March 15, 2020 – Ezekiel 12 – 15

Lesson Date: March 15, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Ezekiel 12:2, 27-28; 13:2-9; 14:3-6, 13-20; 15:1-8

AIM: To lead students to identify four lessons they can learn from Ezekiel’s prophecies to the captive Jews, and to select at least one specific action they can take to apply one or more of those lessons to their lives.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Ezekiel 12 – 15 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Post the four lesson posters on your classroom wall (be sure to use easily removable tape, such as blue painters’ tape). Bring one or more markers to fill in the blanks on the posters (be careful that the markers do not bleed through onto the wall).

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the students the following story (adapted from page 16 of the Sunday School Member Quarterly), or tell about something similar you have received in the mail.

Jim found something unusual in the mail. In addition to the usual bills and sale flyers, there was a letter promising answers to all his prayers. The letter asked Jim to send a generous gift of $50.00 to help Brother So-and-So spread this miracle to others. There was even a free “prayer rug” included. The letter promised if Jim placed the prayer rug on the floor, knelt on it, and prayed, he would get whatever he asked for. The letter also contained amazing testimonials from others who had already received miraculous answers to prayer.

Tell the students the letter Jim received was from a false prophet. The world is full of lying prophets who fool many people with their deceptive tactics. Tell the class there were false prophets among the Jews in Babylonian captivity, and there are still false prophets in the world today. Today’s scripture includes four important lessons for us.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
    • Remind them that Ezekiel was one of the Jewish captives in Babylon. God called and commissioned Ezekiel to proclaim his message to the rebellious Jews.
    • Ask: “What was last weeks lesson about?” (God’s glory departed from the Temple and from the city of Jerusalem).
  2. God’s Patience with Sin Has a Limit.
    • Read Ezekiel 12:2.
    • Ask: “How did God describe the captive Israelites among whom Ezekiel lived?” (rebellious, refusing to hear and see the truth).
    • Remind the students about the strange things God told Ezekiel to do in last week’s lesson, which were to portray the siege and fall of Jerusalem. In this chapter God told Ezekiel to act out Jerusalem’s inhabitants fleeing for their lives.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 12:27-28.
    • Explain that false prophets among the Jews were saying that the prophecies about Jerusalem’s destruction would not be fulfilled for a very long time.
    • Ask: “According to verse 28, what was God’s message about this?” (He said it was not true – the prophecies would be fulfilled very soon).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the “Lesson Number 1” poster.
    • Fill in the blanks (or enlist a volunteer to do so) on the poster so it reads, “God’s Patience with Sin Has a Limit.”
    • Tell the students that many people mistakenly think that since God doesn’t always punish sin immediately that He is not going to punish it at all. That is not
    • Summarize: Since God’s patience with sin has a limit, we must keep our sin confessed and warn those we care about who are caught up in sin.
  3. We Must Beware of Lying Prophets.
    • Read Ezekiel 13:2-9.
    • Ask: “Where did the false prophets get their messages?” (their own hearts).
    • Ask: “According to verse 6, whose words did the prophets claim to speak?” (the Lord).
    • Ask: “Was that true?” (no; see v. 6-7).
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, how did God feel about the lying prophets?” (He was against them).
    • Tell the class that God promised to judge false prophets (verse 9).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the “Lesson Number 2” poster.
    • Fill in the blanks (or enlist a volunteer to do so) on the poster so it reads, “We Must Beware of Lying Prophets.”
    • Tell the students there were false prophets among the captive Jews who spoke lies, claiming to speak for God, and there are still lying prophets today. As in ancient times, God is against all lying, false prophets.
    • Summarize: Since false prophets speak lies originating from their own wicked hearts, we must beware of them, avoid them, and not listen to them.
  4. Idolatry is a Heart Matter.
    • Tell the class some of the elders of Israel came to Ezekiel, desiring to receive some message from God. Instead of giving them a message, the Lord spoke to Ezekiel about those elders.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 14:3.
    • Ask: “Where did God say these elders had set up their idols?” (in their hearts).
    • Ask: “What do you think it means to have idols in the heart?” (rather than physically worshiping a statue or image of a false god, it is having great affection and devotion to anything other than the Lord).
    • Tell the students like many in America today, they gave lip service to God, but their hearts were devoted to sin and idolatry.
    • Next, God had a message for the elders.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 14:4-6.
    • Ask: “How did the Lord describe their spiritual condition in verses 4-5?” (stumbling at their iniquity, estranged from God because of their idolatry).
    • Ask: “According to verse 6, what did God tell them to do?” (repent and turn away from their idols and abominations).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the “Lesson Number 3” poster.
    • Fill in the blanks (or enlist a volunteer to do so) on the poster so it reads, “Idolatry is a Heart Matter.”
    • Summarize: Since idolatry is really a heart matter, we must examine our hearts so we can repent of our sin and focus our hearts’ affection on the Lord.
  5. When God Pronounces Judgment, Nobody Can Stop It.
    • Tell the class in Ezekiel 14:13-20 God said He was planning to destroy Jerusalem, and not even Noah, Daniel, or Job could persuade Him to withhold judgment.
    • Explain that in Ezekiel 15:1-5, God spoke of the “vine tree,” the woody part of a vine from which the fruit-bearing branches grow. The wood is twisted and knotty, so nothing useful can be made out of it. All it is good for is to burn in a fire.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 15:6-8.
    • Ask: “What did God compare the vine tree to?” (the inhabitants of Jerusalem).
    • Ask: “What did He say would happen to the inhabitants of Jerusalem?” (they would be fuel for the fire in Jerusalem, and they would flee from one fire only to be consumed by another).
    • Ask: “According to verse 8,what did the Lord promise to do to their land?” (make it desolate).
    • Ask: “Why?” (because of their sin).
    • Tell the students that God’s judgment was certain and would be devastating.
    • Direct the class’ attention to the “Lesson Number 4” poster.
    • Fill in the blanks (or enlist a volunteer to do so) on the poster so it reads, “When God Pronounces Judgment, Nobody Can Stop It.”
    • Summarize: Since God’s judgment is certain and unstoppable, we must be careful not to live in a way that places us under His judgment.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Use the four lesson posters to review the four lessons we have discovered today. Share the following about those four lessons:

