Topic: Grace Passage: Exodus 15:22–17:7
Community Group Questions: Exodus 15:22-17:8 "Relentless Grace"
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Now that they’ve been freed from Egypt, Exodus 15:22-17:8 records the story of Israel’s initial desert journey as they make their way toward Mt. Sinai. Though the passage contains three separate narratives, they hold together thematically, so we’ll study them as a unit.
- Read Exodus 15:22-27. Having just experienced some of the greatest miracles ever recorded in the Bible, Israel’s first reaction after encountering bitter water at Mara is to “grumble” (see vs. 24). What does this teach us about the nature of the human heart?
- God’s response to the people’s complaining is to show them grace: he makes the water sweet (vs. 25), reveals himself as their “healer” (vs. 26), and leads them to an even greater oasis (vs. 27). Can you think of a time in your life when God responded to your complaining attitude by showing you abundant grace? Share the story with the group.
- Read Exodus 16:1-36. What does this story continue to teach us about sinful human attitudes, and God’s relentless grace and provision?
- God graciously forced the Israelites to only gather each day’s provision of manna. If they tried to stockpile, it would rot (v. 20). If they were lazy, and failed to collect, it would melt in the sun (v. 21). What was God trying to teach the Israelites through this daily miracle, and how can we apply these lessons to our daily lives as Christians? (see Matt. 6:11). What things in your life help you to faithfully depend upon God? What things distract you from depending on him?
- Read 17:1-7. Once again, we see the Israelites complaining and even “quarreling” in the face of trouble, rather than running to God. This time, God provides the ultimate solution to their rebellious hearts: God himself stands upon a rock, which Moses strikes with the staff of judgment, and then water pours out to quench the people’s thirst. In other words, God himself absorbs the judgment the people deserve, so that he can pour out his relentless grace into their lives. How does this picture foreshadow the work that Christ would eventually accomplish for us on the cross? (see John 7:37, 1 Cor. 10:4). How is the gospel of Jesus Christ our only real and final solution for curing rebellious hearts?
- In your own life, how has the grace of Jesus (his water) continued to transform you from the inside out? Have you seen progress in moving from grumbling to gratitude? How so?
Prayer suggestion: Repent together of all the ways our tongues grumble and complain in the face of God’s goodness. Spend time worshiping Christ for his death in our place, and for his relentless, transforming grace in our lives.