International Sunday School Lesson for November 5, 2017
To understand that our service to God is built upon integrity and fidelity to our commitments to God and to others
Background: Numbers 25;
1 Samuel 2:27-36
Numbers 25:10-13 (CEB)
10The Lord spoke to Moses: 11 Phinehas (Eleazar’s son and Aaron the priest’s grandson) has turned back my rage toward the Israelites. Because he was jealous for me among you, I didn’t consume the Israelites due to my jealousy. 12 Therefore, say: I’m now giving him my covenant of wellbeing. 13 It will be for him and his descendants a covenant of permanent priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and sought reconciliation for the Israelites.
1 Samuel 2:30-36 (CEB)
30 Because of all that, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: I had promised that your household and your father’s household would serve me forever. But now—this is what the Lord declares: I’ll do no such thing! No. I honor those who honor me, and whoever despises me will be cursed. 31The days are coming soon when I will eliminate both your children and the children of your father’s household. There won’t be an old person left in your family tree. 32 You’ll see trouble in my dwelling place, though all will go well for Israel. But there will never be an old person in your family tree. 33 One of your descendants whom I don’t eliminate from serving at my altar will cry his eyes out and be full of grief. Any descendants in your household will die by the sword. 34 And what happens to your two sons Hophni and Phinehas will be a sign for you: they will both die on the same day. 35 Then I will establish for myself a trustworthy priest who will act in accordance with my thoughts and desires. I will build a trustworthy household for him, and he will serve before my anointed one forever. 36 Anyone left from your household will come and beg him for a bit of silver or a loaf of bread, saying: ‘Please appoint me to some priestly duty so I can have a scrap of bread to eat.’ ”
Then I will establish for myself a trustworthy priest who will act in accordance with my thoughts and desires. (1 Samuel 2:35)
Today’s lesson offers a different view of God’s covenants. We are reluctant to look at God’s promises in a negative light. But because of God’s holiness He reserves the right to change His mind when mankind ignores or disobeys the laws.
Before you attempt to teach or study this lesson be sure to read the background scriptures to provide an accurate account of what is going on.
The abridged version is this: The Israelites had settled at Shittim an area about 10 miles from Jericho, in the land of the Moabites and Midianites. This created a problem when the Israelite men started having sexual relations with Moabite and Midianite women. Even worse was these women convinced the men to go to their feast and worship the Baal of Peor and partake in the sacrifices. When the chief of Simeon’s tribe brought a Midianite woman into God’s camp and proceeded to have sex with her, a priest, Aaron’s grandson Phinehas, was so offended he took a spear and ran it through both of their bellies at the same time. That brings you to the text from Numbers.
The backstory on the text from 1 Samuel is this: The elderly priest Eli, the same one that raised Samuel had 2 sons that were priest. However they were more interested in taking care of themselves than following God’s commands. When this was revealed to Eli, he failed to correct the problem. Coincidently, this story involves another Phinehas.
In our first story God rewards Phinehas in verse 12 Therefore, say: I’m now giving him my covenant of well-being. 13 It will be for him and his descendants a covenant of permanent priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and sought reconciliation for the Israelites.
In our second story we see just the opposite, 2:31 The days are coming soon when I will eliminate both your children and the children of your father’s household. There won’t be an old person left in your family tree. 32 You’ll see trouble in my dwelling place, though all will go well for Israel. while ut there will never be an old person in your family tree.
I think the lesson for us is, God is willing to show great mercy to those that follow his commands, but for those that choose not to follow, they risk the punishment for sin. The teaching from a lot of so called experts today choose not to talk about the consequences of sin. Obviously God does not ignore sin and neither should we.
God’s promises/covenants are always true, good and bad. The wages of sin is still death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
My hymn for this week is one of my all time favorites and is the gospel in verse and song, “Trust and Obey.”