Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak into your life! Expect great things!
Preparation for 13th Sunday After Pentecost
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes)
1.Share one word to describe how it is with your soul today.
2. In pairs of 2 discuss a time when you were in a vulnerable situation, and you suddenly felt seen by God or you know without a doubt God heard your cry.
Group Dialogue: Read Genesis 16:1-16 (NIV)
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan for ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward[b] all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
1. Whom does Sarah blame for her barrenness? To whom does she appeal for a resolution? Is Abram’s response worthy of imitation?
2. Compare Adam in Genesis 3:17 and Abram in Genesis 16:2. What do both Patriarchs do? What are the results?
3. Whom does Sarah blame for “contempt”? To whom does she appeal for a resolution? Is Abram’s response worthy of imitation?
4. Abram is a man of very few words in this chapter. What do his words reveal in the midst of all the drama and conflict?
5. What does the angel of the LORD offer, to bring good out of evil? How does Hagar respond?
God, companion and guide, we would be lost without your direction— wanderers in wildernesses of our own making. We praise you for dealing so graciously with your people in the past, when you guided them to freedom and a promised new life. We are heirs of that promise fulfilled in Jesus, our Redeemer and Lord. Through him, you have established for us a permanent direction for our lives and as we dwell in him, our lives are blessed with fruitfulness. Holy God may this time of worship be a joyful response of praise and thanksgiving for all that you have done, for all that you are doing, and for all that you will continue to do for us and all people through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus. Amen.