College and Career Bible Study
The following is a summary of what we cover during our Sunday evening bible studies. We follow a simple structure with one person preparing questions for the group as we read through the scriptures assigned earlier in the week. An example of the guidelines we follow can be found here.
The life of Samson!
Noah encourages you all to read the rest of Nehemiah this week if you want to see further what a beautiful, joyous community that God is transforming us into and how to remain holy while dealing with enemies. This week, we are going to look at the life of Joseph so flip through those pages starting with Genesis 37 and come with questions and insights.
Genesis 37- 41: Joseph
- "Hey, guys, I had the craziest dream last night!" He probably shouldn't have shared his dream with everyone, but maybe Joseph really did mean to share it out of significance. Maybe, instead, he just thought it was a weird dream and they saw something in it that wasn't there, or maybe they thought he was boasting when he was really just perplexed. It doesn't say he had interpreted it.
- Still, he probably shouldn't have shared it, but if he hadn't, he would have started the ball rolling that would have ultimately saved his own people as well as all of Egypt.
- His brother's sold him to Ishmaelites! Joseph is losing his inheritance to an Ishmaelite in the same way Ishmael lost his inheritance to Isaac, through jealousy and slavery.
- Even After so many years of being in that prison, he never doubted his visions and dreams. How can we doubt away from the persecution of Joseph?
- Joseph got such blessing after he was released, that he literally forgot his suffering. (41:51) God's Love was so infinite that he was able to wipe away the suffering of Joseph as if it had never happened!
Noah challenges us to read Nehemiah chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8. Also, look at 1 Corinthians 12.
Remember, we are inquiring of the Lord about our callings, dreams, careers, and gifts of the Spirit and how he wants us to serve the kingdom.
These can be things that are already in your heart or perhaps you don't know what they are yet.
Starting in Chapter 5, Nehemiah is bombarded with several issues such as famine, and a lack of reconciliation. He was pressured with a temptation to disregard these issues and even abandon the crusade. The people were enslaving their children, charging interest on land and debt. It was a direct reflection of the persecution that they had been under in Babylon. Nehemiah turned these cries for help into the foundation of a community by eliminating all debt and demanding reconciliation. Nehemiah could have easily said, y'all deal with your own problems and settle your own debt. Instead he showed compassion for his people and a fierce determination to end the strife. This is a declaration that God can give you strength to deal with all things if you trust in Him. These issues could have very easily turned Jerusalem into a smaller version of Babylon riddled with slavery and social injustice. Instead, in an instant, it was turned into a self respecting, people honoring, boldly faithful community of people.
Noah had us read and relate to Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 12:58; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, and Romans 5:11.
In Matthew, Jesus was delivering the sermon on the mount. The specific verse referenced shed light on forgiving your brother before you give to God. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." Reconciliation is defined as "to restore to friendship or harmony" or "to settle or resolve differences". It is an exchanging of our sins for Christ's righteousness. This is important to note due to a hardening of heart that occurs when you hold onto transgressions. Resolving these differences allows you to fully give to the Lord without holding anything back.
Luke also highlights the importance of reconciliation. He states: "As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison." Reconciling with each other helps avoid being harshly judged and suffer severe consequences. This ultimately separates and divides us instead of unifying us together.
2 Corinthians speaks to being ambassadors for Christ. Reaching others through our reconciliation, and actions, to exemplify Christ. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Romans clearly states that our sins have been washed away through Christ. " And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Christ has given us the joy of the Lord through our seeking of reconciliation.
"God's Purpose for you"
Noah had us read Nehemiah chapters 1, 2, and 3 to prepare for the lesson.
Nehemiah was a cup bearer for King Artaxerxes around 445-425 BCE. This King conquered the people of Israel and enslaved them. There were approximately 1 million people living under his rule. Nehemiah had a dream/vision from God saying he was going to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and King Artaxerxes was going to help! For several months Nehemiah wrestled with this vision and eventually asked the king if he could leave his side and go rebuild the city. He also asked, with respect, for the king to provide the wood, stone, and safe passage for the project. Surprisingly the king agreed! Some people that wanted to return to Jerusalem joined Nehemiah on his journey, but did not know his true purpose.
Nehemiah was tasked with something that seemed overwhelmingly impossible, yet after lots of prayer he was able to conquer this 'little' question. His question was answered with more than what he could ask for, an approval and the king's blessing AND about 50,000 people to help build. Once they arrived at the burned and scorned city Nehemiah had revealed his plan to the people and they started work immediately. Just as quickly they were met with the opposition. Several groups of people in the area were upset that they were rebuilding for fear of rebellion, or distaste for these former Israelite's. However, despite the threats and attempts to attack, God provided protection by thwarting the enemies' plans every step of the way.
Nehemiah's tactics for working together as well as protecting the city is a huge exclamation to his leadership abilities. The people were instructed to rebuild the wall that stood directly behind their homes. The 'people' that worked were from all different backgrounds, and they all worked together as one team. There was a fierce determination to fulfill the city to greater glory, that even when burdened with carrying swords and spears they continued on tirelessly. Little did these guys, and gals, know that they were building a city that Jesus would be walking into. There were a few other large scaled constructions of Jerusalem, however they were mostly focused on expansion.
As we continue reading through Nehemiah we will see more leadership traits to discuss, as well as how to respond to problems that arise.
Noah taught on the importance of wells. He referenced Genesis 1:8-19; Luke 7; Matthew 5; and 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.
These readings all reference events that happened around wells. Wells have historically been a meeting place for all types of people searching for, the essence of life, water. As these stories speak about different lessons and situations they all have a common theme of searching for life.
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