Sunday School Lesson – “The Patience of God” 2 Peter 3:9-15a

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

VERSE DISCOVERY: 2 Peter 3:9-15a (KJV, Public Domain)

Waiting for things and promises to come to pass can be extremely hard sometimes.  Especially if you have been hearing it for a while but have yet to see the fruition of it.  This is a matter that Peter addressed in this portion of his letter.  The gospel has been preached for some time by now.  Those that believed were hopefully waiting for the promises preached to come to pass.  They’ve heard the story of Jesus’ ascension and the urging to keep focused for His return.  Yet, the scoffers (unbelievers) were making it hard to hold onto their faith.  They ridiculed their beliefs and mocked their devotion.

Peter taught there’s a different end for us who are believers than for those who are unbelievers.  Those that believe should never let go of the promise that He is coming back again regardless of how long it seems to us.  Just look at this way, we are thanking God for His patience and longsuffering because it gives more people a chance to be saved.  I think that’s well worth the wait, don’t you?

Scoffers May Disbelieve

2 Peter 3:3 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,”

“Knowing this first.”  Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.”  Yet, it still amazes us when we go through hardship.  We are still taken aback at any signs of adversity.  Here, Peter said the “first” thing you should know is there are going to be “scoffers.”  There are going to be people who don’t believe what you believe and because they don’t, they will mock, ridicule, and make fun of you for what you believe in.

If you have ever watched a clown perform you have probably laughed.  Why?  Because much of their performance is mocking the actions of another and the way they jokingly do it tickles our funny bone.  “Scoffers” work in much the same way except it’s not funny at all.   I think if we had the predetermined mindset to “know” these things will happen it will prepare us for when those times do come.  Especially in these “last days,” referring to the time between the first and second return of Christ.   

“Walking after their own lusts.”  The word “lusts” has an s on the end of it signifying that there are various pursuits of ungodliness that the unbeliever and scoffer delve into.  They scorn and mock that which is right with the end purpose of being able to do what they want to do.  If they convince themselves there is no return of Christ to look forward to, then what is there that would prohibit living a life of sin and dishonor.  If they believe there will be no repercussions to their current actions and lifestyle choices now, why would they stop pursuing those things and ideas they desire to pursue, even though they are wrong.

We see this attitude alive in the world now.  We see Christians are rallied against because they raise a standard in their life and take a stand for their beliefs, yet at the same time, the mindset of the world is the Christian better not say anything about the beliefs of others.  For if they do then they are considered intolerant of others for not supporting their lifestyles.  All so that the unbeliever/scoffer can continue “walking in their own lusts.”  “Lusts” are sinful desires that go against the plan and design that God has for humanity.

2 Peter 3:4 “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

A large part of gospel preaching and teaching is focusing on and preparing people for the return of Christ because their eternity hangs in the balance.  Since the scoffer is not looking toward the same heavenly treasure as the believer and does not believe themselves that this event will take place, their job is to try to tear down and even use human reasoning against those who are awaiting God’s promise through the return of Christ.

“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  Their reasoning, yesterday came and went, and nothing happened.  Last year came and went and nothing happened.  As a matter of fact, since the world was created, days and years came and went, and nothing happened.  You keep saying it, but “Where is the promise of his coming?”

Most people base everything they believe or don’t believe on what they see with their natural eyes and their short-sighted minds.  When the unbeliever looks down through history, they don’t see the chain of events that brought salvation to mankind.  They don’t see the promise of good that God has stored up for our futures.  They don’t see the fulfilling prophecies that brought God’s kingdom closer to man.  When they look down through history all they see is a normal course of events that has continued uninterrupted.  They don’t see this beautiful, epic love story where God tries to woo mankind back to Himself.  Therefore, they can’t fathom this incredible promise either.  To them, nothing has changed.  Since they don’t see it, they don’t mind letting their hatred for those of us who do see it show.  They ridicule and mock the one who believes in the return of Christ (compare Jude 1:18-19).  They trust that everything will remain as it has since the beginning of creation.

2 Peter 3:5-7 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

“They willingly are ignorant.”  Here it states that this is one’s choice in the matter of whether they believe or not believe.  God is not going to arm wrestle someone into faith.  God has blessed every human being with a free will, and they are the ones who will choose whether or not they will follow Him.

