The Deceiver Deceived
Instead of giving up or feeling discouraged when the Lord corrects us, we can see discipline as a mark that he loves us. The punishment is not a rejection; it is an embrace. When in your life has God disciplined you? What did repentance look like, and what did you learn from it? In hindsight, in what ways do you see that the discipline was actually out of love?
There are moments in our lives where we feel alone and then God shows up in ways so unique to us and our circumstances that we are overwhelmed—this is not just an Old Testament reality but is true still today. When Matt told his own story of how God directed his steps with the elementary school, did it remind you of a similar experience where God directed your steps? Share about a time when God showed up so clearly to you that you could not miss it. What does that tell us about God and his character?
We tend to want to bury issues from our past, but our past has a tendency to follow us. What patterns can you identify where past issues keep resurfacing? In the year ahead, what is one pattern of sin you’ve seen in your life that you’d like to make progress on? How can your spiritual community help you?
"In Laban, Jacob met his match and his means of discipline. Twenty years (31:41) of drudgery and friction were to weather his character; and the reader can reflect that presumably Jacob is not the only person to have needed a Laban in his life" —Derek Kidner. Has God ever used a “Laban” in your life as a means of disciplining you? How has he used difficult people and circumstances to shape and form you? What is a way that he is currently doing that?
God’s discipline is a mark of his love for us.
When we face the consequences of our past sin once we are removed from it, it is an opportunity for us to repent on a deeper level.
Seasons of planting and harvesting cannot happen at the same time. The consequences of sin may be far removed in time from the season of sin.
You will never get difficult people and situations out of your life because that is part of what God is doing in you.
God uses us, unworthy people, to expand his kingdom—he challenges and exposes us, yet he leads and loves at the same time.
We do live with the consequences of our decisions. Sometimes redemption is easy to see, sometimes it is the long-play of eternity, but we know that redemption is coming.
God can redeem anything, but do not be characterized by using this as a free pass to take advantage of others and do what is easy for you, presuming on his grace and patience.