BY: Sarah Auger
DATE: Sunday 26 November 2023
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Malachi – Chapter 4, verses 2-6
Have you ever seen a dog tied up outside a shop, waiting for its owner. Occasionally the dog really starts whining, with a despair that wonders ‘is my owner coming back?’ And then, when the owner reappears, the joy for the dog is palpable!
There can be moments in our lives when we feel like that – in the middle of despair and we aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out. When life feels pretty dark, waiting can feel almost unbearable. What might it look like to wait, when the world around seems pretty dark?
‘…waiting isn’t just something we do; it’s a place we live – usually against our will. It’s a stage of life, a journey we take, a crucible for the heart.’
(Elizabeth Laing Thompson)
Please scroll to the bottom of this page.
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A | DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
a. Changes do you want to see?
b. Truths do you need to remember?
c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read: Malachi – Chapter 4, verses 2-6.
1 | What are you waiting for in life? Do you find it easy to wait?
2 | Why do you think we find it so difficult to wait?
3 | Read Malachi 4:2-6. God’s people had been waiting for a long time, for God to step in and rescue his people. How do you think they would have felt to hear this promise?
4 | What does the imagery of the “Sun of Righteousness” signify in v2? How does it relate to the person of Jesus? (See also Psalm 84:11 and Isaiah 60:1-3)
5 | Why do you think Malachi might emphasise the importance of remembering the law of Moses (v4)? How does looking back to God’s faithfulness in the past, help you wait well today? (See also Psalm 119:105 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
6 | In verses 5-6, there is a reference to Elijah. How is the spirit of Elijah relevant to the New Testament and the mission of John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 17:10-13)? What does this show us about Jesus?
7 | Read John 11:32-37. It must have been desperate to have Jesus in your presence, and yet your prayer is unanswered. What encouragement is there that Jesus weeps (v35) in the middle of that sadness?
8 | Malachi mentions the coming of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.” How does the New Testament elaborate on this concept, and what should our attitude be towards the return of Christ? (See also Matthew 24:36-44 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) How does this help us to wait?
9 | Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. How does ‘fixing our eyes on what is unseen’ help us to wait in the darkness?
As you explore these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
The Meaning is in the Waiting by Paula Gooder
Waiting is the primary lesson of Advent, says Paula Gooder. In the company of the biblical characters with whom the candles on the Advent wreath are traditionally associated, she helps us to discover very different kinds of waiting: * Abraham and Sarah–who waited a lifetime for the fulfillment of God’s promises.* The Hebrew prophets–who waited for God’s intervention, both longed for and feared.* John the Baptist–whose ministry marked the end of one era and anticipated the new.* Mary–whose life was shaped by waiting and by events beyond her control. The Meaning Is in the Waiting is arranged for daily reading in the hectic run-up to Christmas. This thoughtful book will enable you to grow more fully into a way of being that is expectant rather than urgent, more focused on God’s presence right now than on some imagined future. You will venture on this journey in companionship with the God who waits with us.