September 14, 2008 – September 20, 2008
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 309-322.
“The basis of a right character in the future man is made firm by habits of strict temperance in the mother prior to the birth of her child.” The Health Reformer, February 1, 1880.
1 By disobeying God’s instruction, what sin, among others, did Adam and Eve commit? Genesis 3:6.
Note: “Adam and Eve lost Eden through the indulgence of appetite, and we only regain it by the denial of the same.” The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884.
2 After transgressing, whom did they blame for their fall? Genesis 3:11–13.
Note: “He [Adam] who, from love to Eve, had deliberately chosen to forfeit the approval of God, his home in Paradise, and an eternal life of joy, could now, after his fall, endeavor to make his companion, and even the Creator Himself, responsible for the transgression. So terrible is the power of sin. …
“Thus like Adam, she [Eve] charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God—making even His blessings an occasion of murmuring against Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 57, 58.
3 What specific instructions did God give Manoah and his wife? Judges 13:3, 4, 13, 14.
Note: “God had an important work for the promised child of Manoah to do, and it was to secure for him the qualifications necessary for this work that the habits of both the mother and the child were to be carefully regulated. ‘Neither let her drink wine or strong drink,’ was the Angel’s instruction for the wife of Manoah, ‘nor eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.’ [Judges 13:14.] The child will be affected for good or for evil by the habits of the mother. She must herself be controlled by principle and must practice temperance and self-denial, if she would seek the welfare of her child. Unwise advisers will urge upon the mother the necessity of gratifying every wish and impulse, but such teaching is false and mischievous. The mother is by the command of God Himself placed under the most solemn obligation to exercise self-control.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 561.
4 What will be the consequences of disobeying the divine instructions on temperance? Galatians 6:7.
Note: “Fathers as well as mothers are involved in this responsibility [to exercise self-control]. Both parents transmit their own characteristics, mental and physical, their dispositions and appetites, to their children. As the result of parental intemperance children often lack physical strength and mental and moral power. Liquor drinkers and tobacco users may, and do, transmit their insatiable craving, their inflamed blood and irritable nerves, to their children. The licentious often bequeath their unholy desires, and even loathsome diseases, as a legacy to their offspring. And as the children have less power to resist temptation than had the parents, the tendency is for each generation to fall lower and lower. To a great degree parents are responsible not only for the violent passions and perverted appetites of their children but for the infirmities of the thousands born deaf, blind, diseased, or idiotic.
“The inquiry of every father and mother should be, ‘What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?’ The effect of prenatal influences has been by many lightly regarded; but the instruction sent from heaven to those Hebrew parents, and twice repeated in the most explicit and solemn manner, shows how this matter is looked upon by our Creator.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 561.
5 What was the first big mistake of Samson? How did he ignore God’s commands? Judges 14:1–3; II Corinthians 6:15, 16.
Note: “Association with idolaters corrupted him [Samson]. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson’s affections, and he determined to make her his wife. To his God-fearing parents, who endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose, his only answer was, ‘She pleaseth me well.’ [Judges 14:3.] The parents at last yielded to his wishes, and the marriage took place.
“Just as he was entering upon manhood, the time when he must execute his divine mission—the time above all others when he should have been true to God—Samson connected himself with the enemies of Israel. He did not ask whether he could better glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first to honor Him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise to those who are bent upon self-pleasing.
“How many are pursuing the same course as did Samson! How often marriages are formed between the godly and the ungodly, because inclination governs in the selection of husband or wife! The parties do not ask counsel of God, nor have His glory in view. Christianity ought to have a controlling influence upon the marriage relation, but it is too often the case that the motives which lead to this union are not in keeping with Christian principles.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562, 563.
6 What was the end of Samson’s wrong step? Judges 14:20.
Note: “The wife, to obtain whom Samson had transgressed the command of God, proved treacherous to her husband before the close of the marriage feast. Incensed at her perfidy, Samson forsook her for the time, and went alone to his home at Zorah. When, afterward relenting, he returned for his bride, he found her the wife of another.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 563.
7 What other commandment did Samson break? Judges 16:1.
Note: “The Philistines were well acquainted with the divine law, and its condemnation of sensual indulgence. They kept a vigilant watch over all the movements of their enemy, and when he degraded himself by this new attachment, and they saw the bewitching power of the enchantress, they determined, through her, to accomplish his ruin.” The Signs of the Times, October 13, 1881.
“Samson, that mighty man of valor, was under a solemn vow to be a Nazarite during the period of his life; but becoming infatuated by the charms of a lewd woman, he rashly broke that sacred pledge. Satan worked through his agents to destroy this ruler of Israel, that the mysterious power which he possessed might no longer intimidate the enemies of God’s people. It was the influence of this bold woman that separated him from God, her artifices that proved his ruin. The love and service which God claims, Samson gave to this woman. This was idolatry. He lost all sense of the sacred character and work of God, and sacrificed honor, conscience, and every valuable interest, to base passion.” The Signs of the Times, July 1, 1903.
