We learn from ancient Israel that even in worship, we may go astray.
Different newspaper clippings for each member showing how corrupt the world has become, copies of the Fundamental Beliefs (see URL in Connecting B), gray construction paper, felt-tip pens
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Distribute news clippings to all group members. Have them read the clippings silently and then have each person share with the class what his/her clipping is about. Discuss questions such as: Who did this act hurt? Would most people view it as evil or are we as a society beginning to compromise? Would a Christian do these terrible things?
- If time permits, read the Fundamental Beliefs (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html). Has our church compromised on these beliefs through the years? If so, how? Do any of these beliefs affect the way we worship today?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Draw a picture of a road. Down the middle of the road, write the words TRUE WORSHIP. On the left or right side of the road, list ways we may go astray in our worship.
- Thought Questions
God understood the sinful nature of humanity. The Lord warned people to be careful in their living and worship practices. Read the following passages and discuss their meaning in relationship to worship today.
One person who turned from God to idol worship was King Solomon. Read 1 Kings 11:1-13. Why did he turn away from God? What were the results?
- Wealth turned Solomon away from trusting in God.
- Women turned Solomon away from worshiping God.
- People from other countries turned Solomon away from serving God.
- His own wisdom turned Solomon away from believing God.
- A divided kingdom was the result of Solomon’s evil choices.
A divided kingdom also caused divided loyalties. Some of Judah’s kings followed God; almost all of Israel’s kings, including Ahab, did not. Read 1 Kings 18 and ask, “What lessons about worship come from the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel?”
- Reformers can sometimes believe that they stand alone in calling for change (see v. 13).
- Unfaithful leaders often try to avoid taking personal responsibility (see vv. 17, 18).
- True worship really comes down to one issue with only two sides (see v. 21).
- Excitement is not a necessary indicator of true worship (see vv. 25-29).
- The goal of worship is for our hearts to turn toward God (see vv. 36-39).
The Old Testament ends by looking back and looking forward. Read Malachi 3:16–4:6. As we worship the Lord, how do we look back and look forward?
- The prayers of those who fear God are heard.
- The book of remembrance records who meditates on God’s name.
- Followers of God will be spared and treated like precious jewels.
- On the great day of the Lord, the wicked will be destroyed.
- Someday God’s people will be cared for (like well-fed calves).
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: Divide a piece of paper in half. On one side, make a list of what you think is true worship. On the other side, make a list what you think is counterfeit worship. Be ready to explain your reasoning with the group.
- Option 2: On gray construction paper, draw and cut out 12 stones to symbolize the stones Elijah used to build an altar. Using a felt-tip pen, write on each stone a word that describes God in the story found in 1 Kings 18.
- Option 3: A friend or family member is obviously conforming to the world. Role-play this scenario with one member of your group being the concerned person and another being the conformist. How will you approach the conformist? What will he/she say to you? Carry on a conversation.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Read 1 Kings 11:4. Looking back on your spiritual life, do you have anything in common with Solomon? Once close to God, is your heart now “not fully devoted”? If so, how did you get to that place? Will you now come back to doing those things that once kept you close to God?
- Have you conformed in your worship? Has it become more about you and less about God? If so, take deliberate actions to focus your worship on praising God in whatever ways are most meaningful to you.