Christianity, Sunday School, Sunday School Lesson

Sunday School Lesson (January 05, 2020) A Place For The Ark / Solomon Summons The Ark 1 Kings 8:1-13

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Happy New Year and welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  In this first lesson of the new decade Solomon finally has a place for the Ark.  Solomon summons the Ark from Zion to the newly built Temple in Jerusalem.  Cherubim and the shekinah glory of God are highlighted in the text as the nation of Israel participates in the dedication of the new Temple.  About 40 years earlier King David dreamed of a great Temple for God’s permanent dwelling place.  David had the dream, but his son Solomon would fulfill the dream.  After worshiping at the non-permanent tabernacle for about 500 years the elders, the heads of the tribes, and the leaders of the ancestral houses lead the procession and dedication of this magnificent new permanent Temple.  The tabernacle was the symbol of God’s presence among the Hebrew people, now that symbol would be the Temple.  This Temple would become the national sanctuary. Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms:  

Shekinah

Cherubim

Background:  

In this week’s lesson we remain in the Old Testament moving from First Chronicles to First Kings.  In the same way First and Second Chronicles were originally one book, First and Second Kings were originally one book also.  The New Interpreter’s Study Bible explains, Chronicles like Kings, were divided into two books when the “Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek” by the septuagint.

As I discussed last week, the book of Chronicles comprises two of the twelve books of history in the Old Testament.  Just as in Chronicles, the book of Kings also comprise two of the twelve books of history in the Old Testament. The NISB explains how Kings covers “almost 400 years of Israel’s history, from the ascension of Solomon to the throne, before the death of David, to the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.”  I also noted how the books of Samuel and Kings were sources the Chronicler used to write Chronicles. So in some ways, the Chronicler retells the same stories as Samuel and Kings but the Chronicler is focused on different aspects of those stories.  The Chronicler retells these stories because he wants his listeners to know that this God – the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and the God of King David and King Solomon is still their God and that they are still God’s people.  

The NISB notes Kings covers almost 400 years of Israel’s history.  To comprise this history, Kings uses several sources. Those sources include “the Book of the Acts of Solomon (I Kings 11:41); The Books of the Annals of the Kings of Israel (mentioned 18 times beginning with 1 Kings 14:19; and the books of the Annals of the Kings of Judah (mentioned 15 times beginning in 1 Kings 14:29).  The NISB also explains “Other unnamed sources were also used, some of which provide information about the prophets Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and other prophets.” Those 400 years of history include familiar stories such as Solomon’s wisdom as he deals with two women and a baby, how the united monarchy divided, Ahab and Jezebel, Elijah Ascending to Heaven, Elisha and the widow’s oil, the fall and captivity of Judah and many others.  

This eighth chapter of First Kings deals with the dedication of the Temple, Solomon’s speech at the dedication, his prayer of dedication, his blessing of the assembly, and his sacrificial offerings.  The focus of our lesson today tells the story of how the Ark of the Covenant was brought up from David’s tent to the completed Temple Solomon prepared. Some important words to consider from this text include:

Shekinah

Cherubim 

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This WeeK:

In last week’s lesson the Chronicler wrote about King David’s prayer.  As David sat before the Ark of the Covenant, he was probably in awe of what God was doing in his life.  He was probably in awe of what it meant for God to establish an eternal dynasty that would bear his name.  I mentioned how I had a picture in my mind of David entering the tent, sitting down, and simply saying God, you’ve been good to me.  David went into the tent, sat down in front of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and he prayed his prayer. He began by thanking and praising God for the present, then he looked back on what God had done and where God had brought him and the nation of Israel from.  And then he closed his prayer by looking toward the future. I also mentioned that as this decade draws to a close, David’s prayer is a good model for us. With the new decade on the horizon, entering the new decade in prayer should be a good way to get it started.  

Last week, David sat in the tent and prayed his prayer where the Ark of the Covenant was housed.  This week Solomon, David’s son, brings that same Ark of the Covenant up from his father’s tent to the magnificent temple he has built for the Ark.  What David dreamed of doing, his son now does. Townsend and Boyd’s commentary title this week’s lesson “A Place For The Ark”. Standard Lesson Commentary titles this week’s lesson “Solomon Summons The Ark”.  The scripture text comes from 1 Kings 8:1-13.  

What Takes Place in This Passage:  

The Lesson opens at Chapter 8 verse one with the word “then”.  Then Solomon assembled the elders…  In the verse immediately preceding the eighth chapter the writer tells us in 7:51 “Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished. Solomon brought in the things that his father David had dedicated, the silver, the gold, and the vessels, and stored them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord.”  THEN Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites.  It seems obvious to me that Solomon would call the leaders and the heads of the tribes. What is not so obvious is why he would also call the elders of Israel.  These elders are senior citizens, not persons holding a religious office. I think this is an important recognition. We would be wise to acknowledge the shoulders upon which we stand today.  

Solomon assembles these elders and leaders because this Temple would become the national sanctuary.  All the tribes contributed to building this great Temple with all of its costly magnificence and grandeur.  This was the national sanctuary and it would replace the venerated holy tabernacle the Israelites had used for hundreds of years.  This Temple would replace the tent and become a permanent house for the symbolic presence of God.

Verse two notes that all the people of Israel assembled to Solomon at the festival in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.  Townsend Commentary explains this festival was the “Feast of Booths / Tabernacle and it was a week long celebration remembering the journey from Egypt to a permanent home in Canaan.”  Westminster’s Dictionary of Theological Terms explains that there are three Old Testament or Hebrew annual feasts. They are the feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Weeks (First Fruits), and Booths (Tabernacles).  

Verses three and four explain that the elders came and the priests carried the Ark.  Solomon remembered the lesson his father learned about who was permitted to carry the Ark.  The priests and the Levites brought up the Ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and the holy vessels that were stored in the tent.  It was the job of the Levites to handle the Ark of the Covenant and all the relics inside it. The Pulpit Commentary notes that the Ark of the Lord “had been nearly 40 years in the tent that David prepared.”  So David may have dreamed the dream of providing a permanent house for the Ark but it would take nearly 40 years between David’s preparation and Solomon’s completion.  

Verse five leaves us with a picture of literally hundreds if not thousands of animals being sacrificed on the move from the tent to the Temple.  Perhaps Solomon sacrifices these animals in an attempt to please God or perhaps it is an attempt to repent for the sins of the nation.  

In verse six the priests bring the Ark of the Lord to its final resting place in the inner sanctuary of the house.  This inner sanctuary is also called the most holy place or the holy of holies. The Ark of the Covenant rests beneath the wings of the Cherubim.  According to Westminster’s Dictionary of Theological Terms, Cherubim is a Hebrew term for supernatural beings associated with sacred contexts in the Bible (Gen. 3:24; Ezekiel 10:3; Heb 9:5).  I encourage you to check out the Angels and Cherubim YouTube video created by The Bible Project.  It does an excellent job explaining what these supernatural creatures are.

Verses seven and eight offer more detail about the construction and function of the Cherubim.  They spread their wings covering the Ark and its poles. Covering the Ark prevents it’s open appearance and/or provides shadow or darkness for the Ark.  

Verse nine tells us there was nothing in the Ark except the tablets of stone Moses placed there on Mount Horeb.  Hebrews 9:1-5 adds additional items. It reads:

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. 4 In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.

Verses ten and eleven describe the Lord’s presence when the priests come out of the holy of holies.  At this point, the Lord has come into the Temple and the Lord’s presence indicates God’s acceptance of the Temple as a permanent dwelling place in the same way God’s presence was represented in the tabernacle.  This filling of the Temple with the glory of the Lord in a cloud is God’s shekinah glory.  

In verses twelve and thirteen King Solomon closes this lesson telling us the Lord has said he will dwell in thick darkness.  This helps us understand that the presence of God is universal. Whether in light or darkness, God can be found and should be sought out.  Solomon closes by acknowledging that he has built an exalted house for God to dwell forever.  

Context

A new year, a new decade and a new YOU!

