Bible Study Guides – Hezekiah

January 25, 2009 – January 31, 2009

Key Text

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 331–348; Counsels on Health, 380–382.


“Every day, our words and acts are making impressions upon those with whom we associate. How great the need that we set a watch upon our lips and guard carefully our steps!” Prophets and Kings, 348.

1 What did Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, realize when he became king of Judah? II Chronicles 29:1, 6–10. What were his first reformatory steps? II Chronicles 29:2–5.

Note: “Hezekiah came to the throne determined to do all in his power to save Judah from the fate that was overtaking the northern kingdom. The messages of the prophets offered no encouragement to halfway measures. Only by most decided reformation could the threatened judgments be averted.

“In the crisis, Hezekiah proved to be a man of opportunity. No sooner had he ascended the throne than he began to plan and to execute. He first turned his attention to the restoration of the temple services, so long neglected; and in this work he earnestly solicited the co-operation of a band of priests and Levites who had remained true to their sacred calling. Confident of their loyal support, he spoke with them freely concerning his desire to institute immediate and far-reaching reforms.” Prophets and Kings, 331.

“Soon Israel would fall completely into the hands of the Assyrians, and be utterly ruined; and this fate would surely befall Judah as well, unless God should work mightily through chosen representatives.” Ibid., 332.

2 What appeal did God direct to Judah repeatedly? Isaiah 31:6. What was the response of the goodly remnant? Micah 7:7–9; II Chronicles 29:16–20, 27–31, 35, 36.

Note: “God had indeed prepared the hearts of the chief men of Judah to lead out in a decided reformatory movement, that the tide of apostasy might be stayed. Through His prophets He had sent to His chosen people message after message of earnest entreaty—messages that had been despised and rejected by the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel, now given over to the enemy. But in Judah there remained a goodly remnant, and to these the prophets continued to appeal. …

“These and other like messages revealing the willingness of God to forgive and accept those who turned to Him with full purpose of heart, had brought hope to many a fainting soul in the dark years when the temple doors remained closed; and now, as the leaders began to institute a reform, a multitude of the people, weary of the thralldom of sin, were ready to respond.” Prophets and Kings, 333, 334.

3 What prophetic prayer, previously offered at the dedication of the temple, was fulfilled in the reformation of Hezekiah? I Kings 8:33, 34; II Chronicles 7:14.

Note: “The seal of divine approval had been placed upon this prayer; for at its close fire had come down from heaven to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord had filled the temple. See II Chronicles 7:1. And by night the Lord had appeared to Solomon to tell him that his prayer had been heard, and that mercy would be shown those who should worship there. …

“These promises met abundant fulfillment during the reformation under Hezekiah.” Prophets and Kings, 335.

4 Describe the success of Hezekiah’s reformation. II Chronicles 30:1, 9–13, 21–23, 26, 27.

Note: “The seven days usually allotted to the Passover feast passed all too quickly, and the worshipers determined to spend another seven days in learning more fully the way of the Lord. The teaching priests continued their work of instruction from the book of the law; daily the people assembled at the temple to offer their tribute of praise and thanksgiving; and as the great meeting drew to a close, it was evident that God had wrought marvelously in the conversion of backsliding Judah and in stemming the tide of idolatry which threatened to sweep all before it. The solemn warnings of the prophets had not been uttered in vain.” Prophets and Kings, 337.

5 After the Passover, what further steps marked the genuineness of Hezekiah’s reformation? II Chronicles 31:1, 5, 6. How was his administration described? II Chronicles 31:20, 21; II Kings 18:4–7.

Note: “The reign of Hezekiah was characterized by a series of remarkable providences which revealed to the surrounding nations that the God of Israel was with His people.” Prophets and Kings, 339.

6 When Hezekiah was sick, what message did he receive, and how did God use mercy toward him? II Kings 20:1–7. How did he express gratitude to God? Isaiah 38:9–20.

Note: “Restored to his wonted strength, the king of Judah acknowledged in words of song the mercies of Jehovah, and vowed to spend his remaining days in willing service to the King of kings. His grateful recognition of God’s compassionate dealing with him is an inspiration to all who desire to spend their years to the glory of their Maker.” Prophets and Kings, 342.

7 Through what sign did God confirm His promise to Hezekiah, and what reaction did this spark in a faraway land? II Kings 20:8–12.

Note: “In the fertile valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates there dwelt an ancient race which, though at that time subject to Assyria, was destined to rule the world. Among its people were wise men who gave much attention to the study of astronomy; and when they noticed that the shadow on the sundial had been turned back ten degrees, they marveled greatly. Their king, Merodachbaladan, upon learning that this miracle had been wrought as a sign to the king of Judah that the God of heaven had granted him a new lease of life, sent ambassadors to Hezekiah to congratulate him on his recovery and to learn, if possible, more of the God who was able to perform so great a wonder.

“The visit of these messengers from the ruler of a faraway land gave Hezekiah an opportunity to extol the living God. How easy it would have been for him to tell them of God, the upholder of all created things, through whose favor his own life had been spared when all other hope had fled! What momentous transformations might have taken place had these seekers after truth from the plains of Chaldea been led to acknowledge the supreme sovereignty of the living God!” Prophets and Kings, 344.

8 What mistake tarnished Hezekiah’s good record? II Chronicles 32:25, 31; Isaiah 39:1–4.

Note: “Pride and vanity took possession of Hezekiah’s heart, and in self-exaltation he laid open to covetous eyes the treasures with which God had enriched His people. … Not to glorify God did he do this, but to exalt himself in the eyes of the foreign princes. He did not stop to consider that these men were representatives of a powerful nation that had not the fear nor the love of God in their hearts, and that it was imprudent to make them his confidants concerning the temporal riches of the nation. …

“Had Hezekiah improved the opportunity given him to bear witness to the power, the goodness, the compassion, of the God of Israel, the report of the ambassadors would have been as light piercing darkness. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts. He ‘rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.’ [II Chronicles 32:25.]” Prophets and Kings, 344–346.

