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Bible Study: How do you handle criticism?

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.

Bible Passage: Numbers 20:1-13

Discussion Questions:

— What does the way a leader responds to criticism reveal about his or her character?

— How can a believer deal with criticism in a God-honoring way?

Food for thought:

Arthur Flake outlined a simple plan for growing an ongoing Bible study ministry, which he called Sunday School. That plan came to be known as Flake’s Formula and included these elements: Know the possibilities, Expand the organization, Enlist and train leaders, Provide resources, and Go after the people. In his notes, Flake identified two objections he expected to hear from his critics: It won’t work here and We tried that. Most leaders have encountered these same two, tiring objections at some point in their lives.

In Numbers 20, we find Moses yet again being badgered by the Hebrews. He was grieving the death of his sister — the person who watched him float in a basket as a baby before being rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter — but his grief did not deter his critics. Moses and the Hebrews were in Kadesh and in need of water — again. One might think by now the Hebrews would have known God would provide, but that does not appear to be the case. Instead they bring their complaints to Moses with accusations and regrets. Moses and Aaron put their personal grief aside and humbly approached God. God showed up and gave them a plan of action without them even asking. Problem solved.

Our only refuge is going to God and seeing His counsel. Once He provides us with that counsel, we then can act with confidence. Unfortunately, Moses and Aaron did everything right, except follow to the letter what God told them to do. They struck the rock just as they had done in the past, but God had told them to speak to the rock.

Criticism can wear on the strongest of people, especially when they are dealing with a personal loss. We can know that even in the most difficult of circumstances and when facing our harshest critics, we can depend upon God to identify our next steps. Our responsibility is to obey, following exactly what He directs us to do.

Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.