Many people bring in the new year with new year’s resolutions.  Some people pledge to lose weight, get in shape, budget better, spend more time with loved ones and a host of other meaningful and thoughtful desires.  It’s great when those resolutions are actually achieved. You can and should celebrate.

King David dreamed of a permanent Temple for the house of God.  But it took about forty years for that desire to come to reality and even then it wasn’t David that completed it.  Perhaps, if our dreams and goals are large enough to require family or community effort to achieve them, maybe… perhaps… we might make our world a better place.  

Key Words:  

Shekinah – A term that in the writings of the rabbis came to mean the presence of God.  It occurs as a manifestation (revelation) of God. Though not found in the Old Testament the term may be used in reference to God’s glory filling the Temple.    

Cherubim –   a Hebrew term for supernatural beings associated with sacred contexts in the Bible (Gen. 3:24; Ezekiel 10:3; Heb 9:5).  

Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas:  

1.  Dedicated to You.    

2.  A new place to meet God.        

Question:  

In the new year and new decade are there new ways for you to dedicate yourself to God? 

Now, for the Preview of Next Week’s Lesson:

Next week we continue in the same chapter and pick up where we left off.  As we continue studying Unit Two’s theme of “Dedicating the Temple of God” we will see what Solomon has to say as he addresses the assembly of Israel.   The lesson for January 12th is focused on Solomon’s speech as he and the nation continue dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem. The lesson is titled “Solomon Speaks To The People” and “Solomon’s Speech”.  The text is taken from 1 Kings 8:14-21.    

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Christianity, Sunday School, Sunday School Lesson

Sunday School Lesson (December 29, 2019) David’s Prayer 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

David’s Prayer 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  In this last lesson of the decade the Chronicler writes about King David’s prayer. As David sits down before the Ark of the Covenant, he is probably in awe of what he is realizing.  He is probably in awe of what it means for God to establish an eternal dynasty that would bear his name. I have this picture in my mind of David entering the tent, sitting down, and simply saying God, you’ve been good to me.  David goes into the tent, sits down in front of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and he prays his prayer. He begins by thanking and praising God for the present, then he looks back on what God had done and where God had brought them from.  And then he closes his prayer looking toward the future. As this decade draws to a close, I think David’s prayer is a good model for us. There is a new decade on the horizon and entering the new decade in prayer is a good way to get it started.  Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms:  

Covenant

Dynasty

As always, we begin with the Background for today’s text:  

This week’s lesson takes us back to First Chronicles in the Old Testament.  This is our fifth lesson in the Winter Quarter and the fourth lesson from First Chronicles.  Just as a refresher, First Chronicles is one of the books of history in the Old Testament. The Old Testament begins with the five Books of Law, then we have the twelve Books of History followed by the five Books of Poetry, then the books of the Major Prophets, and then the Books of the Minor Prophets.  

One of the major points of First Chronicles is the Davidic Covenant which is also recorded in Second Samuel seventh chapter.  As we studied two weeks ago, the Davidic Covenant was established by God and promises that one of David’s descendants would be established in God’s house and in God’s kingdom forever (1 Chronicles 17:14).  As we studied last week, Jesus is that descendant.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.  

So just a quick refresher of the background material we have already covered with First Chronicles.  In this fifth lesson of Unit One of the Winter Quarter we continue to study how David honors God. Some of the highlights from the previous lessons background include 

  • Most scholars agree that First and Second Chronicles were originally one book.
  • This book of history was originally named “The Events of the Days” was later named “The Things Omitted” and then finally named First and Second Chronicles.
  •  I also discussed of the three major themes in this book the concern for continuity with the past is perhaps most important.  In other words, the Chronicler wants them to know that God is still their God and they are still God’s people.
  • Additionally, this book was written after the Israelites had been defeated in battle by the Babylonians, exiled from their homeland, and then returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonians were defeated by the Persians.  

The focus for this week’s lesson is David’s prayer.  It is a continuation of the lesson from two weeks ago when God established the Davidic Covenant in this same chapter in verse fourteen.  God’s covenant with David didn’t require anything from David. David was not required to meet any responsibilities or obligations. This covenant was based on who David was and what God wanted to do through David.  The Davidic Covenant meant that through one of David’s descendants David’s throne would be established forever.

The Ark of the covenant of God is now in Jerusalem, housed in a tent prepared by David.  David’s desire was to build a temple that would honor God but God had other plans. Building a temple would be a job God would assign to David’s son Solomon.  Our lesson this week is about David’s prayer after he realizes how God is establishing an eternal dynasty with one of his descendants. David praises God in his prayer.  Some important words to consider from this text include:

Covenant

Dynasty

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:

Last week’s Sunday School Lesson featured Mary the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth.  We saw a humble Mary who realized the significance and importance of what was about to happen to her.  She had come from little but after the angel Gabriel visits her she knew that she would hold a place in history.  Mary had a song in her heart and she sang the praise of a gracious and merciful God. Luke’s record of Mary’s praise helped us understand how the Lord is with us.  Emmanuel means God with us. Mary and Elizabeth experienced a miraculous intervention by God for the children they would birth. An old married woman beyond childbearing age and a very young unmarried, and at best teenage, Mary both conceived their children by the power of the Holy Spirit.  These two women had a Spirit filled encounter. Mary’s song described God as “a warrior and as a God who was merciful, who remembered the lowly, and cared for the needy.” In her patriarchal society Elizabeth was certainly needy and Mary was certainly lowly. Townsend, Boyd’s, and Standard Lesson Commentary title this week’s lesson “David’s Prayer”.  The scripture text comes from 1 Chronicles 17:16-27.  

What Takes Place in This Passage:  

The Lesson opens at Chapter 17 verse sixteen at the beginning of David’s prayer.  David had sought to honor God but it turns out that for some reason, God has decided to honor David.  God establishes this eternal dynasty in David’s name and with this covenant David has no responsibilities or obligations that he has to fulfill.  God is just good to David and God has decided to bless David. David’s prayer is that God’s promise will be established forever.  

In verse sixteen David sits down before the Ark of the Covenant, probably in awe of what he is realizing.  He is probably in awe of what it means for God to establish an eternal dynasty that would bear his name. When David says “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far” David knows he isn’t worthy of this great blessing. He knows that this is God’s doing and this admission of “who am I” at least demonstrates some humility on David’s part.

In verse seventeen when David says “even this was a small thing in your sight O God” he’s talking about all that God had already done for him. David knows where God has brought him from.  He had to wait about 15 years from the time he was first anointed by Samuel to the time he became king over Judah. And then it was another seven years before David was anointed king over all Israel. So this journey to King over all Israel and establishing his throne in Jerusalem has been well over 20 years.  This wasn’t an overnight success for David.  He has worked long and hard to get where he is.  When David says “You regard me as someone of high rank, O Lord God!”.  I feel like he is saying God, you treat me so good.  David appreciates what God is doing in his life.

In verse eighteen when David says “you know your servant” he knows that God has been with him down through the years.  God was there in the heat of the day and in the cold dark nights. David gives thanks that God has honored him by blessing him with this dynasty.  

In verse nineteen when David says “all these great deeds and all these great things” he is acknowledging the greatness of this dynasty God has blessed him with.  He knows God has been and is a great God and does great things.  Keep in mind that this is David’s prayer.  In his prayer he tells God how great God is.  I think that’s a good example for us today. Not that God needs to know how great God is, but more so to help us keep our own lives in perspective.

Verse twenty begins with “There is no one like you O Lord”.  All I can really say about that is ain’t that the truth! There is no one like our God.  David continues by saying “according to all that we have heard with our ears.”  In other words, David is essentially saying I’ve never heard of anybody as good as my God is.  

In verse twenty-one as David sits before the Ark of the Covenant praying his prayer, he remembers the past of the nation of Israel and how God delivered Israel.  He remembers how God brought him from a small shepherd boy, and how God has brought this people from 12 brothers to this great nation that is now unified under him as their king.  

In verse twenty-two David declares God made Israel God’s people.  He praises God that since Israel is God’s people, God will be their God forever and if God is the God of Israel forever, David’s dynasty will last forever.  

