Bible Study Guides – The Death of Moses

March 21 – 27, 2021

Key Text

“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:5, 6).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 469–480.


“As a shepherd of sheep, Moses was taught to care for the afflicted, to nurse the sick, to seek patiently after the straying, to bear long with the unruly, to supply with loving solicitude the wants of the young lambs and the necessities of the old and feeble.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 343.



1.a. As Moses’ end was drawing near, with what encouraging words did he address first the people, and then Joshua? Deuteronomy 31:1–8.

Note: “As the people gazed upon the aged man, so soon to be taken from them, they recalled, with a new and deeper appreciation, his parental tenderness, his wise counsels, and his untiring labors. How often, when their sins had invited the just judgments of God, the prayers of Moses had prevailed with Him to spare them! Their grief was heightened by remorse. They bitterly remembered that their own perversity had provoked Moses to the sin for which he must die.

“The removal of their beloved leader would be a far stronger rebuke to Israel than any which they could have received had his life and mission been continued. God would lead them to feel that they were not to make the life of their future leader as trying as they had made that of Moses. God speaks to His people in blessings bestowed; and when these are not appreciated, He speaks to them in blessings removed, that they may be led to see their sins, and return to Him with all the heart.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 470.



2.a. How often were the people required to listen to the reading of the laws, and which groups of people were to do so? Why? Deuteronomy 31:9–13.

Note: “He [God] requires parents to train up their children and with unceasing diligence to educate them with regard to the claims of His law and to instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. These injunctions which God laid upon the Jews with so much solemnity, rest with equal weight upon Christian parents.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 294.

2.b.      What was the plan of God for Israel? What were the conditions upon which this promise was to be fulfilled? Deuteronomy 28:12–14.

Note: “These promises given to Israel are also for God’s people today.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 351.

2.c. What was given to the Israelites as a continual reminder of their calling as God’s special people? Numbers 15:38, 39. Of what then should every piece of clothing we put on today remind us?

Note: “The children of Israel, after they were brought out of Egypt, were commanded to have a simple ribbon of blue in the border of their garments, to distinguish them from the nations around them, and to signify that they were God’s peculiar people. The people of God are not now required to have a special mark placed upon their garments. But in the New Testament we are often referred to ancient Israel for examples. If God gave such definite directions to His ancient people in regard to their dress, will not the dress of His people in this age come under His notice? Should there not be in their dress a distinction from that of the world? Should not the people of God, who are His peculiar treasure, seek even in their dress to glorify God? And should they not be examples in point of dress, and by their simple style rebuke the pride, vanity, and extravagance of worldly, pleasure-loving professors? God requires this of His people. Pride is rebuked in His Word.” The Review and Herald, January 23, 1900.



3.a. What aspects of God’s character are brought out in the song Moses wrote for the benefit of the people? Deuteronomy 32:3, 4, 6.

3.b.      How is God’s care for His people shown in this song? Deuteronomy 32:9–12.

Note: “God surrounded Israel with every facility, gave them every privilege, that would make them an honor to His name and a blessing to surrounding nations. If they would walk in the ways of obedience, He promised to make them ‘high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor’ (Deuteronomy 26:19).” Education, p. 40.

“He [God] rescued them from their servile state, that He might bring them to a good land, a land which in His providence He had prepared for them as a refuge from their enemies. He would bring them to Himself and encircle them in His everlasting arms; and in return for His goodness and mercy they were to exalt His name and make it glorious in the earth.” Prophets and Kings, 16.

3.c. In what sense was this song calculated to be a help to the people? Deuteronomy 31:19–22. What can we learn from this?

Note: “The more deeply to impress these truths upon all minds, the great leader [Moses] embodied them in sacred verse. This song was not only historical, but prophetic. While it recounted the wonderful dealings of God with His people in the past, it also foreshadowed the great events of the future, the final victory of the faithful when Christ shall come the second time in power and glory. The people were directed to commit to memory this poetic history, and to teach it to their children and children’s children. It was to be chanted by the congregation when they assembled for worship, and to be repeated by the people as they went about their daily labors. It was the duty of parents to so impress these words upon the susceptible minds of their children that they might never be forgotten.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 467, 468.



4.a. What did Moses say about the first coming of Jesus Christ? Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.

4.b.      What rebuke did Jesus direct to the Jews in connection with this prophecy? John 5:45–47.

Note: “There are those who profess to believe and to teach the truths of the Old Testament, while they reject the New. But in refusing to receive the teachings of Christ, they show that they do not believe that which patriarchs and prophets have spoken. ‘Had ye believed Moses,’ Christ said, ‘ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me’ (John 5:46). Hence there is no real power in their teaching of even the Old Testament.

“Many who claim to believe and to teach the gospel are in a similar error. They set aside the Old Testament Scriptures, of which Christ declared, ‘They are they which testify of Me’ (John 5:39). In rejecting the Old, they virtually reject the New; for both are parts of an inseparable whole. No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded. The law is the root, the gospel is the fragrant blossom and fruit which it bears.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 128.

4.c. In what sense was Moses a type of Christ? Hebrews 3:5, 6.

Note: “Moses was a type of Christ. He himself had declared to Israel, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken’ (Deuteronomy 18:15). God saw fit to discipline Moses in the school of affliction and poverty before he could be prepared to lead the hosts of Israel to the earthly Canaan. The Israel of God, journeying to the heavenly Canaan, have a Captain who needed no human teaching to prepare Him for His mission as a divine leader; yet He was made perfect through sufferings; and ‘in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted’ (Hebrews 2:10, 18). Our Redeemer manifested no human weakness or imperfection; yet He died to obtain for us an entrance into the Promised Land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 480.



5.a. What command and assurance did Moses receive from the Lord when he had finished his work? Deuteronomy 32:49, 50, 52.

Note: “In solitude Moses reviewed his life of vicissitudes and hardships since he turned from courtly honors and from a prospective kingdom in Egypt, to cast in his lot with God’s chosen people. …

“He did not regret the burdens he had borne. He knew that his mission and work were of God’s own appointing.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 471, 472.

5.b.      How did God bring Moses back to life, and what classes of saints did Moses and Elijah each represent on the mount of transfiguration? Jude 9; Matthew 17:1–5.

Note: “Moses upon the mount of transfiguration was a witness to Christ’s victory over sin and death. He represented those who shall come forth from the grave at the resurrection of the just. Elijah, who had been translated to heaven without seeing death, represented those who will be living upon the earth at Christ’s second coming, and who will be ‘changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;’ when ‘this mortal must put on immortality,’ and ‘this corruptible must put on incorruption’ (1 Corinthians 15:51–53).” The Desire of Ages, 421, 422.



  1. As Moses was about to die, how did the people now view him? Why?
  2. How should our calling as children of the King, as God’s special, peculiar treasure, affect the way we dress and the way we dress our children?
  3. What is one way parents can deeply impress truth on the minds of their children? How does Satan fiendishly try to use this same tool in an opposite direction?
  4. How are we rejecting Christ if we set aside the Old Testament?
  5. As Moses considered the riches and fame he had left behind in exchange for a life of toil and hardship, why did he have no regrets?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Apostasy at the Jordan

March 14 – 20, 2021

Key Text

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 453–461.


“It is the special work of Satan in these last days to take possession of the minds of youth, to corrupt the thoughts and inflame the passions; for he knows that by so doing he can lead to impure actions, and thus all the noble faculties of the mind will become debased.” Child Guidance, 440.



1.a. What did Balak, king of Moab, seek to do? Why? Numbers 22:2, 3, 5–7.

1.b. Why couldn’t Balaam curse Israel? Numbers 22:38; 23:8.

1.c. What fact about the spiritual state of Israel was another reason why they couldn’t be cursed? Numbers 23:21. How is this so encouraging for us?

Note: “While they were under the divine protection, no people or nation, though aided by all the power of Satan, should be able to prevail against them. All the world should wonder at the marvelous work of God in behalf of His people—that a man determined to pursue a sinful course should be so controlled by divine power as to utter, instead of imprecations, the richest and most precious promises, in the language of sublime and impassioned poetry. And the favor of God at this time manifested toward Israel was to be an assurance of His protecting care for His obedient, faithful children in all ages. When Satan should inspire evil men to misrepresent, harass, and destroy God’s people, this very occurrence would be brought to their remembrance, and would strengthen their courage and their faith in God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 449.



2.a. What blessings did God inspire Balaam to pronounce upon Israel? First blessing: Numbers 23:7–10. Second blessing: Verses 18–24. Third blessing: Chapter 24:5–9.

2.b.      What prophecy did Balaam then utter about Israel and the coming Messiah? Numbers 24:15–17.

Note: “The light of God is ever shining amid the darkness of heathenism. As [the] magi studied the starry heavens, and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking clearer knowledge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures. In their own land were treasured prophetic writings that predicted the coming of a divine teacher. Balaam belonged to the magicians, though at one time a prophet of God; by the Holy Spirit he had foretold the prosperity of Israel and the appearing of the Messiah; and his prophecies had been handed down by tradition from century to century. But in the Old Testament the Saviour’s advent was more clearly revealed.” The Desire of Ages, 59, 60.

2.c. What did Balaam prophesy about the fate of the nations then dwelling in the Promised Land? Numbers 24:17–23.

Note: “God gives nations a certain time of probation. He sends light and evidence, that, if received, will save them, but if refused as the Jews refused light, indignation and punishment will fall upon them. If men refuse to be benefited, and choose darkness rather than light, they will reap the results of their choice.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143, 1144.

“With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps an account with all nations. While His mercy is tendered with calls to repentance, this account will remain open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath commences. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. There is no more pleading of mercy in their behalf.

“The prophet [Ezekiel], looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision. The nations of this age have been the recipients of unprecedented mercies. The choicest of heaven’s blessings have been given them, but increased pride, covetousness, idolatry, contempt of God, and base ingratitude are written against them. They are fast closing up their account with God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 208, 209.



3.a. With what lures did Satan seek to entrap the children of Israel as they were just about to enter the Promised Land? Numbers 25:1.

3.b. What did the Moabites do to allure Israel still further away from God? Numbers 25:2, 3.

Note: “At Balaam’s suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their gods was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. He was regarded by them as a prophet of God, and hence had little difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. Great numbers of the people joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine beclouded their senses and broke down the barriers of self-control. Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They offered sacrifice upon heathen altars and participated in the most degrading rites.

“It was not long before the poison had spread, like a deadly infection, through the camp of Israel. Those who would have conquered their enemies in battle were overcome by the wiles of heathen women. The people seemed to be infatuated. The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national. ‘Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor’ (Numbers 25:3, first part).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 454.

3.c. What swift punishment did God send upon the disobedient? Why? Numbers 25:4, 5, 9.

Note: “A terrible pestilence broke out in the camp, to which tens of thousands speedily fell a prey. God commanded that the leaders in this apostasy be put to death by the magistrates. This order was promptly obeyed. The offenders were slain, then their bodies were hung up in sight of all Israel that the congregation, seeing the leaders so severely dealt with, might have a deep sense of God’s abhorrence of their sin and the terror of His wrath against them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 455.



4.a. What sins are among the works of sinful human nature? Galatians 5:19. How prevalent is lasciviousness, or licentiousness, in our day?

Note: “Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. Never did vice lift its deformed head with such boldness as now. The people seem to be benumbed, and the lovers of virtue and true goodness are nearly discouraged by its boldness, strength, and prevalence. The iniquity which abounds is not merely confined to the unbeliever and the scoffer. Would that this were the case, but it is not. Many men and women who profess the religion of Christ are guilty. … Every Christian will have to learn to restrain his passions and be controlled by principle.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 346, 347.

4.b. As we stand today on the borders of the heavenly Canaan, what lesson can we learn from the apostasy of Israel at the Jordan? 1 Corinthians 10:8, 12.

Note: “All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 457, 458.

“Sensual indulgence weakens the mind and debases the soul. The moral and intellectual powers are benumbed and paralyzed by the gratification of the animal propensities; and it is impossible for the slave of passion to realize the sacred obligation of the law of God, to appreciate the atonement, or to place a right value upon the soul. Goodness, purity, and truth, reverence for God, and love for sacred things—all those holy affections and noble desires that link men with the heavenly world—are consumed in the fires of lust.” Ibid., 458.



5.a. What warnings are calculated to protect us from apostasy especially today in our preparation for heaven? 2 Corinthians 6:17; James 4:4.

Note: “It was by associating with idolaters and joining in their festivities that the Hebrews were led to transgress God’s law and bring His judgments upon the nation. So now it is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in their amusements that Satan is most successful in alluring them into sin. ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean’ (2 Corinthians 6:17). God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently. If they faithfully follow the teachings of His word, this distinction will exist; it cannot be otherwise. The warnings given to the Hebrews against assimilating with the heathen were not more direct or explicit than are those forbidding Christians to conform to the spirit and customs of the ungodly.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

5.b.      What can we do to avoid licentiousness? 1 Peter 1:13; Philippians 4:8.

Note: “Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest.” The Acts of the Apostles, 518.

“Every wrong tendency may be, through the grace of Christ, repressed, not in a languid, irresolute manner, but with firmness of purpose, with high resolves to make Christ the pattern. Let your love go out for those things that Jesus loved, and be withheld from those things that will give no strength to right impulses.” That I May Know Him, 135.



1    What should give us hope and courage as evildoers plot against us?

2    How was Baalam used to enlighten heathen nations in regard to Christ?

3    How did Israel forfeit God’s protection on the borders of Canaan?

4    Why should sensual indulgence be a major concern for us today?

5    How can we keep our thoughts pure?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Victory over Sihon and Og

March 7 – 13, 2021

Key Text

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 433–437.


“The calm faith of their leader inspired the people with confidence in God. They trusted all to His omnipotent arm, and He did not fail them. Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord’s host.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 436.



1.a. What directions did the Israelites receive concerning the Moabites and the Ammonites? Deuteronomy 2:9, 19.

1.b.      When Israel reached the land of the Amorites, what message did Moses send to Sihon, their king, and what was his answer? Deuteronomy 2:26–30; Numbers 21:21–23.

Note: “The answer [of Sihon] was a decided refusal, and all the hosts of the Amorites were summoned to oppose the progress of the invaders. This formidable army struck terror to the Israelites, who were poorly prepared for an encounter with well-armed and well-disciplined forces. So far as skill in warfare was concerned, their enemies had the advantage. To all human appearance, a speedy end would be made of Israel.

“But Moses kept his gaze fixed upon the cloudy pillar, and encouraged the people with the thought that the token of God’s presence was still with them. At the same time he directed them to do all that human power could do in preparing for war. Their enemies were eager for battle, and confident that they would blot out the unprepared Israelites from the land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 433, 434.



2.a. What instruction came from the Possessor of all lands to the leader of Israel? Deuteronomy 2:31.

2.b.      What had been prophesied concerning the Amorites in the time of Abraham? Genesis 15:16.

Note: “Although the Amorites were idolaters, whose life was justly forfeited by their great wickedness, God spared them four hundred years to give them unmistakable evidence that He was the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth. All His wonders in bringing Israel from Egypt were known to them. Sufficient evidence was given; they might have known the truth, had they been willing to turn from their idolatry and licentiousness. But they rejected the light and clung to their idols.

“When the Lord brought His people a second time to the borders of Canaan, additional evidence of His power was granted to those heathen nations. They saw that God was with Israel in the victory gained over King Arad and the Canaanites, and in the miracle wrought to save those who were perishing from the sting of the serpents. … In all their journeyings and encampments, past the land of Edom, of Moab and Ammon, they had shown no hostility, and had done no injury to the people or their possessions. On reaching the border of the Amorites, Israel had asked permission only to travel directly through the country, promising to observe the same rules that had governed their intercourse with other nations. When the Amorite king refused this courteous solicitation, and defiantly gathered his hosts for battle, their cup of iniquity was full, and God would now exercise His power for their overthrow.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 434, 435.

2.c. What was the result of the battle? Deuteronomy 2:32–35; Numbers 21:24.

Note: “The Israelites crossed the river Arnon and advanced upon the foe. An engagement took place, in which the armies of Israel were victorious; and, following up the advantage gained, they were soon in possession of the country of the Amorites. It was the Captain of the Lord’s host who vanquished the enemies of His people; and He would have done the same thirty-eight years before had Israel trusted in Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 435.



3.a. How does David aptly describe the attitude of those who trust the Lord when facing enemies? Psalm 112:7, 8.

Note: “Help and grace sufficient for every circumstance are promised by Him whose word is truth. His everlasting arms encircle the soul that turns to Him for aid. In His care we may rest safely, saying, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee’ (Psalm 56:3). To all who put their trust in Him, God will fulfill His promise.” The Acts of the Apostles, 467.

3.b.  What could Moses confidently say after conquering Sihon, king of Heshbon? Deuteronomy 2:36. How were the people inspired?

Note: “The Hebrews now remembered how once before, when their forces had gone to battle, they had been routed, and thousands slain. But they had then gone in direct opposition to the command of God. They had gone out without Moses, God’s appointed leader, without the cloudy pillar, the symbol of the divine presence, and without the ark. But now Moses was with them, strengthening their hearts with words of hope and faith; the Son of God, enshrined in the cloudy pillar, led the way; and the sacred ark accompanied the host.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 437.

3.c. Of what can we be confident as we journey through life on this earth? Philippians 1:6.

Note: “Those who live amid the perils of the last days may realize that just as at the beginning of their experience the truth united them to the Saviour, so He who is the author and finisher of their faith will perfect the work He has begun for them. God is faithful, by whom we are called to fellowship with His Son. As men and women cooperate with God in doing the work He has given them, they go forward from strength to greater strength. As they exercise simple faith, believing day by day that God will not fail to establish them in Christ, God says to them as He did to ancient Israel: ‘Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth’ (Deuteronomy 7:6).” Our High Calling, 24.



4.a. What was the next target of the Israelites after the victory over Sihon? Deuteronomy 3:1. Describe the land and the people of Bashan.

Note: “Filled with hope and courage, the army of Israel eagerly pressed forward, and, still journeying northward, they soon reached a country that might well test their courage and their faith in God. Before them lay the powerful and populous kingdom of Bashan, crowded with great stone cities that to this day excite the wonder of the world—‘threescore cities … with high walls, gates, and bars; besides unwalled towns a great many’ (Deuteronomy 3:4, 5).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 435.

4.b.      What message did the Lord send to Moses concerning Og and his army, and what was the result of the battle? Numbers 21:34, 35; Deuteronomy 3:2–7.

Note: “Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord’s host. The Lord led the army; the Lord discomfited the enemy; the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel. The giant king and his army were destroyed, and the Israelites soon took possession of the whole country. Thus was blotted from the earth that strange people who had given themselves up to iniquity and abominable idolatry.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 436.

4.c. How did the Lord help His people in the war against the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og? Joshua 24:12. How did the new generation of Israelites see the mistake of their fathers?

Note: “In the conquest of Gilead and Bashan there were many who recalled the events which nearly forty years before had, in Kadesh, doomed Israel to the long desert wandering. They saw that the report of the spies concerning the Promised Land was in many respects correct. The cities were walled and very great, and were inhabited by giants, in comparison with whom the Hebrews were mere pygmies. But they could now see that the fatal mistake of their fathers had been in distrusting the power of God. This alone had prevented them from at once entering the goodly land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 436.



5.a. What can we learn when seeing how Israel triumphed over their enemies? Exodus 17:11–13; Joshua 10:12–14.

Note: “In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.

“Is not God a majority? If we are on the side of the God who made the heaven and the earth, are we not on the side of the majority? We have the angels that excel in strength on our side.” Temperance, 258.

5.b.      What lesson does this event teach us? Psalm 37:1–3, 5.

Note: “This experience has a lesson for us. The mighty God of Israel is our God. In Him we may trust, and if we obey His requirements He will work for us in as signal a manner as He did for His ancient people. Everyone who seeks to follow the path of duty will at times be assailed by doubt and unbelief. The way will sometimes be so barred by obstacles, apparently insurmountable, as to dishearten those who will yield to discouragement; but God is saying to such, Go forward. Do your duty at any cost. The difficulties that seem so formidable, that fill your soul with dread, will vanish as you move forward in the path of obedience, humbly trusting in God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 437.



1    In preparing to fight against the Amorites, how did Israel show a faith that works?

2    Why does God still spare the wicked inhabitants of this world today?

3    Just as God wanted to establish Israel in Canaan, in what does He want to establish us today? What does this mean?

4    What did the next generation of Israelites realize about the focus of their fathers?

5    What will happen when we do our duty regardless of the obstacles in our way?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – The Journey Around Edom

Wilderness Wanderings 

February 28 – March 6, 2021

Key Text

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 422, 432.


“The brazen serpent was uplifted in the wilderness that those who looked in faith might be made whole. In like manner God sends a restoring, healing message to men, calling upon them to look away from man and earthly things, and place their trust in God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1116.



1.a. What message did Moses send to the king of Edom, and what answer was received? Numbers 20:14–18.

Note: “The Edomites were descendants of Abraham and Isaac, and for the sake of these His servants, God had shown favor to the children of Esau. He had given them Mount Seir for a possession, and they were not to be disturbed unless by their sins they should place themselves beyond the reach of His mercy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 423.

1.b. How did the leaders of Israel renew their appeal to the king of Edom, and what was his answer? Numbers 20:19, 20. What failure on the part of the people gave Satan a decided advantage in this negative experience?

Note: “The Israelites did not act promptly upon God’s word, and while they were complaining and murmuring, the golden opportunity passed. When they were at last ready to present their request to the king, it was refused.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 423.



2.a. Instead of going through the land of Edom, what route did the children of Israel take? Numbers 20:21, 22; 21:4.

2.b. When Israel came to Mount Hor, what did the Lord say to Moses and Aaron? Numbers 20:23–26.

Note: “Many years Moses and Aaron had stood side by side in their cares and labors. Together they had breasted unnumbered dangers, and had shared together the signal blessing of God; but the time was at hand when they must be separated. They moved on very slowly, for every moment in each other’s society was precious. The ascent was steep and toilsome; and as they often paused to rest, they communed together of the past and the future. … No rebellious feelings found a place in their hearts, no expression of murmuring escaped their lips; yet a solemn sadness rested upon their countenances as they remembered what had debarred them from the inheritance of their fathers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 425.

2.c. What solemnity attended the transfer of the high-priestly responsibilities for Aaron to Eleazar, and how long did Israel mourn for Aaron? Numbers 20:27–29.

Note: “With deep sorrow Moses removed from Aaron the holy vestments, and placed them upon Eleazar, who thus became his successor by divine appointment. For his sin at Kadesh, Aaron was denied the privilege of officiating as God’s high priest in Canaan—of offering the first sacrifice in the goodly land, and thus consecrating the inheritance of Israel. Moses was to continue to bear his burden in leading the people to the very borders of Canaan. He was to come within sight of the Promised Land, but was not to enter it. Had these servants of God, when they stood before the rock at Kadesh, borne unmurmuringly the test there brought upon them, how different would have been their future! A wrong act can never be undone. It may be that the work of a lifetime will not recover what has been lost in a single moment of temptation or even thoughtlessness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 426.



3.a. Who attacked Israel soon after the death of Aaron, and what was the result? Numbers 21:1–3.

Note: “Soon after leaving Mount Hor the Israelites suffered defeat in an engagement with Arad, one of the Canaanite kings. But as they earnestly sought help from God, divine aid was granted them, and their enemies were routed. This victory, instead of inspiring gratitude and leading the people to feel their dependence upon God, made them boastful and self-confident.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 427, 428.

3.b. Instead of being thankful to the Lord, into what practice did the people again relapse? Numbers 21:4, last part, 5.

Note: “Soon they fell into the old habit of murmuring. They were now dissatisfied because the armies of Israel had not been permitted to advance upon Canaan immediately after their rebellion at the report of the spies nearly forty years before. They pronounced their long sojourn in the wilderness an unnecessary delay, reasoning that they might have conquered their enemies as easily heretofore as now.

“As they continued their journey toward the south, their route lay through a hot, sandy valley, destitute of shade or vegetation. The way seemed long and difficult, and they suffered from weariness and thirst. Again they failed to endure the test of their faith and patience. By continually dwelling on the dark side of their experiences, they separated themselves farther and farther from God. They lost sight of the fact that but for their murmuring when the water ceased at Kadesh, they would have been spared the journey around Edom. God had purposed better things for them. Their hearts should have been filled with gratitude to Him that He had punished their sin so lightly. But instead of this, they flattered themselves that if God and Moses had not interfered, they might now have been in possession of the Promised Land. After bringing trouble upon themselves, making their lot altogether harder than God designed, they charged all their misfortunes upon Him. Thus they cherished bitter thoughts concerning His dealings with them, and finally they became discontented with everything. Egypt looked brighter and more desirable than liberty and the land to which God was leading them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 428.



4.a. Because of the unwarranted murmurings of the people, what did the Lord permit to come into the camp of Israel? Numbers 21:6.

Note: “Because they had been shielded by divine power they had not realized the countless dangers by which they were continually surrounded. In their ingratitude and unbelief they had anticipated death, and now the Lord permitted death to come upon them. The poisonous serpents that infested the wilderness were called fiery serpents, on account of the terrible effects produced by their sting, it causing violent inflammation and speedy death. As the protecting hand of God was removed from Israel, great numbers of the people were attacked by these venomous creatures.

