Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Chapter 27, Royalty and Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
Fear has the potential of driving us to God for protection. Unfortunately, it drove King Ahaz to find “security” in other gods and nations—but that “security” came with a very high price.
This lesson reads like fiction. A young man becomes king and immediately starts down the wrong path. Not only does he not worship the one true God, but he takes things one step further by murdering his own sons on the alter of Baal. How can it be that once again God’s chosen people are being led by someone who has completely sold out to the dark side?
Most people like cars. Ask your students the following questions:
Every day you make choices. You choose what to wear, when to go to bed, and how much time to spend on your phone. What may seem like an unimportant choice often has far reaching consequences. There are stories told about people who have been running late for unexplained reasons only to arrive at their destination and find out that there had been a car accident along the way that they were not involved in because of their unusual delay. In our lesson today, Ahaz did not wake up one morning and decide that he was not going to follow God. He made little choices along the way that eventually brought him to that position.
Read 2 Kings 16:1-4.
Ahaz King of Judah
1In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
Read 2 Kings 16:7-9.
7 Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.
Read 2 Kings 16:10-13.
10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction. 11 So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned. 12 When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings u on it. 13 He offered up his burnt offering and grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and splashed the blood of his fellowship offerings against the altar.
Read Genesis 4:3-8.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Read Acts 8:18-24.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Read Acts 4:1-22.
1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“ ‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
At the beginning of this lesson, we discussed cars and what makes them attractive or less than desirable. Many choose cars because of their horsepower, appearance, special features, how the media portrays them, and sometimes even what kind of cars their family owns.
Thinking about God . . .
We each make decisions for or against God. Sometimes by inaction we make choices that have unintended consequences, but we are making decisions whether we realize it or not.
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
Be sure everyone takes time for personal applications before you end your Sabbath School time together.
It may seem unkind and even harsh to call someone corrupt. But let’s remember that corruption is a word used for things of this world that are going to decay and die because the presence of God is not in them. Instead of being a positive example, the person we are studying this week presents a negative one—one without the redeeming presence of God. Sometimes the positive shines strongly in contrast to the negative. Ahaz became king at the relatively young age of 20—not a very different age from those studying this lesson. Imagine what it would be like to become a king or queen right now, at your age. What would you do? Would you be a good monarch? Who have your role models been up to now? Would you still hold on to those role models, or would you become the role model for your nation? The story we find in 2 Chronicles 28 can be downright depressing! It’s possible to be so repulsed by Ahaz that we choose the positive just to be as far from his example as possible. As you follow his story, note your reaction, and what action(s) you will take so you won’t be anything like this “corrupt copycat.”
Read 2 Chronicles 28:1-27.
Ahaz King of Judah
1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 2 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals. 3 He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
5 Therefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus.
He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him. 6 In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah—because Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 7 Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, second to the king. 8 The men of Israel took captive from their fellow Israelites who were from Judah two hundred thousand wives, sons and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder, which they carried back to Samaria.
9 But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, “Because the Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10 And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren’t you also guilty of sins against the Lord your God? 11 Now listen to me! Send back your fellow Israelites you have taken as prisoners, for the Lord’s fierce anger rests on you.”
12 Then some of the leaders in Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those who were arriving from the war. 13 “You must not bring those prisoners here,” they said, “or we will be guilty before the Lord. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel.”
14 So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. 15 The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.
16 At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. 17 The Edomites had again come and attacked Judah and carried away prisoners, 18 while the Philistines had raided towns in the foothills and in the Negev of Judah. They captured and occupied Beth Shemesh, Aijalon and Gederoth, as well as Soko, Timnah and Gimzo, with their surrounding villages. 19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help. 21 Ahaz took some of the things from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace and from the officials and presented them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help him.
22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel.
24 Ahaz gathered together the furnishings from the temple of God and cut them in pieces. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every town in Judah he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors.
26 The other events of his reign and all his ways, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27 Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king.
Which would be worse for you—to be killed in battle or be enslaved for life?
Read 2 Chronicles 28:1-27.
1. If you became the monarch of a country (like Ahaz did at the age of 20), what priorities would you have?
2. Rank (1-8) Ahaz’s activities based on how offensive they are to you.
____ Rejecting the positive examples of previous monarchs.
____ Rejecting God.
____ Making pagan idols.
____ Offering sacrifices at pagan altars.
____ Sacrificing one’s own children to pagan gods.
____ Burning incense as you pray to pagan gods.
____ Following the gods of pagan nations God previously judged.
____ Other: _____________________________
3. Pick the casualty you think was worst for King Ahaz.
He was defeated by the king of Aram.