In verse twenty-three David continues to give thanks.  In the previous verses David gave thanks for things in the present and things in the past; now in these last verses David looks to the future.  In this twenty-third verse he essentially says as far as what you have said about me and my house, do it Lord, just like you said you would. David knows that if his name will be a great name, it will be great because God made it great.  

In verse 24 David looks again to the future.  He calls God the Lord of Hosts which is a title for God that emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all creation and all creatures as well as God’s rule in history.  In other words, God is the God who rules over heaven and earth and has done these great things through Israel’s past. God has brought them to this present and God will see them through the future.  

In verse twenty-five as David says he has “found it possible to pray before God” he is essentially saying God, this is why I’m here.  David went in and sat down before the Lord. Today we might say something like “I’ve come with my head bowed and heart turned to you oh God.”  

Verses twenty six and twenty seven close the lesson with David closing his prayer essentially saying to God that it was God’s idea to give him this good thing.  He closes by essentially saying “I pray God that it pleases you, to bless me like this. And I pray that it will forever please you because you have blessed me and you are blessed forever.  

Context

You treat me so good!  

I think everybody wants somebody to treat them good.  When someone treats you good, it’s only right to at least try to show your appreciation.  Sometimes mere words don’t seem to be enough.  And when somebody is really, I mean really, good to you, all you can do, at least all I can do is thank God for them.  I hope somebody has been good to you.

When David walked into the tent to pray his prayer it was with the full knowledge of how good God had been to him and to his people.  I can imagine David sat in awe of the goodness of God.  I can imagine him thinking how good God had been to him down through the years.  At this point, all he could really do was thank God and give God praise.  

Key Words:  

Covenant– A formal agreement or treaty between two parties that establishes a relationship and in which obligations and mutual responsibilities may be enacted.  

Dynasty–   a line of hereditary rulers of a country.  

Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas:  

1.  You’re so good to me.  

2.  Pray your prayer        

Question:  

Christmas was a few days ago.  How can you show appreciation for gifts from friends and family and how can you show appreciation for the gift of Jesus Christ?        

I want to encourage you to go back to the December 1st lesson and read or watch it again.  I think it will really sharpen the focus of this final lesson in Chronicles.  

Now, for the Preview of Next Week’s Lesson:

In the first lesson of the new decade we begin unit two.  In this unit we study dedicating the Temple of God. We’ve studied how David honored God with the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, and now we continue with how God will be represented in this Temple made with human hands.  The lesson for January 5th is focused on King Solomon dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem.  The lesson is titled “A Place for the Ark” and “Solomon Summons the Ark”.  The text is taken from 1 Kings 8:1-13.    

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Box 150032

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Sunday School, Sunday School Lesson

Sunday School Lesson (December 22, 2019) The Lord Is With You / Mary’s Praise Luke 1:39-56

Mary’s Praise / The Lord is With You – Luke 1:39-56

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  This week’s Sunday School Lesson features Mary the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth. We see an humble Mary who realizes the significance and importance of what is about to happen to her.  She has come from little but knows now that she will hold a place in history. Mary has a song in her heart and she sings the praise of a gracious and merciful God. In this encounter Luke records Mary’s praise and helps us understand how the Lord is with us.  These two women experience a miraculous intervention by God for the children they would birth. An old married woman beyond childbearing age and a very young unmarried, and at best teenage, Mary would both conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit. These two women are about to have a Spirit filled encounter.  Mary’s song describes God as “a warrior and as a God who is merciful, who remembers the lowly, and cares for the needy.” I imagine both Mary and Elizabeth agree that God does indeed care for the needy.  Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms:  

Emmanuel

Praise

Background:  

This week’s lesson comes from the Gospel according to Luke.  Luke was a Gentile physician so he does not have Jewish heritage.  His perspective is unique. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible notes “The Gospel of Luke is most noteworthy for its length and the narrative of the birth of Jesus”.  

  • Luke is the longest book in the New Testament.  It has fewer chapters than Matthew and Acts but contains more verses and words.  
  • It’s narrative of the birth of Jesus is the most detailed of the four Gospels.
  •   The NISB also notes “its unrelenting interest in the marginalized and the dispossessed”.  
  • The NISB notes that “Although the other Gospels report many of the same events, more than half of Luke contains information that is found nowhere else.  Without Luke, certain periods of Christ’s life and ministry would be unknown to us”.  

So Luke is especially important because of its detail of certain events not covered elsewhere and its length.  

It’s important to know how Luke tells his story.  The NISB notes “The real beginning of the story of Jesus lies not with Jesus’ birth but in the ancient past, God’s ancient plan to bless the nations.  Luke as a Gentile picks up the scriptural story from Abraham and brings the scripture forward to his present day. The birth of John and Jesus is just the latest development in God’s plan” (NISB).  So in other words, Luke is making it real and present day for his listeners. He wants both the Jewish and Gentile community he is addressing to know that the life of Jesus is applicable and relevant to them.  And he ties it all to the crux of the Abrahamic covenant.  

       The author of the Gospel according to Luke is not named in the book.  Luke is likely written about 70AD. Additionally, Luke is a Gentile and not necessarily concerned with Jewish traditions.  Instead Luke is concerned with Gentiles. Notice that the angel Gabriel finds Mary in Nazareth of Galilee. “This was Gentile territory and neatly coincides with Luke’s birth scene, where Jesus is born among the common people” (Boyd’s Commentary).  Furthermore, Luke ties the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to the Hebrew Scripture so that all may understand Jesus as the Savior of the world (not just Israel). The NISB notes that Luke is the most socially minded of the gospels. Jesus cares for the poor, the hungry, and those who weep.  For Luke, the story of Jesus is absolutely connected to God’s ultimate and ancient plan to save the world through Jesus. Luke is telling us, this was God’s plan all along.     

Some important words to consider from this text include:

Emmanuel 

Praise

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:

Last week’s lesson considered the roles King David, the Prophet Natan, and the Angel of the LORD played in building God’s house.  I noted how God had been good to David across the years and how David wanted to honor God by building a house for the Ark of the Covenant.  But David soon found out that God had other plans. Instead of David building God a house, God would build an eternal house for the dynasty of David.  David meant well, and he was well capable of building a house for the Ark. But just because you can doesn’t mean that you should. This week’s lesson takes us to the New Testament for the Gospel According to Luke’s account of Mary’s praise.  We see an humble Mary who realizes the significance and importance of what is about to happen to her. She has come from little but knows now that she will hold a place in history. Mary has a song in her heart and she sings the praise of a gracious and merciful God.  In this way, Mary honors God and she honors God with her belief. Townsend and Boyd’s Commentaries title this week’s lesson “The Lord is With You”. Standard Lesson Commentary titles this week’s lesson “Mary’s Praise”. The scripture text comes from Luke 1:39-56.  

What Takes Place in This Passage:  

The Lesson opens at Chapter 1 with verse thirty-nine.  In verses one through thirty-eight Luke addresses how the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus was foretold.  Here, at verse thirty-nine he describes Mary leaving with haste to visit a Judean town where she would find Elizabeth. Verse twenty-six notes that Mary is in Galilee.  So she travelled from Galilee to a Judean town in the hill country to visit Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. (just out of curiosity, I wonder if anyone knows how many miles that is)

In verse forty-one and when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, John the Baptist leaped in Eliazbeth’s womb.  Verse six told us that Elizabeth was already a righteous woman. Now, at the sound of Mary’s voice John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.  You can only imagine that these two women, who both share special miracles are about to have a grand and glorious time in the LORD. It took divine intervention for Elizabeth to conceive in her old age and it took divine intervention for Mary to conceive by the Holy Spirit.  In verse fifteen the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that Elizabeth’s baby would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. So not only was Elizabeth and Mary filled with the Holy Spirit, that holy child, John the Baptist was also.  

