July 8, 2012 – July 14, 2012
“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 124–133.
“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” The General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1893.
- What was a very old custom among God’s people when extraordinary events took place, and why? I Samuel 7:12; Joshua 4:5–7; Malachi 3:16.
Note: “Every deliverance, every blessing, that God in the past has granted to His people, should be kept fresh in memory’s hall as a sure pledge of further and richer, increasing blessings that He will bestow. The Lord’s blessings are adapted to the needs of His people.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1183.
- Why is the study of history so important? Ecclesiastes 1:9; Romans 15:4.
Note: “Every part of the Bible is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. The Old Testament no less than the New should receive attention. As we study the Old Testament we shall find living springs bubbling up where the careless reader discerns only a desert.” Education, 191.
“The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God’s dealing with men are ever the same.” The Great Controversy, 343.
2 ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS
- What specific Bible history is symbolic of God’s people approaching the final days of earth’s history? I Corinthians 10:6–15.
Note: “The experience of Christians in these days is much like the travels of ancient Israel. Please read I Corinthians 10, especially from the 6th to the 15th verse.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 284.
- How did Satan manage to bar Israel from entering the Promised Land? What was his aim, and how is this a warning to us? Hebrews 3:9–12, 16, 17.
Note: “Satan was determined to keep his hold on the land of Canaan, and when it was made the habitation of the children of Israel, and the law of God was made the law of the land, he hated Israel with a cruel and malignant hatred and plotted their destruction. Through the agency of evil spirits strange gods were introduced; and because of transgression, the chosen people were finally scattered from the Land of Promise.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 688, 689.
“The sin of unbelief, by which their confidence in the Son of God was destroyed, led Israel far astray. At the very time when they should have been praising God and magnifying the name of the Lord, talking of His goodness, telling of His power, they were found in unbelief, and full of murmuring and complaint. The deceiver was seeking through every means possible to sow discord among them, to create envy and hatred in their hearts against Moses, and to stir up rebellion against God.” The Signs of the Times, April 25, 1895.
“Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining.
“Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293, 294.
3 A SEPARATED PEOPLE
- Since God’s principles are distinct from the principles of the world, what is He calling for among us? Amos 3:3; II Corinthians 6:14–17; Mark 14:38.
Note: “Our holy faith cries out, Separation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 240.
“Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise.” Ibid., vol. 2, 441.
“This history [of evil spirits introducing strange gods to cause God’s chosen people to transgress] Satan is striving to repeat in our day. God is leading His people out from the abominations of the world, that they may keep His law; and because of this, the rage of ‘the accuser of our brethren’ knows no bounds. … The antitypical land of promise is just before us, and Satan is determined to destroy the people of God and cut them off from their inheritance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 689.
- What is the result of voluntary unity with the world? James 4:4.
Note: “Whoever voluntarily enters into such [ungodly] relations will feel it necessary to conform, to some degree, to the habits and customs of his companions. The time thus spent is worse than wasted. Thoughts are entertained and words are spoken that tend to break down the strongholds of principle and to weaken the citadel of the soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 563.
“To parents who are living in the cities, the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the cities as fast as possible.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 400.
- What question should we ask ourselves? II Corinthians 13:5.
Note: “It is the duty of every child of God to inquire: ‘Wherein am I separate from the world?’ Let us suffer a little inconvenience, and be on the safe side.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 278.
4 THE MODERN RED SEA
- Why was Israel’s 40-year wilderness wandering needed? Numbers 32:11–13.
Note: “They [most of the Israelites] had complained at nothing, and now God gave them cause to weep. Had they mourned for their sin when it was faithfully laid before them, this sentence [to wander in the wilderness for forty years] would not have been pronounced.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 392.
- What marked the entrance into Israel’s time of testing in the wilderness, and what marked its conclusion? Exodus 14:21, 22, 29–30; Joshua 3:15–17; 4:18. How is this paralleled in the history of the Advent believers?
Note: “The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body. God led His people in the advent movement, even as He led the children of Israel from Egypt. In the great disappointment their faith was tested as was that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Had they still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen the salvation of God. If all who had labored unitedly in the work in 1844, had received the third angel’s message and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts. A flood of light would have been shed upon the world. Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of His people.
“It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But ‘they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning and find in Him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out.” The Great Controversy, 457, 458.
5 SIMILAR TRIALS
- What types of issues will the people of God be facing in these last days? Numbers 11:4; I Corinthians 10:6.
Note: “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief’ [Hebrews 4:6]. Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.
“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Evangelism, 696.
- Lust was the problem the Israelites faced in the wilderness (I Corinthians 10:6). In this context, what lust will we be facing in our time? Philippians 3:19; I Samuel 15:23.
Note: “When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people. Let us look at the means by which He would accomplish this. He subjected them to a course of discipline, which, had it been cheerfully followed, would have resulted in good, both to themselves and to their posterity. He removed flesh food from them in a great measure. He had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors, just before reaching Sinai, but it was furnished for only one day. God might have provided flesh as easily as manna, but a restriction was placed upon the people for their good. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many of them had been accustomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man—the fruits of the earth, which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 377, 378.
“With the history of the children of Israel before us, let us take heed, and not be found committing the same sins, following in the same way of unbelief and rebellion.” The Review and Herald, April 18, 1893.
THOUGHT AND REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can the study of history be of great value to us?
2 What Bible history is cited as a type for God’s church in the last days?
3 How does voluntary association with unbelievers affect believers?
4 What event in the history of modern Israel compares to the crossing of the Red Sea?
5 What are the sins that delay the second coming of Christ?
“It was not the teaching of the schools of Egypt that enabled Moses to triumph over his enemies, but an ever-abiding, unflinching faith, a faith that did not fail under the most trying circumstances. At the command of God, Moses advanced, although apparently there was nothing ahead for his feet to tread upon. More than a million people were depending on him, and he led them forward step by step, day by day. God permitted these lonely travels through the wilderness that His people might obtain an experience in enduring hardship, and that when they were in peril they might know that there was relief and deliverance in God alone. Thus they might learn to know and to trust God, and to serve Him with a living faith.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 408, 409.
“Temptations will come to us in the most seductive guise, but it is at our peril that we turn from the plain command of God to follow the assertions of men. To follow the word of the Lord, to embrace the truth, involves cross-bearing and self-denial; but it is not safe to do otherwise than to bear the cross. As you see the light, walk in the light. Let a solemn, unalterable purpose take possession of you, and resolve in the strength and grace of God, that henceforth you will live for Him, and that no earthly consideration shall persuade you to disown the divine law of ten commandments, and thus disown your Saviour and your God. Seek your counsel of God, and you will find that the path of obedience to His commandments is the path of the just, that ‘shineth more and more unto the perfect day’ [Proverbs 4:18].
“The first step in the path of obedience is to surrender the will to God. This may seem a difficult thing to do; for Satan will present every possible objection, and will manufacture difficulties, and magnify perplexities before the mind; but take the first step, and the next step on the ladder of progress will be easier. The ladder of progress must be climbed round by round; but God is above the ladder, and His glory will illuminate every step of advancement. The path of faith and self-denial is an upward path; its way is heavenward, and as you advance, the misleading clouds of doubt and evil will be left behind.” The Review and Herald, October 9, 1894.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.