July 11, 2021 – Leviticus 25 – 26

Lesson Date: July 11, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Leviticus 25:1-4, 20-22; 26:1-33

AIM: To lead students to identify behaviors God said would bring blessings or chastisement upon the ancient Israelites, and to commit themselves to living under God’s blessings by being obedient to His commands.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Leviticus 25 – 26 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Draw a vertical line down the center of the marker board or chalkboard, creating two columns.  Write the word “Blessings” as the heading of one column, and “Chastisement” as the heading of the other column.  Ask some volunteers to look up Deuteronomy 11:26-28 and Joshua 24:15.  Ask them to be prepared to read those verses to the class when you call for them.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the following story (or a similar one from your experience) to the class:

Dylan’s mother gave him a choice.  “Dylan,” she said, “if you pick up all your toys and clean your room we will go out and get ice cream; but if you don’t, I will put your toys away and you won’t be able to play with them for a week.”

Ask: “What will happen if Dylan cleans his room and picks up his toys?” (he will get ice cream).  Write the words “Ice Cream” under the heading of “Blessings” on the board.  Ask: “What will happen if he doesn’t obey his mother?” (he will lose his toys for a week).  Write “Lose Toys for a Week” under the heading of “Chastisement” on the board.

Direct everyone’s attention to the board and comment that Dylan has a pretty simple choice.  He can choose to obey his mother and receive a blessing or he can choose to disobey her and receive chastisement.  Ask: “If you were Dylan which would you choose?” (the blessing of ice cream).  Ask: “Don’t you wish all your choices were that simple?”

Tell the students we face choices every day, and the choices we make bring us either blessings or chastisement.  The title of today’s lesson from Leviticus 25 – 26 is Blessings or Chastisement?  We will learn that God laid out some choices the ancient Israelites could make and the consequences of those choices.  We are going to identify those choices and also think about the consequences of some of the choices we make.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the students that this is our last lesson from the book of Leviticus. Next week we begin the book of Numbers.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (faithful church attendance).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Heb. 10:25).
  2. Blessings – the Sabbath Year.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Leviticus 25:1-4.
    • Remind the class that the Israelites were still camped at Mount Sinai (locate on the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan).
    • In these verses God gave them instructions they were to follow when they settled in the Promised Land and began farming.
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what were they to do for six years?” (plant and harvest).
    • Ask: “What does verse 4 say they were to do in the seventh year?” (let the land rest – they were not to plant or harvest).
    • Explain the following:
      • In the Sabbath year the Israelites were free to gather and eat anything that grew of its own accord, but there was to be no organized harvest or marketing of produce.
      • Modern farmers often practice crop rotation, in which they let one field rest while they plant and harvest in another.
      • This was not the case with the ancient Israelites: God told them to let all the land rest every seventh year.
    • Read Leviticus 25:20.
    • Ask: “What question would naturally come to mind concerning the Sabbath year of rest for the land?” (What will we eat?).
    • Read Leviticus 25:21-22.
    • Ask: “What did God promise to do to meet their need for food?” (He promised that in the 6th year the land would produce three times as much as normal; this abundant harvest would sustain them through the 7th year and until the harvest of the 8th year – He even said some would last until the 9th year!).
    • Erase the things written on the board under the headings of “Blessings” and “Chastisement.”
    • Ask the students to identify the blessing God promised the ancient Israelites. Write something like “Abundant Triple Harvest for the Sabbath Year” under the heading of “Blessings.”
    • Explain the following:
      • As amazing as that blessing is, God actually promised to do even more for the Israelites every 50 years.
      • After the 7th Sabbath year, they were to observe a year of Jubilee.
      • That meant there would be no planting and harvesting for two years!
      • God still promised to provide for the Israelites if they obeyed Him.
    • Summarize: God promised to bless the Israelites with a triple harvest in the 6th year so they could obediently let the land rest in the Sabbath (7th) year.
  3. Causes and Descriptions of Blessings.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Leviticus 26:1-3.
    • Ask: “According to verse 1, what were they not to do?” (make or worship any idols).
    • Ask: “What did God command them to do in verses 2-3?” (keep the Sabbaths, reverence God’s sanctuary, walk in His statutes, and obey His commandments).
    • Ask: “What is the first word of verse 3?” (“If”).
    • Ask: “What is the first word of verse 4?” (“Then”).
    • Explain that in verses 4 and following God made conditional promises to the Israelites: He said IF they obeyed His laws and commandments THEN He promised to bless them.
    • Ask the class to listen for those promised blessings as you read Leviticus 26:4-12.
    • Ask: “What blessings did God promise if they obeyed Him?”
    • Write the blessings they name on the board in the “Blessings” column. They should name some of the following:
      • Rain.
      • Abundant harvests.
      • Plenty to eat.
      • Safety.
      • Peace.
      • No evil beasts (dangerous wild animals).
      • No invaders.
      • Victory over their enemies.
      • Fruitfulness.
      • God’s Tabernacle
      • God’s presence.
      • They would be God’s people.
    • Tell the students that this is a wonderful list of blessings.
    • Summarize: God promised to bless the Israelites abundantly if they faithfully obeyed His laws and commandments.
  4. Causes and Descriptions of Chastisement.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Leviticus 26:14-15 and the first phrase of verse 16.
    • Explain the following:
      • God is about to describe a series of increasingly harsher and harsher chastisements.
      • Just as the blessings we discovered in the previous verses were conditional promises, these warnings of chastisement were also conditional.
    • Ask: “According to verses 14-15, what behaviors would bring about God’s chastisement?” (if they did not listen to God, if they did not obey His commandments, if they despised [neglected, thought little of] God’s laws, if they hated His judgments, if they broke His covenant by disobeying His commandments).
    • Tell the class God said IF they did those things THEN He would chastise them with various troubles.
    • Leviticus 26:16-33 name these chastisements. Ask the class to listen for those as you read the verses.
    • Read the verses in sections. After reading each section, ask the students what chastisement God promised to send, and write their answers on the board in the “Chastisement” column.
      • Verses 16-17 – terror, disease, sorrow, and conquering enemies.
      • Verses 18-20 – break their pride, cut off their communication with God, and cause their land to be unfruitful.
      • Verses 21-22 – wild beasts would kill their children and their livestock.
      • Verses 23-26 – God would walk contrary to them, send the sword among them, send pestilence upon them, deliver them into the hands of their enemies, and cause them to be hungry.
      • Verses 27-31 – God’s fury, famine so great they would sink to cannibalism, God would destroy their places of idol worship, kill them, and make their cities and sanctuaries desolate [empty, dead, unpopulated].
      • Verses 32-33 – God would scatter them into foreign countries, draw a sword after them, and leave their land desolate.
    • Tell the students that this is a terrifying list of chastisements.
    • Summarize: God promised to send terrible chastisement upon the Israelites if they did not listen to Him and obey His commandments.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class of the simple choice Dylan faced in the introduction to today’s lesson.  Comparing the promised blessing to the warning of chastisement, it would be foolish for Dylan not to pick up his toys and clean his room.  Tell the class the choice God laid before the ancient Israelites was no more complicated than that facing Dylan.

Using the lists on the board, review the blessings God promised the ancient Israelites if they obeyed Him.  Next, review the chastisements God warned them about if they disobeyed Him.  Ask: “If you were faced with this choice, which would you choose?” (God’s blessings).  Ask: “What did the ancient Israelites have to do to receive God’s wonderful blessings?” (obey Him and stay away from idols).

Tell the students we face the same sort of choice today.  Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Deuteronomy 11:26-28.  We can choose to live under God’s blessing by obeying Him or we can choose to experience His chastisement by disobeying Him.  We can choose to obey God and His Word, or we can choose to go after the false gods of this world: pleasure, convenience, self, and filthy behavior.  Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Joshua 24:15.

Ask: “Which will you choose – God’s blessings or His chastisement?  The choice is yours.”  Tell the students we make that choice by our day-to-day behavior and lifestyle.  Urge them to choose wisely.  Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Encourage the students to make a commitment to God to live under His blessings by being obedient to His commands.  Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Joshua 24:15.  Remind them to choose to obey God every day.

NOTE: Next Sunday (July 18) is the beginning of our annual South Georgia Bible Conference.  We WILL have Sunday School as usual next Sunday at 9:00 a.m., followed by the first session of the Bible Conference at 10:30 a.m.

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