“Willingly” implies truth or no truth, they will not comply.  Their minds are made up to purposely follow a life of sin and what they believe or disbelieve to be true and right, regardless of the evidence before them.  Here, their ignorance will not allow them to believe in the order of Creation as stated in the Bible or any other biblical truths that follow.  For too long man has opposed God’s truth to his own finite theories of evolution and reasoning on how the world came to be.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” (Genesis 1:1-2).  Before God stepped in there was just chaos.  Our lesson speaks of “the earth standing out of the water and in the water.”  This was God’s doing!   Nothing that we see in this world today existed nor did it evolve from some species.  But on the third day of creation, God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place, and let dry land appear: and it was so.  And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering of together of the waters called he seas: and God saw that it was good,” (Genesis 1:9-10).

Though the order of creation is apparent and evident some still choose to disbelieve.  The apostle Paul said this doesn’t excuse them.  “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:20).

And, it is by those same waters that God stepped into history and judged mankind for his sin once before through the great Flood (see Genesis 6:6:5-7; 7:11-24; compare 2 Peter 3:6 of the lesson text), therefore Peter teaches, He will do it again!  Whether or not one is looking for it, the time of final judgment will come.

Scoffers laugh and jeer because God is taking so long for the time of His coming when they should be rejoicing that He is taking His time.  Instead, they use this time to indulge in evil.  “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil,” (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

In God’s proper timing, when He is ready, He will, “by the same word” He spoke during those times speak again and everything that we see around us today will perish.  Jesus Himself stated that “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” (Matthew 24:35; emphasis mine).  Psalm 102:26 tells us, “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure…” (emphasis mine).  One day, their hope, which is not in God, will die.  Yet, they still ignore the one who will “endure.”  Go figure?

Still, God is patient today, but there will come a time for “judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”  He is reserving everything for that fulfilling time.  For now, He is holding back His “word” for that “day of judgment.”  But then, everything that was spoken of for that day will happen and the ungodly will perish.  There is a different end for the wicked as opposed to those who believe.  “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup,” (Psalm 11:6).  It will happen!

…But God is Not Slack

2 Peter 3:8-9 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

But we, as His children, are not to operate in “ignorance.”  We are to be fully aware of the ways of God.  One thing is, God is not on a timetable such as we are.  We mark our days by when the sun rises and sets at night.  We mark our seasons by the temperature in the air, the budding or non-budding of plants, and by the harvests we reap.  We mark our lives by age milestones.  When you are a child you can’t wait to hit the double-digit numbers and be 10.  After that, other milestones are marked such as when becoming a teenager (13), sweet sixteen, at 18 you are considered a legal adult and so forth.

God is infinite.  He cannot be marked by time.  “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty, (Revelation 1:8).  There never a time when He wasn’t because He always was!  With that being said, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

“For the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.”  God is not an unreliable resource to depend upon like man.  Many get confused along the way because they attribute man’s faulty characteristics to the holy and perfect God.  When someone promises something but takes a long time fulfilling it, we tend to lose faith in that individual.  But God cannot be counted in the same category as man.  His not moving right now is not due to “slackness” or an inability to perform.  Habakkuk tells us, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry,” (2:3).  Shortly after that in the next verse, he says, “The just shall live by his faith,” (2:4b).  Every word of God for good or for bad, for happy or for sad, for those who believe or for those who don’t believe will come to pass!

For right now He is withholding His hand of final judgment so that as many people as possible can be saved.  For everyone out there, there is hope for salvation if they will just turn to Him and repent and be saved.  They don’t have to go out like that when God is waiting for them right now, right this moment.

God’s waiting won’t add to the demise of people.  Rather, His “longsuffering” is because He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Will all come and get into this life He offers through Jesus Christ?  No.  But God loves mankind so much that He wants to get as many people as possible out of that life of sin and unbelief that is seeking to take them down for all eternity.  God wants as many people as possible to be saved and living in heaven with Him.  How beautiful is His love toward us!

But people must repent!  They must turn to Him.  They must turn away from their old life; change their mind from their sinful thinking and living and turn to Him. A true, repentant heart admits that it has fallen short of the glory of God and is seeking restoration and salvation that only God can give through Jesus Christ our Lord.  “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye,” (Ezekiel 18:32).

