Insights from the Book of Isaiah (1) – A Mission for Today

December 24 – 30

Key Text

“They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Study Help: Welfare Ministry, 29–41.


“God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform. … They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.” Prophets and Kings, 678.



  • How can we avoid false humility? Isaiah 58:5; Philippians 2:3, 14, 15.

Note: “Let no one think that to bow the head as a bulrush will take the place of true humility. Such humility is a sham; for where meekness does not exist in the heart, it will not be manifested in the life. Those who are merely professors of truth and not doers of the word, will break down the family altar, and stir up strife and contention in the home, and there will be dearth of holy and beneficent actions that flow from faith in Christ. The most convincing evidence of the power of the gospel to the world is its effect on the lives of those who believe it. He who is a true Christian will represent Christ, and will cease from all murmuring or complaining of God, or of his fellow-men. …

“Those who are merely surface Christians are no blessing to themselves or others, although they fast and spread sackcloth and ashes under them. The old habits return; quick temper, suspicion, jealousy, judgment of others—all manifest that they are not controlled by the grace of Christ. … When they fail to manifest a Christlike action, they throw the blame and responsibility upon the circumstances which surround them or the people with whom they are brought in contact. Instead of examining themselves to see wherein their inconsistency lies, they bemoan their case, and think that their difficulties are the results of other’s misdeeds.” The Review and Herald, June 5, 1894.


2             GOD’S CHOSEN FAST

  • What kind of fast reveals the highest level of Christian piety? Isaiah 58:6.

Note: “The work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter [Isaiah 58] is the work that God requires His people to do at this time.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 265.

“When we present the perfection that there is in His [God’s] requirements, in His commandments, in His law, we are presenting that which will loose the bands of wickedness, and in the place of making men fast, in the place of shackling them with sin, it will loose the bands of wickedness, and those that are oppressed by the enemy.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 38.

“Find out what the poor and suffering are in need of, and then, in love and tenderness, help them to courage and hope and confidence by sharing with them the good things that God has given you. Thus you will be doing the very work that God means you to do. ‘Let the oppressed go free’ (Isaiah 58:6). Do not rest until you break every yoke. It is not possible for you to neglect this and yet obey God.” Pacific Union Recorder, July 21, 1904.

  • What else does God’s true fast involve? Isaiah 58:7.

Note: “[Isaiah 58:6, 7 quoted.] This is the recipe that Christ has prescribed for the fainthearted, doubting, trembling soul. Let the sorrowful ones, who walk mournfully before the Lord, arise and help someone who needs help. …

“The Lord calls upon the church to have a higher piety, a more just sense of duty, a clearer realization of their obligations to their Creator. He calls upon them to be a pure, sanctified, working people. And the Christian help work is one means of bringing this about, for the Holy Spirit communicates with all who are doing God’s service.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 266, 267.

“Remember that there is a world to save. We are to act our part, standing close by the side of Christ as His colaborers. He is the head; we are His helping hand. He designs that we, by doing medical missionary work, shall undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. Let us not close our eyes to the misery around us or our ears to the cries of distress which are continually ascending. Christ is the greatest missionary the world has ever known. He came to uplift and cheer the sorrowing and distressed, and in this work we are to cooperate with Him.” Welfare Ministry, 118.



  • What abundant promise comes to all who, by faith, pursue the joy of practical service to others in need? Isaiah 58:8.

Note: “[Isaiah 58:8 quoted.] …

“… As the members of our churches individually take up their appointed work, they will be surrounded with an entirely different atmosphere. A blessing and a power will attend their labors. They will experience a higher culture of mind and heart. The selfishness that has bound up their souls will be overcome. Their faith will be a living principle.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 267, 268.

  • Why must we completely overcome the unchristian habit of “the putting forth of the finger”? Isaiah 58:9, 10; Matthew 7:1–5.

Note: “The very ones who are blind to their own faults are often quick to note the faults of others, quick to criticise [sic] their words, and condemn them for something they have or have not done. …

“Every unkind criticism of others, every word of self-esteem, is ‘the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity’ (Isaiah 58:9). The lifting up of self in pride, as if you were faultless, the magnifying of the faults of others, is an offense to God. … We have no right to withdraw our confidence from a brother because some evil report comes to our ears, some accusation is made or supposition is suggested that he has done wrong. Frequently the evil report that is brought to us is made by those who are at enmity with God, those who are joining the enemy in his work of accusing the brethren. Those who are unmindful of the Saviour’s words, ‘Take heed therefore how ye hear’ (Luke 8:18), allow their unsanctified ears to hear wrong, their perverted senses to imagine wrong, and their evil tongues to report wrong.

“Many who are accusers of the brethren will not come out openly and talk with those who they think are in error, but will go to others, and, under the mask of friendship for the erring, will cast reflections upon them. Sometimes these accusers will openly agree with those whom they covertly seek to injure. They will state as facts, accusations which are only suppositions, and fail to give those whom they accuse a definite statement of what they suppose to be their errors, so that they give them no chance to answer the charges against them.” The Review and Herald, May 7, 1895.



  • What change will come into our experience as we gain the victory over “the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking van­ity”? Isaiah 58:10, 11.

Note: “Those who might do good service in advancing the cause of Christ, but who use their talents and influence to tear down instead of to build up, will feel the wrath of God. They will experience what Christ suffered in saving men from the penalty of the broken law. The value of man and the measure of his accountability can be known only by the cross of Calvary.” The Watchman, March 31, 1908.

“Doing good is an excellent remedy for disease. Those who engage in the work are invited to call upon God, and He has pledged Himself to answer them. Their soul shall be satisfied in drought, and they shall be like a watered garden, whose waters fail not.

“Wake up, brethren and sisters. Do not be afraid of good works. ‘Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not’ (Galatians 6:9). Do not wait to be told your duty. Open your eyes and see who are around you; make yourselves acquainted with the helpless, afflicted, and needy. Hide not yourselves from them, and seek not to shut out their needs. Who gives the proofs mentioned in James, of possessing pure religion, untainted with selfishness or corruption? Who are anxious to do all in their power to aid in the great plan of salvation?” Testimonies, vol. 2, 29.

  • Describe our assigned mission and the promise accompanying it. Isaiah 58:12, 13, first part.

Note: “God’s people have a special work to do in repairing the breach that has been made in His law; and the nearer we approach the end, the more urgent this work becomes. All who love God will show that they bear His sign by keeping His commandments. They are the restorers of paths to dwell in. … [Isaiah 58:13, 14 quoted.] Thus genuine medical missionary work is bound up inseparably with the keeping of God’s commandments, of which the Sabbath is especially mentioned, since it is the great memorial of God’s creative work. Its observance is bound up with the work of restoring the moral image of God in man. This is the ministry which God’s people are to carry forward at this time.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 265, 266.



  • What should we understand about genuine Christian helpfulness as part of true Sabbath keeping? Isaiah 58:13, 14.