9 What consequences were to follow Hezekiah’s imprudence, and how did he show repentance before God? Isaiah 39:5–8; II Chronicles 32:26.

10 What should we learn from this experience of Hezekiah? I Corinthians 10:12; I Peter 3:15.

Note: “During his remaining years the king of Judah was to have much prosperity because of his steadfast purpose to redeem the past and to bring honor to the name of the God whom he served; yet his faith was to be severely tried. …

“Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience, of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour’s love. When mind and heart are filled with the love of God, it will not be difficult to impart that which enters into the spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will find expression in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure.

“Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. What is our influence over these fellow travelers? …

“One reckless movement, one imprudent step, and the surging waves of some strong temptation may sweep a soul into the downward path. …

“On the other hand, if by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence over others. Thus hundreds and thousands are helped by our unconscious influence.” Prophets and Kings, 347, 348.

Additional Reading

“The visit of the ambassadors to Hezekiah was a test of his gratitude and devotion. … Had Hezekiah improved the opportunity given him to bear witness to the power, the goodness, the compassion, of the God of Israel, the report of the ambassadors would have been as light piercing darkness. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts. He ‘rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.’ [II Chronicles 32:25.]

“The story of Hezekiah’s failure to prove true to his trust … is fraught with an important lesson for all. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience, of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour’s love. When mind and heart are filled with the love of God, it will not be difficult to impart that which enters into the spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will find expression in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure.

“Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. What is our influence over these fellow travelers?

“What have your friends and acquaintances seen in your house? Are you, instead of revealing the treasures of the grace of Christ, displaying those things that will perish with the using? Or do you, to those with whom you are brought in contact, communicate some new thought of Christ’s character and work? … O that those for whom God has done marvelous things would show forth His praises, and tell of His mighty works. But how often those for whom God works are like Hezekiah—forgetful of the Giver of all their blessings.” Conflict and Courage, 241.

“My dear young friends, do the work that lies nearest at hand. Turn your attention to some humble line of effort within your reach. Put mind and heart into the doing of this work. Force your thoughts to act intelligently on the things that you can do at home. Thus you will be fitting yourself for greater usefulness. Remember that of King Hezekiah it is written: ‘In every work that he began, … he did it with all his heart, and prospered.’ [II Chronicles 31:21.]

“The ability to fix the thoughts on the work in hand is a great blessing. God-fearing youth should strive to discharge their duties with thoughtful consideration, keeping the thoughts in the right channel, and doing their best. They should recognize their present duties, and fulfill them without allowing the mind to wander. This kind of mental discipline will be helpful and beneficial throughout life. Those who learn to put thought into everything they undertake, however small the work may appear, will be of use in the world.” Messages to Young People, 148, 149.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Folly of Ahaz

January 18, 2009 – January 24, 2009

Key Text

“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.

Additional Reading

“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.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Character Revealed

January 11, 2009 – January 17, 2009

Key Text

“Lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:9.

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 326–330; Testimonies, vol. 9, 97–108.


“The prophet exalted God as Creator of all. His message to the cities of Judah was, ‘Behold your God!’ Isaiah 40:9.” Prophets and Kings, 315.

1 What essential truths were emphasized by Isaiah? Isaiah 40:9, 28–31; 41:10, 13, 14. How should we represent these truths before the world? Matthew 5:16; Philippians 4:8.

Note: “The inhabitants of Judah were all undeserving, yet God would not give them up. By them His name was to be exalted among the heathen. Many who were wholly unacquainted with His attributes were yet to behold the glory of the divine character.” Prophets and Kings, 319.

“Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ [Isaiah 40:9.] The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 415, 416.

2 What prophecy, given to Moses and to Isaiah, is to reach its complete fulfillment today? Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 35:1, 2.

Note: “God’s glory, His character, His merciful kindness and tender love—that which Moses had pleaded in behalf of Israel—were to be revealed to all mankind. And this promise of Jehovah was made doubly sure; it was confirmed by an oath. As surely as God lives and reigns, His glory should be declared ‘among the heathen, His wonders among all people.’ Psalm 96:3.

“It was concerning the future fulfillment of this prophecy that Isaiah had heard the shining seraphim singing before the throne, ‘The whole earth is full of His glory.’ Isaiah 6:3. The prophet, confident of the certainty of these words, himself afterward boldly declared of those who were bowing down to images of wood and stone, ‘They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.’ Isaiah 35:2.

“Today this prophecy is meeting rapid fulfillment. The missionary activities of the church of God on earth are bearing rich fruitage, and soon the gospel message will have been proclaimed to all nations.” Prophets and Kings, 313.

3 Throughout the ages, what misconception has existed about God’s character? Ezekiel 18:25, 29, 30; Isaiah 55:8, 9.

Note: “In Isaiah’s day the spiritual understanding of mankind was dark through misapprehension of God. Long had Satan sought to lead men to look upon their Creator as the author of sin and suffering and death. Those whom he had thus deceived, imagined that God was hard and exacting. They regarded Him as watching to denounce and condemn, unwilling to receive the sinner so long as there was a legal excuse for not helping him. The law of love by which heaven is ruled had been misrepresented by the archdeceiver as a restriction upon men’s happiness, a burdensome yoke from which they should be glad to escape. He declared that its precepts could not be obeyed and that the penalties of transgression were bestowed arbitrarily.

“In losing sight of the true character of Jehovah, the Israelites were without excuse. Often had God revealed Himself to them as one ‘full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.’ Psalm 86:15.” Prophets and Kings, 311, 312.

