June 30, 2019 – Zechariah 5 – 6

Lesson Date: June 30, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: Zechariah 5:1-11; 6:1-13

AIM: To lead students to discover from Zechariah’s vision that no guilty person can escape God’s judgment, and to accept Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation as the only way to be deemed righteous in God’s sight.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Zechariah 5 – 6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the words “Guilty” and “Innocent” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read to the class the following excerpts from the January 28, 2019 online edition of the Miami Herald:[1]

It took more than two decades, but a fugitive featured on “America’s Most Wanted” has finally been captured. According to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Eugene Moore was arrested following a three-hour standoff Saturday in Palm Coast, south of Jacksonville. In 1996, the Virginia man was featured on host John Walsh’s reality TV show after being accused of stabbing his wife 33 times and abducting his 5-year-old daughter. The wife miraculously survived. After the daughter’s photos appeared on the show, she was reunited with her mother in Miami. Moore was charged with resisting arrest without violence and grand theft for an armed robbery in Richmond, Virginia, in which a victim was tied up and her car was stolen.

Note that this man eluded police for more than 20 years, but he was finally caught and will face justice for his crimes. Tell the class most criminals think they can elude or outsmart the law. While a few escape justice, most are eventually caught. Ask: “What does the phrase ‘the long arm of the law’ mean?” (the law will eventually catch up with a criminal, regardless of where he or she might hide).

Tell the class today’s lesson is about the justice and judgment of God, which has an even longer and more effective reach than human law enforcement.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
    • Remind them that the Lord gave these messages to the prophet Zechariah during the time the Jews were rebuilding their Temple in Jerusalem – around 520-519 c.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (encouragement for spiritual leaders).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Zech. 4:6).
  2. God’s Judgment Will Reach All Sinners.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 5:1-2.
    • Ask: “What did Zechariah see?” (a huge flying scroll – it was thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 5:3-4.
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what did the scroll represent?” (the curse against sinners that goes forth over the entire earth).
    • Ask: “How many thieves will it reach?” (every one).
    • Ask: “How many liars will it reach?” (every one).
    • Ask: “According to verse 4, how far can this judgment reach?” (into the very home of the sinner – there is no place of escape).
    • Tell the class God’s judgment has an even longer reach than the long arm of the law.
    • Point to the word “Guilty” on the board and tell the class God’s Law is a perfect standard; anyone who fails to meet its perfect requirements will certainly face judgment.
    • Summarize: Zechariah’s vision revealed that God’s judgment will reach all sinners. There is no place to hide from or escape God’s righteous judgment.
  3. God Will One Day Purge Israel of Her Sin.
    • Read Zechariah 5:5-7.
    • Explain what Zechariah saw next:
      • He saw a large basket with a very heavy lead cover.
      • The phrase “their resemblance through all the earth” means this vision represents people everywhere.
      • When the cover was lifted he saw a woman sitting in the basket.
    • Read Zechariah 5:8.
    • Ask: “What did the angel tell Zechariah the woman represented?” (wickedness).
    • Since the basket represents people everywhere and the basket is full of wickedness, this reminds us that, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” ( 3:23).
    • Tell the class that the angel threw the woman the basket and sealed it with the heavy lead cover.
    • Read Zechariah 5:9-11.
    • Tell the class that next Zechariah saw two winged women who lifted the basket into the air and carried it away
    • Ask: “Where did the angel say the women were taking the basket full of wickedness?” (to build it a house – a dwelling place or temple – in the land of Shinar).
    • Explain that Shinar is the ancient name for the plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southeastern Iraq. It was the site of the Tower of Babel ( 11:2-4) and of ancient Babylon.
    • Tell the students this vision represents God purging all wickedness and sin from Israel and sending it away to Shinar, where it would be established and revered like a false god.
    • Summarize: Zechariah’s vision revealed that God will one day purge all sin from Israel and confine it to the land of Shinar.
  4. God’s Judgment Will Cover the Entire Earth.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 6:1-3.
    • Ask the class what Zechariah saw next (four chariots pulled by horses of different colors).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 6:4-5.
    • Explain that these chariots represented God’s judgment and wrath going throughout the earth.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 6:6-8.
    • Ask: “Which directions did the chariots go?” (some went north and some went south).
    • Tell the class that since Israel is sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Arabian Desert on the east, the only ways to leave Israel were toward the north or the south. This means that God sent the chariots of His judgment throughout the whole earth (v. 7).
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 8, what effect did the judgment of the north country have upon God?” (it quieted His wrath and indignation toward the wickedness of that region).
    • Explain that because of ancient travel routes, the nations to the “north” of Israel included Assyria and Babylon.
    • Summarize: Zechariah’s vision revealed that God’s judgment reaches throughout the world.
  5. God’s Promise of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.
    • Read Zechariah 6:11-13.
    • Tell the students in verse 11 the Lord told Zechariah to make crowns of gold and silver and place them upon the head of Joshua, the high priest.
    • Ask: “Who is the BRANCH mentioned in verse 12?” (the Messiah).
    • Remind the class that we saw this in last week’s lesson, in Zechariah 3:8.
    • Ask: “What do verses 12-13 tell us about the Messiah?” (He will grow out of His place, coming from the Jews; He will build the Temple of the Lord; He will be the glory of the Temple; He will be both a king and a priest).
    • Tell the class this vision promises that one day Jesus the Messiah will sit enthroned in His Temple, serving as both king and priest ( 9:6-7; 16:5; Luke 1:32; Heb. 8:1-2).
    • Summarize: The Lord told Zechariah that He would one day send His Son – the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ – to rule and reign gloriously from His Temple.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the class’ attention to the word “Guilty” written on the board. Remind them that the visions God revealed to Zechariah illustrated man’s sinfulness and God’s far-reaching judgment of sin. They remind us that, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Ask: “Can anyone escape God’s judgment by their own cleverness or skill?” (no). A criminal might be able to escape capture and punishment for his crime, but no one can escape the judgment of Almighty God. In fact, every human being on earth is guilty and deserves punishment.

Direct the class’ attention to the word “Innocent” written on the board. Ask: “Is anyone truly sinless and innocent before God?” (no). Tell the class the Bible makes this clear when it says in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Ask: “If every human being on earth is a sinner and deserves God’s judgment, how can anyone possibly be innocent before God?” (we must have someone else take our judgment for us).

Tell the students that’s why God included the promise of the coming Messiah in these chapters describing judgment of sin. The only way anyone can be deemed innocent is through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. We must believe and accept the fact that Jesus Christ took the penalty of our sin when He died on the cross, and then trust Him for salvation. We cannot trust in our goodness or our good works; we must trust in Jesus Christ alone. When Jesus went to the cross the Lord laid on Him our sin and our guilt (Isa. 53:6). The long arm of God’s justice reached down to the cross and poured our punishment upon His Son.

Point to the two words on the board. Without Jesus Christ every human being on earth is “Guilty,” but everyone who has trusted Christ for salvation has been declared “Innocent” before God. Ask: “Which are you?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Encourage any who are not saved to silently confess their sins and ask Jesus Christ to save them right now. Tell those who are already saved to thank the Lord for salvation and to pray for those who need to trust Christ. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Tell the students if any of them trusted Jesus Christ for salvation just now they should make that public in church this morning. Encourage them to come forward during the commitment time at the end of the service and tell the pastor about their new faith. Ask everyone to try to tell somebody the Good News of Jesus Christ this week.

[1] https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article225176835.html

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