“Now there was terror and confusion throughout the encampment. In almost every tent were the dying or the dead. None were secure. Often the silence of night was broken by piercing cries that told of fresh victims. All were busy in ministering to the sufferers, or with agonizing care endeavoring to protect those who were not yet stricken. No murmuring now escaped their lips. When compared with the present suffering, their former difficulties and trials seemed unworthy of a thought.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 429.

4.b.      What did the people do when they realized that the Lord was punishing them for their rebellious behavior, and what remedy was provided? Numbers 21:7–9.

Note: “Moses was divinely commanded to make a serpent of brass resembling the living ones, and to elevate it among the people. To this, all who had been bitten were to look, and they would find relief. …

“The people well knew that there was no power in the serpent of brass to cause such a change in those who looked upon it. The healing virtue was from God alone. In His wisdom He chose this way of displaying His power. By this simple means the people were made to realize that this affliction had been brought upon them by their sins. They were also assured that while obeying God they had no reason to fear, for He would preserve them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 430.



5.a. Of whom was the brazen serpent a type? John 3:14, 15.

Note: “The Israelites saved their lives by looking upon the uplifted serpent. That look implied faith. They lived because they believed God’s word, and trusted in the means provided for their recovery. So the sinner may look to Christ, and live. He receives pardon through faith in the atoning sacrifice. Unlike the inert and lifeless symbol, Christ has power and virtue in Himself to heal the repenting sinner.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 431.

5.b.      By whom and how only can we be healed? Psalm 103:2, 3; 1 Peter 2:21, 24.

Note: “While we realize our helpless condition without Christ, we are not to yield to discouragement, but rely upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Look and live. Jesus has pledged His word; He will save all who come unto Him. Though millions who need to be healed will reject His offered mercy, not one who trusts in His merits will be left to perish.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 432.

“While the sinner cannot save himself, he still has something to do to secure salvation. ‘Him that cometh to Me,’ says Christ, ‘I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37). But we must come to Him; and when we repent of our sins, we must believe that He accepts and pardons us. Faith is the gift of God, but the power to exercise it is ours.” Ibid., 431.



1    Why were the Edomites not destroyed at this time?

2    What can we learn from the experience of Moses and Aaron about the far-reaching consequences of just one action?

3    What thought pattern leads to murmuring? How can we avoid this?

4    What simple remedy was provided for the snake bites? Where was the healing virtue in the brass serpent?

5    Where do we need to look to be saved from sin? What is involved in looking?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Sesame-Flax French Toast

The Dynamic Sesame Seed

Even though sesame seeds are small, they are a powerhouse of nutrition. These seeds are admired all around the world for their slightly sweet, nutty flavor and aroma. The sesame seed is highly valued for having one of the highest oil contents of any seed (up to 50%) which contains essential fatty acids and is revered in some cultures for its healing properties. Sesame oil is high in vitamin E, a natural fat-soluble antioxidant which protects against heart disease and aging. Vitamin E in particular is a powerful antioxidant that lowers cholesterol, protects against cardiovascular disease, and may prevent cataracts and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sesame seeds are also high in protein and are about 25% protein by weight, as well as a good source of fiber. They also are rich in essential minerals like copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.

A well rounded, healthy diet will include sesame seeds because they are incredibly nutrient dense. Sesame seeds are rich in minerals which build and strengthen bones, promote healthy thyroid and hormone function, boost immunity, revitalize skin and are a good source of iron, important for those suffering from iron deficiency anemia.

Sesame seeds can be considered a superfood because they are high in the nutrients our bodies need to maintain an optimal level of health. (Excerpted from

Sprinkle on salads, vegetables, use in stir-frys, breads, rice dishes, seasonings, grind for tahini.

Recipe – Sesame-Flax French Toast


1 ½ cups organic soy, cashew, or almond milk

2 Tbsp. ground sesame and/or flax seeds

3-4 dates pitted, cut in half

2 tsp. whole wheat pastry flour, or other whole grain flour, or arrowroot

½ tsp. vanilla or maple flavoring

½ tsp. orange zest

¼ tsp. coriander

½ tsp. lecithin granules (optional)

6 slices whole grain bread


  1. Blend first 4 ingredients until very smooth, adding milk as needed until pancake batter consistency.
  2. Add vanilla or maple flavoring, orange zest, coriander and lecithin granules; blend briefly again. Pour into a shallow dish/bowl.
  3. Dip bread slices into batter, flipping to coat both sides well and allowing it to soak in, about 10-15 seconds.
  4. Brown both sides in an oiled skillet. If baking in oven, preheat at 475˚ F, then place battered bread on a hot baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
  5. Bake 5-7 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Flip for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pour a warm fruit compote, thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot powder, over toast; top with vegan yogurt, fresh berries and sliced bananas.

Sermon on the Mount – The Law Magnified

Most people who have read the first two books of the Bible know of a famous mountain called Mount Sinai where the ten commandments were spoken and written by the finger of God on tables of stone.

In Isaiah 42:21 KJV it is predicted concerning the Messiah, “He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” In other words, the law would be seen as if viewed under a magnifying glass.  Jesus did that very thing when He spoke the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon has been called the Decalogue of the New Testament or the Mount Sinai of the New Testament, because in this sermon delivered by Jesus we look at the law under the magnifying glass of the Lawgiver to understand in detail the true spirit and nature of the law of God.

Jesus’ sermon, found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, is a statement of eternal truths by Him who is the truth and therefore the author of all truth. It is a proclamation of the eternal realities of the kingdom of heaven. This sermon has been studied because of its matchless beauty, but more important than the beauty of it are the basic, fundamental principles that it contains. It is an unabridged edition of the law and contains a summary of all truth and has been called a miniature Bible. It is made up of quotations and restatements of the truths of the Old Testament or restatements of its truths. It seems that Jesus selected the most priceless gems out of the writings of all the prophets and set them down in a way that even children can easily understand.

This sermon has also been appropriately called Christ’s inaugural address because in it, Jesus enunciated the principles which are to control the administration of His eternal kingdom, the kingdom of glory. In His sermon, Jesus outlines the qualifications for heavenly citizenship. He points out very clearly who will be in heaven and who will not be there, laying down the conditions by which we can expect to enter the kingdom of heaven. All the citizens of the heavenly kingdom will live in harmony with these eternal principles.

