“An Undelivered Gift”
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.
God sends a message to Israel through the final words of Moses, expressing His anger at their refusal to be the blessing to all the nations that He called and empowered them to be.
Prophets and Kings, Introduction
God sends a message to Israel through the final words of Moses, expressing His anger at their
refusal to be the blessing to all the nations that He called and empowered them to be.
OPENING ACTIVITY: WOULD YOU RATHER?
What’s God’s plan for your life? It’s an age-old question that young people especially ponder. Today’s opening activity serves as a small way for teens to consider the skills and temperament—the spiritual gifts—God gave them. These questions aren’t necessarily between two mutually exclusive ideas or talents, but they are intended to help your students think about their interests and aptitudes.
Have students stand in the center of the classroom. As you read out the following “Would you rather?” questions, have teens move to one side of the room or the other—to the left if they choose the first option, or to the right if they choose the second. Give them just a few seconds to decide for each answer. You may wish to add your own questions relevant to your group, or tailor the questions to your students.
Would you rather . . .
The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ final message to the children of Israel. It summarizes everything they’d gone through since the Exodus, and lays out two visions of their future—peace and prosperity if they stay true to their God, and doom and despair if they don’t.
God’s calling for Israel could hardly have been higher. As Ellen White wrote in the introduction to Prophets and Kings, “As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders, until their kingdom should embrace the world.” Alas, that beautiful vision never came true. Instead, again and again they lost sight of their calling, distracted by greed, idolatry, and false promises of security outside of their covenant with God.
“With a father’s heart, God bore with His children,” White elaborated. “He pleaded with them by mercies given and mercies withdrawn.” Speaking to the people before his death, Moses foresaw the consequences if the Israelites kept trying to find fulfillment without God.
Today, God’s kingdom is spreading throughout the world, with no regard for borders or nationalities. Wherever the Holy Spirit finds a willing listener, wherever God’s character of love and kindness is lived out, God’s kingdom reigns. As Christians, we’re called to reflect Jesus to a darkening world, using the talents God gave us to shine a light.
The song of Moses invites us to reflect on God’s leading in our lives, and the part we can play in God’s end-time work.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Remember the Days of Old
Read Deuteronomy 31:30 through 32:9.
The Song of Moses
30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:
32 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
5 They are corrupt and not his children;
to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
6 Is this the way you repay the Lord,
you foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,
who made you and formed you?
7 Remember the days of old;
consider the generations long past.
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will explain to you.
8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
when he divided all mankind,
he set up boundaries for the peoples
according to the number of the sons of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.
Found in a Desert Land
Read Deuteronomy 32:10-18.
10 In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.
12 The Lord alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.
13 He made him ride on the heights of the land
and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
and with oil from the flinty crag,
14 with curds and milk from herd and flock
and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
15 Jeshurun k grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, they became heavy and sleek.
They abandoned the God who made them
and rejected the Rock their Savior.
16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods
and angered him with their detestable idols.
17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your ancestors did not fear.
18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
you forgot the God who gave you birth.
God Hides His Face
Read Deuteronomy 32:19-27.
The Lord saw this and rejected them
because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said,
“and see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation,
children who are unfaithful.
They made me jealous by what is no god
and angered me with their worthless idols.
I will make them envious by those who are not a people;
I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
For a fire will be kindled by my wrath,
one that burns down to the realm of the dead below.
It will devour the earth and its harvests
and set afire the foundations of the mountains.
“I will heap calamities on them
and spend my arrows against them.
I will send wasting famine against them,
consuming pestilence and deadly plague;
I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,
the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
In the street the sword will make them childless;
in their homes terror will reign.
The young men and young women will perish,
the infants and those with gray hair.
I said I would scatter them
and erase their name from human memory,
but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,
lest the adversary misunderstand
and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed;
the Lord has not done all this.’ ”
The Vine of Sodom
Read Deuteronomy 32:28-43.
28 They are a nation without sense,
there is no discernment in them.
29 If only they were wise and would understand this
and discern what their end will be!
30 How could one man chase a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
unless the Lord had given them up?
