Sunday School Lesson – “God Created Mankind” Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7

Photo Credit: Pixabay/Prawny

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7 (KJV, Public Domain)

Do you know how special you are?  Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today?  Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?

As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design.  Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you.  And, as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us – but no scene is more beautiful to Him than those who were made in His image, in His likeness.  These were specially designed for a relationship with the Father.

As the creation story unfolds, may we find our place in it, our origin in it, and may those findings render a new appreciation for how special you are in the eyes of God. 

God Created Man

Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

For six days, God had been creating.  With light created and darkness separated, both being defined for what they are; and with land, plant life, celestial bodies spoken into existence and put in their places, the Creation story of the beginning of everything we know is off to a beautiful start, and it is all good in the sight of the Creator.

With sea, land, and air creatures created and placed in their proper places, it is time for the crème de la crème of all His creation to be formed.  That apex of God’s design comes when He decides to inhabit this grand earth He made with mankind.

Mankind is the most unique of all God’s creation for several reasons (and we’ll discuss those reasons in a bit), but let’s hone in on the word “unique” for a moment in relation to all the elements of the Creation story already put in place.

Mankind has nothing like himself that dwells on the face of the earth outside of other members of the human race.  Yes, I know there is a scientific theory that tries to over-exaggerate similarities between humans and other species when, in fact, there are no other species identical to the man God formed out of the dust of the ground as his beginning origins (Genesis 2:7).  And, I know there are other theories that express many ideas of suppositions of how we came to be the people we are in the place that we are in, but the Bible gives the very straightforward facts of not only our origin but also why we are so special in our uniqueness among all other creation.

For we are made in the image/likeness of God.  God, Himself, spoke on that sixth day of creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

The words us and our leaves many asking to whom God is talking to when He is speaking.  Now, again, while many people have theorized several answers to that questioning, the most biblically based, solid answer, revolves around the Trinity.  Biblical evidence shows clearly God the Father, the Son (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) being present at the time of Creation.

With God having no physical likeness, the image/likeness we were made to be like has more to do with the way He created man from the inside out.  Though His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), God gave us the capacity to think or operate intellectually and emotionally as He does.  With that comes the ability to reason, to love, etc.  We are not God, but apart from all other creatures, we are His likeness upon the earth.

In an article I previously published, Our True Image, I wrote:

“I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on.  He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend.  He spoke of our likeness of Him.  At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.

Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven?  No.  But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more.  The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.” (WordForLifeSays.com)

Another part of the uniqueness of created humanity is he is to reign and have dominion over all other creatures created.  David expressed in the Psalms the reign of man over all “the works of thy hands,” (Psalm 8:6-8), and Hebrews agrees (Hebrews 2:7-8).

What this means is, as representatives of God on this earth, we are to diligently care for and steward the things of the earth.  One day, the earth will pass way in the great finale of the end times, but until then, every human being is given the order to care for this temporary home of ours, and all the other creatures in it.

Through the years, the word dominion has become synonymous with words like power, authority, and control.  And, that’s a right interpretation of the word.  But, what’s more important is how that word is being carried out.  Are we abusing, taking for granted, and treating recklessly those things placed under our control?  Or, are we managing everything in a godly fashion and taking proper care of what has been given us?  As His image-bearers, we have the responsibility to be responsible with His creation.

Both men and women carry this responsibility for both are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  Each bears their own qualities that set them apart as male and female, but each are image-bearers created by God and His perfect design for all humans.  There are separate identifying markers for each sex, but as part of the human race they are made in his own image.  Jesus once said, “Have you not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4).  Both have important roles in His creation.

Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Then God spoke His blessings over them with the charge to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.  God blessed them to be productive that the earth might be filled, the same way He called all other creatures to multiply (Genesis 1:20, 25).  As God placed in all other living species of His creation the ability to produce (procreate) that the earth may teem with life, so did He with humanity.  Multiplication equals increase.  Increase equals a filled earth.

And, with that blessing of fruitfulness, came also the reiteration of their responsibility to subdue and have dominion… over every living thing…  God placed mankind in charge.  This may make us special, and some may abuse that top-of-the-food-chain-status, but the greater reminder is that with such a heavy charge there comes more to answer for on how things/creatures/nature was used under our control/charge.  Our job is to be righteous rulers over everything God has placed in our care.

Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

As God has called us to the position of caring for other creatures in creation, He shows mankind some of the ways He cares for them and all living things as He supplies for their needs.  Specified seeds, fruits, herbs, and vegetation would be the meat or food nutritional source for all creatures such as beasts… fowls… and everything that creepeth upon the earth along with mankind which God created.  He gave or furnished every living thing with all that they need to survive, flourish, and multiply.

Genesis 1:31 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

When God took in the scope of everything He created, He saw it was very good.  Everything was perfectly original, perfectly created, and perfectly placed.  There was no intrusion in the tranquility of His beautiful design.  Sin was not present, and the earth was as glorious as He envisioned it – unstained and unaffected by the mess we see today.

Once I wrote, “Our original design was not to live in an environment of sin and decay.  It was not designed to exist with dead and dreary things.  It was designed to behold the beauty of God through His creation.  We were designed to live in God’s best!” (Made for Green/WordForLifeSays.com). 

And, when He saw His best on display, God viewed it as very good, culminating the sixth day of creation.

God Rested After Creation

Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

After everything was finished, God rested on the seventh day.  This day would later be referred to as Sabbath, which means “rest” or “cease.”  It would be a day set aside out of the week that demanded nothing but rest and time to worship (Exodus 20:8-11).  It also became a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:13).

This holy precedent started with God Himself.  There are fewer things in the world than that which brings one the satisfaction of a job well done.  What God did was perfect.  There was no further need for work, therefore work ended, and He ordained the seventh day as a time of rest.

God made this day a priority and sanctified it, which means He set is apart as holy.  He did this because of or in honor of the fact that he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

There is something uniquely beautiful in the idea of the Creator of all sitting back and being pleased with everything before Him in perfectness.  I can’t help but imagine how happy His heart must have been at that time.  Did it all put a smile on His face?  Does it put a smile on your face thinking about it?  It does for me.

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

As chapter 2 progresses, it describes and reiterates, with additional detail, certain aspects of the creation story, including the specifics on mankind being formed… of the dust of the ground (compare Genesis 3:19, 23).   

Opposite of everything that was spoken in creation, or the way the animals were called forth from the ground (Genesis 1:24; 2:19), mankind was the only uniquely one formed to be an image-bearer of God.  This one, he was special, and he required a special design.

See, I told you that you were unique and special in His design.  Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Mankind is alive because of God.  Should God take away or withhold that precious breath, mankind would cease to live (see Psalm 104:21; Job 34:14-15).  “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein,” (Isaiah 42:5). 

God created mankind, and that’s the one and only true answer for our existence on this earth.  You and I are living souls because of God!

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – God Created Mankind

Suggested Activities:

Fingerprints uniquely tell who we are. There are no two sets alike, not even for identical twins.  Your fingerprints tell of the individual God made you to be; that you are individually special to God.  Using a stamper and the fingers of students, have each rub a thumb or ink on the stamper pad and stamp a clear paper with their fingerprint.  Have them look carefully at it.  Students can even exchange them with one another to see their own uniqueness in the way God created them.  Tie this example into today’s lesson.

