Isaiah 52:1-15 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 30, 2014, is from Isaiah 52:1-15. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Isaiah 52:1-15

(Isaiah 52:1) Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean shall enter you no more.

Isaiah 52:1-2 concludes a poem or song that began with Isaiah 51:17. Compare Isaiah 51:17 and Isaiah 52:1. Isaiah proclaimed that the end of Jerusalem’s punishment was ending, and they should dress for a celebration. The Babylonians, who were called the uncircumcised and the unclean, would not enter Jerusalem again. Jerusalem is called the holy city, and no one and nothing unclean will enter it (see also Revelation 21:2, 27).

(Isaiah 52:2) Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!

After 70 years of exile, after Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, the exiled Judeans were allowed to return to their homeland. The decree of King Cyrus allowing them to return was issued in 539 BC, but God directed the perfect timing of the king’s decree. Before their exile ended, God encouraged His people through Isaiah by inspiring a prophecy that looked forward to the day when Jerusalem would arise from the dust and ashes of her destruction. She would no longer be enslaved under the foreign dominion of Babylon. God commanded and expected His people to return, rise, and rebuild their city, a command that those with established homes in Babylon did not obey. Those who had remained in Jerusalem during the exile and those who returned obeyed God.

(Isaiah 52:3) For thus says the LORD: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.

With respect to Babylon, the king and his army had no justification for destroying Jerusalem and carrying the survivors into exile: “you were sold for nothing.” Neither God nor anyone else sold the southern kingdom into slavery to Babylon for money or personal gain. Those in exile would not have their freedom bought with money. The LORD sent them into exile as punishment for their idolatry and sins, and when their time of punishment ended He would redeem them or free them from bondage without paying money, but through the army of the Medes and Persians. In Old Testament times, a slave (or a member of his family) could buy his freedom or redeem himself from slavery by paying money to the slaveholder. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ did not redeem those who were enslaved to sin and Satan with money. He redeems all who believe in Him by having shed His blood and dying as a sacrifice on a cross.

(Isaiah 52:4) For thus says the Lord GOD: Long ago, my people went down into Egypt to reside there as aliens; the Assyrian, too, has oppressed them without cause.

Isaiah recounted briefly that Jacob and his sons went to Egypt because of famine. When a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph, Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews. Later, after they returned to the Promised Land, the Assyrians oppressed them without justification, and the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in 722 BC as God’s punishment for the sins of the kingdom. Neither Pharaoh nor the Assyrians had a justifiable reason for oppressing God’s people. Pharaoh and the Assyrians were moved by their greed, and God used the Assyrians to discipline His unrepentant people.

(Isaiah 52:5) Now therefore what am I doing here, says the LORD, seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers howl, says the LORD, and continually, all day long, my name is despised.

The Assyrians and the Babylonians who dispersed the Israelites and Judeans did so in spite of the fact that they had not been attacked first: “without cause.” God saw how these rulers and invaders acted unjustly and how they ridiculed God and His people. God saw how they magnified themselves above the LORD by claiming that the LORD was powerless to protect His people. Because of the sins of His people, the LORD needed to punish them and that resulted in God being dishonored by his people and by those He sent to discipline them (see Romans 2:24).

(Isaiah 52:6) Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.

Because God would free His people from exile and slavery according to the time He foretold by speaking through His prophets, God’s people would learn once again the character, nature, and power of the true God. God would free them without paying their oppressors to free them or paying money or ransom for their release from captivity. God is all-powerful and God can raise up or bring down pagan kings to punish His people or free them from oppression. By freeing them from exile, His people would see once again that the LORD is the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14).

(Isaiah 52:7) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The Apostle Paul quoted this verse in Romans 10:16. Isaiah predicted the future: the time would come when Judean messengers from Babylon would come and announce in Jerusalem (from “upon the mountains”) that God had freed them from captivity through King Cyrus’ decree and their families could return from exile. God would reign over them once again instead of their being enslaved by foreign kings. People would return and they would rejoice. Later, John the Baptist brought good news of the Messiah. At Jesus’ command, the apostles preached about Him from Jerusalem to Samaria and beyond. Good News! King Jesus reigns! Salvation has come through faith in Him.

(Isaiah 52:8) Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the LORD to Zion.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets foretold the return of the LORD and the exiles to Jerusalem and the Promised Land after their exile and dispersion into foreign nations. In his poem or hymn, Isaiah foretold that the time would come when the sentinels or lookouts or watchmen on the ruined city walls would shout to the remaining residents of Jerusalem what they had heard from the messenger and they would sing for joy that the LORD and His people were coming home. Today, Christians eagerly await for the return of Jesus the Messiah.

(Isaiah 52:9) Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

Even though Jerusalem remained in ruins after 70 years of exile, with the return of the LORD and His people restoration of fellowship with God and reconstruction of the temple and the city walls would begin; which would inspire singing by God’s people. God would comfort those who had remained in the ruined city of Jerusalem and those who returned to Jerusalem with His presence in their midst.

(Isaiah 52:10) The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah rightly ascribed to the LORD the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. To “bare the arm” meant to get ready for battle, and Isaiah said all the nations would see God in His holy power bringing justice to all the earth by His almighty power. The Holy Spirit inspired Simeon to refer to this verse when he saw the baby Jesus (Luke 2:30). Filled with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist foretold the coming of Jesus the Messiah and quoted this verse (Luke 3:6). Today, Christians declare “the salvation of our God” through faith in Jesus Christ and they do so in almost every nation on earth. However, Christians are persecuted in many places for making this proclamation of good news.

(Isaiah 52:11) Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the LORD.

Since the LORD was returning to Zion (Jerusalem), God wanted His people to leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem also. They were not to bring any unclean idols or items with them, but they were to purify themselves and prepare themselves to enter the holy city of Jerusalem. King Cyrus did allow the returning exiles to return with their sacred temple vessels just as Isaiah foretold (see Ezra 1).

(Isaiah 52:12) For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Isaiah looked back upon how God’s people had left Egypt with Moses after celebrating the first Passover. They fled with haste and were pursued by Pharaoh and his army. God protected them when His people fled through the Red Sea and the waters of the Red Sea swallowed Pharaoh’s army. Just as Isaiah predicted, the Jews left Babylon after careful planning and the LORD protected them (see Ezra and Nehemiah – especially Ezra 8:21-23).

(Isaiah 52:13) See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

Beginning with Isaiah 52:13, Isaiah began to describe and predict the coming Messiah that God would send after the people returned to Jerusalem. More than 500 years later, the Messiah did come to Jerusalem, and He promised to return having completed His work of atonement for our sins and being raised from the dead. Jesus was exalted and lifted up on the cross and on the day of His ascension. Jesus is very high now: seated at the right hand of God. The Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus, “he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (see Philippians 2:8-11). Jesus told the people, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me” (John 8:28).

(Isaiah 52:14) Just as there were many who were astonished at him–so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals–

As Isaiah further described in chapter 53 (see the International Bible Lesson Commentary on Isaiah 53:1-8 from April 27, 2014), the Messiah did not look like the statue of a Greek or Roman idol. He did not look like a hero of the Olympian Games. The psalmist described how the Messiah came to look after He was flogged, as He hanged on a cross, and as He died for our sins (see also Psalm 22:6-7, 16-18).

(Isaiah 52:15) so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

For almost 2000 years, the good news of Jesus Christ has startled many nations as people have turned to Him as their Lord and Savior. Some translations prefer “sprinkle” to the word “startle.” Jesus the Messiah will cleanse and set apart all the nations of the earth to serve God after He returns (see Revelation 22:1-5). Jesus’ blood cleanses from all sin in a way that is similar to the sprinkling of the blood on the altar to cleanse it, make atonement, and set it apart for a holy use (see Ezekiel 43:20). At some point in the future, everyone will come to know that Jesus the Messiah is the King over all things and peoples. As the gospel of Jesus Christ began to be preached to the Gentiles, even some kings began to understand why God sent Jesus the Redeemer to earth and what they had never heard before they began to understand as they heard the gospel preached. The Roman Emperor Constantine is an example. The Apostle Paul knew of Isaiah’s prophecy and that is one reason he wanted to preach to those who had never heard the gospel before (see Romans 15:20-21).

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Read Isaiah 47:1-2 and Isaiah 52:1-2. In what way does Isaiah describe Babylon and Jerusalem that is similar? What does he say will happen to them?

2. In Isaiah 52:1-2, what did God want the exiled Jews and those left in Jerusalem to do when their time of punishment ended?

3. What was the messenger supposed to announce in Jerusalem “upon the mountains” in Isaiah 52:7? What did Jesus the Messiah bring when He came? What does He bring into the lives of His followers?

4. How were the sentinels supposed to respond when they heard the announcement “upon the mountains”?

5. How did the Israelites leave Egypt? How did God say through Isaiah that His people would leave Babylon? How do both ways demonstrate the awesome power of God?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Isaiah 52:1-15
An Educational and Printable Handout for Review using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

Our God Reigns

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7—KJV).

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7—NRSV).

In the history of Israel and the world, Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled twice in totally unexpected ways. In the first situation, a messenger sent by God came from Babylon and announced to those in Jerusalem that Babylon had fallen and God had moved a victorious conqueror and king to free His people from exile and slavery so they could return to Jerusalem. With God’s help, they could now rebuild their city, the city’s walls, and most importantly the temple where they could worship God. In addition, God moved the new king to return the temple vessels to Jerusalem that the Babylonians had also carried into captivity. Such good news of salvation led God’s people to rejoicing, and the restoration of God’s kingdom and people proves that God reigns. Then, as Isaiah chapter 52 concluded and 53 began, Isaiah foretold the sacrifice of the Messiah who would come to reign in the future.

After about 600 years, when Jesus the Messiah began His ministry He proved that God reigns by everything He said and did. As Isaiah described, God made Jesus’ “life an offering for sin;” furthermore, God said “the righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:10-11). Jesus freed God’s people from spiritual exile and slavery to self, sin, and Satan. The good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection still brings salvation to believers around the world and proves that God still reigns and leads His followers to rejoicing and spreading the message about Him and His power to save all believers forever.

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Ezekiel 47:13-23 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 23, 2014, is from Ezekiel 47:13-23. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Ezekiel 47:13-23

(Ezekiel 47:13) Thus says the Lord GOD: These are the boundaries by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions.

In Ezekiel 47:13-20, Ezekiel received instructions on how the Promised Land should be divided among the 12 tribes after they returned from exile. The Levites received some cities, a portion of the offerings, and lived among the other 12 tribes: Joseph’s descendants had been divided into two tribes, leaving 12 tribes to inherit the land. Since the returning exiles did not obey the vision that God gave Ezekiel, they did not divide the land according to Ezekiel’s vision either.

(Ezekiel 47:14) You shall divide it equally; I swore to give it to your ancestors, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.

Since the Judeans had been sent into exile partly because of their dishonesty and stealing from others, God commanded them to divide the land equally when they returned from exile. Repeatedly, the LORD commanded through Ezekiel, “you shall,” but the returning exiles did not obey Ezekiel’s vision. If they had begun to obey God in rebuilding the temple according to God’s specifications, then God would have helped them obey Him in all things and God would have also given them more specific specifications as needed. God wanted them to treat one another equally or justly, including how property would be inherited in the future. Remember, because he obeyed God’s command, Jeremiah had bought land before the Judeans were taken into captivity with the promise from God that the land would be inherited by his descendants after their time of captivity ended and they returned to the Promised Land.

(Ezekiel 47:15) This shall be the boundary of the land: On the north side, from the Great Sea by way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, and on to Zedad,

The Great Sea was the Mediterranean Sea. We cannot say with certainty the locations of many of the other places in Ezekiel’s vision. The people in exile must have been encouraged to learn from Ezekiel that God intended for them to have a new temple, His presence with them in their new temple, and land given proportionally for their homes when He permitted them and enabled them to return from exile to the Promised Land.

(Ezekiel 47:16) Berothah, Sibraim (which lies between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), as far as Hazer-hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran.

God gave detailed visions to Ezekiel that the people of Ezekiel’s day would have understood geographically and mathematically, though these place names remain obscure today.

(Ezekiel 47:17) So the boundary shall run from the sea to Hazar-enon, which is north of the border of Damascus, with the border of Hamath to the north. This shall be the north side.

God gave Ezekiel boundaries for the 12 tribes that included borders on the north, south, east, and west. Damascus was the capital city of Syria and was a well-known city even in the days of Abraham.

(Ezekiel 47:18) On the east side, between Hauran and Damascus; along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel; to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. This shall be the east side.

Originally, the name Gilead applied to lands occupied by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh.

(Ezekiel 47:19) On the south side, it shall run from Tamar as far as the waters of Meribath-kadesh, from there along the Wadi of Egypt to the Great Sea. This shall be the south side.

The south border was the border with Egypt.

(Ezekiel 47:20) On the west side, the Great Sea shall be the boundary to a point opposite Lebo-hamath. This shall be the west side.

The West border was the Mediterranean Sea.

(Ezekiel 47:21) So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel.

Though the Assyrians had destroyed the Northern Kingdom and had dispersed the 10 northern tribes in 722 BC, and though the Babylonians had destroyed the Southern Kingdom and had dispersed the remaining Judeans to Babylon in 597 BC and 586 BC, Ezekiel’s vision included providing land for returning exiles from all the 12 tribes of Israel. Ezekiel’s vision was one of hope, because God would enable His people to do what He commanded when they returned from exile, and God could arrange for representatives from all 12 tribes to be present when the land was divided.

(Ezekiel 47:22) You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who reside among you and have begotten children among you. They shall be to you as citizens of Israel; with you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.

The land divisions were to be an inheritance for the descendants of each of the 12 tribes. Ezekiel’s vision distinguished between “foreigners” and “aliens.” “Foreigners” were “uncircumcised in heart and flesh,” and they joined with the rebellious house of Israel to perform abominations (see Ezekiel 44:4-14). “Aliens” were those who had converted to Judaism, perhaps even as Ezekiel ministered to Judean exiles, Babylonians, and others. God wanted Gentiles who had converted to Judaism to be treated equal to natural born Israelites in all of the 12 tribes of Israel. These Gentile converts to Judaism were to have the same rights of inheritance, property, and other legal protections as the Israelites. Later, the Apostle Paul would insist that Jewish converts and Gentile converts to Christianity should have equal rights, because they were all one in Christ Jesus.

(Ezekiel 47:23) In whatever tribe aliens reside, there you shall assign them their inheritance, says the Lord GOD.

As Ezekiel’s vision indicates, certain responsibilities fell to certain tribes and limits were placed upon some in these tribes. For example, Levites could be servants in the temple in certain areas, but only those in the family of Zadok could draw near to God (Ezekiel 44:15-16). With respect to legal rights to land and inheritance, Gentile converts to Judaism were to be treated equal to the natural born Israelites. As far as we know, Jews and Gentiles only treated each other equally after they believed the good news of Jesus Christ and became a part of the Body of Christ, the Church.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why do you think God gave boundaries to the 12 tribes of Israel?

2. Since the Israelites often did not do what God told them to do, why do you think God included sins of omission in the Bible?

3. Why do you think Ezekiel’s vision from God included such detailed instructions for building a new temple and dividing the land?

4. What is the difference between a foreigner in Israel and an alien in Israel?

5. Why do you think it was difficult for the Jews in the early church to treat the Gentiles in the early church with Christian respect and the quality?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 47:1-12
An Educational and Printable Handout for Review using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

When Aliens Are Citizens

“And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel” (Ezekiel 47:22—KJV).

“You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who reside among you and have begotten children among you. They shall be to you as citizens of Israel; with you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel” (Ezekiel 47:22—NRSV).

Four types of people lived in the land of Israel. Even before the days of Ezekiel, many Israelites had turned from serving the LORD alone to worshiping the idols of their neighbors. These idolatrous Israelites were similar to a second group that Ezekiel labeled “foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh” (Ezekiel 44:7). With all of their abominations, these two groups broke God’s laws and covenant with Israel. God condemned the idolatrous priests in Jerusalem for appointing idolatrous foreigners to act for them “in keeping my charge in the sanctuary” (Ezekiel 44:8). The third group was the true Israelites, physical descendants of all the tribes of Israel who were circumcised in heart and flesh. They loved the LORD and sought eagerly to express their love by obeying the Law of God as revealed to Moses and emphasized by the prophets of God. The fourth group was aliens. Though aliens descended from foreigners, they came to love the LORD and accepted the Law of God as the standard for how to live in the land of Israel. Through Ezekiel, God commanded the true Israelites to treat these aliens with equality since they all obeyed the Law of God. In the days of the Judges, Israel had done this, and Ruth was a Moabite who became an alien when she loved the LORD and moved to Israel with her mother-in-law. Ruth became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Today, Jews and Gentiles are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Ezekiel 47:1-12 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 16, 2014, is from Ezekiel 47:1-12. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Ezekiel 47:1-12

(Ezekiel 47:1) Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.

God’s people never built a temple, not even their second temple, according to the vision and building plans that God gave Ezekiel. The people and their leaders did not believe Jeremiah or Ezekiel until after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians according to their predictions. Tradition says that Jeremiah was martyred for his faith in God and his continual calling of the people to repent of their sins and turn back to the true God. Jesus said the prophets were sent by God to warn the people of God’s judgment and the need for them to repent of their sins to escape judgment; but instead of repenting, they killed God’s prophets (see Matthew 23:29-39). If this vision is literally fulfilled, it will be fulfilled in the future, but see the Book of Revelation 22:1-7.

(Ezekiel 47:2) Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

Since the east gate was closed, the angel brought Ezekiel out of the north gate and around so he could see the water coming out of the south side of the temple area. This water would become the great River of God that would flow from God in the direction that God determined it would flow. Jesus said He would provide streams of living water that would flow out of the believer’s heart where the Holy Spirit would dwell (see the Gospel of John 4:10-14 and 7:37-39).

(Ezekiel 47:3) Going on eastward with a cord in his hand, the man measured one thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep.

The water began as a small, shallow stream from one source and that source was God. As the stream became a river, the water deepened, but no other water entered the river from any outside source; the water only came from God. In nature, streams become rivers as more streams pour into them, but that is not the case with the River of God. God can do great things from small beginnings; such as Jesus’ disciples spreading the gospel around the world and our faith deepening as we prayerfully study the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit.

(Ezekiel 47:4) Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the waist.

Ezekiel walked along with the angel as he measured the depth of the water with his body: ankle-deep, knee-deep, and waist-deep. As the River of God flowed from the temple, Ezekiel enjoyed the refreshing water until it became too deep for him to walk within it. We can understand much truth as we read the Scriptures, but at certain points God’s truth is over our heads.