In verse forty-two Elizabeth exclaimed how greatly Mary has been blessed.  Elizabeth especially knows how great this blessing is since she had been barren for many years.  In Elizabeth’s patriarchal society, giving birth was one of the most important roles of women.  After all these years, Elizabeth now knows the blessing of being with child and she can share this joy with her young relative Mary.  The New Interpreter’s Study Bible One Volume Commentary notes “it is especially remarkable the part played by two women and their conversation at the start of the narrative and anticipation of the end of the story, when women will be the first to proclaim Jesus’s resurrection (24:1-11).”  But in reality, women play an important role in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

In verses forty-three and forty-four Elizabeth asks Mary “why has the mother of my Lord come to me, for as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting the child in my womb leaped for joy.”  So, we don’t know how she knows, but Elizabeth already knows that Mary carries the Savior in her womb.  

In verse forty-five Elizabeth continues with how blessed Mary is.  Elizabeth is describing Mary’s faith. She calls Mary blessed because unlike Elizabeth’s husband, when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary she believed immediately.  

Verses forty-six through fifty-three record Mary’s song.  This song is “known as the Magnificat and grounds her praise and God’s present activity in God’s faithfulness and ancient promise.”  In other words, this song of praise knows that Jesus is the fulfillment of the covenant.  As we discussed in last week’s lesson, a descendant of David would sit on the throne for eternity.  Jesus Christ is that descendant.   

In verses forty-seven, forty-eight, and forty-nine, Mary declares that her soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God.  Mary is only a young woman. The NISB notes that “In Roman law the minimum age of marriage for girls was ten, and Jewish practices were similar.  Marriage generally took place before a girl reached twelve and a half.”  So while Mary might be a very young girl, she knows enough for her soul to magnify the Lord and her spirit to rejoice in God her Savior.  Not only that, but Mary is humble. Mary notes how God has looked with favor upon the lowliness of God’s servant. Luke helps us to know that God loves and cares for the humble and lowly people also.  This unmarried, at best teenage, young girl would become the mother of the Savior of the world.  

In verses fifty and fifty-one Mary’s song describes the mercy of God.  She knows that God has been merciful from generation to generation. As Elizabeth is now with child I can imagine that she could testify to the goodness and mercy of God. Elizabeth would especially agree with how God has “scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts” after many years of being looked down upon by others for being barren.  

In verses fifty-two and fifty-three Mary’s song describes how God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, and sent the rich away empty.  The NISB notes that Mary’s song describes God as “a warrior who engages in battle on behalf of God’s people and brings to them deliverance and as a God who is merciful, who remembers the lowly, and cares for the needy.”  I imagine both Mary and Elizabeth would agree that God is indeed a God who remembers the lowly and cares for the needy.  

In verses fifty-four and fifty-five her song describes how God helped Israel according to the promise made to their ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.  Mary is referring to the Arbrahamic covenant. God promised Abraham to make a great nation of him, and from him all the nations of the world would be blessed. Mary knows that the fulfillment of that covenant would be through her.  This unwed teenage girl has good reason to rejoice and for her soul to magnify God.  

Verse fifty-six closes the lesson noting that Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months before returning home.  Verse twenty-six noted the Angel Gabriel came to Mary in Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy. So soon after Mary departs, Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist.

Context:

Westmeinster’s Dictionary of Theological Terms define Emmanuel as a child in Isaiah’s writings, so named, as a sign of God’s presence and protection (Isa. 7:14, 8:8).  It is seen in the Gospel of Matthew as a prophecy of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ, who will be called “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The conception and birth of Jesus Christ is a story of how God came to be with us.  Some call him Emmanuel. Others call him the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the King of Glory, or the Prince of Peace. I like to call him Jehovah Jireh. I’ve known him to be a provider. Whether he is your provider, or healer, or way maker he is with us and we ought to do like Mary and give him praise.

Key Characters in the text: 

The Angel Gabriel – One of only two named angels in the protestant Bible.  The other is Michael. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel twice announces the birth of a son; first for the arrival of John the Baptist and secondly to the virgin Mary. 

 Mary – She is the young girl who conceives Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  She is considered an ideal believer because she did not doubt the Holy Spirit’s announcement of the conception of Jesus; she is obedient, believing, and faithful.  She is betrothed to Joseph.

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Sunday School Lesson (December 15, 2019) Building God’s House / David’s House 1 Chronicles 17:1, 3, 4, 11-14; 21:18, 21-27

David’s House / Building God’s House 1 Chronicles 17 and 21

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  This week’s Sunday School Lesson features the roles King David, the Prophet Natan, and the Angle of the LORD play in building God’s house.  Across the years God had been good to David and now David wants to honor God by building a house for the Ark of the Covenant. David soon finds out that God has other plans.  Instead of David building God a house, God would build an eternal house for the dynasty of David. David meant well, and he was well capable of building a house for the Ark. But just because you can doesn’t always mean that you should.  Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms:  

Covenant

Prophet

Background:  

This is the third lesson in Unit Three where we are considering how David honors God.  It is also our third lesson in 1 Chronicles. The background highlights from the previous two lessons include how 

  • Most scholars agree that First and Second Chronicles were originally one book.
  • This book was originally named “The Events of the Days” was later named “The Things Omitted” and then finally named First and Second Chronicles.
  •   I also discussed of the three major themes in this book the concern for continuity with the past is perhaps most important.  

The focus for this week’s lesson is building God’s house.  What would eventually become the central place for the presence and worship of God started out in the tabernacle built by Moses.  The Ark of the covenant of God was then housed in a tent made by David. As we see in this week’s lesson David desires to build a temple that honors God but God had other plans.  God’s other plans are related to one of the three theological themes that continually appear in 1 Chronicles (NISB).

The concept of retribution or retributive justice is the third theological theme in 1 Chronicles and is related to this week’s text also.  Retribution or retributive justice is the idea that good will be rewarded and evil will be punished. However, the NISB notes that this concept is “neither as mechanical nor as simplistically applied as previously thought”.  For example, when Satan incited David to conduct a census it displeased God and God struck Israel with a plague. God’s retribution for David’s sin was the plague. But note also that God is concerned with repentance and restoration.  When David repented of his sin God stayed the hand of the destroying angel. Note also that although David is called a man after God’s own heart, he would not be allowed to build a Temple to house the Ark of the Covenant of God.  That would be a job God would assign to David’s son. David’s life was known for bloodshed and war (1 Chronicles 22:8).

The portions of our lesson in the seventeenth and twenty-first chapters of First Chronicles deal with God’s Covenant with David, and David’s Altar and Sacrifice.  Keep in mind the Chronicler is giving his listeners a history lesson. This text closely follows 2 Samuel 7:1-29. The Chronicler is reminding them of how God used David and Solomon to build what was a magnificent Temple.  The people the Chronicler is talking to no longer have the tabernacle and they no longer have the Ark of the covenant of God. But they do have what remains of the Temple and they can come together to rebuild it to its former glory.  

God’s covenant with David promises him an eternal dynasty.  After David’s death God will raise up and establish one of David’s descendants to rule on the throne forever.  David’s selection and payment for the altar and his sacrifice of burnt offerings and offerings of well-being “concludes the first half of his preparations for the construction of the Temple.  

 Some important words to consider from this text include:

Covenant

Prophet

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:

Last week I noted how the Chronicler wrote to show David’s gratitude.  I noted how it was important for the Chronicler to help this nation understand that even though they had been defeated and taken captive in the past, that the future was still bright with God on their side.  The Chronicler wanted the Hebrew nation to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God of King David and King Solomon was their God and they were God’s people.  He wanted them to know that even though their forebears fell into sin and were punished; God had not forsaken them.  They had been through great pain and distress and they wanted to know their place in the universe. They were back in Jerusalem and they wanted to know if the same God that brought King David to power and King Solomon to great splendor was still their God.  

Last week’s lesson opened at verse eight of 1 Chronicles 16 with David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving.  Verse eight began by exhorting the recently returned people to give thanks, to call on God’s name, and to make known God’s deeds among the people.  After going through what they had gone through the Chronicler reminded them of how King David gave thanks and called on God. I noted how the point for us was to know that when God has been good to you, you ought to tell somebody.  The Israelites had been hurt and defeated but now they were back in Jerusalem and the Chronicler wanted them to know that somebody ought to praise God for it.  

