This is the Assemblies of God Adult Sunday School lesson manual July 5, 2020. It contains teachings, prayers and Bible verses to change your life.
You can also download the Assemblies of God Adult Sunday School lesson manual for July to December on Google Playstore.
Note that the Prayer Points Altar will be updating the lessons every week to help build your spiritual life.
Assemblies of God Adult Sunday School Lesson Manual July 5, 2020
TOPIC; GOD’S GLORY AND EZEKIEL’S CALL
MEMORY VERSE: Ezekiel 3:4
He (God) said unto me, son of man. Go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them (KJV).
When God calls, we must respond in obedience.
THE LESSON OUTLINE:
1.Ezekiel’s Vision- Ezekiel 1:1-28
A. Ezekiel’s World
B. God’s Glory
2.Ezekiel’s Call- Ezekiel 2:1-8
A. Speak God’s Word
B. Do Not Fear or Rebel
3.Ezekiel’s Challenge- Ezekiel 2:9 through 3:15
A. Hardened Audience
B. Angered in His Spirit
1.Impart and Reinforce Knowledge: Explain Ezekiel’s call to students, including the challenge he faced in proclaiming God’s Word among the exiles.
2.Influence Attitudes: Encourage students to follow Ezekiel’s example by adopting and maintaining a willingness to do whatever the Lord calls them to do.
3.Influence Behaviour: Challenge students to follow God’s leading and obey His commands even when doing so may be costly.
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Ezekiel 1:1-28 KJV; Ezekiel 2:1-10 KJV; Ezekiel 3:1-15 KJV
INTRODUCING THE LESSON:
Begin the class session with a discussion of this question: “Why does God call us to do His work?”
In scripture, we read many stories about people God called and enabled to do His work. In the context of these accounts, we find that God does this for a variety of reasons. When we examine God’s call of Moses, for example, we see that God wanted to deliver the Hebrews from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:1-10).
While the immediate circumstances surrounding God’s call may vary, His ultimate purpose for calling us to do His work does not. God calls us because He wants us to participate in His mission to redeem the world.
COMMENTARY AND APPLICATION
1. Ezekiel’s Vision
A. Ezekiel’s World-Ezekiel 1:1-3
These opening verses help identify when and where Ezekiel ministered. Verse 1 clearly states that Ezekiel began receiving visions of God when he was thirty years old. On the basis of verse 2, this can be dated to 593/592 BC, the fifth year after King Jehoiachin of Judah was taken into exile.
Verses 1 through 3 also give information about the location of Ezekiel’s ministry. Ezekiel was on exile in Babylon during king Jehoichin’s captivity. In 598/597 BC, Nebuchanezzar seized Jerusalem and sent Jehoiachin and thousands of prominent citizens- including royal officials, soldiers, and artisans- into exile in Babylon (2 kings 24:8-17). Based on Ezekiel 1:1-3, one can conclude that Ezekiel was among those whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away from Judah with Jehoiachin.
The Babylonian exile, which was a direct result of the unfaithfulness of God’s people, lasted from 605 BC until 538 BC and involved four deportations from Judah. The first took place in 605 BC and included Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Daniel 1:1-7). The second occurred in 598/597 BC and involved king Jehoiachin and Ezekiel. The third occurred in 586 BC and followed the destruction of the temple and the palace in Jerusalem. Finally, a fourth deportation took place in 586 BC.
During these years, thousands of men, women, and children were forced to move from Judah to Babylon- more than 500 miles to the northeast. It was in this context that the prophet Ezekiel received his visions and proclaimed God’s Word.
Questions for Application:
What would be an example of how God might cause His people to experience a type of “exile” today?
B. God’s Glory- Ezekiel 1:4-28
Ezekiel’s vision of God’s glory might be divided into five parts: (1) the windstorm, in verse 4; (2) the four living creatures, in verses 5-14; (3) the wheels, in verses 15-21; (4) the vault, in verses 22-27; (5) the prophet’s response, in verse 28.
In verse 4, Ezekiel saw a “w3indstorm” (NIV), or “whirlwind” (KJV). It involved a large cloud with lightning, on which the edges were illuminated by a brilliant light. Ezekiel referred to the lightning as “the fire” (verse 4,NIV) and said that its centre glowed like metal. In other biblical passages, God provided similar manifestations (see Exodus 13:17-22, in which God led the Hebrews through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire). Additionally, when the Lord descended on Mount Sinai, thunder, lightning, smoke, and fire accompanied Him (Exodus 19:16-18). In scripture, fire is a symbol of both God’s presence and the purification of judgement (Malachi 3:1-5).
Following this, Ezekiel described the four living creatures he saw ithin the fire (Ezekiel 1:15-14). Later we learn that these beings were cherubim (10:20). These angelic creatures had an unusual appearnce (1:5-10). In addition to human features (feet, hands) they had the faces of a human, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. In the context of the Old Testament,these were the most remarkable creatures of the land and air. While humans were considered rulers over all the animals, lions were considered rulers over the wild animals, oven rulers of the domesticated animals, and eagles rulers of the birds of the air. It seems, then, that the appearance of these cherubim reflects God’s lordship over all creation.
