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Lesson 5: The Controversy Continues *

Introduction: What does God require of you? Micah 6:8 answers, "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." The examples we studied this week and the last of God's leaders of old, might make you wonder how they fit Micah's answer. What comes across strongly is that we need to stand up for the honor of God in challenging situations. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about what God has in mind for us!

  1. David


    1. Read 1 Samuel 17:20-24. Do you think that David thought he might be able to get in a little unauthorized fighting?


      1. What do you think was David's reaction when he saw the Israelites fearfully run away from Goliath? (Read 1 Samuel 17:26. David thinks this is a disgrace. God has been dishonored by these cowardly men.)


    2. Read 1 Samuel 17:28. What is Eliab suggesting about David? (That David is unimportant, conceited, and in truth a coward who is afraid to fight and only wants to watch.)


      1. Why would Eliab say such terrible things about his brother? (He knows that is what David is thinking about him (indeed, the entire army), and so Eliab insults David on those same points.)


    3. Read 1 Samuel 17:31. What does this tell us about Saul? (He was desperate. Why would the king call on a young shepherd boy?)


    4. Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. In whom is David putting his confidence? (In God. His faith is extraordinary.)


    5. Read 1 Samuel 17:40-44. What is Goliath's view of the challenge presented by David? (He thought it was an insult. We have pretty much universal agreement on the odds of David winning. It shows even more clearly the desperation of King Saul.)


    6. Read 1 Samuel 17:45-47. What factor has David injected into the fight? (The supernatural. David clearly states that God is the One who will win this fight. David is not taking credit for his anticipated victory.)


    7. Read 1 Samuel 17:48-51. Re-read 1 Samuel 17:43. What has Goliath missed? (The sling. He anticipates hand-to-hand combat, with David using a "stick.")


      1. Does Goliath invoke supernatural power? (Yes. "The Philistine cursed David by his gods.")


      2. What is the lesson from David for our lives? What are your thoughts about David?


    8. Read 2 Samuel 11:1. What is different about King David? (He apparently lost his desire to take on the bad guys.)


      1. Why is this? Age? Laziness? The "good life?"


    9. Read 2 Samuel 11:2. Do you have a more difficult time sleeping if you don't have enough physical activity?


      1. Does Bathsheba know that anyone on the roof of the palace can see her? Do you think she knows that David prowls the roof at night?


    10. Read 2 Samuel 11:3-4. At what point does David sin? When he sends for her knowing she is married? Or, when he sleeps with her?


    11. Read 2 Samuel 11:5. What has changed in David's life? (David's secret sin is about to become public.)


    12. David tries, unsuccessfully, to conceal his sin. David then arranges to have Bathsheba's husband killed in battle, along with other soldiers. Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27. How do you think young David becomes old King David?


    13. Read 2 Samuel 12:7-10 and Hebrews 11:32-34. How does David get included as one of the heros of faith?


      1. How is David like Sampson, who is also listed as a hero? (Both had a problem with women.)


    14. Read 2 Samuel 12:11-14. What do we learn about sinning against "our neighbor?" (Our sin against others comes back to harm us. This kind of sin has terrible practical consequences.)


      1. What does God seem most concerned about? (God's enemies show utter contempt.)


      2. Re-read 2 Samuel 12:13. Do you agree with David, that his sin is against God? (This is what we discussed last week. In the first half of the Ten Commandments, our service to God is the most important concern. Many think David sinned against Bathsheba's husband and the other soldiers who were killed. But, David and God understand that the primary issue is how this impacts God, how it impacts the battle between good and evil. You avoid violating the second half of the Ten Commandments because you are not a moron and don't want to suffer. You obey the first half because of allegiance to God.)


        1. In what way do the two halves of the Ten Commandments impact each other? (Both David and Sampson made God look bad by their sexual sins.)


  2. Hezekiah


    1. Read 2 Kings 19:9-13. What do you understand to be the essence of King Sennacherib's letter to King Hezekiah? (No god has been able to stand against me, and your God will do no better.)


    2. Read 2 Kings 19:14-16. Why doesn't Hezekiah say "A lot of your people will die if you don't do something? Your nation will be destroyed if you don't intervene?" (Hezekiah has it exactly right, the issue is about the honor of God. He says to God this is an "insult" to you.)


    3. Read 2 Kings 19:17-19. What does this teach you about your prayers when you are in trouble?


    4. Read 2 Kings 19:20-22 and 2 Kings 19:27-28. Does God know where our enemies live?


    5. Read 2 Kings 19:32-34. Why will God save Jerusalem and its people? (For His sake and David's.)




    6. Read 2 Kings 19:35-36. Does King Hezekiah have to risk his life in battle? (No.)


      1. What does this teach you about the problems you face - if you stand up for the honor of God?


  3. Nehemiah


    1. The first verses of Nehemiah report on the terrible condition of Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction. Read Nehemiah 1:4-7. How does Nehemiah start out his prayer? (With the glory of God.)


      1. How have God's people failed Him? (Part of the glory of God is that He keeps His promises, the problem is that we do not uphold our side of the deal.)


    2. Read Nehemiah 1:8-9. This "instruction" to Moses was a long time before. Is it still a valid promise?


      1. If so, why? (Nehemiah ties the promise to Moses to God's glory. He refers to Jerusalem being chosen "as a dwelling for my Name.")


    3. Read Nehemiah 1:10-11. If you were looking at Nehemiah's prayer as an argument, explain its logical flow? (He argues that God has a contract ("covenant") with those who love Him and obey Him. That contract is that if you obey God, life will be better, and this will bring glory to God's name. He confesses that the people let God down, but He says that he and a group of others want to enter again into this contract.)


      1. Is this contract open to you? (I think so.)


        1. Every contract presumably has some overall purpose, and a benefit to both of the parties to the contract. What is the overall purpose of this contract? (To advance the glory of God.)


        2. What is the benefit to humans? (When God's followers do well, God is glorified.)


          1. Is this a consistent rule? (No. Sometimes God is glorified when we are faithful through adversity.)


    4. Friend, the goal of our life should be to bring glory to God. How does your life bring glory to God? If it is hard to say, why not ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to opportunities to bring God glory?


  4. Next week: Victory in the Wilderness.
* Copr. 2016, 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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