In verse nine I noted how Praising God is active whether singing with a loud voice or a quite praise.  But more so when we begin to talk about the wondrous works that God has done for us, praise just happens.  

Verse twelve told us to remember God’s marvelous works, God’s wonders and the judgements of God’s mouth.  I noted how It’s good to remember. It’s good to remember what God has done for you. It’s good to remember how God brought you through.  It’s good to remember when and where God delivered you.  Remembering the mighty and marvelous works of God in our own lives leads us to a grateful heart and a thankful praise.  

I noted how verse twenty-one is a verse I’ve often heard quoted referring to preachers and other ministers of God.  Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm does not mean every preacher or minister is above criticism or even condemnation whey they are outside God’s will.  In other words, it’s not a get out of jail free card for preachers or ministers who are in the wrong.

Verses twenty-four and twenty-five declare that God is great and greatly to be praised.  I noted how a great God deserves a great praise. And a great praise will tell the saints and sinners what God has done.   

Verses twenty-six and twenty-seven closed the Townsend Commentary lesson with David’s psalm reminding the people that idol gods are essentially useless.  Idol worshipers can talk, but God worshipers can point to the heavens and the earth to declare that their God made the heavens and the earth and this God deserves all the glory and all the honor.  

This week’s lesson continues the story of how the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD came to have a house.  The plans for what would eventually become the Temple begin with King David. But King David would not be the one to build the place to house the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD.  Townsend and Boyd’s Commentaries title this week’s lesson “Building God’s House”. Standard Lesson Commentary titles this week’s lesson “David’s House”. The scripture text comes from 1 Chronicles 17:1,3,4 11-14; 21:18, 21-27.  

What Takes Place in This Passage:  

The Lesson opens at Chapter 17 with verses one, three, and four.  In verse one after David is settled in his luxurious house he tells the prophet Nathan about his desire to build a house for the Ark.  David knows how good God has been to him. He is living in luxury and the Ark is in a tent. God has brought David from the fields as a young shepherd boy and now that David has arisen to King and made his throne in Jerusalem he wants to honor God with a house he believes suitable for the Ark.  Even though David has good intentions, he means well, and he is well capable of building a Temple, God does not approve of his plans. I think that helps us to understand that sometimes, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There are things we are well capable of doing, but we need to make sure it’s in God’s will for our lives.  

The lesson picks up at verses eleven and twelve with David learning that after he has joined the ancestors, God will raise up from his descendants a dynasty.  A son that will rule on the throne. David meant well, he had good intentions and was well capable of providing a house for God but it turns out that God would be the one providing a “house” for David.  In Verse twelve the Chronicler recounts David learning that it will be one of his sons that will build a house for God and that God will establish his throne forever.  

In verses thirteen and fourteen the Chronicler recounts the prophet Nathan saying how God will be a father to David’s son and how God will not take his love from him, as God did with Saul.  He also recounts God establishing the covenant with David. How David’s dynasty will be established forever. God’s covenant with David didn’t require anything from David. David is not required to meet any responsibilities or obligations.  This covenant is simply based on who David is and what God wants to do through David.  

The lesson then moves to chapter twenty one, verse eighteen where the angel of the Lord tells Gad to tell David that he should erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Or’nan.  The Angel of the Lord is a messenger of God. Altar is defined as “The raised place on which sacrifices were offered in the Old Testament”. So while the tabernacle and the Ark of the covenant is significant, so is the altar upon which sacrifices are made to God.  The location of this altar is divinely chosen.

In verses twenty-one and twenty-two David meets Or’nan and asks for the site to build the altar.  He offers to pay full price and adds “so that the plague may be averted from the people”. This plague was retribution from God for David’s sin.  See verses one through seventeen concerning David’s census and the plague.  

In verse twenty-three Or’nan tells David to take it.  But not only does Or’nan offer the threshing floor, he offers the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for a grain offering.  Or’nan has already seen the Angel of the Lord and he knows this is important. When King David shows up Or’nan freely and willingly offers anything and everything that might be helpful for God’s purposes.  Or’nan doesn’t hesitate or equivocate, he gives for the purpose of God. In verse twenty-four King David tells Or’nan he will buy all of it for full price. David doesn’t want to offer a cheap sacrifice to God.  He knows how good God has been to him and he knows he can afford to bless Or’nan with the full price and much more.  

In verses twenty-five, twenty-six, and twenty-seven David paid Or’nan six hundred shekels of gold by weight.  This was not just for the threshing floor but for the whole site on which the temple will be built. Note Second Samuel 24:24 to compare and contrast the two payments made.  David builds the altar, he presents burnt offerings and he presents offerings of well-being. God responds with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. In some cases fire from heaven is a purifying force.  David has repented of his sin, God has accepted his repentance and God stays the hand of the angel.   

Context:

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  Although David had good intentions it was not David’s destiny to build a Temple for the Ark of the Covenant of God.  Sometimes having good intentions just isn’t good enough. David desired to honor and bless God with a house he thought was more suitable but God wasn’t having it.  That’s the point. It may not be our place to do every good thing that crosses our mind. We should first prayerfully seek God and then seek the counsel of wise saints of God.  If you believe God is saying yes and saints filled with wisdom are in agreement then you’re off to a good start. 

Key Characters in the text: 

King David – The central figure as he conquers the City of Jerusalem and builds a place to keep the Ark of the Covenant (Townsend).  

Nathan the Prophet – A prophet in the court of David.  David informs Nathan of his plans to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant.  Later, Nathan informs David that God would not accept his plans but would instead build a house (dynasty) for David.    

Key Words:  

Covenant– A formal agreement or treaty between two parties that establishes a relationship and in which obligations and mutual responsibilities may be enacted.  

Prophet –   One who speaks on behalf of God to God’s people, most prominently the Hebrew prophets whose writings are found in the Old Testament.  

Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas:  

When God changes your plans.        

Question:  

David refused to take Or’nan’s gift without payment.  Do all sacrifices cost us something?      

Concluding Thought:

The Chronicler is writing to people who no longer have the tabernacle nor do they have the Ark of the Covenant.  But they do have what remains of the Temple. He writes to give them purpose and a mission to both recall the former glory and to strive for the restored and future glory of God’s place and presence among them in a rebuilt and restored Temple.    

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Sunday School Lesson (December 8, 2019) A Heart Filled With Gratitude / David’s Gratitude 1 Chronicles 16:8-12, 19-27

A Heart Filled With Gratitude / David’s Gratitude

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  In this week’s Sunday School Lesson The Chronicler writes to show us David’s gratitude and how we can have a heart filled with gratitude.  The Chronicler writes an encouragement for the children of Israel to keep hope alive.  It’s important for the Chronicler to help this nation understand that even though they have been defeated and taken captive in the past, that the future is still bright with God on their side.  The Chronicler wants the Hebrew nation to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God of King David and King Solomon is their God and they are God’s people.  He wants them to know that even though their forbears fell into sin and were punished; God has not forsaken them.  They have been through great pain and distress and now they want to know their place in the universe.  Now that they are back in Jerusalem they want to know if the same God that brought King David to power and King Solomon to great splendor is still their God.  The Chronicler gives them a history lesson that shows the greatness of God and the great blessings of God when God’s people live in obedience.  Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms: 

Gratitude

Psalm

Background: 

As I noted last week most scholars agree that First and Second Chronicles were originally one book.  Last week I explained how this book was originally named “The Events of the Days” was later named “The Things Omitted” and then finally named First and Second Chronicles by the translator of the fourth century Latin Vulgate.  What I did not mention last week are the theological themes that continually reappear in this text.  The New Interpreter’s Study Bible notes these three themes as

“The concern for continuity with the past.”

“A concern for “all Israel.””

“The chronicler retains from Samuel and Kings the concept of retributive justice.”

