Q & A: Questioning God’s Love

The following (below the insert information) are considerations for suggested answers to the Message Based Discussion Questions.  These are designed to stimulate discussion, not to replace it.  The questions are designed to promote thinking, not just give answers.  Christianity will only be real when Christians can think through the issues rather than just meander through the motions. My prayer is that these will stimulate spiritual growth.

Questioning God’s Love
Malachi 1:1-5

Isaiah 38:1-3
What happens when we question God’s love? 

1)      God declares His burden of love 1:1-2a
·         Is. 1:2-3

2)      We can grow indifferent to His love 1:2b
·         1 John 2:15-17; 3:18

3)      God doesn’t need to explain, but does 1:2c-5
·         Gen. 25:30; 36:8
·         2 Ch. 21:8,10; Ezek. 25:12-14; Ob. 1:8
·         Pro. 13:24; Mat. 6:24; Luke 14:26; [Matt. 10:37] 

God’s love is strongly stated in Scripture 

·         God’s love for you is perfect and eternal John 3:16
·         Nothing can frustrate God’s love or plan in your life 1 Cor. 10:13
·         God will allow you to wander, become indifferent and forget 1 John 2:15-17 
·         You choose what you will pursue – God’s love or the world    Ps. 26:3   
·         Your response determines your understanding of His love Rom. 8:31-39    

There is nothing more clear than God’s love;
question God’s love and you’ll become miserable,
trust God and you’ll experience more love than you can imagine.

 

Message Based Discussion Questions

1)      Have you ever seen a child grow indifferent to his parent’s love?  How would you describe it?

Digging Deeper

2)      What are Scripture passages that describe God’s love?
3)      What does Romans 1:21-32 and Ephesians 4:17-19 describe? ____________________ Why do people grow indifferent toward God’s love?
4)      What do you learn from the following passages about Edom (1 Kings 11:11-25; 2 Kings 14:7-10; 2 Chron. 25:19; Ps. 60:8-9; Ps. 108:9,10; 137:7; Is. 11:14; 34:5)?

Making application of the message to life:

5)      Why does God allow antagonism toward His people if He loves them?
6)      How would you disciple someone to understand the confidence he can have of God’s love?
7)      If God was willing to explain his love to Israel, what should our response be to others when they question us?  Is that response the same in every case?

 

Message Based Discussion Questions 

1)      Have you ever seen a child grow indifferent to his parent’s love?  How would you describe it?

a)      Yes, it’s a business relationship or friend relationship rather than a parent/child relationship.

b)      The child often grows prideful in his own eyes. The child often seeks to treat the parent as a peer rather than an honored parent.  The child seeks entitlements without the expectation of work, in other words, he expects care at the expense of the parent and without giving respect.  He eventually disrespects the parents, because he grows up with an expectation or learned concept that they should love and he may look down his nose at them.  He may feel sorry for them, but more likely grow indifferent and possibly disdain them.

c)      Sometimes the child becomes introverted looking, focusing only on himself.  He will close himself into an inner world of individuality or fantasy and remain aloof from others.  He talks about himself, because he has not learned to be other-centered.  OR, he will look for companionship with the world (Pro. 1:10-19) and be delinquent and misbehave.  He will do what he does for his own gain. He remains independent of other people, because he doesn’t learn to trust them.  

Digging Deeper:

2)      What are Scripture passages that describe God’s love?

a)      God’s provision of the gospel Gen. 3:15

b)      God’s Abrahamic Covenant Gen. 12:1-3

c)      God’s care for Joseph and the family Gen. 50:20

d)      God’s deliverance of Isreal Ex. 14:31

e)      God’s daily provision in the wilderness Ex. 16:15

f)       God’s commandments Ex. 20:1-17

g)      God’s abundant provisions Deut 28:1-14

h)      God’s love poured out to us Rom. 5:5

i)        Demonstrated on the cross Rom. 5:8

j)        Nothing can separate us from God’s love Rom. 8:31-39

k)      It surpasses understanding Eph. 3:19

l)        He loves us John 3:16

m)    It can be perfected in us 1 John 2:5

n)      It can be bestowed on us 1 John 3:1

o)      It causes us to love others 1 John 3:17

p)      God is love 1 John 4:8-10

q)      God’s love through us 1 Jn. 4:19

r)       We reveal it by our obedience 1 John 5:1-3
 

3)      What do Romans 1:21-32 and Ephesians 4:17-19 describe? _the downward spiral__ Why do people grow indifferent toward God’s love?

