Theme for 2019, Answers: What God has said about important life questions
STUDY GUIDE, WEEK 4, 1.27.19
PART 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE ABOUT AND WHY I SHOULD TRUST IT?
4. Deliverance: Exodus (History)
Opener: Many times people struggle having a relationship with God because of what they “think” is in the Bible. In other words, they believe the Bible says or promises something that it never actually says. Some times the struggles come from our own minds, what we think God should be like, because of our own sense of what’s right and wrong.
Terry gave the illustration of Mark and Olivia Twain’s loss of faith as an example of the impact of “faulty thinking” when it comes to Scripture.
Questions: With Mark and Olivia in mind, take a moment to reflect over your own life.
Were there ever times in your own life when you believed the Bible said or promised something that it actually did not? What was it, and what kind of impact did it have on your walk with God?
What was it that turned you around?
Discuss: Now read 1 Pet. 4:12, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Question: What are the truths are revealed in this passage? Does the verse say that we will never suffer? What does it say about suffering? What does it mean for us? How can understanding this verse properly help us when we are suffering? Can you give God thanks in the midst of troubles in your life?
Key Point to Remember: Many times our desire to be delivered from difficulties, troubles, and suffering, can lead us to wrong thinking and cause people to lose confidence in God. This is why it is important that we know what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say…it is the God-breathed book.
Now think about the book of Exodus. It begins with the people of God in desperate need. They’re suffering. They are in Egypt, and their situation is not good. In Exodus we see that God brings His people through difficult circumstances so they can know who He is and lead them to place their faith and trust in Him. (Note: you might want to have the group briefly talk about Israel’s deliverance… what it looked like)
Summary Statement: Exodus is the story of deliverance: God delivering His people from slavery into His presence. God’s primary concern is that He be known. Exodus shows us: How God raised up a leader for the people; how God redeems his people; how God is still on track with His promises; and how God intends to dwell with His people again.
Exodus 29:46 “They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”
“I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45
Terry said that “God’s primary concern is that He be known and in knowing Him…we would make Him known to others…. this is what it means to love God and love people.”
Questions: Read Exodus 29:46. Think back over the story, what were some of God’s actions in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt? How did God make himself known? How did His actions show His great desire to be with them and for them to know Him?
Now think about your own life. How has God demonstrated His desire to live among us in our hearts?
Are there ways you are excluding God from your life? Share with the group what those ways are and why they’re going on.
Note: These questions are intended to be reflective; you won’t find them in Terry’s notes.
The Israelite’s had experienced God’s deliverance in remarkable ways, “Yet, even before the dust had settled from chiseling out these life-directives, God’s people choose to exchange the presence of their deliverer for a golden calf substitute.” (Michael Williams)
Question: Think back to the story of the Exodus. Why did the Israelites so quickly miss what God was doing? (Think back to Terry’s example about the Twains and what God’s primary concern was.)
In what ways are you being tempted to exchange the presence of God for a “golden calf?”
Point to ponder: It is easy in hindsight, to say, “My goodness, how could they so quickly turn away from God?” and miss all the ways we do the same thing. Don’t be too quick to move past the
“golden calf,” in fact, this may be a good time for us to think about what, if any, modern idols are tempting/calling us to put our trust in them rather than in God. Do any come to mind? Please share.
Application/Discussion: Know that we can trust in God’s saving power to deliver us from sin’s grip and into His saving presence. In Christ, God delivers His people from slavery to sin into fellowship with Him, where we can love Him and love others. What is keeping you from entering into His presence?
Questions: Does the fact that you are a Christian feel like a burden (something to be delivered from) or deliverance? Why?
Are your eyes open to the wonders of the presence of God into which you have been brought, or are you still focused on the features of your life in captivity (think of the Israelites)?
What could you do to change your perspective? How could we – as a group – help?