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Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for October 26, 2014

Hope Satisfies            Job 42: 1-10

Focal Outline:           Job 42: 1-3                 Job Repents

                                    Job 42: 4-6                 Now I See

Job 42: 7-10               God Restores

 

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. Job’s response in chap 42 provides a positive example of perseverance in faith.
  2. Job acknowledges the limits of his vision. We simply can’t see/know all that God is working toward.
  3. Job’s new understanding of God does not mean that he now accepts or is unconcerned about his suffering.
  4. Those who thought they had come to help Job ended up needing help from him. We are interdependent!

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. In a darker night of the soul, what might be some ways in which you will have to work in order to find light?
  2. In what ways do you need to be thankful that you currently are not?
  3. How can you be more honest about the hardships of life, without doing damage to your faith?
  4. What do you need to learn from Job’s story, so that in your attempts to help, you don’t add burdens to others?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

God’s distance can be so troubling. That much has been well established in this unit of study. The irony found in these texts is that while feeling distant—the figures represented as crying out for God did just that. They kept on crying out. Although they felt distant, abandoned, wronged or confused, they never gave up their faith. Can we learn from their examples so that we are more prepared for our dark times? To search for God is one thing. To continue believing—and even living lives which reflect that faith while searching—is another.

Job will give us a couple of gifts today. First, he models confession. Affirmed in his honesty, still God has told Job some new things. As a result, Job has reconnected. And, he admits now the limits of his understanding. His sight is not God’s sight, and his reach is not God’s reach. Job admits that his own suffering limited his ability to sense a sovereign God who was still very much at work in Creation.

Another gift that Job gives us in this lesson is the selflessness of community. In the end, God still needs to deal with those friends who have made things even worse for Job. There is a twist of irony at work in today’s text. For Job will become the key to their redemption. God called them out, and placed them at Job’s mercy. Job was willing to pray on their behalf, asking God to forgive them. Sometimes those who come to visit the “victim,” to minister to the downtrodden, become the very ones who most need pastoral care. One hospice patient told me of many times in which his visitors had been overcome with emotion. Then, he would have to take on the pastoral role from his deathbed and help soothe their souls. Unfair…human…community?   Yep.

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. If you were in charge of the world for even just 15 minutes, what are some things you would do? Enjoy a light discussion. Looking at some of the things on your list, what are the blind spots or biases that show up? Share Judith Viorst’s poem, “If I were in charge of the World”, for a child’s view!

 

  1. Discuss within your group—when have you lived through circumstances that helped you to see God in a new or different way? What were the circumstances, how did things conclude?

 

  1. When has God called on you to fill a role that didn’t fit your circumstances? How did trying to fill that role change your perspective?

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p56 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. How long has it been since you spoke too soon– or about something of which you really knew too little?

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

 

Job 42: 1-3                 Job Repents

In v1, what is Job responding to? In v2, what two key affirmations of his faith does Job make? (God’s power; unchanging purpose) Who does Job quote in v3? (himself from earlier) What confession is made here?

           

            Job 42: 4-6                 Now I See

Who is speaking in v4? (Job quotes God here) How does v5 affirm that Job had been listening for a word from God? What confession does Job make in v5-6? Why is this significant in the larger story of Job?

 

            Job 42: 7-10               God Restores

How does the story shift in v7? What is God’s issue with Job’s friends? In v8, what offer does God make? (a route to repentance) What key role will Job be asked to play? In v9-10, how did their response aid in healing?

 

  1. On p62 (lrg. print) our lesson writer says, “Job gives us another spiritual gift here. He recognized that his vision was limited. Job acknowledged that he couldn’t possibly see all that God can see.” How might this insight help you in a true dark night? Why? What could this insight lead a darkened soul to do next?

 

  1. How does Ps 38: 9-15 relate to this passage?   How about Eph 1: 11-19?

 

  1. On p64 our lesson author says “Have you tried praying the questions of your soul? When was the last time you opened your heart and presented to God what was really there?” How might this be a helpful way to manage a dark night of the soul? What makes you hesitant to do this? What make this appealing to you?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour lends a powerful reminder of scientist Alexander Flemming’s accidental discovery of penicillin. On p40, why does God not answer Job’s questions? Later on p40, of what does Job repent? On p41, why is God so upset with Job’s friends? And, why sacrifice 14 offerings rather than 7? Why is Job restored by God into prosperity, and why is this important to you and me? (p42)

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the questions…

  1. a. Do you have a difficult question right now? Is the life of faith a struggle for you?
  2. Pray your darkest fear, your deepest hurt, your biggest question to God. But, pray ready for any answer!

 

  1. Even in the darker times, God’s calling upon our lives does not cease. What might it feel like to go on serving—loving—even when God is not to be found? In what way is that your lot right now?

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p60 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. Our spiritual lives are never completely just “between God and me.” Job reminds us of the communal nature of faith!

 

People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

 

Bo Prosser, series editor, is the Coordinator for Organizational Relationships at CBF in Atlanta.

Charles Qualls, session writer, is Associate Pastor at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta.

 

Copyright SS Helps 2014            All references to Smyth and Helwys literature are used by permission of the Publisher.

All materials used are available through Smyth & Helwys Publishing,www.helwys.com, 800-747-3016.

