January 14 – 20
“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 629–635.
“Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He cares for His feeble, sickly, wandering sheep. He knows them all by name. The distress of every sheep and every lamb of His flock touches His heart of sympathizing love, and the cry for aid reaches His ear.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 346.
1 GOD’S MIGHT AND OUR MORTAL FRAILTY
- As we consider our plans for the future, what should we remember? Isaiah 40:6–8. What other illustration also shows God’s greatness and, at the same time, relates a piece of scientific information? Verse 22, first part.
Note: “At this time, before the great final crisis, as before the world’s first destruction, men are absorbed in the pleasures and the pursuits of sense. Engrossed with the seen and transitory, they have lost sight of the unseen and eternal. For the things that perish with the using, they are sacrificing imperishable riches. Their minds need to be uplifted, their views of life to be broadened. They need to be aroused from the lethargy of worldly dreaming.
“From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the pages of Holy Writ, they need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and its magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring—how completely has it passed away! As ‘the flower of the grass’ it has perished. So perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose and expresses His character can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows.” Education, 183.
2 THE ONLY TRUE GOD
- As Isaiah prophesied of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, what did he reveal about the work of the Messiah? Isaiah 40:9–11.
Note: “The truths of the third angel’s message have been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the Living One. He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star. Through this message the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 20.
“In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing. … Tell the people of Him who is ‘the Chiefest among ten thousand,’ and the One ‘altogether lovely’ (The Song of Solomon 5:10, 16). Words alone cannot tell it. Let it be reflected in the character and manifested in the life. … In everyone Christ’s long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world.” The Desire of Ages, 826, 827.
- Where are we to look for salvation, and why? Isaiah 45:21, 22.
Note: “Come with your whole heart to Jesus. Repent of your sins, make confession to God, forsake all iniquity, and you may appropriate to yourself all His promises.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 634.
“Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men’s minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1113.
3 AN ENDURING UNION
- How does the Lord depict the tender care He has for His children? Isaiah 49:15, 16; Matthew 12:50; Galatians 3:29. How can we be sure to be included among those children?
Note: “Those who share Christ’s suffering and reproach now will share His glory hereafter. He ‘is not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11). His angels minister to them. His second appearing will be as the Son of man, thus even in His glory identifying Himself with humanity. To those who have united themselves to Him, He declares: ‘Though a mother may forget her child, “yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” Thou art continually before Me’ (Isaiah 49:15, 16). …
“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 230, 231.
- As we surrender our entire being to the guidance of the Good Shepherd, what assurance comes to us? Psalms 36:7; 34:22.
Note: “He who took humanity upon Himself knows how to sympathize with the sufferings of humanity. Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there.” The Ministry of Healing, 249.
4 MAGNIFYING THE LAW
- What work would Jesus have us do for souls who are in darkness? Isaiah 42:5–7.
Note: “As a people we are to be reconverted, our lives sanctified to declare the truth as it is in Jesus. In the work of scattering our publications, we can speak of a Saviour’s love from a warm and throbbing heart. God alone has the power to forgive sins; if we do not speak this message to the unconverted, our neglect may prove their ruin. Blessed, soul-saving Bible truths are published in our papers. There are many who can help in the work of selling our periodicals. The Lord calls upon all of us to seek to save perishing souls. Satan is at work to deceive the very elect, and now is our time to work with vigilance. Our books and papers are to be brought before the notice of the people; the gospel of present truth is to be given to our cities without delay. Shall we not arouse to our duties?
“If we are making the life and teachings of Christ our study, every passing event will furnish a text for an impressive discourse. It was thus the Saviour preached the gospel in the highways and byways; and as He spoke, the little group that listened to Him swelled to a great company.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 63.
- How does God regard His law? Isaiah 42:21. What can we learn from this?
Note: “We must strive to arouse church members, and those who make no profession, to see and obey the claims of the law of Heaven. We are to magnify this law and make it honorable.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 403.
“The very One who ages before had spoken the law from Mount Sinai, now came to magnify it and make it honorable. In His Sermon on the Mount He explained the law, showing what each precept comprehended. Covetousness was shown by Him to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. He made manifest the spirituality of the law, and pointed out that it reaches to every phase of life.
“Before the universe of heaven, before the fallen angels, and before those whom He had come to save, Christ lived the law of God. By His supreme obedience to its requirements, He exalted and enforced it. …
“As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the strong for strength.” The Signs of the Times, March 4, 1897.
5 GUARDING OUR EYES AND EARS
- What does the Lord want us to do with our eyes and ears? Isaiah 42:19, 20. Why?
Note: “God does not wish us to hear all that is to be heard, or to see all that is to be seen. It is a great blessing to close the ears, that we hear not, and the eyes, that we see not. The greatest anxiety should be to have clear eyesight to discern our own shortcomings, and a quick ear to catch all needed reproof and instruction, lest by our inattention and carelessness we let them slip and become forgetful hearers and not doers of the work.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 707, 708.
“It makes every difference what we give our minds and souls to feed upon. We can let our minds dwell upon romance and castle-building, and what will it do for us? It will ruin us, soul and body. … We want to have that power that will enable us to close our eyes to scenes that are not elevating, that are not ennobling, that will not purify and refine us; and to keep our ears closed to everything that is forbidden in God’s word. He forbids us to imagine evil, to speak evil, and even to think evil.” Our High Calling, 334.
- What does God want us to behold? Hebrews 12:1, 2.
Note: “Let us look to Jesus and consider the loveliness of His character, and by beholding we shall become changed into the same likeness.” Our High Calling, 334.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How does a sense of our own mortality give us a better perspective on life?
2 In what ways should we tell others of Jesus and His love?
3 Explain the depth of a genuine union with Christ.
4 In what sense did Christ magnify the law in His teaching and example?
5 To what things should we close our eyes and ears?