a)      They do not honor God nor are they thankful Rom. 1:21

b)      They don’t love God, so they won’t see God’s love

c)      They want what they want when they want it

d)      They are focused on themselves, rather than others

e)      They reject God’s saving grace

f)       They want to be their own god and in control of life

g)      They become hardened from sin and can’t see God’s love

h)      They occupy themselves with the world
 

4)      What do you learn from the following passages about Edom (1 Kings 11:11-25; 2 Kings 14:7-10; 2 Chron. 25:19; Ps. 60:8-9; Ps. 108:9,10; 137:7; Is. 11:14; 34:5)?

a)      1Kg 11:11-25 = Hadad, from Edom, was a thorn to Solomon

b)      2 Kg 14:7-10 =  There was war in Amaziah’s day with Edom

c)      2 Ch 25:19 = God used Judah to defeat Edom. We may have to do dirty work to complete God’s work.

d)      Ps. 60:8-9 = Edom will be defeated and treated as waste

e)      Ps. 108:9-10 =  It was part of the chorus of at least a couple Psalms

f)       Ps. 137:7 = Edom wanted Judah destroyed

g)      Is. 11:14 = Edom will have trouble in the future; nations will rise against Edom

h)      Is. 34:5 = God’s judgment will fall on Edom 

Making application of the message to life: 

5)      Why does God allow antagonism toward His people if He loves them?

a)      It shows we do not live in heaven

b)      It shows sin has resulted in division and trouble

c)      God allows it so we depend on Him

d)      God allows it so we learn to discern when to shepherd tenderly and when to shepherd firmly

e)      God allows it to exalt Himself

f)       God allows it so we see He is sufficient

g)      God allows it when we continue in sin

 

6)      How would you disciple someone to understand the confidence he can have of God’s love?

a)      1 Pet. 4:8 show God’s love and cover over a multitude of sins

b)      Teach them God’s character of love 1 Jn 4:8

c)      Teach them many stories of God’s love actions 1 Jn 4:9-10

d)      Accept him where he is and help him grow Heb. 12:5-6

e)      Bring him along to visit one who is suffering and troubled

f)       Show him how to love others through service and encouragement

g)      Ask him to take the lead in serving others

 

7)      If God was willing to explain his love to Israel, what should our response be to others when they question us?  Is that response the same in every case?

a)      We should be willing to listen to understand the person.  We need to see things from his perspective, rather than assuming.

b)      We need to examine ourselves, because only God is perfect and the person may be exposing something God wants addressed.  We may be more focused on self than we think or we may have become complacent.

c)      We need to think through the response so that it edifies the person rather than merely defend or justify self (Eph. 4:29).

d)     The response will not be the same in every case.

i)        Most cases require shepherding as in 1 Pet. 5:1-5
ii)      Some cases require humble firmness to help the person see their waywardness 1 Tim. 5:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26
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Truth: God is merciful in all things

God is merciful in all things 

Rarely would anyone question God’s mercy.  We know God is all-powerful and able to judge.  Paul teaches in Romans how the attributes of God are revealed to all men, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20) 

Yet we only see God’s mercy through His written Word. Paul writes, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Eph. 2:4) In what way do we see God’s mercy?

First, we see God’s mercy through forgiveness of sins.  Daniel, in his prayer on behalf of the nation acknowledges God’s mercy, “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Dan. 9:9)  In fact, David who escaped God’s judgment, proclaimed God’s mercy in Psalm 86, “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Ps. 86:5)  Man falls short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and because of sin, man is separated from God (Rom. 6:23).  Consequently, man deserves judgment in condemnation, but because of God’s mercy, God forgives and reconciles the world to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Second, God is merciful in correction.  When God uses one believer to care-front another person, that correction is merciful.  That correction prevents many more sinful choices from being made.  James writes, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”(Jam. 5:19-20)  Covering a multitude of sins or prevention of additional sins is a demonstration of great mercy.

Thirdly, we see God’s mercy in judgment of the wicked. God’s judgment on the wicked is actually a form of mercy, because that person or group of people are prevented from committing more wickedness and hence they have less of a harsh judgment than they might have had.  Jesus explained that principle when He rebuked the wicked cities,

  • 20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
  • 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
  • 22 “But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
  • 23 “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
  • 24 “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matt. 11:20-24)

Hence, God’s judgment is a tremendous form of mercy.  When Joshua destroyed the wickedness of Canaan, that was the mercy of God in action, because it prevented greater wickedness from mounting up and spreading to other people. The wickedness is cut off and the punishment is kept at a lower level that it would have been. Unfortunately, the wicked will likely not give appreciation for God’s mercy. The wicked, however, will bow their knee and confess Jesus as Lord (Phil. 2:9-11)

God is merciful.  God is merciful in forgiveness.  God is merciful in correction.  God is also merciful in judging and destroying the wicked.  Have you praised God for His mercy today or thanked God for His mercy in forgiveness of your sins?