Note: “All heaven was represented to me as beholding and watching upon the Sabbath those who acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment and are observing the Sabbath. Angels were marking their interest in, and high regard for, this divine institution. Those who sanctified the Lord God in their hearts by a strictly devotional frame of mind, and who sought to improve the sacred hours in keeping the Sabbath to the best of their ability, and to honor God by calling the Sabbath a delight—these the angels were specially blessing with light and health, and special strength was given them. But, on the other hand, the angels were turning from those who failed to appreciate the sacredness of God’s sanctified day, and were removing from them their light and their strength. I saw them overshadowed with a cloud, desponding, and frequently sad. They felt a lack of the Spirit of God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 704, 705.

“Those who have lived, not to please themselves, but to be a blessing to the unfortunate who have so few blessings—how their hearts will thrill with satisfaction! They will realize the promise: ‘Thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just’ (Luke 14:14).” Ibid., vol. 6, 312.

“To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour.” The Desire of Ages, 289.



1              Give some examples of false humility—and of true humility. 

2             What hypocritical type of fast does God condemn?

3             How can I partake of the best type of fasting that God wants for me?

4             What human tendency of tearing down can be turned into building up?

5             Summarize God’s glorious plan for Sabbath keepers today.

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (1) – A Message for Today

December 17 – 23, 2017

Key Text

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 24–37; vol. 5, 298–302.


“I cannot too strongly urge all our church members, all who are true missionaries, all who believe the third angel’s message, all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath, to consider the message of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 265.



  • What must we carefully keep in mind when seeking to promote the message of Isaiah, chapter 58? Isaiah 58:1.

Note: “[Isaiah 58:1 quoted.] This message must be given; but while it must be given, we should be careful not to thrust and crowd and condemn those who have not the light that we have. We should not go out of our way to make hard thrusts at the Catholics. Among the Catholics there are many who are most conscientious Christians and who walk in all the light that shines upon them, and God will work in their behalf. Those who have had great privileges and opportunities, and who have failed to improve their physical, mental, and moral powers, but who have lived to please themselves and have refused to bear their responsibility, are in greater danger and in greater condemnation before God than those who are in error upon doctrinal points, yet who seek to live to do good to others. Do not censure others; do not condemn them.

“If we allow selfish considerations, false reasoning, and false excuses to bring us into a perverse state of mind and heart, so that we shall not know the ways and will of God, we shall be far more guilty than the open sinner. We need to be very cautious in order that we may not condemn those who, before God, are less guilty than ourselves.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 243, 244.



  • What is often the reaction faced by earnest believers seeking to “cry aloud, spare not” (Isaiah 58:1)? John 3:19–21; compare Numbers 16:1–4. What was the Lord’s messenger shown concerning the state of God’s professed people?

Note: “Many were cherishing idols in their hearts and were practicing iniquity which separated them from God and caused them to be bodies of darkness. I saw but few who stood in the light, having discernment and spirituality to discover these stumbling blocks and remove them out of the way. …

“Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm. To them everything seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet notes of warning which they hear borne by the plain testimonies, to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. These reproofs and warnings disturb the quiet of these sleepy, ease-loving sentinels, and they are not pleased. They say in heart, if not in words: ‘This is all uncalled for. It is too severe, too harsh. These men are unnecessarily disturbed and excited, and seem unwilling to give us any rest or quietude. “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them” (Numbers 16:3). They are not willing that we should have any comfort, peace, or happiness. It is active labor, toil, and unceasing vigilance alone which will satisfy these unreasonable, hard-to-be-suited watchmen. Why don’t they prophesy smooth things, and cry: Peace, peace? Then everything would move on smoothly.’ …

“The people have not erected graven images, yet their sin is no less in the sight of God. They worship mammon. They love worldly gain. Some will make any sacrifice of conscience to obtain their object. God’s professed people are selfish and self-caring. They love the things of this world, and have fellowship with the works of darkness. They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have not love toward God nor love for their neighbors. They are idolaters and are worse, far worse, in the sight of God than the heathen, graven-image worshipers who have no knowledge of a better way.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 440, 441.


3             THE TRUMPET MUTED

  • What factors make the task difficult for all who would seek to give the warning trumpet a distinctive sound? Isaiah 58:2; Ezekiel 2:1–7.

Note: “It is not the wicked world, but those whom the Lord designates as ‘my people,’ that are to be reproved for their transgressions. He declares further: ‘Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God’ (Isaiah 58:1, 2). Here is brought to view a class who think themselves righteous and appear to manifest great interest in the service of God; but the stern and solemn rebuke of the Searcher of hearts proves them to be trampling upon the divine precepts.” The Great Controversy, 452.

“The Lord says of these people: ‘They seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness’ (Isaiah 58:2). Here is a people who are self-deceived, self-righteous, self-complacent, and the minister is commanded to cry aloud and show them their transgressions. In all ages this work has been done for God’s people, and it is needed now more than ever before. …

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

“If the minister’s face is not flint, if he has not indomitable faith and courage, if his heart is not made strong by constant communion with God, he will begin to shape his testimony to please the unsanctified ears and hearts of those he is addressing. In endeavoring to avoid the criticism to which he is exposed, he separates from God and loses the sense of divine favor, and his testimony becomes tame and lifeless. He finds that his courage and faith are gone and his labors powerless.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 299.



  • How are God’s professed people in Isaiah 58 expecting Him to respond to their service toward Him—and what does He answer? Isaiah 58:3; Malachi 3:14, 15. What factors should we consider to­day about our own attitude in this regard—both toward God and toward others?

Note: “[Isaiah 58:1–3 quoted.]

“The prophet presents before us a people who are finding fault with the Lord because He does not give them all that they selfishly desire. The Lord in His answer to their complaints shows that they do not deserve all that they require at His hands; for they have not dealt righteously.” The General Conference Bulletin, May 31, 1909.

“The fasts observed by these worshipers [in Isaiah 58] are a mere pretense, a mockery of humility. They retain all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of its influence. They manifest no repentance, no faith that works by love. They are unjust and selfish in their dealing with their fellow men, mercilessly oppressing those whom they regard as their inferiors. Yet they complain because God does not exalt them above all others because of their righteousness.” The Review and Herald, June 25, 1901.

“The people whom the prophet [Isaiah] is commanded to warn … have a form of godliness, and regard themselves as entitled to special favor and blessing, because they make a high profession and keep up a round of religious service. This nourishes their self-complacency, and they feel as the young man felt who came to Christ, claiming to have kept all the commandments, and asked, ‘What lack I yet’ (Matthew 19:20)? … This young man flattered himself that he was keeping all the commandments of God; but was he?—No. He did not love God supremely; for he loved his wealth, which was given him only in trust, more than he loved God; and he did not love his neighbors as himself; for he was not willing to distribute his riches among them. He loved his property more than he loved the souls for whom Christ was ready to sacrifice his own life.” Ibid., October 13, 1891.

“We need to beware of self-pity. Never indulge the feeling that you are not esteemed as you should be, that your efforts are not appreciated, that your work is too difficult. Let the memory of what Christ has endured for us silence every murmuring thought. We are treated better than was our Lord.” The Ministry of Healing, 476.



