The Gift of Neediness
I. The Story CONTINUES…(1 Kings 13-2 Kings 5)
A. A DIVIDED KINGDOM. (I Kings 12:16)
B. A DECLINE in FAITHFULNESS. (1 Kings 13-2 Kings 5)
C. The RISE of the PROPHETS. (1 Kings 13-2 Kings 5)
Today we jump ahead in the monarchy quite a long time. We left the text last week with a split kingdom. The story continues with a consistent theme of failure on the part of the Kings on both sides. We also see the words of the prophets coming into play as God speaks out against the evil into which the kings are leading the people.
1. Kid’s question: If you could be the King of Canada for a day what would you do?
2. What was the role of the prophet? How does the church play that role today?
II. Naaman: A STORY full of CONTRASTS. (v.1-27)
A. The TRUE King and the KINGS. (v.1-2; I Sam. 8:19-20)
B. The SLAVE GIRL and the King. (v.3-7; Is. 11:6)
C. The SPECTACULAR or quiet SURRENDER. (v.8-14; I Sam. 15:22)
D. The COMMANDER and the SERVANT. (v.15-27; Phil. 4:12-13)
Our story is of an Aramean commander named Naaman. It’s a great story, one you definitely heard if you grew up going to Sunday school. The power of the story is emphasized by a series of contrasts that the story teller utilizes in a surprising ways.
3. Which character in this story do you identify with the most and why? What might God be saying to you through that?
4. In what ways is the idea of power and it’s effectiveness challenged in this story? Where do we look to power for solutions today?
5. Would it have been wrong for Elisha to accept payment from Naaman? Why do you think he didn’t?
III. A STORY that still SPEAKS.
A. Will you RECEIVE or TAKE? (Gen 3:2-7)
B. The PROBLEM of our EGO. (Mt. 16:24-25)
C. God WORKS from WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:8-9)
D. The GIFT of NEEDINESS. (1 Cor. 1:26-29)
We can walk back through the contrasts in reverse order and hear some very specific and concrete messages to us as we seek to live in the true Kingdom and follow the true King.
6. What is the difference between receiving and taking? How does that choice play out in our spiritual life?
7. What are some ways to grow in our ability to discern when our ego is playing a role in our decisions?
8. God works from weakness. What does that truth mean to you in your current context?
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief’ is the best any of us can do really, but thank God it is enough.”
~ Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat