Israel’s history teaches, through good and bad worship examples, how we are to approach the Lord our God.
Pre-selected psalm, hymn, or worship song for Connecting A, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Let’s imitate Israel’s worship in Leviticus 9:24; let’s shout for joy! As a group, sing a joyful hymn or worship song at the top of your lungs, read a scripture of praise in unison, or simultaneously shout out blessings you’ve received from God.
- Now let’s imitate Israel’s other way of worship in Leviticus 9:24. As a group, kneel (or lie down) and put your faces to the ground. This act shows humility and submission. While there, pray silently to God. Afterward, discuss what experiencing both joy and submission in worship meant to you.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Worship means to come before the Lord properly. On a sheet of paper, draw a simple set of stairs. Draw a stick figure at the bottom to represent a person and draw a glorious cloud at the top to represent God. On each step, write how you believe we are to come before the Lord.
- Thought Questions
Leviticus 9 describes how the priests began their ministry. As worship leaders, they served before the Lord. But Leviticus 10:1-11 tells a sad story. Read these verses and discuss what they teach us about true worship.
- It teaches that worship involves great respect for the Lord.
- This story demonstrates the carelessness of Aaron’s sons, who were probably drunk (see v. 9).
- The story is confusing. What is “strange fire”? God seems to treat these two men harshly.
- Evidently God wanted to teach a serious lesson at the inauguration of the priestly ministry.
- There is a special emphasis on distinguishing between the holy and the common (v. 10).
Study Moses blessing the people of Israel before he died. Read the last part of the story in Deuteronomy 33:27-29 and then choose some (or all) of the following items and respond to them.
- Find all the references and different names for God in the passage.
- List all the different qualities of God found in these verses.
- Look for the results of good upon Israel because of the Lord’s actions.
- Select a favorite verse (or part of a verse) that most deeply touches you.
- Choose a quality of God listed in these verses that most inspires you to worship God.
The story of Hannah inspires our faith. It is a story about worship. Read 1 Samuel 1 and look for messages that guide our thoughts on worship.
- We may freely come before the Lord with our heart’s deepest desires.
- Sometimes our prayers are not answered as quickly as we hope.
- There are times when our prayers are marked with deep anguish and tears.
- Sometimes our expressions of worship may be misunderstood by those around us.
- It is good to give an offering of thanks in response to prayers answered.
The sad story of Saul being rejected as king of Israel is found in 1 Samuel 15. When Saul disobeyed the Lord’s instructions, Samuel responded (read vv. 22-23). What do we learn about worship in these verses?
- Burnt offerings were not that important.
- Burnt offerings were important, but not as important as full obedience.
- Isn’t obedience part of giving sacrificial offerings?
- This passage focuses on the spirit and attitude of our obedience.
- Saul was obedient but only partly so. There was a seed of rebellion in his heart.
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 the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: A member in your church is just too “happy” during the worship service. He/she sings too loud, says “Amen!” during the sermon, and bows too low during prayer. Some members are afraid this person will scare people away from church, and they have asked you to talk to him/her. How would you respond?
- Option 2: A friend has sinned and feels terrible about it. He/she doesn’t feel that asking forgiveness is enough. He/she wants to do something tangible—like the people of Israel did when they sacrificed to atone for their sins. What would you say to your friend?
- Option 3: Is there a way to make church worship respectful and joyful at the same time? Fold a piece of paper in half vertically. Create an order of service for a church bulletin. Add what you consider to be the ideal aspects of a worship service.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Read Numbers 20:12. Was there a time when God told you that you couldn’t have something you had longed for? Did the experience draw you away from or closer to God? Stop and consider why God may have said “No” and decide to trust God with every area of your life.
- Hannah said to Eli, “I was pouring out my soul to the Lord....I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Take this time to pour out your soul to God concerning your needs.