  • In Isaiah 58, what was the real motive behind the fasting of God’s people? Isaiah 58:4. How must we avoid the spirit of this practice? Luke 7:33–35.

Note: “The world’s Redeemer cannot honor the fasts observed by the Jewish nation. They fast in pride and self-righteousness, while Christ eats in humility with publicans and sinners.

“Since the fall, the work of Satan has been to accuse, and those who refuse the light which God sends, pursue the same course today. They lay open to others those things which they consider an offense. Thus it was with the Pharisees. When they found something of which they could accuse the disciples, they did not speak to those whom they thought to be in error. They spoke to Christ of the things which they thought to be so grievous in His disciples. When they thought that Christ offended, they accused Him to the disciples. It was their work to alienate hearts.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1088.

“When our prayers are offered in self-confidence, when we fail to watch, and bring our actions into harmony with our prayers, we are not accounted worshipers in the sight of heaven. We are destitute of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul; for genuine faith will lead the possessor to mortify the deeds of the flesh, and crucify selfishness, self-love, impatience, and self-righteousness. Those who would truly follow Christ must daily learn lessons in meekness and lowliness of heart, that they may speak guardedly, manifest courtesy and kindness, have tender hearts, and bring sympathy and sunshine into the home. All strife, all debate, all smiting with the tongue and the fist of wickedness, must be put away. The overbearing will must be subdued, and gentleness and a disposition to be easily entreated must be cultivated.” The Review and Herald, June 5, 1894.



1              What Bible principle determines our level of accountability toward God?

2             Why does a straight testimony reproving sin meet with opposition?

3             If we are serious about eternity, how will we feel about principles?

4             What was wrong with the fasting of the Jews in Isaiah 58?

5             Whether with fasting or not, what kinds of attitudes hinder prayer?

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (1) – Compassion for the Penitent

December 10 – 16

Key Text

“Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 42–44, 119–125, 421–424.


“Nothing is more essential to communion with God than the most profound humility.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 50.


1              A REALITY CHECK

  • In order to come closer to God, what do we need to realize? Isaiah 59:1, 2.

Note: “The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness. There can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial. Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life. We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business. Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination. Paul could say: ‘I die daily’ (1 Corinthians 15:31). It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others. With many there is a decided lack of love for others. Instead of faithfully performing their duty, they seek rather their own pleasure.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.

“We must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 158.


2             COMING CLOSER TO GOD

  • How important is humility in the eyes of God? Isaiah 57:14–17.

Note: “If ever a people needed to walk in humility before God, it is His church, His chosen ones in this generation. We all need to bewail the dullness of our intellectual faculties, the lack of appreciation of our privileges and opportunities. We have nothing whereof to boast.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 63.

“All self-exaltation must be seen and put away. Truth and righteousness alone will stand the test for this time. We need to have the Spirit of God daily with us, that we may be kept from all evil thoughts and unwise actions, from lifting the soul unto vanity.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 65.

“The Lord is opening the way for the spread of the Gospel, but we are not ready. Daily we need to be softened and refined by the Holy Spirit’s power. Even our thoughts are to be brought into subjection to Christ. Unconsecrated self is to be crucified.” The Signs of the Times, October 24, 1900.

  • What does God want to do for us through His word? Isaiah 57:18, 19.

Note: “Center your faith so deeply and securely in Jesus Christ that no circumstance of any kind will jostle your faith. Let your life be hid with Christ in God.

“Do not waste your thoughts in dwelling upon the defective characters of others. This will not cure your defects of character. By dwelling upon the wrongs of others, you will be changed into the same image. Whenever you are tempted to talk of others’ follies, or blame them for injuries they have done to you, consider that they have wounded the heart of Christ in the person of His saints. Then take your Bible, and open it before God, and plead with Him for the healing balm of His peace.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 24, 25.

“The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.



  • In contrast to the comfort for the meek and contrite, what verdict comes to those who reject God’s appeals? Isaiah 57:20, 21. How can we avoid this condition?

Note: “Are you willing to cast down the idols you have cherished? Are you willing to let Jesus enter the heart to cleanse it from all that defiles? Are you at all times and under all circumstances obtaining the mastery over yourself? Can you say, ‘For me to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21), I am His? Whatever I have, of time, or strength, or influence, all is His? Are you representing Him by your forbearance, your patience, your unselfishness?” The Signs of the Times, April 9, 1902.

“O for that devotion and humility of heart that will lead God’s people to do those things that Christ has commanded, and still in all humility and truth say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done only that which it was our duty to do! But many, many are swelling with pride and importance, who in God’s estimation are lukewarm. Self-gratification is revealed because of a few things accomplished. Where do we hear the testimony of hearts that are broken in repentance and confession before God? Where do we see professed believers wearing the yoke of Christ? How little time is given to fervent prayer, the result of which would be the possession of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” The Review and Herald, September 16, 1909.

“It is not your profession, but your course of action, that will determine whether or not you are Christians. We are nearing the judgment, and we should strive to spend the little time that intervenes between the present and the coming of Christ, in an intelligent manner. We should seek to have the mind filled with valuable knowledge, not with wood, hay, and stubble. By wise cultivation our ability should increase, that we may have growing power to understand the sacred teachings of Christ. We are to become teachers of the mysteries of the gospel.” Ibid., April 19, 1892.

  • What should we always keep in mind in view of eternity? Romans 14:10.

Note: “We are living on the verge of the eternal world. The cases of all are being tried in the heavenly courts, and it is high time to put away sin and to work earnestly to save as many as possible.” Reflecting Christ, 121.



  • What does Christ identify as evidence that we are becoming im­bued with a greater portion of His Holy Spirit—the promised Comforter? John 16:8.

Note: “The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. But do not be discouraged. This is evidence that Satan’s delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you, and your indifference and unconcern are passing away.

“No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not see and realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by grace will admire His divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ. The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our own sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon. Jesus will accept us; for His word is pledged.” The Review and Herald, February 17, 1885.

  • Explain the contrast between this humility and the opposite atti­tude frequently manifested in the world—and too often even in the church—and what are the consequences of the latter? James 3:13, 14.

Note: “What is lying against the truth? It is claiming to believe the truth while the spirit, the words, the deportment, represent not Christ but Satan. To surmise evil, to be impatient and unforgiving, is lying against the truth, but love, patience, and long forbearance are in accordance with the principles of truth.” That I May Know Him, 185.

“Many are cherishing an unholy desire for the supremacy. Many love to be flattered and are jealously watching for slights or neglect. There is a hard, unforgiving spirit. There is envy, strife, emulation. …

“Few receive the grace of Christ with self-abasement, with a deep and permanent sense of their unworthiness. They cannot bear the manifestations of the power of God, for this would encourage in them self-esteem, pride, and envy. This is why the Lord can do so little for us now.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 50, 51.



  • How do those who are Spirit-filled react to those who are faulty and erring? Galatians 6:1–3.