4 What prophetic assurance shows that God does not forget His faithful ones, even from among the Jews? Isaiah 10:20, 21; Romans 11:5; 9:27, 28.

Note: “Paul shows that God is abundantly able to transform the hearts of Jew and Gentile alike, and to grant to every believer in Christ the blessings promised to Israel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 379.

“In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people whom they find in all parts of the earth. As the Old Testament Scriptures are blended with the New in an explanation of Jehovah’s eternal purpose, this will be to many of the Jews as the dawn of a new creation, the resurrection of the soul. As they see the Christ of the gospel dispensation portrayed in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, and perceive how clearly the New Testament explains the Old, their slumbering faculties will be aroused, and they will recognize Christ as the Saviour of the world. Many will by faith receive Christ as their Redeemer.” Ibid., 381.

5 What great concern of Isaiah should be ours as well? Isaiah 55:6, 7.

Note: “My brethren and sisters, seek the Lord while He may be found. There is a time coming when those who have wasted their time and opportunities will wish they had sought Him. God has given you reasoning faculties. He wants you to keep in the line of reason and in the line of labor. He wants you to go forth to our churches to labor earnestly for Him. He wants you to institute meetings for those outside the churches, that the people may learn the truths of this last message of warning. There are places where you will be gladly received, where souls will thank you for coming to their help. May the Lord help you to take hold of this work as you have never yet taken hold of it.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 106, 107.

6 What assurance must we fully appropriate for ourselves before we can effectively help others? Isaiah 44:21, 22.

Note: “Have you, reader, chosen your own way? Have you wandered far from God? Have you sought to feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them turn to ashes upon your lips? And now, your life plans thwarted and your hopes dead, do you sit alone and desolate? That voice which has long been speaking to your heart, but to which you would not listen, comes to you distinct and clear, ‘Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.’ Micah 2:10. Return to your Father’s house. He invites you, saying, ‘Return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.’ ‘Come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.’ Isaiah 44:22; 55:3.

“Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better, until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of the Saviour, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own: ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Psalm 51:7.” Prophets and Kings, 319, 320.

7 What did Isaiah desire for his people as a result of the temple vision? Isaiah 57:16–19.

Note: “In beholding his God, the prophet [Isaiah], like Saul of Tarsus at the gate of Damascus, had not only been given a view of his own unworthiness; there had come to his humbled heart the assurance of forgiveness, full and free; and he had arisen a changed man. He had seen his Lord. He had caught a glimpse of the loveliness of the divine character. He could testify of the transformation wrought through beholding Infinite Love. Henceforth he was inspired with longing desire to see erring Israel set free from the burden and penalty of sin.” Prophets and Kings, 314.

8 What invitation, given to the inhabitants of Judah, is extended to each one of us? Isaiah 27:5.

Note: “The God whom we serve is long-suffering; ‘His compassions fail not.’ Lamentations 3:22. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life.” Prophets and Kings, 325, 326.

9 What appeal and promise should we remember continually, both as individuals and as a church? Isaiah 1:16–18.

Note: “This invitation comes sounding down along the lines to us to-day. Let not pride, or self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep any one from confessing his sins, that he may claim the promise: ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.’ [Proverbs 28:13.] Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them. ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ [James 5:16.] Many a sin is left unconfessed, to be confronted in the day of final accounts; better far to see your sins now, to confess them, and put them away, while the atoning Sacrifice pleads in your behalf. Do not dislike to learn the will of God on this subject. The health of your soul, the unity of your brethren, may depend upon the course you pursue in these things. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, ‘casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.’ [I Peter 5:7.]” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 239.

10 With what words does Isaiah describe an experience that is to be ours? Isaiah 12:1–6.

Note: “Oh, how many times has your heart been touched with the beauty of the Saviour’s countenance, charmed with the loveliness of His character, and subdued with the thought of His suffering. Now He wants you to lean your whole weight upon Him.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 232.

Additional Reading

“Very earnest and touching is the apostle’s appeal that his Corinthian brethren consider anew the matchless love of their Redeemer. ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ he wrote, ‘that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.’ [II Corinthians 8:9.] You know the height from which He stooped, the depth of humiliation to which He descended. Having once entered upon the path of self-denial and sacrifice, he turned not aside until He had given His life. There was no rest for Him between the throne and the cross.

“Point after point Paul lingered over, in order that those who should read his epistle might fully comprehend the wonderful condescension of the Saviour in their behalf. Presenting Christ as He was when equal with God and with Him receiving the homage of the angels, the apostle traced His course until He had reached the lowest depths of humiliation. Paul was convinced that if they could be brought to comprehend the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, all selfishness would be banished from their lives. He showed how the Son of God had laid aside His glory, voluntarily subjecting Himself to the conditions of human nature, and then had humbled Himself as a servant, becoming obedient unto death, ‘even the death of the cross’ (Philippians 2:8), that He might lift fallen man from degradation to hope and joy and heaven.

“When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands and feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God. We see a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance that threatened only misery and despair, in the light reflected from the cross reveals the writing of God: Live, sinner, live! ye penitent, believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.

“In the contemplation of Christ we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless. We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us. We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ! ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ I John 4:10; 3:1.

“In every true disciple this love, like sacred fire, burns on the altar of the heart. It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 332–334.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Hope Amidst Discouragement

January 4, 2009 – January 10, 2009

Key Text

“Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 303–310; Gospel Workers, 20–23.


“True holiness and humility are inseparable. The nearer the soul comes to God, the more completely is it humbled and subdued.” That I May Know Him, 175.

1 What characterized the early reign of Uzziah, king of Judah? II Kings 15:1–3; II Chronicles 26:1–5.

Note: “The long reign of Uzziah [also known as Azariah] in the land of Judah and Benjamin was characterized by a prosperity greater than that of any other ruler since the death of Solomon, nearly two centuries before. …

“This outward prosperity, however, was not accompanied by a corresponding revival of spiritual power. The temple services were continued as in former years, and multitudes assembled to worship the living God; but pride and formality gradually took the place of humility and sincerity.” Prophets and Kings, 303, 304.

