BIBLE STUDY: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curriculum and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies for Life curriculum.

Bible Passage: Obadiah 1-4,10-15,17-18,21

Discussion Questions:

1. In what ways do people today often fail to listen to God? What are some results of that failure?

2. What are ways you can demonstrate love by meeting the needs of others?

3. How does abortion disregard God's purpose?

Food for Thought:

Southern Baptists focus on the "Sanctity of Human Life" on the third Sunday in January. Psalm 139 often is the Bible text for that Sunday, but other Bible passages carry a message that also speaks from God's heart. One way to better understand God's activity today and His plan for the future is to become familiar with His activity among His people in history. Obadiah, probably writing around the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., reminds us that God sees the plight of the oppressed and acts on their behalf, and He calls on His people to do the same. Christians must be willing to help others who have needs and cannot help or speak for themselves.

The vision of Obadiah addressed Judah's enemies, the Edomites (descendants of Esau). The Edomites were arrogant and God condemned them for it. Arrogance on the part of a person or nation is an affront to God. Believers should place their confidence in God, who values all human life -- from conception to death -- and sent Jesus to die for us so that we could live with Him. Like the Edomites, many Christians today have been guilty of indifference, sitting on their hands and allowing evil to prevail. Turning a blind eye toward moral issues, such as abortion, effectively lends support to such activity and is totally unacceptable to God.

God judged Edom harshly because of their sin of pride, arrogance and injustice -- especially to those most vulnerable. Could God judge America for those same sins? Any person or nation that attempts to set himself, herself or itself up as "king of the hill," thus defying God's plan and purpose, eventually will answer to God. May we repent and live out God's commands to avoid judgment. We can trust Jesus to set up His Kingdom and establish a new way of life for His world. In the meantime, we are to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life curriculum is a life stage-focused family of resources that addresses what God teaches about key issues in the lives of adults and students. LifeWay is re-designing the entire BSFL curriculum for this fall. Samples of the new material is available at LifeWay.com/FallPreview.

Information for LifeWay's other Bible study options for all ages can found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool


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