November 10, 2012 – November 16, 2012
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 349–366; Testimonies, vol. 3, 570–575.
“In every emergency, in every time of need, men and women may receive God’s grace and power, and yet there will be no lessening of the supply.” The Signs of the Times, July 26, 1905.
- In battle against the Philistines, how did God honor the prayer of Jonathan and his armor-bearer? I Samuel 14:1–23.
Note: “God had permitted matters to be … brought to a crisis that He might rebuke the perversity of Saul and teach His people a lesson of humility and faith. Because of Saul’s sin in his presumptuous offering, the Lord would not give him the honor of vanquishing the Philistines. Jonathan, the king’s son, a man who feared the Lord, was chosen as the instrument to deliver Israel. …
“The armor-bearer, who also was a man of faith and prayer, encouraged the design, and together they withdrew from the camp, secretly, lest their purpose should be opposed. With earnest prayer to the Guide of their fathers, they agreed upon a sign by which they might determine how to proceed. …
“Angels of heaven shielded Jonathan and his attendant, angels fought by their side, and the Philistines fell before them. The earth trembled as though a great multitude with horsemen and chariots were approaching. Jonathan recognized the tokens of divine aid, and even the Philistines knew that God was working for the deliverance of Israel. Great fear seized upon the host, both in the field and in the garrison. In the confusion, mistaking their own soldiers for enemies, the Philistines began to slay one another.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 623.
2 GROWTH THROUGH TRIAL
- For what did the youthful Joseph pray when sold into slavery? Genesis 37:23–28.
Note: “[When taken as a slave] Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile.
“His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God—under all circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. He would serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 214.
- How was his prayer answered? Genesis 39:2, 3, 21; 41:39–41; 42:6.
Note: “Joseph’s religion kept his temper sweet and his sympathy with humanity warm and strong, notwithstanding all his trials. There are those who if they feel they are not rightly used, become sour, ungenerous, crabbed and uncourteous in their words and deportment. They sink down discouraged, hateful and hating others. But Joseph was a Christian. No sooner does he enter upon prison life, than he brings all the brightness of his Christian principles into active exercise; he begins to make himself useful to others. He enters into the troubles of his fellow prisoners. He is cheerful, for he is a Christian gentleman. God was preparing him under this discipline for a situation of great responsibility, honor, and usefulness, and he was willing to learn; he took kindly to the lessons the Lord would teach him. He learned to bear the yoke in his youth. He learned to govern by first learning obedience himself. He humbled himself, and the Lord exalted him to special honor.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1097.
- What action did Esther take when the Jewish people were faced with a death decree? Esther 3:12–14; 4:10–17. What was the final result? Esther 8:12–17.
- What serious crisis endangered Judah during the reign of Jehoshaphat, and how did the monarch respond? II Chronicles 20:1–13.
Note: “With confidence Jehoshaphat could say to the Lord, ‘Our eyes are upon Thee.’ For years he had taught the people to trust in the One who in past ages had so often interposed to save His chosen ones from utter destruction; and now, when the kingdom was in peril, Jehoshaphat did not stand alone; ‘all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children’ [II Chronicles 20:13]. Unitedly they fasted and prayed; unitedly they besought the Lord to put their enemies to confusion, that the name of Jehovah might be glorified.” Prophets and Kings, 200.
- What did God promise through the prophet Jahaziel? II Chronicles 20:14–17.
- How was this promise fulfilled in a marvelous way? II Chronicles 20:20–30.
Note: “It was a singular way of going to battle against the enemy’s army—praising the Lord with singing, and exalting the God of Israel. This was their battle song. They possessed the beauty of holiness. If more praising of God were engaged in now, hope and courage and faith would steadily increase. And would not this strengthen the hands of the valiant soldiers who today are standing in defense of truth? …
“God was the strength of Judah in this crisis, and He is the strength of His people today. We are not to trust in princes, or to set men in the place of God.” Prophets and Kings, 202.
- What does God expect of all who rely on His help? Psalms 34:17–19; 50:14, 15.
Note: “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.” The Ministry of Healing, 481.
4 DEALING WITH SARCASM
- What did Hezekiah do with the taunting letter from Sennacherib, king of Assyria? Why was this crisis so serious? II Kings 19:14–19; Isaiah 52:4, 5.
Note: “Judah’s only hope was now in God. All possible help from Egypt had been cut off, and no other nations were near to lend a friendly hand.
“The Assyrian officers, sure of the strength of their disciplined forces, arranged for a conference with the chief men of Judah, during which they insolently demanded the surrender of the city. This demand was accompanied by blasphemous revilings against the God of the Hebrews. Because of the weakness and apostasy of Israel and Judah, the name of God was no longer feared among the nations, but had become a subject for continual reproach.” Prophets and Kings, 352.
- How did God uplift the penitent and cut off the proud? II Kings 19:20–22, 32–37.
- In Nehemiah’s day, what did the rebuilders of the wall face? Nehemiah 4:1–9.
Note: “The experience of Nehemiah is repeated in the history of God’s people in this time. Those who labor in the cause of truth will find that they cannot do this without exciting the anger of its enemies. Though they have been called of God to the work in which they are engaged, and their course is approved of Him, they cannot escape reproach and derision. They will be denounced as visionary, unreliable, scheming, hypocritical—anything, in short, that will suit the purpose of their enemies. The most sacred things will be represented in a ridiculous light to amuse the ungodly. A very small amount of sarcasm and low wit, united with envy, jealousy, impiety, and hatred, is sufficient to excite the mirth of the profane scoffer. And these presumptuous jesters sharpen one another’s ingenuity, and embolden each other in their blasphemous work. Contempt and derision are indeed painful to human nature; but they must be endured by all who are true to God. It is the policy of Satan thus to turn souls from doing the work which the Lord has laid upon them.” Christian Service, 173, 174.
“If we feel our dangers we shall feel the need of prayer, as did Nehemiah, and like him we shall obtain that sure defense that will give us security in peril.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 572.
5 A PRAYER FOR TODAY
- What prayers are to be uttered today, and why? Psalm 119:126; Joel 2:17, 18.
Note: “The world has gone astray from God, and its lawless state should strike terror to the heart, and lead all who are loyal to the great King to work for a reformation. The papal power has thought to change the law of God by substituting a spurious Sabbath for that of Jehovah; and all through the religious world the false Sabbath is revered, while the true one is trampled beneath unholy feet. But will the Lord degrade His law to meet the standard of finite man? Will He accept a day possessing no sanctity, in the place of His own Sabbath, which He has hallowed and blessed? No; it is on the law of God that the last great struggle of the controversy between Christ and His angels and Satan and his angels will come, and it will be decisive for all the world. This is the hour of temptation to God’s people; but Daniel saw them delivered out of it, every one whose name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The Signs of the Times, January 17, 1884.
“God has always wrought for His people in their greatest extremity, when there seemed the least hope that ruin could be averted. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to His power and overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the turbulent and disaffected, the haters of God, His truth, and His people can be turned aside, even as the rivers of water are turned, if He orders it thus. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep, the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of His people if they call upon Him in faith. He will restrain the forces of darkness until the warning is given to the world and all who will heed it are prepared for the conflict.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 452, 453.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How was Jonathan used to deliver Israel?
2 What must we remember about how God has delivered His people in times of crisis?
3 How had Jehoshaphat prepared the people to face crisis?
4 How can we deal with worldly rebuke?
5 How can we keep our work for God in focus, with an eye single to His glory?
© 2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.