Texts for this Lesson: 1 Cor. 10:1–13, Gen. 2:24, 1 Cor. 13:4–8, 1 Sam. 1:27, Psalm 71, 1 Cor. 15:24–26.
Memory Text: “Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway” (Psalm 85:13, NKJV).
Opening Question: How does one deal constructively with change?
The lesson this week focuses on change, something that is endemic to life. It asks us to think about how we deal with change in helpful and constructive ways. Certainly, as temporal beings who are on a journey from a beginning point to and ending point, we experience change. Some changes turn out to be very good for us while others end up being very detrimental. Some changes come as a result of our own choices but other changes come due to the activities, the actions and decisions of others. This second category is often very challenging for us because we do not get a choice in the outcomes. And sometimes the events or consequences that precipitate into our lives come from the negligence or foolishness of others that then leave us with consequences that are permanent and unchangeable. An accident due to someone’s drunk driving is a case that comes to mind. Sometimes change comes suddenly and unexpectedly; other times, change comes deliberately and slowly. Whatever the case, we are faced with the challenge of dealing with change constructively.
Those of us who live in the West expect change as endemic to life. It might be helpful to bring to mind that there are some cultures that abjure change. Their ambition is to see and experience no change at all from generation to generation. Grandchildren should live the same way as their grandparents did with society making most of their decisions for them. These societies are sometimes called “background” societies for it is the “background” that sets the parameters of life. Societies that allow lots of room for choice are known as “foreground” societies. In foreground societies, there is so much choice available and expected that life can become very confusing.
In the context of families, we can think of a number of significant changes that will come during the course of a lifetime: early childhood development, schooling, a life-work, marriage, having children, retirement, dealing with old age, the final death and the disposition of our possessions. It is a truth of life that all of these items will have to be negotiated in every human life in one way or another.
At this point, it would be well to read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. According to the Apostle Paul, the past record of the ancient children of Israel is written down for our admonition and instruction. What ideas or reflections come to mind having read this and thought about it?
- How can we go about preparing ourselves for the changes we know will come to us?
- Can you think of some examples in the Bible of people who made good choices? Can you think of some that made poor ones?
- What advice would you give to those who are thinking about getting married?
- What might be said to those who are contemplating having children? Certainly, from a biblical perspective, having children is a good thing.
- And what might be said for those who are approaching what would be called old age? Are there some preparations that should be made? And are there some decisions that should be made that would make old age easier to experience? Psalm 71 might be useful here.
- Though we never like to think of it, what preparations should be made in case death comes? It is an assured fact that preparing for the eventuality of death will not hasten it. And what situation do we leave others in if we make no preparations for death?