Bible Study Lesson for July 23-29, 2022

Overview of Lesson 5–Extreme Heat

To better prepare us for our crucibles, we can study the examples of…

  • Abraham (when he was told by God to sacrifice his son Isaac)–Sunday
  • Hosea (when God instructed him to take back his unfaithful wife)–Monday
  • Job (when he lost everything in order to show his loyalty to God)–Tuesday
  • Paul (when he suffered repeated persecution and hardship for following God)–Wednesday
  • God’s people (whenever they experience extreme heat for God’s sake)–Thursday

All these experiences represent the hardest of times for God’s chosen ones. And yet. these survivors will receive their eternal reward in heaven for their outstanding loyalty and obedience to God, despite the extreme heat of their crucibles.

There are two dangers of these extremely hot crucibles. First, we could deny and forsake our relationship with God, not believing in Him at all. Or, perhaps even worse, we could have our view of God so distorted that others will be led astray by our misconstrued ideas about Him. We could actually begin to hate God, and that must be the most heartbreaking outcome of all for a Father who loves us so much.

Memory Text: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10 NKJV

New American Bible: But it was the LORD’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the LORD’s will shall be accomplished through him.”

Sunday: Abraham in the Crucible

Abraham had spent almost a lifetime getting to know God, learning to listen to His voice with all the love and trust that their relationship demanded. It was at almost the end of his life, when his physical body was frail, but his spiritual core was strong, that this final test of loyalty was given. The timing was no accident and the test itself was not without purpose.

Abraham’s hottest and most crushing crucible was when God asked him to sacrifice his only heir, his and Sarah’s beloved and long-for son Isaac (Genesis 22). The whole purpose of calling Abraham out of the land of his fathers was to prepare a people who would welcome the birth of the Messiah. The creation of this bloodline was evident to Abraham. God had shared that mission with Him multiple times.

But in order to fully understand what the coming of the Messiah would mean to our Creator, Abraham was given this unusual test of faith and told to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. Even though Abraham was spared the cruel fate at the last moment, he would now have a clear understanding of the Sacrifice God would make of His own Son.

The enlightenment that came from Abraham’s crucible has been magnified, causing all of us who are parents or have parents to more fully contemplate the Sacrifice of the Messiah and what it meant to our heavenly Father.

Bible Questions:

Genesis 22:1-3 and Hebrews 11:17-19

  • What might Abraham have been hoping for, if Isaac had been made a sacrifice?
  • What enabled Abraham to follow God’s voice and offer his son as a sacrifice?

Monday: Wayward Israel

The command of God to Hosea to take back his wife Gomer, despite her infidelities, must have been confusing and difficult for Hosea. It surely was a mystery to him that God told him to marry a prostitute in the first place.

However, he loved her and they had children together. But this did not prevent Gomer from having affairs with other men, and Hosea suffered dearly for her unfaithful ways.

It was the best way to show the prophet how God must feel to have His people show disloyalty to Him by following other gods. Israel’s unfaithful behavior was similar to Gomer’s; and his experience with her gave his pleas to return to God more passion and power to reach their hearts.

The warnings of the consequences they would endure as a nation made more sense with this understanding. God’s hurt and anguish over their behavior was expressed by Hosea, a prophet who had felt those same emotions through his marriage to Gomer.

Hosea’s crucible, as hot as it was, had a direct purpose in God’s overall plan to save the human race. If only they would listen to His pleas to return to Him, the disasters awaiting them might be averted.

Discussion Questions:

Hosea 2:12-14 and Psalm 103:8-12

  • How do these verses show the mercy of God to those who have deserted Him?

Tuesday: Surviving Through Worship

The intense heat of Job’s crucible, losing everything he owned within such a short time, causes us to marvel at how he survived his fate. The narrator of the story provides us with some background of the heavenly forces that battled for his soul. We take note that it wasn’t Satan who suggested Job be put under this test. It was God who made Job the center of the events that would enfold. He gave His permission every step of the way for Job’s painful trials that would bring him to the breaking point of defeat.

Job, and all of us, have a choice to make under such pressure. He could become angry and resentful, believing God was to blame. Or he could cling to God more tightly and trust Him with the outcome.

Job chose to do the latter by placing his faith in the One who had prospered him from the start. He did this by first accepting his own weakness and helplessness, and then acknowledging God’s power and authority. It was only then that Job could proclaim with certainty that God was still worthy to be worshipped. In a sense, he survived by worshipping God more fervently, which was the opposite reaction Satan expected.

Discussion Questions:

Job 1:20-22 and 2:10

  • How did Job avoid sinning against God, after all the calamities that had upended his life?

Wednesday: Surviving Through Hope

For years, Paul’s ministry had been riddled with one disastrous trial after another. Beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, hunger and thirst, almost every kind of calamity you could imagine. He had experienced them all during his devoted life of service to God (2 Corinthians 11:23-29).

But Paul seemed to have a firm grasp on the purpose of all his suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that he was better able to help others in their trials by the comfort he received in each of his unfortunate circumstances. Through it all, he proclaimed Him “the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort”.

We find in 2 Corinthians 1:10, 11 that Paul remained firm in his commitment to God by…

  1. recalling God’s ability to help in previous difficulties
  2. determining to focus on God’s love and mercy
  3. receiving the intercessory prayers of the saints for each other

Paul recognized that Christ had endured extreme heat while He was on earth. Indeed, He “was in all points tempted [or tested] as we are”. It was this testing that made Him our compassionate High Priest in the heavenly courts above (Hebrews 4:14, 15).

Discussion Questions:

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

  • What is the best way to comfort someone who is going through a trial?

2 Corinthians 11:23-30

  • What is the only reason we should boast of our weakness, or infirmities? Why did Paul do it?

Thursday: Extreme Heat

God’s people can expect to come under extreme heat, simply because they are God’s people. Especially hot will be those trials during the final time of trouble, as told in Daniel 12:1. But all through the history of God’s church, His followers have endured more than their share of testing and suffering.

Isaiah 43:1-7 describes troubling events as passing through water and fire. The purpose of these experiences is to purify us. They are meant to destroy any sin in our lives, whether inward or outward. Impurities of all kinds are either washed up or burnt out, making us shine like gold when it’s all over.

It’s vital to remember that God is not trying to make us suffer. He only wants to make us pure and holy, so we can have the close relationship with Him we were created for. He has promised to be with us to the very end. His care during these crucibles is tender and merciful, if we will only reach out and accept it.

Discussion Questions:

Isaiah 43:2

  • How do the Red Sea experience and Daniel’s friends not burning in a furnace illustrate God’s closeness to us during trials?

Daniel 12:1

  • Why should we expect to suffer more in the final days?

1 Corinthians 13:12

  • Why will it be easier to understand our crucibles when we get to heaven?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Jesus’ last day on earth was the time of His most intense suffering. He was tested frequently during His lifetime, but those final hours were crucial to His victory over Satan’s power to destroy. Everything depended on His faithful loyalty to God at that time.

God’s church has had frequent periods of trial and tribulation; but we, too, can expect the heat to be intensified at the end of earth’s history. Like our Lord and Savior, we need the purification that comes from suffering and hardship, in order to meet and be with Him in heaven.

We can rest assured of God’s presence through our crucibles though. And we know our testing often has the capacity to prepare us for eternity. Countless saints have experienced loss beyond words. They have proven humanity’s ability to overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable at the time.

God is a mighty fortress, a bulwark to save us from flood or fire–from anything meant to destroy God’s holy people.

Next Week: Struggling With All Energy

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