Note: “ ‘Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us’ (Luke 11:4). We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart, and dare be unforgiving; for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against Him as we forgive those who trespass against us. Very few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving comprehended the depth of its meaning, they would not dare repeat it, and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow mortals.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 7, 1899.

“When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead, when there is no rivalry, no strife for the supremacy, when oneness exists, when they sanctify themselves, so that love for one another is seen and felt, then the showers of the grace of the Holy Spirit will just as surely come upon them as that God’s promise will never fail in one jot or tittle. But when the work of others is discounted, that the workers may show their own superiority, they prove that their own work does not bear the signature it should. God cannot bless them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 175.

“Before giving us the baptism of the Holy Spirit, our heavenly Father will try us, to see if we can live without dishonoring Him. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Do not think, my children, that you have received all the spiritual help you need. And do not think that you can have great spiritual blessings without complying with the conditions God Himself has laid down. James and John thought that for the asking, they could have the highest place in the kingdom of God. Oh, how far short they fell of understanding the situation! They did not realize that before they could share Christ’s glory, they must wear His yoke and daily learn His meekness and lowliness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 178.



1              Through what key can the promises to the overcomers be granted to me?

2             What changes occur in us through wholehearted study of God’s word?

3             In view of the brief probationary time left, what should be our focus?

4             How may we be in danger of lying against the truth?

5             What practical steps can I take towards receiving the latter rain?

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (1) – Guidance for the Meek

December 3 – 9

Key Text

“Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 430–439, 508–516; The Sanctified Life, 80–93.


“Man is not left to become the sport of Satan’s temptations. … An Eye that never slumbers or sleeps is guarding the camp of Israel. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels are ministering to the needs of the children of men. Voices inspired by God are crying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” My Life Today, 88.


1              GOD’S CARE

  • With what beautiful illustration does Isaiah depict God’s continual care for His vineyard—and how is this to touch our heart as His children? Isaiah 27:2, 3; Psalm 112:5–7.

Note: “It is true the world is dark. Opposition may wax strong. The trifler and scorner may grow bolder and harder in their iniquity. Yet, for all this, we will not be moved. We have not run as uncertain. No, no. My heart is fixed, trusting in God. We have a whole Saviour. We can rejoice in His rich fullness.” Reflecting Christ, 351.

“If we would only see and appreciate the Lord’s goodness and love and His unceasing care for us, how changed this world would be. If we would seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the principles of righteousness would guide our lives, and self-seeking would find no place in our hearts. The desire to do our own will would be submerged into the desire to do the will of God. We need to cherish a constant realization of God’s love and goodness. We need to remember that He holds us accountable for the use that we make of the gifts that He has bestowed on us.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 327.



  • What has been shown to be blinding the eyes of the majority today, including the eyes of many professed Christians? Isaiah 29:9–12.

Note: “I have been shown that the false shepherds were drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. The truth of God is sealed up to them; they cannot read it.” Early Writings, 123.

  • How does this condition affect many that profess present truth while rejecting parts of it—and what warning accompanies this realization? Isaiah 29:13–16.

Note: “The different parties of professed Advent believers have each a little truth, but God has given all these truths to His children who are being prepared for the day of God. He has also given them truths that none of these parties know, neither will they understand. Things which are sealed up to them, the Lord has opened to those who will see and are ready to understand. If God has any new light to communicate, He will let His chosen and beloved understand it, without their going to have their minds enlightened by hearing those who are in darkness and error.

“I was shown the necessity of those who believe that we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily imbibing new errors. I saw that neither young nor old should attend their meetings; for it is wrong to thus encourage them while they teach error that is a deadly poison to the soul and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The influence of such gatherings is not good. If God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.

“I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth.” Early Writings, 124, 125.



  • What prophecy is given regarding the meek of the Lord in con­trast to those who indulge a critical spirit against their brethren and sisters? Isaiah 29:18–21.

Note: “He who supposed himself secure in the love and friendship of his brother, finds himself mistrusted and his motives misjudged. …

“Floating rumors are frequently the destroyers of unity among brethren. There are some who watch with open mind and ears to catch flying scandal. They gather up little incidents which may be trifling in themselves, but which are repeated and exaggerated until a man is made an offender for a word. Their motto seems to be, ‘Report, and we will report it’ (Jeremiah 20:10). These tale-bearers are doing the devil’s work with surprising fidelity, little knowing how offensive their course is to God. If they would spend half the energy and zeal that is given to this unholy work in examining their own hearts, they would find so much to do to cleanse their souls from impurity that they would have no time or disposition to criticize their brethren, and they would not fall under the power of this temptation. The door of the mind should be closed against ‘they say’ or ‘I have heard.’ Why should we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil-surmising to come into our hearts, go to our brethren, and, after frankly but kindly setting before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, pray with and for them? While we cannot love and fellowship those who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of meekness and love that characterized our Master—a love that thinketh no evil and is not easily provoked.” The Review and Herald, June 3, 1884.

  • What encouraging prophecy is given for these last days with regard to earnest Jewish people who are honestly seeking God? Isaiah 29:22–24.

Note: “Among the Jews are some who, like Saul of Tarsus, are mighty in the Scriptures, and these will proclaim with wonderful power the immutability of the law of God. The God of Israel will bring this to pass in our day. His arm is not shortened that it cannot save. As His servants labor in faith for those who have long been neglected and despised, His salvation will be revealed. [Isaiah 29:22–24 quoted.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 381.



  • How was Isaiah bidden to address candidly the carnal tendency of God’s professed people—and how does this apply to us today? Isaiah 30:8–16.

Note: “We want to impress upon you the necessity of cleansing yourselves from every stain of sin. The church that Christ presents before the throne of His glory is without ‘spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing’ (Ephesians 5:27). Do you want to be among those who have washed their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb? then, ‘cease to do evil; learn to do well’ (Isaiah 1:16, 17); walk in the commandments and ordinances of your God blameless. You are not to ask whether it suits your convenience to keep the truth of heaven. You are to take up your cross and follow Jesus, cost what it may. You will find that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. When you broke His law and incurred the penalty of death, God did not spare his only begotten Son, that you might be brought from the path of transgression into the way of life and holiness; and will you neglect so great salvation, and refuse to comply with the conditions of eternal life?” The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911.

“Make up your mind that from henceforth your feet shall go in the path of obedience. The darkness that binds you like a thick cloud, will part asunder, and heavenly light will shine upon all those who will have the truth at any cost.

“The Lord understands all about your trials; and however impossible it may seem to live for God, you will find that the way will appear. When your faith has been tested, as the Lord opened the Red Sea so the waters will divide, and His providence will make a path for your feet. It is safe to serve God. It may not be to your worldly advantage to keep God’s ways; but the transgressor will be at an eternal loss. …

“Our fathers have transgressed, and we have followed in their footsteps; but God has opened the book of the law, and backslidden Israel hear the commandments of the Lord. Their transgression stands revealed, and the wrath of God will be upon every soul that does not repent and reform as the light shines upon his pathway. …

“We must repent of the past evil of our doings, and seek God with all our hearts. We must believe that God means just what He says, and make no compromise with evil in any way. We should greatly humble ourselves before God, and consider any loss preferable to the loss of His favor.” Ibid., June 29, 1911.

  • How has God manifested His great patience with us? Isaiah 30:18, 19.



  • How does sincerity in the prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13), help us stay in safe paths? Isaiah 30:20, 21.

Note: “The master mind in the confederacy of evil is ever working to keep out of sight the words of God and to bring into full view the opinions of men. He means that we shall not hear the voice of God saying: ‘This is the way, walk ye in it’ (Isaiah 30:21). Through educational processes he is doing all in his power to obscure heaven’s light.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 305.

“The Lord desires all to understand that their prosperity is hid with Him in Christ; that it is dependent on their humility and meekness, their wholehearted obedience and devotion.” Ibid., vol. 7, 212.

“In offering the prayer that Christ has given [in Matthew 6:13], we surrender ourselves to the guidance of God, asking Him to lead us in safe paths. We cannot offer this prayer in sincerity, and yet decide to walk in any way of our own choosing. We shall wait for His hand to lead us; we shall listen to His voice, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

“It is not safe for us to linger to contemplate the advantages to be reaped through yielding to Satan’s suggestions. Sin means dishonor and disaster to every soul that indulges in it; but it is blinding and deceiving in its nature, and it will entice us with flattering presentations. If we venture on Satan’s ground we have no assurance of protection from his power. So far as in us lies, we should close every avenue by which the tempter may find access to us.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 117, 118.

  • As we turn from our idols, what is God’s promise to us? Isaiah 30:22–26.



1              In showering His blessings upon us, what does God want us to consider?

2             Why should we think twice before running to visit other denominations?

3             Why is it impossible for a truly meek person to gossip?

4             What is the preference of carnally-minded people who profess religion?

5             How only will God answer our prayers for guidance?

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (1) – Humanity Held Accountable

November 26 – December 2

Key Text

“At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 17:7).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 686–694.


“Each one of us should stand where we realize our responsibility and accountability to the God of heaven. When we realize this, Divine blessing will rest upon us.” Australasian Union Conference Record, July 28, 1899.



  • Just as the Assyrians were brought to judgment, what did Isaiah prophesy would happen to haughty Babylon? Isaiah 13:1, 4–6, 17–22; 47:1–3, 7–9. When did the great city indeed meet her doom? Daniel 5:1, 18–23, 28, 30.
  • Explain the parallel that the Lord declares will soon come upon spiritual Babylon. Revelation 18:1, 2, 7–17; Ezekiel 7:9.
  • Why should everyone be watchful in this regard? Proverbs 15:3.

Note: “The eye of the Lord is upon every scene. … To every word and action of our lives, the holy, sin-hating God stands as a witness. We cannot escape our accountability to Him, for God is everywhere. Why should we not live in such a manner that we may render up our account with joy, and not with grief. God has given us our appointed work, and we are to do it under His direction. If we place our powers under the control of Satan, we are rebels against God, and there will be found in our life-records, as there was found in Belshazzar’s, a fatal deficiency when the accounts are balanced.” The Signs of the Times, September 14, 1888.



  • In the hustle and bustle of city life in modern society, of what warnings must we be ever mindful? Isaiah 17:12–14. For example, what was the Lord’s last-day messenger bidden to write regarding one city (in this case, Melbourne, Australia) having less than half a million people when she was alive?

Note: “It is not God’s will that His people shall settle in the cities, where there is constant turmoil and confusion. Their children should be spared this; for the whole system is demoralized by the hurry and rush and noise.

“The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take your families away from the cities, is my message.” Medical Ministry, 310, 311.

“The cities will become worse and worse. In them will be strife and bloodshed, and at last they will be visited by earthquakes. Buildings will be thrown down, and will be consumed by fire from heaven. …

“Will our brethren and sisters in Melbourne move without the counsel of God? Will they make large plants in Melbourne, when the world is growing worse and worse, when the cities are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will they put out the eyes of the people, that they shall not discern the signs of the times?

“The cities must be worked. Those who are living in them must be warned of what is before us. Let time and means be wisely spent. See if you cannot do something in the highways and byways of the cities to proclaim the message of present truth. But do not locate your families in the city, and do not establish business interests there. If you do this, you will in the future be expected to conform to the observance of various holidays. Watchers will be set to seek occasion of complaint against the commandment-keeping people of God. Satan will exercise his power and enmity, and oppression will be the result. The larger the city, the greater will be the oppression. At such a time as this, shall we invest our money and our time in business enterprises in the cities, when they are so much needed to advance the work in new fields? Let those who can teach the truth go forth into the highways and hedges, and compel men and women to come in, that God’s house may be full.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 336, 337.

  • Instead of leaning on an arm of flesh, where are we to look? Isaiah 17:7, 8.



  • What does God declare about the eating of “clean” flesh foods in the anti-typical Day of Atonement? Isaiah 22:12–14, 20–22 (compare Revelation 3:8, 7). When the Lord’s messenger was taken off into vision, what was revealed about this “open” and “shut” door?

Note: “The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God. Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God’s people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches.

“I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Revelation 3:7, 8); and that since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question.” Early Writings, 42.

  • What is our most urgent duty in view of the time in which we live? Isaiah 34:16. Summarize the mission of the Lord’s messenger for our time and explain why it has been so important.

Note: “I have not come to cry peace; you can hear this voice wherever you go. There are those who will be glad to lull you to sleep in your carnal security; but I have a different work. My message is to alarm you, to bid you reform your lives, and cease your rebellion against the God of the universe. Take the word of God, and see if you are in harmony with it. Is your character such as will bear the search of the heavenly investigation?” The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911.



  • How can we stand firm for Christ in an age when people tend to question God and His wisdom? Isaiah 29:13–16; 30:8–11.

Note: “Never was there a time when the Lord would manifest His great grace unto His chosen ones more fully than in these last days when His law is made void.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 96.

“The Lord calls upon every teacher, every minister, everyone who has received the light of His truth to mark well his spiritual standing. They have had great light, and if they would secure eternal life, they must no longer make finite men their dependence but build upon the sure foundation.” Ibid., 384.

  • What is to be our safeguard in times of religious delusion? Isaiah 8:19, 20.

Note: “There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The nonresurrection of the wicked and their peculiar views of the age to come are gross errors which Satan has worked in among the last-day heresies to serve his own purpose to ruin souls. These errors can have no harmony with the message of heavenly origin.

“Some of these persons have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7:16). Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone, they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source. The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart; each seeking to know himself, and earnestly, and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 411, 412.



  • Today, as “New Age” spiritualistic philosophy and religion seem to prosper and run rampant, what must we keep in mind? Isaiah 47:10–15.

Note: “All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment. In earnest prayer and living faith is their only safety.” Counsels on Health, 411.

