Bible Study Guides – Leadership by Faith

November 19, 2011 – November 25, 2011

Key Text

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of … David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.” Hebrews 11:32.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 569–574, 592–602; Testimonies, vol. 4, 176–185.


“It is hardly possible for men to offer a greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities that He has appointed to lead them.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 355.


  • What is written of Samuel even before he was conceived in his mother’s womb, and how did he respond to God’s call as a child? I Samuel 1:20; 2:18; 3:10.

Note: “Though Samuel’s youth was passed at the tabernacle devoted to the worship of God, he was not free from evil influences or sinful example. The sons of Eli feared not God, nor honored their father; but Samuel did not seek their company nor follow their evil ways. It was his constant endeavor to become what God would have him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 573.

  • What are some ways in which Samuel was a blessing to Israel? I Samuel 7:8–13.

Note: “Samuel, by the Lord’s direction, established the schools of the prophets. These schools were intended to serve as a barrier against the wide-spreading corruption, to provide for the mental and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors. To this end, Samuel gathered companies of young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious.” Education, 46.


  • What request of the Israelites grieved Samuel, and why? I Samuel 8:4–7, 18–22.
  • What did Samuel declare to the people about their new king, and how did the Lord demonstrate His support for the words of His servant? I Samuel 12:13–25.
  • What reveals the depth of Samuel’s love for God’s heritage? I Samuel 15:10, 11.
  • What had been the key to Saul’s remaining in power? I Samuel 15:17. Why was his reign called to a halt? I Samuel 15:18–23, 28; Psalm 75:5–7.

Note: “If Saul had shown a regard for the requirements of God in this time of trial, God could have worked His will through him. His failure now proved him unfit to be the vicegerent of God to His people. He would mislead Israel. His will, rather than the will of God, would be the controlling power. If Saul had been faithful, his kingdom would have been established forever; but since he had failed, the purpose of God must be accomplished by another. The government of Israel must be committed to one who would rule the people according to the will of Heaven.

“We do not know what great interests may be at stake in the proving of God. There is no safety except in strict obedience to the word of God. All His promises are made upon condition of faith and obedience, and a failure to comply with His commands cuts off the fulfillment to us of the rich provisions of the Scriptures. We should not follow impulse, nor rely on the judgment of men; we should look to the revealed will of God and walk according to His definite commandment, no matter what circumstances may surround us. God will take care of the results; by faithfulness to His word we may in time of trial prove before men and angels that the Lord can trust us in difficult places to carry out His will, honor His name, and bless His people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 621, 622.

  • What was Samuel soon to understand about God’s abundant mercy toward the erring nation longing for a king? I Samuel 16:1, 6, 7, 10–13.


  • How did Samuel describe the only type of king that God could endorse and bless? I Samuel 13:13, 14.

Note: “Saul had been after the heart of Israel, but David is a man after God’s own heart.” The Signs of the Times, June 15, 1888.

  • What are some of the various ways in which Hebrews 11:33, 34 can apply to the faith of David? I Samuel 17:34, 35; 19:8, 10, 18; Psalm 144:1.

Note: “On one occasion, as the evening shadows gathered, and he [David] laid aside his harp, he saw a dark form moving stealthily upon his flock. It was a bear, fierce with hunger, that sprang upon the sheep of his care; but David did not flee for his life. He felt that it was the very hour when his charges needed his protection. He lifted his heart to God in prayer for wisdom and help, that he might do his duty in this time of peril. With his strong arm he laid the bear in death at his feet. At another time he discovered a lion with a bleeding lamb between his jaws. Without hesitation the youthful shepherd engaged in a desperate encounter. His arm, nerved by the living God, forced the beast to release its bleeding victim, and as it turned, mad with disappointment, upon David, he buried his hand in its mane and killed the fierce invader. His experience in these matters proved the heart of David, and developed in him courage, and fortitude, and faith. God was teaching David lessons of trust. As Moses was trained for his work, so the Lord was fitting the son of Jesse to become the leader and guide of his chosen people. In his watchcare for his flocks, he was gaining an appreciation of the care that the great Shepherd has for the sheep of His pasture.” The Signs of the Times, August 3, 1888.

