- Slides: 37
Chapter 8: The Law UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) ANTICIPATORY SET Read the episode with the golden calf (cf. Ex 32: 35). Write for a few minutes about something surprising within this story. Briefly share responses.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) BASIC QUESTIONS How did the Israelites abandon their covenant with God? What prevented God from destroying the nation of Israel? What was the origin of the Levitical priesthood? KEY IDEAS With Aaron’s help, the Israelites abandoned God and sinfully worshiped an idol. God was going to destroy the Israelites, but Moses interceded on their behalf. The Levites were given the priesthood because they had attacked idolaters.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) FOCUS QUESTIONS Where was Moses as the Israelites were getting into trouble? He was alone with God on Mt. Sinai. Why did Aaron demand the people give him their gold earrings? Perhaps he was trying to deter them from wanting an idol since it would cost them valuable jewelry. What claim did the Israelites make about the golden calf? They said, “These are your gods. . . who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (Ex 32: 4). Extension: They knew the one true God had brought them out of Egypt, having defeated the false gods.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why were the people attracted to the worship of idols? They were attracted probably out of sensuality. They “sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Ex 32: 6). In other words, they had a feast, drank, and danced. What laws of the Decalogue did the Israelites break when they worshiped the molten calf? They broke the First Commandment by having made a graven image and worshiping it. Inferred also is a breaking of the Sixth Commandment against sexual immorality.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) FOCUS QUESTIONS What wording did God use to show he and the people were disowning each other? God spoke of “your [Moses’] people” whom “you [Moses]” brought out of Egypt. God no longer referred to them as his people, but Moses’. What did God offer to Moses? God offered to destroy the Israelites and raise up a new people for Moses to lead. In other words, he would have been a New Abraham. Despite his knowledge of what the Israelites were doing in the camp, how did Moses react to having seen their revelry, and what did this action mean? Moses smashed the two stone tablets of the Decalogue. This symbolized the covenant had been broken.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a think / pair / share to understand the meaning of Exodus 32: 11– 14 with respect to the use of words like repenting and evil in light of St. Augustine’s excerpt from City of God (p. 102).
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) GUIDED EXERCISE: Personal Journaling Aaron and the Israelites who wanted to worship the golden calf led the nation into sin. It is good for each person to examine his or her life to recognize those situations in which he or she is leading others (e. g. , family members, coworkers, friends) into sinful practices. For your eyes only write for five minutes responding to the following question: Which actions of mine tend to lead others to sin? As a class, brainstorm ways people can avoid leading others into sin.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) FOCUS QUESTIONS Which tribe of the Israelites had remained loyal to God? The Tribe of Levi had remained loyal. About how many idolaters did the Levites slay in the Hebrews’ camp? They slew about 3000. How was God’s relationship with Israel to be different than first envisioned? Initially, Israel was to be a nation of priests who would lead the rest of the nations of the world to the Lord. However, because of the Israelites’ sin, the Lord made the Levites mediators of his Chosen People, but he remained a God of steadfast love and forgiveness.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) CLOSURE Write a paragraph describing how Israel went from a nation of priests to a nation who needed priests to intercede for them.
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1– 7 (p. 165) Workbook Questions 1– 13 Read “After the Fall” through “In the Wilderness” (pp. 154– 158)
1. The Golden Calf and the Levitical Priesthood (pp. 150– 153) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT The Israelites failed to sacrifice their desires in favor of the will of God. In the same way, people often fail to understand the life of a Christian as a call to sacrifice one’s desires for the will of God. Take part in a brief class discussion using the following question: Who are today’s heroes and why are they heroic? Then free write in response to the following statement: True heroism consists of personal sacrifice for a cause or the good of others, and it may include the sacrifice of one’s life. Share responses.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) ANTICIPATORY SET Read the first three paragraphs of page 154. Do a think / pair / share using the following question: How did the Hebrew priesthood change as a result of the worship of the golden calf?
