May 17, 2015 – May 23, 2015
“To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” Hebrews 3:7, 8.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 387–394.
“When men yield their hearts to unbelief, they place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to what lengths he will lead them.” The Review and Herald, October 29, 1903.
1 FAITH SEVERELY TESTED
- What report manifested a lack of faith by the children of Israel, and why? Deuteronomy 1:21; Numbers 13:1, 2, 17–20, 27–32.
Note: “The people did not wait to reflect; they did not reason that He who had brought them thus far would certainly give them the land; they did not call to mind how wonderfully God had delivered them from their oppressors, cutting a path through the sea and destroying the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. They left God out of the question, and acted as though they must depend solely on the power of arms.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 388.
- How did the Israelites show, by their unbelief, that they were unprepared to take the land? Deuteronomy 1:26; Numbers 14:1–4. How does unbelief interfere with evangelism today? Hebrews 3:16–19.
Note: “The false report of the unfaithful spies was accepted, and through it the whole congregation were deluded. … There were only two advocating the right, while ten were on the side of rebellion.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 390.
2 “WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING”
- How did God test Moses’ love for Israel yet again? Numbers 14:11, 12, 19, 20. How will a true soul winner plead for sinners? Joel 2:17.
- What was the reaction of the people when Moses communicated to them the decision of the Lord? Numbers 14:33–35, 39, 40.
Note: “The Lord had never commanded them to ‘go up and fight’ (Deuteronomy 1:41). It was not His purpose that they should gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to His commands.
“Though their hearts were unchanged, the people had been brought to confess the sinfulness and folly of their rebellion at the report of the spies. They now saw the value of the blessing which they had so rashly cast away. They confessed that it was their own unbelief which had shut them out from Canaan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 392.
- What happened when the Israelites tried to undertake the conquest of Canaan, and why? Numbers 14:41–45. How may we be tempted to repeat their mistake? John 15:5.
Note: “They [the Israelites] had distrusted the power of God to work with their efforts in gaining possession of Canaan; yet now they presumed upon their own strength to accomplish the work independent of divine aid. ‘We have sinned against the Lord,’ they cried; ‘we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us’ (Deuteronomy 1:41). So terribly blinded had they become by transgression. The Lord had never commanded them to ‘go up and fight.’ It was not His purpose that they should gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to His commands.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 392.
3 FORTY YEARS LATER, EARLY EVANGELISM IN CANAAN
- Forty years later, in preparing for the conquest of Jericho, what did Joshua do, and why? Joshua 2:1, first part.
Note: “A few miles beyond the [Jordan] river, just opposite the place where the Israelites were encamped, was the large and strongly fortified city of Jericho. This city was virtually the key to the whole country, and it would present a formidable obstacle to the success of Israel. Joshua therefore sent two young men as spies to visit this city and ascertain something as to its population, its resources, and the strength of its fortifications.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 482.
“As on the occasion of the taking of Jericho, not one of the armies of Israel could boast of exercising their finite strength to overthrow the walls of the city, but the Captain of the Lord’s host planned that battle in the greatest simplicity, that the Lord alone should receive the glory and man should not be exalted.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2. 995.
- To what danger were the two spies exposed, and who sheltered them? Joshua 2:1, second part, 2.
Note: “The inhabitants of the city [of Jericho], terrified and suspicious, were constantly on the alert, and the messengers were in great danger.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 482, 483.
- According to Rahab’s report, how did she and the people in general react when news about the power of God reached Jericho? Joshua 2:9–11.
- What report did the spies bring, and with what result? Joshua 2:22–24.
Note: “Orders were now issued to make ready for an advance. The people were to prepare a three days’ supply of food, and the army was to be put in readiness for battle. All heartily acquiesced in the plans of their leader and assured him of their confidence and support.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 483.
4 SEEKING THE LOST, DOOR TO DOOR
- What was God’s main purpose in directing the two spies to Rahab’s house? Joshua 2:12–16; Hebrews 11:31.
Note: “It was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite, and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God, were to unite themselves with His chosen people.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 290.
- How did the Spirit of God direct Peter to a Gentile home where precious souls were waiting to be “added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:24)? Acts 10:11–15, 19–28.
Note: “Come close to the people; get into the families when you can; do not wait for the people to hunt up the shepherd. Bear with you the confidence and assurance of faith which evidences that you are not trusting in idle tales but in a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ …
“There are numbers of families who will never be reached by the truth of God’s Word unless the stewards of the manifold grace of Christ enter their homes, and by earnest ministry, sanctified by the endorsement of the Holy Spirit, break down the barriers and enter the hearts of the people. As the people see that these workers are messengers of mercy, the ministers of grace, they are ready to listen to the words spoken by them. But the hearts of those who do this work must throb in unison with the heart of Christ. They must be wholly consecrated to the service of God, ready to do His bidding, to go wheresoever His providence leads them, and speak the words He gives them.” Evangelism, 158, 159.
- What fact is revealed by a comparison between the days of Noah, the days of Lot in Sodom, and the last days of Jericho? Luke 13:23, 24; II Peter 2:5–9; Joshua 6:17.
5 “WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH …”
- What did Christ mean in Matthew 21:28–31 when He rebuked the chief priests and elders of the people?
Note: “The Saviour never passed by one soul, however sunken in sin, who was willing to receive the precious truths of heaven. To publicans and harlots His words were the beginning of a new life.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 129.
- How are we to follow His example in missionary lines? Mark 16:15.
Note: “We are to show to the world and to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate the wonderful love of God for fallen humanity and that we are expecting larger and yet larger blessings from His infinite fullness. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience. …
“These exercises drive back the power of Satan. They expel the spirit of murmuring and complaint, and the tempter loses ground. They cultivate those attributes of character which will fit the dwellers on earth for the heavenly mansions.
“Such a testimony will have an influence upon others. No more effective means can be employed for winning souls to Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 299, 300.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How did the Israelites react when they heard the report of the twelve spies?
2 How did Moses show that his love was still with the people?
3 Forty years later, why were only two spies sent?
4 Why were the two spies directed to the specific home of Rahab?
5 How is history often repeated today while our missionaries are looking for lost people who need salvation?
© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.