Bible Passage: 2 Samuel 17:27-28; 19:31-39
Key Verses: Matthew 11:28-29; Luke 9:23; John 15:4.
Preparation: Your preparation will determine the direction your class will go.
SAY: I am going to say some names and I want you to tell me what kind of example they are and what they might be an example of. (Use names that your students will be familiar with–names of celebrities, athletes, singers, and others that are often in the media. At the end include Paul the Apostle and King David.)
SAY: Today we’re going to begin taking a look at “Examples” and the main character that we are going to examine in this lesson is a little known person who once helped King David. His name was Barzillai.
SAY: Before we read, let me give you the background of this story: King David’s son, Absalom, and his chief advisor, Ahithophel, had rebelled against him to take his throne. David and his faithful men are on the run. With that in mind, let’s read our first verses about Barzillai.
Choose a volunteer to read—Read 2 Samuel 17:27-28
(Note: Encourage your students never to get lost in “hard” names and long lists in the Bible. Everything that’s in the Bible is there for a reason and many believers miss many marvelous stories and truths by skipping over names and lists.)
SAY: These verses reveal Barzillai to be A Man Marked by Excellence.
SAY: Let’s read some more…David’s son, Absalom, has now been defeated. David’s advisor that turned against him has hanged himself and now David is heading back to Jerusalem. Listen to the discussion between the king and Barzillai.
Choose a volunteer to read—Read 2 Samuel 19:31-39
SAY: In a similar way, God gives us an invitation too—an invitation to walk with Him, to stay with Him, to eat daily at His table (meaning, to feast daily on His Word), to enjoy His presence and the praise that surrounds it. We too have an invitation from the King.
(1) I’m too old—Barzillai was 80 years old.
Today: This is still an excuse today. Or, if they’re young, they’ll say, “I’m too young.” Or, if they are in between, they’ll say, “I can’t do that at this stage of my life.”
(2) It’s too much—Three times he says, “Can I?”—“Can I tell the difference between what is good from what is not?” [NOTE: He just did—He discerned the goodness of helping David against the bad of following after Absalom’s rebellion.] “Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of men and women singers?” In other words, I can’t do that…Concerning the king’s table, Barzillai had no interest in it and no appreciation for it.
Today: People today still do the same. They say to God, “God, can I do such and such,” meaning, “God, I can’t do that…” Like Barzillai, although they have been invited into the king’s presence and to his service, they have no interest in it and no appreciation for it. And as a result they will miss the feast He has laid on the table before them and the worship of being in His presence.
(3) It’s too far—Barzillai tells the king that he will go with him a little ways.
Today: How many Christians have this attitude? “God, I’ll go with you a little ways.” Or, “I’ll go with you as long as it’s convenient or as long as I’m comfortable or as long as I don’t have to give up this or that…”
Thought: What if Jesus had only gone a little ways? What if He had said, I’ll go as far as being born in Bethlehem, but no further. Or, I’ll go as far as being the boy in the temple, or baptism, or the temptation in the wilderness, but that’s it. Or, as far as the Mount of Transfiguration where He could’ve said, “Now that Moses and Elijah are here, let them do the rest.” Or, I’ll go as far as Gethsemene and I’ll suffer some, but I won’t go all the way? But Jesus didn’t do this. He went all the way and we should do likewise.
Consider the life of Jesus to ask the question: How far have you gone with God?
Where would you put your life on this time line? How far have you gone?
SAY: In the Gospel’s Jesus gives us three kinds of invitations.
(1) The Invitation to COME—The call to salvation
(2) The Invitation to FOLLOW—The call to discipleship
(3) The Invitation to ABIDE—The call to share life with (live with) Him.
SAY: Consider the following verses:
Choose a volunteer to read—Read Matthew 11:28-29 (COME)
Choose a volunteer to read—Read Luke 9:23 (FOLLOW)
Choose a volunteer to read—Read John 15:4 (ABIDE)
SAY: Where do you find your life in these verses:
BIBLE LESSON—Part 2
SAY: Now for the rest of the story…
SAY: We don’t know much else about Chimham but the name is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.
Choose a volunteer to read—Read Jeremiah 41:17
SAY: After the fall of Jerusalem, about four hundred years after the time of King David, Jeremiah and others were leaving the city and they stayed at “Geruth Chimham,” with means (Geruth), “the lodging place,” or essentially, the Inn of Chimham near Bethlehem. Some Bible scholars speculate that this is the same person mentioned in our story today although there is no proof for it. They speculate that King David, who was from Bethlehem, gave to Chimham lands there fulfilling his promise to “do for him whatever pleases you,” which would surely include some sort of land grant near Jerusalem so that Chimham could continue to stay with the king in Jerusalem (which was only about seven miles away from Bethlehem). These scholars speculate that Chimham began a lodging place there at which Jeremiah later stayed and that perhaps was even the inn to which Mary and Joseph came before Jesus was born. This is just speculation but it makes for an interesting thought and a point that we know is true—God uses and blesses those who are willing to go with Him.
WRAP IT UP
SAY: Barzillai was willing to GIVE, but he was not willing to GO. He was a A Man Marked by Excellence but also a Man Marred by Excuses. He didn’t go himself but was willing to send others in his place, just like so many Christians today. And instead of receiving the honor the king had set aside for him, another, Chimham, who was willing to go, received it instead. May it not be so with you life.
Pray specifically today that your students will go all the way with God.
(NOTE: This lesson was inspired after listening to Bible commentary writer and preacher John Phillips who shared concerning Barzillai during a Bible Conference in Edmond, Oklahoma.)
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