Small Group Curriculum

A God Who Protects You

09.29.18 | Unstoppable

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying 2 Kings 6:8–23. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | God gives me eyes to see, frees me from fear, and gives me faith to stand against my enemy.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

A SPIRITUAL REALITY

Every day we are reminded that life is a war. Mere moments after we wake up, we see the battles happening inside us, in our relationships, at work, or on campus. Paul Tripp says this about the war:

Between the “already” and the “not yet,” life is war. It can be exhausting, frustrating, and discouraging. We all go through moments when we wish life could just be easier. We wonder why parenting has to be such a continual spiritual battle. We all wish our marriages could be free of war. We all would love it if there were no conflicts at our jobs or in our churches. But we all wake up to a war-torn world every day. It is the sad legacy of a world that has been broken by sin and is constantly under the attack of the enemy.1

This war isn’t fought in the physical realm with guns and tanks. This is a spiritual war and the real enemy we fight is a spiritual one. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

God doesn’t leave you to fight in this spiritual war alone. As you take up the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) He protects you. He gives you eyes to see, frees you from fear, and gives you faith to stand against your enemy.

Q: What part of your life feels like a war right now?

Q: How would you describe spiritual warfare in your own words? To a nonbeliever?

 


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

A FEARFUL SERVANT

Israel and Aram (Syria) were at war with one another. Israel had a secret weapon, the prophet Elisha. He helped Israel’s king by telling him where the enemy would camp. The king of Syria found out about Israel’s secret weapon and sent a great army by night to seize the prophet. Imagine the scene. All is quiet in your city when, suddenly, you’re disturbed by the sound of horses riding with terrible speed. You hear the angry shouts of soldiers as they close in on you.

The next morning Elisha’s servant woke up and looked out the window. Before him stood the great Aramean army surrounding the city. Fear struck his heart. In distress, he asked his master, “What shall we do?!”

Read: 2 Kings 6:8–23. Split into pairs and retell the story in your own words.

Q: Where does fear come from?

HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE 

The servant saw the situation one way. His master, however, saw it another. Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. There are more with us than are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and asked God to open the eyes of his servant to see. Suddenly, the servant’s eyes were opened. All around him he saw a mighty army of the Lord with horses and chariots blazing with fire.

When the Aramean army tried to attack, Elisha prayed for God to blind them, and God once again answered his prayer. The prophet led this blind army to Samaria, Israel’s capital. The king asked Elisha what to do with these captives, kill them or spare them? The prophet asked for mercy, asking that they be spared, fed, and sent home.

Q: What’s the biggest difference between Elisha’s response to a dangerous situation and his servant’s response?

Q: Recall a time when God intervened to protect you. Share with the group.


LIVE

Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.

THE ENEMY’S GREATEST WEAPON

Like Elisha and his servant, our battle is spiritual. The powers of darkness wage war on our souls to keep us from turning to God, trusting Him, and living life by His good design.

Our enemy has his own secret weapon—fear. What is fear? There are two kinds. One is natural and healthy, while the other is unhealthy and paralyzing. Healthy fear tells you, “don’t touch the hot stove,” so that you can avoid burning your hand. Unhealthy fear draws you to place your focus more on the danger (imagined or real) or on the Enemy himself, preventing you from trusting God in a situation.

God calls you to step out in faith against your fears. Elisha’s servant didn’t overcome his fears by anything in himself. God showed the servant that He had the situation under His sovereign control. God will do the same for you when you look to Him.

Q: In what ways does the enemy try to use fear against you?

Q: What does it look like to step out in faith against your fears?

KING JESUS REIGNS

Elisha and his servant had the army of the Lord to protect them. We have an even greater protection. We have King Jesus, and He has authority over everything (Matt. 28:18). Because King Jesus reigns, you don’t have to fear. His presence and authority protect you in every waking moment.

God does protect you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t suffer in this life. Things might not work out as you expect. Bad things do happen to good people. Jesus never promised He would save you from the storms of life. However, He does promise to be with you in the storm and guide you through it.

Q: How does understanding that King Jesus has authority over everything change the way you see dangerous or fearful situations?

Q: What storms are you currently facing? How does Jesus show His presence and authority in them?


LEAD

Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.

KINDNESS AND MERCY

One remarkable part of the story is how God made Elisha’s enemies be at peace with him in the end. Elisha could have told the king of Israel, “Kill these guys. They wanted me dead. Now I want them dead.” Instead, he was kind to them and asked the king for mercy.

Jesus tells us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of the Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45). This kind of love is radical, and we need God’s power and grace to do it. When we love this way, two things happen. First, we show others what God is like. He is merciful, and He has been merciful toward us far beyond what we deserve. Second, we’re not consumed with desires for revenge and making our enemies pay for what they’ve done. Without these desires, we experience peace.

Q: Why is Jesus’s call to love your enemies so radical?

Q: What’s one act of kindness or mercy you could do this week?


PRAY

Ask the Father to do three things:

  • To open your eyes to the spiritual reality in and around you
  • To free you from any fear you experience
  • To give you faith to stand against the enemy

FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

  • Read Ephesians 6:10–20. Reflect on what Paul says about spiritual warfare and how God protects us in the fight.
  • Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.

COMMENTARY

The Divided Kingdom

Under the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon (ca. 1051–931B.C.), Israel was united as a monarchy. In 931 B.C., Israel was divided into two kingdoms: 1) Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 tribes) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 tribes). “Elisha was active in [the Northern Kingdom of] Israel for 60 years (892– 832 B.C.),¬ performing miracles, teaching students, and acting in state affairs during the reigns of kings Joram (Jehoram), Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Jehoash (Joash).”2

War in the Coming of Christ

“The vision of God’s angelic army indicates dimensions of spiritual warfare. It anticipates the spiritual war with the coming of Christ (Matt. 12:28–29; Luke 10:18–19; John 12:31; Rev. 19:11– 21).”3

Ultimate Protection

God’s divine intervention to blind the Aramean army and save Elisha and the Israelites displays God’s protection but also illustrates a greater protection—our salvation. We were once enemies of God, blinded by sin. Jesus came to heal and give sight to the blind. He did this both in the physical world and in the spiritual one. Jesus opens our eyes to our spiritual condition. We are more than blinded by sin. We are dead. Our only hope is to trust that God intervened on our behalf through Christ to defeat the enemies we could never defeat. Because of Christ, we can receive pardon by another King (God) and have peace and reconciliation in our relationship with Him. See Romans 5:1–11.


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ENDNOTES:
1. Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: a Daily Gospel Devotional (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), Kindle Edition.
2. Amy Balogh, “Elisha the Prophet,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
3. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 655.