Younger students can work with moldable playing dough. For this example, homemade is best (I like the idea of using it organically, with no colors for the forming of man effect), but of course, any kind of moldable dough for playing will do.  Have students form “man” from the blob you give them.  Discuss how easy or hard it was.  Discuss the intricate details it took for God to make us. (Note: if you are using homemade dough and if time allows, let the children help you make the dough, to really get involved in the “creation” of the people they make.  Find a recipe for a non-cooking version.  There are many online to choose from.)

Younger students can also put together a Made in God’s Image people necklace. Print from the outlines (found online at wordforlifesays.com) the people templates on cardstock or glue to construction paper.  Decorate each one as you want.  Punch a hole in the top and string through with yard or something similar.  You can even add beads or cut up straws for a nice decorated effect.  They can wear it proudly around their neck because they are Made in God’s Image. PDFMade In God’s Image Craft

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Draw the Scene: God Created Mankind Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: God Created Mankind Memory Verse

Word Search: God Created Mankind Word Search  Answers: God Created Mankind Word Search Answers

Crossword: God Created Mankind Crossword  Answers: God Created Mankind Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: God Created Mankind Word Scramble  Answers: God Created Mankind Word Scramble Answers

 

 

 

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Sunday School Lesson – “When Sin Entered In”

Photo: Pixabay

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 3:1-15 (KJV, Public Domain)

Failure is something I, as well as all humanity, have grappled with throughout their life.  Whether you want to give it a cute name like “fumbling the ball,” or call it as it is – “missing the mark,” they all declare the same thing in the end – I messed up.  I have sinned.

Sin, unfortunately, is something a lot of people don’t pay attention to, have become desensitized to, or simply brush off with no thought of confession or consequences.  Whereas, others, it brings them to their knees in humility seeking reconciliation with God and man.

Sin and the effects of sin is something every human will encounter because once sin entered the world it contaminated everything and everyone.  The paradise of what was will be shut away from humanity till the saved souls experience it one day in eternity.

“By one man sin entered into the world,” (Romans 5:12), and this lesson covers the events surrounding that dreadful day which has become known as the Fall; the day when sin entered in. 

The Fall

Genesis 3:1-7 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

God has, from the beginning, given a precious gift to the man He created: the gift of free will.  And, from the beginning, it has been man’s responsibility to use it in a just and righteous way.  With that, we see the man has had the ability to choose to do right or to choose to do wrong.  In these verses, the waters of that free will have been tested, and as a result, humanity succumbed to temptation and sin entered the world.

The serpent who appears in the story has become synonymous to us today and throughout the Bible as the devil or Satan.  Although in the form of a creature which is being used by the devil, this adversary of old (see Revelation 12:9) has come on the scene for one purpose – to disrupt the good that God created.  To work against Him in rebellion any way he can.

And to do that, he had to get to the mind of His beloved creature, man, by casting doubt about God.  The very nature of the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field.  That subtilty speaks of his cunningness.  Where a cunning character is in this respect, there is deception and falsehood with the craftiness to work both.  Therefore, whatever he says cannot be trusted and unfortunately for Eve, she and Adam find out this sad truth the hard way and a little too late.

Questioning the woman, as if they had already been engaged in an active dialogue, but weren’t, he asked, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  This type of questioning lives up to the nature of this tempter.  It cast doubt where doubt probably wasn’t once before.  It asks one to focus a little harder on the forbidden object when quite possibly, it wasn’t the focus before.  A hands-off approach was alright with her until one question made her rethink the truth of what was.

Not fully comprehending or even slightly knowing of his deception, and the deceit behind his inquiry, Eve engaged fully into conversation with the serpent when she responded.  She told him what they may and may not eat.

God supplied plenty for them.  Remember, man was the last of God’s creation and God had everything in order to properly sustain and fulfill all that they would need.  With Eden bringing to mind a picture of paradise, in the lushness of what was available to them, it would be more than enough that they had at their disposal to use and enjoy.

We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.  Notice the s on the world trees, making them plural.  Plural choices were available to them.  Plural delicacies abounded in the garden.  There were multiple things to eat and choose from with only one being prohibited from them.

That one came with restrictions.  That one came with the only rule they had to follow to be obedient to God: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  This she knew.  Thus far, this is what she abided by.

Now, the enemy works in his cunning ways to get her to do the very thing that God hath said not to do.  First, he lied and convinced her the consequences aren’t as serious as she had been led to believe.  Once that kind of thinking enters in and one begins to mull over the idea, it becomes easier to shirk the responsibility of those consequences with total disregard.  He told her, Ye shall not surely die.

Note: Notice the conflict here in what God says versus what the serpent/devil says.  God’s Word is tried, true, and solid.  God’s Word is always right, and never flawed or wrong (Proverbs 30:5).  God’s Word is everlasting, and it is fixed in heaven (Psalm 119:89).  Anything that speaks against what God says, then and now, and does not line up with His Word, is not of God, and it’s wrong.  It’s of the devil.

Eve had a choice to make.  Who was she going to listen to?

Secondly, he planted his own seeds in that garden.  He planted seeds of doubt.  Today, we know the Bible tells us, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly,” (Psalm 84:11).  But here, as he presented this “option” to go outside of the will of God, he did so by making it seem that God was holding out on them.  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.

The more she listened and gave space to the serpent’s sly words, the more that option to sin looked enticing to her.  Of course, right then and there she may not have seen it as sin, but anything that takes one out of the will of God, we can rest assured, is sin, no matter what it “looks like.”

When she looked at that forbidden tree she saw it had everything she wanted.  It was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise.  Or, as John so eloquently wrote: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” (1 John 2:16).

And, because it had everything she desired, the Bible tells us she did eat.  She sinned.  She made up in her mind to go her own way; to throw off what God said and listen to the serpent (compare James 1:14-15).

She then gave it to her husband, and he did eat, too.  Adam sinned, and he did so willfully (compare 1 Timothy 2:14).  He wasn’t deceived as Eve was and with their choices made, sin has entered the world and changed it forever (compare Romans 5:19).

Now, the eyes of them both were opened.  Now, they saw things as they never had before, and they didn’t like what they saw.  Not only did they now know what evil in this respect when previously all they knew was good; but now they knew shame, guilt, and the wrongs that came with it.  Now, they knew they were naked, and they tried to cover the nakedness by sewing fig leaves together.

Oh, how I can imagine, they probably wished they could undo it all; that things could go back to the way they were.  But, they couldn’t, and the consequences of the Fall would now come.

  The Consequences of the Fall

Genesis 3:8-15 “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.  And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.  And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

In their state of innocence, before their sin, they had intimate fellowship with God.  So, when they heard His voice, they were familiar with His presence.  Only this time, it wasn’t as welcoming as it once was.  This time, there was trepidation involved.  There were fear and uneasiness where there wasn’t before.  This time, His presence exposed their shame, so they hid themselves.  Sin and guilt marred everything!

What does hiding imply?  To hide means there is something that one does not want uncovered.  There is something that one does not want to be revealed.  They want to hide their wrong; they want to hide their sin from God amongst the trees – but, alas, this attempt is futile.