2 What warning should we heed from the disastrous presumption of proud Uzziah? II Chronicles 26:16–21; Numbers 15:30.

Note: “Unto the day of his death, some years later, Uzziah remained a leper—a living example of the folly of departing from a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Neither his exalted position nor his long life of service could be pleaded as an excuse for the presumptuous sin by which he marred the closing years of his reign, and brought upon himself the judgment of Heaven.” Prophets and Kings, 304.

3 What conditions were prevalent in Israel even before Isaiah was called to be a prophet? Isaiah 1:2–9.

Note: “The times in which Isaiah was to labor were fraught with peculiar peril to the people of God. … Already grave perils were threatening the peace of the southern kingdom. The divine protection was being removed, and the Assyrian forces were about to overspread the land of Judah.” Prophets and Kings, 305.

4 What sins existed in the nation during the early days of Isaiah? Isaiah 3:12; 5:20–23.

Note: “By their specious reasoning, they [the class represented in Isaiah 5:20–23] confuse the distinction that God desires to have drawn between good and evil. The sacred is brought down on a level with common things. Avarice and selfishness are called by false names; they are called prudence. Their rising up in independence and rebellion, their revenge and stubbornness, in their eyes are proofs of dignity, evidences of a noble mind. They act as though ignorance of divine things were not dangerous and even fatal to the soul; and they prefer their own reasoning to divine revelation, their own plans and human wisdom to the admonitions and commands of God. The piety and conscientiousness of others are called fanaticism, and those who practise [sic] truth and holiness are watched and criticized. They deride those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ [Colossians 1:27.] The principles underlying these things are not discerned by them; and they go on in wrong-doing, leaving the bars open for Satan to find ready access to the soul.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1138.

5 What would best summarize the condition of Judah at this time? Psalm 11:3; Isaiah 1:23.

Note: “With oppression and wealth came pride and love of display, gross drunkenness, and a spirit of revelry. … And in Isaiah’s day idolatry itself no longer provoked surprise. See Isaiah 2:8, 9. Iniquitous practices had become so prevalent among all classes that the few who remained true to God were often tempted to lose heart and to give way to discouragement and despair. It seemed as if God’s purpose for Israel were about to fail and that the rebellious nation was to suffer a fate similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Prophets and Kings, 306.

6 What parallel did Isaiah draw between Sodom and Judah? Isaiah 3:8, 9.

Note: “By their apostasy and rebellion those who should have been standing as light bearers among the nations were inviting the judgments of God. Many of the evils which were hastening the swift destructions of the northern kingdom, and which had recently been denounced in unmistakable terms by Hosea and Amos, were fast corrupting the kingdom of Judah.” Prophets and Kings, 306.

7 During this religious crisis, what vision did Isaiah receive? Where and how? Isaiah 6:1–4.

Note: “The reign of Uzziah was drawing to a close, and Jotham was already bearing many of the burdens of state, when Isaiah, of the royal line, was called, while yet a young man, to the prophetic mission.” Prophets and Kings, 305.

“It is not surprising that when, during the last year of Uzziah’s reign, Isaiah was called to bear to Judah God’s messages of warning and reproof, he shrank from the responsibility. He well knew that he would encounter obstinate resistance. As he realized his own inability to meet the situation and thought of the stubbornness and unbelief of the people for whom he was to labor, his task seemed hopeless. …

“Such thoughts as these were crowding through Isaiah’s mind as he stood under the portico of the temple. Suddenly the gate and the inner veil of the temple seemed to be uplifted or withdrawn, and he was permitted to gaze within, upon the holy of holies, where even the prophet’s feet might not enter. There rose up before him a vision of Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, while the train of His glory filled the temple. On each side of the throne hovered the seraphim, their faces veiled in adoration, as they ministered before their Maker and united in the solemn invocation, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory,’ until post and pillar and cedar gate seemed shaken with the sound, and the house was filled with their tribute of praise. Isaiah 6:3.” Ibid., 306, 307.

8 How did Isaiah feel in the presence of the great vision? Isaiah 6:5.

Note: “As Isaiah beheld this revelation of the glory and majesty of his Lord [See Isaiah 6:3, 4], he was overwhelmed with a sense of the purity and holiness of God. How sharp the contrast between the matchless perfection of his Creator, and the sinful course of those who, with himself, had long been numbered among the chosen people of Israel and Judah!” Prophets and Kings, 307.

“Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same condemnation he had pronounced upon them. He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in his worship of God. He had not known this until the vision was given him of the Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ [Romans 7:24.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1139.

9 How did God relieve Isaiah’s distress at his own unworthiness? Isaiah 6:6, 7. What lesson can we draw from this experience?

Note: “Standing, as it were, in the full light of the divine presence within the inner sanctuary, he [Isaiah] realized that if left to his own imperfection and inefficiency, he would be utterly unable to accomplish the mission to which he had been called. But a seraph was sent to relieve him of his distress and to fit him for his great mission.” Prophets and Kings, 308.

“The live coal is symbolical of purification. If it touches the lips, no impure word will fall from them. The live coal also symbolizes the potency of the efforts of the servants of the Lord. God hates all coldness, all commonness, all cheap efforts. Those who labor acceptably in his cause, must be men who pray fervently, and whose works are wrought in God; and they will never have cause to be ashamed of their record.” The Review and Herald, October 16, 1888.

“The vision given to Isaiah represents the condition of God’s people in the last days. They are privileged to see by faith the work that is going forward in the heavenly sanctuary. ‘And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.’ [Revelation 11:19.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1139.

