January 18, 2009 – January 24, 2009
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 322–330; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 460–471.
“The world know not the Father or the Son, and they have no spiritual discernment as to the character of our work, as to what we shall do or shall not do. We must obey the orders that come from above.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 463.
1 Describe the adverse condition that God’s faithful few had to face during the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah. II Chronicles 28:1–4; II Kings 16:3.
Note: “The accession of Ahaz to the throne brought Isaiah and his associates face to face with conditions more appalling than any that had hitherto existed in the realm of Judah. Many who had formerly withstood the seductive influence of idolatrous practices were now being persuaded to take part in the worship of heathen deities. Princes in Israel were proving untrue to their trust; false prophets were arising with messages to lead astray; even some of the priests were teaching for hire. Yet the leaders in apostasy still kept up the forms of divine worship and claimed to be numbered among the people of God.” Prophets and Kings, 322.
“This was indeed a time of great peril for the chosen nation. Only a few short years, and the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel were to be scattered among the nations of heathendom. And in the kingdom of Judah also the outlook was dark. The forces for good were rapidly diminishing, the forces for evil multiplying.” Ibid., 324.
2 What appeal did God direct to His professed people at that time? Micah 6:1–5.
Note: “In every age, for the sake of those who have remained true, as well as because of His infinite love for the erring, God has borne long with the rebellious, and has urged them to forsake their course of evil and return to Him. ‘Precept upon precept; line upon line, … here a little, and there a little,’ through men of His appointment, He has taught transgressors the way of righteousness. Isaiah 28:10.
“And thus it was during the reign of Ahaz. Invitation upon invitation was sent to erring Israel to return to their allegiance to Jehovah. Tender were the pleadings of the prophets; and as they stood before the people, earnestly exhorting to repentance and reformation, their words bore fruit to the glory of God.” Prophets and Kings, 324, 325.
3 What message from the Lord should Ahaz have heeded when the kings of Israel and Syria conspired against him? Isaiah 7:1–9. What happened as he refused to heed the message? II Chronicles 28:5–8.
Note: “It is Satan’s special device to lead man into sin and then leave him there, helpless and hopeless, fearing to seek for pardon. But God invites, ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. In Christ every provision has been made, every encouragement offered.” Prophets and Kings, 326.
“Had Ahaz and the chief men of his realm been true servants of the Most High, they would have had no fear of so unnatural an alliance as had been formed against them. But repeated transgression had shorn them of strength.” Ibid., 328.
4 Why did God, most of the times, refuse to save His people in the days of the kings, and how may history be repeated today? Isaiah 59:1, 2.
Note: “The God of heaven is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil,’ and cannot ‘look on iniquity.’ Habakkuk 1:13. It is not because He is unwilling to forgive that He turns from the transgressor; it is because the sinner refuses to make use of the abundant provisions of grace, that God is unable to deliver from sin.” Prophets and Kings, 323.
5 What foolish decision got Ahaz into a desperate and dangerous situation? II Kings 16:7–9; II Chronicles 28:16–22.
Note: “Choosing to lean on the arm of flesh, [Ahaz] sought help from the heathen. In desperation he sent word to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria: … The request was accompanied by a rich present from the king’s treasure and from the temple storehouse.
“The help asked for was sent, and King Ahaz was given temporary relief, but at what a cost to Judah! The tribute offered aroused the cupidity of Assyria, and that treacherous nation soon threatened to overflow and spoil Judah. Ahaz and his unhappy subjects were now harassed by the fear of falling completely into the hands of the cruel Assyrians.” Prophets and Kings, 329.
6 What warning, if heeded, will protect us from the folly of forming alliances with those that know not God? Isaiah 31:1–3.
Note: “Under the direction of Satan, confederacies are being formed, and will be formed to eclipse the truth by human influence. Those who join these confederacies can never hear the welcome, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant; … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ [Matthew 25:23.] The instrumentalities established by God are to press forward, making no compromise with the power of darkness.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 473.
7 What warning did Isaiah have for the people of God during Ahaz’ time? Isaiah 8:9–12. How does this same principle apply to us today? II Corinthians 6:14–18.
Note: “Confederacies will increase in number and power as we draw nearer to the end of time. These confederacies will create opposing influences to the truth, forming new parties of professed believers who will act out their own delusive theories. The apostasy will increase. ‘Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’ [I Timothy 4:1.]” Evangelism, 363.
8 What should be an anchor for us in these last days? Isaiah 8:13–16; Romans 8:31. Why is clear spiritual discernment especially needed now?