8 What was the final result of his temerarious actions? Judges 16:20, 21.
Note: “When he had been shaven, Delilah began to annoy him and cause him pain, thus making a trial of his strength; for the Philistines dared not approach him till fully convinced that his power was gone. Then they seized him and, having put out both his eyes, they took him to Gaza. Here he was bound with fetters in their prison house and confined to hard labor.
“What a change to him who had been the judge and champion of Israel!—now weak, blind, imprisoned, degraded to the most menial service! Little by little he had violated the conditions of his sacred calling. God had borne long with him; but when he had so yielded himself to the power of sin as to betray his secret, the Lord departed from him. There was no virtue in his long hair merely, but it was a token of his loyalty to God; and when the symbol was sacrificed in the indulgence of passion, the blessings of which it was a token were also forfeited.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566.
9 What is the evidence that, by God’s mercy, Samson found repentance, and how is his final exercise of faith enshrined in Scripture? Judges 16:28–30; Hebrews 11:32.
Note: “In suffering and humiliation, a sport for the Philistines, Samson learned more of his own weakness than he had ever known before; and his afflictions led him to repentance. As his hair grew, his power gradually returned; but his enemies, regarding him as a fettered and helpless prisoner, felt no apprehensions.
“The Philistines ascribed their victory to their gods; and, exulting, they defied the God of Israel. A feast was appointed in honor of Dagon, the fish god, ‘the protector of the sea.’ From town and country throughout the Philistine plain the people and their lords assembled. Throngs of worshipers filled the vast temple and crowded the galleries about the roof. It was a scene of festivity and rejoicing. There was the pomp of the sacrificial service, followed by music and feasting. Then, as the crowning trophy of Dagon’s power, Samson was brought in. Shouts of exultation greeted his appearance. People and rulers mocked his misery and adored the god who had overthrown ‘the destroyer of their country.’ [Judges 16:24.] After a time, as if weary, Samson asked permission to rest against the two central pillars which supported the temple roof. Then he silently uttered the prayer, ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines.’ With these words he encircled the pillars with his mighty arms; and crying, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ he bowed himself, and the roof fell, destroying at one crash all that vast multitude. ‘So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.’ [Judges 16: 28, 30.]
“The idol and its worshipers, priest and peasant, warrior and noble, were buried together beneath the ruins of Dagon’s temple. And among them was the giant form of him whom God had chosen to be the deliverer of His people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566, 567.
“The principles of justice required a faithful narration of facts for the benefit of all who should ever read the Sacred Record. Here we discern the evidences of divine wisdom. We are required to obey the law of God, and are not only instructed as to the penalty of disobedience, but we have narrated for our benefit and warning the history of Adam and Eve in Paradise, and the sad results of their disobedience of God’s commands. The account is full and explicit. The law given to man in Eden is recorded, together with the penalty accruing in case of its disobedience. Then follows the story of the temptation and fall, and the punishment inflicted upon our erring parents. Their example is given us as a warning against disobedience, that we may be sure that the wages of sin is death, that God’s retributive justice never fails, and that He exacts from His creatures a strict regard for His commandments. When the law was proclaimed at Sinai, how definite was the penalty annexed, how sure was punishment to follow the transgression of that law, and how plain are the cases recorded in evidence of that fact!
“The pen of inspiration, true to its task, tells us of the sins that overcame Noah, Lot, Moses, Abraham, David, and Solomon, and that even Elijah’s strong spirit sank under temptation during his fearful trial. Jonah’s disobedience and Israel’s idolatry are faithfully recorded. Peter’s denial of Christ, the sharp contention of Paul and Barnabas, the failings and infirmities of the prophets and apostles, are all laid bare by the Holy Ghost, who lifts the veil from the human heart. There before us lie the lives of the believers, with all their faults and follies, which are intended as a lesson to all the generations following them. If they had been without foible they would have been more than human, and our sinful natures would despair of ever reaching such a point of excellence. But seeing where they struggled and fell, where they took heart again and conquered through the grace of God, we are encouraged, and led to press over the obstacles that degenerate nature places in our way.
“God has ever been faithful to punish crime. He sent His prophets to warn the guilty, denounce their sins, and pronounce judgment upon them. Those who question why the word of God brings out the sins of His people in so plain a manner for scoffers to deride and saints to deplore, should consider that it was all written for their instruction, that they may avoid the evils recorded and imitate only the righteousness of those who served the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 11, 12.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.