  • What was David eventually to instruct the heir to his throne about true leadership? I Kings 2:1–4.


  • Many are familiar with the serious sins and mistakes of David. Why then can he still be considered such an example of faith and leadership? Psalms 32:1–7; 51:1–4, 9–11.

Note: “It was when David was pure, and walking in the counsel of God, that God called him a man after His own heart. When David departed from God, and stained his virtuous character by his crimes, he was no longer a man after God’s own heart. God did not in the least degree justify him in his sins, but sent Nathan his prophet, with dreadful denunciations to David because he had transgressed the commandment of the Lord. God shows his displeasure at David’s having a plurality of wives by visiting him with judgments, and permitting evils to rise up against him from his own house. The terrible calamity God permitted to come upon David, who for his integrity was once called a man after God’s own heart, is evidence to after generations that God would not justify any one in transgressing his commandments, but that He will surely punish the guilty, however righteous, and favored of God they might once have been while they followed the Lord in purity of heart. When the righteous turn from their righteousness and do evil, their past righteousness will not save them from the wrath of a just and holy God.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 87.

  • What can we learn from how David responded when reproved? II Samuel 12:7–13. How did he view sin’s consequences? II Samuel 15:30, 32, first part; Proverbs 6:23.

Note: “Never was David dearer to the heart of Infinite Love than when, conscience-smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who had been stirred to rebellion by his own son. The Lord says, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ Revelation 3:19. Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 11.

  • What reveals David’s humble acceptance of God’s will, even at times when his hopes may have been disappointed? I Chronicles 28:2, 3.


  • What comes to mind when considering the trials of God’s prophets? James 5:10.
  • How does Hebrews 11:33 apply to Daniel under King Darius? Daniel 6:20–22.

Note: “Daniel would allow no earthly power to come in between him and his God, even with the prospect of death in the den of lions. Although God did not prevent Daniel from being cast into a den of lions, an angel went in with him and closed their mouths, so that no harm befell him.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 527.

  • How does Hebrews 11:36 apply to Jeremiah under King Zedekiah? Jeremiah 38:6.

Note: “Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words that God had given him to speak; and his testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit.” The Acts of the Apostles, 575.

  • How does Hebrews 11:37 apply to Isaiah under King Manasseh? II Kings 21:16

Note: “Isaiah, who was permitted by the Lord to see wonderful things, was sawn asunder, because he faithfully reproved the sins of the Jewish nation.” The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1898.


1 Why was Samuel so beloved?

2 Why was God loathe to give Israel a king, and why does He have no monarchy now?

3 What made David a better king than Saul?

4 Why can each one of us be encouraged by the way God dealt with David?

5 In following the steps of holy men of old, why will my life never be glamorous?

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

Bible Study Guides – Instruments of God’s Deliverance

November 12, 2011 – November 18, 2011

Key Text

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae.” Hebrews 11:32.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 543–568; Gospel Workers (1892), 297–299, 309–319.


“By the repeated manifestations of His power in behalf of Israel, God would lead them to have faith in Him—with confidence to seek His help in every emergency. He is just as willing to work with the efforts of His people now and to accomplish great things through weak instrumentalities.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 554.


  • Describe one predicament in which the Israelites found themselves during the time of the judges. Judges 6:1–6.
  • How did the Lord in His great mercy plan to remedy their situation? Judges 6:11–16.
  • What was the first step Gideon took at the peril of his life? Judges 6:22–32.

Note: “The deliverance of Israel was to be preceded by a solemn protest against the worship of Baal. Gideon must declare war upon idolatry before going out to battle with the enemies of his people.

