NBC Sunday School Manual For December 3, 2023 :Topic – PREVIEW FOR DECEMBER
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme for the Month:
“PROFILE OF FAITH.”
SUNDAY, 3RD DECEMBER, 2023.
PREVIEW FOR DECEMBER
Praise God! He has faithfully brought us to the last month of the year: May His unfailing, grace and mercy lead us through this month in Jesus’ name. The theme for the month is “Profile of Faith”. The texts shall be taken from the books of Ruth, 1 Samuel, the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The focus of the lesson is on different people who demonstrated faith in God and their rewards. The following shall be discussed precisely:
● How Ruth trusted that God would provide for her and her mother in law in Bethlehem of Judah;
● David’s trust that God will enable him to slay Goliath even though he was a shepherd boy and not a warrior;
● How God’s plans unfold in ways we often least expect;
● How Elizabeth and Mary believed God’s plan for their lives and salvation for humankind;
● How the wise men trusted that God is sending the Christ Child to be king of the Jews and the Messiah for all nations.
When we face challenges in life, we need to demonstrate faith in Christ especially when others are in doubt. David’s faith in God gave him the confidence that he will defeat Goliath in battle as well as Ruth who had faith in Naomi’s God, family, and culture. Therefore, we implore the teachers to prayerfully prepare to teach these wonderful lessons so that the class member’s faith in God will be strengthened.
BELOW ARE THE SUGGESTED TEACHING METHODS for the lessons. They can be used during the general opening or in the classes.
December 3 – Drama: Two (2) class members should role-play the dialogue between Naomi and her daughter in-law Ruth when they were leaving Moab.
December 10 – Scriptures verbalisation and declaration: Two (2) class members should verbalise David’s word in verse 1Samuel 17:45-47.
December 17 – Group Discussion: Three (3) class members should discuss how the church can be more effective without lowering God’s standard.
December 24 – Scripture comparison and verbalisation: Verse 37 should be written from different versions of the Bible and displayed in front of the class for everyone to read and recite.
December 31 – Dramatise: Let the class members dramatise the visit of the magi to Jesus in Bethlehem and the presentation of gifts.
TOPIC: CHANGING IDENTITY.
Ruth 1; 4:13-22.
Ruth 1:6-18, 22.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Explain why Naomi did not want her daughters-in-law to go with her to Bethlehem;
● Discuss the effects of bereavement on the family members especially if the deceased was the bread winner;
● Imitate Ruth’s model of courage and faithfulness when facing hardships in life.
As believers in Christ, our faith sometimes can be challenged by some misfortunes either by natural occurrence, accidental or as a result of one’s own wrong choices. There are also circumstances or situations that God sometimes deliberately allow in our lives to teach us some lessons and to glorify His name. When we go through such, as Christians, we must remember that the purpose is not to destroy us, but to prove whether our confession of faith in Him is based on conviction or convenience. Elimelech was the husband of Naomi from the tribe of Judah. During the time, there was famine in the land of Bethlehem, he decided to relocate with his family to Moab. Unfortunately, he died with his two sons while they were in Moab leaving behind his wife and two daughters-in-law. When Naomi heard that God has restored the hardship of Bethlehem in Judah, she chose to go back and Ruth, her daughter in-law followed her. The young widow determined to commit herself and life to the new community of faith despite the differences in culture, belief, and her state.
The most striking feature of this simple and beautiful story is God’s concern in human affairs. The faith of a Moabite woman, Ruth, and her sacrificial love for her mother-in-law ended in God’s plan of salvation. A descendant of Ruth is King David, and from the lineage of David comes the Messiah. Today’s lesson focuses on the story of Ruth and Naomi that started as a tragedy but ended in a new and better identity that ultimately led to the fulfilment of God’s eternal plan.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. NAOMI’S MISFORTUNE:
In the days when judges ruled Israel, there was a great famine. The period was characterised by anarchy and revolution, everyone did just as they pleased (Judges 21:25). Elimelech who lived in Bethlehem in Judah, took his wife Naomi and their sons, Mahlon and Kilion, to live in Moab (Genesis 19:37). Their two sons Mahlon and Kilion married two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Having lived in Moab for about ten years, Elimelech and his two sons died leaving behind Naomi and her two daughters- in-law without any child. According to verse 6, when Naomi heard that the condition of her country had improved economically, she and her daughters-inlaw decided to leave Moab, the city that led her to her misfortune and pain for her home country. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law set out for the journey to Bethlehem in Judah (v.7). Bethlehem is also known as ‘House of Bread’ which means a place of abundance. Her decision to return to Bethlehem might have probably been influenced by her desire to leave a place of pain to find support with family members or simply to go home and wait for death. However, her decision was the right one because of God’s restoration.