(Ezekiel 47:5) Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.

At some point in our study of the Bible, of God, and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the truth of God becomes so deep that the clear meaning is beyond both our heads and our hearts; therefore, we must continue to swim in faith based on the truths we know from the Bible. God will help us keep our heads above the water. The Holy Spirit and Bible teachers can take us a long way in our study of the Scriptures, but at some point we must wait and mature to learn more of what God has to teach us; some truths we will only understand given more study, more time, more obedience, and more experience.

(Ezekiel 47:6) He said to me, “Mortal, have you seen this?” Then he led me back along the bank of the river.

Since the man or angel knew the limits of Ezekiel’s human endurance (even his endurance in the midst of a vision), he led him out of the water and they walked along the bank to learn more about God and what the River of God would accomplish as it flowed. Though the gospel of Jesus Christ has spread worldwide, the gospel is still accomplishing more of what God intended and we can observe God’s work from the bank when we cannot be directly involved under God’s leadership.

(Ezekiel 47:7) As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on the one side and on the other.

Trees naturally grow and flourish near well-watered areas such as streams, rivers, and lakes. The River of God gives life and growth. Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a tree that grows larger and larger and provides a home for more and more believers (see Matthew 13:31-32). If we remain in the Word of God and stay close to God as we follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be like flourishing green trees that will produce much fruit to the glory of God and for the benefit of others.

(Ezekiel 47:8) He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh.

The River of Life flowed through the desert (the Arabah) to the Dead Sea. In his vision, the River of God turned the Dead Sea into fresh water. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He gave her spiritual water; she came to new life when she believed the truth of God about Jesus the Messiah, and her testimony led many in her town to believe in Jesus too (John 4:23-26; 39-42). If we neglect the study of the Word of God, we will become spiritually stagnant, and only the Word of God and Spirit of God can refresh us.

(Ezekiel 47:9) Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes.

Wherever the River of God goes it brings life. The fresh water of God purified the stagnant water and made life possible for many fish. Those Ezekiel spoke to in exile would have remembered the Dead Sea, and they might have been encouraged to learn that God had not abandoned them, but God would give them new life and they would prosper again someday. We do not know how many only thought in material terms with regard to material prosperity and how many gave a more spiritual meaning to Ezekiel’s words. We do know that God has the power to transform the Dead Sea and bring those who are dead to life; just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. By the grace of God in this life, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit give spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead.

(Ezekiel 47:10) People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.

In his vision, the River of God brought many kinds of fish to life in the Dead Sea, as many different kinds of fish as in the Mediterranean Sea. These fish would provide food for fishermen and their families. God intends for His Word to meet the needs of those who need life. Believers from many different backgrounds who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word will become a part of His body, the church, and inherit the Kingdom of God. In his vision, fishermen work in the Kingdom of God; they fish for food. Jesus promised, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people” (Matthew 4:19).

(Ezekiel 47:11) But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt.

God will keep the River of Life within its proper banks or boundaries. Salt is needed as well as water by all animals and people. Since God created us, knows us perfectly, and knows our needs, God will graciously provide for us all that we need for life and health, both physical and spiritual. Many things we will need in the future will only be provided by God in the future as we need them.

(Ezekiel 47:12) On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

God has provided animal life and plant life for beauty and food. The River of Life or the River of God keeps the trees ever-green; just as the truth of God and the Spirit of God keep believers spiritually alive. God will provide all that we need forever. God will provide what we need to sustain us, and if we need healing then He will heal us (if not in this life, then in the next life); just as Jesus healed every disease brought to Him and raised people from the dead – even as the River of Life in Ezekiel’s vision raised the Dead Sea to new life and brought new life to fish, trees, and those on its banks.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Do you know of any other interpretations of Ezekiel’s temple and river than the ones discussed in this lesson?
2. How is Ezekiel 47:1 and Revelation 22:1 different?
3. How does the river in Ezekiel differ from natural rivers and streams?
4. What was the most important part of Ezekiel’s vision to you?
5. In what way is Ezekiel 47:12 similar to Revelation 22:2?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 47:1-12
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

The Source of Life-Giving Water

“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine” (Ezekiel 47:12—KJV).

“On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12—NRSV).

The visions of the River of Life that God gave the prophet Ezekiel and the Apostle John show that God wants to meet the needs of people in every nation (see also Revelation 22:1-2). Ezekiel’s vision shows the River of God transforming nature by making stale water into fresh water and fit for fish and fruit trees for food. Both visions teach that the River of Life flows from the throne of God, which in Ezekiel’s vision is in a new temple built according to God’s plan and in John’s vision is in the heavenly city of God and flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb, where the Tree of Life provides food and healing for the nations. Those who returned from exile never built a temple according to God’s plan. The heavenly city John saw has not yet been seen on earth. However, the Messiah has come into our world, and He gives living water to those who believe in Him. Jesus told the woman He met at the well, “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). When Jesus sits on the throne of our hearts, He gives living water that brings the blessings of God to us and others through us.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Ezekiel 43:13-21 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 9, 2014, is from Ezekiel 43:13-21. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Ezekiel 43:13-21

(Ezekiel 43:13) These are the dimensions of the altar by cubits (the cubit being one cubit and a handbreadth): its base shall be one cubit high, and one cubit wide, with a rim of one span around its edge. This shall be the height of the altar:

We have no record in the Bible that those who returned from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem did what the LORD told them to do through Ezekiel in building the temple and the altar he described. Compare their response to Moses blessing the Israelites for doing all that the LORD commanded them (see Exodus 39:43). Compare also Exodus 40:16, Moses built the tabernacle and the first altar as the LORD commanded. In Exodus 40, Moses did all things “as the LORD commanded.”

(Ezekiel 43:14) From the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits, with a width of one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits, with a width of one cubit;

The LORD entered the tabernacle after Moses did all that the LORD commanded in dedicating to the LORD all that they had made and dedicating the priests who would serve Him. The altar for the new temple would have been large and tall with platforms on each level for the priests to stand upon to lift the sacrifices up to the top of the altar.

(Ezekiel 43:15) and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns.

The altars for the tabernacle, for Solomon’s Temple, and for the second temple were to have horns on each corner which would serve a practical purpose when putting the sacrifice on the altar. A “horn” could also symbolize “power;” we might think of the shape of the horns on a mighty bull and its power. The Bible says that some of those who offended the king of Israel ran to the horns of the altar and grasped them as a place of refuge or protection; for example, Adonijah hoped to save himself from King Solomon by taking hold of the horns of the altar (1 Kings 1:50), and Joab also hoped to save himself from King Solomon by grasping the horns of the altar (1 Kings 2:28). Perhaps Adonijah and Joab thought God would protect them if they grasped the horns of the altar, or no one would dare kill them if they grasped the horns of the altar out of respect for the sacredness of the altar.

(Ezekiel 43:16) The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve wide.

Just as God gave Moses detailed instructions for the tabernacle, altar, priests’ vestments, and sacrifices, so God gave detailed instructions to the Jews in Babylon that God expected them to obey when they returned to Jerusalem and built a new temple. If they did what the Lord commanded them, the LORD would enter His temple according to Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 44:4-6).

(Ezekiel 43:17) The ledge also shall be square, fourteen cubits long by fourteen wide, with a rim around it half a cubit wide, and its surrounding base, one cubit. Its steps shall face east.

Steps facing east, the direction from which the LORD would enter the temple, would enable the priests to walk up to each ledge to lift the sacrifice up to the top of the altar. Some scholars believe the altar was about 20 feet tall depending on the length of a cubit (the length of a cubit was a measurement between the elbow and the tips of the fingers).

(Ezekiel 43:18) Then he said to me: Mortal, thus says the Lord GOD: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for dashing blood against it,

An ordinance is a law, rule, or regulation; in this case, a law to be followed by the house of Israel. The altar had to be consecrated and set apart for a holy use before sacrifices could be offered upon it, and the rite of consecration had to be according to the ordinances of God. The ordinances for the altar according to Ezekiel were consistent with the ordinances that God gave to Moses when he built the tabernacle and the altar in the wilderness. God intended for these ordinances and practices to be performed and point to the coming of the Messiah and the meaning of His sacrificial death in behalf of sinners.

(Ezekiel 43:19) you shall give to the levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, says the Lord GOD, a bull for a sin offering.

Only the sons of Zadok were allowed to draw near to God to minister to Him because out of all of the Levites only the family of Zadok had remained true to the Lord during decades of idolatry (see Ezekiel 44:10-16). God declared that the other Levites had to bear their punishment. To begin to worship and serve the LORD rightly and to draw near to Him, sin must first be dealt with God’s way and no priest or Levite was without sin. Before other offerings could be made on the altar a sin offering must first be made. Our sins are the barrier between us and God, and the sin offering commanded by God opens the way for us to come to Him. When Jesus the Messiah died for our sins, He opened the way for us to give our lives to God and His holy service when we repent of our sins and trust in Him for salvation.

(Ezekiel 43:20) And you shall take some of its blood, and put it on the four horns of the altar, and on the four corners of the ledge, and upon the rim all around; thus you shall purify it and make atonement for it.

The altar would have been erected with unclean hands; that is, the hands of sinful builders. Though the altar might have been built according to God’s specifications, it needed to be ritually cleansed before it could be used for holy sacrifices to the LORD, and it must be cleansed according to God’s instructions. Blood from the sin offering would ritually cleanse the altar and set it apart for holy use.

