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History of Israel

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LEARNING FROM ISRAEL’S HISTORY 

Scripture: Books of History; Judges 2:10–23; Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:1–13

Memory Verse: Romans 15:4
"Through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."

Lead—In

Introduce the study by announcing you are going to give a short test on history. If you have access to a history book, display it now.

Ask: “Why do we study history? Do you like to study it? What are some of your favourite historical events?” (Share your own favourites with the students.)

History is a subject some people like to study. History is important. It not only tells of events that happened in the past, but also tells why they happened. Sometimes we can avoid problems today if we are willing to learn from experiences in the past.

Read the following story to the class: Andrew held the edge of the mousetrap firmly with one hand while he carefully pulled back the clamp and braced it carefully with the trip bar. He remembered what his father had said, “Son, never get in a hurry when you set a trap. I have bruised my fingers a time or two in the past, so I know. The trap can spring and if your fingers are in the way, it can really hurt.”

Andrew sighed and looked down at his own swollen finger. He had tried to set the mousetrap an hour ago, but he had not paid much attention to what his father had said. The trap had sprung while he tried to set it. His finger still hurt from the sharp blow of the clamp. Now he was careful to work slowly and keep his fingers out of the way. In the future he knew he would remember this experience and not make the same mistake again. He just wished he had paid attention to his father’s past experience and not gotten his finger hurt in the first place.

Hearing God’s Word

Although the study of history may seem dull to some people, a study of the books of history should not be dull. These books are filled with adventure. They reveal what God can do for us when we obey Him and allow Him to have control. Sadly, they also show what happens when we turn away from God and choose our own way. We already know history can help us avoid problems now and in the future. The books of history help us understand what we can do to avoid God’s judgement of our sins.

Joshua

The first of 12 historical books is Joshua. This book begins where Numbers and Deuteronomy end. God’s people were ready to cross into the Promised Land. But one thing had to be done before they could take full possession of the land. They had to destroy all the idol-worshipping Canaanites, Gibeonites, Hittites, Amorites, and other wicked nations in the land.

Ask: “Why do you think God wanted those people destroyed? Why could not the Israelites have settled there and lived peaceably among them?” (Allow discussion.)

God knew anyone remaining from these nations would eventually influence the Israelites to follow their evil ways of worshipping idols. They were not the kind of people who would repent and follow God.

Ask: “Why do we have to be careful today about being influenced by those around us?” (Allow discussion.)

Emphasize that although we are not to destroy sinful people around us, we are to be careful not to be influenced by them. Because of God’s command for conquest, the first half of Joshua contains several accounts of war. 

Ask: “What major city did Israel conquer after crossing the Jordan River?” (Allow someone to respond with Jericho.)

The second half of the book tells how the Promised Land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel. As long as Joshua lived, Israel served God.

Judges

When Joshua died, things changed. Although some sinful nations had been conquered, Judges tells that many of the tribes of Israel did not follow God’s instructions to drive out all the nations who lived in Canaan. The result was devastating. (Ask a student to read Judges 2:10-15.)

Even though Israel sinned by failing to obey God, in His love, He had a plan. God raised up special leaders called “judges” to help bring the people back to Him. Yet Israel could not see the need of always serving God. The remainder of the Book of Judges is summarized in Judges 2:16–23. (Ask a student to read these verses.) From here the story of Judges is a repetition of turning from God, becoming servants to enemy nations (God’s judgement), and being helped by various judges (God’s deliverance). During the approximately 200 years of the judges, government was unstable. The whole problem is summed up in Judges 17:6. (Have a student read the verse.)

Do people still act that way today? Sadly, many feel they have to do “their own thing” or have it “their say” to be happy. But only by giving ourselves completely to God’s control can we really find peace and happiness.

Ruth

Ruth is the next history book. Ruth is a refreshing change from Judges. Instead of a war story, it is a love story. Ruth gives us a look at life in Israel during the time of the judges and shows the strong devotion of a Gentile (non-Jewish) girl to her mother-in-law. All would have gone much better for the nation of Israel if their devotion to God had been as strong as Ruth’s devotion to Naomi. (Ask a student to read Ruth 1:16.)