Lesson Number 1: God’s Patience with Sin Has a Limit

  • One reason people think they can get away with sin is that God doesn’t strike them down instantly, the moment they sin.
  • God is patient, but his patience has a limit.
  • Ask: “What should we learn from this lesson?” (we don’t know how close God’s “limit” is, so we should confess our sins and repent of them right now).

Lesson Number 2: We Must Beware of Lying Prophets

  • Ask a volunteer to locate and read 1 John 4:1.
  • Ask: “Are there still false prophets in our world today?” (yes).
  • Ask: “What should we learn from this lesson?” (we must beware of false prophets who preach lies and lead people away from God).
  • Ask: “How can we protect ourselves from lying prophets?” (by regularly reading and studying the Bible).
  • If we don’t know God’s Word, we might fall prey to lying prophets. We should read the Bible every day.

Lesson Number 3: Idolatry is a Heart Matter

  • Ask: “What should we learn from this lesson?” (it is possible to look righteous on the outside but have hidden, secret idols in the heart).
  • Ask: “Have you set up any idols in your heart?”
  • Ask God to reveal any secret idols in your heart, and then tear them down.
  • Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit.

Lesson Number 4: When God Pronounces Judgment, Nobody Can Stop It

  • Ask: “What should we learn from this lesson?” (God’s punishment of sin is certain).
  • We must not ever arrogantly think we can get away with sin.
  • Don’t live in a way that puts you under the judgment of God.

Tell the class since these four lessons still apply to us today, we should think about specific actions we can take to apply those lessons to our lives. Allow time for the students to discuss some specific actions they could take to get right with God, guard themselves from false prophets, and stay right with God.

Encourage the students to select at least one of those specific actions to apply to their lives this week. Lead a closing prayer of commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Ezekiel 12:2. Urge them to be aware of false prophets they might hear about this week. Invite them to call you if they have questions about a prophet or preacher. Encourage them to continue the Daily Bible Readings each day this week.

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