Judges 1.1-2.9; Luke 21.29-22.13; Psalm 90.1-91.16; Proverbs 13.24-25
It seemed like such an innocent plan: the descendants of Joseph making a deal with a man who helped them win the battle in return for them sparing his life. Without his help, the tribe may not have gained victory, or so it seemed. Yet God had told them: Do not make a covenant with the people of the land. They disobeyed and were punished for it, even if their actions seemed like “no big deal.” Why is following God’s directions always a big deal?
Why do you think Judah goes to get Simeon’s help in conquering the nations? Why was this a problem?
Why do you think Judas agreed to betray Jesus? Was it just about the money or do you think there may have been other motivations?
God’s view of the universe, including his concept of time, is so completely different than our own. Why is it a blessing to follow a God who does not operate by the same understandings we do?
Why is discipline so important for raising children?
Joshua 24.1-33; Luke 21.1-28; Psalm 89.38-52; Proverbs 13.20-23
For many of us, this question is very familiar. In fact, we may even have a plaque or picture with it on it hanging from a wall in our house. No matter how familiar we may be with the verse, we need to ask the question over and over again: Today, who are you going to choose to serve?
Take a moment to recount your spiritual life–how you got to the place you are spiritually.
How do you give: A lot or all you have?
Who is the “you” in today’s psalm? Why do you think the author writes the things he does about this “you?”
With whom do you associate: the wise or fools?
Joshua 22.21-23.16; Luke 20.27-47; Psalm 89.14-37; Proverbs 13.17-19
Being separated from the people you love, the people who have shaped you, can lead to memory loss, at least that’s what the tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan River understand. They build an altar–not to sacrifice to a god of their creation–but to remind them and the people on the western side of the Jordan of their place in the tribes of Israel. It seems like a logical step, providing something that ties them back to their heritage. What do we have that reminds us of our own faith story and that of those who have brought us to this point?
Joshua tells the people not to follow other gods. Based on what you know about their story, how well did they heed this advice? What could have helped them do this better?
How does your perception of God change when you recognize God is the God of the living, not of dead people and events of the past?
What does a life that has righteousness and justice as its foundation look like?
Hearing criticism is hard, but not doing so, the proverb writer says, leads to poverty and disgrace. How have you seen this to be true?
Joshua 21.1-22.20; Luke 20.1-26; Psalm 89.1-13; Proverbs 13.15-16
How would you like to have been the teachers and leaders of the law for the Jewish people? Here Jesus comes into their city and their temple and makes a huge commotion, causing all of the people to be amazed by him. They try to trick him and not only does he not fall for it, he tells the people a story that is obviously about them and an unfavorable one at that. They want to arrest Jesus, but any attempt to do so would bring about a riot. Why did the Jewish leaders have such a difficult time “containing” Jesus?
Why were the Levites offered a different type of portion of the land?
What were the Jewish leaders really asking when they asked Jesus about the authority by which he did all of his actions?
What aspects about God’s love would cause you to sing about them forever?
In what ways do you think before you act?
Joshua 19.1-20.9; Luke 19.28-48; Psalm 88.1-18; Proverbs 13.12-14
As Jesus approached Jerusalem for the final time, he began to weep. He said: I wish that you, of all people, would understand the way to peace. Jerusalem would have been the cultural, political, and most importantly, religious center of the Jewish people. Of course they should understand the way to peace, but they didn’t. Jesus’ reaction is understandable. When have you had a similar reaction lion and longed for someone to know peace, but they didn’t?
What was the purpose of the refuge cities for the Israelites?
How often do you think people would have shouted for someone entering into Jerusalem? What does this tell you about Jesus’ entrance?
How does the psalmist appeal to God’s faithfulness for salvation?
What happens to those who ignore the instructions of the wise?
Joshua 16.1-18.28; Luke 19.1-27; Psalm 87.1-7; Proverbs 13.11
We may have sung in Bible class that Zacchaeus was a wee little man, but we could have also sung he was a tax-collector who typically stole from their fellow country men and Zacchaeus was very rich, so probably pretty good at it. This might also explain why everyone was so upset when Jesus went to his house for dinner, Zacchaeus being a “notorious sinner,” and all. But if you have been following the life of Jesus closely, these were the kinds of folk he loved to hang out with: he had come to save the lost. Who is it you hang out with?
We often think of how cast to the side women were in Old Testament times, but in today’s story, women come and request land for their family and they get it. Why do you think this is the case and included in our story?
How well do you take care of the gifts you have already been given?
What do you think of when you hear all nations will become citizens of Jerusalem?
The Proverb writer says get-rich-quick schemes are too good to be true. Would you agree with him and why or why not?
Joshua 15.1-63; Luke 18.18-43; Psalm 86.1-17; Proverbs 13.9-10
Jesus tells an almost silly story about a camel going through the eye of a needle. Seems ridiculous, right? A huge camel going through a very, very, very tiny hole in a very, very, very tiny needle. It’s impossible, we say! And Jesus replies: For you, yes, it is impossible. But that’s the nature of faith. God does things that for humans seem impossible. For God? Not so much. What have you seen God do that without the knowledge of your faith would seem absolutely impossible?
Why do you think tribe of Judah was not able to drive out the Jebusites?
What does the cry “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” say about this blind man’s understanding of Jesus? Do we have the same understanding?
What request do you have for God today that you would want him to bend down and hear your prayer?
How have you seen pride lead to a conflict?