2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the earth shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.”  There’s something to be said for preparing for the unknown.  In life, we put all kinds of securities in place such as home alarm systems to warn against intruders and we stock-up supplies in the event of some horrific storm.  Our future in Christ is not an unknown, yet, still knowing what will take place, some disregard all warnings.  Jesus said, “If the goodman had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up,” (Matthew 24:43).  Thieves are not known for announcing their arrival.  The element of surprise works in their favor.  It catches people off guard when they least expect it.  Here we are told that when we least expect it, it will happen.

“The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  Everything will be gone!  Nothing on this earth will last forever.  Yet, day by day, people put more stock in the things this world possesses and the “works” they can do with their own hands rather than God.  Therefore, Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” (Matthew 6:19) because the earth and all that is in it will vanish one day.  As stable and as strong as we think a mountain is, Revelation 16:20 tells us, “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”  All will “pass away!”  Peter’s emphasis for us is not what’s going to happen with the world for we should already be prepared for that.  His concern in dealing with the Christian is what’s happening with us personally.

Therefore, How We Live Matters

2 Peter 3:11 “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”  Since Peter already focused on the times and seasons of the future, he now wanted to focus on his readers and their inner man, and how they are representing themselves to the waiting world.  How do we live our lives considering our eternity?  Knowing that “all these things shall be dissolved” how do we let that information guide us in our life decisions and choices?  Do we act as carefree and irresponsible as those who live with no hope of a better future?  Or, do we make sure the faith we profess on the inside is shining like a beacon on the outside to draw even more people to Christ?

How we live matters!  Talk is cheap!  Actions speak louder than words!  We’ve heard those sayings most of our lives but usually only apply it to someone we are in an argument with.  What Peter really wants us to do is mind our own steps in life.  It’s easy to pick away at the life of another and the choices they have made when we are not as careful to judge our own.  Jesus asked, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).  Our eternity is not bound up here, rather we are pressing toward the goal of heaven.  We are working toward the end of salvation.  With that being said, we must mind “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”  We won’t have to answer for nobody but ourselves and how we lived.  And, how we will live matters!

2 Peter 3:12-14 “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

In these three verses, we see the word “look” three times.  At the time of this writing, Peter was nearing his end.  This would be the last letter he wrote so he knows something about waiting in expectation of a better future.  Hard times and trials tend to dash one’s hope.  But Peter expressed that “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth.”  We are not to stop anticipating the better that God has for us.  The unbelievers and scoffers live the way they live because they don’t have this assurance.  But we have the “promise.”  “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).  God is the author of the promise and God makes good on His promises; therefore, we should never stop looking! (see also Romans 8:31-39).

“Wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  Speaking of our eternal home, the Bible tells us, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life,” (Revelation 21:27).  A lot of works carried out by men and woman today will not see the light of heaven tomorrow.  “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God,” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Not on this list?  It doesn’t matter.  If one is not born again then they will not walk the streets of glory (see John 3:5).  Only the righteous will be there.  (This would be a good point to make a call to salvation for your students urging them to prepare themselves for that coming day).

“Be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace.”  When someone is diligent that means they are putting forth a conscientious effort to pay careful heed and give it their all.  Since that day is inevitable, and since we don’t know the day or the hour, we must be ready to “be found of him in peace.”  Romans tells us, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (1:18).  In that day, those that are not “found of him in peace,” will surely wish they were.

“Without spot and blameless.”  Israel was initially supposed to be the nation that would show the whole world how to have a relationship with God.  They were to be examples of His righteousness but failed.  Nevertheless, God had a plan to bring a Savior into the world “without blemish and without spot,” (1 Peter 1:19).  Now, we are being called to live like Jesus.  “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,” (1 John 2:6, see also 1 Peter 1:13-25 and Matthew 5:48).

2 Peter 3:15a “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”

“The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”  Have you ever really had an off day and thought to yourself that you were glad today was not the day when He came back?  Yeah, me too.  There are others that don’t know Him, and it is during this waiting period of His “longsuffering” they have a chance to accept and experience salvation.  His love compels Him to wait a little longer.  He won’t hold off forever, as the lesson has proven.  Things will change despite what the scoffers believe.  Our job in the process is to thank Him for His patience, hope in His coming, and live like we are in anticipation of the return of Christ, because we should be.

His longsuffering, which is stated twice in this lesson, is God’s patience at work in the best possible way.  Believe today and turn to the Lord for salvation.

