1: The Shepherd’s Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath school Class on July 2, 2022.

Main Theme: Jesus, our Shepherd, leads us through the bad times as well as the good.

Compare: Psalm 23, with Isaiah 40:11, Jeremiah 23:3-4, Ezekiel 34:12, John 10:14-16, 1 Peter 2:25. Discuss the common threads of these passages.

Study: What do these verses teach us about how the Shepherd cares for His sheep?

Apply: Read Psalm 23:1. The Reina-Valera 1960 version of this passage reads, “Jehová es mi pastor.” How is God your pastor? How does knowing God is your pastor help you have healthy and balanced expectations from your human pastor?

Share: A friend asks if you have ever felt God’s presence leading you like a shepherd? What do you share with your friend?

Read Together: Psalm 23:1-4. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: Where all does the Shepherd lead His sheep? Is it always in a desirable location?

Apply: When going through a dark valley, would you rather be led, followed, guided, pushed, or just left alone? Why?

Share: Your friend asks why Jesus would ever lead you into a dark valley? What do you tell your friend? See Mark 4:35-40.*

Read Together: Psalm 23:5. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: what does it mean to be anointed with oil and have a feast provided for us in the midst of our enemies?

Apply: What types of enemies have you had in your life? How have you responded to those who have tried to hurt you or those you care for? How well did you follow Christ’s words to us in Matthew 5:44, or Paul’s in Romans 12:18-21?

Share: Your friend asks you how God has protected and even blessed you in the presence of your enemies? What do you tell your friend?

Read Together: Psalm 23:6. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: In spite of his trials, what two things does David say in Psalm 23:6 that he is certain of? (See also Eph. 1:4; 2 Pet. 1:10; Heb. 11:13-15.)

Apply: What picture do you get in your mind if you imagine goodness and unfailing love “pursuing” you? What do you think David meant to tell us about God by describing His care for us this way?

Share: After reading, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,” your friend asks if this includes the bad or even tragic days? If so, how could God’s love and goodness be with us on those days? What do you tell your friend?

* Please notice in this story, it is Jesus’ idea to cross the lake, knowing full well they would run into a storm.