31 For their rock is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies concede.
32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison,
and their clusters with bitterness.
33 Their wine is the venom of serpents,
the deadly poison of cobras.
34 “Have I not kept this in reserve
and sealed it in my vaults?
35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
and their doom rushes upon them.”
36 The Lord will vindicate his people
and relent concerning his servants
when he sees their strength is gone
and no one is left, slave or free.
37 He will say: “Now where are their gods,
the rock they took refuge in,
38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
Let them rise up to help you!
Let them give you shelter!
39 “See now that I myself am he!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear:
As surely as I live forever,
41 when I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand grasps it in judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
while my sword devours flesh:
the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders.”
43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies
and make atonement for his land and people.
Read Psalm 90:1-17 (the only psalm credited to Moses).
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
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.
At the start of the new calendar year, on the first Sabbath of 2024, we step back from the flow of Israel’s first kings (Saul, David, and Solomon around 1,000 BC) and return to the covenant Moses repeated to God’s people. Timewise this was about 1500 BC.
Moses had triumphantly led the Israelites from Egyptian slavery toward the land God had promised. But that wasn’t immediate. There had been the showdown at the Red Sea with God’s deliverance again and the demise of the Egyptians trying to force God’s people back into slavery. God’s people had the worship experiences at Mount Sinai, including God’s law in the form of 10 commandments and other commandments, as well as instructions for making a sanctuary so God could “dwell” among His people (Exodus 25:8).
God’s people had also broken the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai, and so soon after promising to keep it. Later, when spies checked out the promised land and returned with a report of a wonderful land but giants that intimidated them, the people preferred a return to Egyptian slavery rather than face the giants. They complained that God had brought them out of slavery only to have their children die. In reality, the older generation died over the time of the 40 years of wilderness wanderings, and it was their children who were then ready to enter God’s promised land. Before going into Canaan, Moses repeated God’s laws to this new generation. That’s what the book of Deuteronomy is—the second (deutero) giving of God’s law.
While the entire book of Deuteronomy spells it out, you can get a quick overview of it by reading Deuteronomy chapters 29-31. That takes us to our study for today, “The Song of Moses,” which looks back as well as forward regarding God and His people and how they would relate to each other.
Relating to God
Do most people you know relate to God as a friend, a foe, or neither?
Read Deuteronomy 32:1-52.
1. What would you say describes (or praises) God?
2. What would you say describes God’s people, including you?
3. What has God done for your ancestors?
4. What have your ancestors (and you) done for God?
5. Who does God judge?
6. How do you take God’s Word to heart (vs 46)?
7. Are you a child of God? Upon what do you base your answer?
8. What is God’s message for you right now?
How does God relate to us? How do we relate to God? This lesson provided an overall of this bigger picture. It continues to get played out on a day-by-day basis.
The Bible study this week looked at how God related to His people and how His people related to Him. But that continues to happen in our day, including how God relates to us and how we relate to God now. Here are some ideas for applying this to our lives this coming week. Choose one or more of these options, or let them inspire you to respond to other ways God wants you to live for Him and for others this coming week as you start the new year.
Moses told the Israelites they, as a group, were to listen to a public reading of God’s law every seven years. When was the last time you experienced that?
As we begin a new year (2024), consider the many advantages we have to know God.
Our Bible study this week has sometimes been called “The Song of Moses.” What is a song you would choose as God’s message to you right now? Play that at least once a day this week. If you have no idea, here are a few to get you started:
What if the Miracles of Jesus are more than meets the eye?
What if there is so much more to each story than we see?
What if each time Jesus did something supernatural, He was inviting us to look deeper?
Beyond the healing.
Beyond the deliverance.
Beyond the acts that defied the laws of nature.
What if Jesus were inviting us to see something bigger?
Something more amazing about the love of God.
What if the ultimate Miracle is that God can transform us?
The Miracle Series is an interactive study of 15 of Jesus’ awe-inspiring encounters while here on earth. These lessons, and messages are designed to connect with teens and youth and take them on a journey of discovery. Included in this kit is everything you need:
We invite you and your youth to not just study the Miracles of Jesus but to experience The Miracle.
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
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