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 – The Patience of God

Suggested Activities:

For a cute coloring page, go to SandwichINK

Object Lesson from Ministry-To-Children

Games and Activities that teach patience from MeaningfulMama

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – The Patience of God

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – The Patience of God

Blank Journal Pages: Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages

Draw the Scene: The Patience of God Draw the Scene

Word Search: The Patience of God Word Search  Answers: The Patience of God Word Search Answers

Crossword: The Patience of God Crossword  Answers: The Patience of God Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: The Patience of God Word Scramble  Answers: The Patience of God Word Scramble Answers

 

Advertisements

Sunday School Lesson – “The Branch and His Reign of Peace” Isaiah 11:1-10

Photo: Pixabay

VERSE DISCOVERY: Isaiah 11:1-10 (KJV, Public Domain)

The current situation of our culture and world is far removed from the idyllic picture of peace the prophet Isaiah foretold of in the verses covering the latter part of this lesson.  Just turning on the news in the morning spouts stories of evil, hatred, gossip, destruction, and lives torn apart due to the ravages of sin in this world.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if it were different?  What if we lived in a time when peace prevailed and our relationship with God was uninterrupted by sin?  There once was a time like that.  It was during the period of innocence with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

As we are continually dealing with the evils around us today, you too may have wondered for a time when the world knew nothing but the peace of God.  The good news is we have a renewal and restoration of such a time coming in our future.  For the people of God, one day we will be introduced to a world devoid of the hatred and sin we have become so accustomed to when our Savior, the prophesied Branch, comes back and takes His reign.

In the chapter before today’s text, where people are hearing such words as “Oh Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation,” Isaiah 10:5, there needed to be a measure of hope for the people to look forward to.  When God’s warnings go unheeded, He does what He must do to direct the hearts of sinful people back to Him.  God then sends them a promise of a remnant (Isaiah 10:20-23) and tells them, “Be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee . . .” (Isaiah 10:24).  It was going to get rough for the people and they would suffer punishment, but the promise was still up ahead for something so much more wonderful.

Have no fear, for those same instruments He uses, He will judge due to their own pride (see Isaiah 10:15-16; 33-34).  “He shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one,” (Isaiah 10:34).  But, for God’s people there is the promise of new growth that will arise and be a beacon of hope, ushering in peace unimaginable.

Isaiah then paints a beautiful picture for them and us to hold onto in chapter 11 (today’s text).  This world and all its trappings, fighting, and sin will not have the final say.  What’s up ahead is so much more glorious.  Just wait for the return of the Branch at His reign.

 The Branch

Isaiah 11:1-2 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”

Isaiah, the first of the Major Prophets and the author of this book, is known and called by many today as “the eagle eye prophet” for his ability to foresee the birth of Christ some 700 years before it occurred. Though much of his ministry was filled with rebuke and warnings to God’s people over their wicked ways, he was also able to encourage them through what the Lord allowed him to see in their future.

Some of the visions he saw went even beyond the birth of Christ into His future reign at His second coming.  This is magnificent when you think about it.  This prophet was allowed to see the first and second coming of our Savior King.  And, what he saw in correlation to the second coming was mind-blowing.  For those who are tired of the troubles of this world, there is a greater story up ahead and it starts with a glimpse of the past.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”  This verse and those following we identify as the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  As many Bible students are aware, Jesse is the father of King David.  Why is that significant?  The fact is God gave David a promise through the prophet Nathan saying, “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever,” (2 Samuel 7:16).

Although David and his descendants died and passed off the scene and saw corruption, there would still be a sprout that will grow from the roots of this family to secure that seat on that throne that shall be established forever.  There will be one who springs up from this royal lineage that will not see corruption, but rather reign forever (Acts 13:37).  And, His name is Jesus.

Of Him it was spoken of, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” (Luke 1:32-33).  From before the beginning to the end of His life Jesus was fulfilling the promise of this forever kingdom rule.  He is that prophesied rod and Branch Isaiah foretells of.

If you have ever cut back some plants and placed them in water and tend to them, they begin to grow roots and sprout new life to them.  A new and better life has always been God’s desire for His people which is why it was so important that they learn about this promised Branch and cleave to the hope of peace found in Him.  Prophesying of this Branch was not only something Isaiah foretold of but Jeremiah as well.

Jeremiah 23:5, supporting the imagery found in Isaiah, also prophesies of Christ as the Branch from David: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth,” (see also Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 33:17).

