July 22, 2012 – July 28, 2012
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” Malachi 4:4.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 307–310, 824.
“That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 333.
1 GOD’S LAW IN OUR LIFE
- What item in the Ark of the Covenant reveals the character of our Creator? Matthew 22:36–40; I John 4:7, 8; 5:3.
Note: “The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 52.
“God has set forth in His word the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life—obedience to His commandments, through faith in Christ. God has elected a character in harmony with His law, and anyone who shall reach the standard of His requirement will have an entrance into the kingdom of glory.” Ibid., 207.
- Besides a clear understanding and belief of the truth, what else do we need in order to be saved? Matthew 5:20; 19:17–19; James 2:10; Galatians 5:6.
Note: “You may believe all the truth; yet if its principles are not carried out in your lives, your profession will not save you.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 161.
“The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God.” The Desire of Ages, 310.
2 CLARIFYING THE DECALOGUE
- Because of God’s great love for those who had lost their understanding of His law, what further clarification did He send? Deuteronomy 4:1, 2.
Note: “He [God] then came still closer to His people, who were so readily led astray, and would not leave them with merely the ten precepts of the Decalogue. He commanded Moses to write, as He should bid him, judgments and laws, giving minute directions in regard to what He required them to perform, and thereby guarded the ten precepts which He had engraved upon the tables of stone. These specific directions and requirements were given to draw erring man to the obedience of the moral law, which he is so prone to transgress.
“If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved in the ark by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a token or pledge, they would never have gone into idolatry, nor been suffered to go down into Egypt, and there would have been no necessity of God’s proclaiming His law from Sinai, and engraving it upon tables of stone, and guarding it by definite directions in the judgments and statutes given to Moses.
“Moses wrote these judgments and statutes from the mouth of God while he was with Him in the mount. If the people of God had obeyed the principles of the ten commandments, there would have been no need of the specific directions given to Moses, which he wrote in a book, relative to their duty to God and to one another. The definite directions which the Lord gave to Moses in regard to the duty of His people to one another, and to the stranger, are the principles of the ten commandments simplified and given in a definite manner, that they need not err.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 264, 265.
- Since the statutes simply explain God’s law, do they include more than the writings of Moses? Isaiah 8:20; II Kings 17:13; Luke 24:44, 45. Would they be included in the restoration of the breach in the law? Isaiah 58:12.
Note: “The law of God has been given for the regulation of our conduct, and it is far reaching in its principles. There is no sin, no work of unrighteousness, that escapes the condemnation of the law. The great statute book is truth, and truth only.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 316.
3 STATUTES THAT ARE NOT GOOD
- Did God ever give statutes that were not designed for the benefit of humanity— and if so, why? Ezekiel 20:19–26; Psalm 81:11, 12. Name one such example regarding the use of flesh meats. Deuteronomy 12:20, 21.
Note: “In this instance [when quails were blown into the Israelite camp] the Lord gave the people that which was not for their best good, because they would have it. They would not submit to receive from the Lord only those things which would prove for their good.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 377.
“Because they [the Israelites] were so determined to have the flesh of dead animals, He [God] gave them the very diet He had withheld from them.” Medical Ministry, 277.
- Why does God give certain laws that are in conflict with His eternal principles? Ezekiel 14:1–5; Mark 10:5.
Note: “Sin is the transgression of the law, and the arm that is now mighty to save will be strong to punish when the transgressor passes the bounds that limit divine forbearance. He who refuses to seek for life, who will not search the Scriptures to see what is truth, lest he should be condemned in his practices, will be left to blindness of mind and to the deceptions of Satan. To the same degree that the penitent and obedient are shielded by God’s love, the impenitent and disobedient will be left to the result of their own ignorance and hardness of heart, because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 313.
“God is no respecter of persons; but in every generation they that fear the Lord and work righteousness are accepted of Him; while those who are murmuring, unbelieving, and rebellious, will not have His favor or the blessings promised to those who love the truth and walk in it. Those who have the light and do not follow it, but disregard the requirements of God, will find that their blessings will be changed into curses, and their mercies into judgments. God would have us learn humility and obedience as we read the history of ancient Israel, who were His chosen and peculiar people, but who brought their own destruction by following their own ways.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 379.
4 EXAMPLES OF GOOD STATUTES
- Since some of the good statutes have to do with dietary reform, what is the result of obeying them? Genesis 1:29; Exodus 15:25, 26.
Note: “The importance of caring for the health should be taught as a Bible requirement. Perfect obedience to God’s commands calls for conformity to the laws of the being.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 295.
“He [The Lord] made a covenant with them [His people], if they would obey Him in all things, He would preserve them from disease.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 412.
- How does the New Testament show that the health statutes affect both body and soul? III John 2; I Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Note: “In the preparation of a people for the Lord’s second coming a great work is to be accomplished through the promulgation of health principles. The people are to be instructed in regard to the needs of the physical organism and the value of healthful living as taught in the Scriptures, that the bodies which God has created may be presented to Him a living sacrifice, fitted to render Him acceptable service. There is a great work to be done for suffering humanity in relieving their sufferings by the use of the natural agencies that God has provided and in teaching them how to prevent sickness by the regulation of the appetites and passions. The people should be taught that transgression of the laws of nature is transgression of the laws of God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 224, 225.
“The science of education includes as full a knowledge of physiology as can be obtained. No one can properly understand his obligations to God unless he understands clearly his obligations to himself as God’s property. He who remains in sinful ignorance of the laws of life and health, or who willfully violates these laws, sins against God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 295.
“Let it ever be kept before the mind that the great object of hygienic reform is to secure the highest possible development of mind and soul and body. All the laws of nature—which are the laws of God—are designed for our good. Obedience to them will promote our happiness in this life, and will aid us in a preparation for the life to come.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 120.
5 ETERNAL STATUTES
- What is said about the statutes in these last days—and the results which follow if God’s people obey them? Malachi 4:2, 4.
Note: “In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon men in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1104.
“As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, the Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see His statutes, and will write upon the hearts of the truly penitent His law. The animating Spirit of God, working through human agencies, leads the believers to be of one mind, one soul, unitedly loving God and keeping His commandment—preparing here below for translation.” Ibid., vol. 7, 984.
- Why are these statutes part of the restoration to be accomplished by the Elijah people in the last days? Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 11:14.
Note: “Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.
“Many are not obeying the commandments of God, yet they profess so to do. If they would be faithful to obey all the statutes of God they would have a power which would carry conviction to the hearts of the unbelieving.” Ibid., vol. 2, 446, 447.
“The instructions given to Moses for ancient Israel, with their sharp, rigid outlines, are to be studied and obeyed by the people of God today.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1103.
“How can we pass on so indifferently, choosing our own course, following the sight of our own eyes, and departing farther and farther from God, as did the Hebrews? God cannot do great things for His people because of their hardness of heart and sinful unbelief.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 379.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 Why does God expect more than a mere intellectual assent to the truth?
2 How did God reacquaint His people with the principles of His law?
3 Because of rebellion against the revealed will of God, what was introduced to His people, and what were the results?
4 What are some specific examples of the good statutes?
5 Before Christ returns, what is included in the restoration process?
“From Genesis to Revelation the conditions upon which eternal life is promised, are made plain. God requires that those who shall enter heaven shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Keep my commandments and live, is the requirement of God. But one says, ‘My conscience does not condemn me in not keeping the commandments of God.’ But in the word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences and the fact that your conscience does not condemn you in not keeping the law of God, does not prove that you are uncondemned in His sight. Take your conscience to the word of God, and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith, and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions because they have not made the word of God their counselor.” The Review and Herald, September 3, 1901.
“The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in deal with one another, were peculiar and contrary to the customs and manners of other nations, and were designed of God to keep His people separate from other nations. The necessity of this to preserve the people of God from becoming like the nations who had not the love and fear of God, is the same in this corrupt age, when the transgression of God’s law prevails and idolatry exists to a fearful extent. If ancient Israel needed such security, we need it more, to keep us from being utterly confounded with the transgressors of God’s law. The hearts of men are so prone to depart from God that there is a necessity for restraint and discipline.” Ibid., May 6, 1875.
“We have the example of ancient Israel, and the warning for us not to do as they did. Their history of unbelief and rebellion is left on record as a special warning that we should not follow their example of murmuring at God’s requirements.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 172.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.