NBC Sunday School Manual For January 8, 2023 :Topic – God Promises Restoration And Protection
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SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
DATE: SUNDAY, 8TH JANUARY, 2023.
TOPIC: GOD PROMISES RESTORATION AND PROTECTION.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5, 13-17.
Isaiah 43:1-4, 10-12.
“But now, this is what the LORD says he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1.
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Explain the meaning of restoration and protection;
● Explain, in clear terms, the reason God was interested in the well-being of the Israelites, despite their continuous disobedience to Him;
● Resolve to trust in God and prove their faith at all times.
The book of Isaiah was written by | Prophet Isaiah. It is one of the major prophetic writings of the Old Testament. He was a great prophet in Jerusalem from the year King Uzziah died (742 BC) until the Assyrians’ invasion of Judah and Jerusalem. His call and commissioning took place as a result of a vision of the temple, which guaranteed his authority to speak for God (Isaiah 6). He was one of the prophets who predicted the release of the Israelites from captivity in Babylon. The nation of Israel was specially chosen by God to be His own people among other nations. He chose them and the dynasty of King David for Himself (2 Samuel 7). Unfortunately, they rebelled against God repeatedly when they were expected to reflect His holiness and justice and thus they were taken captive to Babylon. As a result of their constant disobedience, they forfeited God’s promises to them. While they were in exile, Isaiah made it clear that the real threat was not necessarily the Assyrians but their sins and disobedience to God who has called them to be His people. However, God promised to restore and protect them. Through all their sufferings, He promised to be with them (v. 2) and set them free again because He loved them.
The book of Isaiah is divided into various sections. Chapters 40-55 deal with the time when many of the people of Judah were in captivity, in Babylon, and were being crushed without hope. Chapters 56-66 consist of God’s consolation and hope for His people, after they returned to Jerusalem. According to Prophet Isaiah, Israel had lost hope while they were in captivity. They were concerned about their future, especially about what would become of the promises of God, before He spoke through Prophet Isaiah, promising to restore and protect them. The word “Restoration” is the same as to repair, rebuild, reinstate, or to get back what was once lost while “Protection” means to safeguard, to fortify, and to be guarded. These were the promises God made to the people of Israel while they were in captivity, in Babylon and this is the focus of today’s lesson.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. GOD PROMISES TO RESCUE HIS PEOPLE:
When God chose Israel to be His people, He wanted them to obey and honour Him in all things. He made Israel a nation after the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 19:1-8). Unfortunately, they repeatedly disappointed God as a result of their constant rebellion against Him. Obviously, the people would have been discouraged and hopeless while they were in exile because there was no help in sight. However, because of God’s compassionate nature, He changed from pronouncing judgment on them to making a promise of restoration and deliverance from captivity. He said to them, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (v. 1b) He also promised to save them when they pass through the waters, through the rivers and through the fire because He is their Lord and God, the Holy One of Israel, their Saviour. To validate the promises in verses 1 and 2, He promised to exchange some nations (Egypt, Cush and Seba) as ransom to free them from captivity. The declaration was necessitated by the fact that they (the Israelites) are precious and honoured in His sight.
One of the attributes of God is compassion. Despite the fact that the people were not consistent in their relationship with God, He decided to show them mercy, even though He had expressed His displeasure over their rebellion. He promised to restore and protect them instead of punish them. Ordinarily, the people of Judah, at this time, had reasons to fear, most especially the Babylonians. But God commanded them not to fear because He is their Creator and Redeemer. He said to them, “… you are mine”, a phrase that expresses ownership. The fact that we are God’s people who have been called by His name is an antidote to fear and discouragement, especially in the face of challenges. Today’s lesson reminds us that no matter what our challenges are, God has promised to hold, protect, guard and care for us because we are His people who He loves and honours. As believers in Christ, regardless of the gravity of the trouble we are confronted with, we have nothing to fear. He is assuring us that our troubles will not overwhelm us (v. 2), as He has promised to save us (v. 3).
1. Explain how precious believers are to God and what their responses to Him should be.
2. Discuss the promise in verse 2, in light of those who experience loss and tragedy. How can this verse serve as encouragement to them?
B. ISRAEL DESCRIBED AS GOD’S WITNESSES:
God’s love for the people of Israel is emphasised in verse 10, when He affirmed that they were His witnesses and servants who He had chosen. In other words, His miraculous dealings with them, from the time they left Egypt and all through their wilderness experiences were enough evidence of His saving power. He said to them, “… so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no saviour.” (vv. 10b-11) After all, God predicted what would happen and saved His people. Thereafter, He proclaimed that they are His witnesses and He is their God. Therefore, He cannot be compared with other lifeless gods that have eyes but cannot see, ears but are deaf; they cannot predict the future, and are clueless about what is happening (vv. 8-9).
According to verse 8, God commanded that the nation of Israel should assemble — they were expected to publicly bear witness to God and His power to save. Because they had previously experienced the awesomeness and greatness of God, they were supposed to be living witnesses as well as witnesses to the fact that there is none like the True God of Israel. Those who worship idols do not have such a claim because their so-called gods lack the power to protect and restore and for this reason, they ought to believe and understand that He alone is God. This implies that not only is He the Most High God, there is none like Him. There are no other gods beside Him and there will be none after Him. This suggests that believers in Christ are supposed to be witnesses, both to God and for God (Acts 1:8). We are His servants, under the lordship of Jesus Christ; therefore, we are to bear witness to others about God’s redeeming grace.
1. Discuss the dual nature of believers in Christ, both as witnesses and servants the same way God portrayed the Israelites.
2. Despite the Israelites’ unfaithfulness, God was interested in their well-being. Discuss.
● Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to bear witness to God’s saving grace to people, in the course of the new week.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activities:
● List at least five different ways Christians should respond to God’s promises in verses 1-4.
Take Home: Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson.