August 28, 1999 – September 3, 1999
MEMORY VERSE: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” Job 38:4.
STUDY HELP: Job 38–41.
“God’s handiwork in nature is not God Himself in nature. The things of nature are an expression of God’s character and power; but we are not to regard nature as God. The artistic skill of human beings produces very beautiful workmanship, things that delight the eye, and these things reveal to us something of the thought of the designer; but the thing made is not the maker. It is not the work, but the workman, that is counted worthy of honor. So while nature is an expression of God’s thought, it is not nature, but the God of nature, that is to be exalted.” Ministry of Healing, 413.
“ASK NOW THE BEASTS, AND THEY SHALL TEACH THEE”
What can we learn from studying the animals, birds and fish? Job 12:7–10.
NOTE: “Since He [Jesus] gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God’s word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God’s created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man.” Desire of Ages, 70.
What valuable practical lessons can be learned from God’s creatures? Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:24–28.
NOTE: “We are not merely to tell the child about these creatures of God. The animals themselves are to be his teachers. The ants teach lessons of patient industry, of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of providence for the future. And the birds are teachers of the sweet lesson of trust. Our heavenly Father provides for them; but they must gather the food, they must build their nests and rear their young. Every moment they are exposed to enemies that seek to destroy them. Yet how cheerily they go about their work! how full of joy are their little songs!” Education, 117, 118.
“WHEN I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH”
How did God describe the design that went into the creation of the earth? Job 38:4–6.
NOTE: “In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. ‘His strength setteth fast the mountains.’ ‘The sea is His, and He made it.’ Psalms 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father’s love. Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.” Desire of Ages, 20.
What response did the psalmist make to the wisdom of the Lord in creation? Psalm 136:1–9.
NOTE: “After God had made the world in six days, He rested and sanctified and blessed the day upon which He rested from all His work which He had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, that, as he should look upon the earth beneath and the heavens above, he might reflect that God made all these in six days and rested upon the seventh; and that, as he should behold the tangible proofs of God’s infinite wisdom, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 582.
“WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM?”
When David considered the splendor of the heavens, the work of the Creator, how did he think of mankind in comparison? Psalm 8:3–4.
NOTE: “Christ pointed to the birds flying in the heavens, to the flowers of the field, and bade His hearers consider these objects of God’s creation. ‘Are not ye of much more value than they?’ He said. Matthew 6:26, R.V. The measure of divine attention bestowed on any object is proportionate to its rank in the scale of being. The little brown sparrow is watched over by Providence. The flowers of the field, the grass that carpets the earth, share the notice and care of our heavenly Father. The great Master Artist has taken thought for the lilies, making them so beautiful that they outshine the glory of Solomon. How much more does He care for man, who is the image and glory of God. He longs to see His children reveal a character after His similitude. As the sunbeam imparts to the flowers their varied and delicate tints, so does God impart to the soul the beauty of His own character.” Desire of Ages, 313.
How important are the nations of earth in comparison with God? Isaiah 40: 15–17, 22–23.
NOTE: “‘What is man,’ the psalmist inquires, ‘that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?’ ‘Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.’ Thus, Isaiah declares, God regards the inhabitants of this world, not excepting those who stand at the head of the nobility of the earth, those who have acquired the greatest learning, those to whose lot has fallen great riches and much honour. Notwithstanding the insignificance of this world in comparison with the whole universe, Christ volunteered to take upon Himself the nature of humanity, and to bear on His divine soul the sins of mankind, in order that He might redeem the fallen race and enable them to gain life eternal. Laying aside His kingly crown and royal robe, He left His high command in the heavenly courts, clothed His divinity with humanity, and entered the world as a helpless babe. For our sakes He became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich.” Signs of the Times, January 14, 1903.
“FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE”
How did David describe his wonder at the complexity of the human body? Psalm 139: 14–16.
