Introduction: This week we start a new series of studies on the topic
of hope. I hope this study goes well! Seriously, what do you hope
for? Do you have hopes for your life, your job, your marriage, your
children, your future? How is your hope on these topics tied into
your relationship with God? Let’s jump into our study and find out!

  1. Hope from the Beginning

    1. Read Genesis 1:31-2:1. What has been accomplished here?

    2. You know the story – we have Adam and Eve and a “very
      good” creation. Put yourself in Adam or Eve’s place. What
      did they hope about? Nothing? Anything?

      1. What would you hope for if you were one of them?

    3. When my wife and I were first married, I was still in law
      school and we were very poor. Our hope was that I would
      graduate from school before we ran out of money. After I
      graduated, and we were both working, it seemed that we
      were in a “bubble” of good living. We hoped that “bubble”
      would not burst. We feared that things would get worse.
      When you thought of the “hope” of Adam and Eve, isn’t that
      what you had in mind – that things would not get worse?

      1. If there was no sin, and the world was perfect, why
        should Adam and Eve have to hope that things would
        not be worse? Why would “worse” even be a

    4. The serpent approaches Eve with the temptation to eat the
      forbidden fruit. Let’s pick up this story by reading
      Genesis 3:5-6. Was Satan peddling hope to Eve?

      1. Our lesson (Sunday) says Adam and Eve had no hope
        because they had no need to hope. How does this
        statement fit into Eve’s thinking as reported in
        verse 6?

      2. If you say Eve was hoping for something, what hope
        interested her? (They were perfect, but they were not
        God. Satan was peddling the hope that Eve could be
        like God knowing all things – good as well as evil.)

      3. How could Eve hope for something she did not really
        understand? (How many times our hopes are like that!
        We hope for things that would not be good for us if
        we got them. Beware of what you hope for!)

      4. Did Adam and Eve, after sin, have something about
        which to hope?

      1. Read Genesis 3:8. Does this reveal their “hope” now?
        (They now hoped that God would not find them.)

        1. Why did they not want God to find them? (They
          hoped they could avoid the penalty for their

    1. Read Genesis 3:12-13. What is the state of “hope” for Adam
      and Eve now? (Read Genesis 3:3. Adam and Eve knew the
      penalty for disobeying God and eating the fruit was death.
      They are hoping not to be blamed.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:16. How has life changed for Eve?

      1. What fundamental change is there in her relationship
        with Adam?

    3. Read Genesis 3:17. How has life changed for Adam?

      1. What fundamental change has taken place in his
        future? (He will die.)

    4. Let’s go back a couple of verses. Read Genesis 3:14-15.
      What hope do you find here? (Hope that sin will ultimately
      be defeated and Adam and Eve can return to their former

    5. Is it important to evaluate our hopes? To make sure we
      are hoping for the right things?

      1. Which is better, hope or obedience? Are these two
        mutually exclusive?

  1. Hope in the Wrong Things

    1. We saw that Eve, who should not have needed to hope for
      anything, was in fact hoping for what was harmful to her.
      Let’s read Proverbs 11:28 and Proverbs 18:10-11. What are
      the two alternative subjects of hope mentioned in these
      verses? (Hope for wealth and hope in the Lord.)

      1. Notice that Proverbs 18:10-11 suggests that both God
        and money provide similar protection. The name of God
        is a “tower” and wealth is a “fortified [walled]
        city.” What is different about the two? (Wealth is
        not a reliable protector. Proverbs 11:28 tells us
        wealth will fail and Proverbs 18:11 says we only
        “imagine” that wealth is an “unscalable” wall.)

      2. The Bible says hoping for money is not as good as
        hoping for God. Raise your hand if you agree with

        1. Those of you with your hand up, let me ask you
          another question: “Which would you rather have,
          a cashier’s check in the amount of the purchase
          price of that new car you want, or my prayer
          that you will get a new car?

          1. Isn’t this an area in which we need to ask
            God to increase our faith?

          2. Or, am I asking you a “trick question?”

          3. Let’s look at a couple of texts. Read
            Jeremiah 17:5 and Isaiah 31:1. Do these
            texts suggest that I was tricking you when
            I asked about the cashier’s check versus
            prayer? (Yes. There is no substitute for
            trusting God. These texts suggest the
            problem is in trusting money or other men
            only. Trusting in money and turning away
            from God. A Christian is allowed to
            understand the benefit that money can
            bring. The message of the Bible is that
            if you trust only money, you will surely
            be disappointed.)

            1. Read Matthew 6:24. How does this text
              fit into our discussion?

    2. Read Matthew 7:22-23. In what are these people hoping?

      1. Are they trusting in the wrong thing? (It looks like
        they are trusting in their own works. God says He
        never knew them.)

      2. Read Matthew 7:21. What does this text say is the
        proper basis for hope?

      3. Does it seem to you that the message of verse 21
        contradicts the message of verse 22-23? (It seems
        that way on the surface. The people in verse 21 who
        call on the Lord are not saved unless they do works.
        The people in verses 22-23 have works, but do not
        know God. I think the message is both faith and works
        are necessary to make a complete Christian.)

        1. On what then, should we place our hope? (Faith.
          However, the works show we mean it when we call
          on the Lord in faith.)

  2. God’s Plan for Our Hope

    1. The message of our study so far is that we need to place
      our hope on God, and not on anything else. Let’s see what
      God says about our hope. Read Jeremiah 29:11.

      1. What does God have for us? (Plans!)

      2. If God follows “the plan” what does God want to give
        to us? (Prosperity, hope, and a future.)

      3. When you think back on the story of Eve and Satan,
        what plan did Satan have for Eve? What did he want to
        give her? (He wanted to harm her — which is exactly
        the opposite of what God says He plans for us.)

    2. Friend, the choice is yours. God invites us to place our
      hope and our trust in Him. He only has good things in mind
      for us in “His plan.” However, we can place our hope and
      trust in other individuals or in things. These things are
      not reliable and other individuals, well, they may not
      have your best interests in mind.

  3. Next Week: Old Testament Hope