Advent 2018 – Week 1 Study Guide

By December 2, 2018 Small Group Study Guide

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Ex. 2:23-24 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.

Ex. 3:7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

Ex. 5:22-23Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Ex. 40:34-38 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out — until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.

Psa. 27:1-14 The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

What is Advent? Advent is the season of the year leading up to Christmas. The word advent itself means “arrival” or “an appearing or coming into place.” Christians often speak of Christ’s “first advent” and “second advent”; that is, His first and second comings to Earth. His first advent would be the Incarnation—Christmastime. The Advent season lasts for four Sundays. The Advent celebration is both a commemoration of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of His second coming. As Israel longed for their Messiah to come, so Christians long for their Savior to come again.

The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season.

 

NOTE: Below are some links to a couple of good videos that gives an overview of Exodus…choose to do one or both or neither!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uf-PgW7rqE (PART 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0GhR-2kPKI&t=10s (part 2)

  • As you watch this (or these) video(s)…see if you can think of times where the people were just waiting.

 

  1. How would you describe waiting? Terry described waiting as active and challenging work. Would you agree with him? Why?
  • “Waiting implies that we don’t get to decide when and how we act, the one we are waiting on gets to decide that.” Would you agree with this statement? Why?
  1. “Jesus was a king who came as a waiter.” What did Terry mean by this statement? What are the implications for us?
  • Why is waiting so difficult for us? What does the life of a waiter look like?
  • Can you think of a time when you had to wait on the Lord? What was hard/difficult?
  • “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1) In what ways does this Psalm encourage you in your waiting and why?
  1. As you read over the passages from Exodus and think back to Terry’s sermon, think about all of the waiting… the year after year of waiting. Imagine yourself as one of the Israelites. Did God rip you off? How could you keep from seeing waiting as a rip off?
  • All that God does is that we may know Him…all that He doesn’t do…that we want Him to do…is that we might know Him.
  • “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in ” (1 Cor. 15:58) Does this verse encourage you in your waiting? How so?
  1. Big Questions brought on by waiting? (Terry’s message this morning)
  • Does God care?
  • Why would he allow his people (me) to be in this situation?
  • Is there any hope? Do I have a future?
  • If God is good and powerful…why doesn’t he act?
  • Have you ever found yourself asking any of the above questions? Does anyone want to share about a time when they found themselves asking one (or more) of these questions?
  1. God wants to be known in the waiting while walking, or the waiting by stopping. We are “waiters”, we wait on God, because He wants to be known.
  • What are you waiting for before you will be happy, content, joyful, and purposeful?
  • Impatience is not a friend of growth. It takes us off the path and into the ditch. Then when have grown tired of living the “ditch life” we get back on the waiting path. Back into the path of God’s will and God’s resources. Have you been in the ditches lately? What can you do to move back on the path? How can your group help?

 

Application: The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.   (Psalm. 27:1-14)

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