October 8, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

God’s Covenant with Israel
Exodus 19:16-25

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“Great, Mighty, and Awesome”

Growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was watching the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, as it was known back then. I enjoyed watching one wrestler in particular, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Whenever he got on stage, he would whoop and holler, “You really wanna go one-on-one with the Great One?” I was in high school, and while I was succeeding in my honors and advanced placement courses, I still suffered from a lack of self-confidence. I wasn’t interested in the violence promoted by the WWF; it was the personas that appealed to me. I had a need to see what was it like for someone to show just how great he felt about himself.

Personas drive our celebrity-saturated culture. Greatness is always a topic for conversation, something we love to debate. Whenever a celebrity or infamous person passes away, our country seems to go through an internal debate about whether that person was great. When we talk about politics, we question what it means for the United States of America to be great. Was it ever? Movie critics and fans, through the power of the Internet, engage each other in a culture war as well. What makes a great film? Is a movie considered great because of the reviews of a few professionally paid writers, or is it great because movie fans kept paying money to see it, causing the film to have a large profit? We seem to have immense cultural confusion about what greatness actually is.

As believers, our understanding of what makes someone or something great should come from the Lord. We can have access to this greatness through God’s redeeming action in the world. Moses praised YHWH as the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe” (Deuteronomy 10:17 NRSV). Scripture reminds us time and again that we are not to be partial to those who are rich over those who are poor (Deuteronomy 16:19). Greatness is not measured by one’s accumulated wealth. Biblical greatness is about our worship in awe of God’s greatness as we fear God’s judgment and live just lives. “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20 NRSV).

  • What are some of the ways we get confused about our notions of greatness today?
  • How often do you stop and ask yourself, how great is our God?

—Rod Thomas, miteewarrior@gmail.com

© 2017

Rod Thomas is a child-centered, fair-minded academic; a Christian who sometimes writes; and an aspiring preacher and layperson at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is actively involved in his congregation’s homeless and children’s ministries and is a syndicated blogger for MennoNerds.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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