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.)
Professor John Goldingay summarized Genesis 1:31 in modern terms we might use for a building project: “At the end of the week of creation, God is in a position to stand back, survey the six days’ work as a whole, and smile in satisfaction. The project has come out very well. It looks great.”* List 3-5 ways in which you still find the original goodness of the Creator’s intention in our world.
“The Hebrew words for human (adam) and fertile land (adamah) sound alike and emphasize the connection between human beings and their land.”** This connection was natural for Israel’s mostly agricultural people. In what ways has our more industrialized, office-centered, hi-tech setting robbed us of some of that sense of connection? Why does it matter to remember that the land still nourishes our life?
How could Jesus tell ordinary peasant people who often faced food insecurity not to worry? “[Jesus] asks them instead to view the world with new eyes… to see all around them evidence of God’s care and provision. Jesus uses a well-known Jewish pattern of speech to persuade his followers: If this, how much more that?”*** How can nature’s lasting beauty (despite too many cases of ignorant or indifferent human stewardship) help you to trust God’s care for you?
Paul’s hope drew on the long history of God’s actions for God’s people. “As God had liberated his children from slavery in the exodus, leading them by a cloud of glory… so God would in the future liberate his children most fully and with them all creation.”**** One recurring theme in the Bible, especially in the story of Jesus, is that of setting captives free. In what particular ways does it appeal to you to imagine not just yourself, but all of creation, “set free” by God’s power?
* John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1–16. Nashville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010, p. 24.
** Theodore Hiebert, study note on Genesis 2:6 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 7 OT.
*** Eugene Eung-Chun Park and Joel B. Green, study note on Matthew 6:25-34 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 17 NT.
**** Zondervan, NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 255888-255890). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
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