Lesson for October 10th, 2015
The Crisis Within and Without
The most difficult problems are those that come from within the individual. That was the challenge Israel faced. The crisis arose because they had allowed sin to harden their hearts.
Markers or pens, large sheets of paper, small slips of paper, a glass jar, blank cards for invitations
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Ask participants to brainstorm advice they’d give to future generations about following God. How would they advise them to stay close to God? Use markers or pens to write suggestions (10 words or less) on the large sheets of paper.
- Label the jar “If Only…” Ask the group to write on small pieces of paper what they would do differently if given the opportunity to make a choice again. Fill the jar with these statements. Discuss how Israel could have looked back on many moments with such sentiments. Remind the group that even though we may have failed in the past, we serve a God who can still use us, a God who forgives us and continues to give us opportunities to grow and serve.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Have you ever made a wrong decision that caused someone else to make a wrong decision, too? If you feel comfortable, share your experience with the group.
- Thought Questions
Read Judges 2:1-5. How did Israel respond when an angel told them they had dishonored God? ?
- They continued in their sinful ways.
- They continued to make covenants with other nations
- They cried out loud.
- They made sacrifices to God.
- Under Joshua’s leadership, they followed God for many years.
- Jeroboam’s careful plot to keep Israel from returning to Jerusalem didn’t give them the opportunity to be reminded of the God of David.
- Israel disregarded the ways of the kings and followed God.
- Jeroboam made it easy for Israel to slip deeper into idol-worship.
- The kings’ behavior demonstrated positive leadership qualities.
- Israel remained true to God and was a beacon for the pagan nations.
Read Jeremiah 2:1-28. In this passage, God compared Israel to many things, beginning with a young bride and ending with comparisons that were far from flattering. What reasons are given for this transition?
- The people failed to ask about the God who led them from Egypt.
- The priests and judges remained true to God.
- When the people exchanged their God for other gods, Israel did something other nations did not do.
- They remained pure as a vine of purest stock.
- Like a thief, Israel acted sorry only when caught.
Read Jeremiah 5:1-5. God was looking for honest people in Israel. How does this compare or contrast with Jeremiah’s defense of them?
- God is patient and long-suffering, but Jeremiah is vindictive.
- Both seem too anxious to destroy.
- Jeremiah seems to be more sympathetic toward the people than God is.
- Both Jeremiah and God are searching for those who follow the Lord
- Jeremiah doesn’t like the people, so he refers to them as poor and ignorant.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1:Make a list of progressions one might follow in moving farther away from God. Then make a U-turn and show steps that would lead someone back to God.
- Option 2: Look up Hymn 291, “We Have Not Known Thee,” and either read or sing the words. As a group, discuss how a person can get to know God better.
- Option 3: Find a group of people in your area that demonstrates a life lived far from God. Invite some of these people to join your group by making colorful invitations and distributing them. Train your group on how to welcome visitors.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- God sometimes chooses leaders who need to make changes in order to be effective. Ask God if there are things you need to change or learn to be a better leader. As you pray, read Psalm 51:12, 13.
- One of the greatest areas for leadership is within our families. Pray for those close to you who have not accepted God’s guidance or have wandered away from it.