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 MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Genesis 22:1-19
- Where is God during times we experience deep emotions?
- What is the greatest hurt, loss, grief or sacrifice you have had in your life? Was it voluntary or involuntary? When you reflect on it now, what thoughts, emotions and feelings surface?
- How has your experience influenced the way you perceive God?
Food for thought:
The Bible pulls no punches. It does not purport to be a book of Pollyanna simplicity with shallow joy and quick fixes. Rather, it records some experiences of deep, raw emotion. Perhaps Hannah comes to your mind, as she grieved so deeply her barrenness that she could not even put voice to her prayer. Or maybe you think of Mary, standing within earshot of her Son hanging on the cross. What a gut-wrenching time that must have been for her. And the disciples, so filled with fear — not to mention the loss – that three days later they had locked themselves in with their gathered grief.
We have to add Abraham to that list. First, the grief of childlessness. Forget the social stigma and the seemingly abandoned promise. Just ask a couple whose desire for children has been repeatedly denied what that is like. Then, to have the joy of Isaac come into his life, only to be told to sacrifice him to the Lord. How do we begin to relate to that? We know the story. At the point of finalizing the offering, Abraham was stopped by God, who provided a ram caught in the thicket. Abraham named that place “The LORD Will Provide,” or “Jehovah-Jireh.”
For author Angie Smith, she had no choice and it wasn’t a son but a daughter. Visiting the daughter’s grave on what would have been her 5th birthday, God asked Smith a penetrating question: “What will you name this place?” There had been no last-minute reprieve, no substitute waiting nearby. The pain and longing lingered, undulled by passing years. Could “Jehovah-Jireh” possibly fit this place?
We all have places of deep loss and hurt. Perhaps they are recent and fresh, perhaps chronic yet still sharp. Either way, they have helped define and shape who we are, for better or for worse.
In the midst of your greatest and deepest hurt, what will you name that place? Does the Lord still provide? Can you name the event and its enduring impact on you “Jehovah-Jireh”?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork .