March 8, 2020 – Ezekiel 4 – 11

Lesson Date: March 8, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Ezekiel 4:1-3; 5:1-2, 12-13; 8:1-18; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23

AIM: To lead students to explain why God’s glory departed from the Temple and from the city of Jerusalem, and to identify practical things they can do to keep God’s glory from departing from their church and their life.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Ezekiel 4 – 11 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Gather some pictures of archaeological ruins and abandoned houses. Draw a simple diagram of Solomon’s Temple (similar to the one found on page 32 of the Sunday School Teacher Book) on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the pictures of archaeological ruins. Ask: “What do you think these ancient buildings were?” After some responses, tell the students those ruins were once magnificent palaces: the homes of rich and powerful kings. Ask if they still look like they once did in their glory days (no). Ask: “What do you think happened?” (the king who once lived there was probably overthrown by an invading army and the palace was no longer used). Tell the class these ruins were once magnificent palaces inhabited by mighty kings, but now they are mere piles of rubble. Ask: “Who lives where those powerful kings once lived?” (bugs, lizards, and small animals). Stress the fact that the glory departed from those palaces, such that now they are just abandoned ruins.

Direct the students’ attention to the pictures of abandoned houses. Tell them those houses were once alive with activity. Families with growing children once lived there, but now those houses are abandoned and falling down. Ask: “What do you think happened?” (the family that gave life to the house departed, leaving it only an empty shell). Ask: “Who lives there now?” (bugs, lizards, and small animals). Stress the fact that the glory departed from those houses, such that now they are just decaying shells of their former appearance. Tell the class in today’s lesson we will learn that the glory of God departed from the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.

 

