Showing Tue Oct 31 - Sun Nov 26, 2017

2017 Series

Tuesday, October 31, 2017: Genesis 1-2

Genesis 1: Verse One of the Holy Bible is “In the beginning God created”. Why is that verse important to you and how has your life been influenced by it?

Light is God’s first creation. What are some images of light throughout Scripture as God’s gift both materially and spiritually, and how do they influence your Christian walk?

Genesis 2: Consider God’s gift of freedom coupled with responsibility (vs 16)

What is the difference between domination and stewardship in creation?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017: Genesis 3-4

Genesis 3: God gives man and woman the first garments. Why is clothing important? Contrast with human efforts at making garments.

Why did God banish Adam and Eve from the Garden? (see vs 22-24)

Genesis 4: Why do you think Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God, but Cain’s was not? Note the first reference to prayer (vs. 26)

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Thursday, November 2, 2017: Genesis 5-6

Genesis 5: Why do you think people lived so much longer during the time of Adam to Noah?

Note Enoch’s “epitaph.” (vs 24). What does it means to walk with God? Are there any other Biblical examples of people who did not die, but were taken to be with God?

Genesis 6: God “establishes a covenant” with Noah (vs. 18). What is a covenant? How is God bound by this covenant? What is the result of the covenant for Noah and his family?

How are God’s promises made sure through the centuries, and in your life?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Friday, November 3, 2017: Genesis 7-8

Genesis 7, 8: What is the biggest storm you’ve ever been through? What happened in the world around you? What was going on in your heart and mind throughout the storm?

Compare your thoughts with the experience of Noah and his family in Genesis 7 and 8. How were they kept safe, warm, dry? What were their duties during the storm? What were the signs of life God gave to Noah?

Now think through the providential nature of God who protects and preserves, throughout the course of history.

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: Genesis 9-10

Genesis 9: Think through again the concept of God’s covenant. What is the sign of the covenant with Noah? The cutting of colors in the sky is significant. Who is the ultimate sign of the covenant? Compare Isaiah 53 and the wounds of the covenantal Sign.

Genesis 10: What is the significance of the listing of the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth? (hint – see chapter 9). Are there cursed races or peoples? Has anything transpired to remove all curses from all peoples, and to enable the end of such divisions? How has that reality inspired you?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Sunday, November 5, 2017: Genesis 11; Job 1-2

Genesis 11: How many languages do you speak? How many languages can you read and recognize? Compare our global internet world with the language-united world prior to the act of God after the Tower of Babel. Is there less confusion or more confusion today? Do we depend less or more on God today?

Job 1 and 2: How the mighty have fallen! The first two chapters of Job set out the story of how a great man of God, Job, was brought low.

Think through the conversations of Satan and God, and then the result in the initial attitude of Job, from losing all he had to his physical woes. How would you fare in such a trial?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Monday, November 6, 2017: Job 3-5

Job 3-5: Think through a serious trial or difficulty in your life. Did you ever curse the day of your birth (Job 3)? Have you ever been so low that you wished you had never been born?

How does Job’s friend Eliphaz counter Job’s complaint? Do you have people in your life with whom you can interact on the deep matters of your soul and spirit? Does the Word of God speak to you at such times, and how?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017: Job 6-7

Job 6-7: Job responds to his friend in anguish and with deep passion throughout chapters 6 and 7. When you have been in deep difficulty, how do you handle your emotions? How is your spiritual walk affected when your emotions are powerful?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017: Job 8-9

Job 8-9: Job’s second friend, Bildad, speaks in a different tone, and reminds Job of God’s justice and goodness. Do you have friends such as this one?

Job states (9:33) that he cannot approach God. He desires a mediator, a dispute resolver. In deep disputes in your life, who mediates? At the deepest spiritual level, who is our Mediator between a just God and sinful humanity?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Thursday, November 9, 2017: Job 10-11

Birthday of Martin Luther

Job 10-11 Job’s third friend, Zophar, now intercedes, after listening to Job’s severe complaints. He recommends that Job simply return to his fundamental faith and then – Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning (11:17). Does this remind you of one of the Psalms?

The theme again is of light and darkness, as at the beginning of God’s creation. When in the darkness of doubt and despair, hope in God, and hope remains!

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Friday, November 10, 2017: Job 12-13

Job 12-13: Job now lashes out at his friend-counselors. The poetry is astounding in the depths of its conviction and authenticity. As the saying goes, “You always hurt the ones you love.” Job’s tremendous difficulties demand that he seek an audience directly with God. No human middle men will do.

Have you been through this dark night of the soul, and found earthly counselors will simply not do? Where did you turn? Where can we turn?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 11, 2017: Job 14-15

Job 14-15: Job’s friend Eliphaz comes back to speak, after Job has described what it is like to be ultimately alone in Chapter 14. Have you felt the pang of loneliness? Have you felt the sting of despair? What resources have given you comfort?

Eliphaz describes again the need not to be so self-contained as to lose sight of God’s almighty nature, and so self-absorbed as to lose hope.

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Monday, November 13, 2017: Job 16-17

Job 16-17: Although it seems hard to reach the depth of anguish Job experiences when he calls a worm “my mother” or “my sister” (ch. 17:14), his expressions in these chapters identify his physical condition.

