C.A.C Sunday School Manual For March 7 and 14, 2021, Lesson Four : Topic – GOD SHOWS HIS SUPREMACY AMONG GENTILE
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH WORLDWIDE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
(KINGDOM OF GOD FAMILY)
THEME: GOD IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF MAN
UNIT ONE : Gentile Administration Before the Exile
Date : March 7 & 14, 2021
TOPIC : GOD SHOWS HIS SUPREMACY AMONG GENTILE
And should I not pity, Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left and much livestock?
The Philistine lords soon realised they were messing with the Owner of the universe when they saw the god they were so proud of, falling prostrate and broken in parts before the Ark of YAHWEH.
God cares, and has considered for all nations of the earth. He created all including Nineveh, and loves them exceedingly, even when they have chosen to be His enemies. In actual sense, it’s sin that dichotomised the world God created good into ‘this people’ and ‘My people’ from the perspective of God. Look at how God addressed the people at Babel. He saw them as that people, this people. In other words, they were not His people, so to say. They were people who had chosen to be on the opposite side of His righteousness. But God chose to raise a people for Himself, starting with Abraham.
Nineveh was a gentile nation, one of the nations of the earth that chose to do their things the way that displeased God, His love for Nineveh is far different from Jonah’s indignation to their damnation. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the lack of 10 righteous souls but passionately desired to save a whole city of more than 120,000 souls with no single righteous person! In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, the inhabitants were duly divinely warned, most especially, with the presence of Lot therein, but they chose to fight God’s standard, hence their irreversible destruction. Conversely. Nineveh had about 120,000 ignorant souls who couldn’t discern between their right hand and their left. The gracious God wouldn’t allow such to perish without the opportunity to respond to His divine warning, hence the heed for Jonah to visit them with God’s Word.
What a Supreme God! His concern for all nations is that they are saved. No wonder, He has programmed that the Gospel would be preached to the ends of the earth before the Second Advent, so that no one would have the excuse of being ignorant of the Gospel. Not only is He concerned for the humans, the lives of the innocent livestock matter as much to Him. What a caring God! If He cares so much for livestock, won’t He care much for you (Matt. 6:28)?
Devotional Bible Reading For Week One
Mon. 1: Jonah: Sent To Nineveh By God (Jon. 1:1-2)
Tue. 2: Jonah Goes On AWOL (Jon. 1:3)
Wed. 3: Jonah Incurs God’s Wrath (Jon. 1:4)
Thur. 4: Jonah Acknowledged Sin, Thrown Overboard (Jon. 1:9-16)
Fri. 5: Jonah Swallowed Up For Nineveh’s Sake (Jon. 1:17)
Sat. 6: Jonah Repents And Does God’s Bidding (Jon. 2:7-9)
1. God owns what He makes, And He rules what He owns.
2. The maker of something is the owner, and has the power, not only to rule, but to do whatsoever He chooses/pleases with same. God is the Creator, and by implication, the Owner of ALL. He reigns unquestionably over All. That is why He is God, and God alone.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 10:5-16
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show the mercy and provision of God towards sinners, in His administration on earth.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, readers should be able to:
i. explain why God allowed the Philistines to deal with His own people;
ii. draw meaningful lessons from how God demonstrated His supremacy among those gentiles by destroying the idol before His Ark;
iii. show what God’s concern was in sending Elijah to intervene in the affair of the gentile nation of Syria; and
iv. defend why God didn’t ultimately fulfil the enthronement of Hazael through Elijah whom He had commissioned to do that, but through Elisha, his successor.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: 1 SAMUEL 4:5; 1 KINGS 19:15-17; 2 KINGS 8:7-15
GOD IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF EGYPT was the third lesson in this series, which was concluded last week. We saw how God purposefully and strategically planted His servants, Joseph and Moses, respectively in the land of Egypt with a view to consistently pursuing the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, to make of him a great nation. We pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to fully appropriate all the blessings discovered, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
BY the grace of the Almighty God, today and next Sunday, we shall continue to look at God in the administration of man, under the topic: GOD SHOWS HIS SUPREMACY AMONG GENTILES. The supremacy of God means that He has total control of all things — past, present and future. Nothing happens that is out of His knowledge and control. All things are either caused by Him, or allowed by Him for His own purposes and through His perfect will and timing (Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:6). He is the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler of the universe and is sovereign in creation, providence and redemption.
In this study, we see God aiding the gentiles to defeat His own people and going further to eventually deal ruthlessly with the same gentiles, as a show of the fact that, He rules unquestionably in the affairs of men. In addition, how at Mount Sinai, the supreme God had commissioned Elijah to anoint Hazael, king over Syria, Jehu, king over Judah, and Elisha as a prophet in Elijah’s commission is thoroughly explained in this lesson.
May God grant unto us the supreme understanding and blessings attached to this revelation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This lesson is divided into two sections, I and II. Each of the sections is further divided into A and B, respectively.
DIVISION I: AMONG THE PHILISTINES
This division is a discourse of I Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1-12, under the sub-headings; Favours Them Vanquish His people, and Fulfils His Supremacy Among Them. The division is set out to show forth how God assisted the enemies to defeat His own people, and how He eventually dealt with the enemy nation, to show His unquestionably supremacy.
DIVISION II: AMONG THE SYRIANS
The second division focuses the attention of readers on I Kings 19:15-17 and 2 Kings 8:7-15. It is also broken down into two sub-headings Sends Elijah To Give Them King, and Strengthens Elijah to Confirm it. It reveals God’s final commission on Elijah and how Elisha was used to complete Elijah’s commission.
I. AMONG THE PHILISTINES
A. FAVOURS THEME TO VANQUISH HIS PEOPLE
B. FULFILLS HIS SUPREMACY AMONG THEM
II. AMONG THE SYRIANS
A. SENDS ELIJAH TO GIVE THEM KING
B. STRENGTHENS ELISHA TO CONFIRM IT.
I. AMONG THE PHILISTINES (1 Samuel 4:1ff; 5:1ff)
When God’s people misbehaved, He made Their enemies become champions who made minced-meat of them. But God cannot but still treat them like the enemies they have always been. He punished them in return.
A. FAVOURS THEM TO VANQUISH HIS PEOPLE (4:1-11)
And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?” (v. 3a).
i. vv. 1-11: The Israelites engaged in war with the Philistines, but God was not with them! There was sin in their camp — corrupt religious system and spiritual atmosphere. They have refused to heed God’s warning (1 Sam. 2:22-25, 29; 3:11-14, 18). God must deal with them; and the same came!
ii. vv. 1-2: God made the Israelites suffer who defeats from the Philistines. In the first encounter, the Philistines routed them, killing 4, 000 in the process.
iii. vv. 3-9: The Ark of the Covenant was carried to the battlefield to encourage Israel and frighten the Philistines, but God was not therein. God had departed the camp of Israel and gone to be with the Philistines. God does not condone sinfulness (cf. Ps. 50:16-17; Rom. 6:1). Any of our systems and structures that doesn’t have God as head Controller is open invitation to serious disaster!
iv. vv. 10-11: God permitted the Philistines (enemies who didn’t know Him) to inflict a second defeat on His people (cf. Isa. 10:6-7; Rom. 9:16). They killed 30,000 Israelites, including Eli’s sons — Hophni and Phineas (cf. 2:34), and captured the coveted Ark that was devoid of God.
v. If God be for us, who can be against us, or be our foe? (Psa. 118:6; Rom. 8:31). What is the converse situation?
vi. The enemies may make a mockery of the people of God, but God’s people will always have the last laugh (1 Sam. 2:1).
B. FULFILS HIS SUPREMACY AMONG THEM (5:1-12)
And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it (v.4).
i. vv. 1-5: Having been permitted by God to defeat Israel (4:10-11), the Philistines proudly placed the Ark inside the house of Dagon, their god, to show Dagon as superior to Yahweh, who, unknown to them, had caused them to defeat Israel according to His righteousness.
ii. Their plan of taking the Ark as their spoil of war backfired, however. The next morning, Dagon was found lying prostrate before the Ark with its hands and head cut off (v.4). Who can battle with the Lord?
iii. vv. 6-7: Added to this disaster on their lifeless god were the plague and hemorrhoids that broke out on the people of the city themselves. It is sad when a person’s god can’t even defend itself (cf. Psa 115:3ff; 135:14ff).
iv. vv. 8-9: This denomination of Yahweh’s supremacy over other gods made the awe-struck people of Ashdod to insist on taking the Ark away from their midst.
v. vv. 9-12: Everywhere the Ark got to (Gath, Ekron), deadly confusion broke throughout the city. In fact, the suffering was so great in Ekron that their cry even went up to heaven (v. 12). The compassionate sovereign Lord heard their prayers for mercy and kept the entire city from being killed by the plague (cf. Psa. 115:3).
vi. God desires men to acknowledge that Him as Supreme. Only then can they enjoy His divine favour. He is the Lord of all and must be recognised as such. He won’t share His glory with anyone, anywhere (Isa. 42:8).
1. When God’s people disobey, He takes His shield off them.
2. God is supreme and must be acknowledged in all of our accomplishments.
WORK TO DO
Discuss: The Ark is taken by the Philistines to the city of Ashdod and placed in the house of Dagon, their god, but, calamity broke out.
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
i. The Ark symbolised the present of God; and God’s presence is His power manifested.
ii. When and where the people of God sinned, His power left the Ark (Hab. 1:13a) rendering it a mere wood!
iii. It is only then that the enemy can lay hold of the Ark and take it away.
iv. The Philistines, meanwhile, thought it was Dagon, their god, who gave them the victory over Israel. Hence, they went and honoured it with the Ark — a spiteful provocation of the Sovereign God.
v. Even if the Ark was made of wood, it had been dedicated by, and consecrated to God. Therefore, an ordinary demon-possessed, stinking and motionless wood (Dagon) could not withstand it.
vi. Dagon was severely tortured for two nights. Its people also had their fair share of God’s judgment.
vii. God Himself overturned the supposed supremacy of Dagon by making it fall as if paying homage to the Lord, in its own territory!
viii.God is supreme. He creates all and owns all. Therefore, He alone deserves to be worshipped.
II. AMONG THE SYRIAN (1 Kgs. 19:15-17; 2 Kgs. 8:7-15)
14th, Mar. 2021
Uninvited, the Sovereign God interfered in the leadership of enemy nation. This He does to prove Himself as the unquestionable and unstoppable Administrator of the universe.
A. Sends Elijah To Give Them King (1 Kgs. 19:15-17)
Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael over Syria.” (v. 15).
i. vv. 15-17: The Lord’s instructions to Elijah were actually a mission to eventually bring about 3 appointments — 2 kings, and a prophet to succeed Elijah, Elisha. God is the determinant of governments and governance.
ii. v. 15: Years prior to Hazael’s reign, God had instructed Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Why? Isreal had sinned against God and Hazael was to be used by Him to execute punishment upon them. God owns all and unquestionably does whatsoever He wills with all.
iii. v. 16a: Also, you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. God scheduled Jehu as instrument of vengeance on the house of Ahab (cf. 2 Kgs. 9:1-10).
iv. v. 16b: And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. In Elisha God gave Elijah a companion and successor. The work of God goes on because it is God’s work, and He oversees it.
v. He will ensure the work continues, even after the demise of any personnel. God’s work always outlives God’s ministers!
B. STRENGTHENS ELISHA TO CONFIRM IT (2 Kgs. 8:7-15)
So Hazael said, “But what is your servant a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” And Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you will become king over Syria” (v. 13).
i. vv. 7-10: Then Elisha went to Damascus… Why did Elisha go to Syria? God at work! God’s people moved by His Spirit (Jn. 3:8; Rom. 8:14). Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, felt that Elisha’s arrival was accidental, though.
ii. God was working on the heart of the king of Syria (cf. Prov. 21:1), making him who had fallen sick and had heard of Elisha’s presence in Damascus to send Hazael to the man of God inquiring whether he, the king, would recover (v. 8).
iii. Elisha notified the king that he would recover but went on to explain to Hazael he knew by divine revelation that Ben-Hadad would die (cf. Deut. 29:29; Dan. 2:22). Though seemingly inconsistent, this was nonetheless a truthful statement considering that the king would not die because of his sickness, but he would be murdered by Hazael (v.15), that the Word of the Lord might come to pass.
iv. vv. 11-13: Elisha also told Hazael that he would be the next king of Syria, and that the war he would wage against Israel would be severe and brutal. Elisha most likely anointed Hazael at this time, between vv. 13 and 14. The appointment wasn’t favour to Hazael, but it’s God using Hazael to punish the unfaithful Israel.