(Ezekiel 43:21) You shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place belonging to the temple, outside the sacred area.

After the blood of the sin offering taken from the bull was placed on the altar for cleansing, the bull was not burned or sacrificed on the altar. The sin offering was to be burnt outside of the sacred area, but in a place belonging to the temple. Various sin offerings and sacrifices were to be offered for seven days to consecrate the altar and only on the eighth day did they begin other sacrifices on the altar according to other ordinances of God. Today, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all of our sins and the blood sacrifices of animals are not to be offered to God.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why do you think God gave such detailed directions for building the new temple and altar and for performing proper sacrifices?
2. Think of one practical reason why the steps to the altar were to face east?
3. How did what the Levites did before their exile in Babylon have an effect on their children?
4. Why did God want a bull for a sin offering?
5. Where was the bull of the sin offering burnt? Why do you think this place was chosen?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 43:13-21
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

Choices Have Lasting Consequences

“And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering” (Ezekiel 43:19—KJV).

“You shall give to the levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, says the Lord GOD, a bull for a sin offering” (Ezekiel 43:19—NRSV).

When God gave the rules for the new temple priests, God distinguished between the Levites (those who made the house of Israel stumble into idolatry as they worshiped idols) and the family of Zadok (the Levites who did right when others led the people astray). God judged that in the new temple only the family of Zadok could draw near to Him, and the other Levites would bear their shame and from that time on not be allowed to draw near Him as priests or come near the things that are most holy. The Levites who had misled the masses of the people and their families could only do basic temple tasks (Ezekiel 44:10-14). Prior to their exile, every Levite had the opportunity to choose between worshiping idols and misleading the people or remaining true to God and calling people to serve the LORD only. The choices they made not only had a lasting effect upon the history of their nation but also upon the history of their children. Only the children of Zadok would have been prepared to draw near the LORD, because they had been raised according to the law of God. The hearts of the family of Zadok had remained true to the LORD, when all the other Levites had turned from the true God; however, they had not perfectly obeyed God; therefore, the LORD commanded that a bull for a sin offering be sacrificed in their behalf as they were ordained to serve Him as priests at the altar and in the temple’s holy places.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Ezekiel 43:1-12 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 2, 2014, is from Ezekiel 43:1-12. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Ezekiel 43:1-12

(Ezekiel 43:1) Then he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east.

Ezekiel was a priest or the son of a priest who was taken into exile in Babylon in about 598 BC with the first deportation of Jerusalem’s leaders and other important people. Ezekiel lived near the Chebar Canal or River in Babylon. The real center of Jewish life and worship moved to Babylon when Jerusalem and the temple were finally destroyed in 587 BC. After 25 years of exile, Ezekiel was given a vision where he was transported to Jerusalem and shown a new temple and given the specifications for a new temple that the people were to build when they returned from exile. God gave the vision to Ezekiel to encourage the people by telling them that they would return to their homeland when God ended their time of punishment (which was to be a total of seventy years according to the prophet Jeremiah: see 2 Chronicles 36: 11-23).

(Ezekiel 43:2) And there, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters; and the earth shone with his glory.

The new temple had gates on the north, south, and east. The main gate on the east side faced the rising sun. The LORD had left the temple through the east gate because the priests had defiled Solomon’s temple and made it unfit for our holy God to remain there. Therefore, in Ezekiel’s vision God returned to His temple from the east. The vision showed the LORD returning to the visionary temple through the east gate from which He had departed. Babylon was about 800 miles east of Jerusalem. The glory of the God of Israel was brighter than the sun that God created, and God’s creation reflected, showed or revealed His glory. The sound of His coming was probably as loud as a giant waterfall or an ocean tide running toward the shore during a hurricane.

(Ezekiel 43:3) The vision I saw was like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision that I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

Ezekiel saw a vision of God that communicated to him some of the attributes of God (see Ezekiel 1:1-28). God is the LORD over all creation and God sees everything throughout all of creation. Nothing can be hidden from our all-seeing and all-knowing God. God can go wherever He wills and God is holy and just. Because of the sins of the house of Israel, God destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple using the Babylonian army.

(Ezekiel 43:4) As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east,

Ezekiel’s vision of a new temple began in Ezekiel 40:1. God gave a detailed plan for a new temple with careful measurements. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem after their seventy years of exile, they built a new temple, but not according to the vision God gave Ezekiel. When we do things God’s way and according to God’s revealed will, God will come and abide or stay with us as He has promised. As we begin to do God’s will, God gives us more details and provisions to complete what He wants us to do. The vision that God gave Ezekiel was sufficient for them to begin the work on the new temple according to God’s plan through Ezekiel.

(Ezekiel 43:5) the spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

We have no indication from the Scriptures that God ever came and indwelt the second temple as God did the tabernacle of Moses that was built according to God’s will exactly as God showed Moses or the temple of Solomon (see Exodus 39:42-43; 40:33-38 and 1 Chronicles 28:6-12; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). The Spirit of God now indwells those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (see Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31; Acts 7:55; Acts 13:52).

(Ezekiel 43:6) While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me out of the temple.

The man standing beside Ezekiel was a messenger of God or an angel. He led Ezekiel to the temple and the Spirit of God lifted Ezekiel into the inner court. In his vision, only the LORD and the prince [possibly the Messiah] were to be permitted to enter the inner court by the east gate, so Ezekiel was lifted by the Spirit of God over the wall. The LORD spoke to Ezekiel from out of the temple.

(Ezekiel 43:7) He said to me: Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel forever. The house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their whoring, and by the corpses of their kings at their death.

When the LORD spoke to Ezekiel, He called him mortal or human or son of man depending on your translation of the Bible. In the Book of Daniel, the title “Son of Man” applied to the Messiah, which was the title Jesus most often preferred to use about himself. God spoke to Ezekiel directly in his vision, not through the messenger. God revealed that the temple would be the place of His throne and His footstool; while God continued to reside in heaven He would also be present among His people, and God encouraged those in exile by telling Ezekiel that He would be found and worshiped again in Jerusalem in a new temple. If the returning exiles built the new temple according to God’s plan, God said He did not want any idol worship to ever be done in the temple again; furthermore, God did not want the corpses any Judean or Israelite kings near His temple, which would defile it again.

(Ezekiel 43:8) When they placed their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they were defiling my holy name by their abominations that they committed; therefore I have consumed them in my anger.

King Solomon built the temple next to his palace and only a wall separated his palace from the temple. In his palace, King Solomon and his wives worshiped their idols in addition to their supposed worshiping of the LORD; later, the Levites would even worship idols in the temple, which defiled it even further. Unfortunately, the kings who followed King Solomon (with a few notable exceptions such as Josiah) performed greater abominations with their idols than King Solomon did; therefore, God justly punished them and the nation by destroying the palace and the defiled temple.

(Ezekiel 43:9) Now let them put away their idolatry and the corpses of their kings far from me, and I will reside among them forever.

God expected Ezekiel to share every detail of his vision with the exiles in Babylon. God expected the descendants of the kings of Judah to repent of their sins and not repeat the sins of their fathers. God’s promise to reside among His people and their leaders forever was conditioned on their building their new temple according to God’s design, their turning from idolatry, and their not burying their kings in the presence of the LORD’s temple, which could lead to their honoring their former kings more than God.

(Ezekiel 43:10) As for you, mortal, describe the temple to the house of Israel, and let them measure the pattern; and let them be ashamed of their iniquities.

God expected Ezekiel to share his vision with the exiles in Babylon; they were to learn the new temple’s pattern for later construction, and they were to be ashamed of their sins that had led to the first temple’s destruction. No leaders or skilled laborers remained in Jerusalem after the city, the palace, and temple were destroyed in 587 BC. Though they would be in exile for about forty-five more years, God wanted them to know that the house of Israel would return to Jerusalem someday and God would be with them. God wanted them to be ashamed of their sins, learn from their past mistakes and Ezekiel’s vision, and be prepared to rebuild their temple according to His pattern.

(Ezekiel 43:11) When they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the plan of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form–all its ordinances and its entire plan and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and follow the entire plan and all its ordinances.

Only after the people realized with shame the sins that had led God to destroy their city and temple did Ezekiel share with them the further Word of the LORD regarding their restoration and His plans for a new temple. They needed to recognize their true moral guilt and not shift the blame for their temple’s destruction away from themselves. God expected them to obey His Word and vision that He had given through Ezekiel. God expected them to do everything according to His ordinances and His plans when they returned to Jerusalem. However, they failed to follow God’s “entire plan and all its ordinances.” They continued to do many things their own way instead of God’s way; therefore, we have no evidence that God ever entered their second temple no matter how it was beautified in later years by others, including King Herod.

(Ezekiel 43:12) This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. This is the law of the temple.

Since the top of the mountain and all around it was to be most holy to the LORD and this was God’s law (not just mere advice), they were to build no palace for a king and no burial ground for kings near or around the new temple. Since the body of a Christian is the temple of God, a Christian and everything that he chooses to be a part of his life should be most holy to the LORD – this would be “the law of the temple” for all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ forever.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Who was supposed to build the temple in Ezekiel’s vision according to the plan God gave Ezekiel?
2. Why do you think the most important temple gate faced east?
3. In his vision, how was the person who met Ezekiel on the very high mountain in Jerusalem different from Ezekiel’s vision of the Lord?
4. What was the most encouraging and hopeful part of Ezekiel’s vision?
5. What were the people who returned from exile supposed to stop doing when they returned to their land?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 43:1-12
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

When God Built the New Temple

“And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them” (Ezekiel 43:11—KJV).

