April 10, 2022 – Deuteronomy 12 – 17

Lesson Date: April 10, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Deuteronomy 12:1-7; 16:1-17; 17:1

AIM: To lead students to discover the guidelines God gave the Israelites concerning their worship, and to determine how those guidelines apply to us.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Deuteronomy 12 – 17 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Get enough copies of the “Worship” worksheet for your anticipated attendance.  Gather a few items associated with church worship services, such as a hymnbook, an order of service, a Bible, a picture of the worship center or of the pastor, a man’s coat and/or tie, a choir robe, etc.  Write the word “Worship” on the chalkboard or white board.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the word “Worship” written on the board.  Ask the students to suggest definitions for the word “worship.”

Next, direct their attention to each of the items you have brought to class, asking how that item relates to worship.

Ask: “Does worship only take place in the church building?” (no, we can worship God in our private devotions and in other group settings).  Ask: “Do we always worship when we attend a church service?” (no, if our hearts are not right with God, we can easily attend a worship service without worshipping).

Tell the students in today’s lesson we will discover some instructions and guidelines the Lord gave the ancient Israelites about how they were to worship Him.  We will also examine those guidelines to learn how they relate to us.  The title of today’s lesson is Guidelines for Worship.  Give everyone a copy of the “Worship” worksheet (and a pen or pencil if needed).