Note: “As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world, and this delineation has already begun to be fulfilled. By a variety of images the Lord Jesus represented to John the wicked character and seductive influence of those who have been distinguished for their persecution of God’s people. All need wisdom carefully to search out the mystery of iniquity that figures so largely in the winding up of this earth’s history. God’s presentation of the detestable works of the inhabitants of the ruling powers of the world who bind themselves into secret societies and confederacies, not honoring the law of God, should enable the people who have the light of truth to keep clear of all these evils. More and more will all false religionists of the world manifest their evil doings; for there are but two parties, those who keep the commandments of God and those who war against God’s holy law.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 322.
9 What distinguishes the true people of God from those who only profess to know Him? Jeremiah 17:5–8; Psalms 115:11; 118:8, 9.
Note: “Satan is moving with his power from beneath to inspire men to form alliances and confederacies of evil against light and against the Word of God. Infidelity, papacy, and semi-papacy are coming in close and powerful companionship with professed Christianity. The low views of inspiration, the exalting of human ideas from men called wise, are placing human talent above the divine wisdom and forms, and science so-called above the power of vital godliness. These are the signs of the last days.” That I May Know Him, 345.
“The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 594.
10 What counsel, if followed, will ensure that we are among this distinct people? Ephesians 6:10–13.
Note: “If you go forward toward heaven, the world will rub hard against you. At every step you will have to urge your way against Satan and his evil angels, and against all who transgress God’s law. Earthly authorities will interpose. You will meet tribulations, bruising of the spirit, hard speeches, ridicule, persecutions. Men will require your conformity to laws and customs that would render you disloyal to God. Here is where God’s people find the cross in the way to life.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1102.
“Lift the cross at once; however hard it may be, he [Christ] will give you strength to bear it. He is a tried friend, a friend in need. Our necessities touch his great heart of love. The argument that we may plead now and ever is our great need, our utterly hopeless state, that makes him and his redeeming power a necessity. When we confidingly take his proffered hand, and walk where he leads the way, he will lead us into the light; he will guide us into all truth, and will clothe our lives with the beauty of holiness. But the holiness he is prepared to give us is not an exaltation of self, a Pharisaical self-righteousness; it is a principle in the heart that leads to a life of loving, trusting obedience. Then he will register our names in the books of heaven as heirs of eternal life.” The Review and Herald, May 27, 1884.
“God’s people in these last days are not to choose darkness rather than light. They are to look for light, to expect light. … The light will continue to shine in brighter and still brighter rays, and reveal more and more distinctly the truth as it is in Jesus, that human hearts and human characters may be improved, and moral darkness—which Satan is working to bring over the people of God—may be dispelled. … As we near the close of time there will be needed a deeper and clearer discernment, a more firm knowledge of the Word of God, a living experience, and the holiness of heart and life which we must have to serve Him.” That I May Know Him, 347.
“ ‘But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.’ II Peter 3:18.
“A genuine Christian experience unfolds day by day, bringing to its possessor new strength and earnestness and leading to constant growth in spiritual life. But the Christian world abounds with professors of religion who are merely religious dwarfs. Many seem to have graduated as soon as they learned the rudiments of the Christian faith. They do not grow in grace or in the knowledge of the truth. They do nothing, either with their means or their influence, to build up the cause of God. They are drones in the hive. This class will not long stand where they are. They will be converted and advance, or they will retrograde. …
“To meet the claims of God, you will have to make personal effort; and in this work you will need the resources of an ever-growing Christian experience. Your faith must be strong, your consecration complete, your love pure and sincere, your zeal ardent, tireless, your courage unshaken, your patience unwearied, your hopes bright. Upon every one, old or young, rests a responsibility in this matter.
“The perils of the last days will test the genuineness of our faith.
“… The mighty surges of temptation will beat upon all, and unless they are riveted to the eternal Rock they will be borne away. Do not think that you can safely drift with the current. If you do, you will surely become the helpless prey of Satan’s devices. By diligent searching of the Scriptures and earnest prayer for divine help prepare the soul to resist temptation. The Lord will hear the sincere prayer of the contrite soul and will lift up a standard for you against the enemy. But you will be tried; your faith, your love, your patience, your constancy will be tested. …
“Our duty, our safety, our happiness and usefulness, and our salvation call upon us each to use the greatest diligence to secure the grace of Christ, to be so closely connected with God that we may discern spiritual things, and not be ignorant of Satan’s devices.” In Heavenly Places, 184.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.