“The divine direction was faithfully carried out. Knowing that he would be opposed if it were attempted openly, Gideon performed the work in secret; with the aid of his servants, accomplishing the whole in one night. Great was the rage of the men of Ophrah when they came next morning to pay their devotions to Baal. They would have taken Gideon’s life had not Joash—who had been told of the Angel’s visit—stood in defense of his son.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 547.


  • What shows the deep humility of Gideon as God’s servant, and how will we likewise be blessed by reflecting such an attitude? Judges 6:17–23, 36–40; Proverbs 15:33.

Note: “The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom.

“If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people; but there are few who can be trusted with any large measure of responsibility or success without becoming self-confident and forgetful of their dependence upon God. This is why, in choosing the instruments for His work, the Lord passes by those whom the world honors as great, talented, and brilliant. They are too often proud and self-sufficient. They feel competent to act without counsel from God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 553, 554.

“When we realize what is involved in our service to Christ, we are driven to the throne of grace to ask the Lord for the very things we need. He whose eyes are anointed with spiritual discernment feels that it means something to be a worker together with God. He will realize that it is perilous to trust in self; for self-confidence is vain. It is only when we accept solemn responsibility, relying upon God and distrusting self, that we can become efficient workers in His cause. To be clothed with humility does not mean that we are to be dwarfs in intellect, deficient in our aspirations, and cowardly in our lives, shunning all burdens for fear we shall not carry them successfully. In the strength of Christ we are to take up our responsibilities, bearing them for His sake, and ever going to Him for rest.” The Signs of the Times, August 15, 1892.

  • What added encouragement did God give to boost Gideon’s faith? Judges 7:9–15.

Note: “The apparently powerless condition of that little company of Israelites, compared with the vast host of the enemy, was fitly represented by the cake of barley bread. But as that loaf overthrew the tent upon which it fell, so would the handful of Israelites destroy their numerous and powerful enemies.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881.


  • What are we to learn from the way Gideon was to select his army? Judges 7:1–8.

Note: “There is a lesson to be learned from Gideon’s army. It was not because of their great numbers that they prevailed, but because they were willing to follow the special directions of God by living faith. Those that were soon to press on to the battle, and who would scoop up the water and drink as they went, were the ones whom God accepted to engage in this enterprise; but those who prepared to have a good time, and bowed down leisurely and drank, were sent back to their homes.

“The Lord God of Israel looks upon us individually, and He sees whether we are in earnest in this matter. He sees whether we carry the burden of souls upon our hearts. He sees whether or not we touch these living interests with the tip ends of our fingers. If we have the interest that Knox had when he pleaded before God for Scotland, we shall have success. He cried, ‘Give me Scotland, Lord, or I die.’ And when we take hold of the work and wrestle with God, saying, ‘I must have souls; I will never give up the struggle,’ we will find that God will look upon our efforts with favor. He sees that if He gives you souls as the result of your ministry, it will not make you proud or lifted up. You will not be in a position where you will feel for an instant that someone else will get the credit for these souls; but you will feel so grateful to God that they are saved, that His praise will be in your hearts and on your lips day and night. It is such men that God will make mighty instruments to do His work.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 45.

  • What was the main way that God miraculously gave this victory? Judges 7:16–22.

Note: “The light of three hundred lamps, piercing the midnight darkness, and that mighty shout from three hundred voices, suddenly aroused the sleeping army. Believing themselves at the mercy of an overwhelming force, the Midianites were panic-stricken. A terrible scene of confusion ensued. In their fright they fled in all directions, and mistaking their own companions for enemies they slew one another.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881.


  • Describe another time when Israel was in trouble. Judges 4:1–3. What was to be the solution? Judges 4:4–9.

Note: “Barak knew the scattered, disheartened, and unarmed condition of the Hebrews, and the strength and skill of their enemies. Although he had been designated by the Lord Himself as the one chosen to deliver Israel, and had received the assurance that God would go with him and subdue their enemies, yet he was timid and distrustful. He accepted the message from Deborah as the word of God, but he had little confidence in Israel, and feared that they would not obey his call. He refused to engage in such a doubtful undertaking unless Deborah would accompany him, and thus support his efforts by her influence and counsel. Deborah consented, but assured him that because of his lack of faith, the victory gained should not bring honor to him; for Sisera would be betrayed into the hands of a woman.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.