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.
    • Remind them that Deuteronomy consists of messages Moses preached to the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan River (locate on the Map of the Promised Land) shortly before they entered the Promised Land.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (what God requires of us).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (Deut. 10:12-13).
  2. The Central Sanctuary.
    • Read Deuteronomy 12:1-7.
    • Remind the class that the inhabitants of the Promised Land were pagans who followed many false religions, so there were many places of idol worship in the land.
    • Ask: “What was Israel told to do to all the places of false worship?” (utterly destroy them).
    • Ask: “Why?” (so they would not be tempted to worship false gods at those false worship places).
    • Tell the students that God promised to select one central place where all His people were to worship Him (that place would be Jerusalem, where King Solomon would one day build a permanent Temple.)
    • Ask: “What was the lesson for Israel in this?” (they were to have one central place in which to worship God).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “What lesson can we learn from this?” (God expects His people to have a church home).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Explain the following:
      • A Christian who doesn’t belong to a local Bible-believing church is out of God’s will.
      • Some people go from church to church, without ever settling in one local church body.
      • Believers need a church home.
    • Summarize: God expects His people to have local church home, a place where they can be nurtured, trained, and minister to others.
  3. The Feast of Passover.
    • Ask the class to listen for the lesson for Israel as you read Deuteronomy 16:1-8.
    • Ask: “What important event were they to commemorate every year?” (the Exodus, when God brought them out of Egypt).
    • Ask: “On the night God delivered them from Egyptian bondage, what were they to do with the blood of the lamb?” (paint it on the doorposts and lentil of their homes; Ex. 12:7-13).
    • Ask: “What happened if they obeyed God in this?” (they were protected from death).
    • Ask: “What happened to the Egyptians who did not have the blood on their doors?” (the firstborn of each household died).
    • Ask: “What was the lesson for Israel in this?” (the lamb’s blood protected them from death).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “What lesson can we learn from this?” (the blood of Jesus covers all our sin).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Stress the fact that if it were not for the blood of Jesus Christ, we would all be under the sentence of death for our sins.
    • Summarize: God wants His people to remember that the blood of Jesus Christ frees us from the penalty of our sins.
  4. The Feast of Weeks.
    • Read Deuteronomy 16:9-12.
    • Explain that the Feast of Weeks came at the beginning of the harvest (in New Testament times this feast was known as Pentecost).
    • Ask: “What were the Israelites to bring to God at this feast?” (a freewill offering).
    • Ask: “What were they to do?” (rejoice before the Lord).
    • Tell the class this celebration was to include the entire family, plus strangers, orphans, and widows.
    • Ask: “What was Israel to remember at the Feast of Weeks?” (that they had been poor slaves in Egypt).
    • Ask: “What was the lesson for Israel in this?” (God was the source of the harvest).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “What lesson can we learn from this?” (God gives us everything we have).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Summarize: God wants His people to remember that He is the source and provider of all they have.
  5. The Feast of Tabernacles.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 16:13-15.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Feast of Tabernacles came in the fall, at the end of the harvest.
      • The Israelites were to live in makeshift booths (tabernacles) for seven days, reminding them of their years in the wilderness.
      • Each of these special religious observances was to take place “in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose” – the central sanctuary God described in chapter 12.
    • Ask: “What was the lesson for Israel in this?” (God brought them from poverty and slavery to plenty and freedom).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “What lesson can we learn from this?” (God has brought us from the slavery of sin to freedom in Jesus Christ).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Summarize: God wants His people to remember that He has redeemed them from slavery to freedom.
  6. God Required the Men to Come Three Times Each Year.
    • Read Deuteronomy 16:16-17.
    • Ask: “What did God expect the Israelite men to do?” (come to the Tabernacle to worship Him three times each year).
    • Explain the following:
      • There was only one Tabernacle, which would be set up in a central location.
      • When the Israelites settled in the Promised Land they were spread out over a large territory.
      • Travel was very hard, slow, and dangerous in those days.
      • That is why Israelite men were only required to come three times each year.
      • When the men came, they would bring their families (Luke 2:41-52).
    • Ask: “What were the men to bring to God?” (an offering).
    • Tell the students God knows that if His people do not regularly participate in corporate worship, they will become increasingly distant, disconnected, and disobedient.
    • Stress the fact that people need regular corporate worship to stay right with God.
    • Ask: “What was the lesson for Israel in this?” (the men were required to assemble together to worship God regularly).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Ask: “What lesson can we learn from this?” (God expects us to attend church regularly).
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Explain the following:
      • Christians cannot willfully skip out on regular worship at church and be right with God (Heb. 10:25).
      • Lost people, however, can skip church without feeling conviction.
      • As Brother Wayne has often told us, you can be right with the church and not right with God, but you can’t be right with God if you’re not right with the church.
    • Summarize: God expects His people to attend church regularly.
  7. Unblemished Offerings.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 17:1.
    • Ask: “What kind of offerings were the Israelites to bring to God?” (perfect, unblemished animals – the best they had).
    • Tell the class the lesson for Israel and for us are the same: God expects us to give our first and our very best to Him.
    • Ask the students to write this on their worksheets.
    • Stress the fact that if the Israelites brought a blemished animal to God, it was “an abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
    • Tell the students Christians should give the first of their increase to the Lord.
    • Ask: “How do you think God views it when Christians bring Him their leftovers?”
    • Summarize: God expects His people to bring Him the first of their increase – their very best.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Read the following common statements to the class.

  • “I believe I can worship God just as well on the golf course or in my living room as I can at church – maybe even better!”
  • “I’ve earned everything I’ve got by my own hard work; I don’t see why I should give any of it to the church!”
  • “God doesn’t expect us to be at church every time the doors are open.  Some of those people down there at the church are fanatics!”
  • “I really can’t afford to tithe, but if I have any money left over at the end of the month, I’ll give some to the church.”

After reading each statement, ask the class if it violates one of the worship guidelines we have discovered today.  If so, ask them to identify which one.

Ask: “What about you?  How does your worship compare to God’s standards?”  Read each of the six guidelines from the worksheet.  After each one, ask if the students are obeying it.

Ask: “What parts of your worship and giving to God need improvement?  Today is a great time to make a renewed commitment to the proper worship of God.”  Encourage everyone to recommit himself or herself to worshipping God properly.  Lead a closing prayer of commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to take whatever steps are necessary this week to bring their worship and giving in line with what God expects.

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