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 Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Judges 3:7-11; 16:21-30; 21:25
Discussion Questions: What are the consequences for persistent rebellion against God? Do you see God’s discipline in your life as a blessing or a curse? What are the signs that we are rejecting God’s authority and substituting our own?
Food for Thought:
When we read about the Israelites, we shouldn’t be quick to judge. We’re tempted to think, “How in the world could they do such a thing? How could they experience God’s love toward them in setting them free from their enslavement in Egypt, feel God’s power in bringing down the walls of Jericho, receive God’s faithfulness in giving them the Promised Land, and then reject Him as King and go after other gods?”
But the question should not only be, “How could they do that, but how can we do that? How can we experience God’s love toward us in sending His Son to die for us while we were still sinners, feel God’s power in setting us free from the power of sin and death, receive God’s faithfulness in adopting us to be His sons and daughters, and then still reject Him as our King and go after other things we think will make us happy?”
Our God would be completely justified in destroying an ungrateful and idolatrous people like the Israelites — and like us. But He doesn’t.
The good news we find not just in the Gospels but even in the Old Testament Book of Judges is that when we are faithless, our God is still faithful. In His faithfulness, He doesn’t destroy us, but He does discipline us. If He were to destroy us, He would not be displaying His faithfulness. If He were to fail to discipline us, He would not be displaying His faithfulness, because He would be leaving us in our idolatry.
In His wisdom, God often uses the idol we’ve desired as His means of discipline. In other words, He gives us what we ask for. Through this, He shows us how utterly unsatisfying our idols are, and He allows us to experience the folly of going after other gods, that we might turn to Him once again.
You may have gone after the god of comfort and wealth only to find that wealth now makes you feel enslaved and fearful. Though living in wealth, you feel poor and are unable to experience the joy of giving to others in need, because you think first of yourself and your debts.
Maybe you rejected all biblical counsel from loved ones and went after the god of approval by marrying someone you knew didn’t really love Jesus. And now God is drawing you close to Him as you experience the sadness of having a spouse who cannot relate to you at the deepest level.
We could go on and on. What idol have you pursued? How has God disciplined you? Because He is faithful, He will never leave us in our idolatry. Because He’s faithful, no matter how miserable life seems, there is always hope.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the Gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Through a three-year study plan, participants are immersed in the Gospel through stories, theological concepts, and calls to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans for kids and students/adults ensure the proper focus and depth. The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.