As I write, I am six days removed from the second live birth I’ve ever witnessed. While I am incredibly grateful that both of our beautiful daughters came out healthy and whole, I also must admit that being present for the miracle of a new birth is rather terrifying.This week, we’ll hear about the beginning of David’s reign as king–specifically 2 Samuel 6, where he brings the ark to Jerusalem. Interestingly, what begins as a relatively simple transportation arrangement becomes one of the more troubling stories in the entire Bible. But, like childbirth, this story reminds us of the importance of knowing God at the intersection of beauty and fear.

I am incredibly excited for you to meet a very special guest preacher who will help us understand these things. Dr. Brent Strawn is my close friend, an excellent preacher, and a world-class Old Testament scholar. He and his family have also been part of Grace for years, and I can’t wait for you to glean from his gracious wisdom as much as I have.

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SEE IT // BE IT

(WEEKLY COMMUNITY GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE)

Rise & Reign: Wilderness– Rise & Reign: Don’t Touch //

Scripture: 2 Samuel 6:1-11 

ARRIVAL / SOCIAL TIME 15-20 minutes

Spend the first 15 minutes or so of your time together catching up and socializing with one another. Also find time to catch up together on how the assignments from last week turned out.

SERMON REVIEW 5-10 minutes

This week, Dr. Brent Strawn continued our series Rise and Reign through the books I and II Samuel by inviting us to grapple with a disturbing text from II Samuel 6:1-11. In this passage, David is moving the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem—a sign that just as God has chosen David, David is now choosing God. With Saul and Jonathan now fading from the scene and the extended reign of David on the horizon, David seeks to establish his rule with God at the center of it. However, as the ark of the covenant is being transported, one of the oxen carrying the ark stumbles. When it does, Uzzah reaches out his hand to stabilize the ark. As he touches it, he is struck dead. This event angers David and leaves him afraid, but it also reminds him God is not containable, one who cannot be managed or trifled with. And as Brent reminded us the week, even though this truth about God can be disturbing, it is also the thing about God that gives us hope. God is “holy” and “other” than us and that leaves us in awe of Him.

 

THE MAIN THOUGHT keep this in mind as you facilitate discussion.

God doesn’t show us how to circumvent the wilderness journey; he teaches us how to be transformed by it.

SEE IT – Questions 10-15 minutes

Picture (What is the story saying?): What stuck out to you the most from Brent’s talk this week? What disturbs you most about the passage we read together? How did Brent suggest we handle difficult passages in the Bible? How did his insight challenge the way you think about this passage and other passages that demonstrate some disturbing realities about God? What do you think it means God is “holy”? Why is it important God cannot be contained, managed, or trifled with?

Mirror (Where am I in the story?): Brent mentioned a quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel—“God is not nice. God is not an uncle. God is an earthquake.” How does this thought challenge different pictures of images about God we sometimes have? How have you dealt with the idea God cannot be contained, managed, or trifled with in your life? How does this idea disturb you? How does it encourage you?

 

Window (How does the story change how I see those around me?):  How might this passage and Brent’s sermon challenge or change the way we worship God? How does it change or shape the lives we live for God? How do you see this same idea with Jesus in the New Testament? Where in your life, family, or community do you think you need to be in awe of God right now?

BE IT – Practice

Change UP // Challenging Passages 15 minutes

Often times we read things in the Bible that are difficult to understand or reconcile. This week’s message was based on one of those passages. Ask your group to try to name other passages in the Bible they might have difficulty with as well. Write these passages on the board as they refer to them and talk through how you might think through these passages based on Brent’s message this week

Change IN // Challenging Conceptions 5 minutes

Invite the group to share moments in their own lives when, despite their good intentions, they have had conceptions about God that were not right. Ask the group how different events in their life shaped these conceptions or challenged them. Then reflect together on how reading all of the Bible (not just the parts that we like) is important in shaping the way we think about God.

Change OUT // Challenging People 5 minutes

Many people today have trouble believing in God because of passages like we read about this week. Take time this week to identify one person where you live, work, or play that might be having difficulty understanding, dealing with, or believing in God because God is not acting the way they want Him to. Perhaps what they have read or heard about God seems different than the God they want. Pray for them this week and ask the Holy Spirit to give you an opportunity to listen to them in some way.

CLOSING PRAYER 5 minutes

Take a few minutes to gather any prayer requests and pray for each other to SEE IT and BE IT this week.

Brent Strawn

Brent Strawn

Dr. Brent Strawn is Professor of Old Testament at Emory University. Brent and his wife Holly and their family have been a part of Grace for years.
Brent Strawn

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