Lesson 2

Old Testament Hope

(Genesis 6, 12, Jeremiah 17, Hebrews 9)
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Introduction: Normally, we try to study God's Word in its context. This week, we are going to do things differently. We will look at "snapshots" of examples of hope (or the need for it) throughout the Old Testament. Let's get our mental cameras ready and jump into God's Word!

  1. Hope In Rising Waters

    1. Read Genesis 6:5. Are these good or bad people being discussed?

      1. What kinds of things do they hope for?

      2. What makes them bad people? (This is an important concept: God points to the thoughts as the source of wickedness, not the deeds that follow. Their hopes were set on evil.)

      3. How thoroughly bad are they? ("Every" aspect of their thoughts was evil and this happened "all the time." They do not seem to have any good thoughts.)

    2. Read Genesis 6:6. How does God react to our evil thinking?

      1. Do you ever consider how your actions affect God, as opposed to how they affect you or those around you?

      2. Had God made a mistake in creating man?

      3. What had God's hope been in the Creation?

    3. Read Genesis 6:7. God is unhappy that He made man and He is pained about their sin. What does God decide to do to take away the pain? (He decides to "undo" His Creation.)

      1. Over the years I have some in my class argue that God never does anything "bad" to us. He simply allows Satan to do the bad things that happen in our life. I have never thought this (allowing someone else to do the "dirty work") placed God in a better light. In an American court of law this is called a "conspiracy" and it doesn't matter who actually does the deed. What room does this text give to believe God will never harm us? (I do not see how the judgment side of God could be more plain. Verses 6-7 even explain God's mental process - God intended to destroy the people.)

      2. Where is hope in this situation?

        1. On the part of God?

        2. On the part of people?

    4. Read Genesis 6:13-14. Why would God give Noah a way out when He has set His mind to destroy people? (This shows two things. First, God was not out to destroy people, He was out to destroy evil. Second, no matter how bad the situation becomes, God still provides hope for those who walk with Him.)

      1. Does this give us hope? (If God's attitude is still the same, and He says He does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), He will destroy evil and provide a way out for those who walk with Him.)

      2. Was God's idea to just save Noah or to use Noah to save others?

      3. Before we leave this text, I want you to notice that God says He is going to "destroy both [people] and the earth." Why destroy the earth? (I don't know. Our surroundings affect us. It seems the earth became a less pleasant place to be. Perhaps that gave people less free time, and thus less opportunity to spend time on evil. Maybe it made them more dependent on God.)

    5. Read Genesis 6:8-9. Why did God choose to work with Noah and give him hope?

  2. Hope and the Great Nation

    1. Read Genesis 12:1-3. What did God ask Abram to give up?

      1. What did God promise Abram in return?

        1. Would this fulfill Abram's hopes?

      2. Why would God make this offer? What interest does God have in this? (This shows that God has an interest in blessing people. It shows that God offers a plan of action to us to be blessed and be a blessing.)

      3. What does the last part of verse 3 mean? (This is a prophecy of Jesus - a topic we will look at later in this lesson and next week.)

    2. Do you seem a similarity between God's approach to Noah and God's approach to Abram? (In both situations God uses one person to be the point of His contact and interaction with people.)

    3. As you look at Genesis 12:1-3 does it seem to you that God is actually calling Abram away from his people so that God can work with him on a "one to one" basis?

      1. Why do you think God is working with individuals rather than groups? Is God the kind of "person" who prefers to work "one on one?" (God does not have some personality defect that He is limited in the way He works. I think when God works through one person it helps others to see the power of God rather than the power of the person.)

      2. We read in Genesis 6:9 that Noah had a special relationship with God. Is that also true of Abram?

      3. Does God still work like that today - through specific people? Does God work to promote hope through one person at a time?

        1. If you say "yes," then what does that say about how we should operate our churches?

        2. If you say "yes," how do you explain Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are not "lone rangers" in working for God. Instead, we are part of a body that works together.

          1. Is there a difference between the Old and New Testament in God's approach to mankind?

        3. Does this teach us anything about leadership in the church?

          1. Do we need more people or more commitment?

          2. If "more commitment" is the answer, why does God tell Abram ( Genesis 12:2) I will make you a "great nation?" Is the goal the nation?

        4. Are we all potential partners with God to reach the world?

          1. Should our hope be to become that partner with God?

          2. Or, should our hope be to find the person with whom God is working and help that individual?

    4. Read Romans 5:12&15. Again we have a repeated reference to "one man." How many "men" did it take to plunge us into sin?

      1. How many "men" did it take to bring us out of sin?

      2. How important are your decisions about sin? How many people are affected by your decisions? (The theme in the stories of Noah and Abram is that God wants to work with individuals to promote His kingdom among the people. This gives us hope that our relationship with God can be personal and can result in great things.)

  3. Hope and Our Life

    1. Read Jeremiah 17:7. Do you hope to be blessed by God?

      1. If you do, what does this text tell you to do? (Trust God. Have confidence in God.)

      2. The last time you got into some problem, what did you trust? To whom or to what did you turn?

    2. Read Jeremiah 17:8. To what is God compared in this verse? (The stream of water.)

      1. Where does the tree put its roots? (In the water.)

        1. Where are your roots right now? On what did your life feed last week?

      2. Is "heat" coming your way in the future? Do you expect you may have to face some difficult experience?

        1. What does this tree fear about heat?

        2. When you have had "heat" in your life in the past, which was worse, the anticipation or the actual event?

        3. What is the antidote to worry about coming "heat?" (Having your roots in the water means you do not have to worry about "heat.")

      3. What would be the parallel in your life to the problem of "drought" for a tree? (Drought would be anything that could adversely interfere with the life and work of the tree.)

      4. What is the goal or work of the tree? (To bear fruit. We are having a drought where I live. A very interesting thing is happening to our Oak trees. Apparently, to protect the survival of the oaks, they are producing an unusual number of acorns. In adversity, they produce more fruit.)

  4. Jesus and Hope

    1. Read Hebrews 9:1-7. What does this describe? (This is a description of the Tabernacle set up by Moses at God's direction and a summary of the daily work of the priests and the work of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. See Leviticus 16.)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:8-10. Where these Tabernacle services good enough? (No. They were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.)

      1. If they were not good enough, what was the purpose for their existence? (The gave us hope for the "new order.")

    3. Read Hebrews 9:11-12, 14. What is the "new order" to which the sanctuary/Tabernacle service directed our hope? (The sanctuary service was a living illustration, a symbol, of Jesus offering Himself as our sacrifice. Jesus' sacrifice for us cleansed us of sin and gave us the opportunity for "eternal redemption.")

    4. Friend, God gives us hope because He cares about us. He cares about our sins, He cares about our daily struggles and He cares about our eternal destiny. He is both willing to destroy evil, and willing to give up Himself to overcome evil. Will you place your hope in Him?

  5. Next Week: The Jesus Hope: Part 1

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