Into the Lesson
Have the following question displayed before students arrive: “Can God use non-Christian or ungodly people to accomplish His purpose? Give examples.” Have small groups of three to five and discuss the question. Then ask groups to share their conclusions and illustrations with the whole class.
Next, make the transition to Bible study by saying, “Yes, God can use ungodly people to accomplish His purpose. We’ll find another exam-* of God’s sovereignty in this regard in today’s Lesson from Israel’s history.”
Into the Word
Begin with a brief lecture titled “The Chronicles Factor,” using the Lesson Background. Have on display a picture of Solomon’s temple while you speak.
Next, use three or more groups of four to five people each to do the following tasks.
Group #1: Decree Ordained: God’s Working-2 Chronicles 36:22. Read today’s printed text and focus on your assigned verse. Prepare and de-liver to the class a brief lecture with outline. A possible outline is
1. Babylon and Persia
II. Cyrus’s Attitude
HI. The Lord’s Will
IV. Isaiah’s Prophecy
Group #2: Decree Ordained: Cyrus’s Words-2 Chronicles 36:23. Read today’s printed text and focus on your assigned verse. Prepare and de-liver to the class a brief lecture with outline. A possible outline is
I.Cyrus: Instrument of God
Group #3: Decree Obeyed—Ezra 1:5-7. Read today’s printed text and focus on your assigned verses. Prepare and deliver to the class a brief lecture with outline. A possible outline is
I.Those Who Went
II.Neighbors Who Helped
III. Cyrus, Who Helped
In addition to the written assignments above, give each group the following materials: a poster board with the group headings (but not the possible outlines) already written, a marker, and photocopy of the lesson commentary on the verses assigned. Explain that their combined efforts will provide a comprehensive outline and study of today’s text.
Each group will select two people to make the presentation to the class. One will deliver a brief lecture on the assigned passage and another per-son will write the outline for all to see as the re-port is being delivered.
After each group reports, offer the following for discussion: (1) The doctrine of God’s grace is often thought of as a New Testament doctrine. However, God’s grace is often demonstrated in the Old Testament too. How do you see God’s grace powerfully at work in this piece of history?(You may need also to ask for a definition of grace.) (2) The terms return and restoration are key concepts in this Old Testament picture of God’s grace. How are those terms appropriate for describing people’s response to the gospel message today?
After discussion, say, “We can personalize the concepts of return and restoration in our own testimonies.” Give each student an index card and ask him or her to write “My Journey” at the top. Ask each student to jot notes about his or her life’s spiritual journey, including them in a personal testimony.
Testimonies should include the concepts of re-turn and restoration. Students who have accepted Jesus as Savior should include that in the testimony. Those who haven’t can still make notes about their heart’s movement toward or away from Him. Ask two volunteers to share their testimonies. Then ask the class as a whole, “How will you share your testimony this week?”