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THE BIBLE IN A YEAR: Trusting in God's Promises

Scripture: Genesis 16-17, Pslams 9, Matthew 5:13-26


In Genesis 16, we witness Sarai's attempt to fulfill God's promise of a son by giving her maidservant, Hagar, to Abram. This decision stemmed from doubt and impatience, highlighting the human tendency to take matters into our own hands rather than trusting in God's timing and provision. However, despite their lack of faith, God remained faithful to His promise.


In Genesis 17, God reaffirms His covenant with Abram, changing his name to Abraham, meaning "father of many nations." God promises to bless him with descendants, including a son through Sarai, now named Sarah. Despite their old age and initial disbelief, Abraham and Sarah eventually trust in God's promise, and Isaac, the child of promise, is born.


Guided Bible Study:

1. Genesis 16:1-6 - Reflect on Sarai's decision to give Hagar to Abram. What does her action reveal about her faith in God's promise? How do impatience and doubt influence our decision-making process?


2. Genesis 16:7-16 - Consider Hagar's encounter with the Angel of the Lord. How does God respond to Hagar's distress? What does this reveal about God's character and His concern for the marginalized and downtrodden?


3. Genesis 17:1-8 - Explore God's covenant with Abraham. What promises does God make, and what does He require from Abraham and his descendants in return? How does this covenant reflect God's faithfulness and sovereignty?


4. Genesis 17:15-22 - Reflect on Sarah's reaction to the news of her impending motherhood. What is her initial response, and how does God address her doubt? How does this passage illustrate God's ability to fulfill His promises despite human limitations?


5. Genesis 17:23-27 - Consider Abraham's obedience in circumcising himself and his household as a sign of the covenant. What role does obedience play in our relationship with God? How can we demonstrate our trust in God's promises through obedience?


Scripture Passage: Psalm 9

Reflection:

Psalm 9 is a song of praise and thanksgiving for God's righteous judgment and protection. The psalmist exalts God for His sovereignty over the nations and His faithfulness to the oppressed. In times of trouble, the psalmist finds refuge in God and declares His mighty deeds to the nations.


Guided Bible Study:

1. Psalm 9:1-2 - Reflect on the psalmist's declaration of praise and thanksgiving. What reasons does the psalmist give for praising God? How does gratitude cultivate a deeper relationship with God?


2. Psalm 9:7-10 - Explore the attributes of God described in this passage. How does God's righteousness and justice bring hope to the oppressed? How can we find refuge in God during times of trouble?


3. Psalm 9:11-12 - Consider the psalmist's exhortation to sing praises to God and proclaim His deeds among the nations. How does sharing testimonies of God's faithfulness strengthen our faith and witness to others?


4. Psalm 9:13-20 - Reflect on the psalmist's acknowledgment of God's judgment upon the wicked. How does God's righteous judgment bring comfort to the righteous? How should we respond to God's sovereignty over the nations?


Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:13-26

Reflection:

In Matthew 5:13-26, Jesus teaches his disciples about the transformative power of salt and light and emphasizes the importance of reconciliation and purity of heart. He calls his followers to be salt and light in the world, preserving truth and shining God's love into the darkness. Jesus also addresses the significance of reconciliation, urging his disciples to seek resolution with others before offering their gifts at the altar.


Guided Bible Study:

1. Matthew 5:13-16 - Reflect on Jesus' metaphor of salt and light. What does it mean to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? How can we live out these metaphors in our daily lives?


2. Matthew 5:17-20 - Explore Jesus' relationship to the Law and the Prophets. How does Jesus fulfill the Law, and what implications does this have for his followers? How does righteousness surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees?


3. Matthew 5:21-26 - Consider Jesus' teachings on anger and reconciliation. What are the consequences of harboring anger and resentment toward others? How does reconciliation promote peace and unity within the community of believers?


4. Matthew 5:23-24 - Reflect on Jesus' instruction to reconcile with others before presenting offerings at the altar. How does unresolved conflict hinder our worship and communion with God? What steps can we take to pursue reconciliation with those whom we have offended or been offended by?


Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and steadfast love. Help us to trust in Your promises, even when we are tempted to doubt or take matters into our own hands. May we be salt and light in the world, proclaiming Your righteousness and reconciling with others in Your name. Amen.

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