The concern for continuity is perhaps the most important of these three themes.  Chronicles is written after the children of Israel have been defeated, exiled, and then returned to Jerusalem.  Chronicles is written to the post-exilic community (those who remain or have come back after the exile to Babylon).  The NISB notes “following the Persian defeat of the Babylonians under Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, [the Israelites have] returned from Babylon to live under Persian rule in Jerusalem and worship in the rebuilt Temple.”  Dr. Renita J. Weems writes in The Africana Bible Reading Israel’s Scriptures From Africa and the African Diaspora “the writer [creates] a narrative that instilled a sense of mission, national pride, and divine purpose in a people that had once been displaced from their homeland and robed of their cultural memories.”  Dr. Weems continues “the Chronicler was eager to inspire the inhabitants of Judah to hope again and to throw themselves behind a national effort to rebuild and to restore order to their homeland.”  So it’s important for the Chronicler to help this nation understand that even though they have been defeated and taken captive in the past, that the future is still bright with God on their side.

  I think the one verse that captures that image more than any other in this text 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  The Chronicler wants the Hebrew nation to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God of King David and King Solomon is their God and they are God’s people.  The Chronicler wants them to know that even though their forbears fell into sin and were punished; God is still their God. 

The NISB explains “instead of asking “Why did this happen to us?” they want to know about their relationship with the past:  “Who are we?” “Are we still the people of God?” “What do God’s promises to David and Solomon mean for us today?””  So, these are a people who have suffered and endured great pain and distress.  They no longer rule themselves; they have been ruled by the Babylonians and now they are ruled by Persians.  They need answers about their place in the universe and the Chronicler writes to help them understand their relationship with their painful past and their present God.  This sixteenth chapter of First Chronicles deals with the Ark of the Covenant of God placed in the tent David prepared for it and David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving.  This chapter is the “conclusion to the Chronicler’s Ark narrative and it institutes public worship (NISB).”  Additionally, the NISB notes that David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving quotes portions of Psalm 105 and Psalm 106. 

Some important words to consider from this text include:

Gratitude

Psalm

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:

In Last week’s Lesson King David worshiped God in Jerusalem in ways that had never been done before.  David’s worship was heartfelt and sincere.  He had built luxurious houses for himself and the city of Jerusalem.  And he wanted the Ark of God in Jerusalem also.  David wanted to honor God.  He was determined to get the ark of God in Jerusalem so all Israel could worship God with the symbolic presence of God in their midst them.  David gave the Levites specific instructions; he told them to bring singers, musicians, trumpets, harps, lyres, and cymbals.  David was going to have a grand celebration, he was going to honor God and he was going to worship God with all Israel joining him in a great and grand celebration of thanksgiving and praise. 

Last week I also quoted Townsend commentary and Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms noting that “the city of David was originally known as Zion or Jerusalem” and that Zion is “used in the Old Testament for all or part of Jerusalem. 

I noted how carrying the ark of God was the responsibility of the Levites and David had already learned from his first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem that the rules had not changed.  God had not changed God’s mind about who was to minister to God. 

Verse sixteen gave us an idea of the kinds of instruments that would be used along with singers all from the Levites.  There would be singers playing on musical instruments, there would be harps, lyres, and cymbals to raise loud sounds of joy.  This was going to be a grand celebration worthy of the occasion.  The lesson then skipped to verse twenty-five.

In verse twenty-five David and the elders of Israel, and the commanders of thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom with rejoicing.  I noted how David included the elders of Israel.  He was king and he had absolute authority, but he did not neglect the elders nor did he neglect the leaders of his military.  This was a celebration for all of Israel.

This week’s lesson continues last week’s with the Ark of the Covenant of God now placed in the tent David had prepared.   

Townsend and Boyd’s Commentaries title this week’s lesson “A Heart Filled With Gratitude”.  Standard Lesson Commentary titles this week’s lesson “David’s Gratitude”.  The scripture text comes from 1 Chronicles 16:8-12, 19-27. 

What Takes Place in This Passage: 

The Lesson opens at verse eight with David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving.  Westminster’s Dictionary of Theological Terms define psalm as “A hymn, sacred song, or poem.  The Book of Psalms (the Psalter) is composed of 150 religious poems of prayer and praise of ancient Israel, arranged in five books.” 

Verse eight begins by exhorting these recently returned people to give thanks, to call on God’s name, and to make known God’s deeds among the peoples.  After going through what they have gone through the Chronicler reminds them of how King David gave thanks and called on God.  The point for us to know is that when God has been good to you, you ought to tell somebody.  These people had been hurt and defeated but now they are brought back to Jerusalem and somebody ought to praise God for it. 

Verse nine continues with “sing, sing psalms unto God, talk of all God’s wondrous works.  These are action words.  Praising God is active whether singing loud voice or a quite praise.  But more so when we begin to talk about the wondrous works that God has done for us, praise just happens. 

Verses ten and eleven tell us to glory in God’s name, to rejoice, and to seek the LORD.  In these first four verses I see a lot of glory, a lot or rejoicing, a lot of seeking God.  This is a clear example of a grateful heart.  David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving flows from a grateful heart. 

Verse twelve tells us to remember God’s marvelous works, God’s wonders and the judgements of God’s mouth.  It’s good to remember.  It’s good to remember what God has done for you.  It’s good to remember how God brought you through.  It’s good to remember when and where God delivered you.  Remembering the mighty and marvelous works of God in our own lives leads us to a grateful heart and a thankful praise. 

In verses nineteen, twenty and twenty-one, David’s psalm reminds the people that the children of Israel didn’t start out as a mighty and strong nation.  They came from humble beginnings.  From those humble beginnings with the help of God they grew into the mighty nation that King David once ruled.  In verse twelve the psalm told them to remember.  Now, in these verses the psalm tells them what to remember. 

Verse twenty-two just like verses nineteen through twenty-one is a word for word quote from Psalm 105: 12-15.  Twenty-one is a verse I’ve often heard quoted referring to preachers and other ministers of God.  Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm does not mean every preacher or minister is above criticism or even condemnation whey they are outside God’s will.  In other words, it’s not a get out jail free card for preachers or ministers who are in the wrong.

Verse twenty-three elevates the praise from personal to all the earth.  Psalm 24:1 reminds us “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  It tells us to proclaim God’s salvation day after day.  In other words, never forget how God delivered you. 

Verses twenty-four and twenty-five declare that God is great and greatly to be praised.  In other words, a great God deserves a great praise.  And a great praise will tell the saints and the sinners what God has done.  Everybody ought to know that God has been good, that God has delivered and that God is great above all other gods. 

Verses twenty-six and twenty-seven close the lesson with David’s psalm reminding the people that idol gods are essentially useless.  Idol worshipers can talk, but God worshipers can point to the heavens and the earth to declare that their God is the one true God.  It is their God who has made the heavens and the earth and this God deserves all the glory and all the honor. 

Context:

Townsend commentary defines the Hebrew word for rejoice as “being glad; associated with dancing, singing, clapping, playing, and external movement consistent with festival celebrations.  In other words, rejoice is party language.”  At first glance I found the description of party language a bit amusing.  But I had to ask myself why?  Parties aren’t inherently bad and it’s great that God’s people know how to party in the Lord.  A heart filled with gratitude and should lead us to want to party for the LORD.

Key Characters in the text:

King David – The central figure as he conquers the City of Jerusalem and builds a place to keep the Ark of the Covenant (Townsend). 

Key Words (not necessarily in the text, but good for discussion): 

Gratitude – The response to God and God’s blessings that is an expression of praise and devotion.  In the Christian context, believers respond in gratitude for the “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:19) of Jesus Christ, who is the supreme expression of God’s grace. 

Psalm – A hymn, sacred song, or poem.  The book of Psalms is composed of 150 religious poems of prayer and praise of ancient Israel, arranged in five books.    

Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas: 

1.  A great God deserves a great praise.      

Question: 

1.  Remembering what God has done for you is important.  Do you remember a time when mother or father couldn’t do it?  But God did.    

Concluding Thought:

The Chronicler writes to encourage the children of Israel to keep hope alive.  They have been through great pain and distress and now they want to know if God is still on their side.  Now that they are back in Jerusalem they want to know if the same God that brought King David to power and King Solomon to great splendor is still their God.  The Chronicler gives them a history lesson that shows the greatness of God and the great blessings of God when God’s people live in obedience.  The same God who reassured the broken and defeated people of Israel back then is here to reassure us today.

