For Better or For Worse
July, August, September 2007
Want to learn more about For Better or For Worse? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.
Lesson 1: Adam and Eve: The Intended Ideal (Genesis 1-3, 1 Corinthians 11)
There are three kinds of people: those who read the owner's manual/directions carefully; those who never read the owner's manual; and, those who read the manual when forced to do so. I don't know which group you would identify with, but our lessons this quarter take us to the "owner's manual" on marriage. How is your marriage? Would paying a little more attention to the "owners manual" be helpful? Why not try it? God created us. He created marriage, and we start this week with what God has to say about the first marriage: Adam and Eve. Whether your marriage could use a little "tune up" or is a complete disaster, let's jump right in and see what the "owner's manual" has to teach us!
Lesson 2: Abram and Sarah: Faith Tested and Tried (Genesis 12,15-17)
Hebrews 11:11-12 celebrates the faith of Abraham in the promise that he would have many descendants. The reality of the marriage between Abram and Sarah, and their relationship to God, seems a little different than the perfect picture of faith. It makes us scratch our head. What should we conclude about this? The writer of Hebrews had his blinders on? Or, that God is more merciful and generous to us in our marriage decisions and our relationship with Him than we might think? Let's dive into our study this week and find out!
Lesson 3: Isaac and Rebekah: Rearing Rivals (Genesis 24-27)
How do you find a spouse? How do you know when it is the right person? Once you are married, what basic rules should you follow? The story of finding a spouse for Isaac recounts another time and another culture. But, there are important lessons we can learn for today. Let's jump right into our lesson and see what we can learn!
Lesson 4: Jacob and Rachel: Labor of Love (Genesis 29-31)
Last week, we left our story with everything going downhill. Jacob and his mother conspired to have Jacob receive the birthright through deception. This so angers the older brother, Esau, that Jacob flees from his home to avoid being murdered by Esau for defrauding him of the birthright. Jacob's cover story for his flight is that he is going to find a wife. Let's dive into our study and see what Jacob finds!
Lesson 5: Moses and Zipporah: Relating With Relations (Exodus 2, 4 & 18)
You know the background story for Moses: he was born in Egypt as a Hebrew slave. Worse than that, Pharaoh decreed that he, like all Hebrew baby boys, was to be drown in the Nile river. Moses' mother put him in the Nile, but had him in a little floating basket. Pharaoh's daughter found Moses in his little basket, decided to adopt him as her own, and Moses grew to manhood as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Let's dive right in to learn more about Moses and his marriage!
Lesson 6: Samson and His Women: The Folly of Passion (Judges 13-16)
Have you or your children made some bad decisions in marriage? Have you wondered if the way you raised your children contributed to problems in their marriages? Is "anger management" a problem in your marriage? This week we look at early life of Samson and his "marriage" to discover how God can work through our bad decisions. Let's dive right into our story!
Lesson 7: Boaz and Ruth: Firm Foundations (Ruth 1-4)
Sometimes life treats you harshly. At those times, you wonder where God is? Why has He let such terrible things happen to me? This week we look at women whose lives are torn apart by the death of their spouse. Will remaining faithful to God pay off? Will grit and determination help? Let's dive into our lesson and find out!
Lesson 8: Elkanah and Hannah: Fulfilling a Vow (1 Samuel 1 & 2)
How is your life right now? Is something missing that only God can supply? Are friends and family making life difficult? Is your spouse trying to be helpful, but does not really understand your needs? If you can say "yes" to any of these questions, this study is for you. If you are trying to help someone who is sad, this lesson may help. Let's jump right into our study of the Bible!
Lesson 9: The Jobs: Living With Losses (Job 1-2)
My wife teaches the lower elementary school grades. One year she had this little boy who was suffering a problem in his life. He cried to my wife, "I don't know why this is happening to me, I pay my tithe!" Have you said something like this in the past: "God, I don't know why this is happening to me, I am faithful to You?" Tragedy is upsetting. The reaction of your spouse is important in your ability to handle tragedy. Will your spouse comfort you or blame you? Will you be a comforting or accusing spouse? Let's jump into our lesson and look at the story of Mr. and Mrs. Job!
Lesson 10: David and Bathsheba: Adultery and After (2 Samuel 3, 5, 11 & 12)
Sin is a type of addiction, which like all addictions, is progressive. If you want to keep sin out of your marriage, you need to watch out for the small things, not just the big problems. Small issues will likely grow into big, painful problems. What are these "small" issues in marriage that are addictive? A few that come to mind are pornography, criticism of your spouse, and coveting the spouse of another. Let's dive into our lesson to observe what not to do!
Lesson 11: Ahab and Jezebel: Abuse of Authority (1 Kings 16, 21 & 2 Kings 9)
Some things are hard to gauge. When I was dating I wanted to marry a girl who had religious beliefs and a religious zeal that was like mine. I remember one young lady I dated who was "on fire" for God. Her Sabbaths were a whirl of religious activities, from attending church, to attending other meetings to visiting nursing homes in the afternoon. I seemed to be her only "secular" activity! The level of fire in my religious life was not set that high - and that worried me. This week we study a couple who have the opposite temperature problem. He is cold when it comes to a relationship with God and she is ice. Let's dive in and find out more about who not to marry!
Lesson 12: Hosea and Gomer: Forgiving the Unfaithful (Hosea 1-3)
My parents grew up in a situation in which it appeared to them they were not the favored child. Those married couples who have gone through a difficult time or divorce, because of adultery, have a close-up look at what it means to be considered "second-best." God felt that way in His relationship with His people, Israel. He was unhappy because they did not put Him in first place in their hearts. This week our study is on a couple who display this problem. Let's plunge into our study and find out more!
Lesson 13: Yahweh and Israel: Fulfillment Beyond Failure (Isaiah 54, Ezekiel 24, Jeremiah 31)
This is our last lesson in the series on Old Testament marriages. Why do we find so many illusions to marriage in the Old Testament? One answer is that God often uses marriage to tell His side of the story about His relationship with His people. When the Bible speaks about our individual relationship to God, He is often referred to as our Father. When the Bible speaks about God's relationship to His people as a group, it often refers to a marriage. Why, out of all of the relationships that exist, would God use marriage as an illustration? Let's dive in and find out why!