Older Youth Bible Study

 

Faith: Willing to Wait

 

Life Question: What can happen if I get ahead of God?

Biblical Truth: Your impatience with God could lead you to make wrong choices that will have immediate and possibly lasting negative results.

 

Bible Passage: Genesis 16: 1-16

 

Key Verse: Genesis 16:2

 

Biblical Setting: God had promised offspring to Abram and Sarai, but Sarai remained barren. In their impatience, they decided to have a child through Saraiís slave, Hagar. After Hagar became pregnant, the relationship between Sarai and Hagar became contentious, which resulted in Saraiís mistreatment of Hagar and Hagar running away. In His faithfulness, God cared for Hagar, commanding her to return to Sarai and promising she would give birth to a son, albeit a son destined for hostility.

 

Life Impact: We will:

Examine reasons we move ahead of God.

Discover possible negative results of not being patient with Godís plan.

Choose to wait for God and follow His plan.

 

Master Teacher Outline

  1. No matter what kinds of pressures we feel, moving ahead of God instead of waiting for Him to accomplish His purposes in His timing is never the right answer. Faith is an ongoing process. Abram believed God would fulfill His promise, but when the plan didnít come together in an obvious way, Abramís faith faltered. Our relationship with God is alive and in a constant state of change.
  2. God doesnít want our help, only our trust. Because God owns everything and is capable of anything, our participation in His will for us should be limited to obedience. In faith we follow His commands no matter how we interpret the results. God is worthy of our trust.
  3. To take control of the situation is to complicate matters. If we decide to be in charge for a while, the results will be detrimental to us and to countless others. Godís will is best for everyone and is far reaching. When we try to control matters with our limited understanding and perception, we complicate and hinder His intentions.
  4. Waiting for God and following His plan exactly as He reveals it to you is the right choice. Faith doesnít happen accidentally, and it doesnít happen just once. It happens on a daily, even hourly basis. Thatís why spending time listening to His voice every day is so important.
  5. We will all fail to follow Godís plans exactly. No one is perfectly obedient to Godís commands, which is why Christ sacrificed Himself and provided a way for us to experience a relationship with God.
  6. Hagar is an example of the mercy God expresses toward His children when they are disobedient. The circumstances of Abram and Saraiís disobedience are complicated and devastating: however, God reached through the chaos and made Hagar, a mistreated, pregnant slave girl, unmistakably aware of His concern for her, of His presence in her life, and of His control over the situation.
  7. When we suffer negative circumstances as a result of our lack of faith, God is still in control of our lives. Our pain is a result of sin, but God still sees us, interacts with us and guides us.

 

Master Teacher Breakout Groups

 

Dangerous Detours [10 min.]

Ask:Have you ever wanted to give a present to someone, but you didnít have enough money to buy what they really deserved? How did you deal with the problem? If you were given a million dollars and told you had to spend it on someone else, whatís the first thing you would buy? After a few minutes of discussion, direct a volunteer to read Gen. 16:1-3 aloud. Distribute handout xx and direct attention to ďDangerous Detours.Ē Instruct teens to complete the activity individually before saying: Be careful about straying from Godís original instructions. Hearing and understanding Godís call on your life is only the first step. Ask: What would have happened if Abram had prayed about Saraiís additions and augmentations to Godís Promise? How did Saraiís involvement complicate things? Why are Godís methods usually simple? Answers should include Godís accessibility to and ownership of all worldly and supernatural resources.

 

Abramís Alibi [Replacement Option]

Display the PowerPoint presentation from file xx on the CD-ROM and follow the directions for writing Abramís and Saraiís alibis.

 

Large and In Charge [10 min.]

Sing the childrenís song, ďMy God Is So BigĒ or ask a volunteer to sing it if he remembers the words. Explain that God is so powerful that He can accomplish impossible tasks simply. Sometimes reverting to the basic truths we learned about God as children is a poignant reminder of the straightforward good news of Godís love, protection, and amazing plans for our lives. Read Gen. 16:4-6 aloud. Direct studentsí attention to ďLarge and In ChargeĒ on handout xx. Ask: What steps can you take to relinquish complete control so Godís purposes can be accomplished in the most efficient way possible?

 

Spiritual Profile [10 min.]

Draw a large silhouette of Hagar. (You may also print the silhouette from file xx on the CD-ROM) Enlist a student to read Genesis 16:7-12 aloud for the class. Construct a spiritual profile of Hagar by listing specific things she said or did on the silhouette. Then direct student attention to ďSpiritual ProfileĒ on handout xx. Rate Hagar based on the criteria on the handout. Say: Being impatient with Godís plan may negatively affect others, not just you. Abram and Sarai were pieces of a much larger puzzle. God intended to bless generation after generation, too many people to count. The same thing is true of your obedience. If you are patient with Godís plan, you canít imagine how many people will be impacted positively. If, however, you are impatient, and you donít allow God to accomplish His purposes for you in his own way and in his own timing, you have no idea how many people could be affected negatively. No one lives in a vacuum.

 

Living in a Vacuum [Supplemental Option]

Print labels from file xx on the CD-ROM and follow the instructions.

 

Tightrope Faith [10 min.]

Students are probably aware of their inability to trust God completely, and they may worry about never recuperating from previous acts of disobedience. To help them understand Godís mercy and the meaning of redemption, pull a string tightly between your hands and ask: Do you believe Godís will is like a tightrope? Do you think if you disobey or make a wrong move, you could fall off and permanently lose your position? Give students time to discuss their thoughts, and direct their attention to ďTightrope FaithĒ on the handout.††

Choose a volunteer to read Genesis 16:13-16. Ask: When Abram took matters into his own hands instead of waiting patiently on Godís timing, what potential reactions might God have had? Lead students to realize that God could have voided the Promise or limited Abramís inheritance to Ishmaelís children only. He could have turned away from Hagar in protest against her participation in marring His perfect intentions. Ask: How did God respond to the poor execution of His plan? Describe His treatment of Hagar. What does this tell us about His nature?

 

The God Who Sees [Replacement Option]

Bring a newspaper cutout of a convicted criminal to class and instruct students to create a descriptive headline or caption for the photograph, like ďVillain Sentenced to Thirty Years in Prison.Ē After reading Gen. 16:13-16 say: The world sees people for who and what they are at the moment. God sees people for who and what they are in His eternal plan. Pray for vision to understand other people from Godís perspective. Challenge students to think about what God would write as a caption or headline for the newspaper picture. Take a picture of each student to be used as a reminder of the way God sees us. Remind students to pray for Godís point of view to overshadow what everyone else thinks of them.

 

Faithful to the End [5 min]

Direct studentsí attention to the ďFaithful to the EndĒ portion of the handout. After students have helped one another think of ways to stay focused on Godís plan, say: Describe three ways to keep your focus on God.Distribute index cards or small, sturdy sheets of paper. Say: Write your answers on these cards, and write a prayer of commitment on the back expressing your commitment to seek Him daily and diligently. Display your card in a prominent place this week.