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Winter 2023  Faith That Pleases God   Unit 3: The Righteous Live by Faith

This quarter’s lessons examine how individuals from Scripture lived faithful lives that pleased God. Their stories reveal how we can honor God through our lives of faith. Without faith, our attempts to please God will fall short (see Hebrews 11:6) 
Travel woes have always beset people. Though we have many innovations today that make travel easier than ever before, travelers still face abundant frustrations. Bad weather, canceled flights, mechanical problems, poor roads, closed gas stations—any number of factors make travel more interesting than we would prefer.  Our modern problems pale in comparison to the difficulty and danger of travel in the ancient world. We can broadly consider travel before the Roman Empire (times recorded in the Old Testament) and then in the time of the Empire (times recorded in the New Testament). The influence of Greek culture and Roman ingenuity changed travel. Comparing the two can help us better understand the preparation and effort people had to make even to complete a short trip.

Living by Faith

The final unit highlights the role of faith in challenging situations. The prophet Isaiah encouraged Israel to consider how creation reveals God’s power (Isaiah 40:26, lesson 10). The all-powerful God who created everything is worthy of receiving our trust, even when we may feel insignificant.
Living with faith does not mean we will never face trials. Instead, living with faith means trusting that the God of creation will never leave us. After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused the king’s command to worship an image of gold, they were thrown into the flaming furnace (see Daniel 3:19–23, lesson 11). They had confidence that God would be faithful to them, even if he chose not to save them. In the same way, Daniel demonstrated a life of faith as he continued in prayer, even though doing so might have significantly cost him (see 6:10–11, lesson 12). He trusted in God’s power, even when grave consequences seemed inevitable.
When life’s hardships overwhelm us or when we can’t make sense of the world, Scripture tells us that “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (Habakkuk 2:4, lesson 13). God’s people are marked by their faith, even in situations that seem entirely out of control.

Lesson 10   Faith in the Power of God  Isaiah 40:12–13, 25–31
Today’s lesson comes from the writings of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. His text is the first in a group of five referred to as the Major Prophets; those five are the books known as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
We may wonder what value the Old Testament books of the prophets still have in the New Testament era. After all, the days of those prophets are long gone, and we’re under the new covenant, not the old (Colossians 2:14). The value of the prophets today is firmly established in how many times they are cited by Jesus and the authors of the New Testament. One clue to their value today is to be aware of how often these books are quoted in the New Testament. By one count, the tallies are Isaiah (67 times), Jeremiah (5 times), Lamentations (0 times), Ezekiel (2 times), and Daniel (5 times).
The text under consideration in our lesson follows a prophecy that warns King Hezekiah of Judah regarding a time when Babylon would carry away Judah’s wealth and people to Babylon (Isaiah 39:5–7); more than 100 years would pass before that happened, but it indeed did happen. This was a punishment from the Lord for the people’s sins, followed by “comfort” in declaring that that punishment would eventually end (40:1–2). The predictions that immediately follow in Isaiah 40:3–5 shift forward more than five centuries for fulfillment, quoted in Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–6; and John 1:23.

Lesson 11   Faith in the Fiery Furnace  Daniel 3:19–28
By telling the stories of the prophet Daniel and his associates, the book of Daniel depicts Jewish life in a foreign land. A series of deportations from Judah by the Babylonians began in 605 BC (see Daniel 1:1–2). These continued until Judah fell in 586 BC (see 2 Kings 25). Among the deported were talented young men selected for their fitness for service to the Babylonian king (see Daniel 1:3–4). Daniel and his associates were taken to Babylon during this time, in approximately 605 BC. The book describes the wisdom of Daniel and his friends as they lived and served in Babylon (example: 2:17–24). Their positions required that they demonstrate some loyalty to the Babylonian king, evident in their name change (see 1:6–7). This book’s events occur from the time of their arrival in Babylon until at least 537 BC, “the third year of Cyrus king of Persia” (10:1).

Lesson 12   Faith in Times of Trouble  Daniel 6:10–11, 14, 16, 19–23, 26–27
The context for this lesson is generally the same as for lesson 11. However, several years had passed between the events of Daniel 3 (see lesson 11) and today’s Scripture. The most notable is that a new empire replaced the Babylonians: the Persians (2 Chronicles 36:15–20).    Today’s study has as its backdrop the appointment of 120 “satraps” under the oversight of three “administrators” that included Daniel (see Daniel 6:1–2). Daniel’s reputation with previous kings influenced Darius. The king preferred Daniel over all the other satraps and administrators and “planned to set [Daniel] over the whole kingdom” (6:3). However, the king’s high regard for Daniel led Daniel’s peers to scheme against him. Although they tried to find fault with Daniel, they could not find grounds to file charges against him (6:4–5). Instead, they developed a trap that Darius could not overturn.

Lesson 13   Faith in God’s Purpose  Habakkuk 2:1–5
The book of Habakkuk gives us virtually no personal information regarding “Habakkuk the prophet” (Habakkuk 1:1). His name occurs only one other time after the first chapter (see 3:1). Even then, the text provides no further information about the man. Compared to other Old Testament prophets (examples: Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 1:1–3), we know nothing regarding the exact details of the life of Habakkuk.
However, some clues in the text of Habakkuk inform our educated guesses regarding the man and his times. Early in the book, the Lord promised to raise “the Babylonians” (also called Chaldeans) to punish the kingdom of Judah (Habakkuk 1:6). Using the then-future Babylonian exile of 586 BC as a historical marker, Habakkuk likely served sometime during the last decade of the seventh century BC; that would have been during the reign of evil King Jehoiakim (609–598 BC).

 

 

BIBLE STUDY

Youth Bible Study| Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. on Zoom. Login information may be found here.

Adult Bible Study |  Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. To join virtual Bible Study please visit Zoom.us and enter Meeting ID: 802 973 031  To join by phone, dial 312-626-6799 and enter Meeting ID: 802-973-031

 

 

 

 

January 3rd – March 13th, 2024

 

Broken marriages, shattered friendships, racial divisions, war between nations — we live in a fractured world. How can the pieces be put back together?

In this eleven-session Bible Study on Ephesians, Paul lifts the veil from the future to allow us to see God’s plan to unite everyone and everything in Christ. Studying this book will renew your hope.

 

1. The Purpose of God (Ephesians 1:1-14)    Lesson 1 Replay

 

2. I Keep Asking (Ephesians 1:15-23)    Lesson 2 Replay

 

3. Amazing Grace (Ephesians 2:1-10)    Lesson 3 Replay

 

4. We Are One (Ephesians 2:11-22)       Lesson 4 Replay

 

5. Prisoner & Preacher (Ephesians )        Lesson 5 Replay

 

6. Unity & Uniqueness (Ephesians 4:1-16)        Lesson 6 Replay

 

7. Something Old, Something New (Ephesians 4:17-32)

 

8. I Live in Love, Live in Light (Ephesians 5:1-20)        Lesson 8 Replay

 

9. Love & Respect (Ephesians 5:21-33)

 

10. Honor & Obey (Ephesians 6:1-9)

 

11. Prayer Wars (Ephesians 6:10-24)