  • How was Deborah’s prophecy of victory gained, and why? Judges 4:10–22; 5:1, 2.

Note: “The Israelites were but poorly prepared for an encounter, and looked with terror upon the vast armies spread out in the plain beneath them, equipped with all the implements of warfare, and provided with the dreaded chariots of iron. These were so constructed as to be terribly destructive. Large, scythe-like knives were fastened to the axles, so that the chariots, being driven through the ranks of the enemy, would cut them down like wheat before the sickle.

“The Israelites had established themselves in a strong position in the mountains, to await a favorable opportunity for an attack. Encouraged by Deborah’s assurance that the very day had come for signal victory, Barak led his army down into the open plain, and boldly made a charge upon the enemy. The God of battle fought for Israel, and neither skill in warfare, nor superiority of numbers and equipment, could withstand them. The hosts of Sisera were panicstricken; in their terror they sought only how they might escape. Vast numbers were slain, and the strength of the invading army was utterly destroyed. The Israelites acted with courage and promptness; but God alone could have discomfited the enemy, and the victory could be ascribed to Him alone.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.


  • Though Samson’s life shows little sign that he ever appreciated God’s calling, what evidence shows that he finally repented? Judges 16:21–31.

Note: “In suffering and humiliation, a sport for the Philistines, Samson learned more of his own weakness than he had ever known before; and his afflictions led him to repentance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566.

  • Describe the chronic problem of Israel, and how God felt about it. Judges 10:6–16. What should we realize when tempted by the same problem today? I John 3:13.
  • What was Jephthah’s background, and what was he called to do? Judges 11:1–11. What reveals his sense of reverence and trust in God? Judges 11:14, 27–32.
  • How did Jephthah show his integrity and deep understanding of the solemnity of speaking before God? Judges 11:33–40; Psalm 15:1, 4, last part; Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.


1 How does the life of Gideon demonstrate the link between humility and victory?

2 In what aspects of life can the lessons from Gideon’s military strategy apply today?

3 What action is needed in order for us to become more successful soul winners?

4 Why did God choose to deliver Israel at the hand of a woman in the time of Barak?

5 In what ways do the experiences of Samson and Jephthah offer us hope?

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

Bible Study Guides – The Conquest of Jericho

November 6, 2011 – November 12, 2011

Key Text

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Hebrews 11:30.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 487–493; Testimonies, vol. 4, 156–164.


“God works mightily for a faithful people who obey His word without questioning or doubt. The Majesty of heaven, with His army of angels, leveled the walls of Jericho without human aid.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 164.


  • What will be seen more and more as the present truth, which leads to salvation, becomes increasingly unpopular? I John 2:18, 19.

Note: “Whenever persecution takes place, the spectators make decisions either for or against Christ. Because of persecution, many will be offended. The principles of the truth cut directly across their practice, and they will stumble and fall, apostatizing from the faith they once advocated. Many who have professed to love the truth will then show that they have no vital union with the True Vine. They will be cut away, as branches that bear no fruit, and will be bound up with unbelievers, scoffers, and mockers.

“Those who apostatize in time of trial will bear false witness and betray their brethren, to secure their own safety. They will tell where their brethren are concealed, putting the wolves on their track. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the cruel, unnatural course pursued by friends and relatives.” The Review and Herald, December 20, 1898.

  • Instead of betraying the faithful to condemnation and death, what woman in the Bible stood firm to protect the endangered worshipers of Jehovah? Joshua 2:1–7.


  • How did Rahab express her faith in the God of Israel, and how were the spies encouraged by this? Joshua 2:8–24.
  • What were the people to keep their eyes on, and why? Joshua 3:1–3.

