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 30, Royalty and Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
Enemy forces tried to convince the Israelites that they were too strong for Israel’s God. But Hezekiah and his people’s trust in the Lord revealed who was the real powerhouse in this battle.
Hezekiah was on top of the world. It is true that the northern kingdom of Israel had been so thoroughly wiped off the map that lions had started taking over the land. It was also true that Judah was a tiny country surrounded by mighty empires. But under Hezekiah’s wise leadership, the Israelites were once again connected to their all-powerful God, and prospering more than anyone then alive could remember. The thing about God’s blessings, though, is that we can start to think we did it all ourselves. As a result of this lesson, we want the students to learn the difference between confidence and pride.
Have people stand up (or perhaps keep sitting if they’re meeting via video chat) one at a time, and for 75 seconds list all the things they’re good at. Time them. After several have done it, ask the following questions.
Have your students take turns reading the following verses on pride:
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
“Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10
“It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:19
“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.” Proverbs 25:27
“ ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
If practical, have your students team up—in a spot with a nice soft place to fall. Each person should take a turn kneeling on the ground, standing up, and standing on a stool or other object. In each position, their partner should try to push them over.
Alternately, you might have a volunteer (or yourself) stack objects on the floor and demonstrate how easy it is to knock a volunteer off of the objects. (Please use your judgment here to make sure that everyone is safe.)
Cue up about five songs (or more for multiple rounds) that your students would easily recognize. The songs could be something popular on Christian radio, Pachelbel’s Canon, the Star-Spangled Banner, the theme from Sesame Street, etc. The important thing is that most (and hopefully all) of them are ones your students would easily recognize from just a few seconds of music.
Then, perhaps after playing a snippet of one song so your students grasp the idea of the game, select two volunteers to play against each other. Choose one of the two (flip a coin, etc.) and ask that student how many seconds they think they’ll need to guess the song. After they have decided on the number of seconds in which they think they can guess, the second player can either offer to guess it in fewer seconds or challenge the first player to go ahead and guess it in the number of seconds in which they have claimed that they can guess it.
Play a snippet of a song, ideally mixing it up so that you play a different part of the song with each song you play—the beginning for one, the chorus for another, and a bridge for yet another. Be careful to play it for the exact number of seconds the players have chosen. If the player guessing gets it right, they score a point. If they fail, the other player gets a point.
Ever say something you regret before it’s finished coming out of your mouth, but you keep talking because you don’t know what else to do? Or have you ever looked back on something you did and wondered why you didn’t stop what you were doing before you finished it?
Hezekiah faced the world’s most powerful army, knowing that when it came down to it, he had no choice but to rely on God alone. His biggest challenge, though, might have been when a different set of visitors from the east visited his city, envoys from the then-small kingdom of Babylon. The story shows how small choices in a moment can make a difference a hundred years later, and in eternity.
You may remember this story from last week’s lesson, or an earlier encounter with the cautionary tale. Unlike the books of Isaiah and 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles doesn’t dwell on the details of where Hezekiah went wrong (showing off the riches of his kingdom without witnessing to his visitors of the power and love of God). The book of 2 Chronicles tends present an intentionally encouraging recounting of events all the way through. In Hezekiah’s case, it focuses mostly on God’s goodness and the lessons learned.
Let’s read 2 Chronicles 32:24-31.
24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
27 Hezekiah had very great wealth and honor, and he made treasuries for his silver and gold and for his precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuables. 28 He also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, new wine and olive oil; and he made stalls for various kinds of cattle, and pens for the flocks. 29 He built villages and acquired great numbers of flocks and herds, for God had given him very great riches.
30 It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
This coming week, consider one or more of the following:
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.
The kingdom of Israel had been decimated by the Assyrians and its people taken into captivity, never to be heard from again. Now the Assyrians were marching to Jerusalem. Hezekiah and his people didn’t have a chance. Through written and verbal threats, King Sennacherib of Assyria positioned himself as unbeatable by any people and by any god. But that’s because he hadn’t faced the God named Yahweh—the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth and all that is in it. But how could Jerusalem and Judah be saved? And what steps would they take in this crisis? Their response can guide us when we face what seems like an unbeatable foe, whether that’s an invasion of an army or a pandemic. (The story is found in Isaiah 36:1-37:38, but can also be found in 2 Kings 19 and 2 Chronicles 33.)
When you were a child, who did you bully? Who bullied you?
Read Isaiah 36:1-37:38.
1. What was likely to happen when King Sennacherib reached Jerusalem?
2. What was King Sennacherib’s message to Hezekiah and all Judah?
3. What was Hezekiah’s response to the verbal and written threats?
4. What was God’s message through Isaiah to Hezekiah?
5. What did Sennacherib get wrong?
6. What surprised you about the end of the story?
7. When have you trusted God, but He didn’t come through for you?
8. When have you trusted God, and He did come through for you?
In about 10 minutes we can read about this threat and miraculous change of events. But living through a crisis like this really tests people’s faith. In spite of doing all they could, they were no match for the Assyrian army and their pompous king. But the Assyrians were no match for just one of God’s angels. Through the crisis, God’s people continued to trust Yahweh, laying before Him their situation and plea. And God saved them. We may not know God’s timing or the actions He will use to save us, but we can trust Him even in what seems like impossible situations.
Throughout history, nations have fought against other nations. Some young people are not facing that kind of oppression right now. Instead, something microscopic, a virus, has everyone, including young people, fearful for their lives. We look to science for the answer to our safety and future security. But few have looked to God.
But that’s what Hezekiah and all those in Jerusalem and Judah did. Isn’t that the way you’d like to live? Here are some ways to apply this Bible study to your life this coming week.
1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good;
He does not abhor evil.
5 Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
7 How precious is Your loving kindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
10 Oh, continue Your loving kindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Let not the foot of pride come against me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the workers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been cast down and are not able to rise.
By Steve Case and Hubert Cisneros
A Place to Belong outlines the essentials for creating a great youth group. It features six chapters ready-made for youth leadership conventions or training in the local church. If you’re a youth director, here’s a resource you can use to train youth leaders in your conference. If you’re a youth leader in a church, you can use this yourself. And if you’re a young person, you can be a youth leader right now. Use this resource and put it into practice.
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.