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Lesson 12: Blessings of the Prophetic Gift *

Introduction: What good are prophets? Since we have learned that prophets give us messages from God, it seems the answer is obvious: we get to hear God's will. Ask yourself: "Are you sure you really want to hear God's will for your life?" Considering the reaction of many to the Bible, I suspect the answer is "no" for some people. Let's dive into our Bible study this week and find out was blessings are in store for those who desire to know and follow God's will.

  1. God's Love and Will


    1. Read Deuteronomy 7:7-8. On what basis did God choose His people? Was it because He felt sorry for them because they were the "runts" of the litter? (God loved them and He had made a promise to their ancestors.)


      1. Doesn't God love everyone? If you say, "yes," then how do you explain this text?


      2. What promise had God made to their ancestors? (Read Exodus 19:5-6. If they would obey God they would be His treasured possession. This promise goes back to the Genesis 22 account of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac.)


      3. Which came first: God's love or their obedience? (Read Exodus 19:3-5. We see that God first rescued the people and then asked them to obey Him.)


    2. Read Deuteronomy 7:9-10. Recall that I asked you earlier whether God loves everyone? If you were reading these words for the first time, what kind of relationship would you say God had with humans? (He loves those who love and obey Him, and He destroys those who hate Him.)


      1. Why does the text say this is a "covenant of love?" Is this love part of a bargain? After all, a covenant is an agreement.


      2. Likely, this is not the first time you have read these words in Deuteronomy 7. Do you think they mean something different than what they seem to say?


    3. We live in different times, are these rules still in effect? (Read John 14:15, John 14:21 and John 14:23-24. Yes. Jesus says exactly the same thing.)


    4. Read John 3:16. Doesn't this say that God loves the entire world? Is there a conflict between this text and what we read in Deuteronomy 7 and John 14? (God loves everyone in the sense that Jesus died for all and the gift of salvation is open to all. However, God has a special relationship with those who obey Him. Christians must never forget they are saved by grace alone, but they must also never forget that God expects and rewards obedience.)


  1. The Role of the Prophet in Blessings


    1. Read John 14:25-26. How does a prophet fit into this scheme? (God's Spirit works through the Bible prophets who write down what God said for our benefit. We have seen in this series of lessons that the prophets remind us of what God wants us to do. They warn us when we get out of line. The Holy Spirit will also speak to us personally to remind us of God's will.)


    2. Read Deuteronomy 7:11-15. What blessings should we expect from paying attention to God's prophets? (God tells us that we will have better lives if we obey Him.)


    3. Read Luke 13:1. What happened to these people? (They were apparently sacrificing at the temple in Jerusalem and Pilate killed them.)


    4. Read Luke 13:2-3. Did these Galileans die because they were not obeying God? (Jesus does not say they were obeying God. He does say that what happened to them did not reflect their sin.)


    5. Read Luke 13:4-5. What happened to these people? (A tower fell on them. They were probably walking by and a wall collapsed, killing them.)


      1. Did the wall fall on them because they were bad people? (Jesus does not endorse their behavior, but He does say they were not wiped out because of their particular sins.)


      2. What is Jesus' primary message to us in these two stories? (We should all repent of our sin.)


      3. What does Jesus seem to say about obedience and blessings?


    6. Read Hebrews 11:35-39. Except for the first phrase, the people described here are believers, people who were obedient to God to the point of death, yet terrible things happened to them. Are the Deuteronomy rules out the window?


      1. How do you reconcile John 14:23 with the terrible things happening to the people described in Hebrews 11:37?


    7. How do you reconcile the idea of obedience = blessings with the difficult life of Paul or Peter or other prophets through whom God inspired the Bible?


    8. Read Hebrews 11:40. When do these people (who are suffering terribly on earth) gain the blessings of obedience? (In heaven.)


    9. After Jesus spoke of the Galileans and the people killed by the wall collapse, He continued with a parable. Read Luke 13:5-9. Is this fig tree blessed?


      1. Is the man tending the fig tree like a prophet? (He not only took care of fig tree in connection with his work in the vineyard, but he did special work to properly fertilize it for a year.)


      2. What happens to the fig tree if it does not bear fruit after the man has worked on it? (It is cut down.)


      3. How is this parable a logical conclusion to Jesus' response to the stories about the Galileans and the people killed by the tower collapse? (If you do not repent, you will die - it just might be a while.)


    10. Are there general principles you find in these texts? (We are all sinners. We all need to repent. When we see some terrible tragedy happen to someone else, we cannot say "God harmed him because of his sin." If God were in the retribution business, we all would be in trouble. On the other hand, God blesses those who seek to obey Him. The general rule is that they enjoy the blessings of obedience. For some people those blessings find their fulfillment in heaven. For everyone who does not turn to God, they will find, like the fig tree, that they are "cut off" at the end of time (if not before).)


  2. Prophet Messages and Health


    1. Read Leviticus 7:22-23. What blessing did God have in mind when He told Moses to give this message? Compare Deuteronomy 7:15. (I doubt those people had any clue that eating fat was unhealthy for them. We know from modern medical science that eating fat is unhealthy. We see that part of the blessings of obeying the prophet was the health advantage of avoiding fat.)


    2. Read Isaiah 38:21 and Leviticus 15:1-7. What modern medical advice do we see here?


      1. Why is this the subject of a prophetic message? (Again, we see that God gives practical advice through His prophets for human health.)


    3. What do God's messages about health teach us as a general matter about His use of the prophets to bless us? (This shows that common, everyday principles for better living are part of the blessings of the prophetic gift.)


    4. Friend, do you want to be blessed? God's message to you is to repent, believe and obey. If you do this, you will be blessed. This does not mean that you will never experience tragedy, but it does mean that you will generally live a better life here on earth and you will have the blessing of eternal life.


  3. Next week: Confidence in the Prophetic Gift.
* Copr. 2009, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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