Ravaged – A Bible study on 2 Samuel 13

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Conversations (Questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)

1) What is this passage about?

2) Who are the characters mentioned in this passage? What do we know about them?

3) He (Amnon) was stronger than she (Tamar) and he raped her (v14). Rape is the forceful violation of another person’s body. Why do you think Amnon raped Tamar? What are the contemporary stories of rape in your context/s? Why do you think rape happens? Who are the victims?

4) Absalom said: “Be quiet my sister…Don’t take this to your heart”(v20). David was furious when he heard about what happened to Tamar. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad (v21) Why do you think they did not do anything about this? Do you think victims of rape get justice? Why do you think rapists escape punishment? How do we contribute to the perpetuation of injustice?

5) The gang rape in Delhi was a horrific tale. How did you feel when you heard about the incident? What do you think needs to be done in order to get justice for the girl? What do you think about the spontaneous protests across the Nation? How can the Church connect with the voices of protest? What can we as a group do to bring justice?

6) What is God telling you through this passage? What are you going to do in response to God’s Word?

Are there rules to live by?

By Samuel Thambusamy

Morality

Read Gen 39: 1 – 23

1.What is this passage about?

2.Who are the characters mentioned in this passage? What do we know about them?

3.Lust presented itself to Joseph through an open invitation for sexual intimacy outside of marriage! What are the contemporary means that lust presents itself today? Imaginatively present Joseph’s response to any one of these.

4.Imagine Potiphar’s wife telling Joseph this:

It all depends on who you are
It all depends on where you are
It all depends on what you feel
It all depends on how you feel
It all depends on what is praised
It all depends on what is raised
What’s wrong today is right tomorrow
Fun in Egypt may be ancient near East’s sorrow
It all depends on points of view
Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt or may be Canaan too
In Canaan, do what the Canaanites do
In Egypt do what the Egyptians do
If people are narrow-minded then slip into the conservative shoe
May be if tastes seem to agree we have morality
But where there are conflicting trends
It all depends, it all depends…

How would Joseph have responded to such appeals to moral relativism? How did Joseph decide between what’s right and what’s wrong? Can we have moral absolutes in our postmodern world?

5.How do people decide what’s right/what’s wrong today? What do you think about them?

6.How do we decide what’s wrong and what’s right?

7.What is God telling me through this passage? What am I going to do in response to God’s Word to me?

Ravaged

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Read 2 Samuel 13

Conversations (Questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)

1) What is this passage about?

2) Who are the characters mentioned in this passage? What do we know about them?

3) He (Amnon) was stronger than she (Tamar) and he raped her (v14). Rape is the forceful violation of another person’s body. Why do you think Amnon raped Tamar? What are the contemporary stories of rape in your context/s? Why do you think rape happens? Who are the victims?

4) Absalom said: “Be quiet my sister…Don’t take this to your heart”(v20). David was furious when he heard about what happened to Tamar. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad (v21) Why do you think they did not do anything about this? Do you think victims of rape get justice? Why do you think rapists escape punishment? How do we contribute to the perpetuation of injustice?

5) The gang rape in Delhi was a horrific tale. How did you feel when you heard about the incident? What do you think needs to be done in order to get justice for the girl? What do you think about the spontaneous protests across the Nation? How can the Church connect with the voices of protest? What can we as a group do to bring justice?

6) What is God telling you through this passage? What are you going to do in response to God’s Word?

Genuine Concern – the first step

I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem (1:2)

Nehemiah was at the citadel at Susa. Like many others who had been displaced from their native land, Nehemiah had apparently ‘made it’ against all odds. He had achieved social mobility and held an influential position that made him walk through the corridors of power. And yet, when some of his friends and relatives had visited them he enquired about the state of affairs in Jerusalem. Why would Nehemiah care for the remnant and the city of Jerusalem? Why should he?

It would have been far more easier to turn the other way. It would have been far more easier to talk about the grandeur of the Persian empire. But, Nehemiah was genuinely concerned. He was not comfortably numb about the ravages of war and its aftermath. This concern is much more than a mere ‘heart-connect’ with his ancestral roots. Vision truly begins with genuine concern. Genuine concern cannot be manufactured. If the concern is mere a plastic mask, then the language, zeal, energy will soon fade away. A borrowed concern cannot fuel a vision.

Nehemiah made an effort to know of the state of affairs because he was genuinely concerned. What are you hearing – seeing and reading these days? Are you are genuinely concerned about these issues?

Remember, Vision – a preferred future – begins with genuine concern. Genuine concern shows – in what you read, hear, see and share. It is the first step for building a Vision.

Questions for further conversations

1) What are the issues you are concerned with in your context/s? How are you engaging with the issues in your context/s?
2) What are the questions you are asking to know more about the prevailing conditions in your contexts? What is that you are hearing?
3) To whom are you asking these questions?

Are there rules to live by?

Read Gen 39: 1 – 23

Questions for discussion

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1. What is this passage about?

