June 24, 2018 – Micah 4

Lesson Date: June 24, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: Micah 4:1-13

AIM: To lead students to recognize that God’s thoughts and plans are sometimes hard to understand but they are always for our ultimate good, and to thank God that He has a plan for their lives and their future.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Micah 4:1-13 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Enlist some class members who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the following scriptures and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon: Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 29:11.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the students to imagine they have a sick two-year-old child. They take the child to the doctor, who diagnoses the problem and prescribes an injection to help the child get well. Ask: “As a parent, will you let your beloved child go through the fear, pain, and distress of getting a shot? Why or why not?” (yes, to help the child get well).

Ask: “Does your two-year-old child understand why you let the doctor jab him or her with a sharp needle?” (no, all the child understands is that it hurts). Ask: “What do you think your child might be thinking or feeling during the ordeal of getting a shot?” (fear, anguish, helplessness). Ask: “What do you think your child might be thinking about you?” (she probably wonders why you would let the doctor hurt her; perhaps she wonders if you truly love her; she might feel abandoned by you or feel that you have let her down by not protecting her from pain).

Stress the fact that parents sometimes allow their children to experience temporary pain and upset feelings for their long-term good – so they will get well. Ask: “In such a case who knows what is best, the small child or the parent?” (the parent).

Tell the class that just as little children don’t always understand their parents’ actions – even when they are doing what is best for their child – we don’t always understand God’s ways and His plans. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Isaiah 55:8-9. Those verses tell us that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Tell the students that today’s lesson describes some of God’s plans for Israel’s future and for our future.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Micah.
    • Direct their attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal
    • Remind them that throughout this quarter we are finding that sin brings God’s judgment, but genuine repentance brings renewal and blessings.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (why nations decline and specific things we can do for our nation).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
    • Ask: “Have you prayed for your nation and its leaders this week?”
  2. God’s Plans for Israel’s Future.
    • Ask: “What is the first word of chapter 4?” (But).
    • Remind the students that the chapter divisions in our modern Bibles were added hundreds of years after the books were written, simply to make it easier to locate certain verses. That means the first verse of chapter 4 should be read immediately after the last verse of chapter 3.
    • Read Micah 3:12.
    • Tell the class that verse says Israel will be destroyed, Jerusalem will be reduced to a heap of rubble, and the Temple Mount will be made desolate like a remote hill in a forest.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Micah 4:1-5.
    • Ask: “What does verse 1 say about the Temple Mount?” (it will be exalted above all other mountains and people from all nations will flow into it to learn of the Lord).
    • Explain that these verses describe Christ’s Millennial Kingdom that He will establish when He returns to earth after the Tribulation (Rev. 20:1-6).
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, why will the nations come to Jerusalem?” (to learn about the Lord and how to walk in His ways).
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what will happen to weapons of war?” (they will be melted down and turned into farming implements).
    • Ask: “How does verse 4 describe that future Millennial Kingdom?” (it will be a time of peace, prosperity, and safety).
    • We know this is true because “the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”
    • Tell the class verse 5 says God’s people will “walk in the name of the Lord for ever and ever.”
    • Read Micah 4:6-8.
    • Tell the class these verses reveal that Jesus will gather and bless the sick and the outcast and establish His kingdom centered in Jerusalem.
    • Summarize: God plans to re-gather and restore Israel and establish Jerusalem as the center of His earthly Kingdom. The Kingdom will be the fulfillment of many promises God had made to Israel, but Gentile believers will be there, too. Christ’s Kingdom will be marked by peace and the knowledge of the Lord.
  3. God’s Plans for Israel’s Captivity.
    • Tell the students that Micah prophesied sometime between 740-687 c. (refer to the timeline if you have one posted). Remind them that, as we learned last week, Israel and Judah were nations in serious moral and spiritual decline.
    • Verses 1-8 describe God’s good plans for Israel’s future. Their sin, however, required them to go through some judgment and suffering first.
    • Explain that the Babylonians conquered Judah and destroyed Israel in 586 c. They carried many Jews away as captives to Babylon (locate Judah and Babylon on the map).
    • Tell the students verses 9-10 depict Israel’s captivity in Babylon.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Micah 4:9-10.
    • Ask: “What does verse 9 reveal about the condition of the Jews in captivity?” (they cried because they had no king or counselor [guide, spiritual leader]; they groaned like a woman experiencing painful childbirth).
    • Explain that the rebellious Jews had to go through this hard time, much like a woman must go through a hard time to deliver a newborn baby.
    • Ask everyone to silently re-read verse 10.
    • Ask: “When a woman goes through labor and delivery, what does she get?” (a baby).
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 10, what would come to the Jews through the pain of their captivity?” (deliverance and redemption).
    • Explain that the Jews were sinful and rebellious. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t turn back to God while they were still in their comfortable land. God had to drive them out as captives before they turned back to Him (“there thou shalt be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies”).
    • Summarize: Like a child who must endure the pain and upset of getting a shot before he or she can get well, Israel had to endure captivity in a foreign land before God could deliver them.
  4. God’s Plans are Beyond the Understanding of the Heathen.
    • Read Micah 4:11.
    • Ask: “What does this verse say many nations long for?” (the destruction of the Jews).
    • Tell the class that throughout history many nations have sought to destroy Israel. Pharaoh tried, and so did Hitler. Radical Muslims are still trying today.
    • Tell them if they look at a world map or globe it is amazing how tiny Israel is, yet it is the focus of widespread hatred. Many nations still hate Israel today.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Micah 4:12.
    • Ask: “Do those nations and people who hate Israel understand God’s plans?” (no).
    • Tell the class that wicked people and nations attack Israel and long for the destruction of the Jews, but God has always had a plan for His chosen people.
    • Explain that the last part of verse 12 says God will gather the nations that hate Israel around her like sheaves of wheat ready for threshing. Briefly explain that in the ancient threshing process, the stalks of grain were beaten or driven over by heavy ox carts.
    • Read Micah 4:13.
    • Tell the students God promised to grant power and victory to His people, who will dedicate all they have to the Lord forever.
    • Summarize: God’s plans for Israel are beyond the understanding of those who do not know the Lord. Many nations hate Israel and seek her destruction, but one day God will utterly crush them under the Jews’ feet.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “Does God have a plan for Israel’s future?” (yes). Ask: “What is that plan?” (to gather them back to their land, give them victory over their enemies, and to establish Jerusalem as the center of Christ’s worldwide kingdom).

Tell the class that is a wonderful plan, but just as a sick child must endure some pain and distress (like getting a shot) to get well, God’s plan included some suffering for His people. Ask: “What did Israel have to endure before they could return to their land?” (the Babylonian captivity). The people of Israel who went into captivity may not have understood that defeat and captivity was all part of God’s good plan for them – but it was.

In the same way, we sometimes don’t understand God’s ways and God’s plans for us. Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Isaiah 55:89 and Jeremiah 29:11.

Tell the class that like children, our thoughts and plans usually focus on what makes us happy for the moment. Like a loving parent, however, God’s thoughts and plans focus more on what is best for us in the long run. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Jeremiah 29:11 again. Tell the students if they belong to Jesus Christ then God has good plans for them.

Ask: “Can you trust God to do what’s best for you, even when that involves some hardship and suffering?” Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to silently thank God that He has a plan for their lives and for their future. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage the students to trust the Lord to work in their lives, in His way and in His time. Urge them to read the Bible every day.

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