Consider the setting of this sermon and the significance of the occasion, because this was the very same day when Jesus ordained His twelve disciples as the twelve apostles (see Luke 6). Jesus had spent the entire night before in prayer, and in the morning He had selected and ordained the twelve apostles who were to constitute a cabinet to help Him administer the affairs of this spiritual kingdom. They were to be His special ministers or ambassadors.

This particular sermon was not only the greatest of all sermons, but it was preached to a very large audience, a very interesting audience that the Bible says was composed of people from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond Jordan (Matthew 4:25).

The congregation that listened to this sermon when it was first preached was made up of all classes of men, women, and children, representing every condition of life. There were proud Pharisees there as well as poor fishermen. There were rich rulers from the palace and poor peasants. There were the wise and there were those who were uneducated and ignorant. There were those who were believers and there were those who were doubters. There were many races of men and various religious creeds represented in the audience. So, it was a cross section of humanity listening to this sermon and all had gathered there because they had feelings of great expectancy. This gathering had a special atmosphere because the fame of Jesus had filled the people with new hopes and aspirations.

The people hoped that He was the Messiah and they expected Him on this occasion to proclaim His mission as the Messiah, to make an announcement regarding the setting up of His kingdom. In fact, they were looking for the least excuse to proclaim and crown Him king. Jesus’ disciples shared these feelings of expectancy. Their thoughts were also filled with visions of future glory, power, and wealth, because they believed that the nation of Israel would become the central power of the world and that they would be the center of a world-wide kingdom.

The expectation of His audience gave to Jesus the subject or the theme for His sermon, which was the kingdom of heaven. It was His purpose to correct the popular conception concerning the nature of His kingdom that He had come to establish, for the conception that the people had formed completely unfitted them to receive Him and His teachings. The only kingdom that the Jews seemed to know anything about was an earthly temporal kingdom. The disciples had the same conception of Christ’s mission. In fact, they never lost it during the whole time He was on earth until after Pentecost when they finally got their thinking partially straightened out.

There is danger today that modern Israel, the Christians of today, will become so thrilled over the prospects of the coming kingdom of glory to be established at the Second Advent of Christ that they will lose sight of the spiritual phase of His kingdom, which must be first established in the individual’s heart.

None of us can ever enter the kingdom of glory until the kingdom of grace has entered our heart. Until the first phase of the kingdom of heaven is accomplished in our lives, we can never enter into the second phase. The first phase of God’s kingdom is the kingdom of grace that Jesus established by dying on the cross. The second phase of God’s kingdom will be the kingdom of glory that will be established when He comes again.

The Sermon on the Mount, then, is a summary of the Bible. The beatitudes constitute a prologue to Jesus’ sermon and like the ten commandments or Lord’s prayer, they are of universal application. They appeal and apply to all races and to all ages.

One time in India, there was a large crowd who gathered at a railway station to see Mahatma Ghandi and to hear him speak. After greeting the people, he opened a New Testament and he read to them the beatitudes and then he said, “This is my message to you. Act upon it.” That was all the speech he made on that occasion, but that was enough.

The eight beatitudes constitute a ladder, an advancing road of Christian experience. They contain natural and logical steps in spiritual growth and development that take us into the kingdom of God. The word beatitude comes from a Latin word which means blessed or happy. So the beatitude ladder is a blessed ladder – a blessed or happy experience. It is similar or synonymous with the words consecrated, or hallowed, or happy, or sacred, or holy. Only a consecrated, holy people can enter the kingdom of heaven. And the journey must be made by way of the beatitude ladder. You start on the first rung, and then advance up the road. Each beatitude leads to an advanced step. It is called the way of holiness (Isaiah 35) and it leads eventually to Zion. The result is that those who travel this ladder will obtain joy and gladness. They will return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).

This way, however, as Jesus pointed out in His sermon, is a narrow way. In fact, Jesus said that there will be few people compared to the world population who find it. The great majority will go down a broad way which leads to destruction. (See Matthew 7:14.)

It is a narrow way that leads to eternal life and Jesus points out exactly what that way is. It excludes all evil and all evil doers. It is a path, a narrow way, for the righteous or the just and it has ever-increasing illumination until those who walk in it reach the perfect day of spiritual light and experience.

Blessed is a word that Jesus used many times in His Sermon on the Mount. This does not refer alone to joy and happiness, but to that higher joy which is the result of divine favor. What Jesus came to give us is infinitely greater than that which we had been seeking for ourselves.

One of the first things that we notice when we read the beatitudes is that true happiness is the result of a holy character rather than that of outward conditions or circumstances. Remember, the word translated blessed could be translated happy. It says in Matthew 5:2, 3, “Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ ” God has always had a special regard for the poor in this world. Notice what the mother of Jesus said in Luke 1:46, 47: “And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant.’ ” The mother of Jesus and His earthly father, were poor people.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Friend, until we recognize our need and acknowledge how spiritually poor we are, we will never come to the Lord for the help that we need. In verses 52 and 53 Mary said, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.”

The rich went away empty because they didn’t feel need of anything. One of the first requirements to be saved is that you feel your need of salvation. As long as you are proud and self-sufficient, there’s not very much that God can do for you. But when you feel your need and ask for His help, the Holy Spirit will come into your life and start to recreate within you a new heart and a new spirit.

In the second beatitude Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4). We may wonder how a person can be happy if they are mourning.

But notice what Paul wrote: “Even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:8, 9, first part). Repentance is sorrow for sin and turning away from it. This concept is misunderstood today. Those who are not sorry enough to turn away from their sin have not yet really repented.

“I [Paul] rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (verses 9, 10).

The difference is that people in this world are sorry when they get caught in their sins, but godly sorrow is when a person is sorry because they have committed the sin and realize that they have done something against their heavenly Father and have done something that caused Jesus Christ to go to the cross. The Bible says that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. When you understand the consequence of sin and the price Jesus Christ paid for your sin, you will never be able to enjoy sin again. You will then have godly sorrow for sin and will not want to have anything to do with it. You will not just be sorry that you got caught.

“For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (verse 11). There are many people today who have never been sorry for their sins. They have never really mourned or repented for their sins, and yet, they somehow think they are going to the kingdom of heaven.

This is a second step in the plan of salvation. Those who walk up the narrow road must not only feel their need, but must come to the place where they mourn, repent for their sins. But they do not remain there, for there is another step. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Now the meek people do not inherit the earth as it is today. Today, we live in a world that is controlled by force, a world where the strongest become the richest and the most powerful. But the time is coming when there will no longer be proud people. Malachi 4:1 says, “ ‘Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

The day is coming when the meek will inherit the earth. A meek person is one who is gentle and humble.