10 In vision, what did Isaiah see as the final result of his work? Isaiah 6:8–13.

Note: “This assurance of the final fulfillment of God’s purpose brought courage to the heart of Isaiah. What though earthly powers array themselves against Judah? What though the Lord’s messenger meet with opposition and resistance? Isaiah had seen the King, the Lord of hosts; he had heard the song of the seraphim, ‘The whole earth is full of His glory’ [Isaiah 6:3]; he had the promise that the messages of Jehovah to backsliding Judah would be accompanied by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit; and the prophet was nerved for the work before him. … Throughout his long and arduous mission he carried with him the memory of this vision. For sixty years or more he stood before the children of Judah as a prophet of hope, waxing bolder and still bolder in his predictions of the future triumph of the church.” Prophets and Kings, 310.

Additional Reading

“Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement—days when sorrow is the portion, and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children; days when troubles harass the soul, till death seems preferable to life. It is then that many lose their hold on God and are brought into the slavery of doubt, the bondage of unbelief. Could we at such times discern with spiritual insight the meaning of God’s providences we should see angels seeking to save us from ourselves, striving to plant our feet upon a foundation more firm than the everlasting hills, and new faith, new life, would spring into being.” Prophets and Kings, 162.

“Hope and courage are essential to perfect service for God. These are the fruit of faith. Despondency is sinful and unreasonable. God is able and willing ‘more abundantly’ (Hebrews 6:17) to bestow upon His servants the strength they need for test and trial. The plans of the enemies of His work may seem to be well laid and firmly established, but God can overthrow the strongest of these. And this He does in His own time and way, when He sees that the faith of His servants has been sufficiently tested.” Ibid., 164.

“For the disheartened there is a sure remedy—faith, prayer, work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that will increase day by day. Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. Fear not that He will fail of fulfilling His promise. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant He has made with those who love Him. And He will bestow upon His faithful servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands. The apostle Paul has testified: ‘He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. … Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.’ II Corinthians 12:9, 10.” Ibid., 164, 165.

“The joy set before Christ, the joy that sustained Him through sacrifice and suffering, was the joy of seeing sinners saved. This should be the joy of every follower of His, the spur to his ambition. Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men, will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts will be moved to compassion as they see the moral and spiritual destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison with which physical suffering fades into nothingness.” Ibid., 172.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Life of God’s Messengers

December 28, 2008 – January 3, 2009

Key text

“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” James 5:10.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 298–302; Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 32–35.


“It is through humble, diligent, faithful toilers that the welfare of Israel is promoted.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 266.

1 What should we realize about the lives of faithful men and women throughout the ages, especially those whom God has entrusted with the gift of prophecy? II Peter 1:21; James 5:10.

Note: “In every age God’s chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad. Every disciple of Christ is to step into the ranks and carry forward the same work, knowing that its foes can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God’s means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 33.

2 As we consider the faithfulness of God’s servants depicted above, what should we do? I Corinthians 10:33; 11:1.

Note: “[In God’s word] is open before us the history of patriarchs and prophets and other holy men of old. They were men ‘subject to like passions as we are.’ James 5:17. We see how they struggled through discouragements like our own, how they fell under temptation as we have done, and yet took heart again and conquered through the grace of God; and, beholding, we are encouraged in our striving after righteousness. As we read of the precious experiences granted them, of the light and love and blessing it was theirs to enjoy, and of the work they wrought through the grace given them, the spirit that inspired them kindles a flame of holy emulation in our hearts and a desire to be like them in character—like them to walk with God.” Steps to Christ, 87, 88.

3 How have the messengers of God and their messages been received down through the ages? John 5:43; Romans 10:16.

Note: “There is very little reverence for sacred things in some localities. The ordained instrumentalities of God are almost entirely lost sight of. God has instituted no new method of reaching the children of men. If they cut themselves off from Heaven’s appointed agencies to reprove their sins, correct their errors, and point out the path of duty, there is no way to reach them with any heavenly communication. They are left in darkness, and are ensnared and taken by the adversary.” The Review and Herald, April 7, 1885.

4 By what standard are we to test messengers and messages? Isaiah 8:20.

Note: “The man is to be regarded and honored only as God’s ambassador. To praise the man is not pleasing to God. The message he brings is to be brought to the test of the Bible. ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20. But the word of the Lord is not to be judged by a human standard. It will be seen that those whose minds have the mold of earthliness, those who have a limited Christian experience and know but little of the things of God, are the ones who have the least respect for God’s servants and the least reverence for the message He bids them bear. They listen to a searching discourse and go to their homes prepared to sit in judgment on it, and the impression disappears from their minds like the morning dew before the sun. If the preaching is of an emotional character, it will affect the feelings, but not the heart and conscience. Such preaching results in no lasting good, but it often wins the hearts of the people and calls out their affections for the man who pleases them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 301.

5 What challenge comes to all faithful ministers? II Timothy 2:15. What attitude should we take toward them? Hebrews 13:17.

Note: “God always has men to whom He entrusts His message. His Spirit moves upon their hearts, and constrains them to speak. Stimulated by holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they enter upon the performance of their duty without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord has given them. But the servant of God is soon made aware that he has risked something. He finds himself and his message made the subject of criticism. His manners, his life, his property are all inspected and commented upon. His message is picked to pieces and rejected in the most illiberal and unsanctified spirit, as men in their finite judgment see fit. Has that message done the work God designed it should accomplish? No; it has signally failed, because the hearts of the hearers were unsanctified.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1034.

