Storm Warnings!

SERIES: Stormy Weather

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR AUGUST 26 – 29, 2020

Introduction:

News of a global pandemic…everything and everyone is facing fear and uncertainty in 2020: virus pandemic, economic stress, devaluation of the stock market, small business owners are worried, tourism industry is non-existent, trust in government leaders is suspect. 

In Jesus’ day, Israel is an occupied land…Roman dictatorship, occupied by a super power, might makes right, any social net is absent…

  • A land of Peasants stuck in poverty
  • High taxes…corrupt tax system
  • No democracy
  • No unions
  • No labor laws
  • No human rights tribunal

AIM: After studying this lesson, students should know that many times God gives us a “storm warning” before He sends the storm.  To disregard His warning is to put ourselves in “harm’s way.” 

There’s a storm out on the ocean and
it’s moving this old way
If your soul’s not anchored in Jesus
You will surely drift away


Storms  . . .

The Call

  • Watch – essentially means a chance this condition will happen and usually covers a large geographical area for a lengthy time period.
  • Warning – means the said weather is already occurring or is likely to occur and to take proper protective measures. Warnings are usually issued for much smaller geographical areas and usually for shorter more definite time periods.
  • Waiting – this can be identified as the period of preparation.  You know the storm is coming.  The weather forecast keeps you posted as to when it is expected to hit the area.  The alarm sounds for individuals to get to a “safe” place.

The Choice

Some people will . . .

  • Heed the call
  • Defy the storm warnings and do their own thing
  • Choose not to believe that there is a real danger

Zephaniah issues a storm watch and a warning!

Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NIV)

2     “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

3     “I will sweep away both man and beast; I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea— and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.” “When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord,

  1. Forewarned (v. 2-3)
  2. Universal announcement of judgment. 
  3. Divine indignation
  4. Divine Vengeance

Isaiah 34:1-3 (NIV) – 1 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! 2 The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. 3 Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood

Points to Ponder:  Why do we act as if God can’t or won’t punish our sins?

Points to Ponder: If we (America, not you as an individual) truly believe that God will punish our sins. . .has this knowledge impacted our daily lives?  Explain your answer.

Points to Ponder:  Is Covid-19 a judgement of God on mankind?

Zephaniah 1 (NIV)

4     “I will stretch out my hand against Judah“ I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests—

5     those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek,

6     those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

7     Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near.

  • Forecast (v. 4-7a)

         Divine judgment upon. . .

Then:                                                           Now:

  • Israelites                                                      America 
  • Idol gods                                                        Atheist       
  • Idolaters                                                 Antagonist       
  • Non-believers                                                               All

Decline of a nation in three steps. . .

  • Religious apostasy
  • Moral awfulness
  • Political anarchy

Points to Ponder: How is idol worship seen in our society?

Points to Ponder: What are some things that may not be “graven images” but may serve as idols for Christians today?

14   The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.

15   That day will be a day of wrath—a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness—

16   a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.

17   “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.

18   Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.” In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.

  • Foreshadow (v. 14-18)
  • Distress
  • Devastation
  • Darkness

Points to Ponder:  How do you prepare for a storm?

Points to Ponder: In Ezekiel 3:17-21, God declares that we are a “watchman on the wall.”  Since we know that a devastating storm is coming, what is our duty and responsibility?

In the New Testament, Jesus issues a storm watch and a warning!

Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

24   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

25   The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26   But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

27   The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

  • Foresight (Matthew 7:24-27)
  1. The Building – Preparation  
  2. Remember the foundation – It must be. . .
  3. Durable
  4. Dependable
  5. Wise Builder – his foundation was built on a Rock
  6. Rock – Jesus is our foundation
  7. Rock – is:
  8. Solid
  9. Safe
  10. Strong

Isaiah 28:16 (NKJV) – Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.

1 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV) – For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Psalm 18:2 (NLT) – The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Benefits of building on a solid foundation. . .

  • Security from the storms

Proverbs 3:24 (NIV) – When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Hebrews 13:6 (NIV) – So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 91:5 (NIV) – You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

  • Survival during the storms

Job 11:18 (NIV) – You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

  • Strength for future storms

2 Samuel 22:40 (NIV) – You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.

Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) – 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Psalm 46:1 (KJV) – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV) – And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Isaiah 43:3 (NKJV) – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you

  • Foolish Builder – his foundation was built on Shifting Sand, which include:
  • People
  • Popularity
  • Position
  • Paycheck

Job 27:18 (MSG) – they build elaborate houses that won’t survive a single winter. They go to bed wealthy and wake up poor.

Jeremiah 22:13-14 (MSG) 13 “Doom to him who builds palaces but bullies people, who makes a fine house but destroys lives, Who cheats his workers and won’t pay them for their work, 14 Who says, ‘I’ll build me an elaborate mansion with spacious rooms and fancy windows. I’ll bring in rare and expensive woods   and the latest in interior decor.’

  1. The Battle – Problems
  2. Realize the Cracks

         Three hard punches. . .

  • The rain came down  
  • The streams rose   
  • The winds blew and beat against the house 
  1. The Blessing – Promises
  2. Rely on the Promises
  3. No weapon formed against you shall prosper (Isa. 54:17)
  4. I will not leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5)
  5. The Lord is a very present help in the time of trouble (Ps. 46:1)
  6. All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Isaiah 54:17 (KJV) – No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV). . .for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 46:1 (KJV) – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God’s promises are. . .

  • Unfailing

1 Kings 8:56 (ESV) – “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.

  • Assured by Divine Ability

Romans 4:21 (NIV) – being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

  • Grounded in Christ

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) – For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Thank God for the promises we receive, the problems we experience, and the preparation we receive during our journey and for our betterment.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       For those you know going through a storm, assist them in any way possible to help them get home safely and assure them how they can trust God’s promises.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Share with others how to make sure their future is secure in Christ.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:            Our giving provides shelter from certain storms and safety in others.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            As you receive the warnings of storms, realize you can endure it when you hold to God’s unchanging hand.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Little Man, Big Prayer

SERIES:          When Men Pray

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT:  Matthew 6:7-8; 1 Chronicles 4:9-10; Luke 22:44; James 5:16-17; Hebrews 5:7; Genesis 32:26; Ezekiel 34:26; Proverbs 10:22; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11; Psalm 119:173; Joshua 4:24; Acts 11:21; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Jude 24; Psalm 121; 1 John 5:14-15; John 16:23-24

 

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