Theme for 2019, Answers: What God has said about important life questions STUDY GUIDE, WEEK 6, 2.10.19
PART 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE ABOUT AND WHY I SHOULD TRUST IT? 6. Judges/Ruth
Opener: I thought I’d give two different options for an opener this week.
Option 1. Terry opened with a story about a man who was one of the first to enter into a Nazi concentration camp. What the man saw shook him to his core.
Now, imagine for a moment if the Allies had entered Nazi territories where these death camps were located; For instance, Auschwitz in Poland where more than a million people were killed. And then you find out that the Allies decided to just live at peace with the Nazis, to do their thing, and to allow the Nazis to do theirs—worship Hitler and kill women and children.
Question: Could you coexist with them or would you have to do something?
Now think of the Canaanites. This is similar in many ways to what Israel encountered when they entered Canaan. These Canaanites would either repent, be destroyed…or Israel would have to become like them…but they could not co-exist peacefully.
Question: How did Israel respond?
Answer: Israel would in fact abandon their God for the gods of these Canaanites…and they would then become like them in every way. God was not cruel in His commands to subdue the land…He knew what was at stake.
Option 2. The last several weeks Terry has been talking about the Bible’s storyline. He’s told us that the Bible is a single narrative with many subplots. This would be a great time to have your group members summarize where we are in the storyline.
Question: Where are we in the storyline? (Tell the story line as concise as possible.)
Answer: 1. God created the cosmos and then mankind, who was created in His image. 2. Man rebelled against God…and that rebellion against God showed up in devastation in human relationships. 3. God initiated mankind’s redemption through the calling of a single family. 4. Battles were fought with these Canaanite people who wanted Israel destroyed.
Summary Statement: God raises up judges to rescue his errant people from the consequences of their rebellion. The darkness of Judges is flooded with the light of God’s providence and eternal plans through the story of this single Moabite woman named Ruth.
Judges is: life without God…everyone doing as they saw fit…and it wasn’t good.
Ruth is: life with God…letting Him define good and evil…and it was beautiful.
Judg. 2:16-17 “The LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them.”
Judg. 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Judg. 18:1 Judg. 19:1 Judg. 21:25
In those days Israel had no king. In those days Israel had no king.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
NOTE: Remember that this is an overview of Judges. The book of Judges is bloody and it outlines Israel’s failure and how they became exactly like the people around them.
Questions: As you read over the passages above and think back to Terry’s sermon, why does Israel get into such a terrible situation? What happened to them as a result of their failure to obey? How bad did it really get?
Question: Why are these the right questions to ask?
Answers: because they are what the book answers. If you read it looking for character lessons, or hero stories, you have the wrong book and you are asking the wrong questions.
Key Point: These stories in Judges are meant to disturb us. We are supposed to say “Are you kidding me? What in the world is going on?” This is the story of Judges and the story of humanity without King Jesus. Look back to the passages, Israel had no king, everyone did as they saw fit.”
Ruth: Ruth is a story of life with God, letting Him define good and evil and it’s a beautiful story. It is flooded with the light of God’s providence and eternal plans through the story of this single Moabite woman named Ruth.
There are few things that stand out in this story: First, It is the opposite of the book of Judges…Boaz and Ruth act within the boundaries of God’s law, and it a beautiful thing to see. Second, God is hardly mentioned, the characters speak of Him some… but unlike other books, the narrator doesn’t at all.
Question: Why is God not hardly mentioned?
Answer: So we will see for ourselves the providence of God throughout the story. God is not mentioned because He is evident throughout.
Conclusion: One of the tensions that Scriptures presents very well here (and throughout) is…the Sovereignty of God and the choices of humans. God is sovereign and we’re responsible. You don’t have to have the mysteries all figured out—think back to what Terry said about Ellis and food.
Question: As you think about the story of Ruth, “In the days when the Judges ruled,” understand that God was in control of all that went on in her life. God honored Ruth’s (and Naomi’s and Boaz’s) courage, humility, and faithfulness. Do you believe that He will honor yours? Will you be faithful to God even as you go through life’s trials?
Answer: God will honor your faithfulness to Him as well.
Gal. 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Prayer: Please have your group take some time to pray for the upcoming Battle Staff and Women’s Gathering.