NBC Sunday School Manual For January 21, 2024 :Topic – OVERCOMING FEAR.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme for the Month: “LEARNING ABOUT FAITH.”
DATE: SUNDAY, 21ST JANUARY, 2023.
TOPIC: OVERCOMING FEAR.
Devotional Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-15.
Background Scripture: 2 Chronicles 20:5-20.
Lesson Scripture: 2 Chronicles 20:13-20.
“Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 2 Chronicles 20:20b
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Discuss some causes of fear and how to overcome them, according to the passage;
● Explain the steps the people of Judah and Jerusalem were expected to take in order to defeat their enemies;
● Exercise their faith in God to overcome all their fears, no matter the cause.
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid or apprehensive. It also means terror, anxiety, fright or to dread something. To overcome means the same as to defeat (someone or something), to successfully deal with or gain control over something difficult. Simply put, fear is the opposite of faith, and it is as old as the human race. There are instances in the Bible when people expressed the fear of being punished for an offence or defeated in a battle. For instance, when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the garden of Eden they were overwhelmed with fear; perhaps of what God would do to them for disobeying His instructions and so they hid themselves from Him (Genesis 3:10). Jonah was a prophet sent by God to preach to the people of Nineveh but he was afraid to carry out the command and so he escaped. Joseph’s brothers were afraid when they discovered that the silver had been returned to the bag of one of them (Genesis 42:28). When God told Moses to leave his humble profession of shepherding and go to Egypt to ask Pharaoh to release the Israelites, he was afraid because he had once murdered an Egyptian. Gideon also demonstrated fear, anxiety, and doubt when he was called to lead the people of Israel. Thus he tested God by asking Him to give him some signs (Judges 6:17). But when he obeyed and put his trust in God, the Israelites were set free from seven years of oppression by their enemy.
Even today, people are afraid for various reasons; ranging from passing an examination, paying debts, meeting essential needs, failure, prolonged illness, and attack of the enemy to sometimes, fear of death. Fear is a complicated emotion – it can either motivate or paralyse people, depending on their disposition to it. However, the Scripture says, “[The] fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) In other words, those who put their trust in the Lord will surely overcome their fears. Such was the case of Jehoshaphat and the people of Jerusalem when they received the news of an invading army from the nations of Moab and Ammon that had aligned themselves to fight and annihilate them, they were overwhelmed with fear. Nevertheless, God assured them of victory; therefore, they should not to be afraid or discouraged (2 Chronicles 20:15b). Today’s lesson focuses on how God helped the Israelites to overcome the fear of being defeated by their enemies, under King Jehoshaphat. They had faith and worshipped God with thanksgiving, in appreciation of their victory.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. GOD’S PROMISED VICTORY:
[2 Chronicles 20:13-17]
Jehoshaphat was a man of faith and courage. When the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites connived to wage war against Jehoshaphat, he resolved to enquire of the Lord and proclaimed a fast for all Judah (2 Chronicles 20:3). Presumably, the threat was so serious that all the men of Judah, their wives and children were overwhelmed with fear. Then the Spirit of God spoke through Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, to Jehoshaphat the message was an assurance of victory. He said to him, ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v. 15)
Eventually, the wicked plan of the Moabites and Ammonites against the people of Jerusalem and Judah was foiled. Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah looked up to God for help because of their faith in Him. The testimony is that they defeated their enemies without fighting them. This is an indication that faith in God is the solution to overcoming fear and winning battles. In the preceding verses, Jehoshaphat reminded God of how He had restrained the Israelites from destroying an invading army and challenged Him to judge their action against His people (vv. 10-11). While lamenting the decision of the enemy nations to pay them back evil for their good, he expressed remarkable confidence in God’s ability to save them from total destruction. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v. 12b) The assurance was followed by an instruction from God that the people should march down against them at the end of the gorge, at the Desert of Jeruel. They were further given the following instructions, in verse 17:
● Not to fight the battle. The admonition not to fight the battle was because it is God’s battle and He will fight it in His own way and give His people victory.
● To take up their positions and stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord.
● Not to be afraid or discouraged because of their enemies.
● To go out and face them tomorrow because the Lord will be with them.
The central truth of the lesson is that as Christians, we are not immune to the challenges of life, which are sometimes beyond our control. We must, however, demonstrate unwavering confidence in God who has proven His power beyond measure from time immemorial. Apart from defeating Israel’s enemies, He overpowered the Egyptians during the time of Israel’s exodus, under the leadership of Moses (Exodus 14:13-14). As He promised victory to the people of Jerusalem, He has also promised to fight our battles and give us victory. Therefore, Christians are encouraged to have faith in God and always allow Him to be their source of help and victory, no matter how fierce the battle may seem.
1. What is the relevance of God’s promise to the people of Jerusalem in verse 17, regarding winning battles in our contemporary time? 2. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (v. 15b) Discuss.
B. ENCOURAGEMENT TO BELIEVE IN GOD:
[2 Chronicles 20:18-20]
God’s command to His people to go out and face their enemies the next morning, with the assurance of victory is very remarkable in the passage. According to verse 18, Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. In the same way, some of the Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord with a loud voice, in appreciation of God’s assurance of winning the battle. According to verse 20, the people left early the next morning for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat who was already convinced of God’s support addressed them and encouraged them to have faith in God. He said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” (v. 20b)
King Jehoshaphat was an obedient and ideal leader who did not undermine the prophecy of God or rationalise its importance but rather acted promptly, according to God’s command. He encouraged the people to have faith in God and the prophets so as to be successful (v. 20b). Without doubt, the admonition to believe in God further reveals the importance of faith in overcoming fear and receiving God’s promised blessing. Furthermore, the people’s immediate and appropriate response to the expected victory, in true worship and praise to God, is worth mentioning (v. 18). The Levites led the congregation in singing songs of praise to God in expectation of victory over their enemies. This is one of the strategies to overcome the fear of being defeated in battle and other challenges of life. We are encouraged to cultivate the habit of believing God and His promises. In other words, we should have a positive mindset towards whatever situations we have committed unto God to achieve success. Eventually, as He had promised, God fought the battle for His people and they returned joyfully to Jerusalem. They entered the temple with musical instruments, in celebration of their victory (vv. 27-28).
1. What motivated Jehoshaphat to bow down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem to fall down in worship before the Lord?
2. King Jehoshaphat and the entire people of Judah and Jerusalem worshipped God, even before the battle was won. What does their action teach believers?
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Let a few class members share practical experiences of how they confronted their fears with faith, hoping to overcome them, having sought the face of God.
Take Home: Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson?
● Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to believe God to fight the battles of your life and give you victory
Happy Sunday in Advance.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!