LESSON 7 (Ezekiel Ch. 25-48)
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 two different volunteers to read aloud the following two different scriptures:
Have Volunteer 1 read the following: Ezekiel 34: 1-6, 11-16
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: In today's readings the prophet Ezekiel tells us God is the good shepherd who will gather the people of Israel, now scattered by Exile. God undoes the unfaithful shepherding of kings and leaders of old whose work only resulted in the scattering of the sheep. Ezekiel imagines the spirit of God giving new life to the people of God as they make their way back to Jerusalem. God will restore and renew what was broken and lost. The first reading comes from Ezekiel the 34th chapter...
The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Have Volunteer 2 read the following: Ezekiel 43:1-12
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts These verses are part of a larger section describing a restored Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s vision reverses what happened in chapter 10, where now the presence of God makes its way back to Jerusalem. God will restore and renew what was broken and lost.
Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. 7 He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death. 8 When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger. 9 Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings, and I will live among them forever.
10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection, 11 and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. 12 “This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple.
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 “Haggai, Zechariah, Joel, and Malachi”
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 Haggai, Zechariah, Joel, and Malachi.
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.