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Bible Study: Jesus, our redemption from idolatry

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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 Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 12–14

Discussion Questions:

— What reasons do we have to fear God over man?

— What reasons do we have to trust God’s wisdom over our own?

— How will you help others trust Jesus by your life, words and actions? How will you address your doubt and disobedience?

Food for Thought:

God’s chosen people the Israelites had a habit of worshiping idols, though God had explicitly told them not to. Even Solomon, the wisest king ever by the gift of God, succumbed to foolishness and worshiped idols, leading his people to do the same.

God’s initial discipline and judgment for this rebellion was a divided kingdom, but neither kingdom really learned their lesson, and eventually they were conquered and led into exile. But until that time, both kingdoms fell under the leadership of mostly bad kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Right at the start of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, God’s appointed king Jeroboam did evil in the sight of the Lord and immediately set the trajectory of a steep decline for his kingdom. He sought to use idolatry as a means to secure unity for his newly formed nation. He had received this kingdom from the hand of the Lord and then turned around to defy that same Lord with places and images set up to compete with the true worship of the one true God, his benefactor. And soon, Jeroboam and his family would pay the price for their rebellion with their lives.

The Lord knows that people following idols is hurtful not only to Him as the Creator but also to all His image-bearers. Idolatry is evil, a violation against God’s good instructions; but it is also foolish, senseless and purposeless. When we follow idols we exert energy toward something that will only turn to ashes, falling through our fingers like dust. Idolatry also leads us to misperceive God’s created world, ourselves and our role in it. This twisting of God’s good creation and order has dire and deadly consequences for us, others and the whole world.

Therefore the Lord cannot abide our rebellion. Too much is at stake, both His glory and our well-being. God, who is slow to anger and abounding in love (Exodus 34:6), does all He will to draw us back to Himself. To ancient Israel and Judah, He sent prophets and made His law and goodness known. To us, He has sent Jesus because He desires that no one be lost in eternity.

Jesus’ work fulfills God’s covenant to His people to multiply them, to redeem them, to save a remnant and to call all nations to Himself. God always keeps His promises.

The Gospel Project

The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/gospelproject.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool or ordered at Lifeway Christian Stores.

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