Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – August 14th, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Strengthen You
Main Texts: 1 Kings 19:1-10; Isaiah 41:1-20
Key Verse: Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we saw How God has throughout history made good His promise “I Will Heal You”. We also saw the importance of being in the right relationship with Him, and of following His instructions concerning our healing.Our key learning from that study include the following:
- It is right for us to ask God for healing of our physical bodies and claim His promise for same. In so doing, we should examine ourselves to be sure we are not putting obstacles in the way of our prayer being answered.
- While we can always ask for healing for ourselves, we should note that God gives instructions for receiving our healing within the setting of a Christian fellowship – He expects us to make known our health challenges and request ministration from the elders of the Church. Those too proud to follow His instructions may be disappointed.
- God may choose to not heal in specific situations for reasons best known to Him, and which may also be known to the discerning Christian. Examples: (a) A Christian athlete whose successes became a snare of pride sustained an injury which, though healed, left him unfit to continue as an athlete. (b) God chooses to take the life of a Christian because He deems the Christian to have completed his or her assignment on earth. In both of these examples, the discerning Christian may understand God’s purpose; those not discerning may feel disappointed and have their faith shaken.
This Sunday, we will be studying God’s promise: “I Will Strengthen You”. God stands by His word, strengthening us in many ways:
- He strengthens us when we are emotionally down and feel despondent. None of us is above being emotionally drained – as we saw in the case of Elijah who was so discouraged he wanted to die – straight after the famous triumph at Mount Carmel!
- God strengthens us to overcome sin and evil. We saw him strengthen Joseph when being seduced by Potiphar’s wife. Paul echoed this type of strengthening in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where he says God ensures we are not tempted above our strength, and that He provides a way out of our temptations. We fall into sin when we do not draw from the strength He provides
- He strengthens anyone He chooses – even unbelievers – to do exploits to fulfil His purposes. He strengthened Samson and David to defeat the Philistines. He strengthened Nehemiah to lead the rebuilding of Jerusalem, just as He had strengthened the pagan king Cyrus to conquer Israel in order to restore His own people.
Many of us would admit that there are times in our lives when we feel helpless, hopeless, mentally and emotionally drained. We feel vulnerable because we cannot see a way out of our predicament. When do we need to be strengthened? Our key verse indicates that it is when we are afraid and dismayed. Prophet Elijah knew something of this experience when he prayed, “… “I have had enough, LORD, … Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4) In 1 Kings 17 we read of Elijah, perhaps scared and physically drained from fleeing from Ahab after prophesying draught (v1), was fed by God sending, first ravens (v4-7), and then the widow of Zarephath (v8-16). Strangely, when we find ourselves in depressing situations, all the Scripture examples of how God strengthened the weak, and His promise “I will strengthen you”, evaporate from our thoughts. We seem to always think that our situation is unique and does not fall into the category of those God helped in the past. It is noteworthy that one of Elijah’s lowest morale point as God’s servant was immediately following the great contest at Mount Carmel, where God, in answer to his prayer, demonstrated His supremacy over Baal and caused His name to triumph.
1. Why do the Scriptures and testimonies of God being our strength, which we often quote to ourselves in serene times, seem to suddenly evaporate from our consciousness or have no effect when we are in desperate situations? Another area of strengthening by God is to resist evil. When Joseph was being seduced by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:1-15), his ability to resist was not entirely in his own strength; he drew strength from God. When James wrote “… Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7) he was not suggesting that we could resist the devil in our strength; that is why he first said “Submit yourselves, then, to God”. Apostle Paul had this type of strengthening in mind when he wrote: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). However, despite this promise, people of God still fall into sin. King David committed multiple heinous sins. Apostle Peter fell into the sin of hypocrisy (- see Galatians 2:11-13).
2. What must we do to benefit from God’s promise of strength when under pressure to do evil? There is a strengthening by God to do exploits and carry out His purposes. He strengthened David to defeat the Philistines. In rebuilding Jerusalem, Nehemiah prayed: “… Now strengthen my hands …” (Nehemiah 6:9 NIV). Interestingly, God can extend such strengthening even to unbelievers to accomplish His purpose. He called the pagan king Cyrus “his anointed” and said to him: “… I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me” (Isaiah 45:1,5 NIV). This strengthening by God is indispensable in changing the course of a society ridden with evil. He would strengthen His people as well as strategically placed unbelievers to accomplish His purposes.
3. (a) In what specific ways do individuals and groups need to be strengthened by God to bring about positive changes in your society? (b) What part does an individual play in order to benefit from God’s strengthening to do exploits in this regard?
Father, thank You for Your promise of strength when we are weary, when we are tempted to do evil, and when You choose us to do exploits for You. Teach us to draw fully from this strength, In Jesus’ name, Amen.