Note: “The priests obeyed the commands of their leader and went before the people, carrying the ark of the covenant. The Hebrew hosts took up the line of march and followed this symbol of the divine presence.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 157.

  • Describe the miracle that was to inspire the faith of the people. Joshua 3:11–17. What can we learn from this miracle and the way it can apply to us today?

Note: “In the upbuilding of His work the Lord does not always make everything plain before His servants. He sometimes tries the confidence of His people by bringing about circumstances which compel them to move forward in faith. Often He brings them into strait and trying places, and bids them advance when their feet seem to be touching the waters of Jordan. It is at such times, when the prayers of His servants ascend to Him in earnest faith, that God opens the way before them and brings them out into a large place.” The Acts of the Apostles, 357.

  • Why could Joshua face the battle of Jericho with full assurance of faith? Joshua 5:13–15.

Note: “The city of Jericho was devoted to the most extravagant idolatry. The inhabitants were very wealthy, but all the riches that God had given them they counted as the gift of their gods. They had gold and silver in abundance; but, like the people before the Flood, they were corrupt and blasphemous, and insulted and provoked the God of heaven by their wicked works. God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord’s host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 264.


  • Describe the Lord’s method given for the toppling of Jericho. Joshua 6:12–17. How can we be inspired by this?

Note: “The vast army [of Israel] marched solemnly around the devoted walls. All was silent, save the measured tread of many feet, and the occasional sound of the trumpet, breaking the stillness of the early morning. The massive walls of solid stone seemed to defy the siege of men. The watchers on the walls looked on with rising fear, as, the first circuit ended, there followed a second, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth. What could be the object of these mysterious movements? What mighty event was impending? They had not long to wait. As the seventh circuit was completed, the long procession paused. The trumpets, which for an interval had been silent, now broke forth in a blast that shook the very earth. The walls of solid stone, with their massive towers and battlements, tottered and heaved from their foundations, and with a crash fell in ruin to the earth. The inhabitants of Jericho were paralyzed with terror, and the hosts of Israel marched in and took possession of the city.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 491.

“The Captain of the Lord’s host communicated only with Joshua; He did not reveal Himself to all the congregation, and it rested with them to believe or doubt the words of Joshua, to obey the commands given by him in the name of the Lord, or to deny his authority. They could not see the host of angels who attended them under the leadership of the Son of God. They might have reasoned: ‘What unmeaning movements are these, and how ridiculous the performance of marching daily around the walls of the city, blowing trumpets of rams’ horns. This can have no effect upon those towering fortifications.’ But the very plan of continuing this ceremony through so long a time prior to the final overthrow of the walls afforded opportunity for the development of faith among the Israelites. It was to be impressed upon their minds that their strength was not in the wisdom of man, nor in his might, but only in the God of their salvation. They were thus to become accustomed to relying wholly upon their divine Leader.

“God will do great things for those who trust in Him. The reason why His professed people have no greater strength is that they trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and faithfully obey Him.” Ibid., 493 (author’s italics).


  • In what sense was this battle such an utter demonstration of faith? Hebrews 11:30. What are we to learn from it?

Note: “As a people we lack faith. In these days few would follow the directions given through God’s chosen servant as obediently as did the armies of Israel at the taking of Jericho. …

“Would those who today profess to be God’s people conduct themselves thus under similar circumstances? Doubtless many would wish to follow out their own plans and would suggest other ways and means of accomplishing the desired end. They would be loath to submit to so simple an arrangement and one that reflected upon themselves no glory save the merit of obedience. They would also question the possibility of a mighty city being conquered in that manner. But the law of duty is supreme. It should hold sway over human reason. Faith is the living power that presses through every barrier, overrides all obstacles, and plants its banner in the heart of the enemy’s camp.

“God will do marvelous things for those who trust in Him. It is because His professed people trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf, that they have no more strength. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and implicitly obey Him. …

“Let the people give up self and the desire to work after their own plans, let them humbly submit to the divine will, and God will revive their strength and bring freedom and victory to His children.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 162–164.