One more note on our Branch description of Jesus to solidify He is the fulfiller of these prophesies.  After His birth, His parents had to flee Bethlehem for fear of Him being killed by Herod.  This landed them in Egypt.  When it was time for Him to be safely returned to the area, God spoke to Joseph in a dream instructing him on what to do next.  In Matthew 2:23 these directions led them to Nazareth.  This was very important because as it reads: “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”  That word “Nazarene” is “nezer” or “netzer” in Hebrew which means “branch.”  The Bible could not be any clearer on who this true Branch is: Jesus Christ.

“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.”  The Branch is full of God’s Spirit.  When John the Baptist baptized Jesus it was evident that this was the Son of God by a sign that was given him. John 1:32-34 says, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”

PLEASE NOTE: Jesus did not “get” the Spirit at the time of His baptism.  Jesus has always been fully God, meaning, fully endowed with the Spirit, and fully man at the same time.

Anything done for God must be done through the Spirit.  Isaiah 42:1 also shows and prophesies, “I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment unto the Gentiles.”  Here in today’s text, we see He is empowered by the same Spirit authoritatively, justly, and perfectly to function in areas where normal man is limited by the finiteness of his humanity.  He will have “the spirit of wisdom and understanding . . . counsel and might . . . knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” 

These functions allow Him to be the ultimate righteous judge we see figured in the next few verses.

PLEASE NOTE: When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2 which begins with the words, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…”, and declared the same prophecy spoken therein was speaking of Him (see Luke 4:17-19).

Isaiah 11:3-5 “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.  And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”

The term “quick understanding in the fear of the LORD” simply means He justly and obediently operates and follow’s His life course to please the heavenly Father.  His life is as an aromatic offering of Himself.

“He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.”  One of the strongest things that condemn or acquit a person in our judicial system is evidence; the stuff that people see and hear that prove a case or not.  We rely on this in order to have fair and unbiased proceedings.  But, what if a situation comes where the evidence is just circumstantial and can’t really be trusted to condemn or not?

He, of whom this prophecy speaks of, will base His judgment on nothing other than “righteousness” which is the truest measure wherewith anything can be measured by.  He will make sure those that are considered the least of all; those who are usually not able to defend themselves – He will make sure they will have a just, fair, and right outcome.

His righteousness is mandated by His holiness.  His holiness and just judgment are directed by the power of the Spirit in and of Him which includes all those special areas as noted above: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.  He is completely empowered to discern, advise, and carry out His sovereign righteous reign.

“He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of lips shall he slay the wicked.”  2 Thessalonians 2:8 tells us, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”  No adversary, not even Satan himself, will be able to stand when the reigning Christ opens His mouth in judgment.

The Centurion, when Jesus was coming to his house to heal his servant, sent and said unto Him, “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed,” (Luke 7:6-7; emphasis mine).

In that coming day, when Jesus cracks the sky and returns, He will but speak a word “and with the breath of lips shall he slay the wicked” (compare His powerful words to Hebrews 4:12).  He will totally crush and destroy evil with the truth and right judgment that comes from His mouth.  He that it is spoken of that came to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) will ultimately face the same demise he tried to afflict on humanity.

“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”  As a belt that holds up a garment, He that is coming will be wrapped in “righteousness and faithfulness.”  What that means is all that He is, and all that He has, and all that He does is guarded and supported by some of the most precious qualities about Him: His righteousness which simply is to do that which is completely and perfectly right, just, and with the utmost integrity; and, His faithfulness which personifies His sure character of never failing and steadfastness.

Out of all the leaders throughout our history here on this earth and out of all the leaders we currently see in power or vying for position now, He is the only One empowered completely to reign right.

In other passages of Scripture we see, “The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself . . .” (Psalm 93:1), and “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak,” (Isaiah 59:17).  Our King is already now and will be then, dressed and ready to render proper justice in this world and no evil will be able to stand against His judgment.

His Reign of Peace

Isaiah 11:6-10 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Peace as we have never known before.  An age that resembles the innocence of living in the garden with God once again as He originally designed.  There’s a beauty here that can’t be missed.  A place now where only our imagination can take us until that promise of hope is finally fulfilled in that day.

