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Promises are what God says. Expectations are what we say.

This week at Imprint Church in Woodinville, we wrapped our sermon series on the minor prophets with a recap of what these Old Testament are all about… the promise of God to his people.

The minor prophets cover 3 centuries of the Israelite’s history. Their decline, defeat, and initial recovery, but still waiting to be completely fulfilled.

Then everything goes silent for 400 years between the time Malachi closed and John the Baptist showed up on the scene preparing the way for the Lord Jesus.

Things were not completed for the Israelites. They were waiting with expectation. Then Jesus came and lived among people and no one understood him. There were glimpses of understanding, but for the most part, it was “Who is this guy?”

Just like in our own lives, the Israelites repeatedly set expectations of God instead of dwelling in His promise.

The question we have to ask ourselves, like the prophets would point out, like the disciples would now understand:

Is what you believe so strongly a promise or an expectation?

Sermon Recording

Watch the sermon recording below or download the audio podcast to more about God’s promises.

Discussion Questions on God’s Promises

Here are some questions for people taking part in our small Christian groups that meet in Bothell, Kirkland, and Woodinville.

  1. How have expectations influenced your life in positive or negative ways?! Think about expectations you’ve had in your relationships, your job, and even your life in Christ. Consider sharing funny stories about when you had unrealistic expectations at some point in your life.
  2. What were the expectations that people had of God in the minor prophets? What about at the end of the minor prophets? What kind of expectations should we have when it comes to our relationship with God today?
  3. What were some of the major themes of the minor prophets? What have you learned studying them together, and has it helped your faith grow?
  4. It was said on Sunday that the prophetic books that conclude the Old Testament set the stage perfectly for the New Testament.
  5. Read Luke 24:13-32 and Acts 1:4-11.
  6. How do these Scriptures relate to the message and promises of the minor prophets?
  7. What is the difference between an expectation and a promise? What are some things God has promised his people? What are some things people expect from God? What happens when these are different? How do we differentiate between God’s promises and our expectations? Talk about specific examples.
  8. It was said on Sunday that until Jesus returns, Christians will live at the intersection of hurt and hope. How do we live hopeful – believing that God is going to be faithful to His promises – in a world of so much hurt?
  9. Talk about what happened in Acts 2 and read Acts 2:37-39. What is the big promise for all people that Peter talks about? Do you think it could be that Jesus Christ fulfills all the promises of God to all people – the promises God’s people had been waiting for for hundreds of years? Why or why not? How can you make this promise your own today?