“In earthly affairs, the servant who seeks most carefully to fulfill the requirements of his office, and to carry out the will of his master, is most highly valued. A gentlemen once wished to employ a trusty coachman. Several men came in answer to his advertisement. He asked each one how near he could drive to the edge of a certain precipice without upsetting the carriage. One and another replied that he could go within a very perilous distance; but at last one answered that he would keep as far as possible from such a dangerous undertaking. He was employed to fill the position. Shall a man be more appreciative of a good servant than is our Heavenly Father? Our anxiety should not be to see how far we can depart from the commandments of the Lord, and presume on the mercy of the Lawgiver, and still flatter our souls that we are within the bounds of God’s forbearance; but our care should be to keep as far as possible from transgression. We should be determined to be on the side of Christ and our Heavenly Father, and run no risks by heady presumption. …

“Today, while the last message is being heralded to bring God’s servants in harmony with every precept of His law, there will be scoffers and unbelievers; but every soul must stand in his own integrity. As Noah was faithful in warning the antediluvian world, so we must be faithful to the great trust that God has given us. Although there are scoffers and traducers on every side, we must not shrink from presenting the truth of heaven to this generation.” The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911.



1              While spiritual Babylon seems to flourish, what should we remember?

2             What steps can I take to simplify my lifestyle and be less worldly-minded?

3             What evidence in Isaiah connects vegetarianism with God’s remnant?

4             How does Heaven refute a key tenet of the Charismatic movement? 

5             Explain the safest policy when error abounds on every hand.

Recipe – Easy Pumpkin Puree

Choose the lighter colored “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins.” They are sweeter and less watery than the orange jack-o’-lantern pumpkins.


  • Cut the top from the pumpkin and scrape out the stringy membranes and seeds.
  • Cut the pumpkin into large pieces and place in a roasting pan.
  • Pour ½ cup water into the bottom of the pan and cover with foil.
  • Bake 45-60 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or blender and puree.
  • Use for pie filling, puddings or cookies.

Leftover pumpkin puree may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 12 months.

Food – Pumpkin – The King of Squash

It is pumpkin time again! And, this is the only time of the year when many think about the king of squash.

“Early American colonists chanted whenever they were overcome with appreciation for this oversize orange squash. Pumpkin was a popular food back then, and the early settlers ate a peck of it in pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, and even pumpkin beer.

“It’s a different story now. … If we actually eat pumpkin at all, it’s mainly in Thanksgiving and Christmas pies.

“It’s not just due to its size that pumpkin is called the king of squash. A half-cup of canned pumpkin has more than 16 milligrams of beta-carotene, 160 to 260 percent of the daily amount recommended by experts. Pumpkin is also a source of lesser-known carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

“Carotenoids, which create the orange color of pumpkin, help protect the body by neutralizing harmful oxygen molecules known as free radicals. ‘Lutein and zeaxanthin are very potent free radical scavengers,’ says Paul Lachance, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and chairman of the department of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A diet high in antioxidants can help prevent many of the diseases associated with aging, including heart disease and cancer.

“Lutein and zeaxanthin aren’t found only in pumpkin; they are also found in the lenses of the eyes. Studies suggest that eating foods high in these compounds may help block the formation of cataracts.

The Whole Picture

“In addition to its rich stores of beta-carotene and other phytonutrients, pumpkin contains generous amounts of fiber. For example, while 1 cup of cornflakes contains 1 gram of fiber, a half-cup of canned pumpkin contains more than 3 grams, 6 percent of the Daily Value.

“Iron is another pumpkin mainstay. A half-cup of pumpkin provides almost 2 mg of iron, about 20 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men and 13 percent of the RDA for women. …

“Even richer in iron than the flesh are the pumpkin’s seeds. One ounce—which consists of about 140 seeds, a huge handful—contains about 4 mg of iron, about 40% of the RDA for men and 27% of the RDA for women. …

“When you have a taste for a crunchy, highly nutritious snack, pumpkin seeds, in moderation, are a good choice.” Excerpts from: The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, Selene Yeager and Editors of Prevention Health Books, 1998 Rodale Inc., 458-460.



Easy Pumpkin Puree

Choose the lighter colored “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins.” They are sweeter and less watery than the orange jack-o’-lantern pumpkins.
·         Cut the top from the pumpkin and scrape out the stringy membranes and seeds.

·         Cut the pumpkin into large pieces and place in a roasting pan.

·         Pour ½ cup water into the bottom of the pan and cover with foil.

·         Bake 45-60 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

·         Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or blender and puree.

·         Use for pie filling, puddings or cookies.

Leftover pumpkin puree may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 12 months

Life Sketches – From Persecutor to Apostle

How much evidence do you need before you are willing to commit to a settled decision? It is said that seeing is believing. However, there is even stronger evidence than sight and sound.

Peter, James, and John saw Jesus glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration. In 2 Peter 1:16, Peter says, “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” Peter says, “We saw His majesty.” Not only that, he heard something. It says, “For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ ” (verse 17). They both saw Him glorified and they heard a voice that came from the Father in heaven confirming His “Sonship.”

But then, Peter says in verses 18, 19, first part, literal translation, “We heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain … we also have the prophetic word made more sure …” a more sure prophetic word, a more sure word of prophecy, more sure than what? “More sure than what we saw, and more sure than what we heard.” Scripture plainly teaches that the prophecies in this book, are more sure, they are more certain and stronger evidence than what you see and what you hear.

Peter says, “We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to take heed as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (verse 19, literal translation).

Before Paul’s conversion, he had that experience as well. He was lying on the ground when he saw Jesus Christ in His glorified form and heard His voice say, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). And he said, “Lord, what do You want me to do” (verse 6, first part)? And Jesus said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and it will be shown to you what you shall do” (verse 6, last part, literal translation). And then the vision was over. Saul, trying to get up, finds that he is totally deprived of sight. The brightness of Christ’s glory had been too intense for his mortal sight, and when it was removed, the blackness of night settled upon his vision. He thought that his sudden blindness was punishment from God.

He had been a cruel persecutor of the followers of Jesus and now he finds himself groping about in darkness. His companions, in fear, amazement, and astonishment at what has happened to Saul, took him by the hand, and led him into Damascus. How different it was from what he expected. He thought he was going to enter this city to meet with ostentation, and applause, and honor, because of his position. But now, although he had come there to cause the Christians to be condemned and punished without mercy, and had determined that no Christian would escape his vigilance in entering their houses to seize the inmates and send them as prisoners to Jerusalem, how different it all was.

His world was turned upside down in a few minutes. Instead of wielding power and receiving honor, he was led as a blind man into town. He had caused many Christians to be cast into prison. Now he is effectively in prison himself. He cannot see anything. He is blind and has to be led here and there and waited upon, dependent upon the guidance of his companions.

Saul is helpless and tortured by remorse. He felt himself to be under the sentence of death, not knowing what the Lord was going to do with him. The Scripture says that he was taken to the house of a certain disciple by the name of Judas, and there he remained in solitude, studying in his mind the strange revelation that had broken up all his plans and turned his life upside down. The entire current of his life had changed suddenly. He spent there three days in total blindness.