“When they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the plan of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form—all its ordinances and its entire plan and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and follow the entire plan and all its ordinances” (Ezekiel 43:11—NRSV).

God appeared to Ezekiel when he lived in Babylon among many of the most important exiled religious and political leaders. God wanted Ezekiel to foretell that He would destroy Jerusalem and the temple because the people continued to rebel against Him. God told Ezekiel that after they felt ashamed for their sins he could tell them the vision of how they were to build a new temple in Jerusalem that He could inhabit. God commanded them not to profane the new temple as they had desecrated their former temple. In the closing chapters of Ezekiel, God revealed the temple specifications that He expected the builders to obey. Unfortunately, just as they had disobeyed God earlier, when they returned to Jerusalem they disobeyed God again by refusing to build their second temple as God had commanded them. If God had not sent later prophets to those who returned to Jerusalem from exile, they might never have built a second temple at all. Because they did not build their second temple the way God commanded, God never indwelt it. However, God did return to His people when He sent Jesus Christ into the world. After Jesus rose from the dead, He sent God’s Spirit into believers so they could become the new temple of God. What God’s people refused to do, God did in a better way through His Son.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Job 42:1-17 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, October 26, 2014, is from Job 42:1-17. Note: Some churches will only study Job 42:1-10. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further  follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Job 42:1-17

(Job 42:1) Then Job answered the LORD:

After the LORD demonstrated to Satan and the heavenly host that Job loved and served the LORD for unselfish reasons, the LORD ended the test and trials of Job. God then answered Job’s questions as Job had requested. God demonstrated His power, wisdom, love, justice, and goodwill toward Job in His answers and behavior. At some point, God also explained the details, meaning, and purpose of Job’s trials with respect to Satan as revealed in the beginning of the Book of Job.

(Job 42:2) “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

When Job answered God as the Book of Job concludes, he told God that he now understood more about the power and majesty of the LORD. God can and will do whatever God wisely chooses to do. God does all that He does with a purpose, and God accomplishes all that He purposes. No being in heaven or earth can hinder God’s purposes.

(Job 42:3) ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

Job quoted the LORD, who spoke to him out of the whirlwind (Job 38:2). Job answered God by confessing that he had spoken to God about things he did not understand based upon his observations. God was not unjust during Job’s trials, and God later repaid Job for all he had lost during his trials. Job confessed that what God did was more wonderful than he ever knew before.

(Job 42:4) ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’

In Job’s reply to the LORD, he quoted the LORD again (Job 38:3; Job 40:7). Job had questioned God about why he suffered, because he was an innocent victim. It is not that Job had never sinned at any time throughout his entire life, but if he had sinned (and I believe he had) Job repented and God put him back into a right relationship with him again. Job knew that he had done nothing to deserve the severe troubles and trials that afflicted him. Job will now answer the LORD who had just answered him and questioned him about the justice of God.

(Job 42:5) I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;

Previous to his testing, Job knew about God from all that he had heard, and he had done what he knew to do to remain right with God. Job knew that the righteous were not supposed to suffer. After God answered Job, Job could say that he had now seen God, which meant that he had come to know God more personally and not just “about” God from the things he had heard. From knowing God personally, Job now knew God always used His power wisely and justly.

(Job 42:6) therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job came to despise himself because he came to understand the great gap between himself and the Almighty Holy God that he served. He repented for having said unwise things about God based on his limited understanding of God. Job had not sinned, but he wished he had not accused God of being unjust – which he had done because he did not yet have “the Book of Job” or the Bible as we have God’s Word today.

(Job 42:7) After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.

After speaking with Job, God spoke only to one of Job’s friends and He expected him to pass on His words to his friends. Because of the way they had falsely accused Job of sin and had refused to provide him comfort or consolation in his suffering, and no doubt for other reasons known to God, they had come under the just judgment of God. These men did not speak right of God because they had said God was punishing Job (among other wrong statements) when God was not punishing Job. Without knowing the facts, they refused to believe Job and kept accusing Job of hidden sins, which was wrong.

(Job 42:8) Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.”

God commanded them to make a perfect burnt offering for themselves. Since the law of God had not yet been given (as it was later given through Moses to the Israelites), God did not tell them to make a sin offering, but to acknowledge the truth about Him and the truth about Job and themselves by making a public burnt offering. God insisted that Job had spoken correctly about Him. God did not discourage Job from asking questions about His situation and telling God how things looked to him: God answered Job’s questions. God showed Job’s friends that Job was right when He told Eliphaz that He would hear Job’s prayers and answer his prayers in their behalf.

(Job 42:9) So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

Job’s “friends” (or false friends and false comforters) obeyed God and Job prayed for them and God removed His just judgment from them. In this way, God brought reconciliation among them and restored peace between Job’s friends and Job. God did this through the repentant obedience of Job’s friends and their acknowledgment that Job was right and they were wrong and Job’s prayers in their behalf showed Job’s forgiveness of them.

(Job 42:10) And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

After Job did what God wanted and had prayed for his friends, God doubled what Job had possessed before. In some sense, God paid Job wages for having suffered and sacrificed so much to prove through severe testing that he was a man of integrity, who loved God because of what he knew and had heard about God – as limited as his understanding of God was without the Bible as we have the Word of God today.

(Job 42:11) Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.

Job’s family, including his wife, had avoided Job. Perhaps they had judged that he had committed horrible sins and they should avoid someone who was suffering under the judgment of God. When they learned of the true story of Job, they repented and tried to restore some of Job’s fortunes and did what they should have done much earlier by showing him comfort and compassion.

(Job 42:12) The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.

The Book of Job shows in a detailed way how much God gave him when He doubled Job’s material possessions. The restoration of so much would give Job an opening to explain to others the truths that he had learned about God after he had come to know God personally through his experiences and God’s words to him.

(Job 42:13) He also had seven sons and three daughters.

Job had seven sons and three daughters in heaven; so by giving Job another seven sons and three daughters God doubled the number of children that Job had. And just as Job knew that his Redeemer lived, so he knew that he would see his children again in the flesh; he knew that his Redeemer would raise them all from the dead. When God gave Job another seven sons and three daughters on earth, Job had the opportunity to enjoy a family similar to his previous family. After he died, he would go to be with his other children in heaven, where they would all await the resurrection from the dead. God demonstrated His justice after Job suffered, and God can choose to give His people justice on earth, in heaven, and after Jesus the Redeemer comes again.

(Job 42:14) He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch.

Job’s daughters received names that the Bible recorded and though their names may have meaning they may mean little to us today. Their names in order may mean dove, cassia, horn of eye paint. The Book of Job may record their names because they received an inheritance and Job considered them equal to their brothers.

(Job 42:15) In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

With such beautiful daughters and the doubling of his wealth, the story of Job would spread far and wide as people spoke of their beauty and prosperity – God would receive greater honor than before Job’s trials and many would come to believe in God and His integrity. Satan’s schemes were totally defeated when he tested Job’s integrity. As far as we know, God had not yet given rules for inheritance in Job’s day, and Job’s actions show his love and generosity for his entire family. To bring orderly government to the tribes of Israel, God did give rules for inheritance when He created the Kingdom of Israel under the leadership of Moses (see Numbers 27).

(Job 42:16) After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations.

We do not know exactly how old Job was when his testing began. He may have been seventy years old, so God doubled his life to one hundred and forty years. Or, he may have been one hundred and forty years old and lived for another one hundred and forty years. He certainly lived far longer than people lived in the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later; therefore, many believe he lived before God called Abraham. God blessed Job by allowing him to see his family expand four generations.

(Job 42:17) And Job died, old and full of days.

Job died completely restored and abundantly blessed. God blessed him even more when he went to heaven to meet his Redeemer. From heaven, Job would see and learn how his Redeemer came to earth, died for his sins, and rose from the dead so Job could be forgiven and would later be raised from the dead. Finally, Job was reunited with those believers in his family that had preceded him in death. We only know of these additional truths because God continued to reveal more as the Scriptures were inspired and written and revealed progressively more about God. We also know now how Jesus the Redeemer came to earth as God promised.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Read Job 42:2. Do you agree? Explain.
2. Read Psalm 100. What more do you learn about God from this Psalm?
3. Why is the Bible important to you?
4. Job did not sin against God by asking questions of God. List some of the ways that God answers questions today.
5. How did Job express his humility before God?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Job 42:1-17
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

We Can Always Learn More About God

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:3—KJV).

“‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3—NRSV).

After Job passed Satan’s testing, God told Job why he had suffered, but God also wanted Job to admit his limited knowledge of God. Job knew many truths about God, but he did not know all that he needed to know about God until God spoke to Job and his friends. After God restored Job’s fortunes, Job lived another 140 years and could learn even more about God as the years passed. Job admitted that he knew little about the nature and character of God which was really too wonderful for him to understand. Among the new truths he learned, he told God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). God can do all things, and if there are some things we want God to do, such as remove our suffering, we need to remember that God has good reasons when He does not do something according to our timing. The Book of Job gives us some of the reasons why God does not always work our way in our behalf or in behalf of those we love. God also taught Job that no one and nothing, not even Satan or his schemes, could prevent Him from achieving His purposes. God defeated Satan’s schemes to destroy the character and public perception of Job, and God has been able to use the story of Job to encourage believers for more than 3500 years. God completely defeated Satan when Satan tested Job, and someday all believers will see Satan completely and finally defeated.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, October 19, 2014, is from Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25

(Job 24:1) “Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?

