Archive for the ‘worship’ tag
The text for this lesson is Exodus 40.
- In the tabernacle, God dwelled with His people, cleansing them and making them holy through the blood of sacrifices. In Christ, God now dwells among us, cleansing us and making us holy through Jesus’ blood, shed for us on the cross.
- Law: My sin makes me unholy and separates me from God; I am unworthy to stand in His presence.
- Gospel: God cleanses me, makes me holy, and dwells in me through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.
- If you were given the task of designing a church and money were no object, what would you include in your plans? How would you convey God’s presence and holiness through the architecture and furnishings?
- In Exodus 40, God gives Moses a design for His house during the Israelites’ time in the wilderness. Read Exodus 40:1–8. Note that verses 1–5 are concerned with the arrangement of the inside of the tabernacle, and verses 6–8 are concerned with how the area around the tabernacle is arranged. What characteristics of God are emphasized in the design of the tabernacle? What items in and around the tabernacle would have had symbolic value, and why?
- Read Exodus 40:9–15. Why does God require that everything in the tabernacle be anointed? Why are Aaron and his sons anointed? What is to be “most holy,” and why?
- Read Exodus 40:16–33. What is the refrain, repeated eight times in these verses? Why this emphasis?
- Read Exodus 40:34–38. Why would God choose to reveal Himself as a cloud in the desert? Read Exodus 19:9 and 16–20. How did the people react to God’s presence? Why was Moses unable to enter the tent of meeting after the cloud settled on it? What does this emphasize about our relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ?
- Keep in mind all the symbolism of the tabernacle and the emphasis that God’s design for His dwelling place puts on the separation between the holy and the unholy. Read Mark 15:33–34. Why would Jesus have cried out those words? Read Mark 15:37–38. The curtain in the temple is the equivalent of the screen in the tabernacle. What does its tearing symbolize?
- The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has forever changed the relationship between God and His people. We are no longer separated. Where does God meet with His people today?
- What furnishings in the church best represent the truth that we are no longer separated from God? How do we reflect this in the way that we design our churches?
The text for this lesson is Mark 12:41–44.
- Just as the widow gave all she had to God, trusting Him to provide and care for her, so Jesus gave His all for us, who fail to trust in God for all things.
- Law: God demands that I love Him with all my heart, all my soul, and all my might and that I be willing to hand over to Him all that I am and have.
- Gospel: Christ loves me with all His heart, all His soul, and all His might, and willingly gave up His life and poured out His blood for me to ransom me and make me His own.
- How do you view the offering during the Divine Service? Is it an inconvenience? Do you feel guilty that you don’t give enough or bothered that you pay more than you can afford? What is the theological basis for the collection?
- Whom does Jesus first see putting money into the offering box? Does Jesus judge them? Is what they have done wrong?
- What is the real criticism of these rich people? What is the commandment God is using to judge them? Why is money such a pivotal thing, and what does the faith of the widow really tell us about life priorities?
- Even while Jesus makes this point of contrast between the widow and these rich people, are they fundamentally different? Why or why not? We think of this story as emphasizing the right response that the faithful person should show toward God. But what does this story tell us about God’s grace and mercy?
- So far, we have been speaking primarily of earthly wealth and goods, and how God provides for all of these things. But what other wealth and goods does God provide through His Son, Jesus Christ? See Ephesians 1 and 2, especially 1:7–10 and 2:4–10. What are the riches of God?
- What is the Offertory in the Divine Service and what purpose does it serve?
- How do we really avoid trusting in money and instead put our trust in God? Can we be sure that God will always provide for our physical needs?
- What is the right response of faith when it comes to our money? How do we know what the “proper” amount is to give? How do we do it cheerfully and with a right heart?
The text for this lesson is 1 Kings 5:1–6:38.
- Though He was hidden, God resided within the Old Testament temple; Jesus is the unveiled, human Most Holy Place and is truly accessible to all, enfolding believers in the arms of His Word and Sacraments.
- Law: In my sin, I want to keep God at a distance; I don’t want Him to see who I really am.
- Gospel: God, in His love, draws me near to Him; in Jesus, He tabernacles (dwells) among all believers through Word and Sacrament.
David desired to build a “house of cedar” for God, to replace the tent in which his Lord had been residing (2 Samuel 7:1–29). But the Lord declared it would be Solomon who would build such a house. Work on the temple was begun 480 years after Israel left Egypt, around 967 BC (1 Kings 6:1), and was completed seven years later (1 Kings 6:38). It consisted of two main parts: the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) and the Holy Place. It was a sight so dazzlingly beautiful that it was deemed an “exalted house” for the King of kings (1 Kings8:13). Yet it was only temporary. The Babylonians bulldozed it in 587 BC.
The text for this lesson is 2 Kings 12:1–16.
- Because the temple was the place of God’s faithful dealings with His people, Joash, his workers, and their donors dealt faithfully in repairing it.
- Law: We often allow God’s house and worship to be a low priority in our lives.
- Gospel: Being with His people by Word and Sacrament is always God’s highest priority.
- Law: Too often we fail to bring God the first and best of our treasure—sometimes because we disagree with how it is being used.
- Gospel: God did not withhold His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us.
Lesson 5 described the building of the Lord’s temple (1 Kings 5–6). There He dwelled in the midst of Israel to hear prayers, receive sacrifices, and bless His people. By the time of Joash, the temple had fallen into a state of disrepair on account of aging, neglect, and abuse.
Joash (also known as Jehoash) ascended the throne of Judah at the age of seven and reigned forty years (2 Kings 11:21–2:1). Prior to this, the wicked queen mother Athaliah sought to wipe out all of King David’s lineage (the Messianic line) so that she could control the throne, but the Lord rescued Joash from her hand (2 Kings 11:1–3). The godly high priest Jehoiada anointed Joash and secured the throne for him.
Joash reigned well as long as his counselor Jehoiada lived, but later the king backslid into idolatry (2 Chronicles 24:15–27). Joash’s life reminds us to live each day in repentant trust in the grace which God delivers in His Word and Sacrament, knowing that we can lose our salvation by leaving the church or living in persistent, intentional sin (Hebrews 10:23–27).
The text for this lesson is 1 Kings 5:1–6:28.
- The temple was a magnificent structure that symbolized God’s even more magnificent dwelling with His people: Christ Jesus.
- Law: The temple was a constant reminder of God’s presence with Israel, but we often forget that God is with us.
- Gospel: In Holy Communion, Christ is with us personally in His body and blood.
- Law: We take for granted that God is with us when we avoid coming to His house.
- Gospel: Each time His Word speaks to us and His Sacraments are given to us, He forgives us for our indifference.
Solomon succeeded David as king of Israel (1 Kings 1:1–2:46) and continued the Messianic line (Matthew 1:6–7). He asked for and received a special gift of wisdom from God and Israel prospered in unprecedented ways (1 Kings 3:1–4:34). Solomon’s glory provided a point of comparison for Jesus’ teaching on God’s generous provision for His creatures, which offers Christians a life without anxiety (Matthew 6:25–34). Solomon’s proverbial wisdom set the stage for “something greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42), namely, Jesus, “whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Though Solomon’s reign was initially characterized by peace and prosperity, his personal sins later cast a dark cloud over his reign. His decadence and intermarriages with pagans brought outright idolatry into Israel and invoked God’s anger and judgment (1 Kings 11:1-43).