Bereavement is a reality that confronts people from time to time. It usually come with pain, sorrow, emptiness and regret, especially when the dead is the bread winner of the family as it was in the case of Naomi who lost her husband and two children in a strange land. Nevertheless, when we are confronted with difficult challenges like death or hardship, there is tendency to seek a temporary relief like Elimelech and his family members did. However, not seeking God’s face and leading should be avoided. No matter what life brings our way, we should endeavour to align ourselves with God in order to overcome. In addition, whenever there is a problem in the family, church and the community, we should not consider an immediate way of escape. Rather, we should seek to work together to find a lasting solution for the benefit of all and to the glory of God.
1. What are some negative changes the loss of a loved one can bring on the family members?
2. Discuss the different ways churches can assist members who have experienced the loss of a loved one to make necessary adjustment?
B. TEST OF LOVE AND COMMITTMENT:
True love they say is about commitment to one another as it reflects in the life of Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. The two women refused to go back despite Naomi’s repeated appeal to them to return to their people. There was a strong agitation to follow her back to her people in Bethlehem (vv. 11-12). Naomi’s argument was quite clear for three reasons:
● She was too old for childbearing (v. 12-13a).
● The women would have passed child bearing age before then.
● Naomi did not envisage marriage prospects for these women because of Israel’s prohibition of marrying foreign women. Certainly, it was a moment of difficult decision for the three widows involved. However, Naomi’s explanation was convincing enough that Orpah embraced, kissed and bade her farewell but Ruth clung unto her (v. 14). This was a show of love and devotion.
Commitment is a key to a sustainable relationship. It is the ability to stick patiently to a promise of loyalty and devotion even when things are not working out as planned. Ruth’s love for this Jewish woman was proven by her commitment to cling to her at a time of grieve and loneliness. Our commitment as believers to help one another especially in difficult times should be based on genuine love for the Lord and not what we hope to gain in return. The desire to release her daughters- in -law made Naomi a woman of great courage, integrity, and selflessness. The love she showed her daughters-in-law and the good relationship she maintained with them models a positive influence for Christians to emulate. Believers should not place the weight of their personal problems on others but as Naomi demonstrates, pain can be met with courage and consideration for others.
1. Discuss how our loyalty to God as believers can inspire our loyalty to our fellow brethren.
2. What lessons can Christian mothers and daughters- in- law learn from the story of Naomi and Ruth as seen in the passage?
C. RUTH’S DETERMINATION:
[Ruth 1:15-18, 22]
Naomi convinced Orpah to return back to her people and continued with an appeal to Ruth to emulate her sister in-law (v.15). Ruth was resolute in her determination to follow her mother inlaw to Bethlehem. She said to her, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried …” (vv. 16-17). Her response was a sign of her strong resolution to adopt the people, land, and the God of Naomi. When Naomi realised Ruth’s unyielding attitude, she stopped asking her to return. Ruth’s unrelenting response to go with Naomi shows selflessness and her unwavering love for Naomi.
Ruth’s commitment to her mother in-law proves that her choice was Naomi’s people, and Naomi’s God. More importantly, she made a vow of death as the only thing that could bring separation between them (v.17b). From that point, Ruth changed her identity and she ceased to be a Moabites but an Israelite. Interestingly, this choice of hers for Yahweh became the condition that placed her in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as the story unfolds. Ruth’s commitment to Naomi was truly a test of faith because she was willing to risk her life, culture and God for an unknown future. The statement, “Your people will be my people and your God my God,” shows a total determination to change everything she was taught to believe while growing up. Undoubtedly, Ruth’s faith and resolution to follow Naomi to her people is a standard for believers to emulate. We must believe and confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour without wavering in order to be partakers of God’s eternal purpose (John 1:12). We must also remain resolute in following Jesus notwithstanding the challenges we may encounter (Romans 8:18).
1. What was Ruth’s source of determination to cling to her mother in-law despite her background and culture?
2. Being in Christ is the most lasting and fulfilling identity in life. Discuss.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Class members should personally identify widows and grieving parents in the church and the community. They should pray and assist them materially and emotionally this week.
Take Home: Write down three (3) lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson:
● Based on today’s lesson, make a commitment to be loyal to God and other people, for the sake of love.
Happy Sunday in Advance.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!