Jesus does not ask of us anything that He has not demonstrated Himself in His own life. He says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

Jesus wants to deliver us from all pride and from all self-importance. He wants to help us to become meek. Through His Holy Spirit He wants to recreate within us a new heart and a new spirit so that we will be gentle, meek, and humble as He is. Then we will be in a spiritual condition, where, when the world is made again and the kingdom of glory is set up, we will be able to inhabit the earth made new.

The fourth beatitude says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? In 1st John, the apostle talks about how righteousness defines and demonstrates which people are really children of God and which people are children of the devil. It is not our profession that determines whose children we are; it’s the life we live. Notice what John says in 1 John 3:4–10, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” However wicked a person may have been, if they hunger and thirst for righteousness and desire to be recreated and born again, the Lord Jesus promises that their desire will be filled and they will be satisfied.

Jesus then said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). James says that there will be no mercy for the person that doesn’t show mercy (James 2:13). Are you merciful? That is the next step in the road that leads to heaven.

Friend, follow these beatitudes that will take you up the narrow road that leads to the kingdom of heaven. If you are willing to walk that narrow road, when Jesus comes back your journey to the kingdom of heaven will be complete. If that is what you want, if that is what you choose, that will be your destiny.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health Nugget – Your Brain Thrives on Optimism

When the brain is subjected to a heavy dose of sadness, anxiety, loneliness or depression, our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is impaired. Trauma takes a toll on our ability to function, even simple tasks such as brushing our teeth or getting dressed can feel overwhelming.

Given the rise of negativity in our world today, it’s easy to feel drawn into that cave of darkness. But prolonged bouts of negative thoughts and emotions can absolutely threaten our overall health. Recent studies have even shown how a broken heart can contribute to actual heart disease and even cancer.

Understanding the Brain’s Negativity Bias

After many years of research and interviews, I had amassed a stockpile of information on the human brain, including learning about the brain’s “negativity bias.” This refers to the brain’s predilection [a preference or bias in favor of something] for retaining and recycling negative experiences over positive ones. Once we are caught up in negative thoughts and images, they are self-perpetuating to an alarming degree because of negativity predilection.

Research has shown that out of the 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts we have per day, 80 percent are negative. Once I learned this information, I understood why painful memories from my childhood could be retrieved with photographic detail, whereas happy times were more generic memories. Even minor issues such as critical remarks tend to stick with us.

The Brilliant Benefits of an Optimistic Mindset

Many people believe that they are stuck with their thoughts. That old familiar expression, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, has been disproven by science. Through neuroplasticity or brain plasticity, we know that the brain can change at any age or stage of life.

When the brain consciously engages in new ways of thinking, it forms new neural pathways and connections. Even after traumatic events, the brain has the capacity to generate new neurons. Neuroplasticity is proof that the brain thrives on absorbing new information. Another remarkable fact is that our brains have the ability to delete neural pathways that are no longer useful through a process called synaptic pruning. With time and repetition, the brain can release toxic thoughts and develop new ways of thinking and feeling.

The Hazards of a Negative Mindset

Abundant research correlates a negative frame of mind with harmful psychological and physiological symptoms. A negative mindset can actually change the physical structure of your brain. The nervous system responds through inflammation and oxygen restriction. The hippocampus, or memory part of our brain, releases cortisol, which can inhibit the growth of new neurons and, thereby, shrink the brain. Other parts of the brain are also impacted, leading to lack of focus and concentration, loss of energy, reduced productivity, memory loss, disinterest, diminished sexual drive, irritability, poor sleep patterns, loss of appetite, lethargy and confusion.

Physical symptoms also accompany a negative or pessimistic mindset: headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, chronic pain, joint tenderness, stomach aches, indigestion, nausea, cramping, chronic fatigue, problems with the digestive system, weight gain and osteoporosis.

These symptoms are far too serious to not treat medically. How many doctors, however, understand enough about the mind-body connection to prescribe intensive, even radical, optimistic practices to replace habitually negative thoughts?

Retrain Your Brain to Think Optimistically

You make thousands of decisions every day. Why not shift your attitude by retraining your brain? The wonderful mental, educational, physical and spiritual benefits of a cheery attitude may inspire you to give optimism a try!

Optimists approach each day with fervor, even if they are aware of potential roadblocks. A few of the wonderful attributes include the following:

Psychological, Emotional and Spiritual Benefits

  • Hopefulness
  • Resilience
  • Heightened cognitive functioning
  • Innovative/creative thoughts
  • Increased focus and productivity
  • Ability to manage stress
  • Clarity of thought
  • Heightened problem-solving capacity/solutions-oriented
  • Higher levels of energy
  • Flexibility
  • Motivation
  • Compassion
  • Gratitude
  • Openness to experiences
  • Desire to self-actualize
  • Trustworthiness
  • Tenacity and persistence
  • Ability to flip the script from negative to positive
  • Healthy lifestyle choices, including nutrition and exercise

Physiological Benefits

  • Boosted immune system
  • Enhanced ability to heal from illness and surgery
  • Improved oxygen flow
  • Lowered cortisol secretion
  • Long-term sustenance and longevity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of hypertension
  • Reduced cardiovascular disease
  • Improved cholesterol
  • Lower risk of dementia/Alzheimer’s


These physiological health benefits are ones that have been studied through research. Every day there is new and exciting information on how the brain changes with intentional, focused optimistic thinking.

Unless you know what you are thinking, how can you change? Pay attention to what you are thinking and how it is affecting you, without forcing the thoughts away.

Make a habit to “take your temperature” throughout the day to adjust your thinking. Changing your brain is a conscious and conscientious process. In the beginning, it might feel difficult; however, with time and repetition, your brain will develop new neural pathways. Just as you learned to brush your teeth and tie your shoes, your positive thoughts will, with time, become second nature.

Be Mindful of Negative Triggers

A trigger is a stimulus that evokes a particular thought or emotion from the past. A trigger can derail the best of intentions. This can be a specific word, song, location, person, season, or any cue in the environment that induces a specific feeling within you. As you gain familiarity with the issues that cause you distress, you will be able to adjust them.

Do the Opposite

There are instances when it is in our best interest to simply stop thinking and behaving in a manner that causes distress. Stop, pause, take a deep breath, and eliminate those negative thoughts as soon as they appear.

Challenge yourself to spring into an optimistic mindset. The extraordinary life force will enable you to find joy in your life and also afford you the numerous health benefits along the way.