  • What specific directions were given for the procedure once the city was entered? Joshua 6:18–21, 24, 26. What parallel is soon to occur in the time of the end? Revelation 18:1, 2, 7–18, 23.

Note: “God was very particular in regard to Jericho, lest the people should be charmed with the things that the inhabitants had worshiped and their hearts be diverted from God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 264.

“The city itself was burned; its palaces and temples, its magnificent dwellings with all their luxurious appointments, the rich draperies and the costly garments, were given to the flames.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 492.


  • How was Rahab cared for? Joshua 6:22, 23, 25.

Note: “All the inhabitants of the city, with every living thing that it contained, ‘both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass’ [Joshua 6:21], were put to the sword. Only faithful Rahab, with her household, was spared, in fulfillment of the promise of the spies.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 491.

  • What are we to learn from the history of Rahab? Hebrews 11:31; James 2:24, 25.
  • Rahab can be viewed as a symbol of souls who come from wicked circumstances, yet choose to depart from evil to follow the pathway to Heaven. In the Judgment, how does God take into account all the factors of our life? Psalm 87:4–6; Luke 12:48.

Note: “No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan’s influence those who have been deluded by his deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free.” Prophets and Kings, 369, 370.


1 Why did God reward the faith of Rahab?

2 How can I better cooperate with the plans of a God whose angels topple obstacles?

3 What distinguishes the conquest of Jericho among the battles of Israelite history?

4 What things in my life may be in need of destruction, just as the idols of Jericho?

5 In my sphere of influence, how can I best serve those who may be sincere Rahabs?

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

Bible Study Guides – Moses

October 30, 2011 – November 5, 2011

Faith of Our Fathers

Key Text

“I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses.” Micah 6:4.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 469–480; Testimonies, vol. 1, 290–302; vol. 4, 20–27.


“Moses was selected to be the shepherd of God’s own people, and it was through his firm faith and abiding trust in the Lord that so many blessings reached the children of Israel.” Special Testimonies on Education, 117.


  • Through God’s providence, Joseph was able to supply the Hebrews with a goodly heritage in the land of Goshen. But what happened after his death? Acts 7:15–19.

Note: “They [the descendants of Jacob] had kept themselves a distinct race, having nothing in common with the Egyptians in customs or religion; and their increasing numbers now excited the fears of the king and his people. …

“The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites with hard labor, and thus decrease their numbers and crush out their independent spirit. Failing to accomplish their purpose, they proceeded to more cruel measures. Orders were issued … to destroy the Hebrew male children. … The whole nation was called upon to hunt out and slaughter his helpless victims.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 242.

  • By a miracle of God, Jochebed was able to keep her infant son, Moses, throughout his early childhood before he would have to be given over, to be reared by the daughter of Pharaoh. How did she utilize this precious time? Hebrews 11:23; Proverbs 6:22.

Note: “She [Jochebed] endeavored to imbue his [Moses’] mind with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed that he might be preserved from every corrupting influence.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 243, 244.


  • How did Moses develop in Egypt? Acts 7:21, 22. With all the splendor of the world’s greatest nation at his future command, what did he decide? Hebrews 11:24–27.
  • How and why was God to train Moses, and what were the results? Acts 7:23–35.

Note: “In the wilds of Midian, Moses spent forty years as a keeper of sheep. Apparently cut off forever from his life’s mission, he was receiving the discipline essential for its fulfillment. Wisdom to govern an ignorant and undisciplined multitude must be gained through self-mastery. In the care of the sheep and the tender lambs he must obtain the experience that would make him a faithful, long-suffering shepherd to Israel. That he might become a representative of God, he must learn of Him.

“The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt, the affection of his foster mother, his own position as the grandson of the king, the luxury and vice that allured in ten thousand forms, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, had made an impression on his mind and character. In the stern simplicity of the wilderness all this disappeared.