So, God called out, Where art thou?  Our God is omnipresent, which basically means He is everywhere at the same time (see Psalm 139:7-10).    And, our God is omniscient, which means He knows everything that’s going on from the inside out.  Psalm 44:21 says that He even knows “the secrets of the heart.”  With that being said, God knew exactly where Adam was and what was going on.  Trees could not hide man’s sin.  Later in history, Jonah too would find out the impossible feat of trying to hide from an all-seeing, all-knowing God.  Everything is opened to God; everything is exposed.  There is nothing hid from Him (see Hebrews 4:13).

I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”  Matched against the presence of God, sin will make man tremble and be afraid.  God is holy, and His people are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16).  But, when the unholy nature of man faces God, it tries to hide.  I imagine, previously the voice of God was a comfort to Adam.  Here, in the knowledge of his sin, fear has taken over.  Sin took away peace and opened the door for all other opposing emotions.    

Who told thee thou wast naked?  Questions are designed for extracting information from an individual and securing an answer.  Once again, God knew the answer, but Adam had to fully comprehend what he had done.  Questioning will cause Adam to look inside himself for an answer; a way to reply.  “How do I answer? I would have to admit this and that.”

Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  In other words, “Have you disobeyed Me?” is what God was asking.  Adam and Eve were given one rule to follow.  One rule; one command.  Did they disregard that command?

God’s word is His commands.  What God says outranks all else.  One’s real intimacy with God is revealed in how well they keep His commandments.  1 John 2:3 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”  The psalmist said, “Thy word I have hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:11).  Hiding God’s word in one’s heart will help them not to have to hide behind trees in shame later.

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave of the tree, and I did eat.  In the previous chapter, she was “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” (Genesis 2:23).  She was the one made specifically for him.  Here, there is an almost disdainful ire about him when he talks about that woman whom thou gavest to me.  What intimacy they once shared, sin has now caused a rift in their relationship, hence the beginning of the blame game.

Note: In speaking of the blame game, notice also how Adam seemed to signify too or hint at that it was God’s fault because He is the one who gave her the woman.  Sin ruins relationships with God and with people.   

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?  As a parent lining children up to find out who broke the lamp, God is going down the line, questioning everyone involved.  The woman’s response was, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.  Through that one bite of forbidden fruit knowledge was gained, and with that came the realization that she had been deceived or beguiled.  Some say hindsight has 20/20 vision.  But, the Bible says, “The just shall live by faith,” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Actions have consequences, for the good or for the bad.  Here, it was all bad.  Disobedience to God’s commands always leads one a treacherous path.  That’s why the Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” (Psalm 119:105).  God’s commands shine the way to keep man from that pathway that leads to destruction.

God then speaks to the serpent.  He’s not questioning him for information.  For now, it’s time to deal with the matter at hand.  Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed.  Cursed is a word no creature wants to hear.  God has spoken again the serpent.  Upon thy belly thou shalt go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.  The serpent would be the least favored of all animals and would pay tremendously for his part in the fall of man.

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  This judgement also carries with it spiritual implications of the conflict between the enemy and people, to Jesus’s ultimate victory in the end.

God’s judgement was set.  Individually, Adam and Eve received further judgements (see Genesis 3:16-19).  Collectively, paradise was lost in the heart where all that reigned once was peace, and it was lost physically in being evicted from Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).  Because, when sin enters in, it destroys everything.

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes for teaching): Sunday School Lesson - When Sin Entered In 

Sin Object Lesson Ideas:

“Broken and Restored Toothpick”

“Sin Separates Us from God Balloon Object Lesson”

“Sin is Gross Object Lesson”

Adult Journal Page – Adult Journal Page – Adam and Eve’s Choices

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Adam and Eve’s Choices

Broken by Sin Puzzle: Using the pdf: Outlines People Template students can decorate their people, cut them out, and then using scissors cut their individual people into puzzle pieces.  This symbolizes the brokenness that comes by doing wrong, by sinning. (Don’t forget to supply sandwich bags so they can carry their puzzles home).

Draw the Scene: When Sin Entered In Draw the Scene

Activity Sheet: When Sin Entered In Activity Sheet

Memory Verse: When Sin Entered In Memory Verse

Word Search: When Sin Entered In Word Search  Answers: When Sin Entered In Word Search Answers

Crossword: When Sin Entered In Crossword  Answers: When Sin Entered In Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: When Sin Entered In Word Scramble  Answers: When Sin Entered Word Scramble Answers

Sunday School Lesson – “A Help Meet for Adam”

Photo: Pixabay/MiguelRPerez

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 2:18-25 (KJV, Public Domain)

All throughout the Bible, God is seen as being a promoter of strong family relationships and from the beginning, these families would start with the marriage of a man and a woman.  This is and was God’s one and only design for an intimate relationship and to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). 

Is there anything sweeter than the absolute unity of true togetherness?  Togetherness that’s not shackled by doubts, mistrust, etc.?  Togetherness that speaks more in action than words and says, in this relationship, we come together to share life together?  Her concerns become his concerns, and vice versa.  She feels what he feels because their bond is one of unity and selfless love.  Yes, I believe in the beginning, before sin entered the picture, that sweetness existed.

And, that’s just how God intended it to be.  After the man was created, he was alone and had no one else like himself to share life with.  The animals were great and served as some source of possible companionship, but they could never fulfill the needs of the man the way someone like him would.  Animals are wonderful, and I’m an animal lover, but animals are not people.  People need people.  Humans need other humans to love and interact with to be whole and complete.

There is something integral missing in the created man’s life and God set about to remedy that situation when He made a help meet for Adam.   

 

                                                 Something Not Good                 

Genesis 2:18 “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

This lesson opens with, And the LORD God said, verifying that God Himself is the one making the statement that follows.  This is critical because it’s not only stating God’s authorship of the words but also in the actions that follow.

It is not good that the man should be alone.  At the end of everything God created He said, “It was good,” (Genesis 1:31).  But, here in this verse, something causes God to say, it is not good.  And that something is the loneliness of man, which we are assuming is the present cause for concern.  This verse specifically points out the man using a singular stance, meaning just one.  The usage of the words like this reemphasizes the power behind God’s statement of his [the man] being alone.

Think about that word alone for a minute.  It can evoke a sense of isolation even though one is not in isolation physically.  Adam was in a big, beautiful garden, but he was alone.  He was surrounded by other living creatures, yet, he was still alone.  In all of that, we get the sense that Adam longed for more.

Was Adam feeling unfilled?  Viewing the monkeys swinging in the trees together as a community or rabbits chasing each other in a game of bunny tag, did the sight dishearten Adam and make him long for more?  We don’t know.  All we do know is what Scripture tells us, and that is, man is alone and in God’s eyes, it was not good.

Adam could talk, but he had nobody like himself to converse with on a daily basis.  Adam could feel, but he had nobody like himself to share his feelings with.  Adam could embrace, but another set of arms to embrace him back was missing.  What was all of this doing to him on the inside?

Again, we don’t know.  But, for the man God created, I can imagine He did not want to see any despondency in Adam due to being alone.  So, God sought to remedy the situation.

