My people have committed a double evil:
They have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug cisterns for themselves-
cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.
Welcome to group session 2 of OVERCOMER Bible Study.
What stood out to you in last week’s personal study? What truths
or answers did God reveal?
Describe a time when a difficult circumstance turned out to be good for
you. Consider the following questions as you formulate your response.
How did you initially react to the event?
How did God prove Himself faithful in this circumstance?
How did you grow and learn from the experience?
Unexpected change and difficult circumstances are routine occurrences
in life. When calamity comes, your responses can expose the real you.
The way you react to adversity often reveals something about your nature,
exposing layers of brokenness that previously lurked unnoticed. This circum-
stance then becomes a great opportunity to grow. This week’s study will
highlight that truth.
Pray as you prepare to watch the film clip.
Circumstances have a way of circumventing our best-laid plans. That’s the case
for John and Amy. As the ripple effect of the factory’s closing continues to upset
the Harrisons, the place where John has built his identity is revealed. Amy, his
wife, knows it and has a less-than-gracious way of approaching the subject. John
certainly needs accountability, but high stress is taking a toll on the marriage.
During a moment of marital reproof, difficult words are exchanged, and brokenness
in John’s heart is exposed.
1. Whose is the more difficult situation-John’s or Amy’s? The person going
through the life-altering circumstance or the person watching the one he or
she loves navigate those changes? Explain your response.
2. How do you think John felt when he heard those words from Amy?
3. Do you find it easier to be the person offering reproof, regardless of the tact.
or the person receiving it?
Read the events of Jonah 1-4
According to chapter 3, what happened when Jonah delivered God’s
message to the Ninevites?
According to chapter 4, how did Jonah feel about this result?
What “I told you so” message did Jonah declare?
From Jonah’s perspective, the story doesn’t end well. When God spared the
people of Ninevah, the prophet viewed it as the worst possible outcome.
He had just publicly declared that God would destroy them, and now his
reputation was on the line. He also knew the Assyrians were an exceedingly
wicked, violent people who deserved God’s wrath. But Jonah was also aware
that in the unlikely event the Ninevites repented, God might show grace and
relent from judgment. And Jonah was greatly disappointed to see that the
fireworks show of God’s wrath had been canceled. When the book closes, a
people who had been very far from God had come very near, and a man who
should have celebrated this return was so disgusted that he wanted to die.
What’s your gut reaction when God does or allows what you don’t like or
expect? What does your response reveal about your character and identity?
The Ninevites’ brokenness was overtly displayed in expressions of sin and
rebellion. Jonah’s brokenness was hidden inside a calloused part of his
To you, is one more dangerous than the other? If so, which one? Why?
Read Jeremiah 2:1-13. Discuss similarities between this period in
Jeremiah’s ministry and the Jonah narrative.
Do you notice any differences?
Today we might call the Ninevites of Jonah’s ministry an unreached people
group. They were faraway, foreign enemies of God who needed a missionary
to come, identify sin, and explain the path to salvation. The sinful Judeans
described in Jeremiah 2 were a people of God who should have known bet-
ter. In a time of comfort, they built an identity outside the promise of being
God’s children, and sin crept in. Elevating anything above God’s place is
olatry. God’s people were guilty, and Jeremiah’s job was to let them know.
Why is it good when our brokenness or idolatrous identity is revealed?
Who you are starts with where you came from, includes where you’ve been,
and indicates where you’re going. It’s also best displayed when you face trials
or, as in Jonah’s case, don’t get your way. Although exposing and exploring
brokenness is difficult, Scripture points out that it’s ultimately good for us.
WE’RE BROKEN BECAUSE
THE WHOLE WORLD IS
Ninevites are everywhere. Scrolling through Twitter or watching world news
indicates that wickedness abounds, Pause to consider the state of the world
today. Don’t linger too long, though. It’s difficult and depressing.
It’s easy to spot examples of sin in false religions, pagan countries, and
developing nations. The proverbial “they” is a readily available target. Here
at home it’s easy to put blinders on and hide behind the assumption that
we live in a Christian nation. Our country, however, is equally and collectively
just as broken and in need of repentance as foreign ones. We have individu-
ally and collectively moved far from God.
Read Jeremiah 2:1-13.
Examine each verse and identify specific ways God’s message
to Jerusalem applies to your life. For example, have you ever felt
like the description in verses 2-3? Describe it.
Review verses 5-9. Have you been or are you currently walking
in a season like the one depicted, when you stopped seeking God
and turned in another direction? Describe it.
Rewrite verse 13 in your own words
Record the broken wells in which you’ve placed your trust and found
your identity. As you do, utter a prayer of confession about each one.
Read the following verse.
Woe is me for I am ruined
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Armies.
Our individual brokenness is a microcosm of what’s wrong with the entire
world. Trading the goodness of God’s plan for our own individual desires
is sin. Furthermore, it never leads to the abundance God desires for us.
Underline the portion of Isaiah’s confession in which he recognized his
individual sin. Circle the portion in which he announced the broader
sin of his whole people group.
Which sin came first?
Although it’s often easier to recognize brokenness everywhere else, it’s
better to start with ourselves. These facts of individual and universal sin
aren’t mutually exclusive. They operate in close conjunction. People are
broken because the world is broken. The world is broken because each
individual has embraced sin by choice and by nature. That broken nature
becomes evident when we place our hope, our faith, or our identity in any
well other than God’s. Acknowledging that truth about ourselves is a step
Thank God for using the brokenness in your life to reveal your need
for Jesus. Ask Him to heal the brokenness in the world and in your life.