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) BASIC QUESTIONS What was the function of the Levitical priesthood? What was the tabernacle? What was the aim of the laws after the idolatry (golden calf)? How did Israel respond to God’s plan to settle in Canaan? KEY IDEAS The Levites were given the priesthood that would have belonged to all the people; they were thus mediators between the Israelites and God dwelt with Israel in the earthly tabernacle designed after the heavenly Temple. The Levitical laws taught Israel humility and holiness. The Israelites rejected God’s plan to settle in the land of Canaan, so God had them wander in the desert for the rest of their lives.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS According to the Catechism, no. 1539, what was the role of the Levitical priesthood? Levitical priests offered to God, on behalf of the Hebrews, gifts and sacrifices for sins. How was the work of the Levitical priesthood under the Mosaic Covenant (to “proclaim the Word of God and to restore communion with God by sacrifices and prayer”) like the Catholic priesthood and the Mass in the New Covenant? The Mass, presided over by a Catholic priest, consists of the proclamation of the Word of God and a re‑presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ, which restored communion between God and mankind. According the Catechism, no. 1540, what was the imperfection of Israel’s worship? It was “powerless to bring about salvation, and so needed to repeat its sacrifices ceaselessly, which only the sacrifice of Christ could accomplish. ”
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why did God give the Israelites laws to separate them from other peoples? The aim was to teach them they were different from other people, to prevent them from being infected by paganism. Why were the Israelites commanded to sacrifice often? The frequent sacrifices represented a daily killing of one or another false god; thus, the sacrifices reminded the Chosen People of their dependence on the one true God. How was the giving of the Law similar to a teenager being grounded? Many of God’s laws appear to have been punishments, but their aim was always to rehabilitate the Israelites. Good parents tighten the rules when a teenager gets into trouble to prevent him or her from making the same or similar bad choices.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) GUIDED EXERCISE Israel was severely punished for having worshiped a false god, the golden calf. Some non–Catholics might view the practice of venerating statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a form of idol worship. Read the Catechism, no. 2132 (p. 166), and then take part in a class discussion using the following question: How is veneration of a visual representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary substantially different from idol worship?
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) GUIDED EXERCISE There exist utopian political philosophies promoting the idea of a heaven on earth. Modern examples include Marxism and materialism. Some scientists are working on means to extend a person’s lifespan indefinitely. Free write in response to this question: What would be some characteristics of a heaven on earth? Share answers aloud. Discuss this question: Why is it impossible to attain complete happiness on earth?
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Book of Leviticus? Latin for of the Levites, the Hebrews called it the Manual for Priests. It was an instruction book for the Levitical priesthood. What is the intention of the Levitical laws? The purpose behind the laws in Leviticus was to teach Israel how to be a holy people. What happened to the sons of Aaron when they did not worship God in the prescribed manner? God killed them by fire.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was the purpose of the prohibition of some kinds of foods? The prohibitions made Israel different to help them remember they were to be a holy people belonging to God. What provision was made for disobeying God’s laws? There were offerings to make atonement for sins. What was unique about the way Israel was to be governed? They were not to be governed by a king but by God himself. What is the Book of Numbers? It is called Numbers in English because it numbers, or is a census of, all the tribes of Israel. Its Hebrew name is In the Wilderness because it chronicles Israel’s forty years’ wandering. It is a history of Israel’s failure to live up to the Law.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS How long did a journey from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land usually last? It usually lasted about eleven days. How was the land of Canaan described? It was “a land which flows with milk and honey” (Nm 14: 8), that is, a rich agricultural land. What did most of the Israelite spies sent into Canaan think were the chances of conquering the territory? They said it was impossible. How did the people of Israel respond to the spies’ report? They turned against Moses and complained about being brought out of Egypt only to die. Which scouts had faith Israel could possess Canaan? Joshua and Caleb believed God could deliver this land to them.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) FOCUS QUESTIONS How did the people respond to Caleb and Joshua’s confidence? They wanted to stone them. How did God give the Israelites what they wished? Since they would rather have died in the wilderness, God allowed them to remain there until all the adults had died. What was Moses’ sin? Moses struck the rock twice out of anger to bring forth water. Rather than recognize God gave them water, this implied Moses provided it.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) CLOSURE Free write for five minutes about God’s love for Israel even after her fall into idolatry.