v. Elisha was fulfilling a commission (cf. 1 Kgs. 19:15-16) that his master Elisha, who could only anoint him but not Hazael or Jehu, didn’t finish. Elisha was being used by God to complete Elisha’s commission. God’s assignment cannot suffer lack of personnel (Lk. 19:40).
vi. The time came to anoint Jehu king of Israel. Elisha sent a son of the prophet to do that (2 Kgs. 9:1-6). God often commissions one of His servants to fulfill a task, which may span many years and include several other servants of His. The commission given to one person isn’t necessarily fulfilled by that person alone.
vii.Spirit of teamwork and continuity is the wheel of God’s commission. God isn’t given you any assignment you alone can finish. Just do your best within the time limit He has given you, and leave the rest, to His glory.
1. When we are discouraged, God’s faithfulness in the past gives us hope and confidence for the future.
2. God empowers those He commissions and sent on His own assignment.
1. Explain God’s supremacy among the Philistines.
2. Elijah received the instruction, Elisha executed the programme and than had to do with a gentile nation. Any lesson?
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
ANSWER TO QUESTION 1
i. God’s supremacy means that He has total control over all things, at all times.
ii. It means all things happen within His knowledge and control, for His own purpose.
iii. He was the One who allowed the Philistines to rout His own people in battle; and to take away the Ark of Covenant.
iv. Whereas, the Philistines still did not recognise Him (cf. 1 Sam. 4:7-8) as God who deserved to be worshipped; God made them to learn this in a very hard way.
v. God would always reach out to sinners with the aim of saving them; it is left for sinners to embrace God and receive His salvation.
ANSWERS TO QUESTION 2
i. From the onset, the God who commissions already knew how it would go and who would execute such commission.
ii. As the Sovereign God who is Omniscient, He knew beforehand how far Elijah would go and thus had prepared his would-be-successor, Elisha, to carry on the assignment.
iii. None is supposed to be gentiles to God, going by the fact that God creates all and owns all (cf. Acts 17:24-29). But sin separates Him from us. God loves all, including gentiles (Jn. 3:16), and so, their survival and ultimate residence in heaven is of paramount importance to Him.
iv. Idolatry in Israel was reduced to the barest minimum in the days of Elijah and Elisha. So, God decided to reach the idolatrous Syria and other nations through His own vessels.
v. Love is the bottom-line. God loves all and wants none to remain His enemy.
Lessons to Learn
i. We must be like our Heavenly Father in love and compassion.
ii. Indeed, sinners are groaning, desiring freedom. We believers, like God, must reach out to them.
iii. We must be unbiased in demonstrating God’s love to all.
iv. If God gave His Son for us; we must be able to give our all to ensure sinners come to the saving knowledge of Christ; that is Sacrificial love (Jn. 3:16; I Jn. 3:16).
v. From the fact that Elijah was not the one who anointing Jehu and Hazael kings over Israel and Syria, respectively, we learnt that God has a way of progressively accomplishing His eternal plan committed to His people.
vi. He doesn’t give to a man what he has finish alone. We need cooperation with Him and with those He positions around us to accomplish such works.
God loves His enemies, but His enemies hate Him. The Philistines thought they had captured Him (in the Ark) alive and took Him home. But right in their domain, God still demonstrated His power to save and to meet needs; but they were still veiled (2 Cor. 4:3-4) by their worthless god. They missed Him and perished in their foolishness. That was thousands of years ago.
There are still God’s enemies today whom God is trying to reach. He needs you and me as channels to reach out to those sinners around us. He wants to prove His supremacy by giving them salvation. Like Elisha, we must be willing and available. May God help us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We thank God for bringing us to the end of this lesson. It was introduced God to us as the Supreme God who lovingly operates beyond all boundaries and barriers, and who is willing to save all who trust in Him. May God help us to fully appropriate all the lessons gleaned from here, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK TWO
Mon. 8: God Commands The Fish: Release Jonah! (Jon. 2:10)
Tue. 9: God Commands Jonah A Second Time (Jon 3:1-2)
Wed. 10: God’s Verdict On Nineveh Delivered By Jonah (Jon. 3:3-4).
Thur. 11: God’s Message Makes The People Repent (Jon. 3:5)
Fri. 12: God’s Message Makes The King Repent (Jon. 3:6-9)
Sat. 13: Godly Sorrow Saves Nineveh (Jon. 3:10)