The Helping Hand – Winter 2023




This quarter continues the theme “Chosen, Not Choice” and the peculiarity of God’s calling, which is rooted in grace rather than in humankind’s merit.

Unit I, “God Prepares the Way,” begins with two lessons on Zechariah from the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Disappointment and doubt cloud Zechariah’s perspective until the promise of a son becomes reality. This extraordinary experience is the backdrop for Lesson 3—the entrance of John the Baptist, God’s chosen voice to prepare the way for the Messiah. Lesson 4 celebrates Advent with Mary’s song as she rejoices in the news that God has chosen the humble.

Unit II, “God’s Promises,” contains five lessons from 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, and Joel that remind us that we can trust God to keep His word. In Lesson 5, as Solomon’s Temple is being dedicated in 2 Chronicles, God promises to hear from heaven and forgive the people in response to their prayers of repentance. The next three lessons are from Isaiah. Lesson 6 is the celebrated passage that proclaims God’s people are waterproof and fireproof because of God’s promised protection. Lesson 7 speaks to an obstinate people whose future God knows and declares. The final lesson from Isaiah contrasts ritual performance with true penitence coupled with acts of justice. The unit concludes with Lesson 9 as the prophet Joel declares God’s promise to be present and restore the chosen people after a time of distress.

Unit III, “God’s Call and Its Responsibilities,” has four lessons from 1 Corinthians, 2 Timothy, James, and 1 Peter. These lessons teach us that God’s call—and the responsibilities of that call—is without regard to an individual’s past. Lesson 10 reminds us that God’s wisdom is foolishness to people because God chooses those who are neither wise, nor powerful, nor of noble birth. In Lesson 11, Paul’s final letter brims with emotion as he encourages Timothy to embrace the suffering that accompanies the gospel, which is the responsibility of those who are called with a holy calling. Lesson 12 warns against showing favoritism to those wearing fine clothes because in God’s economy, the poor receive God’s blessing. Finally, Lesson 13 challenges us to check our attitudes and live as chosen, royal, holy people who have been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.

I pray that these lessons will be a blessing to you as you study God’s Word and pursue a closer relationship with Him.