6 What must faithful leaders and lay people be ready to face? Luke 6:22; I Peter 4:12–14.

Note: “Jesus has not left you to be amazed at the trials and difficulties you meet. He has told you all about them, and He has told you also not to be cast down and oppressed when trials come. Look to Jesus, your Redeemer, and be cheerful and rejoice. The trials hardest to bear are those that come from our brethren, our own familiar friends; but even these trials may be borne with patience. Jesus is not lying in Joseph’s new tomb. He has risen and has ascended to heaven, there to intercede in our behalf. We have a Saviour who so loved us that He died for us, that through Him we might have hope and strength and courage, and a place with Him upon His throne. He is able and willing to help you whenever you call upon Him.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 128.

7 What does God declare of His faithful few who stand for truth and righteousness? Hebrews 11:32–38; Psalm 116:15.

Note: “True prophets will ever prefer reproach, and even death, rather than unfaithfulness to God. The Infinite Eye is upon the instruments of divine reproof, and they bear a heavy responsibility. But God regards the injury done to them through misrepresentation, falsehood, or abuse as though it were done unto Himself, and will punish accordingly.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 167.

“The season of distress before God’s people will call for a faith that will not falter. His children must make it manifest that He is the only object of their worship, and that no consideration, not even that of life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to false worship. To the loyal heart the commands of sinful, finite men will sink into insignificance beside the word of the eternal God. Truth will be obeyed though the result be imprisonment or exile or death.” Prophets and Kings, 512, 513.

8 As we study the lives of patriarchs and prophets, what assurance is given us? Hebrews 11:39, 40.

Note: “Bible history stays the fainting heart with the hope of God’s mercy. We need not despair when we see that others have struggled through discouragements like our own, have fallen into temptations even as we have done, and yet have recovered their ground and been blessed of God. The words of inspiration comfort and cheer the erring soul. Although the patriarchs and apostles were subject to human frailties, yet through faith they obtained a good report, fought their battles in the strength of the Lord, and conquered gloriously. Thus may we trust in the virtue of the atoning sacrifice and be overcomers in the name of Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 15.

9 What choice is before every human being? Luke 9:23–26.

Note: “The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul. We can conquer the satanic agencies, or we can join ourselves with the powers that seek to counterwork the work of God in our world.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 96.

“The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing,—the giving up of the will to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting the cross cuts away self from the soul, and places man where he learns how to bear Christ’s burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. If our will is not in accord with the divine requirements, we are to deny our inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in Christ’s footsteps.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1090, 1091.

10 By what means can God’s faithful servants overcome? Revelation 12:10, 11; I Corinthians 15:57.

Note: “None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 911.

“All who will can be overcomers. Let us strive earnestly to reach the standard set before us. Christ knows our weakness, and to Him we can go daily for help. It is not necessary for us to gain strength a month ahead. We are to conquer from day to day.

“We become overcomers by helping others to overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The keeping of the commandments of God will yield in us an obedient spirit, and the service that is the offspring of such a spirit, God can accept.” Ibid., 974.

Additional Reading

“Christ has power from His Father to give His divine grace and strength to man, making it possible for him through His name to overcome. …

“All are personally exposed to the temptations that Christ overcame, but strength is provided for them in the all-powerful name of the great Conqueror. And all must, for themselves, individually overcome.

“He knows every trial and sorrow of childhood and youth. He was once just your age. The temptations and trials which come to you came also to Him. The sorrows which come to you came to Him. But He was never overcome by temptation. His life held nothing that was not pure and noble. He is your helper, your Redeemer.

“His heart of divine love and sympathy is drawn out most of all for the one who is the most hopelessly entangled in the snares of the enemy. With His own blood He has signed the emancipation papers of the race.

“Jesus does not desire those who have been purchased at such a cost to become the sport of the enemy’s temptations. He does not desire us to be overcome and perish. He who curbed the lions in their den and walked with His faithful witnesses amid the fiery flames is just as ready to work in our behalf, to subdue every evil in our nature. Today He is standing at the altar of mercy, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help. He turns no weeping, contrite one away … The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. …

“There is nothing that can keep you away from God but a rebellious will.

“The will is the governing power in the nature of man. If the will is set right, all the rest of the being will come under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the choice, the deciding power, the kingly power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or to disobedience.

“You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises and your faith are of no account until you put your will on the right side. If you will fight the fight of faith with your will power, there is no doubt that you will conquer.

“Your part is to put your will on the side of Christ. When you yield your will to His, He immediately takes possession of you, and works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Your nature is brought under the control of His Spirit. Even your thoughts are subject to Him. If you cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire, you can control the will, and thus an entire change will be wrought in your life.” My Life Today, 317, 318.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Couscous Salad

5 cups cooked couscous

2 cups thinly sliced celery (leaves included)

1½ cups finely diced onion

2 cups slices olives

2 cups diced tomatoes

2 cups finely diced red pepper

½ cup finely cut fresh cilantro

2-3 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1½ tsp salt

¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Follow cooking instructions on couscous box. Add olive oil and seasonings. Allow to chill thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables and serve.

Food – Small Intestines, Big Business

Though they are truly inferior in size to the large intestines, the small intestines play a huge role in the digestion and absorption of the nutrients we feed our bodies. The small intestines are coiled in the abdomen and are surrounded by a large network of blood vessels. Because of the peristaltic movements (repetitive, wave-like motion) of the digestive tract, there is some mechanical breakdown of food in the small intestine; however, the main role it plays is in the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. This organ is about 1 inch in diameter and approximately 20 feet in length. It is divided into three sections; the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum; each with its distinctive function.

The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine and is attached to the end of the stomach. At only 10 inches, it is the smallest of the three sections, and is primarily responsible for the chemical digestion of food. The duodenum contains mucous and hormone secreting glands, and both the pancreatic and the bile ducts enter the duodenum, where they empty their digestive juices. The compilation of digestive juices in this part of the small intestine is responsible for the further digestion of fats, protein, and starch.

