God Moving in 2021
In-Person or Virtual
The story from Sunday’s passage involves God moving in a big way for the tribe of Judah. How do you want to see God move in your life in 2021? Have each group member write down their answer to this question on paper, without discussing it. The leader collects all of the written responses and mixes them up. The leader then reads each answer, one at a time, and the group tries to guess who wrote that answer. Afterward, discuss practical ways your group can seek the Lord in these matters. Note for virtual groups: Group members can text their answers to the leader instead of writing them on paper.
In-Person or Virtual
Sometimes an old story can take on new meaning when it is dramatized and read aloud by different voices. Assign the following parts to group members (or ask for volunteers): Narrator, Jehoshaphat, Jahaziel, Levites, some men, and singers. Then read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 aloud, each person reading their assigned part. The narrator reads all text that is not quoted dialogue. Afterward, discuss any new observations or insights that your group noticed or gained about this story after hearing it performed aloud.
1. Read II Chronicles 20:1-4. What are some examples of “vast armies” (literal or figurative) that have threatened the world? That have threatened the United States?
(Intent: Examples are Nazism in WWII, humanism, Marxism, and the American Civil War. In the sermon text, Judah was threatened by what, in essence, amounts to a civil war. Edom is a brother to Judah and Israel by way of Esau, who was Isaac’s son and brother to Jacob, i.e., Israel.)
2. A. What are some external or internal forces that have threatened you in the past? The Church? B. How did you respond? C. How did the Lord respond?
(Intent: Examine our past responses to threats. Have we been complacent, angry, responded as the world, or have we prayed and sought the Lord for his deliverance, waiting upon him to answer and provide?)
3. A. Are there some forces looming that are currently threatening you? The Church? B. How are you responding? C. How should you respond?
(Intent: COVID is an example. Leader – find common ground and unity in this discussion. The focus should relate to our relationship with Christ and not on the interests of the world.)
4. Take a look at verses 5-9. A. What is the value in recounting what the Lord and people have done in the past? B. What are some ways that you can bring the Lord to mind when you have fears or concerns?
(Intent: A. When we remember what the Lord has done in the past, we are encouraged to look to Him to answer us today. Remembering also helps us take the long view of the Lord’s kingdom purposes in our circumstance or situation. B. Answers may include: reviewing our journals, recalling favorite scriptures, remembering past deliverances, or drawing near to Him through prayer.)
5. Read II Chronicles 20:10-12. A. In Deuteronomy 2:4-6, when Israel first approached the Promised Land, God warned them not to provoke their relatives in Edom – including Seir – to war. Discuss any other deeper reasons why the Lord may have issued this command. B. Recount a time when the Lord didn’t seem to answer your prayer but later answered in another way.
(Intent: A. Knowing that Edom would later seek to attack Judah, the Lord may have kept Edom for destruction at that time, as recorded in II Chron. 20. This resulted in several things: 1) Israel showed respect for their relatives, as God commanded, 2) Judah witnessed the Lord’s miraculous deliverance in response to their prayer, and 3) the Lord demonstrated His special protection over His chosen people. B. In the same way, today, the Lord may delay action to a more appropriate time in a better way. For a NT example of this, see Jn. 11:14, Christ’s raising of Lazarus.)
6. II Chron. 20:13 tells us that all of the families of Judah came together to petition the Lord. A. What kind of situations call for us to gather as a group to pray? B. Is there a specific extraordinary circumstance facing you, your group, or our congregation that requires a united prayer effort?
(Intent: While this past week’s national events are indeed extraordinary, there are much more significant, eternal issues involved. Our focus must be Christ’s eternal interests, including the wellbeing and salvation of people, I Tim. 2:1-6.)
7. In verse 15, we see that God answers this corporate prayer, and as a result, Judah enjoys a time of peace, verse 30. What results do you expect when you pray? What has been your experience?
Engagement in prayer requires focus and commitment, but it doesn’t have to be boring. It can be one of the most intimate experiences that a Christ-follower can enjoy. Our relationship with God is similar to other relationships in that it takes time and commitment for our love and closeness to grow, see Hebrews 11:6.
Commit to a specific time each day for the 21-day prayer focus, utilizing the Bethel website’s prayer guide. You may want to begin this prayer time by using question 6B as a starting point to focus your prayers. Our goal is building Christ’s Kingdom and unity. We must align ourselves with His heart and purposes.
Consider also the call to fast. One of the reasons that we fast is to remind ourselves of our great need for our Lord. It may be an excellent time to pull away from something that your “flesh” would miss. Of course, there is fasting from food, but dietary restrictions should not limit you. Giving up coffee, entertainment, social media, or other things that we may be dependent upon apart from God are also a good choice. The goal is to seek the Lord in unity with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, to align ourselves with his interests, and draw near to Him.
Break the group out into smaller groups of two, three, or four. If you are meeting virtually, you may want to use breakout rooms to accomplish this. Spend a few minutes quieting your heart and focusing on the Lord, in praise and thanksgiving. Lift individual prayers before our God for our unity, direction, and our mission to the world. You may want people to pray for those things that are pressing in on them most or that they are most passionate about.