The Book of Ruth brings the record of King David’s ancestry up to date. It also shows how Ruth, a Gentile, fit into the ancestry of Jesus.

First and Second Samuel

First and Second Samuel were originally one long book, as were other Old Testament books. They were divided when the Bible was translated from Hebrew into Greek. First Samuel tells the life history of Samuel, the beginning of the kings as rulers of Israel, the reign of King Saul, and the anointing of David.

Second Samuel tells of King David’s reign, of the conquest of Israel’s enemies, of David’s sin and repentance, and of his family problems.

First and Second Kings

First and Second Kings begins with the history of the kingdom under King Solomon, David’s son. During this time, the magnificent temple was built in Jerusalem. Everything seemed to be going well for Israel; but soon terrible problems began to develop. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam came to the throne, he refused to listen to the counsel of the older advisers. He was selfish and made an unwise decision. This caused 10 tribes to revolt and set up their own kingdom in the north.

The two remaining tribes were known as the Southern Kingdom. For over 200 years the two kingdoms declined cause of the wickedness of most of their kings. Eventually both were overrun by enemy nations and carried into captivity.

Ask: “What does this tell us about God’s judgement of sin?” (Allow response.)

The ministries of two well-known prophets, Elijah and Elisha, are presented in First and Second Kings. Stories about the contest on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal and also about the chariot of fire show how God worked powerfully through these men.

First and Second Chronicles

First and Second Chronicles record many of the same things found in 1st and 2nd Kings, but from a different viewpoint. The Chronicles give the history of Judah and the ancestry records from Adam to David, through whose family God had promised to send Jesus.

An important message is in 2 Chronicles 7:14. (Ask a student to read the verse. Discuss how the warning in 2 Chronicles should serve as a guide to us today.)

Ezra

Ezra, the author of the book bearing his name, was a scribe and interpreter of Scripture. The theme of Ezra is the return of the Israelites from Babylonian captivity, the rebuilding of the temple, which had been destroyed, and the difficulties the Israelites had in separating themselves from the heathen people then living in the land.

Overall, we learn from Ezra that God is true to His promise. (See Jeremiah 29:10–14.) He had promised to restore Israel to their homeland, and now it was coming to pass.

Nehemiah

In the Book of Nehemiah we see how long it took to rebuild Jerusalem and restore the nation of Israel. Nehemiah, a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes (Ar-tuh-ZURK-sees), left a comfortable job to return to Jerusalem and lead the rebuilding. Only through a lot of prayer and persistence was the job completed. It is important to be persistent and to keep praying when we face difficult tasks.

Esther

The final book of history is Esther. It is an adventurous story of a Jewish woman who became the queen of a foreign land. This book primarily shows how God delivered the Jews who were captive in Persia from a plot to destroy them. Although God’s name is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, His presence and working is very clear. We are assured that no matter what circumstances we face, God will always be with us.

Accepting God’s Word

The books of history cover many events in the lives of the Jewish nation. (Review 1 Corinthians 10:1–13.) We have only covered some highlights. But in those highlights we have learned about God’s love, justice, and mercy. We also learned that only by serving God with all our hearts can we have true peace and joy.

Early Years

I had the opportunity to visit a Tuareg Christian's home and visit with him for about an hour. I asked him to share with me about his spiritual pilgrimage and how he had come to know Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.

He grew up in a Tuareg village and spoke the Tuareg language, called "Tamasheq." His family was Islamic and he attended the local elementary school. Later he was sent to secondary school in the capital city. Following graduation, he returned to his village, and his father gave him a wife.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Tamajaq Tuareg Believers

1. Anointing of Holy Spirit upon their verbal witness,
2. God's guidance in each daily activity,
3. Total dependency on Jesus in bringing unbelieving Tamajaq to faith in Christ.

Prayer Promise

"Apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

 

 

 

Remember: LEARNING FROM ISRAEL’S HISTORY 

Memory Verse: Romans 15:4
"Through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."

1. Stand on the shoulders of history and look into the furture.
2. Learn from the experiences of others and spare myself a lot of problems.
3. Biblical examples are great. I can apply their lessons learned to my life.

Pray for Tamajaq Tuareg Believers.

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Study 7 | PreachChrist/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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