4. Mark what Israel did right (+) and wrong (-) in relating to those from Judah.
5. What seemed to be Ahaz’s strategy?
6. What would you have done to be faithful in a situation like this?
7. Why didn’t Ahaz change? Why don’t you change?
8. Who are your role models? Who do you copy? How do you avoid the things that could corrupt you?
Unbelievable! Could a monarch really be this corrupt? Why did he copy such negative role models? In contrast to his father, good King Jotham, King Ahaz was a wicked king. Thankfully his son, King Hezekiah, returned the nation of Judah to following God. But that’s next week’s lesson. For this week, let’s acknowledge that a corrupt role model can help us understand what not to do. Let’s be the opposite of this corrupt copycat.
We certainly don’t want to be like King Ahaz. So what applications can we make to our lives this week? Here are a few ideas to get you started. And be sure to listen to promptings from the Holy Spirit specifically for you.
A. Thank God, and be specific about what is Godly and how you are protected from what is corrupt.
B. Thank those close to you who protect you from what is corrupt.
A. Take the time to think of who you look up to, and what people you would like to have as role models. Each of us is affected by others, so choose the people you want to have affect you.
B. Take it a step farther and notify them that you have prayerfully selected them as a role model for your life. Thank them, and ask for their input. Promise to pray for them.
3. Ahaz seemed fixated on doing wrong, and then doing more and more of it. Instead of changing toward God, he went deeper and deeper downward. Why didn’t he change? Although you are not corrupt like King Ahaz, are you stubbornly resisting God’s call for some type of change in your life?
A. Take time alone and ask God what change(s) He wants you to make.
B. Pause and listen for God’s still, small voice speaking to you. If you don’t know what God may want you to do, refer to key Scripture passages about the directions God has given to His people in the past. This could include Matthew chapters 5-7, Exodus 20:3-17, and Micah 6:8. After listening to God, pray for Him to empower you to live that way, and then start doing things, even small things, to make it a permanent lifestyle.
By Steve Case
Want some small group discussion starters? Use these prompts to get your group going.
Steve Case draws on his love for Scripture, personal experiences, and training by taking a passage of Scripture and offering questions that draw out the meanings that lead to personal applications of the Bible.
You won’t find pat answers or cookie-cutter spirituality. Instead, you’ll discover new possibilities to engage with familiar and not-so-familiar portions of God’s Word, interact with God and others, and wrestle with how to live as a follower of Jesus Christ here and now.
Each of the 52 Bible studies starts with an ice-breaker question that “levels the playing field” so everyone in your group has equal access to God and vice versa. Multiple-choice options will stretch you to think in new ways, sometimes bringing a smile to your face or a surprise to your mind and heart. Deeper questions conclude each study and move participants from talk into action.
Small group leaders will appreciate the content and flexibility of these Bible studies. Use this resource to make copies for others in your group or provide a copy for each person. Tap into the portion that includes keys for leading small groups and prayer possibilities.
If you want to talk about Jesus, here’s a great way to begin the conversation.
Jesus told his disciples that they would “be witnesses” when they received power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Their witnessing would happen right where they were, and would spread out like the rings when you throw a pebble into a pond. That happens when you take the words of Jesus and relate them to your Youth Sabbath School outreach and mission.
To the Ends of the World
Your Youth Sabbath School
The Community Around Your Church
The World Beyond Your Community
We’ll suggest options for these four target groups. You may choose to follow all four or maybe start with one this month.
A. Your Youth Sabbath School
Personalize your Youth Sabbath School room. This means decorating and possibly constructing props or a set. Be sure to get permission from church leaders. Present your ideas to the church board, get feedback, and adjust. If your space is shared, this could call for more cooperation. Use your creative skills and some hard work to craft something unique for your Youth Sabbath School.
B. Your Church
After personalizing the Youth Sabbath School space, offer your talents and skills for one of your church’s children’s Sabbath School classes. Work with their leaders to help create special decor related to their theme for the next quarter.
C. The Community Around Your Church
Coordinate with some of the handy people in your church and offer to do some special projects in the community. Contractors may know of people needing assistance with minor construction or repairs. Offer to coordinate a Sunday project where Youth Sabbath School members help with the grunt work for a project. Another option is to join a Habitat for Humanity project.
D. The World Beyond Your Community
For low involvement but high response, join Maranatha’s $10 Church project by donating $10 per month. Enough people are donating that one or two churches are constructed each month.
If you want to go all out, join Maranatha’s Ultimate Workout summer mission trip for teens. It’s best if you get your whole church involved in sponsoring your group. Then you will not only represent your church, but you’ll also report back to them when you return. You could also gather a multigenerational group to join one of Maranatha’s family mission projects.
#Playbook Youth & Young Adult Leadership Convention
You are invited to join the North American Division Youth Ministries Department for networking and leadership training from September 3-5, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico! This event is open to all local church, conference, and union youth and young adult ministry leaders. It will feature a wide variety of seminars plus training for youth Sabbath School, Master Guide leadership, and much more.