C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR MARCH 19 & 26, 2023 : LESSON FIVE, TOPIC – JACOB’S SONS AND HOW THEY FARE UNDER GRACE
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH Nigeria & Overseas
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: Some Characters WHO GROW in the Grace and KNOWLEDGE
January – June, 2023
Unit Two: Spiritual Growth Before Christ Came
March 19 & 26, 2023
TOPIC: JACOB’S SONS AND HOW THEY FARE UNDER GRACE
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing (Genesis 49:28).
The sun shines on all but we make use of it differently; this was not different when it comes to the sons of Jacob. The grace their father enjoyed was available to them all, but they utilised it differently. Joseph harnessed it better than the others
Jacob had earlier blessed Joseph’s children (Gen. 48:1). Later, he specifically called his twelve sons to himself for last blessings and pronouncements about what future held for them (Gen. 49:1). Providentially, he was revealing what would happen to them in the future, and to their descendants, even when they would have long gone. He spoke to them, one after the other, starting with Reuben to Benjamin respectively, and as appropriate, based on their personality and characteristics. It is sacrosanct that whatever you sow, you shall reap. Hence the need to walk in faithfulness and integrity.
Moreover, when there is any pronouncement, evil or good, curse or blessing, upon a generation, there will be some exceptions. God’s grace exceptions. God’s grace exempts people from evil pronouncements, while anyone who does not align with God can be exempted from the blessings pronounced on his generations. The principle of sowing and reaping works in all cases. Yet, there might be some members of Judah or Joseph who never enjoyed the wonderful blessings pronounced on these ones by their father. Meanwhile, some members of Reuben might probably not share in the unfortunate pronouncement on their father. It all depends on individuals and how they are before God. How are you before the Almighty God?
The counsel: Try to be right, and do what attracts blessings; avoid whatever can land curse on you and your posterity. Jacob’s sons had grace unlimited at their disposal; some of them fared well while others fared badly. May we all fare well under grace, in Jesus’ name.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK ONE
Mon. 13: Reuben’s Arrival Ends Affliction (Gen. 29:32)
Tue. 14: Reuben Lays With Bilhah (Gen. 35:22)
Wed. 15: Reuben Rents His Clothes (Gen. 37:29)
Thur. 16: Reuben Rescues Joseph (Gen. 37:22)
Fri. 17: Two Brothers Trouble Their Father (Gen. 34:30)
Sat. 18: Two Brothers With Instruments Of Cruelty (Gen. 49:5-7)
1. We all writing history with our lives. We need God’s grace to write what pleases Him an benefits all.
2. Some people have lives, and written histories that we are hearing of, and reading about, today (1 Cor. 10:11). Each of our lives and living would soon become history. Covet and crave God’s grace to help you live well, to write positive things on the sand of time.
3. Total surrendering and sincere submission to “Grace” is non-negotiable in fulfilling your God-given purpose in life (Acts17:28a). Use grace well, so that you can do well.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12:1-3
AIM AND OBJECTIVES:
AIM: To help learners see the need for cooperating with God’s grace, which accrues to individuals, so that they can reap the benefits thereof.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, learners should be:
i. able to explain from lives and choices of Jacob’s sons couple with their attendant consequences that God repays individuals according to their relationship with His grace;
ii. showing signs of having seen the danger not cooperating with God’s grace they should ready to keep their heads aloof from such dangers;
iii. showing signs of determination to cooperate with, and fare well under grace, no matter the circumstances; and
iv more careful with their lives, and rely on grace to help them remain within the ambit of the God-pleasing character.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: GENESIS 34:24-30; 35:22; 37:12-36; 38:1FF; 40-41; 49:5-7
We bless the name of the Almighty God for the successful completion of lesson 4 — ISAAC AND JACOB IN GOD’S GRACE. May we not miss out of God’s grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This current lesson discusses some of Jacob’s children with a view to highlight and expatiating on their various responses and reactions to the grace of God. Despite being covenant children and grandchildren, some of them were reckless, wicked, and abused grace of God to the point of securing emotional, psychological and spiritual marks for themselves and posterity. Reuben, Judah, Simeon and Levi all wobbled and fumbled under Notwithstanding the misbehaviour of his older siblings, we still see Joseph, the wise, godly and exemplary child of destiny. Joseph, despite the avalanche of ill-treatments beyond his age and experience meted out to him, proved that adversities are meant to make us better and fulfil purpose. Joseph fared well with grace.
It is our prayer and God’s expectations that, you will receive grace to fare well under grace, even as you continue to graciously traverse this world. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION:
The lesson is divided into two broad divisions — I and II. Each division is further subdivided into parts A and B.
DIVISION I: THE RECKLESS AND WICKED
This division x-rays the lives of some of the sons of Jacob who were reckless and wicked, especially the first-four sons. How their avoidable failures, killer instinct and cruel deeds gave them the unenviable status of the reckless and wicked a, and how we can avoid such dangerous trends, are the focal points of this division.
II. THE WISE, GODLY JOSEPH
Joseph became wise, not because he was trained under a roof different from his older siblings, but because she’d chose to be a lover of God. Despite all he went through, right from when he was in his father’s house, till he got to Egypt, and then to the throne, he chose to be wise and godly. This division showcases the story of his wisdom and godliness. We have a lot of learn from it!