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 8– 19 (p. 165) Practical Exercises 1– 2 (p. 165) Workbook Questions 14– 33 Read “The Constitution of Israel” through “The Tabernacle in the Wilderness” (pp. 159– 162)
2. The Consequences of Israel’s Unfaithfulness (pp. 154– 158) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Conduct a think / pair / share to compare and contrast the sins of Adam and Eve with the golden calf.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) ANTICIPATORY SET Opening prayer on Deuteronomy 30: 11– 20. Discuss this question: Which passages in this reading are temporal, i. e. , applying to the specific situation of Israel at the time, and those that are universal, i. e. , applicable to all people of all times.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) BASIC QUESTION What is the Book of Deuteronomy? KEY IDEA The Book of Deuteronomy is the book of laws Moses gave to the nation of Israel as its constitution before its entry into the Promised Land; it was an imperfect law that made concessions to the Israelites’ hard hearts and was amended as times changed.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) FOCUS QUESTIONS What does it mean to say the Hebrew people “began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab”? Moabite women introduced the Israelites to the worship of Baal of Peor, which may have included prostitution at their temples. What did God promise Phinehas? Because he punished idolaters, God promised the office of high priest would always belong to his descendants. What is the Book of Deuteronomy? It is the last book of the Pentateuch, meaning second law, a law given not directly by God but by Moses. What was the importance of Deuteronomy? It was a new constitution, or set of laws, that established Israel not as a nation of priests but as a nation‑state.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a focused reading of the paragraph “The Old Law. . . ” (p. 150) using the following question: What is the relationship between the New Law and the Old Law? Have the students repeat the Anticipatory Set from Chapter 2 (p. 24) about how Christ fulfills, refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection. Assign each group to a different passage than the first time.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) FOCUS QUESTIONS What were some of the concessions, or lower laws, Moses gave because of the Israelites’ hardness of heart? These concessions include divorce and genocide in the conquest of the Holy Land (since Israel had proved unable to live alongside idolaters). What did Ezekiel mean when he said, “I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life”? In the Book of Deuteronomy, God allowed Israel to do what they wanted within the context of the Law so they would experience the consequences of their evil deeds.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) GUIDED EXERCISE Read the Catechism, no. 1981 (p. 166). The Mosaic Law contains many truths accessible to reason that people can— but often do not—read in their own hearts. In your assigned group, explain how your Commandment accords with reason and how one could discover this obligation naturally, i. e. , “reason to it. ”
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) FOCUS QUESTIONS To whom was the Book of Deuteronomy addressed? It was given by Moses to the Israelites. When was the Book of Deuteronomy given? It was given when the Israelites had reached the River Jordan and were about to cross into the Promised Land. Why was the Book of Deuteronomy given? It was a constitution, or series of laws, for the nation to be founded.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Great Commandment? It is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and might. What is the heart of the Book of Deuteronomy? It is Chapters 12– 26, the new law for the land God gave them. Why was Moses laid in a secret grave? God gave Moses a secret grave so the Israelites could not turn Moses’ resting place into a site for idolatrous worship.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) CLOSURE Free write for five minutes about the Sacred Author, his aim, and the nature of the Book of Deuteronomy.
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Question 20 (p. 165) Practical Exercise 3 (p. 165) Workbook Questions 34– 45
3. Deuteronomy (pp. 159– 162) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT To remember the steps in the founding of Israel, use the table on page 160 comparing Israel and the United States of America to write a paragraph comparing the founding of these two nations.