In response to Eliphaz, who argued that God justly punished the unjust on earth and that Job’s suffering indicated that God was justly punishing him for his sins, Job replied that this was not the case. Job argued that many of the unjust seem to prosper on earth throughout their lives and many just people suffer from injustice. Job wanted God to hold open court on earth so those who knew Him could come before Him during times set by God and plead with Him for justice in an open court so others could hear God’s verdict and vindication of the innocent.

(Job 24:9) “There are those who snatch the orphan child from the breast, and take as a pledge the infant of the poor.

Job gave Eliphaz many examples of how the wicked, in spite of their extreme evil and the way they made others suffer, continued to benefit on earth from their evil practices. Child abuse and stealing children were common in Job’s day as in our own day. If a needy person borrowed money, an evil lender would often take their children and enslave them until they were repaid by the poor person who had borrowed the money and had given his children as a guarantee that they would repay the wealthy, but evil, lender. The poor could seldom make repayment; therefore, they forfeited their children.

(Job 24:10) They go about naked, without clothing; though hungry, they carry the sheaves;

Job pointed out that the poor often have no clothes to wear, perhaps only rags to cover themselves (if they even have rags). Even though they labored, they were taken unjust advantage of and not given a just wage. They were made to toil in fields while hungry in order to feed oppressive landowners.

(Job 24:11) between their terraces they press out oil; they tread the wine presses, but suffer thirst.

The poor were forced to labor in order to provide oil and wine for others, but they were given little or no water to drink while they toiled and were underpaid for their work. The Bible answers this complaint and tells those who hire others to pay them a living wage and not withhold their wages from them. Jesus told a parable about a generous landowner who gave a day’s wage to each one who worked for him no matter how long they worked because he wanted to meet their real daily needs (Matthew 20:1-15). Among other truths, Jesus’ parable shows how God treats people, and how God expects His followers to treat others until the great Day of Judgment.

(Job 24:12) From the city the dying groan, and the throat of the wounded cries for help; yet God pays no attention to their prayer.

Based upon his observations alone in the city where he lived (probably before God ever called Abraham to walk by faith and before God gave Moses the 10 Commandments), Job saw how others suffered. Without a compassionate touch from anyone, it seemed that the dying groaned abandoned by God and man, or so it seemed to Job who felt abandoned by God (as Satan intended with his test). It seemed to Job that God did not answer his prayers or the prayers of the most needy. Based upon observation alone, we would be at a loss to understand reality and the nature of the true God; therefore, God has spoken to us truly in the Bible to reveal the truth about God and the world.

(Job 24:19) Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.

It seems Eliphaz interrupted Job’s reply to him in verses 19 and 20 with his own rebuttal of Job’s argument. If so, Eliphaz expressed his belief that Job was wrong. He argued that just as the summer sun quickly melts the snow on the mountain top, so those who have sinned are quickly punished by God and die for their sins. Job argued that this was not what he had observed and concluded based on his observations.

(Job 24:20) The womb forgets them; the worm finds them sweet; they are no longer remembered; so wickedness is broken like a tree.

Eliphaz argued that the mother of sinners quickly forgets their wicked children because they have been punished by God and have died for the evil they have done. She does not want to remember them, and they are soon eaten by worms in the grave and forgotten by everyone. Eliphaz argued that the wickedness of the wicked is easily and quickly ended by God, as easily as breaking down a tree.

(Job 24:21) “They harm the childless woman, and do no good to the widow.

In response to Eliphaz, Job began his list of injustices again. Not only do the wicked abuse children and steal them from their parents, but they also afflict women – women who have no children to help care for them in their old age and widows who have no husband to help them meet their needs. The New Testament, therefore, teaches the church to especially help the widow and the orphan – which most churches do. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Through the church, God often hears and answers the prayers of the needy.

(Job 24:22) Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life.

Job continued to share his observations and conclusions. It appeared to him that in this life the mighty that oppress others unjustly live long and prosperous lives. If they became ill or if they neared death, Job thought God raised them up to life once again and they continued to do evil on earth without suffering the justice of God.

(Job 24:23) He gives them security, and they are supported; his eyes are upon their ways.

The Bible accurately recorded Job’s observations and conclusions – the theological ideas that he had come to develop based upon his experiences. As Job chapter 1 indicates, Job lived up to all of the light or knowledge of God that he had and God commended him for living by the faith in God that he had (as limited as his knowledge was). We also see from the Book of Job why God needed to correct some of Job’s ideas at the end of the book and why we need both the Old and New Testaments for an accurate and true knowledge of God in the face of evil and sin in the world. Obviously, God does not directly give the wicked security and support in all their ways even though someone might argue that God is unjust based upon their observations alone without the Bible.

(Job 24:24) They are exalted a little while, and then are gone; they wither and fade like the mallow; they are cut off like the heads of grain.

It seems once again that in verse 24 Eliphaz interrupted Job to argue that the wicked are not given security by God but are quickly gone, taken away by God as quickly as a harvester reaps grain. Eliphaz and Job’s other “friends” were trying to show Job that God had quickly cut him off; God was punishing him for all of his unjust ways that had brought him so much wealth; wealth that God had quickly taken away as Job’s punishment for his sins.

(Job 24:25) If it is not so, who will prove me a liar, and show that there is nothing in what I say?”

Either Eliphaz concluded his rebuttal of Job in verse 25, or Job replied to Eliphaz’s rebuttal of him. In either case, based upon their observations alone, neither one could prove the other a liar. God was the only one who could decide between Job and his “friends,” and God would show everyone the limits of their understanding as the Book of Job concluded. Eliphaz could challenge Job to prove him wrong, and Job could challenge Eliphaz to prove that he was wrong and that there was no element of truth in Job’s observations and deductions. Only God could decide the matter and reveal the truth to them.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. According to these verses in the Book of Job, what are some of the bad things that can happen to people?
2. According to these verses in the Book of Job, what are some of the good things that can happen to those who do bad things to people?
3. Do you think Job was right about good things happening to those who do bad things? Give a reason for your answer.
4. What did Eliphaz say happens to those who do bad things? Explain.
5. Who do you think is speaking in verses 24 and 25? Explain your answer.

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

“Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” (Job 24:1—KJV).

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?” (Job 24:1—NRSV).

Why We Need the Whole Bible

Job did not have the complete Bible as we have it today. He did not have the Law of Moses. The Book of Job was probably written before God called Abraham to go to the Promised Land. Job probably only knew about some of the events in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. The Book of Job reveals the limits of people’s knowledge of God when their knowledge does not extend very far beyond their observations of the world around them. Job and others thought people suffered because of their sins, and suffering was a sign that someone had personally sinned against God and others. The more severe the suffering, the more serious the sin, or so they thought. However, Job’s suffering disproved their theological notions because in spite of his suffering Job declared his innocence before God and his friends. Job knew he did not deserve his suffering. When Job spoke about the widow, the orphan, and the poor who suffer unjustly, and how God prolonged the life of the powerful who afflicted them, his limited knowledge about the justice and mercy of God moved him to call out for God to hold court publicly and announce the times He would meet with people to give justice to the oppressed and punish their oppressors. Job knew that his Redeemer would come someday, but that did not prevent him from wishing that God would appoint times and announce when His court would be in session to enforce what Job knew to be right behavior. God answered Job’s questions, but we need the whole Bible to understand better God’s ways on earth.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Job 19:1-7, 23-29 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, October 12, 2014, is from Job 19:1-7, 23-29. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Job 19:1-7, 23-29

(Job 19:1) Then Job answered:

Job probably lived near the time of Abraham. None of those in Job were Israelites. In some sense, similar to Jesus, Job was also a suffering servant of God. When Satan tested Job, with permission from God, all of his family and friends turned away from him. Satan thought Job only believed in God because of his own self-interest or selfishness. God knew that Job obeyed Him because of God’s holy character and worthiness to be obeyed. As Job suffered, he answered the accusations of his “comforters” and “friends.” The verses below are Job’s reply to a speech from Bildad against Job.

(Job 19:2) “How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words?

The entire Bible provides the answer to the problems of suffering in the Book of Job. In Job’s day and for centuries thereafter, even to the time of Jesus Christ, most people believed that suffering was the result of personal sin in one’s life. According to their theology, the sin might be hidden from others, but it could not be hidden from God; therefore, suffering was God’s direct punishment for hidden sins and not only from obvious sins (or so some people believed). Bildad and Job’s other “friends” wanted Job to admit that he deserved his suffering as God’s punishment for his sins.

(Job 19:3) These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me?

Job accused Bildad and the others of constantly tormenting him by accusing him of having sinned against God and by refusing to believe Job’s claims that he was innocent and did not know why God was causing him to suffer. Because his friends would not believe he was innocent, because their beliefs about the relationships between sin and suffering dominated their thinking, they wronged Job with their continued accusations. “Ten times” is a poetic expression for “many or several times” or “repeatedly.”

(Job 19:4) And even if it is true that I have erred, my error remains with me.

