The Bible is an epic story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration, but it’s also an intimate story describing God’s pursuit of a love relationship with each of us as individuals. We need to understand the big picture so that we don’t miss the personal application. Where do we fit into God’s big picture?
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!
1. God knew that people could, even would, reject Him, and yet He created us with the freedom to choose whether or not to seek a relationship with Him. Have you ever taken a big risk to experience love and closeness with someone else?
2. God calls us to Himself so that we might reflect His love and show His kindness to hurting people all around us. How has God called you to bless those around you and point them towards their Creator?
3. Read Deuteronomy 30:9-10, 19-20. Even though we know better, we continue to make choices contrary to God’s wishes. What are some ways that God has pointed you back onto the path of living aligned with His will?
4. The Israelites asked for a human king to lead them because they wanted their nation to be like the nations around them. Despite their rejection of Him, God gave the people what they wanted. Why would God give us what we want at times, even if it’s not the best thing for us?
5. Read Jeremiah 3:12-14. When we have struggles in life, we cry out to God and ask Him to rescue us from our circumstances. Thankfully, God is faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to Him! However, God doesn’t always lead us out of our circumstances in the time or manner we would prefer. How can we learn to surrender our will to God’s will in the midst of life’s storms?
6. God’s plan to redeem humanity and restore us into right relationship with Him was set into motion and foretold long before Jesus was born. Do you think that the prophecies found in the Old Testament are sufficient to point people to Jesus as the Messiah? If not, why not? If so, why do you think that so many people dismiss them?
7. As we approach Christmas and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, what are some things you can do to apply the big picture of God’s story to your life or the lives of the people around you?
Deuteronomy 30:9-10, 19-20 – The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul….I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
Jeremiah 3:12-14 – “‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt—you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods…and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord. “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband….”
Find out more about God’s Story by reading and watching the following resources that will take you deeper into the reliability and truthfulness of the Bible.
Explore God – Is the Bible Reliable
What is the Bible? How can we trust what it says? Does it really give us the the Word of God? Pastor John Burke recently explored this topic in a previous message in our Explore God series in 2013.
Find out more at http://www.ericbryant.org/2013/10/14/explore-god-bible/
The Bible Project
How to Read the Bible — Do you find it difficult reading the Bible? This ongoing series of videos is aimed at helping you read the Bible more wisely, and with greater understanding.
Explore more of the Bible by theme or book-by-book: https://thebibleproject.com/explore/
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES — gatewaychurch.com/spiritualoutcomes