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Bible Study: Seeking Signs - Advent 4 Old Testament

Text: Isaiah 7:10-17 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Lectionary Series A Old Testament Reading
 Participants will:
  1. Believe that God wants them to come to Him for answers;
  2. Trust God's plan for their lives.
Group Guidelines
 Gather in groups of 5-8 persons if the group is larger than 10. Make sure that all members of the group have the opportunity to share their ideas. Individuals may "pass" if they do not want to share on a given subject.
Building Community
 Write down and then share your answers to the following:
  1. When you go to a shopping mall, in which store do you spend most of your time?
  2. Which television show do you find the most entertaining? Which one is the dumbest?
  3. Of all the things you can do on Christmas vacation this year, what are you most looking forward to? 
Looking at God's Word
  1.  Read Isaiah 7:10-17. Now take a closer look at the verses and other suggested texts.
    Read Isaiah 7:11 and Matthew 11:28 Response: If I were King Ahaz, I would answer God by saying...(choose one:)
    "I'm king; I'll work things out for myself."
    "What good is a sign going to do me?"
    "I appreciate signs and warnings, but I am going to get an answer right away?"
    "What can a sign tell me that I don't already know?"
    "______________________________________" (your own quote)
    After sharing, reread Isaiah 7:12 to see how Ahaz did answer the Lord. Discuss his attitude.
  2. Read Isaiah 7:13 and Romans 8:18.
    Response: Do you think God ever gets tired of our prayers and requests? (Encourage the group to be frank with their answers.)
  3. Read Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:28-31 and Matthew 1:20-23.
    Response (girls): Put yourself in Mary's position as a pregnant teenager. Would you have believed God when He spoke through the angel? Why or why not?
    Response (boys): Put yourself in Joseph's position as an expectant father, even though you knew you weren't the biological father. Would you have believed God when He spoke through the angel in the dream? Why or why not?
  4. Compare the signs that God gave His people in Scripture with the signs of today. Make a list.
    Scripture                                                                       Today
    burning bush                                                                 
    star in the East
    Does God speak in signs today? Read 1 Corinthians 2:22-25.
  5. As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, how can you make Jesus the center of the celebration as you shop, watch television, visit with others or use your free time? Share your ideas with the group.
Reinforcing What Has Been Learned
 Based on what I've learned from this study...
My prayer life is going to_____________________________________________________
In my personal life with the Lord, I am going to trust the Lord with________________________
This Christmas I plan to___________________________________________________________
 Conclude with prayer based on the sharing of the group. Ask for prayer requests that may be shared by the leader of the group extemporaneously. Sing a favorite Christmas carol or two after the prayer.
Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies V, studies on the Gospel readings for lectionary series A, in 1992.
Republished and revised in November 2013 for thESource.

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