Note: Yes, Adam could converse with God and share his daily concerns with God, but we are talking about the absence of another physical being like himself on the earth to share life with.  And, when we are thinking along those lines of questioning, remember it was God Himself who pointed out Adam’s aloneness and said it was not good.  Therefore, we cannot argue with God.

I will make him an help meet for him.  God has something special up his sleeve.  All that He created was good.  Every creature, the way He made them was perfect, but God was going to do something special for Adam.  God was going to bless him with a mate, a companion; someone whom he could share this life journey with.  God was going to fill that not good part of Adam’s life with something not only good but specially made just for him.

With His marvelous creative abilities, God said, I will make, or, I will design someone who can specifically fill that void He sees in Adam’s life.  How awesome is that!  The Bible goes into great detail to show us God’s love and care for the man, to the point of fashioning for him someone that can meet his needs on every relational level.  One that is appropriate and compatible just for him.

Genesis 2:19-20 “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast… and fowl.  Here is a reiteration of what already occurred.  There are no contradictions in the Bible.  A good Bible student will see the wording for what it is, a supportive summary of creation and continually pointing back to God as the Creator is necessary and we could never over-emphasize it enough.  Perhaps that’s why the psalmist rejoiced when he thought about it and celebrated God for it when he states, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom thou made them all…(Psalm 104:24; emphasis mine).  Out of all those manifold works, we see here where it is stated again that the Lord made these animals as well.

And, if we remember, when God made Adam, he was brought forth from the “dust of the ground,” (Genesis 2:7).  These reiterations of the Creation story, specifically toward living creatures, not only supports the story of the Author of Creation, but it also sets apart that special way that God takes that not good and turns it into something good (we will discuss this further in the next section).

And brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  Genesis 2:15 says, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  I have always looked upon that verse and the verse in our lesson with the name of every living creature as jobs that were given to Adam by God.  And notice, these jobs were given before the Fall of man, before sin entered the world.

A lot of people try to distinguish why Adam was responsible for the naming of the living creatures at this meet and greet with the animals and not God.  God could’ve done it all, and yet, God has always invited mankind to participate in what He is doing.  God has never promoted laziness but has always encouraged mankind in taking on responsibility.  I think it is amazing how God is allowing Adam to work at, or speak things, as He Himself does.  He is not speaking things into creation, but he is speaking names over it and whatever Adam speaks, whatever he calls them, that was the name thereof, and God ordained it to be so.

I believe (just my opinion), that when one works at something, be it dressing a garden or naming creatures or the like, there becomes more interest and more personal involvement compelling one to invest in the care of what God already created.  With that, Adam gave names to all.

God’s observation in verse 18 begins to stand out even more in verse 20 where it states, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  After naming the animals, was it now apparent, or more apparent to Adam himself that there just was no one else like him?  Again, we don’t know, but what we do know is that the reiteration of this point means that God wanted it especially noted and referenced.

Twice in this lesson, the need for a help meet appropriate for Adam is implied and stated.  Twice we sense that deep longing for companionship.  Twice we see Adam didn’t have anybody to relate to on his level.  These are all things that can be associated with the not good that God stated at the beginning of this lesson.  Nevertheless, God is getting ready to take that not good, and make something good.

Something Good

Genesis 2:21-22 “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept.  It was time for the first human surgery to commence.  This was not done by doctors in the medical field who have piled on degrees to learn about the human body.  This was done by Him who created the human body from the mere dust of the ground.

Awesome!

Using the first case of anesthesia, Adam slept.  As with modern day anesthesia he was completely under, knocked out, and totally unconscious.  This was done that God might create the help meet he needed as a companion, and He was going to do this in a special way.

Taking one of Adam’s ribs, God made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”  Why did God decide to make Eve in a different way than He did Adam?  There’s a lot of speculation with no definitive answer.  All we know is God left a very detailed and illustrated version of Eve coming into existence differently than Adam.

Most seem to suggest this was done to exhibit unity in the human race as well as unity in marriage.  We do know that Genesis 1:27 states, “In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  The woman may have been formed differently from the man, but she too was important; she was made also “in the image of God.” 

Then, God brought her unto the man.  As a gift most precious, the woman was presented to the man from God.  In his eyes, she was definitely something good to behold as the next verses suggest.

Genesis 2:23-25 “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Adam’s reaction when he saw Eve was priceless!  “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” he exclaimed.  Some way or another, Adam was made aware of the procedure that transpired and when he saw the woman he immediately recognized her as being the result of that procedure; her as being from him.

Adam’s declaration is she is no longer just a part of his body, rather now, meaning presently, after God created her – she is fully and completely of him and from him from the inside out.  Saying bone of my bones may be a hint to the inside, and flesh of my flesh could be a hint to the outside (from the inside out).

Notice also Adam’s use of the word my twice which not only shows unity but could he be speaking as if he now has a responsibility to her and for her because she is now a permanent part of his life?

She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Although I have referred to the Woman as Eve several times throughout this lesson, she does not actually take on that name until Genesis 3:20.  I referenced her as Eve for familiarity purposes.

Here, we see Adam’s first response was to call her Woman.  She was a part of man, but different from man.  Some like to say that she was the feminine side of mankind.  Regardless of what one thinks, one thing of note is that both the words Man and Woman are capitalized.  At this time their proper names weren’t being used by each other, therefore the need for capitalization of their human titles.

Notice also the emphasis placed on the phrase she was taken out of man (compare 1 Timothy 2:13; 1 Corinthians 11:8)This is the reiteration of her origin as being different from Adam and all other created beings.  They were from the ground, from dust – but, not her.  She was a special order.  She was for a purpose (compare 1 Corinthians 11:9).  She had a special role that would make her one hundred percent completely compatible for Adam.  She is that something good that would come and overshadow what was not good, and with this special design on her life, she was the perfect help meet for Adam.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.  When God looked at Adam and saw that it was not good for him to be alone, we see He remedied the situation.  Now, she becomes a priority to the man.  The word cleave means to “cling.”  She was taken out of him and now his job is to adhere himself to her, stay with her and make himself available to her and to love her.  That sounds like marriage vows already.  In fact, many view this as a snapshot of what a marriage relationship should look like (compare to the Apostle Paul’s teachings in Ephesians 5:28-33).

The idea of cleaving is also showing a strong level of commitment, fostering an environment where intimacy and love can be cultivated and nourished.  It is in this relationship where those needs that were once unmet, can now be met in this God-ordained, suitable partner for life as one flesh together (compare Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).  Whatever brought attention to the Man’s previous “alone” state can now be fully satisfied and fulfilled with the gift of the Woman.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  When my youngest was in Pre-K, I volunteered a lot at her school.  Her teacher was very thorough in all areas of subject, but had a deep appreciation and interest in art.  One of my assignments with the students was to go through an art catalog and show different works to the students (they had a field trip coming up to the museum).  I was to point out and ask about lines, shading, shapes, and such in the works.

Before releasing me to the students she made sure to emphasize the need to stay away from “inappropriate” works, namely naked works, and with good reason.  The time of Eden is over, and these types of materials are usually looked upon with a certain amount of shame.  A quick search on the internet and in books telling the story of Adam and Eve will hide their nakedness behind trees and leaves, or something else.

