May 1, 2022 – Deuteronomy 17 – 18

Lesson Date: May 1, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Deuteronomy 17:2-7; 18:9-19

AIM: To lead students to recognize that the wicked practices associated with false religion always lead to death but God offers redemption through Jesus Christ, and to encourage them to abandon wicked practices and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Deuteronomy 17 – 18 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Get enough copies of the “Abominable Things” worksheet for your anticipated attendance, and some pens or pencils for those who might need one.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “Have you ever seen the horoscope printed in a newspaper or magazine?” (they undoubtedly have).  Ask: “Have you ever noticed magazines and books in the grocery store checkout line that contain horoscopes or predictions of the future?” (they have if they’ve ever gone to the grocery store).  Ask: “Have you ever seen a sign on the road for a palm reader or for psychic readings?” (they probably have).

Ask: “Would you agree that we live in the most scientifically advanced time in human history?” (yes).  Remind the students that during the Covid pandemic government officials repeatedly told us they were “following the science” in their guidelines.  Our modern world values science and technology.  Tell them many people even use science as a sort of a “shield” against Christianity (“I refuse to believe what I can’t see, understand, and prove”).

Tell the class in spite of our scientific advancements, people are increasingly fascinated with magic, mysticism, and seeking to know the future.  For example, horoscopes are available in newspapers and magazines, on website, and even through mobile apps.  Tell the students the results of the following recent Google searches:

  • “Get a psychic reading” – 50.7 million results
  • “Read your horoscope” = 115 million results
  • “Communicate with the dead” – 231 million results

Ask: “What, if anything, does the Bible say about these things?  Should Christians be involved in them?”  Tell the students we will discover answers to those questions in today’s lesson, as well as God’s solution for such practices.  The title of our lesson is Abomination and Atonement.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the book of Deuteronomy, which consists of sermons Moses preached to the children of Israel shortly before they entered the Promised Land.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the dangers of false religion).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (John 14:6).
  2. Israel was Not to Tolerate False Religion.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 17:2.
    • Explain that God told His people what to do if they learned that anyone among them was behaving wickedly in breaking God’s covenant.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 17:3-4.
    • Ask: “What wicked practices did God name?” (worshipping and serving other gods, or the sun, moon, or angels).
    • Explain the following:
      • This passage is talking about Israelites involved in false religion (“If there be found among you”).
      • They were to investigate and be certain the charges of idolatry were true, just as in last week’s lesson (Deut. 13:14).
      • The word abomination means something that is disgusting, detestable, and sickening.
    • Ask: “Have you ever seen or heard of anything that literally made you sick?”
    • Tell the class that is the way God feels about all false religion. It is not innocent, fun, or the result of man’s misguided ideas – it is evil and disgusting to God.
    • Read Deuteronomy 17:5-7.
    • Ask: “What did God command them to do to those who worshipped false gods?” (execute them publicly).
    • Ask: “According to verse 7, why were they to do that?” (to “put the evil away from among you;” in other words, completely remove the evil influence from them).
    • Stress the fact that these instructions were for ancient Israel: Christians have never been told by God to execute those who follow false religions.
    • Summarize: God told the Israelites not to tolerate the abomination of false religion; they were to publicly execute people who worshipped false gods.
  3. Israel was Not to Tolerate Wicked Practices.
    • Give everyone a copy of the “Abominable Things” worksheet.
    • Read Deuteronomy 18:9.
    • Tell the class that God did not want Israel to adopt the wicked practices of the people who lived in the land they would inherit.
    • Read Deuteronomy 18:10-11.
    • Explain that the phrase, “There shall not be found among you” means that they were to put to death or drive out anyone who did the things described in these verses.
    • Lead the students to fill in the blanks on their worksheets. Explain the meanings of the various terms.
    • Ask: “Do modern people still do these abominations?” (yes).
    • Ask the students to give some examples.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 18:12-14.
    • Ask: “In verse 12, how did God describe those who did such wicked things?” (“all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord”).
    • Remind them that an abomination is something repulsive, disgusting, and sickening. God hates false religion.
    • Ask: “Why did God promise to drive the Canaanites out of the Promised Land?” (because they practiced those wicked behaviors; see also Deut. 9:4-5).
    • Tell the class in addition to His disgust with their wicked practices, God wanted to drive those idolaters far away so they would not lead His people to do evil.
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, what did God expect of the Israelites?” (perfection).
    • Ask: “Is that possible in our flesh?” (no; see Rom. 3:23).
    • Summarize: God told the Israelites not to tolerate the wicked practices of false religion. God promised to drive out the Canaanites because they practiced those abominations.
  4. The Promise of the Great Prophet.
    • Tell the class that God hates witchcraft, magic, and mysticism; He also wants His people to be perfect.
    • Ask: “Since humans have a natural tendency toward wickedness and superstition, what are we to do? Does God offer us any hope to stay away from these things?”
    • Read Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, who did God promise to send to Israel?” (a Great Prophet).
    • Tell the students that verse 16 says God had revealed this to Moses forty years earlier at Horeb (Mount Sinai).
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, what would this promised Prophet do?” (speak the words of God to them).
    • Ask: “Were they supposed to hear and receive the words of that Prophet?” (yes).
    • Tell the class this prophecy clearly points to Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (see John 1:21, 45; 6:14; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37).
    • Ask: “According to verse 19, what did God say would happen to those who reject the words of the Prophet (Jesus)?” (they would be responsible for ignoring Him and receive appropriate punishment – “I will require it of him”).
    • Ask: “What happens to anyone who ignores and rejects Jesus Christ?” (they are responsible for their sin and will receive eternal punishment in hell).
    • Summarize: God promised to send the Great Prophet, Jesus Christ, to speak His Words. Those who reject Him are responsible for their sin and will suffer eternal torment.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that we learned  last week that the penalty for following false religion in Israel was death.  We have seen the same in this week’s lesson.  Stress the fact that the wicked practices associated with false religion always lead to death, but God offers redemption through Jesus Christ.

Tell the students that God hates and detests the mystical practices of false religion.  He said such abominable practices should not be found among His people.  They result in death and eternal separation from God, but atonement is available through Jesus Christ.  Humans have a natural tendency toward wickedness and evil, but any who turn to God through Jesus Christ will find forgiveness and atonement.

Stress the fact that Christians have no business participating in any of the abominable practices named in today’s lesson.  It is not innocent fun to go to a séance, call a psychic hotline, or even read your horoscope.  Such practices are disgusting and repulsive to Almighty God.  Tell the students if they are involved in any such activities, they should stop immediately.

Tell the students the Good News from this lesson is that God promised to send His Son to be our Savior, to pay the price for our sin so we could be right with God and have eternal life.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Say: “If you’ve never turned your life completely over to the Lordship of Jesus, do so right now.  Without Jesus Christ, you are involved in false religion, bound to wickedness, and headed for eternal torment in hell.  Turn to Jesus Christ for salvation right now!”

Encourage everyone to abandon any wicked practices in which they might be involved and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.  Voice a closing prayer, confessing our tolerance for wickedness and committing to follow Christ wholeheartedly.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to take a good look around their home.  If they find astrological signs (on jewelry or art, for instance), horoscopes, or other abominable things, get rid of them immediately.  They are not just “fun” or art, they are abominations; they make God sick!

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