LESSON 6 (Obadiah, Ezekiel Ch. 1-24)
FLC SMALL GROUP
GATHER (5 min)
Thank everyone for coming. Introduce any new people that may be joining for the first time.
CHECK-IN (10 min)
Go around the room and invite participants share a high and/or low this week in their family.
READ SCRIPTURE (10 min)
Ask three different volunteers to read aloud the following three different scriptures:
Have Volunteer 1 read the following: Ezekiel 3:16-21
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: Ezekiel lived in the final years of the Temple and then in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel is a prophetic book organized around signs and visions. These visions can be confusing and difficult to follow, though the message that Ezekiel seeks to make through them is fairly straight forward. The first chapters offer visions of judgement against Israel. The second half of Ezekiel offers words of promise to whose in exile.
16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
Have Volunteer 2 read the following: Ezekiel 10:15-22
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: In the midst of a vision, Ezekiel conveys this idea: The temple was meant to be a sign and location for the presence of God. God’s gracious presence was affirmed by the existence of the Temple. Things have gotten so bad in Jerusalem, that God has left the temple. Israel is a empty shell. It is a haunting image, akin to that time before the prophet Samuel when “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.”
15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not leave their side. 17 When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them.
18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. 21 Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like human hands. 22 Their faces had the same appearance as those I had seen by the Kebar River. Each one went straight ahead.
Have Volunteer 2 read the following: Ezekiel 11:14-21
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: This passage takes up from Ezekiel 10:14-22 where Ezekiel affirms that the gracious presence of God is with the exiles in Babylon. There is an affirmation in the seeming abandonment of Jerusalem. God has the creative ability to be present beyond our confines, and that even in the disaster that is the Babylonian exile, God is present and at work in a gracious way.
14 The word of the Lord came to me: 15 “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’ 16 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ 17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’
18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
OPTIONAL: WATCH SERMON ON YOUTUBE OR LISTEN TO SERMON PODCAST (12 min)
You may want to watch the previous week’s sermon together on the YouTube app of your TV or listen to the audio podcast on your phone available on FLC’s website.
REFLECT ON THE PREVIOUS WEEK (40-60 min)
Have a conversation with your group about what you just read, anything from the past week’s sermon that grabbed any group members’ attention, or about anything from the week’s reading. Questions to consider…
OPTIONAL: WATCH DVD previewing next week “Ezekiel Ch. 25-48” (11 min)
To get the most out of next week’s sermon and discussion, and for those who chose to do the nightly reading for the coming week, you may watch the video of Bible teacher John Walton explaining the themes and relevance of Obadiah and Ezekiel Ch. 25-48.
CLOSE (5 min)
Thank your participants for coming. Remind them of the next meeting time and make plans for who will be responsible for snacks/kids/etc.