WE’RE BROKEN BECAUSE
WE CHOOSE TO BE
You know that person in your life whose faith through difficulty both inspires
you and scares you? You stand in awe of them, wondering how they could
remain so strong when their particular trials seem far too heavy. You also
shudder in fear, confessing you can’t imagine being that strong. Perhaps
you’ve even thought, / don’t think I could walk through that experience
and still trust God.
Whoever that person is, their trial is so grueling that most people would
be inclined to give them an automatic pass from faith-filled living due to
the severity of their circumstance. Maybe you perceive John and Amy
Harrison’s predicament through that lens. His anger and frustration are
certainly understandable. Brought to that point, many of us would respond
similarly. However, understandable doesn’t equate with permissible or
beneficial for followers of Jesus.
Calamity reveals where we place our hope and the foundation on which
we’ve built our identity. The way we respond to trouble indicates who we are
and whom we trust. People are broken not only because the world is broken
but also because we choose broken systems and broken paths in our lives.
Read Jonah 4. Summarize what God offered Jonah as well as Jonah’s
response to God.
God extended grace to Jonah, only to be rejected. God appointed the
prophet Jeremiah to bring His word of warning to wayward Judah. The
nation’s collective response was similar to Jonah’s individual one.
Read Jeremiah 18:1-12.
Have you ever consciously or subconsciously chosen to remain broken,
wallowing in pity and declaring your right to do so?
Describe that season in your life.
Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20.
Isolated, this passage could easily be construed as a foundation for works-
based salvation. However, salvation is still God’s great gift of grace, and in
no way can it be earned. This passage isn’t about good behavior. It’s about
faithfully believing that God’s way is the best way and that eternal life isn’t
just in heaven but here on earth as well. This passage reveals the power
of choice that lives within the realm of faith. We can’t always choose our
circumstances or even the outcomes of those circumstances, but we can
always choose the way we respond. Either we can either embrace God’s
grace, or we can reject it and choose sin.
Does a particular area of your life reveal that you haven’t chosen the
wholeness of God’s plan?
It’s easy to recognize choices that aren’t Christlike.
Describe the broken cistern you’ve chosen for yourself.
How could you choose to embrace grace in order to give a godly
response in this difficult situation?
Reflect on the areas of your life in which you’ve chosen your way over
God’s way. Regardless of the consequences you’ve faced, thank God for
being with you and remaining faithful. Ask Him to help you live the life
He created you to live.
WE’RE BROKEN, BUT
WE CAN BE HEALED
Coming face-to-face with our brokenness can manufacture a wide array of
outcomes. We can reject the idea of our brokenness and declare our identity
as a personal right or an individual choice. Or we can admit that we have no
way to fix ourselves and that we need God’s grace and mercy, freely available
in Jesus Christ, to save us from ourselves. We may even waver back and forth
between two commitments, trusting in God’s design one day and in our own
ambition the next.
Ultimately, our goal is freedom from our brokenness. Because people are
broken, we often choose to remain that way and build identities on false
foundations. Our lives don’t have to be that way. God has another plan. The
storm could have swept Jonah away. The fish could have done more than
just swallow the prophet. It could have digested him. God provided Jonah
a way out and illustrated His great mercy in the way He addressed Ninevah
and in the way He continued to lovingly lead Jonah.
God offers rescue from our brokenness today. He can heal our broken hearts
and desires. He promised to do that for His stubborn children in Jeremiah 18.
And Scripture offers more examples.
Read the following verses.
The men of the city said to Elisha, “My lord can see that even though
the city’s location is good, the water is bad and the land unfruitful.”
He replied, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.” After they had
brought him one, Elisha went out to the spring, threw salt in it, and
said, “This is what the Lord says: I have healed this water. No longer
will death or unfruitfulness result from it.” Therefore, the water still
remains healthy today according to the word that Elisha spoke.
Elisha, the prophet who followed Elijah, was barely inaugurated into the role
when the people of Jericho approached him with a problem. The location of
their camp was good, but the water was bad. They needed a miracle. God
made the water clean and safe to drink again, meaning the barren land could
bear fruit again.
Identify the areas of your life in which you most need healing.
The way we respond to pressure excavates levels of brokenness in our lives
that may have been hidden previously. buried far beneath the surface. We
can fake it, making it from one seemingly normal day to the next, but when
crisis comes, the truth unravels, and the foundation of our lives shakes.
Where did your brokenness come from? How have circumstances
brought it to the surface?
The ultimate remedy for brokenness is forgiveness, but we can’t receive for-
giveness until we recognize our need for it. Brokenness is often the tool God
uses in our lives to help us realize our great need for Him. In this process of
recognizing our true identity, we also truly understand repentance. There’s
a big difference between being sorry for wrongdoing and experiencing true
sorrow over our sin. The former is a recognition of an unfavorable result,
while the latter admits the underlying root of our sinful condition. Once
we’ve recognized the root of our sinful heart, we’re ready to accept forgiv-
enss and be made new in Christ.
Record a prayer expressing your need for God’s healing in your life.
Confess ways you’ve been stubborn and unrepentant. Ask for com-
plete freedom from sin through God’s forgiveness.