June 17, 2018 – Micah 3
Lesson Date: June 17, 2018
Focal Scripture Passage: Micah 3:1-12
AIM: To lead students to identify factors that led to the decline and fall of ancient Israel and Judah, and to take specific actions to improve the moral and spiritual climate of our nation.
Before class: Read the notes on Micah 3:1-12 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the names of the following ancient civilizations on the marker board or chalkboard: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Nazi Germany. Get enough copies of the “What Can I Do For My Nation?” handout for your anticipated attendance.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “What are the most powerful nations on earth today?” (students will probably name the United States, Russia, and perhaps China). Ask: “Three hundred years ago was the United States a world superpower?” (no, the United States did not exist; England, France, and Spain were some of the most powerful nations at that time).
Comment that world and regional superpowers come and go. At various times, different nations rise to great power and influence. Direct the students’ attention to the names of the civilizations written on the board. Tell the class that at certain times in history each of these nations had great power and influence in the world. Ask: “Are any of those nations the predominant superpower in the world today?” (no). Each one rose to great power, but later declined or fell altogether. Nazi Germany is a perfect example of this. Adolph Hitler dreamed of a “thousand-year Reich,” but in a few short years his dream collapsed in utter defeat.
Ask: “Why do nations decline?” After students suggest a few answers, tell them in today’s lesson we will discover some factors that led to the decline and fall of ancient Israel and Judah, and look for similar conditions in our modern world.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Micah.
- Ask them to locate Micah in their Bibles (offer help to those who might need it).
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s warnings to sinners and His promises to the faithful remnant).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (2 Peter 2:9).
- Direct the class’ attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal
- Remind them that throughout this quarter’s study we will find that sin brings God’s judgment, but genuine repentance brings renewal and blessings.
- The Rulers Were Corrupt and Greedy.
- Ask a volunteer to read Micah 3:1-2a.
- Ask: “Who is verse 1 directed toward?” (the rulers of Israel).
- Ask: “What question did God ask them in verse 1?” (Aren’t you, as leaders, supposed to be smart enough to know right from wrong?).
- Ask: “According to verse 2, what did Israel’s rulers hate?” (good).
- Ask: “What did they love?” (evil).
- Tell the class that Israel’s rulers were so corrupt and mixed up that they hated good and loved evil.
- Ask: “Do we see that in our modern world? In what ways?” (yes; allow students to share some examples of how our modern leaders hate and persecute good things and people but glorify evil things and people).
- Read Micah 3:2b-3.
- Tell the class that these verses portray Israel’s wicked leaders as hungry beasts that greedily treated their people like cattle for the slaughter. All Israel’s corrupt rulers were interested in was what would satisfy their greed and lust for pleasure and power.
- Ask: “Does that sound anything like our modern leaders? In what ways?” (yes; allow students to give some examples).
- Ask a volunteer to read Micah 3:4.
- Tell the students that when calamity comes, even the wicked rulers will cry out to God for help.
- Ask: “How did the Lord promise to respond to their cries for help?” (with a deaf ear).
- Summarize: Israel’s rulers were corrupt, glorifying evil and hating good. They selfishly served for what they could get, abusing the people to gain wealth and power.
- The Religious Leaders Were Blind and Greedy Liars.
- Read Micah 3:5.
- Tell the class that God said Israel’s religious leaders “make my people err” (do wrong and evil) The prophets and priests were the ones who were supposed to teach the people about God and lead them to faithfully worship Him, but instead they led the people astray spiritually.
- Explain that verse 4 reveals that as long as the religious leaders received their wages and had food in their bellies they gladly proclaimed “Peace!” to the people. They told the people what they wanted to hear, promising peace in spite of approaching enemy armies.
- Ask the students to listen for what God said to these blind and greedy religious leaders, as a volunteer reads Micah 3:6-7.
- Ask them what they heard (God refused to reveal anything to them or answer their requests, sentencing them instead to darkness).
- Ask: “Do we have spiritually blind religious leaders who say what people want to hear in our day? Can you cite any examples” (yes; so-called “health and wealth” preachers; liberal denominations that endorse immorality because it is popular; pastors who endorse and participate in social drinking).
- Read Micah 3:8.
- Tell the class in stark contrast to the false prophets, Micah declared that he was “full of power by the spirit of the Lord.”
- Ask: “The false prophets promised peace; what message did God have Micah proclaim?” (he exposed and rebuked Israel’s sin and warned of God’s coming judgment).
- Summarize: Israel’s religious leaders were blind and greedy, telling people what they wanted to hear and would reward them for saying.
- The Impact of Corrupt Leaders.
- Read Micah 3:9-11.
- Ask: “Who did God address in verses 9-10?” (Israel’s wicked and corrupt rulers).
- Ask: “How did He describe them?” (they hated justice, they perverted right, they killed, and they were sinful).
- Ask: “Who did the Lord address in verse 11?” (Israel’s corrupt religious leaders).
- Ask: “What did He say about them?” (they were only interested in money, but they piously claimed that God was on their side).
- Tell the class the next verse reveals what was going to happen to Israel because they had corrupt and wicked rulers and religious leaders.
- Ask a volunteer to read Micah 3:12.
- Ask: “What did God promise would happen to them?” (their nation would be plowed like a field, Jerusalem would be turned into a pile of rubble, and the Temple mount would be made desolate like a remote hill in a forest).
- Stress the following words in that verse: “Therefore shall Zion for your sake …” (emphasis added).
- Summarize: Because Israel’s rulers and religious leaders were evil and greedy persons who hated good and loved evil, God promised to utterly destroy their nation. He kept His promise when Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and Judah fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Review the lesson by telling the class the following:
- Israel’s rulers hated good and loved evil.
- They abused their people, treating them like game to be killed, butchered, and eaten.
- Israel’s religious leaders led the people to do evil and preached false promises of peace.
- Because Israel’s leaders were wicked and led the people to sin, God promised to destroy the nation.
- Judgment was coming because Israel’s leaders were wicked and corrupt.
Ask: “Do any of those descriptions fit our nation today?” (sadly, yes).
Tell the class that Israel was a nation in decline because her rulers and religious leaders were wicked. We see much the same going on in our nation today. Ask: “What can we, as individual believers, do about the moral and spiritual decline in our nation?” (allow students to respond).
Give everyone present a copy of the “What Can I Do For My Nation?” handout. Tell them the handout lists three specific things each of us can do that will benefit our nation. Read the handout to the class. Ask: “Will you do those things for the good of your country?”
Ask them to place the handout in their Bible or someplace they will see it every day. Ask them to personally commit to doing the three things listed on the handout. Lead a closing prayer of commitment to do those things.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Urge them to pray for their civil and religious leaders every day.
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