Lesson 8

Education and Redemption

(Genesis 1 & 3, Isaiah 11, 1 Kings 4)
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Introduction: The most commonly held view of God is that He is our Father.  If you had a great father, like I did, then this view is very helpful. Another view, which might be more helpful to those who did not have great fathers, is that God is our teacher. Surely everyone had at least one great teacher. Our study this week is focused on God as our Teacher. What kinds of things will God teach us? Is it only about spiritual things? Let’s dive into the Bible and learn more!

  1.         Like Our Teacher

  1.         Read Genesis 1:26. We have never seen God. What do you think God meant when He said that He would create us “in our image, after our likeness?” (When you think about the other living things that were created, none think like us or, for the most part, look like us. I suspect that is what God was talking about.)

  1.         What does the discussion of “dominion” add to our understanding of what God meant? (Being in charge of the animals further makes the point that our thinking is much superior to their thinking.)

  1.         When God recorded that we were made in His image, what was He trying to teach us?

  1.         Read Genesis 1:27. This text reports that humans were made as “male and female” and this is in God’s image. How do you understand this?

  1.         Males and females look generally similar, but there are significant differences. Which one does God look like? (Physically, Jesus was born as a man. The deeper point, I believe, is that taken together, a male and female have the ability to reproduce - create new life. That is a reflection of our Creator God.)

  1.         Read Genesis 5:3. While we are not exactly sure what God meant when He said to create humans in His image, do you know exactly what it meant for Seth to be born in the “image” of Adam and “in his own likeness?”

  1.         Should we read this language, that we clearly understand, back into the language that we read in Genesis 1:26? Should this reveal the meaning of Genesis 1:26? (I think that is the point of repeating the same language. When we think about how we are like our parents, so we are like God in that same way.)

  1.         Is that right? We know that we are not nearly like God in intelligence, power, and authority. Children compare themselves to their parents. Should we compare ourselves to God?

  1.         Model Teacher

  1.         Read Isaiah 11:1. Is this text about horticulture? (Read Romans 15:11-12. This reveals that Isaiah is talking about Jesus. If you doubt, read the greater context in Romans 15:8-13.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 11:2. Is the Spirit of God available to us? (Read John 14:26. Jesus says that He will send the Holy Spirit to teach us.)

  1.         Look again at Isaiah 11:2. What is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding?   Do you have it?

  1.         Is wisdom the same as understanding? (No. Understanding is knowing the facts. It is understanding reality. Wisdom is making the right choice to achieve the best outcome given the facts.)

  1.         Look again at Isaiah 11:2. What is the Spirit of counsel and might? Do you have it?

  1.         Why would counsel and might be mentioned in the same phrase?  Are they connected in some way? (Counsel is giving advice. Might is the ability to act on your counsel. The best situation is where you know what to do and you have the courage and ability to do it.)

                                                                                        

  1.         Look again at Isaiah 11:2. What is the Spirit of knowledge and fear? Do you have it?

  1.         Is “knowledge” just a repeat of “understanding?” (Teaming “knowledge” with “fear” suggests that the text is not speaking of a general understanding of a situation, but rather the specific knowledge of God. The idea is that we know God and we make the decision to act in a way that is consistent with our knowledge of His will. It reminds me of the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”)

  1.         Read Isaiah 11:3. Let’s continue with the approach of what Jesus’ example teaches us. The words “delight” and “fear” are not often found together. What does it mean to “delight in the fear of the Lord?” (You enjoy respecting God.)

  1.         Can you explain that? In any other context do you enjoy respecting something? (I own a very powerful car. I respect that all of this power can get me into trouble, yet I delight in the power.  My best understanding is that I delight in my relationship with a loving and powerful God.)

  1.         Let’s look at the second half of Isaiah 11:3. Do you normally make uniformed decisions? What does it mean to make a decision which ignores what you see and what you hear? (This does not promote uniformed decisions. Rather, the point is that we make decisions informed by our understanding of God’s will rather than the appearance of things or the arguments of the world.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 11:4. Again, this is talking about Jesus, but we are looking for lessons for our life. What is the basis for making the decisions that we see here? (This confirms our prior discussion that God’s righteousness, and not our senses, are the standard for judgment.)

  1.         How are we tempted, as humans, to do otherwise? (The poor and the weak cannot help us. We should make decisions fairly, regardless of whether we realize a personal benefit.)

  1.         Look again at the last part of Isaiah 11:4. We previously spoke about respecting, rather than being fearful, of God. Have we improperly downplayed actual fear? (That is always a concern of mine when we consider this topic. This says that God speaks (“rod of His mouth”) and He kills the wicked. The battle between good and evil is a serious matter. God is not only our loving Father in heaven, and Jesus our loving brother, this tells us that Jesus will execute judgment on the wicked.)

  1.         Since we are looking for teaching examples for our life, should we also model the judgment aspect of God’s character? (We should not be killing anyone, obviously, but I think that we have lessons to learn from even this aspect of Jesus’ character.)

  1.         Read 1 Kings 4:29-30. Is this proof of what we have just been discussing - that God will give us wisdom and understanding?

  1.         If you say, “yes,” how do you think this happens?  Does God just speak it and Solomon receives it? Or, do you think that it is more along the lines we discussed earlier, that this is a Holy Spirit enabled matter as we face situations in life? (The practical difference is that the second approach keeps us walking with God. That was a problem for King Solomon.)

  1.         Read 1 Kings 4:31. We live in a day when education has a strong push towards equality.  After my first year of law school, which was decades ago, the school stopped giving out class rank. More recently, when my children were in high school, when academic awards were given, the principal would speak of how all the students deserved an award. What should we conclude from God’s decision to make Solomon wiser than “all other men?” (God does believe in merit based on faithfulness. The merit in this case brings glory to God and Solomon.)

  1.         Read 1 Kings 4:32-33. What kinds of wisdom should we seek? Is it just wisdom about righteousness? (We learn that Solomon wrote songs, he was expert in trees, flowers, and all sorts of animals.)

  1.         What does this suggest to you with regard to your occupation? (We should ask God for excellence in what we do! We should seek to be the best!)

  1.         Is this also something with which the Holy Spirit will aid us?

  1.         I often hear that we should not seek to be the best, but rather to do our best. If the Holy Spirit is empowering us, is “our best” really good enough?

  1.         Friend, God is anxious to improve our understanding and our abilities. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to further educate you?

  1.         Next week: The Church and Education.

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