God Offers Deliverance to Sinners
These are the readings for the Third Sunday in Lent.
God’s Word for This Week
Today’s lessons encourage us to take heart and trust in the Lord. We also view numerous examples of people who lost their hold on eternal life because they gave in to their fears and doubts. However, in his grace, God promises deliverance from whatever difficulty he may lovingly allow to come our way. Thank God!
Traditional First Lesson – Exodus 3:1-8b, 10-15
How old is Moses when God calls him to deliver Israel? In light of this, react to the statement, “I’ve done my time; it’s the younger generation’s turn to take the lead.”
Moses was 80 years old (40 years in Egypt and 40 years as a shepherd) when God called him to deliver his people—Israel—from Egypt. Initially, Moses heavily resisted God’s call. He was comfortable where he was in Midian and was very willing to live out the rest of his days in relative peace and quietness. Yet, God had other plans for him. He had been training Moses all his life for this monumental task to which he was being called. Very few (if any) others would have been ready for such a task as this. May each of us also realize about ourselves, “I am God’s work in progress—a clay pot of my God who is constantly molding me for works of service now and in the future.”
What is a more accurate translation of “I Am Who I Am,” and what’s the significance?
“I Is Who I Is.” Though grammatically terrible, it is accurate. There is no God besides the Triune God because “God just IS” and “IS” forever. And he is our promised deliverer.
Supplemental First Lesson – Numbers 16:23-40
When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses’ authority, what did Moses say would be the proof that the Lord had truly sent him and put him in charge? (See Numbers 16:30.)
The proof would be the Lord doing something totally new and making the earth swallow up Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families.
Why did God tell Moses to tell Eleazer the priest to hammer a bronze cover over the altar? (See Numbers 16:35-40.)
Not only had the earth swallowed the rebels and their families, but fire had come out from God and eaten up the 250 men allied with Korah who had been offering incense from bronze censers. The bronze overlay was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron was to act as a priest before the Lord and offer him incense, or they would suffer the same fate as Korah and his followers.
Isn’t God full of mercy and patience? How could he do something like this?
God is full of mercy and patience. He is also full of wrath against sin. (See Numbers 16:46.) We must not test God’s patience. In the Bible God gives us many examples of his judgments to warn us about taking him and his commandments lightly.
Second Lesson – 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
What are the main dangers in being spiritually lazy or careless?
Some of the main dangers of spiritual lethargy are: a) going through the motions in worship; b) losing focus on God-given goals (heaven, living to thank God, encouraging fellow believers in their faith, sharing Christ with unbelievers); c) main goals turning into “being comfortable” and “getting ahead.”
What is wrong with this statement? “I can handle anything because I have a strong faith” (see 1 Corinthians 10:12).
Thinking we can handle anything due to our strong faith is dangerous, for one, because we are focusing on ourselves, not on our faithful and powerful Lord. (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Only through a watchful, childlike trust in him, his promises, and his protection can we live and die securely.
Gospel – Luke 13:1-9
What kind of judgmental words are we tempted to say when bad things happen to people?
When bad things happen to others, it is tempting to say, “They must have done something bad to deserve this.” In pride we assume that we have not experienced something similar because somehow, we are better.
How is Jesus’ answer different from what his disciples thought?
Jesus visualizes every situation within the spectrum of pure grace. As God in the flesh, he reveals horrible situations, not as punishments for specific sins, but rather as God’s tools (real-life illustrations) to call people to repentance. Jesus wants all people to turn away from sin and to place their trust for forgiveness and salvation in him. He is the one who has promised to deliver them. They can’t do it.