Give So That
We have reached the final week of our study! Writing this study has been both rewarding and challenging. When I sat down to write, I wondered how it would ever come together…so many topics, so many verses, so many truths. But God was faithful. He took every prayer whispered, every hour researched, and every Scripture studied and faithfully supplied the words needed to create Living “So That.” Thank you from the depths of my heart for the time you have invested with me these past weeks.
This is always a sad time for me as I will miss our weekly God appointment here on Living Truth. But it is also a time of celebration as I look back over the weeks and see what amazing things God has done through our time together. Your comments each week have blessed me beyond measure. We have learned from each other, prayed with each other and gone deeper still in our walk with Jesus. I will miss you, so please stop by when you have time and let me know how you are and what God is doing in your life.
Don’t forget about our new group called Wendy’s Street Team. I would love for you to team up with me for the publication of our “Living So That” project and future Bible study projects. To become a member, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Wendy’s Street Team” in the subject heading and include your name, e-mail address, cell phone, city and state. My dear friend and assistant, Lisa Sheltra, will be helping me coordinate this effort. We will have many fun ways for the Street Team to participate and help promote new projects, including sneak peaks at new studies and special perks as the time for publication draws near.
I changed my mind on what we will study this week. Instead of forgiveness and humility, we will study giving and humility. Not sure why, but that is the direction the Lord led my heart, so that is what we will do. I trust Him fully!!!
Before we begin, I have some fun news to share. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I LOVE to give gifts. So this week, please share your favorite verse (any verse…not just memory verse) from this study or your favorite verse in general. Please share WHY it is your favorite too. I will choose five names to win a $20 Target gift card or a $15 gift credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries to go toward a purchase of your choice and pay for the shipping. You let me know which gift you would like to receive.
Join me next week for a closing message for our study and the announcement of our winners!
This Week’s Memory verse
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty right hand, that he may life you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
This Week’s Prayer
Father, thank You for this precious time in Your Word. Thank You for all You have taught me these past five weeks through Your living and active Word. Help me not to forget a single “so that” or a single “call to action.” Keep them tucked away in my heart, ready to recall at anytime. As I move forward from this day, I pray the following…
for a humble, submissive and obedient heart that seeks to please You and do Your will in all things
for a deep reverence for You and Your Word
for willingness and strength to endure trials, watching and listening for Your Word and Your work in the midst, trusting that You will work all things together for good because I love You and am called according to Your purpose
for a heart that seeks to do good, and expects nothing in return
for a heart willing to sacrifice whatever it is you may ask of me
for a contentedness with my circumstances, trusting you will provide for my every need
for a heart of prayer
for wisdom and discernment to be aware of the evil one and his tactics and to know and understand Truth so that I can take every lie captive to the obedience of Christ
for a desire to live my life every day SO THAT I can shine Your Light into Your broken and hurting world
I ask all this in Jesus’ most precious and powerful name. AMEN
One of the Old Testament (Hebrew) names of God is Yahweh Yireh (Jehovah Jireh). In the Hebrew it means “Jehovah will see (to it).”
The Hebrew word raah (RA-ah, from which yireh is derived) means “to see, to observe, to perceive.” When raah is used as part of God’s name, it is translated “provide.” Since God is omniscient (all knowing) and able to see the future as well as the past and the present, He is able to anticipate and provide for what is needed. Interestingly, the English Word “provision” is made up of two Latin words that mean “to see beforehand.” What God tells us in His name, Jehovah Jireh, is that when we pray to Him, we are praying to our God Who sees our situation beforehand, knows exactly what we need, and will provide.
A. In what ways has Jehovah Jireh provided for you?
Genesis 22 contains one of the most well-known Jehovah-Jireh stories in Scripture.
B. Read Genesis 22:1-19
God had promised Abraham a son at the age of one hundred years of age. Listen to God’s words to Abraham before his son was born.
Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be. Genesis 5:5
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:1-2
…your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. Genesis 17:19
After Isaac was born, God came to Abraham again. This time He commanded Abraham to take his son, the son God had promised him at one hundred years of age, and go up on a mountain and sacrifice him.
1. What do you think Abraham was thinking as he traveled up the mountain?
My first question would have been: I love this child so much; how can I possibly take my own son’s life? But a more pressing and confusing question would have been, Why would You ask me to sacrifice the very child through whom You promised to give me many descendants?
If Abraham killed Isaac, how would God’s promise be fulfilled?
Make no mistake about it, this was a test. Scripture plainly says in Genesis 22:1 “Some time later, God tested Abraham.” It was a very real test designed to prove Abraham’s faith. God asked him what seemed illogical and impossible to give his son, Isaac, back to God.