Next, Ezekiel wrote of the wheels beside the cherubim (verses 15-21). They were the wheels of God’s chariot throne. Based on the prophet’s description, it seems each was formed as two wheels that intersected, allowing them to go in any direction- according to the moving of the Spirit- without turning. Wherever the living creatures (cherubim) moved, the chariot would follow. One possibility for the meaning here is that God can move in any direction He pleases, any time He desires. Furthermore, this description is a reminder that God’s coming to the Babylonian exiles is purposeful. The mobility of the chariot throne is not random. God is directing it.
After the chariot throne description Ezekiel proceeded to describe a sparkling “vault” (verse 22, NIV) or “firmament” (KJV) above the cherubim’s heads (verses 22-27). This platform supported God’s throne, which appears to be made of a precious stone that had the appearance of sapphire (verse 26,KJV; “lapis lazuli,:NIV). Note that the NIV renders this as “lapis lazuli,” a well-known precious stone of the ancient world very similar to sapphire. Sitting on the throne is One whose likeness is “as the appearance of a man” (verse 26, KJV). This is the Lord Himself, manifested in splendid glory. Ezekiel did not provide extensive details on God’s appearance- if he had seen God’s face, he would have died (Exodus 33:20)- but the prophet makes clear that the Lord is radiant and awe-inspiring.
Finally in verse 28, Ezekiel described his response to the vision God gave him. Upon seeing the cherubim, God’s throne and even God Himself, Ezekiel fell upon his face. This vision has moved Ezekiel to humble himself before the Lord.
Questions For Application:
How do you think you would respond if you experienced Ezekiel’s vision of God’s glory?
Response to the Word:
Each of us has a concept of what God is like. This understanding is based on what others have taught us, what we have read in Scripture, and what we have experienced ourselves. Ezekiel’s vision of God’s glory reminds us that God is greater and holier than we can imagine; our minds cannot fully grasp what He is like. God is so great, in fact, that windstorms, lightning, and angels serve at His back and call. He is sio holy that apart from His grace we are unable to approach Him.
Think about the problems or issues you are facing today. Remember that God is greater. Just as He can direct natural phenomena and angelic beings, He can resolve problems or strengthen you to walk through them.
Remember also that God is holy. This is especially important to recall when you are tempted to sin. If we want to walk in right relationship with the Lord, we must be holy, just as He is holy (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
2. Ezekiel’s Call
A. Speak God’s Word- Ezekiel 2:1-5
In chapter 2, the Lord commissioned Ezekiel as a prophet to the people in exile (Ezekiel 2:1-5). The people of Judah were obstinate and had a long history of rebellion (verses 3-5). In spite of their stubbornness, however, God commanded Ezekiel to speak His Word to them (verses 4-5).
Note that God referred to the prophet as “son of man” over ninety times in Ezekiel. In Hebrew, the expression “son of man” can mean that a person possesses qualities similar to a particular person or family. In its most basic sense, then, God’s calling Ezekiel “son of man” is a way of saying the prophet is a human being. But “son of man” was also a way of saying that the prophet was frail and flawed. He was unlike God but like the rest of the human race.
Despite Ezekiel’s flaws, God placed the Spirit within him (verses 1-2). While Ezekiel had the same fallen nature as his compatriots- and all other human beings- God worked in his life by the Holy Spirit and called Ezekiel to proclaim His Word.
Questions For Application:
Why do you think Jesus is called “Son of Man” even though He is sinless?
B. Do Not Fear or Rebel- Ezekiel 2:6-8
Ezekiel 2:6 records God commanding Ezekiel three distinct times not to fear or rebel. Why? Because while the exiles were like briars, thorns, and scorpions- meaning they were stubborn and rebellious, resulting in great trouble- Ezekiel was to face them with a heart of courage.
Following this, God commanded Ezekiel not to rebel against Him like the exiles did (verse 8). Instead, the prophet was to speak God’s Word faithfully, no matter what resistance he might experience. The Lord made clear what kind of people the prophet would face in his ministry, and He made equally clear that Ezekiel must not veer from his God-given mission. The prophet had a rough road ahead of him, but he had to stay the course. He had to obey what God was calling him to do.
Questions For Application:
As we reach out to non-christians, what struggles might we experience and how might we be tempted to rebel against God?
Response to the Word:
When people sense that God is leading them into vocational ministry, they often say that God has “called” them. In this lesson, we see that there is a strong biblical basis for using the word “call” in this way. But does this mean that God has not called” every other christian to minister? Not at all.