When you reflect upon all of the meaningful benefits of an optimistic mindset, I think you will agree that it is well worth investing the time to retrain your brain.

Thrive, Anne Boudreau, vol. 27, 53, 54.

“Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray.” The Ministry of Healing, 251.

“Let your thoughts be directed to the evidences of the great love of God for you.” Ibid., 286.

“Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute … dwell on these things” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV; Philippians 4:8 NASB).

Question – What does it mean to “swear to your own hurt”?


What does it mean to “swear to your own hurt”?

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?”

“… He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”

Psalm 15:1, 4 NKJV


“In every business transaction be rigidly honest. However tempted, never deceive or prevaricate in the least matter. At times a natural impulse may bring temptation to diverge from the straightforward path of honesty, but do not vary one hairsbreadth. If in any matter you make a statement as to what you will do, and afterward find that you have favored others to your own loss, do not vary a hairsbreadth from principle. Carry out your agreement. By seeking to change your plans you would show that you could not be depended on. And should you draw back in little transactions, you would draw back in larger ones. Under such circumstances some are tempted to deceive, saying, I was not understood. My words have been taken to mean more than I intended. The fact is, they meant just what they said, but lost the good impulse, and then wanted to draw back from their agreement, lest it prove a loss to them. The Lord requires us to do justice, to love mercy, and truth, and righteousness.” Child Guidance, 154.

“The obligation to which one’s word is pledged—if it does not bind him to perform a wrong act—should be held sacred. No consideration of gain, of revenge, or of self-interest can in any way affect the inviolability of an oath or pledge. ‘Lying lips are abomination to the Lord’ (Proverbs 12:22). He that ‘shall ascend into the hill of the Lord,’ and ‘stand in His holy place,’ is ‘he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not’ (Psalms 24:3; 15:4).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 506.

“Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NKJV).

Nature – Honeybees

Honeybees are approximately 1½ inches long and have a short life span of approximately six weeks. These bees can be found throughout the world, living in colonies or cities called hives. They can be found in tree hollows, on limbs, under eaves of houses or in man-made containers. Bees have been called the most important insects in the world and have been studied extensively. More than 30,000 books and articles have been written about them and their culture. Their society works mutually for the welfare of the hive and is successful because of the bee’s ability to communicate accurately and work cooperatively and efficiently with each other.

Honeybees are social creatures living in close proximity to each other. Sanitation squads are responsible for keeping the hive clean. After each one of the thousands of cells is cleaned, the squads discard all foreign material and varnish the walls.

To maintain the narrow range of temperature, 90° to 97° F, in which the larvae are nurtured, bees collect and store water. In order to cool the hive, the bees aggressively fan their wings, using the water as a source of evaporative cooling. The area is heated by the bees filling their bodies with excess honey, thus increasing their metabolism and creating excess heat to warm the brood area.

The population of each hive fluctuates between 15,000 and 80,000 and is controlled by nurse bees that “make” a queen bee by feeding her larger amounts of select larvae. The number of eggs she lays determines whether a new queen is established. Thousands of eggs are laid and hatch within three days.  The nurse bees then feed the larvae in the cells for six days making many trips to each cell daily.

Guard bees stationed at the entrance to the hive keep all intruders out. Each hive has a distinct odor, and the guards know immediately from sensors in their antenna if an approaching bee is not of its hive.

Bees work together to make their hexagon shaped honeycomb nursery by consuming large amounts of honey and forming a chain with each bee clinging to the bee above it. This chain remains intact for about 24 hours while wax is formed on their abdomens. The wax is then removed, shaped and molded into the honeycomb, which is the strongest shape, uses the least material, and allows the most room for larva and honey storage. Man, despite his great intellect has not found a stronger structure than the hexagonal shape of the little bee’s honeycomb.

Intricate and accurate communication is vital in the collection of nectar. Scout bees locate nectar and give samples to the other bees. Then the scout does his dance, typically in a figure eight pattern and a “waggle” from the center of his body. The vigor, sound and vibration of the waggle inform the other bees about the nectar and its location. If the bee moves north in its dance, the source is straight toward the sun. If the dance is 45 degrees left of north, the source is 45 degrees left of the sun.

Honeybees are wonderfully complex creatures. Man’s creation shows even more complexity than the honeybee that was spoken into existence. When God formed man, He stooped down and formed him out of the dust of the earth with His own hands and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Oh what praise He deserves for His love of His creation. “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:4).

Adapted from the Moody Institute of Science DVD, City of Bees and from Character Sketches, Volume One, Living Lessons on Loyalty.

Keys to the Storehouse – Garments of Praise

“Put on garments of praise for a spirit of heaviness.”

Isaiah 61:3

Part of Jesus’ mission on earth was “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV).

With such instability in our world at present, many people struggle with a feeling of heaviness and sadness. Often our prayers begin with “I feel … .” Fill in the blank – it may be confused, lonely, discouraged!

Someone once suggested: “Don’t start with ‘I feel’; start with ‘You are.’ ”

Often the root of our tumultuous feelings is that we forget who God is and our choice of sin is usually anxiety – a failure to remember that God is sovereign and that He is good. If we pray and say, “You are a good and all-powerful Father,” we are simply reminded that He is just and that He does provide for our every need. So what then do we have to be anxious about?

In David’s much-loved Psalm he said, “The Lord is my shepherd; …” a declaration of who God is. “I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). This should be our response to this character trait of God.

It is when we take our eyes off ourselves and take a deep look at the eternal, unchanging One that we find our problems and feelings will lose their significance in light of all He is.

Lord, You are great – David asked, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8).

Lord, you are gentle and humble – Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 NKJV).
Lord, you are near the brokenhearted – David tells us, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Lord, you are tender – “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth” (Isaiah 42:2, 3 NIV).

The praise goes on and on. The Lord is our Provider, our Healer, our Righteous Judge, our Loving Bridegroom, our Creator.

So whatever trouble you are facing—look up! The great galaxy-creating God is merciful and gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Tell the great I AM who He is and remind your own fragile soul in the process.

Make this a constant discipline: whenever you feel overburdened and discouraged, set your heart to adore God. You will find that burdens lift. He has exchanged the spirit of heaviness for garments of praise. And we can be sure that one day, wearing those very garments, we will dance for joy in the presence of our Savior.

Father, You are our God. Without You we are nothing and nothing else matters, but with You we have hope, we have a purpose, and we have a future. Take control of everything in our lives that Your will be done because we trust You. Amen.