Mystery Worship Series, week 3 — SILENCED
October 21, 2018
Small Groups: From Worship To Discipleship
Job 38: 1-7 (34-41); 40:1-9
Fellowship—Snacks or a Meal. (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) — In pairs or groups of three, discuss: “Name a time you were left with an overwhelming sense of awe
Optional Opening Exercise — Have participants draw or color an image that represents silence. An alternative exercise, especially for more tech-savvy participants, is to have them use a cell phone, tablet, or other device to find images that represent silence. Have participants share their images with the group. Another option is to have participants talk about times when they felt silence was the most appropriate response to an experience.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Opening Question: How do you most often experience silence?
Read: Job 38:1-7 (34-41) and 40:1-9
- Have you ever asked an ill-timed question or asked a foolish question that received a harsh reply? Share.
- Skimming through chapters 38-39, what do these questions from God suggest about God’s power? [God maintains control over the forces that humanity struggles to control – creation, nature]
- Why doesn’t God give a direct answer to Job’s questions? Do you think Job could grasp it if God did? (See note below on Job.)
- (R) What do we learn about God from how God answers Job? Do you think God’s reply will help Job to trust God more? [God is beyond Job’s categories and framework of understanding; God is outside of Job’s control; God is perhaps more majestic than Job could have imagined previously.]
- (R) As a group, compile a list of questions participants have for which there are no answers or unsatisfying answers. For example, “Why do suffering and pain persist while God seems absent?” Resist the urge to give answers to the questions identified by the participants. (There will be other occasions for that.) Have a volunteer pray over the list of questions. A sample prayer:
“Almighty God, your ways are higher than our ways; your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Forgive us of our pride and times when we thought we knew better than you did. Give us humility that thinks not less of our self, but of ourselves less. Give us eyes to see how much we depend on your providence and grace. Renew our minds that by faith we would trust you ever more deeply today and each day following. Amen.”
Leave time for silent prayer.
Though Job has not given up on God, Job seems to question God’s trustworthiness (9:14-20; 13:23-24) at times. Interestingly, God does not respond by noting illustrations of covenant faithfulness, but rather points to the extensive displays of God’s might. The rhetorical questions highlight God’s power and knowledge, while simultaneously putting Job’s criticisms and charges against God in a different perspective. God’s response to Job clarifies God’s ability to control the forces of this world (38:37-41) and also points to the uncontrollable nature of the world (Behemoth and Leviathan 40-41).
The people of God relate to God through covenant. God covenanted with Noah never to destroy the world again and used the rainbow as a perpetual sign. God covenanted with Aaron and Moses. Jesus instituted the New Covenant by his death and resurrection and is celebrated through the Lord’s Supper. When God covenants with God’s people, the reward is relationship. Though there are consequences for breaking the covenant, our motivation for covenanting with God is not a reward-based transaction. Rather, relationship with God is the reward.
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (1 minute). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group or read the following prayer in unison:
Gracious God, in moments of silence we are more aware of how incomprehensible your majesty is and how expansive your grace is for us. In recognizing our limitations and weakness, we can see ever clearly your strength and glory. Help us to trust your ways. Amen.”
Job 38:1-7, 34-41
1 “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?”
… 34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? 35 Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? 37 Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38 when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? 39 Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40 when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? 41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?’”
Our verses for today are Job chapter 38, verses 6 and 7: “Then the LORD answered Job: … ‘who laid [the earth’s] cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?’”
Let’s think about what this means.
God appeared to Job and talked to him.
God asked rhetorical questions; that is, questions that already imply answers.
God tells Job that he is the Creator who made everything in the universe. Does that answer Job’s question?
What are things that you would like to know about the world? If you could ask God a question, what would it be?
(Affirm the questions without trying to answer them. Add other questions as you feel led.)
Dear God, we are in awe of you! You are the source of life for the entire universe. Thank you for bringing so much joy into existence. We still have questions about life, but we know that we may not always understand your answers. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.