Relevant Passages: 1 Samuel 17, 2 Samuel 11 (David), 1 Kings 18 (Elijah), 2 Kings 18-19 (Hez.), Esther 3, Nehemiah 2
Leading Question: What kind of people does the Lord use to do his work in the great conflict between good and evil?
In this week’s lesson, the official study guide surveys a remarkably diverse cluster of people who appear in Scripture as illustrations of God’s people on stage, so to speak: David, with a great victory over Goliath, but a great defeat in connection with Bathsheba; Elijah, with a passionate bid to win back the hearts of the people on Carmel; Hezekiah, with bold defiance against Sennacherib; Esther, who rescued her people from certain destruction; and Nehemiah, who came back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of a city that had been rubble for some 140 years. He made it happen in just 52 days.
These, now, are the characters with all their strengths and weaknesses. It would be profitable to compare each with reference to these traits:
Integrity – Fearlessness – Gentleness – Consistency – Courage – Tenacity
David – first with Goliath, then with Bathsheba
Elijah – before, during, and after Mt. Carmel
Esther – under Mordecai, in the king’s house
Hezekiah – against the Assyrians, in dialogue with the Babylonians
Is there any common thread in the experiences of these people?
Is it always clear in the text whether or not they were being faithful?
Are there any examples of faithfulness against the norms of their day that might be seen differently against the norms of our day when we judge everything by the life and teachings of Jesus?