Have you ever been caught acting in a way that is contrary to what you said you would do? What happened? Were you embarrassed? (If you don’t want to share your own example, share one you witnessed in another. Just please leave names out).
What is the worst test you can remember?
How do you feel about the idea that God tests his people (Deuteronomy 13:1-4 or Genesis 22:1)? How is this different from tempting them, which the Bible says God doesn’t do (James 1:13-15)? What is God’s goal in his tests?
Read Genesis 12:10-20 and then read Genesis 20:1-18. What is similar in these passages? What is different?
Why do you think Abraham used the same tactic in Genesis 20 (calling his wife his sister) with Abimelech that he used with Pharaoh in Genesis 12? What was motivating him? Why didn’t he learn the lesson the first time around?
What are some perpetual sins that Christians tend to struggle with? What advice would you give to those struggling with those sins regarding how to avoid them? Why do we struggle so much with committing the same sins over and over again?
Do people have a problem with bad things happening to bad people? What about bad things happening to good people? In what ways do people question the goodness of God, whether the judge of all the earth will do right?
Why do you think Abraham negotiated with God from 50 to 10 righteous people?
What is the point of this philosophical discussion?
Childlessness was a great travesty in the ancient world. Sarai and Abram were promised children, but they were having to wait for it to happen. Have you ever been in a situation when you have been waiting for God to act on your behalf, but you just kept waiting? Describe that situation.
How did you cope in the waiting time?
Did God finally come through?
Was it in the way you expected him to?
Was the outcome worse or better than you expected?
What do you find hard about praying? What kinds of things normally stop us from praying?
What sort of practices have you put into place in your life to help you pray? What would you counsel someone to do to improve their commitment to prayer?
Do we think of God more as our loving Father or the great God in the heavens – as far off and transcendent or as near and immanent? What are the dangers of emphasizing one of these aspects of God over the other? Which do you think we are more prone to emphasize today? Why?