The jejunem is the middle of the three divisions of the small intestine. It is approximately eight feet in length, and contains folds called plicae circulars. Arising from these folds are the villi and the microvilli, tiny finger-like projections that protrude from the walls of the small intestine. These function together to increase the surface area available to secrete enzymes and absorb nutrients from our dietary intake. It has been estimated that the surface area of the small intestine is about 200m2, or the floor space of an average two-story house.

The ileum is the last section of the small intestine, following the jejunum, and connects the small intestine to the large. It is approximately 12 feet in length, and functions primarily to absorb vitamin B12 and bile salts. The enzymes necessary for the final digestion of protein and carbohydrates are secreted here. Villi and microvilli also line the ileum, so anything not absorbed by the jejunum is available to the ileum. The ileum is also distinguishable from the other sections of the small intestine by the Peyer’s patches—lymphoid nodules containing a large amount of lymphocytes and other cells important to the immune system. Because the inside of the gastrointestinal tract is exposed to the external environment, much of it is populated with disease-causing organisms. These patches establish their importance in the immune system surveillance of the intestines and help in generating an immune response, if necessary.

It is quite obvious that the small intestines are important to the body’s overall health. Since the small intestine is dependent upon the food that we put into it, the status of our health depends largely on the quality of food that we put into our bodies. Be kind to your body, and it will be kind to you.

Question – How do I prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus?

How do I prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus?

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44.

God is a God of love. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to come and live on this earth and be tortured and crucified that we might be saved from this wicked world. He wants each individual to have eternal life with Jesus in a home where there will be no sorrow or heartache. If we are going to live with Jesus and be happy, we must be like Him. And this takes work.

On the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was conversing with His disciples: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. In order for us to be ready for the Lord’s soon coming, we must learn how to be like Jesus. What was Jesus like? If we study the four gospels in the New Testament, we get a good description of the Savior. A self-description is found in Matthew 11:29: “I am meek and lowly of heart.”

In Jesus’ sermon recorded in Matthew 7, He gives a depiction of the kind of people who would be in heaven. In our preparation, it would be well for us to put these characteristics into our lives. We cannot do this of our own power; we must ask for help from our Saviour, but he has promised in Mathew 7:7, 8 that if you ask, you will receive.

“And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:2–12.

These are the characteristics that Jesus prizes and will be found in those who enter heaven. We must ask for the help of Jesus to implement these in our lives.

May God bless you as you strive to enter the kingdom.

If you have a Bible question you wish to have answered, please e-mail it to:

Children’s Story – This Moses was Black

A splash was heard in the ebony waters not twenty yards from the small group huddled together by the river banks. Every soul froze and their panicked screams were blocked by lumps of frozen terror in their throats. In each mind played a full-color, surround-sound scenario of the consequences if they were caught. They had seen it hundreds of times: tied to the whipping block, bare skin blistering under the high-noon sun, starving and dehydrated, the master’s whip, the only variance in the long days of punishment. Luckily for them, their black faces did nothing to reflect the moon which was now and then peering from behind the eerie clouds that moved at an alarming pace across the sky. An irate squirrel chattered his annoyance at his lost nut as if it was the fault of the clandestine visitors gathered below his tree.

“Don’t thtop,” Harriet lisped in a hushed voice. “We have a long wayth to go before the nektht thtation.”

The five escaping slaves let out the breath that had been captive too long. If the moon had been full and bright, you would have seen five black faces turn blue. Though fear had turned their legs to cooked spaghetti, they managed to command their feet to place themselves one in front of the other. The darkness rarely brought relief from the mid-summer heat in those southern states. Although the nearness of water was a blessing, it was also a curse. The mosquitoes did about as good a job at eating away their flesh and blood as would the shrapnel from the overseer’s rifle if they were found. Days and nights of barely more than a corn kernel to nibble on had worn away at the steely muscles built over a lifetime of slavery, and fear gnawed away at sanity.

“I ain’t got no mo’ lef’ Miz Tu’man.” One of her charges faltered a step, and Harriet caught the huge man on her shoulders and half dragged him through the tangled brush and thick, sticky mud on the river bank. “Keep awn keepin’ awn brutha,” she whispered back. Although her own strength was failing her, Harriet was driven by the precious lives placed in her hands. “Go down, Moses,” she sang softly to quiet the thumping hearts of her charges, “Way down to Egyptaland.” Five other voices harmonized in the eerie tune sending a strangely sweet and pathetic cry to heaven. “Tell ol’ Pharaoh, Let my people go.” And they trudged on in search of a hideaway to rest during the light hours. Dawn broke on the flat horizon, turning the sky blood red; as red as the Nile River when Moses touched his staff to it. To the exhausted escapees it spoke of the Lord’s miracles for the freedom of His people; and with this promise in their hearts, they slept.

Slight vibrations in the ground awoke Harriet, who always seemed to sleep with one eye open. She put her ear to the earth to assess the source and the distance. Horses! Perhaps one mile! Fortunately, they did not seem to be moving fast. Without a word she awoke her sleeping charges, trying to appear calm so as not to rile them. It was still daylight, and the horses were getting closer to their hiding place; not knowing how close they would come.

“Tis sumthin’ da matta’ Miz Tu’man?” came the sleepy-eyed questions.

Ho’ses. Many. Don’t know where they’s aheaded and we ain’t gonna stay t’ find out neitha,” Harriet answered forcefully. Though they had crossed into a free state the previous night, the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law demanded the return of human property to the owner, which meant that they would not be safe so close to the border dividing the free states and the slave states.

“Why, dey might’nt come here! We’s safe hidin’ here.”

“No, they’s gunna look wherever’s a good hidin’ spot. Move out!”

“No! We’s safe not ta move!”

At this Harriet pulled the pistol from her ankle holster and aimed it at the defiant slave. What did he know of the tactics of the slave hunters? She had helped over 300 slaves to escape safely so far, and a single defiant slave would not jeopardize the rest if she could help it.

