My husband, Steve, does not like to make his way through crowds or be stuck in long lines of traffic so it is his custom to get ahead of the mob scene by leaving a baseball game shortly after the 7th inning or during the last few minutes of a basketball game even if the score is really close. He feels that even if his team makes a come back, hearing about the end of the game on the news or reading about the last few minutes in the sports pages the next day more than makes up for the traffic aggravation.
We look ahead and try to avoid the aggravations of life…others in our world look ahead and try to escape the cruelties and devastations of war. The writing on the wall for them is very plain. The end is near and they know the situation is going to get much worse before it will ever have a hope of getting better. What do you do when you see “the writing on the wall”?
Questions for the Week 1. God allowed a foreign army to invade and defeat Israel (the Northern Kingdom). Why did the prophets say that God brought this judgment on his own people? What can we learn from God’s response to the behavior of Israel?
2. King Hezekah of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) was one of the few kings deemed “good” in the eyes of God. What did Hezekiah do that pleased God?
3. How can Hezekah’s prayer shape the way you pray when times are tough? (The Story, pp. 219-220)
The Southern Kingdom of Judah discovered they would one day end up prisoners of war under the fist of another foreign nation, yet God spoke words of hope through his prophet Isaiah. (The Story, pp. 226-228)
4. What did God promise and how do you see God continuing to accomplish his plan to bring his people back to himself?
5. How has Jesus been the One who brings your life hope and meaning?
Prayer Time- As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get you started: · Thank Jesus for being the One who brings hope to a hopeless world. · Ask God to help you be a person of deep faith and prayer. · Pray for those who are facing difficult situations that they sense God’s presence and power in their lives.
Personal Reflection: Over and over the people of Israel let idolatry creep into their lives, homes, culture—even their worship. They seemed blind to what they were doing. What are you “blind” to in your choices of lifestyle, hobbies, and loves? Is anything becoming an idol, dominating your energy and time to the point that you’re not growing or even neglecting your relationship with Jesus? If so, read 2 Kings 23:1-30, the account of another good king of Judah who did some serious housecleaning to rid idolatry from the land. Compare his passion, zeal, and thoroughness as you consider how you can ensure your life is free of idolatry.
Personal Action: Every morning when you wake up, for the next week, make this simple statement before you get out of bed: No king but King Jesus! What would it mean for you to then seek to live out this truth each day?
Read for Next Session: Read Chapter 17 in The Story