But, in our lesson, innocence abounded, and they were both naked… and were not ashamed.”  During this period, there was nothing present that could make them feel ashamed.  There was no sin and no wrong.  They were completely pure.  The need to cover came immediately after they sinned (see Genesis 3:6-7).  As soon as their “eyes were opened… they knew they were naked.”  But here, as God originally made them, they had no reason to be ashamed. 

Adam and Even could enjoy an unhindered relationship God blessed them with to meet the capacity of human need.  In Eve, the help meet God designed for Adam, the void that was once present could now be filled.

 

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes for teaching): Sunday School Lesson - A Help Meet for Adam

Adult Journal Page – Adult Journal Page – A Prayer for My Family

Kids Journal Page – Kids Journal Page – A Prayer for My Family

Better Together Craft:  Using the Better Together Craft pdf template, create this craft following the directions as a reminder of God’s great design.

Memory Verse: A Help Meet for Adam Memory Verse

Draw the Scene: A Help Meet for Adam Draw the Scene

Word Search: Help Meet for Adam Word Search  Answers: Help Meet Word Search Answers

Crossword: A Help Meet for Adam Crossword  Answers: A Help Meet for Adam Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: A Help Meet for Adam Word Scramble  Answers: A Help Meet for Adam Word Scramble Answers

“The Power of God” Sunday School Lesson, Job 26:1-14

Above Photo: Pixabay/paulbr75

 

VERSE DISCOVERY: Job 26:1-14 (KJV, Public Domain)

Many are familiar with the history of Job and how his story arrived at this chapter in the Bible and the reasoning for the state that he was in (see Job 1&2 for the story behind the beginnings of his afflictions).

In the chapter prior to this lesson, chapter 25, Bildad, one of Job’s friends who came originally to console Job, who then became one of his accusers, spoke against Job’s complaint. 

You see, Job is in the hardest battle of his life.  In some ways he appears to feel alone and can’t find God in the midst of this mess he is in (23:2-9), but he firmly holds on to his faith and states, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold,” (23:9). 

But, after Job’s recitation of the wrongs he sees being done in the world (chapter 24), his friend Bildad gives a little speech of his own, to the which, we find Job’s rebuttal in the verses below.

Words Without Power

Job 26:1-4 “But Job answered and said, How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?”

But Job answered.  This was the ninth time Job speaks and it is against his friends in rebuttal and he had a lot to say about them and the words they used against him.  A lot of words are flowing from their mouths but they have no power to help.

The words we speak out of our mouths can either edify (build up) others or tear them down.  Proverbs tell us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof,” (18:21).  Proverbs also tell us, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise,” (10:19).

Yet, refraining their lips were something Job’s friends had a great deal of difficulty doing.  They just knew that Job was the cause of all his troubles, and they had no problem telling him their opinions.  Repeatedly, they opened their mouth against their friend, and repeatedly, instead of encouraging and comforting him, they attacked him with venomous words that weren’t adding to Job’s circumstance, but they were taking away from him.

Job’s rebuttal to Bildad’s last speech was to question how have their words helped him?  He has been wrung through the wringer of life and he couldn’t even find strength in the counsel of friends.  No wonder he once referred to them as miserable comforters’ (Job 16:2).

Job lost everything physically and relationally close to him.  All his possessions are gone.  His children are no more.  His wife was acting like a “foolish woman” (Job 2:10).  And as for his friends, where is the sympathy and compassion he thought he would receive in such troubling times?

Rather, before the eyes of his friends, Job seems to be nothing.  They don’t look at him the same way they used to look at him.  To them, he is not righteous, he has no integrity, and he needs to have a one on one with God to get things right.  They see no value in the man they once highly esteemed and they had no problem telling him about himself.

Job was weak and had nothing and their words did nothing to strengthen him (compare Isaiah 41:28).

Job lamented their false words and so-called wisdom which they attempted, in their own way, to counsel him by (compare Psalm 71:9-12).  Sarcastically, he stated, How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?  Their words were many but did very little to relieve all that Job was feeling or going through.  At the end of Job’s story, God had something to say about the words they so plentifully aimed at Job.  He said, “Now take seven bulls and seven rams, go to my servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. Then my servant Job will pray for you. I will surely accept his prayer and not deal with you as your folly deserves. For you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has,” (Job 42:8; emphasis mine; refer back to Proverbs 10:19).  Through their own wisdom they thought they were helping, but in truth, their words didn’t help at all.

While Job may have questioned the words Bildad and the others uttered against him, and the spirit from which these words were inspired, one thing Job didn’t question in this chapter was the greatness of God’s power.

God All-Powerful

Job 26:5-6 “Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.”

God is not limited in His ability to see all and to know all.  He is “omniscient” which means “all-knowing.”  As Jonah found out in his story, there is no place one can run or hide and not have God be fully aware of it.  Even David once asked the rhetorical question for which he already knew the answer: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7).  David then followed it up with this monumental statement of faith: “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there,” (Psalm 139:8).

Years before David’s proclamation on the all-knowing capabilities of God, Job pronounced that even the places where the dead, and hell, and destruction are; these horrid places beyond the capacity of man’s reach, their goings-on are completely opened before God as if they were naked and had no covering.

God’s power sees everything!  There is no place, no situation, no heart, no anything that is out of His reach to see and know about.  All our lives are truly an opened book before His greatness, and even when we pass off the scene, He knows us in those places as well.

God knows all that goes on in the heavens and the unlimited reaches of the universe that humanity can’t even begin to scratch the surface on knowing.  God knows what goes on in every corner of the earth, with every participant of humanity.  And yes, God even knows the places where the dead reside, no matter who or where they are.

They recognize Him and fear and tremble before His presence.  How much more should the living?

Job 26:7-14 “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?”

As Creator, God’s power is responsible for putting everything in its ordered place.

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place (compare Genesis 1:2; Job 9:8).  This is referring to the heavens.  We are told in the very beginning of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1).  God is the Author and Designer of all places, things, and life.  God’s power alone is responsible for the creation of even the heavens (north) (compare 1 Chronicles 16:26; Nehemiah 9:6; Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; 51:13 – just to name a few).  “Ah LORD GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee,” (Jeremiah 32:17).

He hangeth the earth upon nothing.  It is amazing that Job had this insight of the universe in a time before the modern use of space exploration tools and technology.  The earth is just where God placed it, rotating on an axis that nobody can see, orbiting millions of miles around the sun each year, while being held on seemingly nothingness, yet there it is, perfectly placed by God’s power.  Jeremiah tells us, “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding,” (51:15).  In essence, God’s power and wisdom are all that is needed to hang the earth on nothing!

He bindeth up waters in his thick clouds.  As Job thinks about God’s power, perhaps he’s looking skyward where he notices the clouds.  Upon seeing them, maybe he is awestruck at their beauty and how God collects the waters in them and they float along the lines of the sky and the cloud is not rent under them.  Oh, in their due time, rains will come.  But isn’t it amazing all the waters that are gathered by way of vapors and held in each one, and despite their size, mass, and weight, they dance along on the currents of the winds and travel wherever they may without them busting?