How does our physicality – the way our body looks and feels, inside and out – determine our interior spiritual condition? When we realize we are but skin and bones, and bound for dust and ashes, does that realization expel hope from us, or is there a further, deeper resource?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017: Job 18-19

Job 18-19: The movement of Job’s pain again stretches against his friend/counselors. He cannot abide their counsel that his questioning of God place him among the wicked. Instead, finally, Job pleads in Chapter 19 for a Redeemer, for a true advocate who will release him and give him fair audience with God. Otherwise, all that is left of him is the “skin of (my) teeth.”

This passage has been used as a Christian resource for twenty centuries. How does it square with Job’s experience prior to the coming of the Messiah? Was his questioning of God a sin, or did it produce the potential for true redemption?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017: Job 20-21

Job 20-21: As Job continues interacting with his friend/counselors, the dialog seems in chapters 20-21 to focus on two time-honored questions:

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do the wicked seem to be rewarded? (Why don’t bad things happen to bad people?)

What’s your response to those questions, based on the book of Job?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Thursday, November 16, 2017: Job 22-23

Job 22-23: In Chapter 22, more words with friends produces only more agitation from Job in Chapter 23. What Job wants is his day in court. He wants to hunt God down, bring God to the courtroom and plead his case. Amazingly, Job knows if that happens he will be found blameless, and the punishment will end.

Do you have the strength of conviction possessed by Job about your own blamelessness before God? How do we understand blame and guilt in the Christian tradition?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Friday, November 17, 2017: Job 24-25

Job 24-25: Job opines that the case of God against the truly evil is easy to press, as he calls out those who oppress the poor in chapter 24. Are we as lively in our prophetic words and actions today against those who cause the poor, the homeless and the tempest-tossed to suffer, or is ours more of an “every man for himself” framework?

In Chapter 25 Bildad identifies a truth for Job – human beings cannot approach the righteousness of God. For Christians, who then is our Righteousness, and how important is that reality?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 18, 2017: Job 26-27

Job 26-27: Job continues to rail against the wicked, joining his friends in the cry that the ways of the wicked need to perish. At the same time, he absolutely will not give up his right to declare that he is NOT one of the wicked, and has been falsely placed in the wrong category.

Righteous indignation – Job had a lot of that. Do you possess the same sense of indignation when evil happens? Do you possess the same sense that your “side” is the right side on an issue?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Monday, November 20, 2017: Job 28-29

Job 28-29: Chapter 28 is best termed an “interlude”. It is a tract on the topic of wisdom. Read it carefully and ask yourself – do I seek wisdom day by day? Do I know the difference between wisdom and knowledge? Do I understand how difficult it is to obtain wisdom? What is the source of wisdom (verse 28).

Chapter 29 takes Job back into his final defense. He opines, “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime (v 4)!” The good old days when everything was rosy are on Job’s mind. Do you have moments of nostalgia, longing for the days when life was simple, when health was assumed, when the future looked ever-bright? Join Job!

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017: Job 30-31

Job 30-31: Chapter 30 can be described as “come-uppance.” Job is no longer in his prime, and in fact is the object of scorn and derision by the worst of the bad element in society. He has become powerless – God has “unstrung his bow.” V. 11. Have you ever gotten your comeuppance? Did your feelings align with Job’s?

Chapter 31 is the final vigorous defense of Job before God and anyone else listening. It’s crafted in “If”-“then” categories. It is a magnificent literary chapter of the Bible. Read it carefully as you prepare for the next stage of Job’s action with the Almighty.

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017: Job 32-33

Job 32-33: A fourth interactor enters – younger than the rest, and paying deference to their perceived wisdom, he now cannot help himself – words tumble from his mouth in defense of God against the efforts of Job to justify himself.

What would you say to a good person who turns on God when hard times occur? What would you say to someone who believes they’ve done nothing wrong in the eyes of God and are innocent? How instructive are the words of Elihu for your use today?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Thursday, November 23, 2017: Job 34-35

Job 34-35: Job continues to hear it from Elihu who adds two strong condemnation – Job adds rebellion to his sin (34:37), and his words are multiplied without substance (35:16). Harsh stuff!

When we read these words, is contemporary culture able to provide a healthy place for this kind of strong condemnation? Does a Twitterfeed world have room for substantial negative conversation about destiny and responsibility?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Friday, November 24, 2017: Job 36-37

Job 36-37: Elihu ends his speech to Job by comparing the quick and sudden demise of the wicked, the trajectory of their lives down to the tomb, against the might and splendor of God the Creator and Preserver of the world, which brings awe and wonder from lightning strikes to thunderclaps to the general well-being of the world under His protection.

Find and work through hymns and songs of the creative power of God from your hymnal or memory bank. Are we still in awe of God our creator? Do we understand how fearfully and wonderfully we are made? How do you proclaim that truth?

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 25, 2017: Job 38-39

Job 38-39: God answers from the whirlwind, and Job’s defenses, his humanity, his mortality are all laid bare in an instant. In some of the most powerful poetry ever penned, the Word of God speaks to Job and to us:

Where were you? God thunders, when I laid the world’s foundation. Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place (vss. 4, 12)? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

Take a full session to read these two chapters. They describe the magnificence of our God, and allow us to consider ourselves with authentic humility.

—David Benke (St Peter’s, Brooklyn)