July 7, 2013 – July 13, 2013
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 16:32.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 362–366; Ibid., 346–350.
“The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control.” The Desire of Ages, 301.
1 SCENES FROM JACOB’S FAMILY LIFE
- With what thought in mind did Leah conceive Jacob’s second son, Simeon? Genesis 29:33.
- Relate the experience directly involving Jacob and Leah’s only daughter. Genesis 30:21; 34:1–4.
- What lesson should our daughters learn from this experience? Proverbs 20:11.
Note: “The tarry of Jacob and his sons at Shechem ended in violence and bloodshed. The one daughter of the household had been brought to shame and sorrow, two brothers were involved in the guilt of murder, a whole city had been given to ruin and slaughter, in retaliation for the lawless deed of one rash youth. The beginning that led to results so terrible was the act of Jacob’s daughter, who ‘went out to see the daughters of the land’ (Genesis 34:1), thus venturing into association with the ungodly. He who seeks pleasure among those that fear not God is placing himself on Satan’s ground and inviting his temptations.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 204.
2 SELF-RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION
- What deception and cruelty did Simeon employ with the help of his younger brother, Levi? Genesis 34:13–19, 24–26.
- Describe the response of Jacob, and how Simeon and Levi tried to justify their actions. Genesis 34:30, 31.
Note: “The treacherous cruelty of Simeon and Levi was not unprovoked; yet in their course toward the Shechemites they committed a grievous sin. They had carefully concealed from Jacob their intentions, and the tidings of their revenge filled him with horror. …
“Jacob felt that there was cause for deep humiliation. Cruelty and falsehood were manifest in the character of his sons.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 204, 205.
- How was the cruelty of Simeon’s nature further confirmed in the crime committed by the sons of Jacob against Joseph? Genesis 37:18–20.
Note: “In the cruel treatment of their brother [Joseph], Simeon had been the instigator and chief actor.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 226.
- What warnings do we have against self-righteousness? Proverbs 26:12.
Note: “God cannot connect with those who live to please themselves, to make themselves first. Those who do this will in the end be last of all. The sin that is most nearly hopeless and incurable is pride of opinion, self-conceit. This stands in the way of all growth. When a man has defects of character, yet fails of realizing this; when he is so imbued with self-sufficiency that he cannot see his fault, how can he be cleansed? ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’ (Matthew 9:12). How can one improve when he thinks his ways perfect?” Testimonies, vol. 7, 199, 200.
“To know oneself is great knowledge. True self-knowledge leads to a humility that will open the way for the Lord to develop the mind and mold and discipline the character.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 419.
3 SCATTERED UNDER GOD’S JUDGMENT
- What was prophesied about Simeon, and how was this fulfilled? Genesis 49:5–7.
Note: “They [Simeon and Levi] had been united in their cruelty toward the Shechemites, and they had also been the most guilty in the selling of Joseph. Concerning them it was declared—‘I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel’ (Genesis 49:7, last part). …
“Moses, in his last blessing, made no reference to Simeon. In the settlement of Canaan this tribe had only a small portion of Judah’s lot, and such families as afterward became powerful formed different colonies and settled in territory outside the borders of the Holy Land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 235, 236.
- How does God regard any manifestation of fierce passion against another person? Proverbs 25:28; 1 John 2:9; 3:15. How are we to overcome this problem?
Note: “True Christian politeness should be cultivated. No one else can lessen our influence as we ourselves can lessen it through the indulgence of uncontrollable temper. A naturally petulant man does not know true happiness, and is seldom content. He is ever hoping to get into a more favorable position, or to so change his surroundings that he will have peace and rest of mind. His life seems to be burdened with heavy crosses and trials, when, had he controlled his temper and bridled his tongue, many of these annoyances might have been avoided. It is the ‘soft answer’ which ‘turneth away wrath’ (Proverbs 15:1). Revenge has never conquered a foe.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 367, 368.
“So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory.” The Ministry of Healing, 487.
4 SLAIN BY LICENTIOUSNESS
- Compare the number of Simeonites counted at Sinai with the number calculated after the apostasy instigated by Balaam at Shittim. Numbers 1:22, 23; 25:1–5, 9; 26:2, 14. What does this imply?
Note: “At the numbering of Israel, just before their entrance to Canaan, Simeon was the smallest tribe.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 235, 236.
- How does the tragic experience of Solomon warn us against the destructive nature of licentious passions? Nehemiah 13:26; Proverbs 7:1, 5, 26, 27. What special admonition is addressed today to all believers in the Advent message?
Note: “A terrible picture of the condition of the world has been presented before me. Immorality abounds everywhere. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. Never did vice lift its deformed head with such boldness as now. The people seem to be benumbed, and the lovers of virtue and true goodness are nearly discouraged by its boldness, strength, and prevalence. The iniquity which abounds is not merely confined to the unbeliever and the scoffer. Would that this were the case, but it is not. Many men and women who profess the religion of Christ are guilty. Even some who profess to be looking for His appearing are no more prepared for that event than Satan himself. They are not cleansing themselves from all pollution.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 346.
“Even some who profess to keep all the commandments of God are guilty of the sin of adultery. What can I say to arouse their benumbed sensibilities? Moral principle, strictly carried out, becomes the only safeguard of the soul. If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now. Meat should not be placed before our children. Its influence is to excite and strengthen the lower passions, and has a tendency to deaden the moral powers. Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven. The less feverish the diet, the more easily can the passions be controlled. Gratification of taste should not be consulted irrespective of physical, intellectual, or moral health.” Ibid., 352.
5 OUR ONLY HOPE
- What gave Simeon an opportunity to think about his wicked traits of character? Genesis 42:6, 7, 17, 24.
Note: “The three days in the Egyptian prison were days of bitter sorrow as the brothers [of Joseph] reflected upon their past sins.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 225.
“On his return [to the chamber where his brothers were] he [Joseph] commanded that Simeon be bound before them and again committed to prison.” Ibid., 226.
“[Later, the brothers’] anxiety was relieved, and when Simeon, who had been released from prison, joined them, they felt that God was indeed gracious unto them.” Ibid., 228.
- What warnings and appeals does God make to violators of the commandments? Proverbs 16:32; Isaiah 1:16–19; Matthew 5:6, 9. What hope does He offer for souls seeking to overcome the carnal traits of Simeon? Revelation 7:7, first part.
Note: “Self is the enemy we most need to fear. No form of vice has a more baleful effect upon the character than has human passion not under the control of the Holy Spirit. No other victory we can gain will be so precious as the victory gained over self.” The Ministry of Healing, 485.
“Sensuality is the sin of the age. But the religion of Jesus Christ will hold the lines of control over every species of unlawful liberty; the moral powers will hold the lines of control over every thought, word, and action.” Medical Ministry, 142, 143.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What were the consequences of Dinah’s indiscreet behavior?
2 Name the action that further hardened the cruelty of Simeon.
3 What should we be preparing for the heavenly Canaan where Simeonites and Levites are no longer kept separate from one another?
4 Name some practical ways to escape today’s licentiousness.
5 What counsel could you offer a struggling Simeonite?
Copyright © 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.