God calls all christians to follow Jesus’ command to make disciples of evry nation (Matthew 28:18-20). God does not call evry christian into professional ministry, but He calls every christian to minister. God wants each one of us- clergy and laity alike- to spread the good news of Jesus, so that all people might be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
3. Ezekiel’s Challenge
A. Hardened Audience- Ezekiel 2:9 through 3:11
After explaining Ezekiel’s mission, God assigned the prophet is first task: Ezekiel had to eat a scroll (Ezekiel 2:9 through 3:3). By obeying this command, Ezekiel demonstrated his acceptance of the ministry to which God has called him. Note here that swallowing a scroll is to easy task. Most scrolls were a quick roll of leather or payrus. It is also noteworthy that the scroll had writing on both sides (2:10; scrolls customarily had writing on only one side). Many scholars believe this epoke to preventing any additions to the message of God. It was a message of lament, signifying the intended response of the people to the warnings of impending judgement. Upon putting the scroll in his mouth, Ezekiel found out that it was as honey for sweetness” (Ezekiel 3:3,KJV). Honey was a valuable and desirable commodity in ancient times. God’s Word was something the prophet would have little trouble accepting, although it would be difficult for the people.
In the verses that followede, Ezekiel’s ministry to the exiles moved to be not nearly as delightful as eating the scroll. The Lord iterates that the people to whom He was sending Ezekiel were spiritually stubborn. The Hebrew term translated as “hardhearted” (KJV), or “obstinate” (NIV), in verse 7 was used to describe Pharoah in Exodus 7:3. This may suggest a similoarity between the stubbornness Ezekiel would encounter among the exiles and the stubborness Moses faced after God commissioned him to speak His Word to Pharoah.
To prepare Ezekiel, God symbolically hardens Ezekiel’s forehead (Ezekiel 3:8-9). This served as a promise or divine help to complete the task. While God called Ezekiel to speak His Word to a hardened people, the prophet would be read, with God’s help.
Questions For Application:
Why might we need to have a “hard forehead” when it comes to doing God’s will?
B. Angered in His Spirit-Ezekiel 3:12-15
Ezekiel 3:12-15 concluded Ezekiel’s call to ministry. The Spirit lifted up the prophet and carried him to the exiles, and in doing so the prophet heard a variety of sounds. Note that Ezekiel heard the brushing of cherubim’s wings and the rubbing of the chariots’ wheels (verse 13). However, there is debate over precisely how to describe what Ezekiel heard in verse 12- be it a voice expressing praise or a rumbling as God’s glory ascends. In either case, what is important to note is the basic message, which focuses on the glory of the Lord.
When the Spirit liftef up Ezekiel in verse 14, the prophet was carried away “in bitterness and in the anger of [his] spirit (NIV). Scholars debate what exactly was the meaning of this bitterness, but given the wider context of this verse, it may be because of his difficult assignment. It is a good reminder that it can take time for us to process intense spiritual experiences. God had commanded him to speak His Word to a hardened people who would, in large part, respond unfavourably. Ezekiel’s disposition may also reflect that of the Lord. The prophet would deliver God’s message in the manner in which it was given: anger and judgement. Because of Ezekiel’s overwhelming emotions, he sits among the exiles in Telabib (Tel Aviv, NIV), in distress for seven days (verse 15). It took Ezekiel an entire week to come to grips with the shock of his situation.
Questions For Application:
How might you work through negative feelings to do what the Lord asks of you?
Response to the Word:
Sometimes God calls us to challenging tasks, just as He called Ezekiel to perform a duifficult task. Jesus communicated this point candidly in Matthew 16:24: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (KJV).
What is God calling you to do? Remember that He did not call Ezekiel to proclaim His Word for no particular reason. He has a purpose ultimately seen in His desire to redeem the world. As we carry our crosses to do God’s work, we may sometimes feel tired and burdened. But in the end, when we are enjoying the glory of eternal life and blessing we will be thankful that we stayed the course.
Call To Discipleship:
In confessing that Jesus is Lord, you have signed away your old life in order to do whatever God commands. Like Ezekiel, God may call you to speak His Word to hard-hearted people. He may call you to share the gospel with someone you would rather not be around. It is also possible that God may call you to do something similar to what Jesus called the rich young ruler to do (see Mark 10:17-27). God may call you to make great sacrifices for His sake.
Whatever God is calling you to do, obey Him. By His grace, respond to Him in absolute obedience. To do otherwise is to be an unfaithful disciple- to confess that Jesus is Lord but follow Him only when it is convenient.
Ministry In Action:
As class concludes, ask students to pray that God will give them sensitive ears to hear His call and an obedient heart to follow Him.
Daily Bible Readings
Mon:Moses Called Exodus 3:1-10
Tue: Moses Responds Exodus 3:11-15
Wed:Samuel Called 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Thu:Jesus Calls Disciples Matthew 4:12-22
FriJesus Equips Disciples Mark 6:7-13
Sat:Jesus Rewards the Faithful Revelation 21:1-7