October 29 – November 4
“Lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God” (Isaiah 40:9)!
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 150–163.
“The prophet [Isaiah] exalted God as Creator of all. His message to the cities of Judah was, ‘Behold your God’ (Isaiah 40:9)!” Prophets and Kings, 315.
1 PEACEFUL, UNDERLYING HOPE
- What was Isaiah told to expect in the call he had accepted? Isaiah 6:9–12. What assurance was he to cherish nonetheless? Verse 13; 10:20, 21.
Note: “His [Isaiah’s] burden of soul in behalf of erring Judah was not to be borne in vain. His mission was not to be wholly fruitless. … Throughout his lifetime he must be a patient, courageous teacher—a prophet of hope as well as of doom. The divine purpose finally accomplished, the full fruitage of his efforts, and of the labors of all God’s faithful messengers, would appear. A remnant should be saved.” Prophets and Kings, 308, 309.
- Name some key concepts the prophet emphasized—and why such uplifting themes can inspire us with hope. Isaiah 40:9, 13–15, 21–31.
Note: “The stars also have a message of good cheer for every human being. In those hours that come to all, when the heart is faint and temptation presses sore; when obstacles seem insurmountable, life’s aims impossible of achievement, its fair promises like apples of Sodom; where, then, can such courage and steadfastness be found as in that lesson which God has bidden us learn from the stars in their untroubled course?” Education, 115.
2 THE HEART BEHIND THE CLOUD
- Throughout the history of the world, what misconception about God’s character has always needed to be clarified? Ezekiel 18:25; Isaiah 55:8, 9.
Note: “In Isaiah’s day the spiritual understanding of mankind was dark through misapprehension of God. Long had Satan sought to lead men to look upon their Creator as the author of sin and suffering and death. Those whom he had thus deceived, imagined that God was hard and exacting. They regarded Him as watching to denounce and condemn, unwilling to receive the sinner so long as there was a legal excuse for not helping him. The law of love by which heaven is ruled had been misrepresented by the archdeceiver as a restriction upon men’s happiness, a burdensome yoke from which they should be glad to escape. He declared that its precepts could not be obeyed and that the penalties of transgression were bestowed arbitrarily.
“In losing sight of the true character of Jehovah, the Israelites were without excuse. Often had God revealed Himself to them as one ‘full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth’ (Psalm 86:15).” Prophets and Kings, 311.
- What genuine picture about God do we too often forget? Isaiah 49:13–16.
Note: “When we seem to doubt God’s love and distrust His promises we dishonor Him and grieve His Holy Spirit. How would a mother feel if her children were constantly complaining of her, just as though she did not mean them well, when her whole life’s effort had been to forward their interests and to give them comfort? Suppose they should doubt her love; it would break her heart. How would any parent feel to be thus treated by his children? And how can our heavenly Father regard us when we distrust His love, which has led Him to give His only-begotten Son that we might have life? [Romans 8:32 quoted.] And yet how many, by their actions, if not in word, are saying, ‘The Lord does not mean this for me. Perhaps He loves others, but He does not love me.’
“All this is harming your own soul; for every word of doubt you utter is inviting Satan’s temptations; it is strengthening in you the tendency to doubt, and it is grieving from you the ministering angels. When Satan tempts you, breathe not a word of doubt or darkness.” Steps to Christ, 118, 119.
3 A LOVING INVITATION
- What did Isaiah reveal as God’s plan for His wayward people? Isaiah 41:14; 48:4, 8–11.
Note: “The heart of Infinite Love yearns after those who feel powerless to free themselves from the snares of Satan; and He graciously offers to strengthen them to live for Him. …
“The inhabitants of Judah were all undeserving, yet God would not give them up. By them His name was to be exalted among the heathen. Many who were wholly unacquainted with His attributes were yet to behold the glory of the divine character. It was for the purpose of making plain His merciful designs that He kept sending His servants the prophets with the message, ‘Turn ye again now everyone from his evil way’ (Jeremiah 25:5). …
“The call to repentance was sounded with unmistakable clearness, and all were invited to return.” Prophets and Kings, 316, 319.
- What glorious assurances are given to each one of us if we would only accept them? Isaiah 55:6, 7; 44:21, 22.
Note: “Have you, reader, chosen your own way? Have you wandered far from God? Have you sought to feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them turn to ashes upon your lips? And now, your life plans thwarted and your hopes dead, do you sit alone and desolate? That voice which has long been speaking to your heart, but to which you would not listen, comes to you distinct and clear, ‘Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction’ (Micah 2:10). Return to your Father’s house. …
“Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better, until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of the Saviour, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37). Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.” Prophets and Kings, 319, 320.
4 HUMBLE BEFORE GOD AND ONE ANOTHER
- Explain the transition God wants His people to make from idolatry and pride, to become children of one heavenly Father. Isaiah 57:13–21.
Note: “Let not pride, or self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep any one from confessing his sins, that he may claim the promise: ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13). Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them. …
“It is a lamentable fact that the erring heart is unwilling to be criticised [sic], or to subject itself to humiliation by the confession of sin. Some see their faults, but thinking confession will detract from their dignity, they excuse their wrong, and shield themselves from the discipline that confession would give to the soul. … They see the errors of others; but how can they have courage to give the advice, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed’ (James 5:16), when they have failed to follow this instruction in their own lives? How much will ministers or people learn of a truth which they thrust aside, and forget if possible, because it is not agreeable; because it does not flatter their pride, but reproves and pains? … They must hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Christ, the illumination of the Holy Spirit.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 239, 240.
- How can we better cooperate with the Holy Spirit to be part of the Lord’s great plan? Isaiah 59:20, 21.
Note: “Sin must not be cherished. This is a time when the love of many is waxing cold, and any defection on your part may encourage others in a wrong course, and lead to many and grievous transgressions. Do not set an example of lukewarmness; do not turn away from testimonies of the Spirit of God. We are intrusted with a solemn message to give to the world, and there is much at stake. We cannot be safe amid the temptations that surround us in these times of peril, without constantly watching unto prayer. We must guard against accepting a low standard of our own instead of the high Bible standard of character.” Gospel Workers (1892), 462.
5 LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS
- What gracious invitation given to the inhabitants of Judah echoes down to us today? Isaiah 27:5.
Note: “It is Satan’s special device to lead man into sin, and then leave him, helpless and trembling, fearing to seek for pardon. But why should we fear. … Every provision has been made for our infirmities, every encouragement offered us to come to Christ. …
“Christ has pledged Himself to be our substitute and surety, and He neglects no one. He who could not see human beings exposed to eternal ruin without pouring out His soul unto death in their behalf, will look with pity and compassion upon every soul who realizes that he cannot save himself.
“He will look upon no trembling suppliant without raising him up. He who through His own atonement provided for man an infinite fund of moral power, will not fail to employ this power in our behalf. We may take our sins and sorrows to His feet; for He loves us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 156, 157.
- With what words does Isaiah describe the experience that is to be ours? Isaiah 12:1–6.
Note: “Oh, how many times has your heart been touched with the beauty of the Saviour’s countenance, charmed with the loveliness of His character, and subdued with the thought of His suffering. Now He wants you to lean your whole weight upon Him.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 232.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why was Isaiah able to minister to his people with hope?
2 How are we to avoid being duped by common misconceptions about God?
3 Why does God bother to call proud, stubborn people to repentance?
4 We may confess our sins to God, but how is James 5:16 often neglected?
5 Despite Satan’s claims, why did God want us to study this week’s lesson?