesis 22 account of Abraham being asked to
        sacrifice Isaac.)

      3. Which came first: God’s love or their obedience?
        (Read Exodus 19:3-5. We see that God first rescued
        the people and then asked them to obey Him.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 7:9-10. Recall that I asked you earlier
      whether God loves everyone? If you were reading these
      words for the first time, what kind of relationship would
      you say God had with humans? (He loves those who love and
      obey Him, and He destroys those who hate Him.)

      1. Why does the text say this is a “covenant of love?”
        Is this love part of a bargain? After all, a covenant
        is an agreement.

      2. Likely, this is not the first time you have read
        these words in Deuteronomy 7. Do you think they mean
        something different than what they seem to say?

    3. We live in different times, are these rules still in
      effect? (Read John 14:15, John 14:21 and John 14:23-24.
      Yes. Jesus says exactly the same thing.)

    4. Read John 3:16. Doesn’t this say that God loves the entire
      world? Is there a conflict between this text and what we
      read in Deuteronomy 7 and John 14? (God loves everyone in
      the sense that Jesus died for all and the gift of
      salvation is open to all. However, God has a special
      relationship with those who obey Him. Christians must
      never forget they are saved by grace alone, but they must
      also never forget that God expects and rewards obedience.)

  1. The Role of the Prophet in Blessings

    1. Read John 14:25-26. How does a prophet fit into this
      scheme? (God’s Spirit works through the Bible prophets who
      write down what God said for our benefit. We have seen in
      this series of lessons that the prophets remind us of what
      God wants us to do. They warn us when we get out of line.
      The Holy Spirit will also speak to us personally to remind
      us of God’s will.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 7:11-15. What blessings should we expect
      from paying attention to God’s prophets? (God tells us
      that we will have better lives if we obey Him.)

    3. Read Luke 13:1. What happened to these people? (They were
      apparently sacrificing at the temple in Jerusalem and
      Pilate killed them.)

    4. Read Luke 13:2-3. Did these Galileans die because they
      were not obeying God? (Jesus does not say they were
      obeying God. He does say that what happened to them did
      not reflect their sin.)

    5. Read Luke 13:4-5. What happened to these people? (A tower
      fell on them. They were probably walking by and a wall
      collapsed, killing them.)

      1. Did the wall fall on them because they were bad
        people? (Jesus does not endorse their behavior, but
        He does say they were not wiped out because of their
        particular sins.)

      2. What is Jesus’ primary message to us in these two
        stories? (We should all repent of our sin.)

      3. What does Jesus seem to say about obedience and

    6. Read Hebrews 11:35-39. Except for the first phrase, the
      people described here are believers, people who were
      obedient to God to the point of death, yet terrible things
      happened to them. Are the Deuteronomy rules out the

      1. How do you reconcile John 14:23 with the terrible
        things happening to the people described in Hebrews

    7. How do you reconcile the idea of obedience = blessings
      with the difficult life of Paul or Peter or other prophets
      through whom God inspired the Bible?

    8. Read Hebrews 11:40. When do these people (who are
      suffering terribly on earth) gain the blessings of
      obedience? (In heaven.)

    9. After Jesus spoke of the Galileans and the people killed
      by the wall collapse, He continued with a parable. Read
      Luke 13:5-9. Is this fig tree blessed?

      1. Is the man tending the fig tree like a prophet? (He
        not only took care of fig tree in connection with his
        work in the vineyard, but he did special work to
        properly fertilize it for a year.)

      2. What happens to the fig tree if it does not bear
        fruit after the man has worked on it? (It is cut

      3. How is this parable a logical conclusion to Jesus’
        response to the stories about the Galileans and the
        people killed by the tower collapse? (If you do not
        repent, you will die – it just might be a while.)

    10. Are there general principles you find in these texts? (We
      are all sinners. We all need to repent. When we see some
      terrible tragedy happen to someone else, we cannot say
      “God harmed him because of his sin.” If God were in the
      retribution business, we all would be in trouble. On the
      other hand, God blesses those who seek to obey Him. The
      general rule is that they enjoy the blessings of
      obedience. For some people those blessings find their
      fulfillment in heaven. For everyone who does not turn to
      God, they will find, like the fig tree, that they are “cut
      off” at the end of time (if not before).)

  2. Prophet Messages and Health

    1. Read Leviticus 7:22-23. What blessing did God have in mind
      when He told Moses to give this message? Compare
      Deuteronomy 7:15. (I doubt those people had any clue that
      eating fat was unhealthy for them. We know from modern
      medical science that eating fat is unhealthy. We see that
      part of the blessings of obeying the prophet was the
      health advantage of avoiding fat.)

    2. Read Isaiah 38:21 and Leviticus 15:1-7. What modern
      medical advice do we see here?

      1. Why is this the subject of a prophetic message?
        (Again, we see that God gives practical advice
        through His prophets for human health.)

    3. What do God’s messages about health teach us as a general
      matter about His use of the prophets to bless us? (This
      shows that common, everyday principles for better living
      are part of the blessings of the prophetic gift.)

    4. Friend, do you want to be blessed? God’s message to you
      is to repent, believe and obey. If you do this, you will
      be blessed. This does not mean that you will never
      experience tragedy, but it does mean that you will
      generally live a better life here on earth and you will
      have the blessing of eternal life.

  3. Next week: Confidence in the Prophetic Gift.