2. Who are the characters mentioned in this passage? What do we know about them?

3. Lust presented itself to Joseph through an open invitation for sexual intimacy outside of marriage! What are the contemporary means that lust presents itself today? Imaginatively present Joseph’s response to any one of these.

4. Imagine Potiphar’s wife telling Joseph this:

It all depends on who you are
It all depends on where you are
It all depends on what you feel
It all depends on how you feel
It all depends on what is praised
It all depends on what is raised
What’s wrong today is right tomorrow
Fun in Egypt may be ancient near East’s sorrow
It all depends on points of view
Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt or may be Canaan too
In Canaan, do what the Canaanites do
In Egypt do what the Egyptians do
If people are narrow-minded then slip into the conservative shoe
May be if tastes seem to agree we have morality
But where there are conflicting trends
It all depends, it all depends…

How would Joseph have responded to such appeals to moral relativism? How did Joseph decide between what’s right and what’s wrong? Can we have moral absolutes in our postmodern world?

5. How do people decide what’s right/what’s wrong today? What do you think about them?

6. How do we decide what’s wrong and what’s right?

7. What is God telling me through this passage? What am I going to do in response to God’s Word to me?

Passing the Faith along – Bible Study

Read 16: 1 – 5; II Timothy 1: 5; II Timothy 3: 14 – 17

Acts 1-5 He also went to Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra there was a disciple by the name of Timothy whose mother was a Jewish Christian, though his father was a Greek. Timothy was held in high regard by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium, and Paul wanted to take him on as his companion. Everybody knew his father was a Greek, and Paul therefore had him circumcised because of the attitude of the Jews in these places. As they went on their way through the cities they passed on to them for their observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Consequently the churches grew stronger and stronger in the faith and their numbers increased daily.

II Timothy 1: 5 I often think of that genuine faith of yours—a faith that first appeared in your grandmother Lois, then in Eunice your mother, and is now, I am convinced, in you as well. Because you have this faith, I now remind you to stir up that inner fire which God gave you at your ordination. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.

II Timothy 3: 14-17 Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus.

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Conversations ( questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)
1) Who are the characters mentioned in the passage? What do we know about them?

2) “ He was well spoken by the believers” (V2). What are the contemporary stories of Children/young people well spoken by believers? Share the faith-stories of children and young people?

3) Timothy’s father was a Greek. If Timothy had attended your Church VBS how would you have responded to Timothy? What would you have told him knowing that his father was not a believer? How do you think Timothy was able to live out his faith even as a child/young adult even though is father was not a believer?

4) Lois (Grandmother) and Eunice (Mother) had a huge influence on Timothy (2 Tim.1: 5) . Christian nurture is to be primarily done in the context of family (Deut 6). What role do you think a VBS teacher/Director can play in joining children on their spiritual journey? Are we usurping the role of parents?

5) How can VBS help parents/church join children in their spiritual journey?

6) What is God telling us through the passage? What are we going to do in response to God’s Word to me today?
I will …..

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Kids finding faith – Bible Study

Read 1 Samuel 3: 1 – 20

Conversations: (Questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)

1)What is this passage about?

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2)Who are the characters mentioned in the passage? What do we know about them?

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3)Hannah, Samuel’s mother was devout(I Samuel 1: 10 -11, 15 -16 ; ) and had depth of spiritual insight (2 Samuel 2: 1 – 11). She weaned Samuel (I Samuel 1:23) and later brought him to the temple. She dedicated him to the Lord’s service (I Samuel 1: 24, 27 – 28). She visited him during the annual sacrifice and brought him a new robe each year (I samuel 2:19). Do you agree that Hannah played a significant role in influencing Samuel to ‘minister before the lord’ (I Samuel 3:1)and grow in the presence of the Lord (I Samuel 2: 21b). What are the contemporary stories of mothers influencing faith in their children? In what ways can mothers influence their children to be sensitive to spiritual experiences?

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4)Samuel’s spiritual development is contrasted with the moral degradation of Eli’s sons. Their failure as sons was due the Eli’s failure as a father. Would you agree with this? What do you think is the role of the father in the spiritual development of children?

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5) The boy ministered before the Lord under Eli (I samuel 3:1). It was Eli who recognized that the Lord was calling samuel (I Samuel 3:8b) and guided the boy Samuel to respond to God ( I samuel 3:9).What do you think was Eli’s role in nurturing Samuel in the faith? What do you think is the role pastor/adults in the church can play in the spiritual development of children? Why do you think Eli was unable to nurture his own sons but able to help Samuel in his spirtual journey?

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6)The Lord spoke to Samuel. Do you think Samuel (who was a boy) understood what God told him? Why? can children experience and understand their experience with God?

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7)Do you agree that children have natural spirituality? Why? What qualifications would you put on this? Think of groups of children you have encountered. What evidence can you offer that children have a sensitivity or openess towards God? What are the factors in our church/community/family that work to damage or deaden this awareness of God?

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8) Can you share some spiritual lesson you learnt from the children you journey with?

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9) What is God telling us through the passage? What are you doing to do in response to God’s word through this passage?

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