Introduction: Prophets in the Old Testament held a special place of
trust. Today, we have the Bible, but then much of God’s instruction
to the people came through His prophets. Let’s dig into our study of
the Bible and see what they teach us about God’s will for the least
of these!

  1. The Problem With Trust

    1. Read 1 Samuel 8:5. What did the people of Israel demand?
      (To be led by a king.)

      1. Who was leading them? (Read 1 Samuel 8:7. God was
        leading His people through the Samuel the prophet.)

      2. The people were concerned about Samuel’s sons. What
        was the problem with them? (Read 1 Samuel 8:3. They
        were dishonest, accepted bribes, and perverted

    2. Read 1 Samuel 8:11-12. What is one thing a king will do?
      (He will have an army. He will force the people to fight.)

    3. Read 1 Samuel 8:13-17. What else will a king do? (He will
      tax the people. He will take your land, your produce and
      your people.)

    4. Let’s go back and read 1 Samuel 8:9. Samuel does precisely
      what God told him to do. When you think about the concerns
      of the people, does this meet them? (The people were
      concerned that Samuel’s sons would rule them. These sons
      were corrupt and did not follow the rule of law. On the
      face of it, the counter-argument that a king will create
      big government and be costly does not address the
      complaints of the people.)

      1. What does a discussion about the problems of big
        government address? (The people are the reason for
        the disconnect between their complaints and God’s
        response. Assuming Samuel’s sons were evil, the
        people should have asked God to correct the
        situation. Asking for a king means they would trust
        an unnamed human more than they trust God.)

    5. Read 1 Samuel 8:21-22. What does this teach us about God?
      (He will sometimes grant stupid requests when we fail to
      trust Him.)

      1. What is the lesson for us today? (To turn to God to
        solve the problems that currently face us.)

  2. The Sodom Problem

    1. Read Genesis 18:17, Genesis 18:20-21, and Genesis 18:32-33. (You are also welcome to read “between the lines.”)
      These texts summarize the background story for the
      destruction of Sodom. God decides to share with Abraham
      what He intends to do to Sodom. Abraham tries to save
      Sodom. What does Abraham’s final discussion with God
      reveal about Sodom? (There were not ten righteous persons
      in the entire city!)

      1. What does this teach us about God’s mercy?

      2. This is a discussion about prophets, why discuss God
        visiting Abraham regarding Sodom? (Instead of going
        through humans, God directly speaks to Abraham.)

    2. Read Jude 1:7. What is the overriding sin of Sodom?
      (Sexual immorality and perversion.)

    3. After God says He will determine whether Sodom is as bad
      as is alleged, two angels appear as men and visit it.
      Let’s read what happens when Lot takes them in so they
      will not be harmed by the locals. Read Genesis 19:4-5.
      What does this tell you about the nature of the sexual sin
      of Sodom? (The text says “all the men,” “young and old”
      surrounded Lot’s house for the purpose of raping the two

      1. Is it possible that all the men in that city were
        violent homosexuals? Or, were they willing to force
        sex with anyone of any gender? (Read Genesis 19:8-9.
        Lot makes the dishonorable offer to let them have sex
        with his virgin daughters – and these men reject the
        offer. This demonstrates that Lot relies on his own
        devices instead of God, but it also shows that Lot
        correctly determined that these men of Sodom were not
        interested in women.)

    4. Read Ezekiel 16:49. Despite this horrible account of what
      happens to strangers in Sodom, and Jude’s clear statement
      that sexual immorality and perversion were the sins of the
      city, many today point to this text in Ezekiel to argue
      that Sodom was not burned up because of the sin of
      homosexuality. The real sin of Sodom was a failure to help
      the poor. What do you think?

      1. Read Ezekiel 16:50. What does it tell us about the
        sin of those who lived in Sodom? (They were arrogant
        and did detestable things. Who would reasonably
        conclude that those living in Sodom had only one

      2. Read Isaiah 3:9. What does this tell us about the sin
        of Sodom? (This puts the arrogance and sexual
        perversion together. It says they “parade their

        1. Have you ever heard of a “Gay Pride Parade?”

    5. A closer look at homosexuality is important because of the
      growing religious liberty conflict between its advocates
      and Bible-believing Christians. Read Romans 1:20. Why does
      God say that all human should know Him?

    6. Read Romans 1:21-23. Paul teaches that sin is progressive.
      After ignoring the proof of God, what is the next step for
      sinners? (Their thinking process deteriorates, their
      hearts are darkened, and they worship things that look
      like humans and animals.)

    7. Read Romans 1:24-27. What is the next step after idol
      worship? (They believe lies and engage in homosexual sex.)

    8. Read Romans 1:28-31. What is the next step into evil?
      (They hate God and are insolent, arrogant, boastful, and
      slanderers. They have no understanding, love, or mercy.)

      1. What is the next step into sin after homosexuality?
        (Hating God and lacking understanding, love, and

      2. Is homosexuality a “lower level” sin then those sins
        listed in Romans 1:29?

      3. In discussions on the impact the homosexual movement
        is having on religious liberty, one consistent
        comment is that homosexual intolerance towards
        Christianity is due to the past intolerance of
        Christians toward homosexuals. Do the texts we just
        read support this “payback” theory? (No. Hate,
        insolence, arrogance, an absence of love and mercy
        are the natural progression of this sin. They are the
        natural progression of all sin.)

    9. Read Romans 1:32. Is God’s will a mystery to sinners? (No.
      They not only understand that sin brings death, they
      approve and promote sin.)

  3. Sodom in Church

    1. Read Isaiah 1:9-11. Is God truly addressing the city
      leaders in Sodom and Gomorrah? (No. If you look at the
      context, Isaiah is addressing Israel!)

      1. Are these people who hate God? (That is not how they
        appear. They are sacrificing to the true God and not
        to idols.)

        1. What is the problem? (They do not obey, they
          just keep sacrificing! They are not serious
          about sin.)

    2. Read Isaiah 1:12-15. Why does God hate the worship of His
      people? (They have no intention of obeying.)

    3. Read Isaiah 1:16. What does God want of His people? (To
      stop doing wrong.)

      1. I believe that the sacrificial system illustrates
        righteousness by faith. The people did not “earn”
        salvation. Their penalty for sin was paid by the
        sacrificial animal. What does Isaiah 1:16 teach us
        who believe in grace? (Works are important! Our goal
        is to stop doing wrong.)

    4. Read Isaiah 1:17. What does God say is the right thing to
      do? (Seek justice!)

      1. Under the umbrella of justice we are told to “defend
        the oppressed,” argue for “the fatherless” and “plead
        the case of the widow.” What is the goal here? (Fair
        and equal treatment.)

      2. Presently in the United States there is great media
        interest in immigration. We have immigrants (and
        potential immigrants) who follow the rule of law,
        apply to enter, and become citizens. We also have
        immigrants who enter illegally and stay illegally.
        Some enter legally, but stay illegally. What does
        Isaiah 1:17 teach about this situation? (Isaiah
        teaches that God’s people should be on the side of
        fair and equal treatment. The rule of law should be
        followed unless the law itself is unjust.)

    5. Friend, we have touched on some very controversial topics.
      If our goal is to follow God’s will, should we apply God’s
      teachings to the most pressing controversies of the day?
      Or, should we apply the teachings of the prophets to
      things that do not matter? Pray that the Holy Spirit will
      convict your heart to do what is right.

  4. Next week: Worship the Creator.