The power of God is responsible for the creation of the clouds and rains as well. “For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly,” (Job 36:27-28). Oh, what insight Job had of the Almighty!

He holdeth back the face of his throne speaks of the covering of God’s majestic, heavenly seat by way of the very cloud over it.  As Moses was held safely in the cleft of the rock (Exodus 33:22), shadowed by the hand of God, that his eyes may not be overcome by the fullness of His glory, so too may the clouds cover the place of His glory, concealing the fullness of Him in His heavenly abode (compare Psalm 97:2; 104:1-3).

He hath compassed the waters with bounds.  Does Job look out on the horizon and see that circular marker in the sky that shows the limits of where dark and light meet, where day and night come to an end, and realize it’s there, too, because of God’s power (compare Proverbs 8:29; Isaiah 40:22)?  All evidence of Job’s speech points back to God the Creator and how it was nothing but His power that set everything in the heavens and the earth into motion and being.

The pillars of heaven (compare Psalm 75:3) can be likened to the mountain peaks which appear, to the human eye looking out, that they are holding up the very heavens themselves and the skies are resting upon them.  Yet, as strong and as majestic these great pillars may appear to be, they tremble at the power of God and are astonished at his reproof.  They quake in His presence and are in awe at the sound of His rebuke (compare Psalm 18:7 and Isaiah 5:25).  Everything in creation reacts to the presence and power of God.

He divideth the sea with his power.  The seas are often described as raging and out of control, but God’s power controls even these.  As the seas can be stirred by His power they can also be calmed by His power.  This is something Jesus proved true when the Son of God stood in the boat in the midst of the raging sea and demanded of it, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39) and it obeyed His voice.

By his understanding he smitteth through the proud or, “Rahab.”  There are many ideas of exactly who or what this is referring to.  But, all the proud will be crushed under Him whether it is speaking of the pride of the sea and/or creatures in it, the pride of evil, or the pride of nations such as Egypt; all will collapse and be brought down by the power of God.

Everything in creation was made by his spirit, (Spirit), or as some translate it, the very breath of God (In both the Hebrew and Greek the word “breath” is the same word for “spirit” and vice versa. Compare Psalm 33:6; John 20:22).  From the highest heights of the heavens and all their celestial bodies, including certain constellations, particularly the dragon, which in that day was synonymous to that of the crooked serpent (compare Job 9:8-9), everything came because He commanded it to be so. 

Note: Some see the serpent here as a physical animal on land or a sea creature, or even something of the spiritual nature, all which God most assuredly reigns over and can control.  But, here in this portion of Job, it most likely refers to the constellation.

When God spoke by His breath or Spirit in the beginning, those words formed and became the world and all that we see today.  Mankind may be able to invent things out of materials that already exist, but God, by His words, creates, and things come from nothing and begin to exist for His divine purposes (see Hebrews 11:3).  As Creator, He can raise them all up, and/or pierce them through at His holy desire.  Just because He is God!

Therefore, Job closes with this statement, Lo, these are parts of his ways.  All these beautiful descriptions that Job lays out about God’s power and His creative abilities and strength to form and hold all that is in the world, none of it can still scratch the vast surface of who He really is and what He is really capable of doing.  All that we may see and wonder over, are just a part of, or just the edge of His ways.  God is so much more.

What we can hear of Him amounts to no more than the littlest of whispers, or a little portion because He is so grand and majestic.  How we would be able to even comprehend the full thunder of powerWhat it all boils down to is, out of all that God has revealed to us through His creation, out of all the demonstrations of His power, we still only know the slightest parts of Him, we still can’t comprehend His greatness fully with our human intellect because He is just that powerfully awesome!

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes for teaching): Sunday School Lesson - The Power of God

Draw the Scene: The Power of God Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: The Power of God Memory Verse

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Job 26:7

Kids Journal Page: Journal Page Kids – Job 26:7

Blank Journal Pages: 2 Journal Pages

Earth Mobile Craft: Earth Mobile Craft

Word Search: The Power of God Word Search  Answers: The Power of God Word Search Answers

Crossword: The Power of God Crossword  Answers: The Power of God Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: The Power of God Word Scramble  Answers: The Power of God Word Scramble Answers

“A Prayer for an Obedient Faith” Sunday School Lesson Summary and Activities, Daniel 9:4-8, 15-19

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“A Prayer for an Obedient Faith”

Daniel 9:4-8, 15-19

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Introduction:

“I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes,” (Daniel 9:3). 

And, this is exactly where we find Daniel in today’s lesson: in prayer.  Praying, not just for himself or some random course of events.  He is interceding on behalf of his people as a whole.

Daniel knew throughout the years of their history God’s people have sinned.  Not only sinned but totally rejected God and His covenant.  Time and time, God sought to reconcile His people to Himself, but, alas, they would have none of it.  Which ultimately led to their time in captivity and being under control of enemy after enemy.  But, what Daniel also knew, was according to their history, and according to the word of God pronounced by the prophet Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2), the time of their captivity was almost up.  Deliverance was on the horizon.  Hope was in their future of returning home once more, and so Daniel prayed.  He prayed a prayer that relied on nothing but God’s mercy and righteousness that forgives and works beyond their iniquities and sins.

This lesson is important in our own walk of faith.  Anytime we are seeking to enrich our relationship with God, one of the most potent ways to do that is from the stance of prayer and repentance.  It’s a heart that is personally yearning not just for deliverance, but more of God and to be right and restored to Him.  In that, one realizes, as Daniel did, the frailty of our flesh and power, opposite His greatness and righteousness.

We take these words and glean from them that we might learn to have an obedient faith as well.

Daniel 9:4 “And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.”

“I prayed unto the Lord my God.”  “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” (Corrie ten Boom/Quote Source: Crosswalk).  For Daniel, prayer was his steering wheel.  He didn’t just pull it out of his spiritual trunk whenever he needed it.  If you remember, back in Daniel 6, his dedication to God and prayer is what caused him to be thrown into the lion’s den.  So, prayer to him is not a foreign concept and it shouldn’t be for any child of God.  Daniel had a strong prayer life and after reading and studying and realizing the time was almost at hand for their freedom to break loose from their captors, Daniel prayed all the more, with fasting, in the humble fashion of wearing sackcloth and donning ashes (Daniel 9:3).

“And made my confession.”  1 John 1:9 is a widely known verse in Scripture.  It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  The word “confess” simply means to acknowledge.  Acknowledging that one is a sinner and has sinned is the key to receiving God’s forgiveness.

With humbleness of heart and spirit, Daniel is in this process of acknowledging their own sinfulness as a people who are supposed to be holy and in a covenant.  But, before he gets that far, his faith recognizes, and his mouth speaks of the character and love of this great God they serve.  “O Lord, the great and dreadful God” he speaks, inspiring praise and worship and reverential awe at His wonderfulness.  True prayer approaches God, recognizing fully who He is (compare Matthew 6:9).

Not only recognizing who He is, but what He does.  “Keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.”  Faith keeps in mind the love God has for people and the mercies He seeks to extend to them.  Daniel has found God to be nothing but faithful to every word He has promised.

