August 2, 2009 – August 8, 2009
“Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it [the land], [as] I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 622, 623; The Ministry of Healing, 452–457.
“No one will be borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in this warfare for themselves; no one else can fight our battles.” The Ministry of Healing, 453.
1 How did the Lord describe the condition of His professed people in Ezekiel’s day? Ezekiel 12:1, 2. How has this problem continued even to our time? Matthew 13:14, 15; John 3:19, 20.
Note: “It is a fearful thing to have great light and blessing, to have many opportunities and privileges, and yet make no saving use of them. Those who do not make a saving use of their opportunities, will be condemned by the privileges God has granted to them; but those who walk in the light will have increased light.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 259.
2 What was God’s plan for His people entrusted with heaven-sent light? Isaiah 43:10. What similar exhortation echoes down to us today? Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 5:8.
Note: “Had Israel been true to her trust, all the nations of earth would have shared in her blessings. But the hearts of those to whom had been entrusted a knowledge of saving truth, were untouched by the needs of those around them. As God’s purpose was lost sight of, the heathen came to be looked upon as beyond the pale of His mercy. The light of truth was withheld, and darkness prevailed. The nations were overspread with a veil of ignorance; the love of God was little known; error and superstition flourished.” Prophets and Kings, 371.
3 Describe the warning that Ezekiel was to give to the people of Judah. Ezekiel 12:21–28. What mistake did the king of Judah make in the crisis hour? Ezekiel 17:15.
Note: “Judah’s king rebelled against the prophets, against his benefactor, and against his God. In the vanity of his own wisdom he turned for help to the ancient enemy of Israel’s prosperity, ‘sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.’ [Ezekiel 17:15.]” Prophets and Kings, 451.
4 How is the dangerous tendency of evil men gaining ground among the professed people of God today? Matthew 24:48–51.
Note: “The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming.’ [Matthew 24:48.] He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking. He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. With the world he is taken in the snare.” The Desire of Ages, 635.
5 How were the lying prophets reproved? Ezekiel 13:1–3, 6. What reproof applies to the popular ministry today? Isaiah 50:11.
Note: “Since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ’s followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world. Ministers take their texts from the Word of God, but preach smooth things. To this the natural heart feels no objection. It is only the spirit and power of the truth and the salvation of Christ that are hateful to the carnal heart. There is nothing in the popular ministry that stirs the wrath of Satan, makes the sinner tremble, or applies to the heart and conscience the fearful realities of a judgment soon to come. Wicked men are generally pleased with a form of piety without true godliness, and they will aid and support such a religion.” Early Writings, 273.
6 What accusation rested upon the false prophets in the time of Ezekiel? Ezekiel 13:4. How applicable is this to our day?
Note: “Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 440.
7 How did God denounce the actions of those who were leading His people? Ezekiel 13:10–16.
Note: “There will be men and women who despise reproof and whose feelings will ever rise up against it. It is not pleasant to be told of our wrongs. In almost every case where reproof is necessary, there will be some who entirely overlook the fact that the Spirit of the Lord has been grieved and His cause reproached. These will pity those who deserved reproof, because personal feelings have been hurt. All this unsanctified sympathy places the sympathizers where they are sharers in the guilt of the one reproved. In nine cases out of ten if the one reproved had been left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped to see them and thereby have been reformed. But meddlesome, unsanctified sympathizers place altogether a wrong construction upon the motives of the reprover and the nature of the reproof given, and by sympathizing with the one reproved lead him to feel that he has been really abused; and his feelings rise up in rebellion against the one who has only done his duty. Those who faithfully discharge their unpleasant duties under a sense of their accountability to God will receive His blessing.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 359.
8 What did God propose to do to the false prophetesses who went about deceiving the people? Ezekiel 13:18–23. What will happen to the ministers who have used falsehoods to deceive the people?
Note: “The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction.” The Great Controversy, 655, 656.
9 What appeal and warning from the Lord did Ezekiel direct to the people? Ezekiel 14:2–8.
Note: “Many who call themselves Christians are mere human moralists. They have refused the gift which alone could enable them to honor Christ by representing Him to the world. The work of the Holy Spirit is to them a strange work. They are not doers of the word. The heavenly principles that distinguish those who are one with Christ from those who are one with the world have become almost indistinguishable. The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. The church has gone over to the world in transgression of the law, when the world should have come over to the church in obedience to the law. Daily the church is being converted to the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 315, 316.
10 What principle requires our immediate attention? Ezekiel 14:14–20.
Note: “The ‘time of trouble, such as never was,’ [Daniel 12:1] is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God.” The Great Controversy, 622.
“ ‘Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Revelation 22:17. But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. ‘Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.’ Ezekiel 14:20.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 412.
“The vows of David recorded in Psalm 101 should be the vows of all upon whom rest the responsibilities of guarding the influences of the home. David declared: ‘I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.’ (Psalms 101:2, 3.)
“The enemy of souls will invent many things to lead the minds of our youth from firm faith in God to the idolatrous practices of the world. Let the cautions given to ancient Israel be carefully studied. Satan’s efforts to spoil the thoughts and confuse the judgment are unceasing, and we must be on our guard. We must be careful to maintain our allegiance to God as His peculiar people. …
“We should endeavor to keep out of our homes every influence that is not productive of good. In this matter some parents have much to learn. To those who feel free to read story magazines and novels, I say: You are sowing seed, the harvest of which you will not care to gather. There is no spiritual strength to be gained from such reading. Rather it destroys the love for the pure truth of the Word. Through the agency of novels and story magazines Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts the minds that should be diligently studying the Word of God. Thus he is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life.
“Let the youth be taught to give close study to the Word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptations. ‘Thy word,’ the psalmist declares, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ ‘By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ (Psalms 119:11; 17:4.)
“If the counsels of the Word of God are faithfully followed, the saving grace of Christ will be brought to our youth; for the children who are trained to love and obey God, and who yield themselves to the molding power of His Word, are the objects of God’s special care and blessing.” In Heavenly Places, 215.
“When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9–11), should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last days: ‘The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.’ II Timothy 4:3. That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.” The Great Controversy, 594, 595.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.