 

Send Comments to:        Center for Christian Education ATTN: Gail Prosser e-mail – gail24@comcast.net

2511 Summeroak Dr. Tucker GA 30084 phone: (770)493-6648

 Uniform 10-26-14

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for November 2, 2014

God’s Divine Glory Returns       Ezekiel 43: 1-12

Focal Outline:           Ezekiel 43: 1-5                      The vision I saw

                                    Ezekiel 43: 6-9                      Seeking to understand

Ezekiel 43: 10-12                  God redeems and includes

 

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. The visions and images found in Ezekiel can help us to learn more about our loving, gracious God.
  2. Ezekiel sees firsthand and can share the hope of God’s plan for reconciliation with the exiles.
  3. God’s people defiled the temple, and do so now just as then. God works through the Cross to redeem.
  4. Just as Ezekiel said, we can also trust that God has a plan to restore and to help us draw nearer to God again.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. How do the entertaining (and somewhat strange) word pictures of Ezekiel help us learn more about God?
  2. What does Ezekiel’s message of hope for the exiles then have to do with my world now?
  3. What more attention do I need to pay to the upkeep and purity of my temple? I
  4. If I tried to put into words what I understand God’s plan to be—how would I express that?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

Who is the strange prophet Ezekiel? That might be a good starting place for this month’s unit of study. I hope you will chase that curiosity a little. See Brian Harbour’s commentary, along with resources you may have. But, don’t stop with the “who” question. For the word images and strange visions of Ezekiel hold mysteries. What will you make of them? And, why is it said that in Judaism there were some who would not bless others to even read Ezekiel until they had reached a certain level of maturity in their faith?

Truth is, there are several vehicles used by Ezekiel to get God’s message across. Harbour points out that the reader will see not only visions, but also symbolism, allegories, apocalyptic language and even poetry. (p44). Fight the temptation to chase literal interpretations. And, push back against the response that might suggest that there is really nothing in Ezekiel for you.

For instance, much will be made of Temples. Surely there was none in the ancient world any grander than Solomon’s temple. And, Ezekiel’s temple vision may have been grander. Trouble is, no real temple in antiquity seems to match Ezekiel’s description. So, what do we make of such a vision? Be sure to explore those kinds of issues each week. If the detail, or the word picture used, becomes the focus then we lose…focus. But if Ezekiel’s temple can symbolize something to come, then we can work with that promise or hope for our time. If promise of a future is a gift God wants to give to all, then we have something very valuable to take away. Redemption (or restoration) is another theme we should watch for this month. Ezekiel has good news!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. One Christian response to texts like the Ezekiel vision is that now our bodies are temples of God. God lives within us. What are some of the ways in which we tend to neglect our temples?

 

  1. Discuss within your group—the people of Ezekiel’s day felt forgotten or abandoned by God. When have you—or a group you were a part of—felt like this? What brought this about? What did God do?

 

  1. The Psalm 11 Bible reading, in preparation for this week’s lesson, mentions “seeing” the face of God. When have you somehow seen the face of God? Enjoy the sharing within your group.

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p64 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. What are some sources of hope that we can draw on in difficult seasons of exile or discouragement?

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

 

Ezekiel 43: 1-5                      The vision I saw

What has just happened as Ez 43 opens that causes the word “Then…” to be used? Why might the glory of God have sounded like “mighty waters?” What do v3-5 suggest about what God is doing in the world?

           

            Ezekiel 43: 6-9                      Seeking to understand

Who is speaking in v6? What evaluation of Israel comes in v7? Why so? In v8-9, a covenant of sorts seems to be made. How would you describe the terms of this offer?

 

            Ezekiel 43: 10-12                  God redeems and includes

How does the offer continue in v10-12? What meaning do you draw from God’s instructions? What do you believe came of this in history? If not a literal temple, then, what do Christians think Ezekiel was talking about?

 

  1. On p70 (lrg. print) our lesson writer says, “We do not have to respond to God with fear, but we should recognize and revere the holiness and magnificence of our God.” How does Ez 43 portray and reveal the “holiness” or the “magnificence” of God? Why did Ezekiel react in such weakness, and what does this mean?

 

  1. How does Ps 24 relate to this passage?   How about Ps 11?

 

  1. On p72 our lesson author says “Scripture tells us that because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are now the temples of God.” How might this be so? And, what are the implications for our living as a result? What should it mean to us to be careful that we do not defile the temple?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour talks a bit about who Ezekiel might have been. Soon, though, he works with key images like “the glory of the God of Israel…”, “mighty waters” and “the earth shone with his glory.” (p45) On p46, does this “glory” come in favor or in judgment? Why? On p46, what really does God say to Ezekiel? (2 promises!) On p47, what are the demands of God’s glory?

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the questions…

  1. a. Read Psalm 24 this week, if you didn’t already.
  2. What does it mean to have clean hands and pure hearts? Pray that God will show you how!

 

  1. If read Psalm 5 this week, pray this psalm aloud during your devotional time. Take notes of any promises you hear. Trust that God is able to fulfill what God promises!

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p69 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. Do you know people who believe that their sin is so great that God could never forgive them? What might Ezekiel have to say to them?

 

People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

 

Bo Prosser, series editor, is the Coordinator for Missional Congregations at CBF in Atlanta.

Charles Qualls, session writer, is Associate Pastor at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta.

 

Copyright SS Helps 2014            All references to Smyth and Helwys literature are used by permission of the Publisher.

All materials used are available through Smyth & Helwys Publishing,www.helwys.com, 800-747-3016.

 

Send Comments to:        Center for Christian Education ATTN: Gail Prosser e-mail – gail24@comcast.net

2511 Summeroak Dr. Tucker GA 30084 phone: (770)493-6648

Uniform 11-2-14