July 14, 2019 – Zechariah 9 – 11
Lesson Date: July 14, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: Zechariah 9:1-9; 10:6-12; 11:15-17
AIM: To lead students to discover ways God promised to protect Israel, and to encourage them to trust God as the ultimate source of their protection.
Before class: Read the notes on Zechariah 9 – 11 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Gather and bring to class some items that can be used as visual representations of protection. This could include a yard sign or window sticker warning that the property is protected by a security system, a picture of a soldier with his weapon, an infant car seat, an automobile seat belt, a policeman’s badge, a bottle of hand sanitizer, or an advertisement from an identity theft protection company. Write “Promises of Protection” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Show the items you have brought to class, asking the students how each one represents protection. Ask: “Why do items such as these make you feel safer?” (the items or signs carry a promise to protect you or your loved ones from harm). Ask: “Have you ever had or known a child who was scared of something? If so, what made that child feel safer?” (the presence and assurance of a parent or other adult promising protection from harm).
Stress the fact that human protection has limitations. For example, a terrorist might slip through a security checkpoint, a criminal might find a way into your locked house, and a germ might get past your best hygiene practices. Even a loving parent with the best of intentions might not be able to keep his or her promise to protect a child from harm. Tell the students that the only true protection comes from God. Today’s lesson contains promises of protection God made to the ancient Israelites. Some of those promises have implications for us today.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (empty rituals).
- Remind the class that Zechariah wrote his prophecies in 520-518 c., during the time the Jews under Zerubbabel’s leadership were rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.
- While chapters 1 – 8 were directed toward current events in Israel in Zechariah’s day, the remainder of the book is prophetic, telling about future events.
- An Approaching Enemy.
- Read Zechariah 9:1-2.
- Explain that the word burden refers to a heavy load. God gave Zechariah a heavy, burdensome message of judgment.
- Tell the class that verses 1-8 describe the swift conquest of the Middle East by Alexander the Great, which occurred between 334 and 323 c.
- After Alexander became king of Macedonia (Greece), he quickly conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), and then moved southward along the Mediterranean coast toward Egypt.
- The cities named in verses 1-6 were in his path of conquest.
- Alexander’s conquest took place almost 200 years after Zechariah wrote about it.
- Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 9:3-4.
- Ask: “According to verse 3, what did the city of Tyre (Tyrus) trust in?” (her strong defenses and riches).
- Using the timeline, explain the following:
- The Prophet Ezekiel predicted Tyre’s destruction in 586 c. (Eze. 26).
- King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and destroyed Tyre in 573 c.
- When he did, Tyre’s residents fled to an island just offshore and built a new, stronger city.
- 250 years later when Alexander the Great came and demanded Tyre’s surrender (around 334-332 c. – not shown on the timeline), the people refused and mocked him.
- Alexander used the rubble of ancient Tyre to build a half-mile long causeway out to the island fortress.
- The causeway enabled him to brutally attack and destroy the new city, fulfilling the prophecy found in verse 4 (written nearly 200 years before it happened).
- Summarize: God, through the Prophet Zechariah, predicted Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Middle East 200 years before it took place. After many victories, Alexander’s mighty army headed toward Jerusalem.
- God Promised to Protect Jerusalem.
- Read Zechariah 9:5-8.
- Tell the class these verses describe Alexander’s progress along the Mediterranean coast through the land of the Philistines.
- Ask: “What did God promise concerning Jerusalem in verse 8?” (to encamp around His house and prevent any oppressor from passing through).
- Tell the class the following historical facts:
- When Alexander and his army approached Jerusalem, God told the high priest in a dream how to greet Alexander. He was to wear his special high priest’s garments, and all the priests and people were to wear white. He was also to adorn the city and open the city gates to Alexander.
- The high priest led a great procession out of the city to meet the brutal conqueror.
- When Alexander saw this he approached the high priest alone, saluted him and honored the name of God.
- Before leaving Greece, Alexander had a dream in which he saw this exact sight, including the high priest dressed in his special garments.
- When Alexander saw the priests and the city just as they had appeared in his dream, he took this as a sign from God.