Yes, Abraham had another son, Ishmael. But God had asked him to send Ishmael away because Isaac was the son of the promise. Now God was asking him to sacrifice his only remaining son. This was a true test of whether Abraham trusted God’s promise and whether that trust was enough to cause him to obey.
2. What would you have done? Explain.
Thinking about my own sweet blonde hair, blue-eyed, tenderhearted boy, I don’t think I would have passed that test. I am certain I would have clung to my son for dear life and run the other way.
Don’t think God did not know what He was asking. God knew how special Isaac was to Abraham. Listen to God’s words:
Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering. Genesis 22:2 (emphasis mine)
Abraham, light your son on fire and watch him burn. That is what God was asking of Abraham. Knowing this makes Abraham’s response staggering, unimaginable even, to most parents. He exhibited immediate and unquestioning obedience.
3. Read Abraham’s response in verses 3-9.
How could Abraham make such a choice so quickly? It is called faith, my friend. Our level of faith determines our response to God when He asks something of us. How we respond is overwhelming evidence of how strong our faith really is. Abraham’s story is a powerful message of faith. It reveals the kind of faith that pleases God the kind of faith He blesses mightily.
4. Read Hebrews 11:17-19. How did Abraham reconcile God’s command to sacrifice Isaac in his heart?
Abraham resolved in his heart long before that day to trust God. So when God spoke that day, Abraham did what he had learned to do – trust God to honor His promises. God made a covenant with Abraham, and Isaac was the fulfillment of that Covenant. Abraham reasoned that if God took Isaac, He would provide another way for that promise to be fulfilled.
Imagine being present for this conversation between father and son in Genesis 22:
Isaac asked, “Father, where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 7)
He responded, “God himself will provide the lamb…my son.” He believed God would provide. (v.8)
They continued their walk together. Still no provision.
The next few passages are unbearable to read.
Abraham “bound his son Isaac.” Still no provision. (v. 9)
He “laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.” Still no provision. (v. 9)
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife “to slay his son.” Still no provision. (v. 10)
5. What are you feeling right now?
Finally, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham, do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him.” (v. 11)
Still no provision, but a Word from the Lord.
6. What were the next words of the angel of the Lord? (v.12)
Yes, this was a test. The angel of the Lord said, “Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (v. 12)
Abraham then looked up and saw a ram in the thicket. God had finally provided.
The reason we are studying this story comes in the next passage:
He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called this place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. (v. 13-14)
God began a covenant relationship that day with Abraham, a relationship that extends to us today. He promised that He would provide whatever it is we need. Not what we want, but what we need.
The life of faith to which God calls us is not an easy one, friend. Like Noah, Abraham, David, Steven, and Paul, we may be called to make some heartrending decisions, to walk a path we would rather not walk. The question for us at that point is on what or on whom will we fix our confidence? These men all fixed it securely on God. Stories like Abraham’s teach us that faith does not require an explanation. Faith rests on God’s promises.
7. What is one of the most difficult sacrifices the Lord has asked of you? How did you respond? How did He provide?
God ended His visit with Abraham on Mount Moriah, confirming His covenant with Abraham:
I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the
seashore. Genesis 22:16-17a
God showered blessings upon Abraham for his obedience. God gave him great favor (v.12); God gave him back his son (v. 13); Abraham learned a new name for God, and he received new assurances from God (v. 16-18). That is how our God works. He promises that blessings follow obedience.
8. Fill in the blank and memorize it: ________________________ follow ____________________________________.
B. Read the following verses and share the truths and/or promises you find.
1. 2 Corinthians 9:8
2. 2 Corinthians 9:11
3. 1 Timothy 6:18-19
4. 2 Corinthians 8:9. What are the first three words of this verse?
“For you know.” Friend, this should be our starting point every time we take a step of faith. There is nothing God will ask of us that He will not, in turn, provide. He provides because He not only wants to build our faith but also wants to ensure that we have everything we need to accomplish His purposes and do His Kingdom work.
***** If you want to go deeper, read Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:17, Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37, and 2 Timothy 1:12. How do they encourage you in our discussion today? *****
C. Is there a place in your life God is asking you to give (time, gifts, finances) and you are hesitating? Why are you hesitating? Spend some time with the stories, promises and truths we have studied this week and see what you hear from God. Journal it and share it.
We will end our time together talking about humility.
D. Define humility.
Jeremy Taylor, a 17th century ordained priest and prolific writer, gives this insight about humility:
“Humility begins as a gift from God, but it is increased as a habit as we develop it.”
