Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bible Study on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Horse and His Boy

* Did you notice that when Aravis was talking she named the god Tash and the goddess Zardeena? People in Calormen obviously believe in more than one God. They don’t even have Aslan as one of their gods. In our world there have many people that did believe or do believe in more than one God. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Indians from India, Indians from America, Africans, Asians, and Vikings, all believe in more than one God. There is only three religions that believe in one God, all of which are descended from one man, Abraham. These religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Really, you’ve got all of these different religions against only one Abrahamic religion. We’re outnumbered. What makes us think that we’ve got it right, worshipping only one God, when everyone else worships a bunch of gods?

Every person has a deep need for God. There is a God-sized hole in each of us. Only God can fill our deepest longings. We were made to worship God. But not everyone knows the truth that we know. Not everyone believes the truth that we believe. So if they don’t have the truth of the real God, they make something up to come as close to the truth that they can. 

Comparison of Monotheism and Polytheism

1. Both monotheism and polytheism believe in a Higher Power above humanity

2. What this Higher Power is differs for each religion

3. Both monotheism and polytheism portray a Higher Power as giving moral rules or commandments for humanity to follow

4. These rules are similar between religions, but there are big differences. (All religions forbid murder. Not all religions command us to love our enemy.)

5. In polytheism, the gods are limited in power. In monotheism, God is all-powerful.

6. In polytheism, many gods are needed to accomplish all of the various tasks. (One god for the sun, one for the rain, one for war, one for sex, one for the ocean, etc.) In monotheism, God does everything.

7. In polytheism, the gods have moral flaws. They do things that are wrong. (The goddesses are often jealous of each other. The gods rape human women. The gods fight with humans and lie and cheat.) In monotheism, God is perfect.

8. In polytheism, the stories are not based in history. There is no specific time that they are supposed to happen. In monotheism, almost all of the stories are historical. The stories tell you when they actually happened in history.

“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

*Shasta met a cat today in our story. But then he woke up in the middle of the night and he saw a lion. He thought that the lion was going to attack him, so he closed his eyes and braced himself. But the lion didn’t attack. Instead of feeling the lion’s teeth and claws, Shasta felt the cat brushing up against him. Here’s the question. Where was the cat when Shasta saw the lion? Why did the cat suddenly reappear when the lion disappeared? Any theories? My theory is that the cat and the lion are the same person. The cat turned into the lion and then turned back into the cat. I also think that the lion, or the cat, as the case may be is a person named Aslan.

From what you know about Aslan, do you think he would turn into a cute little kitty? Why or why not? We may not expect Aslan to turn into a kitty because we are used to seeing Aslan as being a strong, noble, powerful, kingly lion, not a cute little housecat. 

There’s a story in the Old Testament about a prophet named Elijah. Elijah saw God work in some very powerful ways. God used Elijah to make it not rain in Israel for three and a half years. God used birds to bring Elijah bread. God used Elijah to bring a little boy back to life. God used Elijah to tell kings and queens what they were doing wrong. God used Elijah to call down fire from heaven and burn up a soaking wet sacrifice. God used Elijah to kill 450 false prophets of the idol Baal. Elijah was used to seeing God work in powerful ways. Elijah was used to God being like a strong lion.

1 Kings 19:1-131 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

After all of the powerful ways that Elijah had seen God work, Elijah expected God to be in the powerful wind. But God wasn’t there, was He? After all of the powerful ways that Elijah had seen God work, Elijah expected God to be in the powerful earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. After all of the powerful ways that Elijah had seen God work, Elijah expected God to be in the powerful fire, but God wasn’t in the fire. Where was God? In the gentle whisper. Out of the four things listed, God was in the least powerful of them all.

God was teaching Elijah and us that we can’t always expect God to be just in the big stuff, in the powerful stuff. We also need to be able to recognize God in the small things. Sometimes God can be like a big, strong lion. But other times, God can be like a little housecat.

Do you think that most people in Jesus’ time would expect God to become a little baby? Probably not. Most people think of God as being strong and powerful, a Spirit, in Heaven, not as a little, poor, human baby. The point is to learn to look for God not just in the big things, but also in the little things. Often times you will get to know God the best when you find Him in places that you least expected.

