This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
In Deuteronomy 5, the reason for Sabbath was “you were a slave in Egypt, but Yahweh your God brought you out of there.” The creator God also acted to redeem God’s people from a painful situation rooted in human violence and cruelty. “The principle of the Fourth Commandment on the need for time to reflect upon God’s glorious work never changes. Yet it is interpreted differently from one generation to another.”* What aspects of God’s glorious work mean the most to you?
Isaiah 56 challenged the human inclination to shut out people who are, in various ways, not “like us.” How did this passage teach that treating “outsiders” justly is a key part of keeping the Sabbath? What kinds of attitudes and actions, guided by the God who gathers outcasts, can help make all of Resurrection’s campuses more fully “a house of prayer for all people”?
Matthew arranged his stories to show his readers the contrast between Jesus' “easy” yoke and a complex, legalistic system that criticized acts of mercy and healing. If you make Sabbath mainly about what you cannot do, you imply “that the reason for the Sabbath is that God is a killjoy, that He is against enjoyment and in favor of solemnity.”* How can you make your Sabbath practices Jesus' kind of “yoke,” easy and light to bear?
Dr. Louis Evans wrote, “How many times are hypertension, migraine headaches, a peptic ulcer, arthritis, nervous exhaustion, illness, insomnia, overweight and irascibility evidences of a life not at peace with the will and pace of God?”* In today’s 24/7 world, the Bible principle of taking a day for spiritual and physical rest may feel unworkable and absurd. Can you trust, down deep, that if you live at “the will and pace of God” you’ll truly be more productive? Hebrews said God’s word is “living, active…. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.” How can taking Sabbath seriously help you more clearly discern, and live beyond, the inner wishes or fears that keep you feeling locked into a frenetic life pace? How can your Sabbath practice become more about renewal than merely about leisure?
* John Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 5: Deuteronomy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987, pp. 103-104.
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