When their history taught them from the very beginning of their deliverance from Egyptian captivity that God shows, “lovingkindness unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments,” (Exodus 20:6), Daniel takes that to heart even in his day and remembers God is not slack concerning His promises; that he will do what He said He would do.  And, although he recognizes in the next verse they, as a people are far from the keepers of the covenant they should be, God will always hold up to His end of what He has committed Himself to.

There is a direct correlation in “keeping” and “keep” in this verse.  He keeps His covenant when we keep His commandments.  But, what happens when we, not He, fall through the cracks and not live up to what we are called to do.

It is that very event that has driven Daniel to his knees in prayer, seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God to restore that proper balance between God and His people.  While humanity may fall short, we depend on God who never has.

Daniel 9:5-6 “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:  Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.”

After expressing the awesomeness and faithfulness of God in prayer, Daniel admits and confesses the not so awesome state of the people.  All these words noted, Daniel said we did it all.  In our lives, we have wronged God.  In interceding and sharing the responsibility with the people, although his personal faith and walk with God was strong, Daniel was identifying himself nationally as a whole, as God’s covenant people.

Sin is sin, no matter how we describe it: “sinned… committed iniquity… done wickedly… departing from thy precepts and judgments,” all of it equals to we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.  These very words are echoed in other portions of the Bible (compare Psalm 106:6).  True confession and repentance does not come without one accepting personal responsibility for what they have done.  Before they can move forward into a positive future, the sin of yesterday and today must be dealt with.  This is what Daniel is seeing to.

A heart or a nation or a people that is not moved toward true repentance isn’t really seeking God as the head of their lives.  And, true repentance starts as Daniel started it, knowing and admitting, they, as a people, were not fitly walking in the holiness of God.  They have turned away from Him and departed from His “precepts and judgments.”  Their lives were opposite of His standard and they needed to repent; they needed an obedient faith.

“Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets.”  For hundreds of years, God chased after the heart of His people.  God had repeatedly tried to navigate his people back on the right path of righteousness through chosen men who carried His word to the people.  But, with hearts of stone and ears stopped at their hearing, the people refused to listen to those life-saving, soul-saving words.

Some of the prophets God used during this specific time of their captivity and before were Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who cried out, “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years,” (Jeremiah 25:11); and, “A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished,” (Ezekiel 21:9) prophesying also of Babylon against His people (see Ezekiel 21:2).  Despite these warnings, the people persisted to chase after false ways and turned their back on the truth of all that God is.

Outside of those men, God used others to call His people back to their first love found in Him, but they still refused to listen.  2 Kings 17 tells us, “Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statues, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.  Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers that did not believe in the LORD their God,” (vss. 13-14; read verses 13-23).

The word had gone out.  God’s holy message of warnings was delivered.  The response from the people was nonexistent.  Therefore, they went into captivity, out of which Daniel now prays, recognizing the fault lies in the bosom of people and leaders, including “our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land;” people of note who should’ve been directing people closer to God instead of further away from Him.

Daniel 9:7-8 “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.  O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.”

In his prayer, Daniel attributes to God His due, and to the sinful people of his land and history, he calls them out by the shame they have displayed.

“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces,” is a portion of prayer that sounds very similar to that of Nehemiah when he said, “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly,” (Nehemiah 9:33).  There is no fault in the face of God for what the people have faced.  If they didn’t like their captivity, it’s not because God chose for them to be there, it’s because they, through the choices they made, that chose for them to be there.  God maintains His integrity through it all.  God maintains His “righteousness.” 

The fault, once again pointed out, lies in the heart of the unfaithful people compared to their faithful God.  Thus, they have “confusion of faces” and bear the humiliation and shame of those choices.  They are the reason they are in captivity.  It is because of “their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.”

Sin separates God’s children from Him and His promises physically and spiritually.  Physically, it took them out of their country; and, spiritually, it left their soul adrift, floating on the ebbs and flows of the false and the unknown, untethered from their true Anchor.

Sin also contaminates every area of life and it destroys everything it comes into contact with causing one to lose out on the blessings of God.  Sin is not just a naughty choice someone made.  Sin is not just a vice or a misbehavior of some sort.  Sin is a destroyer.  Sin will collapse all that is good.  Sin is an offense against God!  The people were scattered and sent into captivity because of their sins and Daniel does not beat around the bush or sugar coat in admitting their “trespass against” God!  And, no one is spared or excused from this prayer of confession.  “Our kings… princes… fathers…,” Daniel continued, “We have sinned against thee.”

After the which, Daniel continued in his prayer expressing God’s mercies and forgiveness compared to the rebellious heart of the people (Daniel 9:9).  Daniel said, “Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets,” (Daniel 9:10; not in today’s printed text).  Everything they have experienced regarding their captivity has been due to a lack of obedient faith.  Disobedience equals disaster.  The evil they have dealt with was because of their lack of a personal relationship with God.  They have not prayed to Him and kept themselves before Him “that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth,” (Daniel 9:13; not in today’s printed text).  But now, Daniel is praying for a reversal of it all.  Despite their sins, Daniel is leaning on the faithfulness of God to deliver as He has done before.

Daniel 9:15-16 “And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.  O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.”

When one is personally devoted in their relationship to God and personally devoted to prayer, it’s not hard to reflect on one’s relationship with God and where He has brought them from, brought them through, and the paths He has walked with them along the way.  There is no stretch of the imagination to look back and see and rejoice over previous deliverances He has gotten for His people.

Daniel wasn’t alive back then but readily recalls their history of God’s power of deliverance for His people from Egyptian bondage (vs. 15).  God is the one who “brought thy people forth.”  In one of the most fantastic stories of the Bible, this event expresses God’s power at work for His people through plagues and miracles unheard of such as a great sea standing aright and allowing passage on dry ground for people to walk.  The fame of God went out not only through the hearts of His people, but those of other lands heard of the great power of this great God and “hast gotten thee renown,” (compare to Rahab’s testimony in Joshua 2:10-11).  The name of God had gone out.  People and nations knew that the children of Israel are the people of God and that God had their back.  

Rather than magnify His name further, the people “have done wickedly.”  Their sinful acts and broken relationship didn’t publish His greatness.  In their unholy living, they detracted from the praise and honor that should have been going to God and became a people of captivity.

So, Daniel prays, “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain.”  “Not because of what we have done, but because of who You are, O God, in Your “righteousness,” please, turn your “anger” away from us, Your people,” is in essence, what his petition was.  Daniel prayed for a reversal of all that befell them contingent on the wonderfulness of God.

Rather than a people of praise, they have become a people of “reproach.”  This word matches the shame and “confusion of face” they were described as before.  They have disgraced the name of God as His holy people, but through it all, Daniel is praying for God to intervene and bring to a close this time of punishment in captivity.

Daniel 9:17-19 “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.  O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”

“Hear the prayer of thy servant,” was his plea.  One can get a sense of the earnest cry of the heart that must be mixed with those humble words as he makes his petition to God.  The people have been separated from God long before the desolation of the temple, but Daniel prays for God’s “face to shine upon thy sanctuary” once more.  Daniel is praying for wholeness, favor, and restoration for the people of God and their worship of Him. 

