1. Describe a time in your own life that you thought you were stepping out in faith, following God’s invitation, only to be met with obstacles and challenges? How did you process those feelings and choose to react to the situation?
2. The Israelites make a transition from being afraid of the Egyptians (v.13) to having a reverent fear of God (v.31). Compare those two types of fears and explain how you understand the interplay between the two.
3. How do you think the theme of this story reflects the larger narrative of scripture? What types of characteristics do you observe in God’s behavior here?
4. What are some examples from your life of living out an active faith and simultaneously depending on God? When is this more difficult for you to do? When have you done this well?
5. What obstacles or direct challenges to your faith do you currently face? How does the story of God preserving the Israelites provide encouragement for you?
1. If hard moments, obstacles, disappointments, and sickness are guaranteed to happen to us, why should we follow Jesus? What difference does responding to his invitations and following him make?
2. When you’ve faced scarcity, or sickness, or bitter experiences, how did you respond to God? What was your relationship with God like at that time?
3. When we encounter hardship and tragedy, there seem to be two general responses to God: to leave him behind or to lean in and increase our dependence. Why do some people choose God and some people leave God?
4. What are signs or symptoms in your own life of increasing dependence on God? What are signs or symptoms of increasing autonomy, or distance from God?
5. How can people in your small group or Christian community help you look to God and grow your dependence on Him during your next wilderness experience?
1. What events or moments in life have caused you to question God and his goodness? What actions did you eventually take in order to shift out of that mindset?
2. Describe a time in your life that you felt like you were in the wilderness and God was using that experience to grow your confidence in his goodness. What are signs or indicators that you look for to help you know if you’re following God?
3. What activities, mindsets, or behaviors do you engage with that contribute to your resistance to God’s leading in your life? Why do you think those things continue to seem more appealing than following God?
4. What activities, mindsets, or behaviors contribute to your cooperation with God’s leading in your life?
5. Reflecting on the types of practices that help you follow God, what can you do this week to help make that a habit in your life? How can your small group help you commit to following God?
1. What correlations have you previously observed between doubting God and your relational stability?
2. Why do you think doubting God contributes to relational friction? Outside of Exodus, what other scripture speaks to God’s intent for relationships?
3. What personal practices or experiences help to affirm God’s consistent care for you? What are some of the signals in your life that you may be doubting God’s care for you?
4. Why do you think the Israelites quarrel and grumbled, doubting God’s ability to provide water, after he just demonstrated his provisions through sweet water, manna, and quail? How can we avoid some of the same traps the Israelites faced, quickly moving from God’s provision to doubting God?
5. What role does Jesus and his resurrection play in your consideration of God’s provision in your life?
1. What character and what part of the story in Exodus 17:8-16 do you relate most closely with? How does that character or segment of the story reflect part of your life experience?
2. How would you describe the relationships between the material and spiritual world? What sources play a primary influence on your understanding of the two domains?
3. To what extent does your effort play a role in God’s ultimate defeat of evil?
4. How do you try to live out the directives of Ephesians 6:10-18? What differences have those practices made?
5. What is the significance of Jesus & his resurrection, and the battle between God and evil? What consequences does Christ’s resurrection have for a world with a seemingly endless supply of evil?
1. Describe a time in your life that you were faced with a confusing set of options and you needed wisdom and truth to help you navigate your choices? How did you pursue wisdom to assist you in making a decision?
2. How do you decide what information and advice is true and wise? What sources outside of Scripture qualify as truthful?
3. How did Moses position himself to be able to receive truth when he needed it most? How do you think the posture of your heart towards God and others influences your ability to identify what is true and receive truth from sources outside of yourself?
4. What habits and practices are you utilizing to cultivate wisdom and ability to discernment? Name some people in your life that you specifically look to for wisdom.
5. What areas or issues in life could you currently use greater wisdom? How can this group help you in your pursuit of wisdom?
1. Why do you think God gave the law to the Israelites? What relevance does the Old Testament Law have on life today?
2. In John 14:15 and John 15:10, Jesus discusses keeping His commands. What commands do you think he was talking about? What are the outcomes associated with Jesus’ commands?
3. What motivates you to obey God? What things tend to undermine your obedience to God?
4. Read John 15:1-17. What is Jesus’ command? What does Jesus say is the purpose and outcome of following his command?
5. How do Jesus’ words motivate you to obey him? How is this motivation different than your previous thoughts on following His command?
6. Considering Jesus’ command, what are some new ways you can live that reflect obedience to Jesus? How can your small group help you to live differently?
1. Do you enjoy reading the Psalms? Why or why not?
2. Have you ever tried writing your own Psalm? If so, how did you enjoy it, did it encourage you in your faith? If no, would you consider trying it this week?
3. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by sin? What did you do to help yourself get through that season? What role did scripture play in your freedom?
4. Psalm 65 beautifully shares with us about God the creator and God the redeemer. Which of these attributes of God do you connect with the most? Which one is easier for you to understand and embrace?
1. What type of emotions did Maddie’s story evoke in you? How can you relate to the suffering and comfort that Maddie has experienced?
2. What questions do you find yourself asking when you’re in the depths of hardship and suffering? What expectations do you have of God when you’re in the middle of suffering?
3. How can you relate to the first half of the Psalmists cries to God? What experiences in your past have made you feel similar?
4. How do you think God’s history with the Israelites impacted David’s perspective and expectations of God? How do you think David’s personal history with God influence his emotions and behaviors in the midst of his suffering?
5. Why do you think some people can praise God as they walk through suffering? What effect does the choice to praise God have on people’s lives? How can you prepare for future suffering or respond to your current suffering?
1. What type of emotions did Linda’s story evoke in you? How can you relate to the Linda’s experiences?
2. What types of behaviors or items do you find yourself looking to or hoping will save you? Why do you think we so quickly look to something other than God to care for us in challenging life circumstances?
3. How does God care for us in turmoil and suffering differently than anything else? What can God do in our suffering that other things cannot accomplish?
4. List a few ways that you can increase your trust in God? What would be observable signs or symptoms that you are living out an increased trust in God and his goodness?
5. How could you help others in your sphere of influence grow in their trust of God? How would our community be different if we were people with increasing levels of confidence in God, despite our circumstances?
1. Describe a time in life where you felt like everything was against you and others were experiencing success?
2. What are some of the ways that you’ve measured success in times of adversity? As you look at other people’s lives, how do you determine their quality of life or level of prosperity?
3. What activities in Dan’s life would have initially carried the appearance of freedom and fun? Describe a time in your own life that you wrongly thought a certain behavior or activity would get you what you really wanted.
4. How can you relate to the damage done as a result of Dan’s actions? How can you relate to the God’s acts of redemption in Dan’s life?
5. Why do you think God tells us certain behaviors and actions are sinful, even though they look enjoyable? What causes us to doubt that sin actually brings death and destruction? Where do you see this same doubt occurring in scripture? What are the results of people ignoring God’s instruction?
6. When you face a desire that is sinful or opposed to God’s instructions, how do you face that challenge? What helps you to believe God’s promises and commit to resisting sinful desires?