August 9, 2009 – August 15, 2009
“And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live.” Ezekiel 16:6.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 450, 451; Steps to Christ, 23–36.
“God’s mercy to those who sincerely repent and come to Him through Christ, knows no limit. He will pardon the most guilty, and purify the most polluted.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 341.
1 Through what allegory did God depict the birth of the Jewish nation and His compassion on their pitiful state? Ezekiel 16:1–7.
2 What description portrays God’s covenant with His people? Ezekiel 16:8 (cf. Ruth 3:9); II Corinthians 11:2.
Note: “Christ left His heavenly home, and came to this world, to show that only by being connected with divinity can man keep the law of God. In itself humanity is tainted and corrupted; but Christ brought moral power to man, and those who live in communion with him overcome as he overcame. We are not left in this world as orphans; Christ has united fallen man to the infinite God. He has opened a way for our prayers to ascend to God, and the fragrance of his righteousness ascends with the prayer of every repentant sinner.” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.
“In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His and His alone.” The Great Controversy, 381.
3 Why did God become disappointed at the behavior of His people on many occasions? Ezekiel 16:13–15, 30, 32.
Note: “The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow.” The Great Controversy, 381.
4 How does Inspiration denounce the moral fall of the popular churches today? Revelation 17:1–5; 18:1–4.
Note: “It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation. …
“The people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. … But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel—the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly.” The Great Controversy, 382, 383.
5 What practice had crept into Israel, provoking God’s wrath? Ezekiel 16:20, 21. How had He warned against this evil? Leviticus 18:21; 20:2, 3.
Note: “While the Israelites were in Egyptian bondage, they were surrounded by idolatry. The Egyptians had received traditions in regard to sacrificing. They did not acknowledge the existence of the God of heaven. They sacrificed to their idol gods. With great pomp and ceremony they performed their idol worship. They erected altars to the honor of their gods, and they required even their own children to pass through the fire. After they had erected their altars, they required their children to leap over the altars through the fire. If they could do this without their being burned, the idol priests and people received it as an evidence that their god accepted their offerings, and favored especially the person who passed through the fiery ordeal. He was loaded with benefits, and was ever afterward greatly esteemed by all the people. He was never allowed to be punished, however aggravating might be his crimes. If another person who leaped through the fire was so unfortunate as to be burned, then his fate was fixed; for they thought that their gods were angry, and would be appeased with nothing short of the unhappy victim’s life, and he was offered up as a sacrifice upon their idol altars.
“Even some of the children of Israel had so far degraded themselves as to practice these abominations, and God caused the fire to kindle upon their children, whom they made to pass through the fire. They did not go to all the lengths of the heathen nations; but God deprived them of their children by causing the fire to consume them in the act of passing through it.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1119.
6 In what ways may we be in danger of practicing similar abominations today? James 4:4; I John 2:15–17.
Note: “Fathers and mothers who should understand the responsibility which rests upon them relax their discipline to meet the inclinations of their growing sons and daughters. The will of the child is the law recognized. Mothers who have been firm, consistent, and unbending in their adherence to principle, maintaining simplicity and fidelity, become indulgent as their children merge into manhood and womanhood. In their love of display they give their children to Satan with their own hands, like the apostate Jews making them pass through the fire to Molech.” Child Guidance, 277.
“Children are not to be trained to be the devotees of society. They are not to be sacrificed to Molech, but they are to become members of the Lord’s family. Parents are to be filled with the compassion of Christ, that they may work for the salvation of the souls that are placed under their influence. They are not to have their minds all engrossed in the fashions and practices of the world. They are not to educate their children to attend parties and concerts and dances, to have and attend feasts, because after this manner the Gentiles walk.” Ibid., 181.
7 How can we protect our children from the evils of Sodom? Ezekiel 16:49, 50. Why should we remember God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha? Jude 5–7.
Note: “Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation which the enemy suggests, but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to control. The mind, when not properly occupied, dwells upon improper things. Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 395.
“The reason the youth have so little strength of brain and muscle is because they do so little in the line of useful labor.” Ibid., vol. 4, 96.
“The misuse or nonuse of the physical powers is largely responsible for the tide of corruption that is overspreading the world. ‘Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness,’ [Ezekiel 16:49] are as deadly foes to human progress in this generation as when they led to the destruction of Sodom.” Education, 209.
8 What was God constrained to declare about the rebellious nation that had betrayed His every sacred trust? Ezekiel 17:11–20.
Note: “The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching. No longer could the Lord set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments.” Prophets and Kings, 450.
9 How did God reveal His mercy toward those who would humble their souls in true contrition? Ezekiel 17:22–24.
Note: “It was still the Lord’s purpose, as it had been from the beginning, that His people should be a praise in the earth, to the glory of His name. During the long years of their exile He had given them many opportunities to return to their allegiance to Him. Some had chosen to listen and to learn; some had found salvation in the midst of affliction. Many of these were to be numbered among the remnant that should return. They were likened by Inspiration to ‘the highest branch of the high cedar,’ which was to be planted ‘upon an high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel.’ Ezekiel 17:22, 23.” Prophets and Kings, 599.
10 What future plan did God have for the faithful remnant? Ezekiel 16:60–63; Jeremiah 31:33; Galatians 3:29.
Note: “All who became the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen.” The Desire of Ages, 107.
“Every soul has a heaven to win, and a hell to shun. And the angelic agencies are all ready to come to the help of the tried and tempted soul. He, the Son of the infinite God, endured the test and trial in our behalf. The cross of Calvary stands vividly before every soul. When the cases of all are judged, and they [the lost] are delivered to suffer for their contempt for God and their disregard of His honor in their disobedience, not one will have an excuse, not one will need to have perished. It was left to their own choice who should be their prince, Christ or Satan. All the help Christ received, every man may receive in the great trial. The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul. We can conquer the satanic agencies, or we can join ourselves with the powers that seek to counterwork the work of God in our world. …
“We have an Advocate pleading in our behalf. The Holy Ghost is continually engaged in beholding our course of action. We need now keen perception, that by our own practical godliness the truth may be made to appear truth as it is in Jesus. The angelic agencies are messengers from heaven, actually ascending and descending, keeping earth in constant connection with the heaven above. These angel messengers are observing all our course of action. They are ready to help all in their weakness, guarding all from moral and physical danger according to the providence of God. And whenever souls yield to the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God under these angel ministrations, there is joy in heaven; the Lord Himself rejoices with singing.
“Men take altogether too much glory to themselves. It is the work of heavenly agencies cooperating with human agencies according to God’s plan that brings the result in the conversion and sanctification of the human character. We cannot see and could not endure the glory of angelic ministrations if their glory was not veiled in condescension to the weakness of our human nature. The blaze of the heavenly glory, as seen in the angels of light, would extinguish earthly mortals. Angels are working upon human minds just as these minds are given to their charge; they bring precious remembrances fresh before the mind as they did to the women about the sepulcher.
“A created instrumentality is used in heaven’s organized plan for the renewing of our nature, working in the children of disobedience obedience unto God. The guardianship of the heavenly host is granted to all who will work in God’s ways and follow His plans. We may in earnest, contrite prayer call the heavenly helpers to our side. Invisible armies of light and power will work with the humble, meek, and lowly one.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 96, 97.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.