“For the Lord’s sake.”  As His chosen people, the children of Israel were the people whom God used to show what He is all about to the world (compare Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Isaiah 43:10-12).  The testimony of who God is to the other nations is attached to these people who are called by His name.  People often attribute to God what they see manifested in His people.

Daniel knows, it is not their own “righteousnesses” he is leaning on for this prayer to be answered, for it is not with them as a people.  A similar sentiment is expressed in Isaiah where he noted, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” (64:6).  Even if they were good, which their wickedness noted earlier speaks against that idea, they still wouldn’t be good enough.  Rather, Daniel is basing his petition and supplication for God’s intervention because of “thy great mercies.” 

The children of Israel aren’t the only ones who depend on the mercy of God.  We, as well, rely solely on His goodness and compassion toward His people.  We depend on His grace, that unmerited favor, that paves the way when pardon shouldn’t have been granted.

For this Daniel prays, “Open thine eyes, and behold our desolations.”  God is always attentive to the needs of His people.  He has never clocked out of any situation that they or we are involved in.  But, as stated before, sin gets in the way of that openness one has with God and works as a hindrance to the fulness one can experience in Him (compare Isaiah 59:2).  With the thoughts of deliverance on the horizon, perhaps Daniel was ready, almost pleading for the performance of the promise of the ending of the captivity to be taken on behalf of his people.

So, Daniel ends this prayer with a simple, “O Lord, forgive.”  This is what every true, repentant confession seeks after, the forgiveness of God.  With forgiveness comes release and restoration of the offender; another chance.

“O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake” puts some urgency behind the prayer.  “Don’t delay, O God!  Let Your name be glorified, O God when the nations see that You are still in the saving business; You are still true to deliver Your people, according to Your holy Word!  For we, “thy city and thy people are called by thy name.  They know we belong to You, and now they will know of Your power when You bring us out.  When we return home, Your glory will be magnified!”

Conclusion:

James 5:6 tells us, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Daniel prayed and interceded for his people and their deliverance from captivity.  Moses was a man, too, who had to act as a go-between for God and man when the people rebelled and worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32:30-35).  And, our Lord Jesus Christ became the ultimate intercessor to man, not just through prayer, but through His shed blood for all those that believe on Him.

May Daniel’s prayer inspire us to seek God earnestly and to walk in an obedient faith before Him.

Standard Print PDF: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Sunday School Lesson Summary Standard Print

Large Print PDF: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Sunday School Lesson Summary Large Print

Below are activities to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

Word Search: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Word Search  Answers: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Word Search Answers

Crossword: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Crossword  Answers: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Word Scramble  Answers: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Word Scramble Answers

Activity Sheet: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Activity Sheet

Memory Verse: A Prayer for an Obedient Faith Memory Verse

Below are Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

“Daniel Understands the Times”

“Daniel Responds to God’s Word”

“Daniel Praying Coloring Page”

“Praying Hands Dot to Dot”

“Praying Maze”

“1 John 1:9 Coloring Bible Verse”

“Hangman”:  This old game is excellent for lesson reinforcement.  Simply print the worksheet from Printactivities.com, get your verses or phrases from the lesson you want to use or the students want to use with each other, play and enjoy!  (A single hangman page can be found atThetripclip.com.  Enjoy!) (Great for memory verses!)

“Memory Verse Activities for Any Lesson”

“Memory Activities for Sunday School”

“Sketching Bible Memory Verse”

“Create Your Own Memory Verse Activities”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

“Called to Preach Christ” | Sunday School Activities for Acts 9:10-20

Hey guys, thanks stopping by and visiting!   I am glad you like this site.  Please go to my Facebook and like me there. I look forward to seeing you!

Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!

“Called to Preach Christ”

Acts 9:10-20

Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well.  Blessings!)

Please note: there are no printable lessons, only activities available, until after Labor Day.  However, there are some notes on a previous lesson titled “Saul Preaches Christ!” which you may find useful. 

Below are activities to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

Word Search: Called to Preach Christ Word Search  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Word Search Answers

Crossword: Called to Preach Christ Crossword  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Called to Preach Christ Word Scramble  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Word Scramble Answers

Memory Verse: Called to Preach Christ Memory Verse

Draw the Scene: Called to Preach Christ Draw the Scene

Below are Activities/Resources/Links to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

“Animated Bible Story of Saul of Tarsus” (A great and short video showing today’s lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Paul’s Conversion Sunday School” 

“Saul on the Road to Damascus Coloring Sheet for Older Students”

“Saul’s Conversion: Tell it your way printable” (Two thumbs up!)

“The Big Change Activities and Illustrated Story”

“Paul’s Conversion Activities” (Including mazes, puzzles, dot to dot and more).

“The Transformer” (Printable activities and group activities including “Transformer Teams and “Transforming Musical Chairs.”  And of course, with all this transforming talk why not throw in an actual Transformer action figure.  So cool! Enjoy!)

“Paul’s Conversion” (Ok, this is so cool! This site shows you how to use the “Sorry” board game and “Guess-tures” to make learning this lesson in an awesomely unique way.  Enjoy!)

“Saul of Tarsus Flip Chart” (Can even be downloaded on Ipads, tablets and projectors.  Enjoy!)

“Saul Loved God Song and Coloring Sheet”

“Saul is Converted Coloring and Activities”

Above Image Provided by: Pixabay

top children's ministry blogs

“Called to Preach Christ” | Sunday School Activities for Acts 9:10-20

Hey guys, thanks stopping by and visiting!   I am glad you like this site.  Please go to my Facebook and like me there. I look forward to seeing you!

Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!

“Called to Preach Christ”

Acts 9:10-20

Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well.  Blessings!)

Please note: there are no printable lessons, only activities available, until after Labor Day.  However, there are some notes on a previous lesson titled “Saul Preaches Christ!” which you may find useful. 

Below are activities to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

Word Search: Called to Preach Christ Word Search  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Word Search Answers

Crossword: Called to Preach Christ Crossword  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Called to Preach Christ Word Scramble  Answers: Called to Preach Christ Word Scramble Answers

Memory Verse: Called to Preach Christ Memory Verse

Draw the Scene: Called to Preach Christ Draw the Scene

Below are Activities/Resources/Links to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

“Animated Bible Story of Saul of Tarsus” (A great and short video showing today’s lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Paul’s Conversion Sunday School” 

“Saul on the Road to Damascus Coloring Sheet for Older Students”

“Saul’s Conversion: Tell it your way printable” (Two thumbs up!)

“The Big Change Activities and Illustrated Story”

“Paul’s Conversion Activities” (Including mazes, puzzles, dot to dot and more).

“The Transformer” (Printable activities and group activities including “Transformer Teams and “Transforming Musical Chairs.”  And of course, with all this transforming talk why not throw in an actual Transformer action figure.  So cool! Enjoy!)

“Paul’s Conversion” (Ok, this is so cool! This site shows you how to use the “Sorry” board game and “Guess-tures” to make learning this lesson in an awesomely unique way.  Enjoy!)

“Saul of Tarsus Flip Chart” (Can even be downloaded on Ipads, tablets and projectors.  Enjoy!)

“Saul Loved God Song and Coloring Sheet”

“Saul is Converted Coloring and Activities”

Above Image Provided by: Pixabay

top children's ministry blogs