Spending that time in repentance, reflection, and prayer, he did not eat or drink. He remembered with bitterness of mind how he had consented to the stoning of Stephen. And he remembered the evidence that he had seen in Stephen that there was a power higher than any earthly power that sustained Christ’s servant. He thought with horror of his guilt, that he was one of the ones who had consented, saying, “Stone this man.”

He had been controlled by malice and prejudice. He had closed his ears against the most striking evidence and continued in persecution of the Christian religion. At some time, every person who is a persecutor of the Christian religion must face the truth and reality. The Lord says in both the Old and New Testaments that the day is coming when every knee is going to bow down to Me, and every tongue is going to swear. Not because they will be forced to but that the evidence will be so overwhelming that they will see there is no other suitable solution, no other answer.

Saul at that time was in lonely seclusion. He had no communication with the church because they feared and avoided him; they knew what he was there for. They had been warned by believers in Jerusalem what he was coming there to do. Thus there was not any Christian who wanted to be anywhere near him. He was devoid of human sympathy as he pondered what he could do now with the Jews. He was a broken man, but he had a repentant spirit.

Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 21:44: “Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” As Saul, about to become the apostle Paul, was thinking about it, he was astonished, as every atheist and agnostic and unbeliever will be astonished someday. He was astonished at his former blindness, that he did not see the tremendous evidence of the Messiahship of Christ. In fact, he was astonished at the blindness of the Jewish nation in general. How could they reject Jesus, the promised Messiah, when all the Old Testament scriptures were fulfilled in His life? It all was plain to him now. He had not studied the scriptures for nothing. It all came back to his mind, even though he was physically blind. And he realized that it was prejudice and unbelief, which had clouded his perceptions and prevented him from discerning Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of prophecy.

The same is still true. People are prevented from belief by prejudice, by settled unbelief, reinforced by their friends and associates, just as was Saul of Tarsus when friends and associates convinced him that Jesus was a fraud. This wonderful conversion of Saul demonstrates in a startling manner the miraculous power that Jesus Christ has to convict the mind and heart of man. Some people might say, “Well, why doesn’t Jesus do that for everybody?” Friend, Jesus knows people’s hearts, He knows how people would respond and He is not interested in forcing someone to believe who does not want to and chooses not to. Jesus knew the struggles that the apostle Paul had had night and day with his conscience.

O, friend, are you struggling with a guilty conscience? Are you kicking against the pricks and struggling to keep from making a decision to surrender to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in your life? Do you know that Jesus cannot be your Saviour from sin unless He is also the sovereign and Lord of your life? The apostles made this very clear. He has been made both a Lord and a Saviour. Those are the two things you must believe in regard to Jesus Christ if you are going to receive salvation. He must not only be your Saviour from sin, but He must be the Lord of your life.

Saul said to Him on the Damascus road, “Lord [in other words, Master, Sovereign, Ruler], what do You want me to do? What shall I do?” Jesus said, “Arise and go into the city, and it will be shown to you what you shall do.” And now something astonishing happened. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul for the purpose of arresting him in his mad career. He would now make from what was a most unpromising subject an instrument to bear the gospel of salvation to all the Gentiles of the world.

Saul was overwhelmed by this revelation, Jesus of Nazareth, the One that he had been opposing, the One that he had arrayed himself against, was the Redeemer of the world, and there was no other way to be saved but through Him. He was overwhelmed by his sense of guilt.

Those were torturous days for Saul of Tarsus. What disposal was going to be made of him? What was the Lord going to decide in regard to his case? He knew that he had been the leading, most relentless persecutor of the Christian church. What was going to be his penalty? What was going to be his punishment? Could he be forgiven? He repented. It says, “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for, behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight’ ” (Acts 9:10–12).

Ananias had heard about who this man was, and even though this was the Lord of glory speaking to him in a vision, he began to expostulate, trying to reason with the Lord. Don’t we all do that at times? The Lord tells us what to do, He knows what we need to do, but we don’t think so. We think that it could not be quite like that, surely not that, Lord.

Notice what Ananias said: “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Your name’ ” (verses 13, 14).

So often, when Jesus sends us a message, we start reasoning it out, and say, “Lord, not that. No, no. I can’t do that. Not that road, Lord, not that direction, Lord, not that decision, Lord.” So often, Jesus doesn’t give a full explanation of what He wants us to do. Look at the life of Jesus when He was here. It happened repeatedly. Jesus did not explain, and people started to try to reason it out. Lord, Why do You say not to do that? Why do You say to do this? It is human nature to enquire why, but Jesus did not reason it out. He just gave this reply to Ananias in the vision, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go’ ” (verse 15, first part).

When the Lord says to go, we need to go. Whether or not we understand why is not the issue. Whether we understand the consequences, we have nothing to do with them. The Lord will take care of the consequences. The Lord did not show Ananias that it was going to be safe to go. He was going to visit the persecutor, the one who had come to Damascus to seize all the Christians and put them in prison. The Lord said, “You go. Just go.” “The Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake’ ” (verses 15, last part, 16).

So, Ananias went to see the blind Saul. Verses 17, 18 say, “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

The apostle Paul talks about this very thing in his letters. The scales fell from his eyes and now he could see. Notice what he said in 2 Corinthians 3:12–16: “Since we have such great hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were hardened. For until this day, the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

When you turn to the Lord you may not understand everything. You may have a veil over your eyes. You may not see anything clearly, but Paul says, the scales are going to fall from your eyes, the veil is going to be taken away. You’re going to be able to see. You’re going to start to understand what you are reading, when you read God’s word.

There are even Christians today who say they cannot understand the Old Testament, yet the Old Testament provides the foundation for the Christian church. The Christian church is built on “… the foundation,” Paul says, “… of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). When you turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. “… the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

O, friend, has the veil been removed from your eyes so that you can see clearly and understand spiritual things when you read the Old and the New Testaments? Paul has promised, when you turn to the Lord, the veil will be taken away. You’ll start to see. Do you want that experience to happen to you?

(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.

Children’s Story – Kathy “Sees” Thanksgiving

Jeanie awoke the morning before Thanksgiving Day with a happy and thankful heart. Usually she awoke every morning feeling this way because she was a happy little girl, but today she had a special reason for being thankful.

Jeanie and her parents lived on a farm in the United States quite a distance from town or from neighbors. There was a big white house across the road, but Jeanie could not remember anyone ever having lived in it. Then last week Daddy told her and Mother that a family with a little girl Jeanie’s age was going to move into the house today.

Swiftly Jeanie jumped out of bed and ran to her window to peek at the house across the road. Sure enough, there was a moving van unloading furniture onto the front porch.

“Oh, now I will get to meet my new playmate before Thanksgiving!” Jeanie exclaimed to herself as she hurriedly began to dress.

She was almost to the kitchen when she remembered something she had to do today. She had promised to gather the pine cones that Mother always used to decorate the table on Thanksgiving Day. Would she have time to search for them and visit the little girl across the road too?

Then a thought flashed into Jeanie’s mind. I’ll go see my new neighbor first and invite her to go with me to gather the cones.