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 Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon. He prophesied in the years just before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 c.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God commissioned Ezekiel).
    • Ask if anyone would recite last week’s memory verses (Matt. 28:18-20).
  2. Siege and Separation.
    • Tell the class the prophecies of Ezekiel were very graphic in nature. Experts in education tell us we learn better when more of our senses are involved. God told Ezekiel to do some unusual things to get His message to the captive Israelites.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 4:1-3.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Ezekiel to do in verse 1?” (draw a picture of Jerusalem).
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what did God tell Ezekiel to do?” (act out a siege of the city by an attacking army).
    • Ask: “What did God tell Ezekiel to do in verse 3?” (put an iron pan between himself and the drawing of Jerusalem).
    • Ask: “What do you think that represented?” (separation between God and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; God would not come to their aid).
    • Tell the students that God commanded Ezekiel to lie on his side facing his representation of Jerusalem for over a year (v. 5-6)!
    • Ask: “How do you think the people of Jerusalem would react to Ezekiel’s strange behavior?” (with curiosity and interest).
    • Summarize: God told Ezekiel to visually act out the siege of Jerusalem and God’s separation of Himself from the sinful city.
  3. Death and Captivity.
    • Tell the class Ezekiel’s next prophecy portrayed the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem during and after the siege.
    • Read Ezekiel 5:1-2.
    • Ask: “What strange thing did God tell Ezekiel to do in verse 1?” (shave his hair and beard and weigh it on a scale).
    • Tell the students God instructed Ezekiel to divide the hair into thirds.
    • Ask: “What was he told to do with the first third of his hair?” (burn it).
    • Ask: “What did God tell Ezekiel to do with the second third of his hair?” (stab it repeatedly with a sword).
    • Ask: “What was he told to do with the last third of his hair?” (scatter it in the wind).
    • Tell the class that was strange behavior, which undoubtedly attracted the attention of onlookers. Tell them verses 12-13 explain the meaning of Ezekiel’s actions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 5:12-13.
    • Ask: “What was going to happen to the first third of Jerusalem’s inhabitants?” (they would die in the famine caused by the long siege
    • Ask: “What fate would befall the second third?” (they would die by the swords of the attacking Babylonian soldiers).
    • Ask: “What was going to happen to the rest of the Jews?” (they would be scattered as captives in foreign lands).
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, why was God going to allow these terrible things to happen to the people of Jerusalem?” (to satisfy His fury and make sure they understood that He was responsible for their downfall).
    • Summarize: God told Ezekiel to visually act out the terrible fate awaiting the Jews in Jerusalem.
  4. Idolatry Brings Death.
    • Tell the class in chapter 6 God promised to utterly destroy Israel’s many places of idol worship. In chapter 7 He used Ezekiel to announce that the time when Babylon would destroy Jerusalem and loot the Temple was drawing near. God promised that terrible death and destruction were coming.
    • State that if God promised to send death and destruction on His people, we ought to wonder why. Our next passage will answer that question.
    • Read Ezekiel 8:1-4.
    • Explain that God took Ezekiel in a vision to Jerusalem, where he saw the glory of the Lord.
    • Ask everyone to listen for sinful practices among the Israelites, as you read Ezekiel 8:5-16.
    • Ask them what they heard. They should name the following:
      • Idol worship – v. 5-6.
      • Seventy Jewish religious leaders were worshiping images of animals (violating Ex. 20:4-5), thinking God couldn’t see them – v. 7-12.
      • Jewish women were worshiping a Babylonian fertility god – v. 13-14.
      • Twenty-five priests turned their back to the Temple and worshiped the sun – v. 15-16).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 8:17-18.
    • Ask: “According to verse 17, why did God condemn His people to captivity and death?” (they were unfaithful and disobedient, acting as if He couldn’t see or judge them).
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, how did God promise to react if they cried to Him for help?” (He would not hear them).
    • Summarize: From the earliest days of His dealings with man, God warned His people not to worship idols. The Jews signed their death sentence by foolishly disobeying.
  5. Departed Glory.
    • Direct the students’ attention to the diagram of Solomon’s Temple you have drawn on the board. Point out the Most Holy Place, which housed the Ark of the Covenant. Tell the students that represented the glory and the very presence of the Lord.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 10:4.
    • Ask: “Where did Ezekiel see the glory of the Lord move?” (from the Most Holy Place to the threshold of the Temple building, between the Holy Place and the porch).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 10:18-19.
    • Ask: “Where did Ezekiel see the glory of the Lord go next?” (to the eastern gate of the Temple complex: the extreme outer edge of the Temple area).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 11:22-23.
    • Ask: “Where did Ezekiel see the glory of the Lord go next?” (it left Jerusalem entirely and went to the Mount of Olives east of the city).
    • Ask: “Why do you think God removed His glory from the Temple and from the city of Jerusalem?” (He was no longer honored or worshiped there; He left the city to the destructive hands of the cruel Babylonian army).
    • Summarize: God showed Ezekiel a vision of His glory departing from the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. The sins of the Jews doomed them to destruction.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the pictures of archaeological ruins and abandoned houses. Remind them that those buildings were once alive with activity, but the glory and life departed, leaving them nothing but lifeless abandoned ruins. In a similar fashion, the glory of God departed from Jerusalem, after which God abandoned Jerusalem to destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Ask: “Why did God’s glory depart from the Temple and from the city of Jerusalem?” (because of the Israelites’ idolatry, sin, and rebellion).

Ask: “Is it possible for God’s glory to depart from a church?” (yes; see Rev. 3:1 for one example). Ask the students to speculate about reasons God’s glory could depart from a church (willful and uncorrected sin, rebellion towards God and His leaders, and idolatry, which is worshiping things or people other that the Lord Jesus). Ask: “Is it possible for God’s glory to depart from our church?” (yes, for the same reasons it could depart from any other church).

Ask: “Is it possible for God’s glory to depart from a Christian’s life?” (yes). Ask them to speculate about reasons God’s glory could depart from an individual (the same reasons it could depart from a church: unrepentant sin, willful rebellion, and idolatry).

Ask: “What are some practical things we should do to keep God’s glory from departing from us as individuals and from our church as a whole?” (ask God to reveal our sins and then confess and repent of them immediately, submit to God’s will and to the leaders He has placed over us in the church, devote ourselves wholly to the Lord and tear down any idols in our lives, and faithfully read the Bible and attend Sunday School and church services).

Ask the students to bow their heads and close their eyes. Ask: “Just between you and God, answer this question as honestly as you can: Has the glory of God departed from your life?” Tell the students if it has, they must confess, repent, and start doing everything they can to get closer to God and stay that way. Urge them to do that right now. Voice a closing prayer

 

CONCLUSION: Tell the students to remember on a daily basis that God sees all they do and knows all they think. We live in divine presence 24 hours a day. Nothing escapes the Lord’s notice. Tell them to live in the glory of God this week.

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