Paul taught us in an earlier lesson that God’s power operates most powerfully and effectively in our weakness.
1. What do the following stories teach you about the kind of person God uses to do His Kingdom work?
a. Moses – Exodus 3:1-15, 4:1-17
b. Gideon – Judges 6
c. David – 1 Samuel 16:1-13
E. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 and 1 Peter 5:5b-6.
1. Who does the Lord choose (1 Cor. 1:27-28)
2. God does this “so that…?” (1 Cor. 1: 29)
3. Write 1 Peter 5:5b-6 below.
“Clothe” is from the Greek word egkomboomai and means “to gird oneself with a thing, to be clothed with.” “Gird” means “to encircle or bind with a belt or band; to surround; enclose; hem in.”
We see this same word in John 13:4 when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples: “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.” John 13:4 (KJV) Jesus performed a task normally reserved for the role of a servant, washing feet. Before He began, He removed His outer garments and wrapped a towel around His waist. He modeled servanthood for His disciples.
Peter used the word “gird” here to teach us that just as Jesus laid aside His outer garments and put on a towel to become a servant, so each of us should “put on” a servant’s attitude and minister to each other. Jesus modeled for us that humility is not demeaning ourselves; it is simply not thinking of ourselves at all!
“Humility” is from the Greek word tapeinophrosune, defined as “a virtue, a fruit of the gospel, that exists when a person through most genuine self-evaluation deems himself worthless.” It stresses not so much our sinfulness but our possessing nothing being absolutely dependent on God.
F. Read Philippians 2:1-11. What is the biblical definition of humility given here.
Humility will never be a reality in our lives until we first humble ourselves before God. We must fully submit every area to Him, holding back nothing. The willingness to submit comes when we realize that we are the recipients of God’s undeserved gift of grace. Without grace, we have no hope beyond eternal damnation. We are sinners, condemned to a life of eternal separation from God. It is God’s grace that saves us from the fiery pit of hell.
1. Think of a few people in your life who live a life exemplified by humility and write their names below.
2. What evidence of humility do you see in their lives?
3. At the beginning of this discussion, Jeremy Taylor told us that humility is a habit to be developed. What are some ways you can develop this habit in your own life?
4. Prayerfully look over your list. Is there an area in which you need to work? Ask God to help you develop this godly virtue in your life.
G. Read 1 Peter 5:6. What is the great “so that” when we do walk in humility?
“Exalt” means “to elevate, lift up.”
The key phrase in this promise is found in the words “in due time.” God will not exalt us until we are ready. Sometimes waiting precedes the “lifting up.” We see examples of this throughout Scripture. Jesus endured years of rejection, persecution and the cross before He sat down at the right hand of God. Moses endured times of isolation, persecution and trials before God used him to deliver the Jews. Joseph suffered persecution, wrongful imprisonment and separation from family and friends before God elevated him to the throne. David waited decades, enduring numerous trials and tribulations, including attempts on his life, before God crowned him King of Judah.
Humility requires patience. But in the end, our patience will be well rewarded. We find this promise in Jesus’ own words in John 13:15-17:
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
My Final Call to Action
We have learned much. Please don’t let your time in the Word end here. Stay in God’s Word. Continue your search for more “so that’s.” And most importantly, follow through with your “Calls to Action.”
God specially designed each one of us to do Kingdom work. We have God-given gifts and talents, assigned to us before time began, to enable us to do that work. (Ephesians 2:10) Living according to the “so that” verses is God’s way of guiding us toward those plans. He will use these verses to point us in the direction He is leading.
Heather, believe I saved you so that…
Charlotte, believe my Word so that…
Noelle, pray so that…
Peggy, trust me in this trial so that…
Jill, live out my Word on this earth so that…
Susan, give so that…
Melissa, serve so that…
Cheri, obey so that…
Eloisa, teach so that…
Our “so that’s” will vary, but the way He works them in our lives is the same. He starts with commands that require small steps of obedience. And when we are faithful with these, He will ask more of us. Each step calls us out of our comfort zones to go deeper still with him whether it be trusting in Him for salvation, trusting in Him to honor His Word, trusting Him in prayer, trusting Him in a trial, or trusting Him to live our faith out loud for all to see. And with each step God promises rewards and blessings. (Hebrews 11:6)
After spending the last five weeks with God and the call to “Living So That…,” what is your final call to action? Choose one GIANT step of obedience you want to take for God.
Meet you back here next week for a final message and to announce our Christmas gift winners. I will be praying for you throughout the week. Stop by and share your comments!