Into the unknown week 1: Waiting

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Waiting 

sermon guide

Faced with a difficult season of waiting, we start asking some significant questions: What’s going on? How can I handle this? What can God do?

Are there other areas of your life, aside from the pandemic, that have you waiting for God to do something?

Have someone read Genesis 50:22-26 and Exodus 1:1-11.

For Jacob and his family, moving down to Egypt—where his son Joseph was second in command to Pharaoh—began well. They were given fine land, they settled in quickly, prospered, and had lots and lots of babies. The Israelite population multiplied immensely; so much so that that after some generations, a different Pharaoh, concerned that the Israelites could pose a significant threat should they ever turn against Egypt, took action against them. He forced the Israelites into slavery, oppressing them cruelly with brutally hard work to wear them down. In spite of that, the Israelite population continued to multiply.

Have someone read Exodus 1:15, 16, and 22.

Pharaoh didn’t stop with brutal slave labor. What was his next move to oppress God’s people?

Have someone read Genesis 46:1-4.

What did God promise Jacob as he was leaving the Promised Land?

Often when God makes a promise, He does not specify when He will fulfill that promise. Sometimes God’s people find themselves waiting.

Why doesn’t God answer all our prayers and fulfill every promise immediately?

We might not have faced slavery or genocide, but haven’t each of us had periods of waiting, praying, crying out to God, and then more waiting . . . when it seemed like God was silent?

Gene explained that there are two ways to handle our challenges: either with God or without Him. Then Gene listed three things we can hold onto when we are in a period of waiting; three things we can count on God to do.

God sees our hurt.

Have someone read Exodus 2:23-25.

God blesses those who trust.

Over the years the Israelites made a lot of bad choices. However, what is one thing they did right in their situation that we can do also?

God isn’t looking for fancy words or complicated prayers. He looks for simple faith and simple trust.

God delivers those who wait.

Have someone read Genesis 15:13-14 and Isaiah 40:31.

God had promised to deliver His people and was about to send them someone who would lead them to freedom. Most Israelites were unaware at the time of what God was putting in motion: of Moses’ birth and survival during the genocide, of his being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, of God preparing him to lead the Israelites. All they saw was their daily pain and suffering as they waited.

How do you feel when it seems your prayers are going unanswered?

One of the best ways to get through times of waiting is to serve others. Who in your life needs encouragement right now?

How can we focus on God’s goodness and faithfulness during this current season of waiting? What practices can help us do so?

wrap up

Have each person share their requests. Consider pairing people to pray on a video call during the week.

This week ask the group to read Acts 7:20-29; Numbers 20:11-12 and encourage people to engage with the 21 Days of Prayer, where we will delve deeper into the story of Moses.

Pick one of the following things to do this week to be a light and encourage others:

Share Gene’s daily devotional on your social media.

Invite your friends to a watch party for our weekend service.

Write a card to someone who is lonely or hurting in your life.

Offer to run errands or grocery shop for someone.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23)  This life as we know it doesn’t end here. A better world is coming!

Close in prayer, thanking God for His promise to fully liberate all creation, when Jesus will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

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