Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for January 16

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for January 16


Ezekiel 16:20–21; 23:26–39; Psalm 139:13–16

Forty-nine years ago this week, the Supreme Court determined that U.S. citizens had a constitutional right to end the life of a fetus. Since that decision, a shadow has been cast over our nation, with more than 60 million unborn children in various developmental stages who have been legally put to death.

Fetal tissue of aborted babies has become big business for use in some vaccines and in medical testing and procedures. The collective death of the innocents has become acceptable, in part, because few people speak against this silent holocaust.

Wrongdoing is Justified. (Ezek. 16:20–21)

These words from Ezekiel are an indictment for betrayal against the Lord: “You slaughtered my children” (v. 21). The people of Judah were sacrificing their children as acts of worship to false gods. The God of Israel had warned them before they entered the promised land not to participate in the sexual idolatry of the region. 

At Sinai, God spoke through Moses to prohibit Israel from practicing the fertility rituals of the people, which included adultery, incest, homosexuality, bestiality and bearing children for the sole purpose of infant sacrifice. Those participating in those practices would be vomited out of the land (see Lev. 18). 

Not only did the Israelites fall to sexual temptation before they ever arrived in Canaan (Num. 25), but they also mixed their worship of Yahweh with the idolatry of Baal, Asherah and other gods once they settled in the land (see Deut. 16:21; 1 Kings 18:21).

This spiritual compromise continued for hundreds of years. In fact, King Manasseh of Judah, son of the godly Hezekiah, sacrificed some of his own children (2 Chron. 33:6) and reintroduced forbidden worship that had been outlawed by his father (2 Kings 21:9, 11, 16). 

Hezekiah sought to uphold the Torah, but Manasseh rejected the law of God until his repentance late in life (2 Chron. 33:12–16).  

Callousness Becomes the Norm. (Ezek. 23:36–39)

Israel and Judah committed spiritual adultery against their God who redeemed them from bondage in Egypt. They committed idolatry, and they killed their unwanted infants as acts of worship to their idols. In this passage, the prophet exposes their idolatry, their adultery and their practices of child sacrifice. They worshipped false gods, yet they also visited the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Like their idols, they had eyes that did not see and ears that did not hear. They refused to listen to the warnings.

To those who listen, forgiveness is found in Christ. We cannot undo our past but can turn away from it. God transforms all who trust Him and who surrender to His will.

God’s Truth is Revealed. (Ps. 139:13–16)

Unlike the Ezekiel passages above, this psalm focuses on our righteous God. The beginning and end speak of His omniscience, His all-knowingness. Part two speaks of His omnipresence. Part three addresses God’s compassion and care for humanity. This third part is our emphasis here. 

God has been intimately aware of you and your unique characteristics since you were developing in your mother’s womb. He made you with design, with detail and with days. You are specially designed, like a fingerprint. Your details are unique, even identical twins have distinct features. Each one of us has an appointment with Him, so let us redeem our days — bearing His image, living for His glory and serving His people.

May we celebrate life — the unborn, the fatherless and widows, the terminally ill, the stranger and the impoverished. May we share with each of them eternal life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Wilson is dean of Christian Studies at University of Mobile in Alabama.

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