May 15, 2004 – May 21, 2004
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Proverbs 1:8
Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 203, 204; Testimonies, vol. 1, 697–706; vol. 2, 414–419; vol. 3, 527–534.
“Upon fathers and mothers rest to a large degree the responsibility for the mold of character that their children receive. . . . If parents will teach their children to conduct themselves according to the principles of the Word of God, these children will unconsciously teach others what it means to be Christians. Let parents maintain true Christian dignity before their children, and they will be greatly aided in their work of upbuilding the kingdom of Christ.” This Day With God, 307.
1 What instruction is given to the husband and wife in the home? Ephesians 5:22–25, 28–33.
note: “Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward His church is the spirit that the husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. If they love God supremely, they will love each other in the Lord, ever treating each other courteously, drawing in even cords. In their mutual self-denial and self-sacrifice they will be a blessing to each other. . . .” The Adventist Home, 95.
2 What admonition is given parents in reference to their children? Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21.
note: “The children in every family are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Evil propensities are to be controlled, evil tempers subdued; and the children are to be instructed that they are the Lord’s property, bought with His own precious blood, and that they cannot live a life of pleasure and vanity, have their own will and carry out their own ideas, and yet be numbered among the children of God. The children are to be instructed with kindness and patience. . . . Let the parents teach them of the love of God in such a way that it will be a pleasant theme in the family circle, and let the church take upon them the responsibility of feeding the lambs as well as the sheep of the flock.” Child Guidance, 42.
3 What instruction is given children concerning their duty toward their parents? Exodus 20:12; Colossians 3:20. Compare Ephesians 6:1, 2.
note: “Our obligation to our parents never ceases. Our love for them, and theirs for us, is not measured by years or distance, and our responsibility can never be set aside. . . .
“Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. . . . The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age.” My Life Today, 278.
4 What further admonition is given children in this matter by Solomon? Proverbs 1:8; 13:1.
note: “This young man has made light of his father’s authority, and despised restraint. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It lies at the foundation of a proper education. Those who, having a favorable opportunity, have failed to learn this first great lesson, are not only disqualified for service in the cause of God, but are a positive injury to the community in which they live.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 208.
“Patiently and perseveringly will the godly mother instruct her children, giving them line upon line, and precept upon precept, not in a harsh, compelling manner, but in love; and in tenderness will she win them. They will consider her lessons of love, and will happily listen to her words of instruction.” Review and Herald, August 8, 1899.
5 What example of obedience to and care of parents is left by the Saviour? Luke 2:51; John 19:25–27.
note: “Notwithstanding the sacred mission of Christ, His exalted relationship with God, of which He was fully aware, He was not above performing the practical duties of life. He was the Creator of the world, and yet He acknowledged His obligation to His earthly parents, and at the call of duty, in compliance with the wishes of His parents, He returned with them from Jerusalem after the Passover, and was subject unto them.” Lift Him Up, 32.
“The eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude that had collected together to witness His death, and He saw at the foot of the cross John supporting Mary, the mother of Christ. . . . The last lesson of Jesus was one of filial love. He looked upon the grief-stricken face of His mother, and then upon John; said He, addressing the former: ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ Then, to the disciple: ‘Behold thy mother!’ John 19:27. John well understood the words of Jesus, and the sacred trust which was committed to him. . . . The perfect example of Christ’s filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. While enduring the keenest torture, He was not forgetful of His mother, but made all provision necessary for her future.” The Story of Redemption, 224.
6 How should the youth regard the aged? Leviticus 19:32; 1 Timothy 5:1. Compare 11 Kings 2:23, 24.
note: “God has especially enjoined tender respect toward the aged. He says, ‘The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.’ Proverbs 16:31. It tells of battles fought, and victories gained; of burdens borne, and temptations resisted. It tells of weary feet nearing their rest, of places soon to be vacant. Help the children to think of this, and they will smooth the path of the aged by their courtesy and respect, and will bring grace and beauty into their young lives . . . .” Education, 244.
“We have in our ranks too many who are restless, talkative, self-commending, and who take the liberty to put themselves forward, having no reverence for age, experience, or office. The church is suffering today for help of an opposite character—modest, quiet, God-fearing men, who will bear disagreeable burdens when laid upon them, not for the name, but to render service to their Master, who died for them. Persons of this character do not think it detracts from their dignity to rise up before the ancient and to treat gray hairs with respect. Our churches need weeding out. Too much self-exaltation and self-sufficiency exists among the members.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 340.
7 What important counsel is given the young in Ecclesiastes 12:1? See also Lamentations 3:27.
note: “Teach your children that youth is the best time to seek the Lord. Then the burdens of life are not heavy upon them, and their young minds are not harassed with care, and while so free they should devote the best of their strength to God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 397.
