Message: "The Longest Arm"
As the people of Israel continue in the wilderness, they begin to yearn for what they had known before – the security of their slavery. How true this is for all of us. We must trust God in hardship, knowing that there is no place that His hand cannot reach to bring about His purpose.
Year of the Book Discussion Questions
From the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible: “From the wilderness perspective, the food in Egypt seemed exciting, desirable, and physically satisfying. By contrast, the manna God provided seemed mundane and simple, even though it was nourishing and good. Those who pursue spiritual growth must pay careful attention to the people with who they interact. We are all influenced by the people around us. What God offers as food for our spiritual health may not be as exciting or exotic as what the world offers. Spiritual food may seem unsubstantial and simple. Indeed, Jesus Christ, who is the ‘bread of life’ (John 6:35), might to some seem simple yet he satisfies our deepest hunger and can make us whole.” (p. 212)
On 2 Tim. 4:3–4, from the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible: “The gospel’s ‘sound doctrine’ (v 3) is demanding upon those who would understand it and live it. What keeps us working at our teaching is not that out teaching is always received with gratitude, but rather the power of Christ in the gospel to make the kind of people he deserves. So, whether it’s a good time for Christian formation and renovation or a bad time, favorable or unfavorable, we are to keep at it, confident that God’s grace is sufficient to the task.” (p. 2173).
- Have you ever had a craving for a particular food? Perhaps it was something you ate as a child and longed for it as an adult. Or maybe it was something that you simply haven’t had in a while. What was it like when you finally had it? Did it live up to your memory or expectations? Did it fall short of what you remembered?
GOD: WHAT IS GOD SAYING/DOING?
- God poses the question to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited?” (v. 23) The implied answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, no. If the Lord’s power is not limited, why do you think the Lord did not provide more than manna?
- God then states, "Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." (v. 23) To what is God referring? To what do the Israelites have to look forward? Why might this be better than fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, or garlic (v. 5)?
GATHER: WHAT IS THE COVENANTAL COMMUNITY DOING AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
- Sometimes when we go through difficult times, it's easy to remember the old days through "rose-colored glasses." In other words, we see more of the good than the bad of the past, while seeing more of the bad than the good in the present. What are some of the things you miss about the past? How have those things changed in the present? Why do you think they've changed? What was God's role in their changing?
- Paul warns in 2 Tim. 4:3–4 that "the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." To what extent do the opinion of others shape your thinking about the condition of your life? Do your interactions with others shape your opinion of events more than your study of Scripture?
GO: HOW CAN THIS SCRIPTURE SHAPE YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH NEIGHBORS?
- Many would characterize the world (and our country) today as divided and fearful. Why do you think it's important for Christians to offer a witness in this world?
- How can we do a better job at witnessing through our words and deeds in our community? How can you, either as an individual, a family, or a group, find out more about one of our FaithServes (mission) opportunities?
Learn more about Year of the Book, our church-wide initiative to read the Bible together in 2018.