August 9, 2003 – August 15, 2003
“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12.
Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 152–154.
“In receiving Christ as our Captain, there must be a complete surrender of the human will to the divine will. The Lord can work out His will through those who have made this surrender, for they give prompt and cheerful obedience to His commands. God expects us to obey without questioning. We are to ask, ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’ Then, though the command may be as stern and startling as that given to Abraham, we are to obey. Abraham’s soul was rent asunder by the command, ‘Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him for a sacrifice on one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.’ [Genesis 22:2.] But he did not hesitate to obey.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 26.
1 How did God try Abraham? Genesis 22:1, 2. Compare James 1:2–4.
note: “What is temptation?—It is the means by which those who claim to be the children of God are tested and tried. We read that God tempted Abraham, that He tempted the children of Israel. This means that He permitted circumstances to occur to test their faith, and lead them to look to Him for help. God permits temptation to come to His people today, that they may realize that He is their helper. If they draw nigh to Him when they are tempted, He strengthens them to meet the temptation. But if they yield to the enemy, neglecting to place themselves close to their Almighty Helper, they are overcome. They separate themselves from God. They do not give evidence that they walk in God’s way.” The Signs of the Times, May 27, 1897.
2 What led Abraham to comply with God’s command? Hebrews 11:17.
note: “This act of faith in Abraham is recorded for our benefit. It teaches us the great lesson of confidence in the requirements of God, however close and cutting they may be; and it teaches children perfect submission to their parents and to God. By Abraham’s obedience we are taught that nothing is too precious for us to give to God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 368.
3 What had been promised to Abraham? Genesis 13:16.
note: “As Abraham had no son, he at first thought that his trusty servant, Eliezer, should become his son by adoption, and his heir. But God informed Abraham that his servant should not be his son and heir, but that he should really have a son.” The Story of Redemption, 77.
4 Through whom had it been said that this numerous posterity should come? Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18.
note: “Isaac was the one divinely appointed to succeed him [Abraham] as the keeper of the law of God and the father of the chosen people . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 171.
5 In obeying the Lord’s command to sacrifice Isaac, what was Abraham apparently giving up? Genesis 22:17, 18; Galatians 3:16.
note: “Plain and specific prophecies had been given regarding the appearance of the Promised One. To Adam was given an assurance of the coming of the Redeemer. . . .
“To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come.” The Acts of the Apostles, 222.
6 How did Abraham think the promise could be fulfilled? Hebrews 11:19; Romans 4:17–21.
note: “Abraham believed that Isaac was the son of promise. He also believed that God meant just what he said when he bid him to go offer him as a burnt-offering. He staggered not at the promise of God; but believed that God, who had in his providence given Sarah a son in her old age, and who had required him to take that son’s life, could also give life again, and bring up Isaac from the dead.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 106.
7 Of what was the offering of Isaac a striking figure? John 3:16.
note: “The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God desired to impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to men; and in order to make the truth a reality, and to test his faith, He required Abraham to slay his darling Isaac. All the agony that Abraham endured during that dark and fearful trial was for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 1, 1900.
8 Did Abraham know of Christ and His work? John 8:54–56.
note: “Abraham had greatly desired to see the promised Saviour. He offered up the most earnest prayer that before his death he might behold the Messiah. And he saw Christ. A supernatural light was given him, and he acknowledged Christ’s divine character. He saw His day, and was glad. He was given a view of the divine sacrifice for sin. Of this sacrifice he had an illustration in his own experience. . . . Upon the altar of sacrifice he laid the son of promise [Isaac], the son in whom his hopes were centered. . . . This terrible ordeal was imposed upon Abraham that he might see the day of Christ, and realize the great love of God for the world, so great that to raise it from its degradation, He gave His only-begotten Son to a most shameful death.” The Desire of Ages, 468.
9 What important lesson must Abraham have learned from his sore trial? Romans 8:32.
note: “God justly condemns all who do not make Christ their personal Saviour; but He pardons every soul who comes to Him in faith, and enables him to work the works of God, and through faith to be one with Christ. . . . The Lord has made every provision whereby man may have full and free salvation, and be complete in Him. God designs that His children shall have the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, that all may have the light of truth. God has provided salvation for the world at infinite cost, even through the gift of His only-begotten Son. The apostle asks, [Romans 8:32 quoted]. Then if we are not saved, the fault will not be on the part of God, but on our part, that we have failed to cooperate with the divine agencies. Our will has not coincided with God’s will.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 375.
10 What did Abraham’s works do for him and for his faith? James 2:21–24.
note: “James writes of Abraham and says, [James 2:21–24 quoted]. In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.” Faith and Works, 100.
“The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works. The experience of Abraham is presented. [James 2:22 quoted.] Thus genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. Faith and obedience bring a solid, valuable experience.” The Faith I Live By, 115.
11 How should we react when trials come to us? 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
note: “Trial is part of the education given in the school of Christ, to purify God’s children from the dross of earthliness. It is because God is leading His children that trying experiences come to them. Trials and obstacles are His chosen methods of discipline, and His appointed conditions of success. He who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know them. He sees that some have qualifications which, if rightly directed, could be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances, that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to burn, that they may be purified.
“God’s care for His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon His children but such as is essential for their present and eternal good. He will purify His church, even as Christ purified the temple during His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon His people in test and trial comes that they may gain deeper piety and greater strength to carry forward the triumphs of the cross.” The Acts of the Apostles, 524, 525.
“The refining, purifying process, which is to be carried on by the Lord of hosts, . . . is most trying to the soul, but it is only through this process that the rubbish and defiling impurities can be removed. Our trials are all necessary to bring us close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. . . . You each need a new and living experience in the divine life in order to do the will of God. No amount of past experience will suffice for the present nor strengthen us to overcome the difficulties in our path. We must have new grace and fresh strength daily in order to be victorious.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 541.
12 What will be the result to the one who patiently endures trial? James 1:12.
note: “When trials come into our lives, when clouds darken the horizon, how ready we are to forget that Jesus is our Saviour, that behind the clouds the Sun of Righteousness is shining, that angels are close beside us, preserving us from harm. I would say to the despairing, Look and live. Hope thou in God, for on Calvary’s cross a complete sacrifice was offered for you. Jesus is the sinner’s Friend, the sinner’s Redeemer. Eternal joy—a life of undimmed happiness—awaits the one who surrenders all to Christ. Look away from yourself to Jesus, who is pleading before the throne of God in your behalf. Listen to His words, ‘Come unto me, . . . and I will give you rest.’ ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (Matthew 11:28; John 6:37). With the hand of faith grasp the promises of God. Appropriate these blessings to yourself, not at some future time, but today.” In Heavenly Places, 262.