Into the Lesson
Display the word WORSHIP vertically on the board. As class begins ask, “What are the components of Our worship? Use the letters of the word to develop your list.” Allow learners to ex-press their own ideas. but you can expect such responses as willingness, orderliness, reverence, relationship, songs, submission, heart, head, honesty, integrity, prayer, praise. (A similar activity is included in the student book.)
Transition to a study of the text by saying, “In Isaiah 1:1-10, Isaiah and God are describing the defective practice of worship seen in the land. As we study, contrast our list with what is found there. How many `opposites’ do we see?”
Into the Word
Prepare the following 12 “quotes” of had attitudes on separate slips and distribute them to various people. 1. “Well, I don’t live in Amsterdam or San Francisco; I’m one of God’s children”(v. 10). 2. “I give more than 10 percent to the church, plus all the good jobs I do there. What more do you want?” (v. 11). 3. “Every time the church door is open, you’ll see me there” (v. 12).4. “No one has more prayer candles lit than I do”(v. 13a). 5. “I’m here at church for all the special events, in addition to all the regular services”(vv. 13b, 14). 6. “My hands are up, my head is down, my tears flow, my prayers are constant. What more could you ask?” (v. 15). 7. “Well, we’re all sinners. So we all carry a few sins into every worship assembly. No big deal” (v. 16). 8.”My time is limited. As for projects like painting at the children’s home and visiting shut-ins, I’ll leave those to others. But I always have time for the Lord” (v. 17). 9. “1 listen to what God says in His Word; it’s just that sometimes I kind of disagree with His decisions” (v. 18a). 10. “Hey! My sins are all small and hardly noticeable. They’re in the barely-stained range” (v. 18b). 11. “I want it all, especially God’s blessings, but He’s going to have to overlook some things; I am just human” (v. 19). 12. “You don’t really believe God is going to punish anyone, do you? What kind of God is that?” (v. 20).
Introduce the exercise by saying, “Deeds are important! Yet God’s rejection of Israel’s worship as pictured in Isaiah 1:10-20 focused on attitudes and motives. Their defective character and lack of submission were primary.” Assign to other students the verses and verse portions indicated on the slips. Ask those holding the “quotes” to stand one at a time at random and say their quotes with the implied emphasis. Then ask for the one who has the Scriptural “match” to stand and read his or her verse or verse segment. Verse numbers are given after each “quote” for confirmation, but, of course, those should not be read with the quote. Your goal is to draw students’ attention to the text and its implications. Next, return to the Into the Lesson acrostic activity. Ask students for contrasts between the positive attributes of their definition and the negative characteristics rampant among the Judean worshipers.
When students suggest opposites, expect such items as the sincerity of true worship in contrast with the hypocrisy of false worship; the willing nature of true worship in contrast with the mechanical nature of the false; the preoccupation with forms and quantity of prayer in Israel’s worshipers contrasting with the heartfelt passion and quality of prayer in proper worship.
Return to the attitude “quotes” from above. Have students read these again. Suggest to the group that as the quotes are read, each should prayerfully ponder hose often the sentiment or similar one runs through their minds and even over their lips.