Monday, June 29, 2015

“No Rest for the Wicked” Adult Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 5, 2015

Purpose: To recognize that our reluctance to accept criticism can interfere with our hearing God’s will for us

Bible Lesson: Micah 2:4-11

Background Scripture: Micah 2

Micah 2:1-11 (CEB)
(1) Doom to those who devise wickedness, to those who plan evil when they are in bed. By the light of morning they do it, for they are very powerful. (2) They covet fields and seize them, houses and take them away. They oppress a householder and those in his house, a man and his estate. (3) Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I myself am devising an evil against this family from which you will not be able to remove your necks! You will no longer be able to go about arrogantly, for it will be an evil time.

(4) On that day, a taunt will be raised against you; someone will wail bitterly: “We are utterly destroyed! He exchanges the portion of my people; he removes what belongs to me; he gives away our fields to a rebel.” (5) Therefore, you will have no one to set boundary lines by lot in the Lord’s assembly. (6) “They mustn’t preach!” so they preach. “They mustn’t preach of such things! Disgrace won’t overtake us.” (7) Should this be said, house of Jacob? “Is the Lord’s patience cut short? Are these his deeds?” Don’t my words help the one who behaves righteously? (8) But yesterday, my people, the Lord rose up as an enemy. You strip off the glorious clothes from trusting passersby, those who reject war. (9) You drive out the women of my people, each from her cherished house; from their young children you take away my splendor forever. (10) Rise up and go! This can’t be the resting place; because of its uncleanness, it destroys and the destruction is horrific. (11) If someone were to go about inspired and say deceitfully: “I will preach to you for wine and liquor,” such a one would be the preacher for this people!

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Today’s lesson and for the next three weeks will be looking at the prophet Micah. Almost all that we know about Micah is found in the first few verses of his book. 1 The Lord’s word that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Judah’s Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem:

The time and duration are given, which would be for about 51 years (749-698 B.C.) Micah prophesied to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel, whose capital was Samaria and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, whose capital was Jerusalem. The town of Moresheth is also called “Moreshethgath” in 1:14 and was probably the town of Gath mentioned in 2 Chronicles 11:8. It was located about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

During the time of Micah, three different kings ruled Judah: Jotham, who did some good things but did not remove the shrines used for idol worship, Ahaz who worshipped at the temple of the idols and sacrificed his own son was a terrible king, and Hezekiah, who was a good king. He removed the places of idol worship, but made some bad diplomatic choices. The prophet Isaiah, a contemporary of Micah’s, was critical of Hezekiah’s showing the nation's wealth to the visitors from Babylon, who eventually conquered Judah and Jerusalem.

I have included verses 1 thru 3 in the printed text because it is important to what our lesson text covers.

Micah, as instructed by God, makes some serious accusations. God, through Micah, is upset with how the ruling people are governing, and how they are taking advantage of the poor. God is also upset that all the warnings are being ignored. It appears life had become so good for many of the people that they did not want to hear about what was wrong.

Micah was warning of a day of judgment coming, and the people and leaders thought it was just idle talk. After all, they were the LORD’s people. God would never let anything happen to them. From verses 6 and 7 we get the sense that the leaders were calling Micah a crackpot, and he should quit talking about such nonsense.

The behavior of the people had become so bad, that the LORD was left with no choice but to become the enemy of the very people he had rescued from Egypt. God’s patience had run out. God loves to forgive, but after years and years of ignoring His teachings and still expecting His blessing is foolishness. A returning to the Law and repentance was always available until God pronounces His judgement.

As with all of us, after death comes judgement. Unfortunately death is too late for us to repent and return to God. None of us like to be criticized, but we need to listen for God’s voice, and know that He is not pleased when we ignore or disobey His voice. God, throughout history has made some tough choices, like in Noah’s day and Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the collapse of Judah and Israel. Today Greece, once the rulers of the world, is about to become worse than a third world nation. Once proud Rome may not be far behind. Where do we as a nation currently stand? When will God’s patience run out on us? “How long has it been?” ask the Hymn writer.

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