Though Job had not sinned, he told Bildad that if he had sinned that it was between God and him and none of Bildad’s business to keep trying to find out the sins of Job that led to his severe suffering. At that time, no one could believe that anyone could suffer as severely as Job was suffering and be innocent. Job suffered and served God by showing that not all suffering is God’s punishment for personal sins, that one reason for suffering is Satan’s testing of us and Satan’s trying to prove God wrong or wrong about us.

(Job 19:5) If indeed you magnify yourselves against me, and make my humiliation an argument against me,

Job’s friends made themselves out to be morally superior to Job. By comparing themselves and the blessings they enjoyed to Job’s suffering, they believed they were better than Job. Judging by appearances alone, for many years they probably felt Job was better than they were because of his wealth and many other blessings. Continuing to judge by appearances, they now thought they were far superior to Job.

(Job 19:6) know then that God has put me in the wrong, and closed his net around me.

Because Job did not yet know about Satan, his testing, and the fact that God was upholding Job’s integrity by telling Satan and the assembled angels that Job did not serve Him for selfish reasons and He could prove it after Job passed the test, Job continued to declare he was innocent and God must have put him in the wrong and was making him suffer and that was why he suffered. Even though Job expressed the limits of his knowledge about God, Job did not sin against God.

(Job 19:7) Even when I cry out, ‘Violence!’ I am not answered; I call aloud, but there is no justice.

Job must have enjoyed a close personal relationship with God because of his faith and the sacrifices he made to God in behalf of his family (Job 1:1-5). God said of Job, “There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8). Similar to Abraham, before God gave the law to Moses Job lived by faith in God. Therefore, Job could not understand why suddenly he could call out to God “Violence!” and God would not reply to him or give him the justice he sought because of his innocence.

(Job 19:23) “O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book!

In some sense, verses 23 and 24 are transitional. Job wanted to write his complaint in a book and record all that had happened to him: the unjust and unloving accusations of Job’s family and friends, Job’s replies to them, and his prayers to God. God answered his prayers by inspiring Job to proclaim what may have been additional or a new understanding about his Redeemer and by later fully explaining everything to Job and by having the Book of Job written about him as Job wanted and prayed would happen.

(Job 19:24) O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever!

Job wanted his book to be preserved forever; therefore, he prayed that it would be cut into a rock and then lead melted and poured into the engraved words so that his book could be read forever. God had a better idea in His answer to Job’s prayers. God had the Book of Job written and the writing inspired by His Spirit. And God placed the Book of Job in the Bible, and the Book of Job is still read around the world in many different languages. God did more for Job than Job could ever imagine when he prayed to God. If God had given Job exactly what he asked for, people would have had to travel long distances to read his book; now, his book can be easily read by millions of people.

(Job 19:25) For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;

After Adam and Eve sinned, God promised to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15). Someday, the head of Satan, who tested Job, will be crushed by the Redeemer. Job had probably heard about and knew something about the Redeemer that God had promised to send someday, but God’s Spirit revealed to him even more. In answer to Job’s prayer for justice, for a vindicator to take his side, God inspired Job to proclaim and write in a book more good news about the Redeemer who would come; and this even before God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses. Notice: Job said his Redeemer lived, but his Redeemer was not yet standing on the earth. We know from the New Testament that God sent His Son, the Redeemer, from heaven to earth where Jesus walked among us as our Lord and Savior and Redeemer.

(Job 19:26) and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God,

Job proclaimed that because his Redeemer lived that after he died and his flesh had decayed and returned to dust that at some point in the future God would give him flesh once again and he would see God in his own flesh. Job’s prophetic words could only be fulfilled by the resurrection of the dead, and when Jesus Christ the Redeemer came He rose from the dead and made the resurrection of the dead possible for all who believe in Him. Job was saved by his faith that his Redeemer would come someday as God had promised.

(Job 19:27) whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

Job prophesied that he would see God and God would be on his side. From the New Testament, we know that the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is our Advocate and the Son of God; furthermore, Jesus Christ will stand at our side before God, the Judge and King of the universe and our Judge will declare that we are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our behalf. With such a revelation and vision, no wonder Job exclaimed “My heart faints within me!”

(Job 19:28) If you say, ‘How we will persecute him!’ and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him’;

After Job proclaimed his prophetic vision, that his Redeemer would save him, he anticipated that his former friends would seek to persecute him. Job rightly anticipated this, and when Jesus the Redeemer came, Jesus declared, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). Job told them that the root cause of his suffering was not sin in his life and his Redeemer would prove that he was right and declare his innocence. We learn from the Book of Job that God vindicated Job as his Redeemer, explained things to Job, and restored Job losses. God affirmed the reality of Job’s faith and obedience to Him.

(Job 19:29) be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, so that you may know there is a judgment.”

Job warned his false comforters that if they persisted in persecuting him and in refusing to believe what he foretold about the Redeemer that God promised to send that they would suffer the judgment of God. Indeed, they did suffer God’s judgment at the end of Job’s test; then they repented and Job prayed for them (Job 42:7-9).

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why was Job suffering?
2. Did Job’s friends help him as he suffered? Explain your answer.
3. What did Job’s friends think of themselves?
4. What did Job want done with his words?
5. Where did Job place his faith for his future?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Job 19:1-7, 23-29
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

When Friends Forsake You

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26—KJV).

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26—NRSV).

As Job’s suffering intensified, his family and friends forsook him; however, a few “friends” came to make his suffering worse. They misused Job’s misfortune to make themselves look better, and they accused him of hiding the most heinous sins. Whenever Job tried to defend himself, they invented more falsehoods to use against him. Therefore, Job took the only action left a godly man. He did what Joseph Scriven immortalized in “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”: “Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!” In answer, the Holy Spirit inspired Job to ask that his words be inscribed in a book, which became the Book of Job. Then, Job proclaimed the truth that God had revealed to him: he knew that his Redeemer lived, even as he spoke, and His Redeemer would stand on the earth someday. He proclaimed that someday, after he had died and his skin had been destroyed, that he would rise again and in his flesh he would see God. A mark of the patience of Job was his willingness to wait and bear the falsehoods of his friends until after he died and his Redeemer had raised him from the dead and proved him right. But Job did not need to wait until after Jesus came to earth to vindicate him. God spoke to both Job and his friends. God condemned and punished Job’s friends for their falsehoods, declaring, “You have not spoken to me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7).


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, October 5, 2014, is from  Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19

(Habakkuk 2:1) I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Very little is known about the prophet Habakkuk. Some scholars believe he might have been a contemporary of Jeremiah. His message and experience can apply to any time and place when uncertainties prevail in the world regarding sickness and health, economic uncertainty and personal safety, war and peace. The believer can go to God in prayer as the prophet Habakkuk did to seek the reason for their troubles and affirm their faith in God in spite of their dire and uncertain circumstances.

(Habakkuk 2:2) Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.

God can reveal His answer personally as He did to Habakkuk; however, God will often send a messenger with His answer for many people, as God did through Habakkuk. God told Habakkuk to write His answer so large on a tablet that someone running past, perhaps fleeing from an enemy, could read it without pausing to stop. The answer God gave Habakkuk has become part of our Bible as part of God’s answer in times of trouble.

(Habakkuk 2:3) For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

The end could apply to the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant, or to the end of Jerusalem in the time of the Babylonians or later to the time when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, or to the time before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ or to some other end of a culture or society or country. Sometimes we must wait for God to fulfill His promises, and we are told to wait because He surely will fulfill them. We need to take God’s perspective and from God’s perspective He will not delay.

(Habakkuk 2:4) Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

All this-worldly accomplishments and endeavors, all injustices and times of oppression will end someday. The proud who survey the godless works of their hands in rebellion against God will come to an end according to God’s perfect timing. Their spirit is one of selfishness and self-promotion. The righteous will live by their faith in God that leads them to obey God no matter the possible consequences and suffering to themselves personally. The righteousness of the faithful results from God’s grace and their trust in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.

(Habakkuk 2:5) Moreover, wealth is treacherous; the arrogant do not endure. They open their throats wide as Sheol; like Death they never have enough. They gather all nations for themselves, and collect all peoples as their own.

The love of money, the desire to acquire more and more money or property or power over others is deceiving and treacherous to the self-centered and selfish; and such people can deceive or entrap the innocent believer who will cry out to God for justice and freedom. The godless wealthy never have enough of the things of this world to satisfy them, and they grasp for more and more of those things that will never satisfy. The most wealthy and powerful godless people will unite in an effort to bring all the nations and people of the earth under their power so they can enslave them and increase their wealth, power, and security; such was the case with the Babylonians, the Romans, some political movements, and will be the case before Jesus Christ comes again.

(Habakkuk 3:17) Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls,

Habakkuk recorded the right faith response to God when world history or personal problems seem to be the very worst. Though in abject poverty because of what had happened around him and to him when God had to punish Judah for their idolatry, Habakkuk resolved to keep believing in God and trusting God as He revealed himself in the sacred writings Habakkuk knew, in the history of Israel, and in the comfort God gave him personally.

(Habakkuk 3:18) yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will exult in the God of my salvation.

No matter how tough the times, Habakkuk resolved not only to keep believing in the true God of the universe, he would do more! He would rejoice in God and exult in the fact that God was his Savior and would be his salvation – if not in his personal lifetime on earth, then after his death, because he trusted in God who had promised to send the Redeemer Messiah into the world. Habakkuk knew the Messiah would come someday, and He trusted in God and His promises no matter what was happening around him.

(Habakkuk 3:19) GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights. To the leader: with stringed instruments.