*Shasta finally met Aslan in our story today. Aslan told him that He was the one who guided Shasta to Arsheesh, the fisherman, that He was the one who made sure Shasta and Aravis met, that He was the one who was the cat to comfort and the lion to protect Shasta when he was in the Tombs of the Ancient Kings and that He was the one who made Bree and Hwin run faster so that Shasta could warn King Lune in time. Through all of these things – through all of Shasta’s troubles – we see that it was Aslan who was causing things to happen and we see that Aslan had good reasons for everything that He did. 

This is the way God works in our lives as well. Sometimes we don’t know why things are happening. But we need to have faith that God is in control of what’s happening and that He’s doing it for a good reason. 

Proverbs 20:24 - A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?

This verse tells us that, like Shasta, we don’t always understand what’s happening in our life or even why we do some of the things that we do. It’s because God is making us do certain things, to make things work the way He wants them to work. God is in control. But we also know that this is all for our good.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God works all things for the good of those who love Him.

In the Bible, there was a man named Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers. While he was in slavery in Egypt, he was falsely accused of a crime and sent to prison for a number of years. Like, Shasta, Joseph was having some hard times and he didn’t know why. Eventually, however, he realized that God was at work, making all those things happen for a good reason. Here’s what Joseph told his brothers when they met again.

Genesis 45:5-8 - And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.

Genesis 50:20 - You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Here’s the point for us. Everything that ever happened to you, everything that you’ve gone through, everything that you’ve ever done, God planned for. He knew those things would happen. He caused those things to happen. Because all of those things have made you into the person that you are today. And the person that you are today is the person that God wants to use. The experiences that you have had, the personality that you have developed, the skills that you have learned so far, make you a unique person, a person that God can use in ways that He can’t use anyone else. Because you’re special. You’re the way God has made you to be. 

Take me for instance. My mom died when I was eight. Now, because of that, God can use me to relate to and talk to other people who have had someone close to them die. When I was in middle school all the way until now, I have had a talent for writing. Now, because God has helped me to develop that skill, God can use me to write Bible studies and sermons to teach people about God. When I was in college, I had a lot of doubts about whether Christianity was true or not. Now, because of that, God can use me to relate to and talk to other people that have doubts about God.

There are a lot of other ways that God has made me into the person that He wants me to be and there are a lot of ways that God has shaped you into the person that He wants you to be. But just because God has made us into the people that we now are, doesn’t mean that we’re not going to change anymore. God has made us into the people that He wants us to be, but He’s also going to keep making us into the people that He wants us to be.

Philippians 1:6 – I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God has made you special. You are unlike anyone else He has ever made, and He loves you for that. Because you are special, God can use you in ways that He can’t use anyone else. But we also have to remember that God’s work with us is never done.

* Shasta, Bree, and Hwin finally made it back to their real homes. They had all lived in Calormen for a long time, but Calormen was not where they belonged. Bree and Hwin belonged in Narnia. We found out that Shasta was the son of King Lune and that his real home was Archenland. We are a lot like Shasta in this story. We live in one place, but we belong – our real home – is in another place. Who knows where our real home is? Our real home is in Heaven. Shasta lived in Calormen, but his real home was in Archenland. We live in this world, but our real home is in Heaven. And like Shasta, we are also the son or daughter of a king. Shasta was the son of King Lune. Who knows who the King is that we are sons and daughters of? God, the King of Heaven. 

1 Peter 2:9-11 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

Who are we? A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, aliens and strangers in the world.

Why did make us into a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God? What was His purpose? “That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” It's so that we can praise God and declare to others what God has done for us by saving us. 

Because God has made us to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, and aliens and strangers in the world, what should we do? Abstain from sinful desires. Because God has saved us, we should try our best not to sin.

Romans 8:12-17 - Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons or daughters of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship or of daughtership. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Who are we? Sons and daughters of God,  part of God's royal family.

As you live in this world, remember who you are! Remember why you're here!


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