By this time Jeanie was at the kitchen doorway. “Oh, Mother,” she sang out, “our new neighbors have come!”

Mother looked up from the plate of toast she was preparing and smiled. “Yes, I saw them. I am making some soup for their lunch. We will take it over as soon as it is ready.”

Jeanie nodded. She was glad Mother was making the soup, but she didn’t know whether she could wait so long to meet her new playmate.

“I’m going to invite the little girl to help me search for pine cones,” she told Mother. “Do you think she will like that?”

“Yes, I’m sure she will.” Mother looked a little thoughtful. “There is something, though, I think you should know. Daddy learned about it only yesterday and told me last night.”

Jeanie had been watching Mother and saw her strange expression. “What is it? Is it about the new neighbors?”

Mother nodded. “It is about the little girl,” she answered gently. “She can’t see as you and I see, Jeanie. She is blind.”

Jeanie put down the plates she was holding and stared at Mother. Blind! She had never known a blind person. In school there was Cindy who had to walk with crutches, but being blind was different. Not to be able to see at all.

Jeanie had read about several famous blind people, such as Hellen Keller, but she had never really thought much about them. She had never tried to feel what it would be like never to see the bright blue sky, the green grass, other people—anything at all. Why, it was night all the time in a blind person’s world.

Jeanie took a deep breath. “Then—then maybe she won’t enjoy going with me to look for pine cones,” she managed to say.

“I think she may.” Mother surprised Jeanie by her answer. “You can invite her anyway and find out what she says.”

Jeanie was glad Mother had helped her decide. At worship Jeanie prayed a special prayer for Jesus to help her be friends with her blind neighbor.

Later when the steaming kettle of soup was ready Mother and Jeanie went across the road to see the new neighbors. As they entered the front gate, Jeanie’s heart began to beat faster. A little girl just her age was standing on the porch.

The little girl spoke first. “Hello,” she called. “I’m Kathy. Do you live across the road?”

“Yes, we do,” Jeanie told her. “My mother and I have brought you and your parents some soup for lunch, and I would like you to go pine cone hunting with me.”

“Oh, I would love that!” Kathy exclaimed happily. She turned toward the doorway of the house. “May I go, Mother?”

Jeanie turned, too, in surprise. She certainly hadn’t seen Kathy’s mother come to the door.

After Kathy had gotten her mother’s permission, the girls started for the pasture where the pine trees grew.

“I’ve never seen a pine cone,” Kathy stated. 

Jeanie couldn’t help staring at her. And somehow Kathy knew that she was puzzled.

“I mean I’ve never touched a pine cone,” she corrected. “I see things by feeling them. I’ve never seen many of the things that go with Thanksgiving. My parents and I have always lived in an apartment in New York City. I’ve never seen a pumpkin or an ear of corn. I surely would like to sometime.”

“Oh, you can today!” cried Jeanie. “Daddy has corn and pumpkins in the barn, and we’ll gather cones from the pine trees in the pasture.”

It wasn’t long until Jeanie spied a large cone under the pine tree by the pasture gate. “Oh, here’s one,” she told Kathy and gave her new friend the cone to hold.

Kathy ran her fingers quickly over the cone at first. Then she touched it more slowly. “It isn’t at all like I thought it would be. I thought it would be rough all over, but parts of it are smooth.”

Jeanie laughed and held out a black walnut. “If you want to feel something really different, touch this.”

Kathy was fascinated by the texture of the walnut hull. Then she felt the bark of the trees and the gritty surface of a sand rock. After the girls had gathered enough of the cones, they hurried to the barn, where Jeanie showed Kathy the big yellow pumpkins and the ears of yellow corn.

“Oh, this feels like Thanksgiving!” laughed Kathy as she patted the biggest pumpkin in the pile. “What a pie it would make!”

“One almost big enough to feed all the Pilgrims!” humored Jeanie.

Kathy smiled. Then she looked serious. “I’ve read about the Pilgrims and about the first Thanksgiving in my Braille books, but I’ve often wondered what a Pilgrim looked like.” 

Jeanie smiled, too. “I wish I had a Pilgrim to show you, but I—” Then she stopped right in the middle of her sentence and caught Kathy’s hand. “Come to the house. I do have a Pilgrim to show you. Two of them, in fact!”

When they were inside the house, Jeanie took Kathy to her room. “Here, sit in my rocker, and I’ll get my Pilgrim dolls from my doll collection. Grandmother got them for me two years ago at Thanksgiving. They are a Pilgrim man and a Pilgrim woman.”

Jeanie put the dolls in Kathy’s hands and told her about each doll’s clothing, the colors, and how the man carried a Bible in his hand.

Kathy sat for a long time touching the dolls. Then she turned toward Jeanie with joy and wonder in her face. “Oh, Jeanie, this has been such a wonderful day! I’ve never really been able to know about the things that Thanksgiving means because I couldn’t touch them. But today you really have helped me to “see” Thanksgiving. I think I want to thank Jesus for you.”

Jeanie took the Pilgrim dolls from Kathy and put them back with her doll collection. Then she took Kathy by the hand. “And I want to thank Jesus for you too,” she said. “So let’s thank Him together right now.”

On the rug beside Jeanie’s bed the two little girls knelt down and gave a special prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus, even though Thanksgiving was still a day away.

Heaven, Please! Helena Welch, 122–127.

Health – Defiled Meat/Diseased Meat

Daniel purposed in his heart not to eat defiled meat. Have you purposed just as resolutely in your heart that you will refrain from eating diseased, meat? If you have, you will be sure not to eat any meat at all; for with the alarming increase of disease among cattle at the present time, you can never be sure that you are eating perfectly healthy meat, even if such a thing now exists. The true Christian never strives to see how near he can get to the danger line, but rather how far he can keep away from it.

The God of Daniel inspired him to take a definite stand upon this question. Are you allowing God to inspire a similar definite purpose in your heart with reference to the diet question, or have you sometimes thought it had no bearing upon your physical or moral nature? Again and again during the last few months I have had the opportunity personally to observe the moral effect of a flesh diet upon men and women who were seeking to rise to a higher level. They would struggle to give up the habits of drink and other evils, and fall again and again; but when they came to the point where they purposed in their hearts to adopt the simple diet of Daniel, then God seemed at once to give them power to rise above the other things.

Not only in this sense, but in an economical sense, those who use flesh foods are spending their money for that which is not bread. A pound of meat contains only a quarter of a pound of food, the remainder being water; while either a pound of peas, beans, or lentils, actually contains more of the very same food elements of which meat is composed, and a large part of the remainder of the pound is made up of useful food substances. The same is practically true of grains, only they do not contain so much of the particular food element of which meat is largely composed. A pound of flesh food costs three times as much as a pound of any of these legumes, yet it contains less than a third as much food, and it has ten times more poisonous substances, which is, after all, the most expensive part; for it wears out human energy to dispose of this. Add to all this the fact that disease is likely to be lurking in the meat, and then we certainly ought to purpose in our hearts not to spend our money for that which is not bread.

The Review and Herald, November 28, 1899.