The Point: God’s plans are always better than our own.
- Get Into the Study
- Study the Bible
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following story as an alternate introduction and Question #1.
We live in an instant world. We’re able to order food, send texts, and be accessible via our phones without any waiting period. We hate to sit and wait even 30 minutes for a pizza delivery. We move so quickly that news coverage has to live in real-time to not be considered “old news.”
Dennis Williams II wrote about our need for instant news in his article, “We’re Going Live: How Social Media is Shifting towards Breaking News for Millennials.” According to the article, Pew Research reports that 63% of Twitter and Facebook users now identify the media outlets as their main news source. That’s an increase from 2013 numbers that reported 52% (Twitter) and 47% (Facebook) of users looked to those outlets for breaking news. Williams notes, “Social media has the ability to cover news in real-time which has contributed to the shift in how people, especially millennials, receive news.”
This instant world makes waiting and trusting God very difficult. Regardless of our world and the nature of getting what we want in an instant, we must trust and live obediently recognizing God’s plan. It requires more patient submission—and the wait is difficult.
Alternate Question #1: In our instant society, can you think of a time when you were frustrated by the wait? What were you waiting on?
In today’s study of Genesis 15, we’ll see that God called Abram to a great mission. But, Abram had to wait for God’s plans to fully unfold.
Tanya McAvoy wrote this Leader Extra. Tanya serves as the Minister of Evangelism and Education at Neptune Baptist Church in Neptune Beach, Florida.
The article referenced in this blog post can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/were-going-live-how-social-media-shifting-towards-news-williams-ii
Study the Bible
Read or summarize the following illustration as your group studies Abraham’s longing for God’s plan to be fulfilled in Genesis 17:18-19.
Waiting is one of the most difficult parts of connecting our lives with God’s plan. Even when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s plans are better than our own, it can still be excruciating to wait for those plans to come about.
As an example, we know from the Scriptures that Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years between God’s promise of a son and the actual, physical arrival of baby Isaac in their lives (see Genesis 12:1-4 and 21:1-5). For a full generation, Abraham and Sarah lived with the tension between knowing what God had promised and waiting for Him to deliver. That’s quite a wait!
In today’s world, fans of the Star Wars franchise have some idea of what it means to wait for that long in order to receive something they want. The first Star Wars film, A New Hope, rocked the world when it hit theaters in 1977. Two more films followed in 1980 and 1983, but fans had to wait another 16 years before the second Star Wars trilogy came to fruition with The Phantom Menace, which hit theaters in 1999. After two more films in 2002 and 2005, the franchise took another hiatus until The Force Awakens revitalized the fan base in January of this year.
As the newest film in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens is again the vanguard of a new trilogy. Two more films are currently in production — one scheduled to hit theaters in 2017 and the other in 2019.
In other words, by the time the current trilogy is over, Star Wars fans will have waited 42 years to watch the full story of everything that happened in a galaxy far, far away.
Note: If appropriate, illustrate the above information by showing the most-recent trailer for the first of the Star Wars anthology films — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- When was the last time you leaped before you looked?
- Share a time when your plans fell through but something better emerged.
- Share a time when God’s plan turned out better than your plan.
- What influences the choices of people our age?
- At this point in our lives, what kind of trouble do we most often create for ourselves by the choices we make?
- What’s your initial response to a season of waiting?
- What barriers stood in the way of the vision Abraham received from God?
- Why is it so hard to have faith when all we see is barriers?
- What’s your response when a promise isn’t immediately delivered?
- What is the relationship between believing God and being accounted as righteous by God?
- Why is it easier to have faith at the beginning of a journey with God but harder later in the process?
- How do our solutions to problems often cause deeper problems?
- Why do we have such a hard time waiting on God’s timing?
- When have you taken matters into your own hands and had to live with the consequences?
- How have you experienced God redeeming one of your bad decisions?
- How do we develop trust in God and His plans for us?
- How can you practice reliance on God?
- What details of God’s plan do you know today?
- Is there a circumstance in your life now where you need to be reminded that God is always at work and you can trust Him?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: