Discussion Guide: Genesis Week 11

PRAYER

Take the first few minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.

Today’s Discussion

This week we continue our series titled Genesis, where we will be walking through the first book of the bible by the same name. We will be exploring who God is, what was His purpose in creating the world and humanity, and how, in the midst of all the brokenness our sin has brought to His creation, how is God putting it all back together again. I want to challenge us over the course of this series to think deeply, speak honestly, and perhaps even learn how to love more passionately. Let’s get started with the beginning.

Discussion Questions

What would you say is the definition of success in our culture today?

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Genesis 21:1-10

The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 

 

When we look at Genesis 21, what was the cultural definition of success in Abraham’s day?

What did that definition of success produce in the hearts of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael?

What does our current cultural definition of success produce in the hearts of people today? In our hearts?

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Daniel L. Block,  Marriage and Family in the Biblical World

“For ancient Israelites the most important contribution a woman could make to a household was to present her husband with children. . . . Indeed, the noblest contribution a woman could make to a household in general and her husband in particular was to bear a son for him. Through childbearing a woman earned her place in life and her share in the household. Conversely, failure to deliver on this obligation was viewed as a curse and a shameful disgrace.”

Zadie Smith,  On Beauty (2006)

“Right. I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies– it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.”

How does God’s definition of success differ from not just our culture, but from every culture that has ever existed?

How would living by God’s definition change the way we see ourselves and others?

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Romans 7:14-19

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  

How well are you doing at accomplishing God’s definition of success? Why?

Is it possible to turn even God’s definition of success into an enslaving idol in our hearts?

How Does Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, and His resurrection from the dead, empower us to not become enslaved by these definitions of success?

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Closing Thought

 

How can we best model this Kingdom idea of reflecting God’s love to the world as the ultimate successful life?

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Pensamientos de Cierre

 

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