NOTE: “We are God’s workmanship, and His word declares that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ He has prepared this living habitation for the mind; it is ‘curiously wrought,’ a temple which the Lord Himself has fitted up for the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that worships God, and allies us to heavenly beings. Yet many spend all their lives without becoming intelligent in regard to the casket that contains this treasure. All the physical organs are the servants of the mind, and the nerves are the messengers that transmit its orders to every part of the body, guiding the motions of the living machinery. Exercise is an important aid to physical development. It quickens the circulation of the blood, and gives tone to the system. If the muscles are allowed to remain unused, it will soon be apparent that the blood does not sufficiently nourish them. Instead of increasing in size and strength, they will lose their firmness and elasticity, and become soft and weak. Inactivity is not the law the Lord has established in the human body. The harmonious action of all the parts,—brain, bone, and muscle,—is necessary to the full and healthful development of the entire human organism.” Special Testimonies on Education, 33.
How is the principle behind man’s creation expressed? Genesis 1:26.
NOTE: “The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. The first and most precious knowledge is the knowledge of Christ; and wise parents will keep this fact ever before the minds of their children. Should a limb be broken or fractured, parents will try every means that love or wisdom can suggest to restore the affected member to comeliness and soundness. This is right; it is their duty. But the Lord requires that still greater tact, patience, and persevering effort be employed to remedy blemishes of the soul. That father is unworthy of the name who is not to his children a Christian teacher, ruler, and friend, binding them to his heart by the strong ties of sanctified love—a love which has its foundation in duty faithfully performed.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 322.
“THE STORK IN THE HEAVENS”
How does God contrast the behavior of God’s creatures with the behavior of His people? Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 8.
NOTE: “What wonderful truths fell from the lips of Christ when He called His disciples to consider the fowls of the air and the flowers of the field, which obey the orders of God’s will. These come to us as lessons of admonition and reproof, for our ingratitude and lack of faith. Gifted with higher, nobler powers than the lower orders of creation, man has nevertheless chosen to disobey his Creator.” Special Testimonies Series B, 229.
What lessons of simple trust can be learned from the things of creation? Matthew 6:25–34.
NOTE: “Can you not trust in your heavenly Father? Can you not rest upon His gracious promise? ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Precious promise! Can we not rely upon it? Can we not have implicit trust, knowing that He is faithful who hath promised? I entreat you to let your trembling faith again grasp the promises of God. Bear your whole weight upon them with unwavering faith; for they will not, they cannot, fail.” Testimonies, vol.2, 497.
“HIS WAYS PAST FINDING OUT”
How did Paul express the impossibility of fathoming the wisdom of God? Romans 11:33.
NOTE: “We can never by searching find out God. He does not lay open His plans to prying, inquisitive minds. We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand the curtain behind which He veils His majesty. The apostle exclaims: ‘How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!’ It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power, that He is enshrouded in the awful clouds of mystery and obscurity; for to lift the curtain that conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. We can comprehend no more of His dealings with us and the motives that actuate Him than He sees fit to reveal. He orders everything in righteousness, and we are not to be dissatisfied and distrustful, but to bow in reverent submission. He will reveal to us as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond that we must trust the hand that is omnipotent, the heart that is full of love.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 301, 302.
How did David express his thoughts about the ways of God? Psalm 36:5–9.
NOTE: “Men had received their talents from God, and every gem of thought by which they had been esteemed worthy of the attention of scholars and thinkers, belongs not to them, but to the God of all wisdom, whom they did not acknowledge. Through tradition, through false education, these men are exalted as the world’s educators; but in going to them students are in danger of accepting the vile with the precious; for superstition, specious reasoning, and error are mingled with portions of true philosophy and instruction. This mingling makes a potion that is poisonous to the soul,—destructive of faith in the God of all truth. Those who have a thirst for knowledge need not go to these polluted fountains; for they are invited to come to the fountain of life and drink freely. Through searching the word of God, they may find the hidden treasure of truth that has long been buried beneath the rubbish of error, human tradition, and opinions of men.” Christian Education, 102, 103.