Closing the Gap – Week 6 Study Guide

By February 11, 2018Small Group Study Guide

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Hebrews 11:11-12, “11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

Commentary on Hebrews 11:11-12

Sarah was the wife and half sister of Abraham. Her name meant “princess.” Sarah would share in Abraham’s journey to the Promised Land and his sojournings there.

Sarah is mentioned here in verse 11 as a heroine of faith. It was by faith that Sarah, too, received power to conceive and to bear a son, although she was beyond the age for it, for she believed that God, who gave the promise, could be absolutely relied upon. So from one man—Abraham—a man whose body had lost its vitality, there were born descendants, as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, as countless as the sand upon the seashore.

The story of the promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah is told in Genesis 17:15–22, 18:9–15 and 21:1–8. Its wonder is that Abraham and Sarah were each 90 years old, long past the age of having children; and yet, according to the old story, that promise was made and came true.

The reaction of Sarah and Abraham to God’s promise is interesting. Their initial response to God is one of astonishment. Remember that they both laughed at the idea! Then their astonishment turned into a dawning realization that this was God who was speaking to them; and God cannot lie. They began to realize that however astonishing the promise may be, it must nonetheless be true. And finally, their response culminated in the ability to believe in the impossible.[1]

Study Guide

  1. Many believe miracles are impossible; what do you think about miracles? Are they possible or impossible? Why?
    • How would your define a miracle? What is the difference between supernatural and natural?
    • How does a person’s worldview affect their stance on miracles?
    • Abraham and Sarah were both past normal childbearing age, but God intervened and Sarah was able to bear a child. Why did God do this? Was it God’s will, Abraham’s choice, or both?
    • How does a miracle differ from God’s provision?
  1. God’s will and Abraham’s choice are not in opposition, they’re in collaboration with each other.
    • What are some of the dangers we face when going to far one way or the other when it comes to this truth? What are some of the stumbling blocks we can trip over?
    • What does it mean to navigate from a fixed point of reference?
  1. The Bible refers to miracles as signs. They do not point to themselves, they point to something greater than themselves. Why is so important to remember?
    • When thinking of miracles, how does having an attitude of, “What great thing will God do for me?” miss the point of miracles?
  1. Think about “plunging” and “plodding” with God. Discuss what that looked like for Abraham and Sarah.
    • Think about the epic nature and mundaneness of their call. How can it be both?
  1. Abraham laughed, but he moved forward. How does moving forward close the gap on faith?
    • 3:5-6 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
      1. What is the bottom line in this verse?
      2. Can you think of a place in your heart, mind, relationships, checkbook, calendar, workplace, classroom, home…where you need to “consider him faithful”? Will you trust Him?
  • The first step in faith begins with a “yes.” Will you Trust the Lord and say “yes” today?

[1] Barclay, William. The Letter to the Hebrews (The New Daily Study Bible) (p. 174). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

 

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