2 Kings 6.1-7.20; Acts 15.36-16.15; Psalm 142.1-7; Proverbs 17.24-25
The story of the lepers exploring the camp of the Arameans is one of my most favorite stories in all of scripture. If you know anything about people with leprosy, you know how marginalized and outcast they were. No one would have given a second look to this group as they passed by outside the gates of the city. Yet, when these four discovered the deserted camp just waiting to be plundered … instead of keeping it to themselves (a logical thing to do), they shared it with those inside the city. You have been given the surprise gift of salvation, how well do you share it?
What is significant about the story of the floating ax head?
How do you think people would have described Timothy, given that he was someone Paul wanted to bring along on his missionary journey? What would it take for you to be described in a similar fashion?
Do you ever feel like your enemies are continually setting traps for you? What is your response to this feeling?
What does the proverb writer mean when he writes “a fool’s eyes wanders?”
2 Kings 4.18-5.27; Acts 15.1-35; Psalm 141.1-10; Proverbs 17.23
Naaman is an example of the danger of a prideful spirit. Asked to do one simple thing, it is all Naaman can do to actually do what he has been asked to do, even though he really has no choice but to follow the instructions he has been given if he wants to get well. How often does our pride prevent us from following God in sometimes simple ways? What things can we do to “get over ourselves?”
How do the stories of Elisha’s actions help solidify him as a prophet of God, doing great things for Him?
What are ways we make it difficult for those who do not know Jesus to follow him? How can we make it easier for them to do so?
Pray this prayer today: “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.”
How can you work to prevent justice from being perverted?
2 Kings 3.1-4.17; Acts 14.8-28; Psalm 140.1-13; Proverbs 17.22
Why would the people Lystra have thought Paul and Barnabas were gods? Does this seem like a logical conclusion for them to make? In what ways do we assume people have power that we might celebrate, thinking it might be the power of God?
In what ways do we see God still loving his people even when they do not fully follow him?
If you had been stoned and left for dead, similar to Paul in today’s story, what would your next move have been? How does your move compare to what Paul actually did?
How often do we cry out: God rescue me from evil people? Why should we cry this more?
How has someone’s cheerful heart proven to be good medicine for you?
2 Kings 1.1-2.25; Acts 13.42-14.7; Psalm 139.1-24; Proverbs 17.19-21
Ahaziah needs some advice, but doesn’t know where to turn. He is injured and needs someone to tell him whether he will survive his injuries. Surely, any prophet would do, right? Why would Ahaziah not ask the prophet of God? Why do we, when we find ourselves in some sort of trouble, try to find any other solution rather than turn to God?
Perhaps it is not the most theologically significant story in the Bible, but there is something oddly satisfying about the story of Elisha and the bears, isn’t there? Why do you think the writer included this story?
How does God prove the power of our message to others?
Do you find God’s awareness of you, as described in today’s psalm, comforting or disconcerting? Why is this the case? How can we find more comfort in this truth?
Why do you think the writer of today’s proverb says that those who love to quarrel loves sin?
1 Kings 22.1-53; Acts 13.16-41; Psalm 138.1-8; Proverbs 17.17-18
In the story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, we discover two kinds of prophets: those who are merely advisors, telling the king what he wants to hear and those who are really prophets of the Lord, speaking only what God tells them to speak. How tempting do you think it would have been to alter or twist your message so as to receive a favorable response? When your life is on the line, does that temptation become even stronger? How can we work today to be sure we are speaking to others only what God is calling us to tell them?
If Micaiah really believed his prophecy, which I think he did, do you think he thought being locked up until Ahab returned was a sure way to be left in prison forever?
How bold would one have to be to preach Paul’s sermon to the group of people he did?
If the Lord cares for the humble, how does this affect who we care for?
Do the two proverbs we read today contradict one another? How can you be a loyal friend, yet not put up security for another?
1 Kings 20.1-21.29; Acts 12.24-13.15; Psalm 137.1-9; Proverbs 17.16
When the people of God felt God calling them to do something, they didn’t just run off and do that thing. For instance, in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Paul (formerly Saul) to go on a missionary journey. You would think just the simple fact the Holy Spirit called them to this was enough, yet they spent time in prayer and fasting prior to sending them on their way. How do we prepare for things we hear God calling us to do? Do we just rush off, or do we spend time in the presence of God, focused on how he helps us to accomplish that which he called us to do?
“A warrior putting on his sword should not boast like a warrior who has already won.” Describe a situation today for which this is really good advice.
Do you think more people come to God because of the powerful things they see or because of a life of consistent presence? Why do you think this is the case?
In what ways does the bashing of babies heads seem foreign to what we think should appear in scripture?
Why is it senseless to educate a fool? To what situations can this proverb be applied today?
1 Kings 19.1-21; Acts 12.1-23; Psalm 136.1-26; Proverbs 17.14-15
After reading about the fire coming from the sky and consuming the sacrifice of Elijah, we might assume that God always, and perhaps only, works in big and impressive sorts of ways. The bigger the better, the larger the more likely God is involved. Yet when the Lord appears to Elijah in the desert, he does so as a whisper. (Notice also that Elijah seems to be aware of his presence when he hears the whisper, passing on the previous actions.) Why do you think God appears in the whisper and why would say this is significant?
“I am the only one left…” Describe a time when you felt this way and how you discovered you were NOT the only one left.
When people who are a part of our church body are in trouble, what is our initial go-to response? How does this compare to the gathering of the church in prayer when Peter was in prison?
What thanksgiving would you add to the list of Psalm 136?
If starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, why do people seem so anxious to start them?