Once I wrote an article titled Interruption of Peace, expressing in it how the enemy comes to steal peace that God gives, yet peace is His divine promise and blessing to us.  In it I talk about how peace is something that must be fought for; it’s about what we let dominate our lives (read article www.wordforlifesays.com).  But, here’s the blessed thing of that coming future day – we don’t have to fight for this peace.  We don’t have to struggle with the day to day issues of life to lay hold of it.  It is there.  It is our promise.  It is our hope.  It is what He has already secured for us and at His reign, we will know it like we have never known it before.

PLEASE NOTE: We I speak of “at His reign” I am speaking of the future day of fulfillment when Jesus returns a second time to rule forevermore.  Of course, as saints of God, we know that He is ruling even as we speak now.  We are not diminishing that; rather we are magnifying the extraordinary event that will take place in that day when the Branch comes and solidifies His reign of peace.  Oh, what a day that will be!

In that day, God’s creation will operate under a spirit of divine fellowship with one another as He originally created them to be.  There is no top of the food chain or bottom of the food chain status to worry about.  His peace; His righteousness will be felt by every being in nature and none shall be absent from the knowledge, the simple knowing, of who He is.

Animals that were at odds with one another, one hiding for fear of death and another seeking to satisfy a need to eat – it will all be done away with.  These competitors become companions: “wolves with lambs, leopards with the kid, lion and the fatling – led by the direction of an innocent child.”   

Even as fantastic as some childhood movies and books depict humans and animals living together in harmony, side by side, without fear of attack or being eaten [I happen to love those kinds of stories by the way], in most of those stories there are still elements that can cause fear, distrust, and anguish between the two.

In that coming day, none of that will exist.  Only the companionship of simply being will matter.  After all, who ever heard of “cows and bears” getting along or a “lion” that eats “straw like the ox?”  Who would ever in this day of ours allow babes and toddlers (sucking child and weaned child) to play with snakes (asp and the cockatrice)? 

His coming kingdom, at His perfect reign, the things which by nature seem impossible and unheard of now, will be possible then.  The only characteristic there is summed up in one word: PEACE.

All sin and evil by then will have been done away with and full restoration will come to head.  “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (compare wording to Habakkuk 2:14).  There is the absence of pain and tears.  There is no more hardship and adversity.  The things and wrong thinking that used to ravage humanity sending it on its downward spiral of sin – all of that is gone.  It’s not in this future kingdom (see also Isaiah 2:4; 65:25; Hosea 2:18).

“The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  If you will allow me, I see the whole story of Creation, the whole history of man, and the whole of the promise that lays waiting for us in our future as being summed up in one word: GOD.

Psalms remind us, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,” (90:2; see also Exodus 15:18 and Revelation 19:6).  And, it is that same Sovereign rule of our holy Creator that every man and creature will respect and know of because of the very essence and knowledge of who He penetrates the world as a whole thanks to the victory gained through that righteous Branch.

And, it won’t only be those of Israel who will be drawn to “his rest.”  As He stands as an “ensign;” as a banner raised, even the “Gentiles” shall “seek” him.

The nations will be drawn to the source of their salvation.  Jesus once taught Nicodemus, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:14-15); whether they be Jew or “Gentile.”  Jesus, the Branch, the “root of Jesse” was raised once on the cross when He died for the victory over our sins, and He will “stand for an ensign of the people” in that glorious day, declaring once and for all His victory and His reign of peace.

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 – The Branch and His Reign of Peace

Suggested activities noted in the lesson:

“Chart of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus” (Some useful information to note specific Isaiah prophecies when leading into the lesson)

“Children’s Video of Isaiah 11:1-9 prophecy”

“Grow Carrot Tops Activity” (This activity will help students see how new growth can sprout from a carrot.  Simply follow one of the easy ways shown on this site for a successful and fun project for your students.  Enjoy!)

“Geneology of Jesus Wheel Craft” (This craft or a family tree will help students trace Jesus’s family line.  Enjoy!)

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Better Days are Coming

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Signs of Peace at Jesus’ Reign

Blank Journal Pages  for adults and children to fill in your own verse or ideas: 2 journal pages

Draw the Scene: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Memory Verse

Word Search: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Word Search  Answers: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Word Search Answers

Crossword: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Crossword  Answers: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Word Scramble  Answers: The Branch and His Reign of Peace Word Scramble Answers

“Peace on Earth” (Activity sheets, coloring, and printables)

“The Prophet Isaiah” (Links to coloring pages, teacher’s guide, etc.)

“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