April 19, 2009 – April 25, 2009
“They have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.” Jeremiah 22:9.
Study Help: “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 948; Testimonies, vol. 2, 303–307.
“How widely have the popular churches throughout Christendom departed from the Bible standard of humility, self-denial, simplicity, and godliness!” The Great Controversy, 385.
1 What happened when God’s people trusted in their prosperity and renown? Ezekiel 16:15, first part, 32. Upon what had they fixed their hope?
Note: “The Israelites fixed their hopes upon worldly greatness. From the time of their entrance to the land of Canaan, they departed from the commandments of God, and followed the ways of the heathen. It was in vain that God sent them warning by His prophets. In vain they suffered the chastisement of heathen oppression. Every reformation was followed by deeper apostasy.” The Desire of Ages, 28.
2 What steps led Israel and Judah again to break God’s covenant and suffer the consequences? Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 11:10.
Note: “Tenderly had the Lord dealt with them, instructing them by His prophets line upon line, precept upon precept.
“Had Israel heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity.” Prophets and Kings, 296, 297.
3 How is Israel’s separation from God described? Jeremiah 3:2, 3, 20. What was the cause of this separation? James 4:4. What warning should we take from this experience?
Note: “The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow. …
“In the New Testament, language very similar is addressed to professed Christians who seek the friendship of the world above the favor of God.” The Great Controversy, 381, 382.
“Alas, to what a fearful extent is that friendship of the world which is ‘enmity with God,’ [James 4:4] now cherished among the professed followers of Christ! How widely have the popular churches throughout Christendom departed from the Bible standard of humility, self-denial, simplicity, and godliness!” Ibid., 385.
4 How did the Lord summarize the unreasonable behavior of His people? Jeremiah 2:11, 12. How can this description apply to us today?
Note: “[Jeremiah 2:11–13, 20–22 quoted.] Why is it that the people in this age are so easily drawn away from the observance of God’s commandments? Why is it that they relish the mockery of those who profess to be teachers of righteousness, who yet cast contempt upon the commandments of Jehovah? Is it not because the heart of this people is carnal?” The Signs of the Times, October 2, 1893.
“ ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people hath changed their glory for that which doth not profit.’ [Isaiah 28:16; Jeremiah 2:11.] ‘Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?’ [Jeremiah 18:14.]
“There is great danger in our casting aside the counsel of God for the counsels of men. Satan is delighted when he lays his snares and we walk into the meshes of his net. It is spread for our feet. Shall we be led in false paths? … We are to beware of men. Trust in the Lord, heed his voice, and turn from men.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 248.
5 How did the Lord depict the two evils committed by His people? Jeremiah 2:13. Describe Solomon’s woe in turning away from the truth. Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11, 17.
Note: “The pride of prosperity brought separation from God. From the joy of divine communion Solomon turned to find satisfaction in the pleasures of sense.” Education, 153.
“By his own bitter experience, Solomon learned the emptiness of a life that seeks in earthly things its highest good. He erected altars to heathen gods, only to learn how vain is their promise of rest to the spirit.” Prophets and Kings, 76.
6 What is one of the polluted “fountains” found in Solomon’s counsel? Ecclesiastes 12:12. What is our duty if we have such “fountains” in our home? Acts 19:19.
Note: “Evil angels are ever on the alert that they may exalt before the minds of the youth that which will do them injury, and as books expressing infidel and pagan sentiments are read, these unseen agents of evil seek to impress those who study them with the spirit of questioning and unbelief. Those who drink from these polluted channels do not thirst for the waters of life; for they are satisfied with the broken cisterns of the world. They think they have the treasures of knowledge, when they are hoarding that which is but wood and hay and stubble, not worth gaining, not worth keeping. Their self-esteem, their idea that a superficial knowledge of things constitutes education, make them boastful and self-satisfied, when they are, as were the Pharisees, ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 168, 169.
“When the Ephesians were converted, they changed their habits and practices. Under the conviction of the Spirit of God, they acted with promptness and laid bare all the mysteries of their witchcraft. … They were determined to turn from the service of the evil one, and they brought their costly volumes and publicly burned them. Thus they made manifest their sincerity in turning to God. …
“I would ask the young who have been connected with the truth, Have you burned your magical books?” Messages to Young People, 275.
7 Where can we find, as did Jeremiah, the fountain of life-giving water? Jeremiah 15:16.
Note: “As those who have been cleansed and sanctified through a knowledge of Bible truth engage heartily in the work of soulsaving, they will become indeed a savor of life unto life. And as daily they drink of the inexhaustible fountain of grace and knowledge, they will find that their own hearts are filled to overflowing with the Spirit of their Master, and that through their unselfish ministry many are benefited physically, mentally, and spiritually. The weary are refreshed, the sick restored to health, and the sin-burdened relieved. In far-off countries thanksgiving is heard from the lips of those whose hearts are turned from the service of sin unto righteousness.” Prophets and Kings, 234.
8 What assurance belongs to those who follow the word of God? I Chronicles 22:13.
9 What prophecy connected Christ to the new covenant? Jeremiah 33:14–16. What divine help is available to those who want to correct wrong habits? Jeremiah 31:10, 11; Micah 7:18, 19.
Note: “Christ’s death and resurrection completed His covenant. Before this time, it was revealed through types and shadows, which pointed to the great offering to be made by the world’s Redeemer, offered in promise for the sins of the world. Anciently believers were saved by the same Saviour as now, but it was a God veiled. They saw God’s mercy in figures.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 932.
“The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. The Lord specifies, I will do thus and thus unto all who turn to Me, forsaking the evil and choosing the good. ‘I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ [Hebrews 8:12.] All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance.” Ibid., 931.
10 What was predicted about the renewal of God’s covenant with His people in the last days, and what was the difference between the old and new covenants? Jeremiah 31:31–34; 32:40.
Note: “The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’ Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.
“Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the same as under the old—perfect obedience. Under the old covenant, there were many offenses of a daring, presumptuous character, for which there was no atonement specified by law. In the new and better covenant, Christ has fulfilled the law for the transgressors of law, if they receive Him by faith as a personal Saviour. ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.’ [John 1:12.] Mercy and forgiveness are the reward of all who come to Christ trusting in His merits to take away their sins. In the better covenant we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931. [Emphasis in original.]
“It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who will be alive on the earth when past woes and celestial glory will be blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By the means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles; for Satan would counterfeit any miracle that might be worked. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12-18. They are to take their stand on the living Word—‘It is written.’ This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without hope and without God in the world.
“The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment—since this is the sign of His creative power, and the witness to His claim upon man’s reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator’s memorial, to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the contest, all Christendom will be divided into two great classes—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. …
“Fearful tests and trials await the people of God. The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other. But in the midst of the time of trouble that is coming—a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation—God’s chosen people will stand unmoved. Satan and his angels cannot destroy them; for angels that excel in strength will protect them.” This Day with God, 69.
“If we would come into possession of the heavenly inheritance, the glorious, eternal substance, we must be in covenant relation with God, and employ every faculty of our being to win souls to Christ. … God’s people must be a peculiar, holy people, distinct in character and practice from the world, distinguished from all the religionists of the day. They must be patterns in personal piety and good works. There is higher, holier work for us to do than we have yet done. Christ has said, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ [John 18:36.] It has no principles that will meet the principles of the world. The Lord has set His church as a light in the world, to guide the world to heaven. It is to be a part of heaven on the earth, flashing divine light on the pathway of benighted souls.” The Faith I Live By, 304.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.