I. THE RECKLESS AND WICKED
A. REUBEN AND JUDAH FAIL
B. SIMEON AND LEVI: CRUEL KILLERS
II. THE WISE, GODLY JOSEPH
A. MEETS HIMSELF IN EGYPT
B. MAKES GOD KNOWN IN EGYPT
Mar. 19 I. THE RECKLESS AND WICKED (Genesis 34:24-30; 35:22; 38:1ff; 49:5-7)
Recklessness and wickedness are never good qualities to be coveted a. No reasonable person would want to be described with these two derogatory words. Despite God’s covenant, one may still misfire and suffer under grace, if he/she is wickedly reckless and careless (1 Pet. 5:6-8).
A. REUBEN AND JUDAH FAIL (35:22; 38:1ff)
And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land S, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it (35_:22).
i. 35:22: Reuben, the first of 12 sons, was his father’s might, the first sign of his strength (49:3). He had all the prerogatives of a first son. What a grace! At first, he excelled in honour and power, but later would no longer excel (49:4). Why?
ii. That reckless act of incest left an indelible spot on his character and posterity-forfeited his rights as the first child (cf. 1 Chro. 5:1ff). May we not fall from grace.
iii. It was so bad that his father couldn’t trust him any longer, e.g. When Joseph asked that Benjamin be brought (43:&1-9). Carelessness and looseness had silenced and robbed Reuben of his leadership position. Be more careful with the grace bestowed on you. It is better not to abuse grace than trying in vain to mend it.
iv. 38:1ff: What was supposed to have been a simple, anonymous and “harmless” act of sexual sin turned out to be far more complicated, embarrassing and heinous. Sin comes with disasters in it wake.
v. vv. 11-30: Sadly, the family’s moral condition continued to worsen when Judah’s wife passed away. Instead of seeking another suitable bride, he sought the company of a prostitution
vi. Judah had a Canaanite friend, named Hirah, who cheered him on, in this wickedness. Ungodly friendships often lead to moral compromise. The antidote is growing in God’s grace and knowledge.
vii. vv go. 17-23: Judah’s attitude to his instruments–… Your signet and cord, and your staff… (v. 18), sceptre (49:10), further casts serous question on his integrity and reveals his recklessness as well.
viii. Cooperate with the unlimited divine grace available for you to bring your appetite under control, so that you do not ingest poison and die unfulfilled. God forbid!
B. SIMEON AND LIVE: CRUEL KILLERS (34:24-30; 49:5-7)
And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out (34:26).
i. 34:24-30: Jacob cursed Simeon and Levi’s anger partly due to their deceitful and violent ruin of the Shechemites; an act Jacob deeply resented for the reproach it brought upon his family. That was a cruel abuse grace S, being children of covenant (cf. 12:2-3b).
ii. 49:5-7: Their anger was evil, not because indignation against sin is unwarranted, but because of its fierce, deceitful, merciless and cruel nature. Anger leaves devastation in its wake, often with irreparable damages (Eph. 4:26).
iii. Their swords, which should have been only weapons of defence, were weapons of violence against others, even after the offender had accepted his wrong and was ready to make amends. What a wasted opportunity to win the Shechemite (cf. Prov. 29:11)!
iv. Righteous indignation, like Jesus’ (cf. Mk. 11:15-17), is good, but we should carefully separate the sinner from the sin, not to love the sin for the person’s sake, or hate (curse) the person for the sin’s sake.
v. Simeon and Levi appeared to be inseparable brothers, as often shown together in the Scripture. Obviously, they might have “brought out the worst in each other.” Siblings with such relationship developing into unhealthy influence are better separated on time.
vi. Jacob’s word, I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel, certainly came true. Levi is scattered among the other tribes, never possessing their own designated region like the other tribes.
vii. Judah was with the Author of grace, yet his carelessness made him inherit the pronouncements in Psalm 119:8-9. Watch your life closely in the Word of God and don’t allow grace to testify against you.
1. Those who dabble into sin must not expect to save their reputation or maintain a positive influence upon others. Sin leaves lasting scar.
2. Anger is the cause of a great deal of sin, when it is allowed to boil over without restraint (Prov. 29:11). Kill that killer instinct before it destroys and robs you of glory.
WORK TO DO
Zealousness should not translate to recklessness and wickedness. Discuss.
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
* Zeal means fervour or tireless devotion for a person, a course, or idea and determination in its furtherance.
* It can also mean diligence, enthusiasm, or powerful interest.
* Zealousness is the quality of being zealous. But when not rooted in grace, it amounts to recklessness and wickedness.
* Also, when not controlled by grace, it results in harm on/for others, and regret (e.g. Jephthah’s vow as a result of unguarded zeal — Jdg. 11:30,34-35).
* Zeal, even though is meant for God’s course, can receive divine rebuke when it lacks knowledge (Matt. 26:51-54; Rom. 10:2.
* Some zeal are religiously motivated but lack grace (Acts. 7:58; 8:1;9:1ff; Rom. 10:12), while some others are inhuman but can get God’s approval when it is motivated by grace (cf. Num. 25:7ff).
* The zeal that is geared towards knowing Christ, helping others to know Christ and remaining in Christ is the only acceptable and God-pleasing zeal (2 Cor. 2:1-2).
* The godly zeal results in neither recklessness nor wickedness, because God is not the author of confusion or chaos, and He will never motivate anyone to be reckless or wicked with what He gives.