Preview of Next Week’s Lesson:

The lesson for December 15th continues just as last week’s lesson by going to the very next chapter in Chronicles.  Next week in chapter 17 and chapter 21 I will consider the Chronicler’s description of the roles of The Prophet Nathan and King David as David desires to build a Temple for God.  Public worship has been instituted and now David believes the people need a Temple to worship God that’s worthy of God’s greatness.  The lesson is titled “Building God’s House” and “David’s House”.  The text is taken from 1 Chronicles 17:1, 3-4, 11-14; 21:18, 21-27.    

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Christianity, Sunday School Lesson

Sunday School Lesson (December 1, 2019) David Worships God in Jerusalem / David’s Worship 1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 14-16, 25-29a

David’s Worship / David Worships God in Jerusalem 1 Chronicles 15

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  In this week’s Sunday School Lesson King David worships God in Jerusalem in ways that had never been done before.  David’s worship is heartfelt and sincere.  David has built luxurious houses for himself and the city of Jerusalem.  And now he wants the Ark of God in Jerusalem also.  David wants to honor God.  But this isn’t the first time David tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem.  This time, he is determined to get it right and get the ark in Jerusalem so all Israel can worship with the symbolic presence of God among them.  David gives the Levites specific instructions; he tells them to bring singers, musicians, trumpets, harps, lyres, and cymbals.  He and the Levites dress in fine linen robes.  This is going to be a grand celebration.  David is going to honor God.  He is going to worship God and he intends for all Israel to join him in this great and grand celebration of thanksgiving and praise.  Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms: 

Honor

Worship

So this is the first lesson of the Winter Quarter.  And I just want to say, as we approach the holiday season, please be kind to others.  I just want to remind all of us that the holidays in particular can be difficult for some people who now have to go forward in life without their loved ones.  If you notice someone really struggling, if you can, help them to get help.  So that’s just a reminder for all of us as we approach the holiday season.  It’s a great season of love and joy but not everyone is celebrating all the time.  Remember to be kind to others.

Background: 

Most scholars agree that First and Second Chronicles were originally one book.  The New Interpreter’s Study Bible notes that the original composition was entitled “The Events of the Days”.  “The translators of the Septuagint (LXX) divided it into two books assuming it was a supplement to the earlier history of Samuel and Kings, and gave it the misleading title “The Things Omitted””.  The Septuagint is the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek completed approximately a century before Christ by seventy-two men (Septuagint).  It was the Bible of the early church and included the Apocrypha.  As it turns out, Chronicles is not supplemental or merely additional material that adds to Samuel and Kings.

The NISB notes that the Chronicler “is more selective than supplemental in his use of Samuel and Kings”.  Dr. Renita J. Weems writes in The Africana Bible Reading Israel’s Scriptures From Africa and the African Diaspora that “the fourth-century translator of the Latin Vulgate suggested that the name “Chronicon or “A Chronicle of All of Sacred History” more aptly described the book and thus gave it the name “Chronicles””.  So these two books began as one book entitled “The Events of the Days”, was later renamed “The Things Omitted”, and later still renamed to what we now have as First and Second Chronicles.  The NISB notes that no one knows who the original chronicler was.  Nelson’s Bible Handbook proposes the author was Ezra but acknowledges not all scholars accept the theory of Ezra’s authorship. 

Dr. Weems also notes the book / books cover “a period stretching all the way from Adam to Cyrus the Great (538 B.C.E)”.  So this text has had several names and as Dr. Weems also notes was “edited in its final form during the fifth-century Persian domination”.

The fifteenth chapter of 1 Chronicles deals with King David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.  This isn’t the first attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.  On the first attempt God was angered when Uz’zah put out his hand to hold the ark when the oxen shook it (1 Chron. 13:10).  This time David ensures only the Levites touch the Ark.  Townsend Commentary notes that “While only the Levites could carry the Ark, David involved the entire nation in the celebration.” 

David has prepared a tent for the Ark of God.  After David built luxurious buildings for himself and the city of Jerusalem he recognized that the symbolic representation of God was not in the city.  David wanted the Ark of God in the city of Jerusalem.  It would be a grand celebration.  A celebration worthy of what David thought was best for what this ark represented among them.  Some important words to consider from this text include:

Honor

Worship

Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:

Last week’s lesson opened with 2 Peter 1 verse 1.  At verse one Peter described himself as a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.  I noted how Apostle is a high title today and the point is you don’t get too high or too big to serve.  I also noted how Peter explained the righteousness of God and precious faith was given by God.  It’s precious in the sense that a price has been paid for this righteousness.  The righteousness of God and Jesus Christ is not cheap.  It’s been purchased with the precious blood of God’s only begotten son, Jesus who is the Christ. 

I also noted how even in the salutation, he knows his death is coming.  But he wants these saints to know God’s grace and peace in abundance.  We all need grace.  We all need peace.  I noted how we can have all the riches of this world, but if you don’t have peace you don’t have much of nothing

I noted how in verse four Peter tells the saints through knowledge and God’s precious promises they are able to escape the corruption of this world.  I don’t know how bad corruption was in Peter’s time.  But I know it’s bad today.  Corruption, violence, sickness, and disease seem to be on every hand.  If there is any chance to escape any of this corruption Peter wanted the saints to know about it and to be able to participate in what he called the divine nature. 

In verses five, six and seven Peter was essentially saying because of this corruption make every effort to support and strengthen your faith.  Then he lists these seven actions – goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.  I noted how these may not be a road map to holy living but they are certainly building blocks on which holy living can be built.  I also noted how I like how these seven building blocks start with faith and end with love.   

Verse nine told us the problem saints have when they don’t have these building blocks.  It says if anyone lacks these things they are nearsighted and blind and forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.  In other words they would forget where God had brought them from.  When you are grateful for what somebody has done for you, you don’t soon forget what they did.  We ought to be grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and not soon forget what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

In verses twelve and thirteen Peter told the brothers and sisters that he intended to keep reminding them of those building blocks.  He intended to keep reminding them of the path to holiness.  He intended to keep reminding them of the things they already knew.  Some things you don’t need anybody to remind you of, you already know it.  You just need to do it.  Peter is so concerned that he essentially said as long as he’s living he’s going to keep reminding them. 

Verses fourteen and fifteen closed last week’s lesson with Peter telling the saints that he knew his death was coming.  And not only was it coming, but it was coming soon because Jesus Christ had made it clear to him.  Peter knew what he was facing.  He knew what lay ahead for him.  So while the blood was still running warm in his veins, he was going to do what he can do to help these brothers and sisters get on and stay on the right track with Jesus Christ. 

Last week Peter wrote to encourage and remind the saints to hold on and keep on holding on.  He outlined seven building blocks that moved from basic faith to a rich love that supports holy living.  The Apostle reminded the saints that God extends the invitation to faith in Jesus Christ to all people.  He reminded them that believers should confirm their salvation through Jesus Christ by carrying out God’s purposes.  He reminded them of how their faith is precious because it has been bought with a price.  This week we begin a new quarter with a new focus on honoring God in worship.  In this week’s lesson we consider the heart and attitude of King David as he desires a better place for the representation of God among the Israelites.  Townsend and Boyd’s Commentaries title this week’s lesson “David Worships God in Jerusalem”.  Standard Lesson Commentary titles this week’s lesson “David’s Worship”.  The scripture text comes from 1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 14-16, 25-29a. 

What Takes Place in This Passage: 

The Lesson opens at verse one with the chronicler noting how David built houses for himself in the city of David.  Townsend Commentary notes that “the city of David was originally known as Zion or Jerusalem.  Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms explains that Zion is “used in the Old Testament for all or part of Jerusalem.  In both Old and New Testaments it refers to God’s heavenly city (Isa. 60:14; Heb. 12:22; Rev.14:1).  In the Christian church Zion is an image for heaven”.  So this helps us understand the long, deep, physical, literal and figurative relationship with this piece of land where David has pitched a tent for the symbolic representation of God to dwell.  Both in the Old Testament, New Testament and in the life to come Jerusalem is significant in the life of God’s people.  Note also that the Ark of God, the Ark of the Lord, and the Ark of the Covenant are the same thing.  Westminster defines it as “the chest carried by the Hebrews that contained the tablets of the law.  It was lost from history after the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the Jerusalem (586 B.C.). 

In verse two David directs that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God.  This was a responsibility of the Levites.  Deuteronomy 10:8 says “at that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to him, and to bless in his name, to this day.”  David had already learned from his first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem that these rules still apply.  God had not changed God’s mind about who was to minister to God.  I also noticed that the chronicler uses the ark of God and the ark of the LORD interchangeably. 

In verse three David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem.  In this verse the chronicler is careful to mention “all Israel”.  At this time David reigns over a united kingdom.  Later the kingdom would become divided into Southern and Northern Kingdoms.  The chronicler also now switches from the city of David in verse one to Jerusalem in verse three.  Townsend notes that the city was renamed city of David because this was where David was crowned king of Israel.  Our lesson skips verses four through thirteen which lists some of the descendants of Aaron and the Levites. 

In verse fourteen the priests and Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel.  Westminster notes that sanctify means to make holy by purifying from sin. 

In verse fifteen the Levites carried the ark of God on poles upon their shoulders.  It seems that this manner of carrying the ark is different than in chapter thirteen when it was possible for Uz’zah to put out his hand to hold the ark when the oxen shook it. 

Verse sixteen gives us an idea of what kind of instruments would be used along with singers all from the Levites.  There would be singers playing on musical instruments, there would be harps, lyres, and cymbals to raise loud sounds of joy.  This was going to be a grand celebration worthy of the occasion.  The lesson then skips to verse twenty-five.

In verse twenty-five David and the elders of Israel, and the commanders of thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom with rejoicing.  This wasn’t a celebration just for David.  Notice how he includes the elders of Israel.  David is the king and he has absolute authority, but he does not neglect the elders nor does he neglect the leaders of his military.  This is a celebration for all of Israel.  Townsend notes that the ark had been in the home of Obed-Edom for three months before it was brought to Jerusalem.

In verse twenty-six the chronicler notes that because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark, the Levites sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.  2 Samuel 6:12b-19 also describes this event but in a different way. 

Verse twenty-seven describes the clothing of David and the Levites and singers as a robe of fine linen. It also notes that David wore a linen ephod. 

Verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine (a) close this lesson with a description of how they brought the ark up.  It was with shouting to the sound of the horn, trumpets, cymbals and loud music on harps and lyres.  You get the idea that David really outdid himself with this celebration.  Not only did David intend to honor God by bringing the ark to Jerusalem.  He intends to worship God with a great celebration in the process.  It reminds me of Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD.  Praise ye the LORD.  As Mi’chal looks out the window to see David praising God we are reminded that her father Saul did not honor God in the way David is doing. 

Context:

You have probably heard someone say “when praises go up, blessing come down.”  I like this saying.  I don’t know how theologically accurate it is and it certainly isn’t a scripture in the Bible.  But still… I like what it conveys.  God is worthy of our praise.  God is worthy of our praise in the good times and in the bad times.  We don’t praise in order to get blessings; we praise God simply because God is worthy.  Not only did King David honor God by bringing the ark to Jerusalem, he worshiped God with singing, dance, and praise.  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Key Characters in the text:

King David – The central figure as he conquers the City of Jerusalem and builds a place to keep the Ark of the Covenant (Townsend). 

Key Words (not necessarily in the text, but good for discussion): 

Honor – Glory or respect: it is also worship owed to God as the sovereign creator and redeemer.

Worship – The service of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through actions and attitudes. 

Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas: 

1.  When praises go up, blessings come down.      

2.  Let everything that has breathe praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6)             

Question: 

1.  David honored God by bringing the ark to Jerusalem.  In what ways do you honor God today?    

Concluding Thought:

Worship, honor, and praise are closely related in that all are a part of our life and interaction with God.  In each of these parts we have a heart of thanksgiving toward God.  It’s a heart of thanksgiving not only for what God has done and what God can do, but also for simply who God is.  Worship, honor and praise is personal.  To you, maybe God is your healer, or maybe God is your provider or your protector.  Whoever God is to you give God thanks, in worship, honor, and praise. 

Preview of Next Week’s Lesson:

Next week’s lesson continues in the very next chapter of 1 Chronicles.  In Chapter sixteen the Chronicler reminds us to give thanks to God and to praise and worship God with gratitude.   The lesson is titled “A Heart Filled With Gratitude”.  The text is taken from 1 Chronicles 16:8-12, 19-27.    

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Christianity, Sunday School Lesson

Sunday School Lesson Winter Quarter Overview With Mind Map December 2019, January 2020, February 2020 Honoring God in Worship

Winter Quarter Overview with Mind Map Honoring God

Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com.  In this overview of the Winter Quarter I want to lift for you the major themes and movements of the next thirteen lessons.  So as we study these lessons you will have some idea of where the lesson series is taking us. 

King David made a place for the Ark of the covenant in Jerusalem.  The time came when the Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple.  Solomon the son of King David built the Temple in Jerusalem.  Moses built the tabernacle, but the time came when the tabernacle was replaced by the Temple.  Solomon built the Temple.  But the time came when that Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon in 583 B.C.  The second rebuilt Temple survived until King Herod rebuilt it.  It was that Temple that Jesus walked in.  But that temple was also destroyed.  Now let’s walk though how our Winter Quarter get us here. 

The overall focus of the Winter Quarter is honoring God in worship.  We have thirteen lessons through December, January, and February divided into three units. 

 Unit one deals with David as he honors God.  Unit two deals with dedicating the temple of God.  And unit three deals with Jesus teaching us about true worship.

For each of the three units and each of the four or five lessons in the units I’ll give you a mind map graphic that highlights the big picture.  In this overview I’ll focus on key characters, key words Key scripture texts, and since we are dealing with honoring God in worship I list the key places of worship the text shows us. 

The theme for unit one is “David Honors God”.

The theme for unit two is Dedicating the Temple of God

And unit three is Jesus Teaches about True Worship.

So let’s take a look at unit one.  There are five lessons in unit one all of which come from 1 Chronicles except our Christmas lesson which comes from the Gospel according to Luke. 

So in very broad terms we are going to look at the Ark of the Covenant of God which was housed in a tabernacle (tent).  We move from the tabernacle to the Temple in Jerusalem and then from the Temple in Jerusalem to the heart of every believer.

So the time came when the Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple.  Solomon the son of King David built the Temple in Jerusalem.  That Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the Israelites were taken prisoner to Babylon. About seventy years later, a remnant of those in captivity returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the first Temple.  Moses built the tabernacle, but the time came when the tabernacle was replaced by the Temple.  Solomon built the Temple.  But the time came when that Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.  That rebuilt second temple survived until King Herod rebuilt it, taking forty six years to do so (John 2:20). It was this Temple which Jesus visited, but even this temple was destroyed.  It was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. And that Temple has never been rebuilt to its former glory.  And that leads us to where God dwells today.  The tabernacle no longer exists; the Temple made with human hands has been destroyed.  It is the book of Acts that reminds us that “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth. Does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). As Christians, we have been redeemed through the death of Jesus.  And as Peter reminded us last quarter “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19). And because of that redemption, because of that shed blood on Calvary’s cross, God now dwells in, amongst, and with every believer.  Knowing that God is with us is good reason to honor God and celebrate God’s presence with us.  Unit one deals with how David honors God.  Unit two deals with how Solomon his son built the Temple or God and unit three brings it home with Jesus Christ teaching us about true worship.  The tabernacle is gone, the temple is destroyed, but God is with us through the presence and power of God’s Holy Spirit. I hope you will join me each week this quarter as I explore David, Solomon, and Jesus in the weekly Sunday School lesson.  Thank you and may God bless you real good.