Rather than wallow in hopeless despair over his circumstances, because Habakkuk believed in the LORD, God gave Habakkuk strength beyond what he needed. God gave Habakkuk the spiritual strength to soar above his problems and spend time praising God instead of remaining in the dark valley where he found himself. He knew the words of the psalmist, who before him knew what Habakkuk had come to believe: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want” (see Psalm 23). These last verses of Habakkuk could be sung, and sung by a congregation to memorize in preparation for troubled times.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why do you think God wanted Habakkuk to write and make plain the vision He gave him?
2. When did God say the vision would be fulfilled?
3. What can be the personal experience of someone who is wealthy who is also proud and arrogant?
4. How does a righteous person live? Describe what that means to you.
5. What did Habakkuk say he would do if he became poor and totally unable to find food to eat because life had gotten so bad where he was?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19
An Educational and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

How to Survive the Worst of Times

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18—KJV).

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will exult in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18—NRSV).

We know little about the prophet Habakkuk, but we can learn from his horrifying experiences and observations how to survive during the worst of times. When Habakkuk looked around Judah and Jerusalem, he saw violence and destruction produced by the immoral nation. The King of Judah and his political allies were wicked and lawless, and the religious leaders supported their lawlessness; therefore, Habakkuk complained to God, “So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous—therefore judgment comes forth perverted” (Habakkuk 1:4). God answered that He would give justice to His people. He would justly punish the corrupt leaders of Judah, end the priests’ promotion of godless idolatry and stop the violence by sending the Babylonians to punish Judah. Then Habakkuk complained that the wicked and violent Babylonians were more wicked than God’s people; so how could God act justly and use such evil people to punish the Judeans. God replied that He would punish the Babylonians later for their injustices: “because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth” (Habakkuk 2:8). Since Habakkuk had experienced unjust suffering under the wicked King of Judah and understood that the times could only get worse under the wicked Babylonians, he resolved to “wait quietly for the day of calamity to come upon the people [the Babylonians] who attack us ” (Habakkuk 3:16). In spite of economic deprivations and the coming doom, Habakkuk chose to keep living by faith in God and God’s faithfulness. Even though he had no food and no prospect of finding food, Habakkuk resolved to keep rejoicing in the LORD who would save him and give him endurance.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Jeremiah 33:1-11 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, September 28, 2014, is from  Jeremiah 33:1-11. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is usually posted below each Saturday before the lesson is scheduled to be taught. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Jeremiah 33:1-11

(Jeremiah 33:1) The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard:

Jeremiah received words of consolation and hope for himself and the kingdom even while wicked King Zedekiah had him in the palace prison. Jeremiah had preached repentance to the king, the priests, the prophets, and the people for almost 40 years, and if they had turned back to God they could have avoided suffering the justice of God, death, and exile in Babylon.

(Jeremiah 33:2) Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it–the LORD is his name:

The Israelites had turned from the true God (Yahweh) to Baal and Molech and other idols – even sacrificing their own children by throwing them into a fire and burning incense to false gods from their rooftops. Jeremiah, therefore, had to tell them the name, nature, and character of the true God that he represented and spoke for as a prophet of Yahweh. Yahweh had created, formed, and established the earth: Yahweh was the one and only all-powerful and holy God – that Moses met on the mountain.

(Jeremiah 33:3) Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Yahweh gave this promise primarily to Jeremiah and to those who truly serve God. If the wicked call to God, their first words must express sorrowful repentance and a sincere desire to return to God. God will not reveal great and hidden things to the wicked, but God will reveal great and hidden things to those who love and serve God (Yahweh).

(Jeremiah 33:4) For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege ramps and before the sword:

The Judeans themselves began the destruction of Jerusalem in order to strengthen the defenses of the city’s walls. Of course, their manmade defenses could not stop them from suffering the discipline of God through the army of Nebuchadnezzar (who was unknowingly in the service of God and who was successful militarily because God was using him as a mere tool to bring corrective discipline upon His people).

(Jeremiah 33:5) The Chaldeans are coming in to fight and to fill them with the dead bodies of those whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their wickedness.

“Chaldeans” was another name for “Babylonians.” Because of the wickedness of those in Judah and Jerusalem, God would no longer look upon them with favor. They had been wicked for so long in spite of all God’s peaceful efforts through His prophets to lead them to repent that God expressed His justifiable anger as a holy God in judgment upon them. Through the army of the Chaldeans, God would strike them down and kill them; perhaps as some were dying they returned to God in repentance and true faith, to the God of steadfast love and mercy. Others may have repented and returned to God during their long march into exile in Babylon or while they suffered in Babylon.

(Jeremiah 33:6) I am going to bring it recovery and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

After God had punished them, He would restore them. His punishment was disciplinary and reveals that God is just and merciful, not desiring that any should perish: “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God would heal the people in exile both physically and spiritually. They would learn to worship God even in Babylon and without their temple. They would find abundance, prosperity, and security in Babylon when they worshiped the true God. They would return to Jerusalem, rebuild it, and prosper once again as God provided for them after the defeat of the Babylonians.

(Jeremiah 33:7) I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.

Throughout the Book of Jeremiah, God reaffirmed His love for both the northern and the southern kingdoms, for the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. For a time they prospered in spite of their rebellion against God and their idolatry until God had to punish them, because if He had not punished them His patience would have ceased to be a virtue and He would have been unjust. Because Yahweh is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness, God promised to rebuild them as a kingdom, and God would make them prosper and they would recognize the fact that all of their blessings came from God and God alone.

(Jeremiah 33:8) I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.

The Israelites and Judeans identified their material prosperity with the blessings of God. As long as they prospered materially, they believed God was blessing them and they ignored Jeremiah’s preaching and the law of God. They sinned as long as they prospered. After God punished them by touching them materially, God promised to heal and cleanse them morally and spiritually as well as forgive them after their rebellion had made it necessary for him to punish them severely.

(Jeremiah 33:9) And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

After their judgment and their return to obedience, the people would make Jerusalem a joy to themselves and a joy to God once again. All the nations of the earth would see the work of God among His people in the new Kingdom of Israel and they would reverence or fear the true God because of His good work of restoration among His people. This happened in a small measure after their return from exile in Babylon, and will happen fully when the Messiah returns.

(Jeremiah 33:10) Thus says the LORD: In this place of which you say, “It is a waste without human beings or animals,” in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without inhabitants, human or animal, there shall once more be heard

While still a prisoner and even before the Chaldeans breached the walls of the city and destroyed it, Jeremiah described the consequences of the people’s rebellion against God: the city “is a waste.” Yet, after the people were carried far away into exile, they would return and repopulate the city after seventy years of exile. No animals were heard in the city because the people had eaten all of them while under siege, but animals and people would return after God corrected His people with the appropriate discipline.

(Jeremiah 33:11) the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD: “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.

When Ezra, Nehemiah, and others rebuilt the city, the city walls, and the temple, mirth and gladness returned to the city. People felt confident to marry and raise children in the city and to sing and give thanks to God. Only God could have restored the fortunes of His people, and the very existence of Israel as a people who worship Yahweh is a good reason to believe in God. Once again, Jeremiah’s words of praise and thanksgiving remind us of the Psalms, and the fact that Jeremiah was very familiar with the Book of Psalms (which must have brought him great comfort when he was persecuted).

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. While Jeremiah remained in prison, how did God continue to encourage him?

2. How does God encourage you when you face troubles and you do not know the future?

3. Why did God hide His face from the people in Jerusalem? Do you think He will do the same thing today in cities around the world for the same reason?

4. In spite of their wickedness, what did God say He would do with the people?

5. Read Jeremiah 33:11 again. The New Testament teaches that the Church is the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7, Revelation 21:9, and Revelation 22:17). Compare what you have read to Christian worship today. What parts of Jeremiah 33:11 do you enjoy in a service of worship? What parts would you like to do more when you worship God? What does Jeremiah 33:11 teach you about how you can worship God every day even by yourself? What promise did God give Jeremiah for the people and how does it compare to some of the promises of Jesus to you?

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Jeremiah 33:1-11
A Fun and Printable Handout using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

When God Refuses to Hear Prayers

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3—KJV).

“Call upon me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3—NRSV).

After political and religious leaders falsely accused Jeremiah of treason, God promised to hear Jeremiah’s prayers for himself as he languished in prison. Jeremiah needed the reassurance of God’s steadfast loving presence before Jerusalem fell as Jeremiah had warned when he called the Judeans to turn from their evil ways. God still promises to hear the prayers of His faithful followers. However, God refused to answer Jeremiah’s prayers for Jerusalem and told him not to pray for those who would soon die or be led captive into Babylonian exile. God warned Jeremiah, “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14). God gave Jeremiah this reason: “I have hidden my face from this city because of all their wickedness” (Jeremiah 33:5). During Jeremiah’s 40 years of ministry, God gave the people a clear choice: listen to the Word of God, repent and obey God, or listen to the promises of false prophets and priests and follow your evil political leaders instead of God. Even though God spoke through Jeremiah and warned them for decades, the people chose to ignore God; therefore, God chose to ignore them when finally He had to punish them for their wickedness. God saved Jeremiah from prison when the city was conquered, and the king of Babylon freed him to go wherever he wanted. However, the wicked political and religious leaders who survived mistreated Jeremiah, enslaved him, and forced him to flee to Egypt with them.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

Posted in Bible | Comments Off