- Unlike the many other cities he conquered, Alexander the Great left Jerusalem completely unharmed. God miraculously protected the Jews.
- Tell the students that in the midst of this promise of physical protection from a brutal conquering king, the Lord made another promise.
- Read Zechariah 9:9.
- Ask: “Does this verse sound familiar? What important event did God promise in this verse?” (Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem).
- Tell the class God promised to send His Son, the true and eternal King.
- Ask: “What does Jesus protect us from?” (the penalty and punishment for our sins).
- Summarize: God promised to protect Jerusalem from destruction at the hands of Alexander the Great, and he kept that promise. He also promised to send His Son to protect us from the penalty of our sins, and He kept that promise.
- God Promised to Protect and Re-gather the Jews.
- Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 10:6-7.
- Ask the class what God promised to do for the Jews (strengthen them, save them, have mercy upon them, and cause them to rejoice).
- Read Zechariah 10:8.
- Explain that the word hiss means to whistle or call for someone.
- Ask: “What did God promise to do in verse 8?” (gather the Jews and redeem them).
- Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 10:9-12.
- Explain the following to the class:
- Since these verses were written after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, they must be speaking of another scattering of the Jews.
- God scattered the Jews again after the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in d. 70.
- Just as He miraculously protected the Jews from Alexander, God also protected them in foreign lands so He could one day call them back home again.
- Many Jews have returned to the land of Israel over the last 120 years.
- Summarize: God promised to protect the Jews in foreign lands and to gather them back to their ancestral homeland.
- God Promised Protection from the Antichrist.
- Tell the class that chapter 11 speaks of three shepherds.
- Verses 1-9 are about Israel’s false shepherds (their corrupt spiritual leaders).
- Verses 10-14 contain a prophecy about the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
- Read Zechariah 11:12-13.
- Ask: “What event in the True Shepherd’s life is predicted in these verses?” (Christ’s betrayal for 30 pieces of silver, as well as Judas’ remorse that caused him to throw the money to the priests in the Temple).
- Note that this prediction was made more than 500 years before the event took place.
- Tell the students the priests used the money Judas returned to purchase the potter’s field, in which to bury poor people.
- Verses 15-17 tell about the “foolish shepherd,” the Antichrist who will be Satan’s world leader during the Tribulation.
- Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 11:15-17.
- Tell the class the Antichrist will initially act like He is Israel’s friend, with a promise of peace in the Middle East.
- Ask: “According to verse 16, will this foolish shepherd take care of the flock (the Jews)?” (no).
- Ask: “What will he do to them?” (devour and destroy them).
- Ask: “What does verse 17 say about how God will protect the Jews from this evil shepherd?” (He promised to judge Antichrist’s strength and intelligence).
- Summarize: Since Israel’s corrupt spiritual leaders failed to protect her, God promised to send the True Shepherd. He also warned them about the coming foolish shepherd – the Antichrist who would seek to destroy them.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Review God’s three promises of protection in this lesson.
- He promised to protect Jerusalem from Alexander the Great, and 200 years later He kept that promise.
- He promised to protect the Jews during their time of being scattered throughout the world and to bring them back to their land. Almost 1900 years after they were again scattered (in d. 70) He has re-gathered many of them to the modern state of Israel, and will gather even more in the future.
- He promised to protect them from the Antichrist, by ultimately bringing down his wicked rule.
Tell the class that last promise of protection has yet to be fulfilled. Ask: “Do you think God will keep that promise?” (yes). Based on His past record of keeping promises and His character we can be certain He will keep that promise, too.
Ask: “Where do you turn for protection?” While it is wise to do all we can to protect ourselves from crime, foreign enemies, disease, and identity theft, the best protection available comes from Almighty God.
Ask a volunteer to read Hebrews 13:5-6. Tell the students if we belong to God, He has promised to protect us. That doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen, but it does mean God will protect us in and through anything we might face.
Ask: “Do you need protection?” Encourage everyone to place their trust in God as their ultimate source of protection. Lead a closing prayer, thanking God for His protection.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Zechariah 9:9, and to seek God’s protection for themselves and their family members on a daily basis.
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