March 8, 2009 – March 14, 2009
“[If] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10.
Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 95–107; Testimonies, vol. 6, 305–312.
“It is heartwork that the Lord requires, good works springing from a heart filled with love.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 146.
1 What is our privilege and duty regarding God’s word? Psalm 119:15. Name one chapter that is especially beneficial to us today, and explain why.
Note: “Portions of Scripture, even whole chapters, may be committed to memory to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is a profitable one for this purpose.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 95.
“The whole chapter [of Isaiah 58] is applicable to those who are living in this period of the earth’s history. Consider this chapter attentively; for it will be fulfilled.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1149.
2 Describe the condition of God’s professed people and the task entrusted to the faithful remnant. Isaiah 58:1, 2.
Note: “Though they [the people described in Isaiah 58:1, 2] are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. … Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1149.
3 Describe the contrast between false and true forms of worship. Isaiah 58:3–7; James 1:27.
Note: “In our work we shall find a high profession of piety and much outward exactness bound up with great inward wickedness. The people represented in Isaiah 58 complain that the Lord allows their services to go unnoticed. This complaint is the expression of hearts unsubdued by grace, rebellious against the truth. Those who receive the truth which works by love and purifies the soul are loyal to God, honoring Him by obedience to His law, which is holy, just, and good. The spirit of true fasting and prayer is the spirit which yields mind, heart, and will to God. …
“The house of Jacob, at the time this warning was given to Isaiah, appeared to be a very zealous people, seeking God daily, and delighting to know His ways; but in reality they were filled with presumptuous self-confidence. They were not walking in the truth. Goodness, mercy, and love were not practiced. While presenting an appearance of sorrow for their sins, they were cherishing pride and avarice. …
“There are sins of this same character among us today, and they bring the rebuke of God upon His church. Wherever such sins are found, seasons of fasting and prayer are indeed necessary; but they must be accompanied with sincere repentance and decided reformation.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148–1150.
“In all our work the principle of unselfishness revealed in Christ’s life is to be carried out. Upon the walls of our homes, the pictures, the furnishings, we are to read, ‘Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.’ On our wardrobes we are to see written, as with the finger of God, ‘Clothe the naked.’ In the dining room, on the table laden with abundant food, we should see traced, ‘Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?’ Isaiah 58:7.” The Ministry of Healing, 206.
4 What promises are offered to us as we seek to follow God’s plan? Isaiah 58:8–10.
Note: “Many are in obscurity. They have lost their bearings. They know not what course to pursue. Let the perplexed ones search out others who are in perplexity, and speak to them words of hope and encouragement. When they begin to do this work, the light of heaven will reveal to them the path that they should follow. By their words of consolation to the afflicted they themselves will be consoled. By helping others, they themselves will be helped out of their difficulties. Joy takes the place of sadness and gloom. The heart, filled with the Spirit of God, glows with warmth toward every fellow being. Every such an one is no longer in darkness; for his ‘darkness’ is ‘as the noon day.’ [Isaiah 58:10.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1151.
5 What is Christ’s mission concerning the Law of God? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17–20; 22:36–40.
Note: “Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505.
6 What work did Isaiah foresee among God’s people, and how can we be part of it? Isaiah 58:12–14; 61:4.
Note: “The work specified in these words is the work God requires His people to do. It is a work of God’s own appointment. With the work of advocating the commandments of God and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God, we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity. We are to show supreme love to God; we are to exalt His memorial, which has been trodden down by unholy feet; and with this, we are to manifest mercy, benevolence, and the tenderest pity for the fallen race. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ [Matthew 22:39.] As a people we must take hold of this work. Love revealed for suffering humanity gives significance and power to the truth.” My Life Today, 224.
7 How will God complete the number of His people? Isaiah 11:10–12.
Note: “Those who come out from the world, to stand distinct from worldlings in words and works, those who realize that it is an honor to bear God’s sign, will receive power to become His sons. The Lord will have men who can be depended on. No one will enter the courts above who does not bear the sign of God. Those who in this sin-cursed earth bear this sign in holy boldness, looking upon it as an honor, will be recognized and honored by Christ in the courts above.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 969.
8 What is expected from the remnant church in view of God’s purpose mentioned in the previous question? Isaiah 52:7–10; I Corinthians 4:9.
Note: “The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of ministering to the suffering, the sorrowful, and the tempted. A company of believers may be poor, uneducated, and unknown; yet in Christ they may do a work in the home, in the community, and even in ‘the regions beyond,’ whose results shall be as far-reaching as eternity.” The Ministry of Healing, 106, 107.
“When those who profess to serve God follow Christ’s example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 340.
9 What missionary program should ever be before our minds? Isaiah 60:3–5; Matthew 28:19, 20.
Note: “It is now time to take a decided stand on the side of truth; and as God has given to every one his measure of influence, he should exert it to the glory of God and for the good of his associates. Not one of the faithful stewards of Christ will be idle in such a time as this, or will be content to live simply for self. Those who are in communion with Christ will realize that there are souls on every side who may be benefited by their help, example, and influence. They will realize that they may be agents through whom Jesus will work to save those for whom He died. This should be the experience of all who profess to believe the third angel’s message. Young and old should have a rich, joyful, abundant experience in the religion of Christ.” Sons and Daughters of God, 269.
10 What responsibility has God placed upon us in connection with this program? Isaiah 60:1, 2.
Note: “The evangelization of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in His name. … Work, with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives you opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.
“The Lord will give you success in this work; for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel.” My Life Today, 224.
“I saw that a thick cloud enveloped them, but that a few rays of light from Jesus pierced this cloud. I looked to see those who received this light, and saw individuals earnestly praying for victory. It was their study to serve God. Their persevering faith brought them returns. The light of heaven was shed upon them; but the cloud of darkness over the church in general was thick. They were stupid and sluggish. My agony of soul was great. I asked the angel if that darkness was necessary. Said he: ‘Look ye!’ I then saw the church begin to rise, and earnestly plead with God, and rays of light began to penetrate this darkness, and the cloud was removed. The pure light of heaven shone upon them, and with holy confidence their attention was attracted upward. Said the angel: ‘This is their privilege and duty.’
“Satan has come down in great power, knowing that his time is short. His angels are busy, and a great share of the people of God suffer themselves to be lulled to sleep by him. The cloud again passed over, and settled upon the church. I saw that it would be only by earnest effort and persevering prayer that this spell would be broken.
“The alarming truths of the word of God had stirred the people of God a little. Now and then they would make feeble efforts to overcome, but they soon tired and sank back into the same lukewarm state. I saw that they did not have perseverance and fixed determination. Let the seeker for the salvation of God possess the same energy and earnestness that he would have for a worldly treasure, and the object would be gained. I saw that the church may just as well drink of a full cup, as to hold an empty one in the hand or at the mouth.
“It is not the plan of God to have some eased and others burdened. Some feel the weight and responsibility of the cause, and the necessity of their acting that they may gather with Christ and not scatter abroad. Others go on free from any responsibility, acting as though they had no influence. Such scatter abroad. God is not partial. All who are made partakers of His salvation here, and who hope to share the glories of the kingdom hereafter, must gather with Christ. Each must feel that he is responsible for his own case, and for the influence he exerts over others. If these maintain their Christian walk, Jesus will be in them the hope of glory, and they will love to speak forth His praise that they may be refreshed. The cause of their Master will be near and dear to them. It will be their study to advance His cause and to honor it by holy living. Said the angel: ‘Every talent God will require with usury.’ Every Christian must go on from strength to strength, and employ all his powers in the cause of God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 178, 179.