“You trust Ms. Tu’man now! I ain’t let one slave get caught, not now, not neva eitha!” Whether shocked or frightened into submission, the persuasion worked and they headed out to the station which was now just a few miles away, and not another word was spoken. Though the tactic was unpleasant and rather unconventional, it was one that had served to press on slaves beaten by fatigue, hunger, fear, and despair, and never once had Harriet lost one of her charges.

“Praise be!” went a jubilant cry. Into the deepest recesses of memory went the horror of their journey as the large estate of their white redeemers came into sight. A green flag was hanging from the gate, signaling that all was well for them to enter.

Entering into the parlor of the huge mansion, each slave, safely freed, bent to kiss the aged face of their tough savior, and gave thanks to God.

“Miz Moses, thank ya kindly.”

Harriet Tubman helped over 300 slaves escape from slavery before the Civil War. Her service to her fellow slaves earned her the nickname, Moses of her People. On her death bed she was able to boast, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” And indeed not one slave Harriet Tubman guided toward freedom was ever captured.

Alicia Freedman works at Steps to Life as a part of the LandMarks team. She can be reached by e-mail at:

Pen of Inspiration – Living for Christ

A soul filled with the love of Jesus lends to the words, the manners, the looks, hope, courage and serenity. It reveals the spirit of Christ. It breathes a love which will be reflected. It awakens a desire for a better life; souls ready to faint are strengthened; those struggling against temptation will be fortified and comforted. The words, the expression, the manners throw out a bright ray of sunshine, and leave behind them a clear path toward heaven, the source of all light. Every one of us has opportunities of helping others. We are constantly making impressions upon the youth about us. The expression of the countenance is itself a mirror of the life within. Jesus desires that we shall become like Himself, filled with tender sympathy, exerting a ministry of love in the small duties of life.

The Light Burns Dimly—

The light which is given to shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, burns dimly. The church no longer sends out the clear bright rays of light amidst the moral darkness that is enveloping the world as a funeral pall. The light of many does not burn or shine. They are moral icebergs.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace. The heart in its natural state is a habitation for unholy thoughts and sinful passions. When brought into subjection to Christ, it must be cleansed by the Spirit from all defilement. This can not be done without the consent of the individual.

When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled. Many seem to think that the religion of Christ does not call for the abandonment of daily sins, the breaking loose from habits which have held the soul in bondage. They renounce some things condemned by the conscience, but they fail to represent Christ in the daily life. They do not bring Christlikeness into the home. They do not show a thoughtful care in their choice of words. Too often, fretful, impatient words are spoken, words which stir the worst passions of the human heart. Such ones need the abiding presence of Christ in the soul. Only in His strength can they keep guard over the words and actions.

In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness and humility, pleading for help. The Saviour has told us to pray without ceasing. The Christian can not always be in the position of prayer, but his thoughts and desires can always be upward. Our self-confidence would vanish, did we talk less and pray more.

Christians should be careful that they keep the heart with all diligence. They should cultivate a love for meditation, and cherish a spirit of devotion. Many seem to begrudge moments spent in meditation, and the searching of the Scriptures, and prayer, as though the time thus occupied was lost. I wish you could all view these things in the light God would have you; for you would then make the kingdom of heaven of the first importance. To keep your heart in heaven, will give vigor to all your graces, and put life into all your duties. To discipline the mind to dwell upon heavenly things, will put life and earnestness into all our endeavors. Our efforts are languid, and we run the Christian race slowly, and manifest indolence and sloth, because we so little value the heavenly prize. We are dwarfs in spiritual attainments. It is the privilege and duty of the Christian to be “increasing in the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” [Eph. 4:13.] As exercise increases the appetite, and gives strength and healthy vigor to the body, so will devotional exercises bring an increase of grace and spiritual vigor.

The affections should center upon God. Contemplate His greatness, His mercy and excellences. Let His goodness and love and perfection of character captivate your heart. Converse upon His divine charms, and the heavenly mansions He is preparing for the faithful. He whose conversation is in heaven, is the most profitable Christian to all around him. His words are useful and refreshing. They have a transforming power upon those who hear them, and will melt and subdue the soul.

Practical Religion Breathes Fragrance—

Let the prayer go up to God, “Create in me a clean heart”; for a pure, cleansed soul has Christ abiding therein, and out of the abundance of the heart are the issues of life. The human will is to be yielded to Christ. Instead of passing on, closing the heart in selfishness, there is need of opening the heart to the sweet influences of the Spirit of God. Practical religion breathes its fragrance everywhere. It is a savor of life unto life. “Ellen G. White Comments”, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1156-1157.

Some are seen to come forth from their daily communion with God clothed with the meekness of Christ. Their words are not like a desolating hail, crushing everything before it; they come forth sweetly from their lips. They scatter seeds of love and kindness all along their path, and that all unconsciously, because Christ lives in their heart. Their influence is felt more than it is seen.

Truthfulness and frankness should be ever cherished by all who claim to be followers of Christ. God and the right should be the motto. Deal honestly and righteously in this present evil world. Some will be honest when they see that honesty will not endanger their worldly interests; but all who act from this principle will have their names blotted out of the book of life.

Strict honesty must be cultivated. We can go through the world but once; we cannot come back to rectify any mistakes; therefore every move made should be with godly fear and careful consideration. Honesty and policy will not harmonize; either policy will be subdued, and truth and honesty hold the lines of control, or policy will take the lines, and honesty cease to direct. Both cannot act together; they can never be in agreement. When God makes up His jewels, the true, the frank, the honest, will be His chosen ones, His treasures. Angels are preparing crowns for such; and light from the throne of God will be reflected in its splendor from these star-gemmed-diadems.”

“Ellen G. White comments”, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1159.