NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ezekiel 16:20-21, 23:36-39; Psalm 139:13-16
- What do you consider to be your most valuable possession? What makes it valuable?
- How does sin devalue human life?
Food for thought:
Some objects in our homes get more attention than other objects of the exact same kind. Some may have historic or sentimental significance. They may have been used by a relative or famous person. The item might be something you wore during a life-changing event. Other items may have value simply because of their rarity. Regardless of why, we secure these items, prize them and regularly clean them.
In Ezekiel’s day, communities around Israel didn’t always place a high value on children. Ezekiel 16 is an extended parable comparing Jerusalem to an adulterous woman. Some children were abandoned to die of exposure. Some children were sacrificed in idol worship. In Ezekiel’s parable, the adulterous woman lost respect for herself long before she lost respect for other human life.
In chapter 23, Ezekiel used graphic language to portray the capital cities of Samaria and Judah as two sisters named Oholah and Oholibah. Both names come for the Hebrew word for “tent.” In Ezekiel 23:37, God considers the children of Oholah and Oholibah (Israel and Judah) His children. From God’s perspective, human life has both inherent value and sentimental value. The psalmist declared that we are “remarkably and wondrously made” (Psalm 139:14). That’s inherent value. Ezekiel emphasized that we are God’s possession and should be treated as such.
The devaluing of human life is such an important issue to God that He demanded His prophet confront His people about it. Psalm 139 was written by David, hundreds of years before Ezekiel prophesied to the exiles. God had made it clear in His Word how He regarded human life. The people of Ezekiel’s day couldn’t pretend to be ignorant of it, nor can we. Scripture clearly teaches that life begins at conception. Jeremiah 1:5 makes the same point. Through both prophecy and poetry, God shows us that life is sacred to Him and worth fighting for. We must lovingly but firmly confront every attitude that devalues human life, knowing that sin is at the root of that devaluing.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.