Message: "Trusting The One in Charge"
Year of the Book Discussion Questions
From the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible: "With the death of their father, the brothers finally seek the forgiveness of Joseph (v 15-18). Joseph responds with a dramatic pronouncement in verse 20. There is no need for fear. What humans may have intended for harm, God intended for good. The will of God has always been to preserve a people." (p. 85).
From The Christbook: Matthew 1-12 by F. Dale Bruner: "In rabbinic thought, every sin created a deposit of debt before God, the accumulation of which formed a separating wall between the person and God. On the other hand, every righteous deed contributed to the believer's accumulation of assets before God and so created a kind of bridge to God. Sins were demerits that separated, righteous deeds merits that connected. The corporate name for these separating demerits was 'debts.' Jesus takes this well-known word and the set of ideas connected with it and tells us that we can ask the Father to wipe out our debts!" (p. 308)
- Why is forgiveness so difficult to ask for and so challenging to extend to others?
GOD: WHAT IS GOD SAYING/DOING?
- In response to the brothers' request for forgiveness and after telling them not to fear, Joseph asks, "Am I in the place of God?" (v. 19) Why do you think Joseph posed that question to his brothers?
- Joseph states that God intends for good what man (his brothers) intended for harm (v. 20). For what good purpose did God intend in the situation between Joseph and his brothers?
GATHER: WHAT IS THE COVENANTAL COMMUNITY DOING AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
- Can you think of a time when something harmful was done to you by someone in the Church, and yet something good came out of it?
- In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask God to "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matt. 6:12), highlighting the importance of incorporating forgiveness into our daily lives. Why do you think forgiveness is so important for Christians?
GO: HOW CAN THIS SCRIPTURE SHAPE YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH NEIGHBORS?
- It is easy to think that the world is getting worse as time goes on. While that may be true to a certain degree, we know as Christians we are part of a larger story – one in which we see and experience God's larger plan unfolding. How does our understanding of God's larger plan impact how we interact with people who are not part of the Church?
- So much of how we behave (what we say and do) in our relationships with others offers a witness to what we believe. What role can forgiveness play in the witness (either in word or action) you offer to your neighbors?
Learn more about Year of the Book, our church-wide initiative to read the Bible together in 2018.