The Bible - the word of God

Bible Study – December 2019

How is God talking to you?

How are you finding the Advent season this year? This time leading up to Christmas, which is maybe the biggest celebration we prepare for each year, can be frantic for some. Have you been busy rushing around organising presents, food, parties and end-of-year get-togethers? Or has it been calmer for you this time? One thing we see throughout the Bible is that God is present and speaks to us in hectic times of busyness as well as quiet times of stillness. You don’t have to adjust your activities in a certain way in order for God to be present. God always finds you where you are and meets you in all situations of life, whether you are aware of it or not. The challenge is to become, and stay, attuned to him and to be receptive of his voice and deeds in your life. You don’t have to stop doing what you’re doing and make a special time for God in order for him to be at work. He meets you where you are and is always at work, sometimes in great acts of grandeur and sometimes in all quietness. Let’s look at some ways people in the Bible encountered God.

Read Exodus 19:16–19

The context of this passage is that the Israelites have just fled from Egypt and were led through the Red Sea to safety at the foot of Mount Sinai. How do you see them reacting to the way God manifests himself on that day? What sounds are described in the verses?

Read Luke 2:9–14

What story is this passage taken from? Who are the angel and the heavenly host addressing? How would you describe this way of delivery of a message from God? What sounds would the shepherds have heard?

Read 1 Kings 19:11–13

What do you see as a contrast here to the other two passages we looked at? How does God manifest himself here? God certainly acts and expresses himself in mighty deeds of grandeur at times. On other occasions, he unexpectedly reveals himself in all gentleness and stillness. The three passages we looked at are only exemplary of a large number of encounters people in Scripture have with God. Can you think of others that you would like to share now? God is God and there is no box that God can fit into, not one specific way he works. Yet, among all these very different ways God encounters us, we have some very important constants that help us discern God’s hand in a situation.

Read Psalm 86:15

What attributes does God get in this verse? These same attributes appear again and again throughout the Bible. (If you have time you can look up Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 86:5; Psalm 145:8; Jonah 4:2). Why is it important for us to know these attributes of our God and keep them in mind? When we seek the voice and guidance of God in our daily life, we can be sure that God’s character, as described in these verses, is reflected. Knowing his character helps us distinguish the way of the Lord from the way of the world.

Read John 1:14

Who is the greatest manifestation of God and why? The character and nature of God become clearest in his Son, Jesus, who walked this earth with us. And not only Jesus’ actions and words teach us about God; especially his sacrificial death encapsulates who God is. There is one more biblical encounter with God we are going to look at.

Read Mark 9:2–7

Why is verse 7 such an important message for us today and Christians of all times? As we celebrate the birth of God in the flesh this month, take note of how you encounter him amidst the busyness, in the daily grind, and in times of stillness. He is always near.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for always being near to us. You are Lord over our lives and know us intimately. Open our ears and eyes to your guiding voice in our lives and as we seek your will, lead us on the right path. As we celebrate the coming of your Son, Jesus, into the world, grant us understanding of his teaching and death for us, and cling to him in all circumstances. In his name. Amen.

About the Author

Maria Rudolph

After encountering Jesus and getting baptised while I travelled around Australia as a German backpacker, I completed a Bachelor of Theology at Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide and am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Ministry there. Together with my pastor husband Michael, we have lived and served in congregations in Newcastle, NSW and now in Perth, WA while also bringing up three lively children.

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