“Children and youth should begin early to seek God; for early habits and impressions will frequently exert a powerful influence upon the life and character. Therefore the youth who would be like Samuel, John, and especially like Christ, must be faithful in the things which are least, turning away from the companions who plan evil and who think that their life in the world is to be one of pleasure and selfish indulgence. Many of the little home duties are overlooked as of no consequence; but if the small things are neglected, the larger duties will be also. You want to be whole men and women, with pure, sound, noble characters. Begin the work at home; take up the little duties and do them with thoroughness and exactness. When the Lord sees you are faithful in that which is least, He will entrust you with larger responsibilities. Be careful how you build, and what kind of material you put into the building. The characters you are now forming will be lasting as eternity.” The Adventist Home, 297.
8 What reminder is also given to the youth? Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10; 12:14.
note: “Dear young friends, that which you sow, you will also reap. Now is the sowing time for you. What will the harvest be? What are you sowing? Every word you utter, every act you perform, is a seed which will bear good or evil fruit and will result in joy or sorrow to the sower. As is the seed sown, so will be the crop. God has given you great light and many privileges. After this light has been given, after your dangers have been plainly presented before you, the responsibility becomes yours. The manner in which you treat the light that God gives you will turn the scale for happiness or woe. You are shaping your destinies for yourselves.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 363.
“A little time spent in sowing your wild oats, dear young friends, will produce a crop that will embitter your whole life; an hour of thoughtlessness, once yielding to temptation, may turn the whole current of your life in the wrong direction. You can have but one youth; make that useful. When once you have passed over the ground you can never return to rectify your mistakes. He who refuses to connect with God, and puts himself in the way of temptation, will surely fall. God is testing every youth.” Ibid., vol. 4, 622, 623.
9 What will aid the young to live a Christian life? Psalm 119:9, 11.
note: “We know the dangers and temptations that beset the youth at the present time are not few or small. . . . We live in an age when to resist evil calls for constant watchfulness and prayer. God’s precious Word is the standard for youth who would be loyal to the King of heaven. Let them study the Scriptures. Let them commit text after text to memory, and acquire a knowledge of what the Lord has said. . . . And in trial let the youth spread out the Word of God before them, and with humble hearts, and in faith, seek the Lord for wisdom to find out His way, and for strength to walk in it. . . .” My Life Today, 315.
10 How may all obtain true knowledge? Proverbs 2:1–6.
note: “We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention. There are matters that consume time and arouse inquiry, but end in nothing. The highest interests demand the close attention and energy that are so often given to comparatively insignificant things.
“Accepting new theories does not in itself bring new life to the soul. Even an acquaintance with facts and theories important in themselves is of little value unless put to a practical use. We need to feel our responsibility to give our souls food that will nourish and stimulate spiritual life. [Proverbs 2:2–11, A.R.V.; 3:18 quoted.]
“The question for us to study is, ‘What is truth—the truth that is to be cherished, loved, honored, and obeyed?’ ” The Ministry of Healing, 456.
11 What does the Lord ask of the young? Proverbs 23:26.
note: “The Saviour of the world loves to have children and youth give their hearts to Him. There may be a large army of children who shall be found faithful to God, because they walk in the light, as Christ is in the light. They will love the Lord Jesus, and it will be their delight to please Him. They will not be impatient if reproved; but will make glad the heart of father and mother by their kindness, their patience, their willingness to do all they can in helping to bear the burdens of daily life. Through childhood and youth, they will be found faithful disciples of our Lord.” Messages to Young People, 333.
12 What great work is to be wrought in homes before the Lord comes? Malachi 4:5, 6.
note: “I [Ellen White] am instructed to urge upon our people most earnestly the necessity of religion in the home. Among the members of the household there is ever to be a kind, thoughtful consideration. Morning and evening let all hearts be united in reverent worship. At the season of evening worship, let every member of the family search well his own heart. Let every wrong that has been committed be made right. If, during the day, one has wronged another, or spoken unkindly, let the transgressor seek pardon of the one he has injured. Often grievances are cherished in the mind, and misunderstandings and heartaches are created that need not be. If the one who is suspected of wrong be given an opportunity, he might be able to make explanations that would bring relief to other members of the family.
“ ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,’ that ye may be healed of all spiritual infirmities, that sinful dispositions may be changed. Make diligent work for eternity. Pray most earnestly to the Lord, and hold fast to the faith. Trust not in the arm of flesh, but trust implicitly in the Lord’s guidance.” Review and Herald, November 8, 1906.