“Amidst the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes Moses was alone with God. Everywhere the Creator’s name was written. Moses seemed to stand in His presence and to be overshadowed by His power. Here his self-sufficiency was swept away. In the presence of the Infinite One he realized how weak, how inefficient, how short-sighted, is man. …

“To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him.

“The great work assigned him he desired to make in the highest degree successful, and he placed his whole dependence upon divine power. He felt his need of help, asked for it, by faith grasped it, and in the assurance of sustaining strength went forward.

“Such was the experience that Moses gained by his forty years of training in the desert. To impart such an experience, Infinite Wisdom counted not the period too long or the price too great.” Education, 62–64.


  • How was Moses able to establish before the people the authority entrusted to him by God, and how did Satan counterfeit it? Exodus 7:8–12; 8:16–18. What must we understand about the parallel to this phenomenon in the last days?

Note: “I [Ellen White] was pointed back to the time of Moses and saw the signs and wonders which God wrought through him before Pharaoh, most of which were imitated by the magicians of Egypt; and that just before the final deliverance of the saints, God would work powerfully for His people, and these modern magicians would be permitted to imitate the work of God.

“That time will soon come, and we shall have to keep hold of the strong arm of Jehovah; for all these great signs and mighty wonders of the devil are designed to deceive God’s people and overthrow them. Our minds must be stayed upon God, and we must not fear the fear of the wicked, that is, fear what they fear, and reverence what they reverence, but be bold and valiant for the truth. Could our eyes be opened, we should see forms of evil angels around us, trying to invent some new way to annoy and destroy us. And we should also see angels of God guarding us from their power; for God’s watchful eye is ever over Israel for good, and He will protect and save His people, if they put their trust in Him. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Early Writings, 59, 60.

  • What miracles further accompanied the exodus, and how did the Lord endorse the leadership of Moses at this amazing time? Acts 7:36, 37; Psalms 103:6, 7; 105:26–42.

Note: “The Lord brought up His people from their long servitude in a signal manner, giving the Egyptians an opportunity to exhibit the feeble wisdom of their mighty men, and array the power of their gods in opposition to the God of heaven. The Lord showed them by His servant Moses that the Maker of the heavens and the earth is the living and all-powerful God, above all gods. That His strength was mightier than the strongest—that Omnipotence could bring forth his people with a high hand and with an outstretched arm. The signs and miracles performed in the presence of Pharaoh were not given for his benefit alone, but for the advantage of God’s people.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 204, 205.


  • Why should we deeply appreciate some of the important illustrations cherished by the faithful ones participating in the exodus? I Corinthians 10:1–4; Hebrews 11:28.

Note: “Here [the Passover sprinkling of blood] was a work required of the children of Israel, which they must perform on their part, to prove them and to show their faith by their works in the great deliverance God had been bringing about for them. In order to escape the great judgment of God which he was to bring upon the Egyptians, the token of blood must be seen upon their houses. And they were required to separate themselves and their children from the Egyptians, and gather them into their own houses, for if any of the Israelites were found in the houses of the Egyptians, they would fall by the hand of the destroying angel. …

“The Passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 223–225.

  • How can the miracle at the Red Sea apply to us? Hebrews 11:29; Exodus 14:10–16.

Note: “There are times when the Christian life seems beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly above all discouragements: ‘Go forward.’ We should obey this command, let the result be what it may, even though our eyes cannot penetrate the darkness and though we feel the cold waves about our feet.

“The Hebrews were weary and terrified; yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, if they had refused to move nearer to the Red Sea, God would never have opened the path for them. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they had faith in the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that it was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel performed His part, and divided the waters to make a path for their feet.

“The clouds that gather about our way will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. … It is only through faith that we can reach heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 26, 27.


  • What should we learn from the real purpose for which God so graciously led and protected His heritage through that wilderness journey? Psalm 105:43–45.

Note: “There is great similarity between our history and that of the children of Israel. God led His people from Egypt into the wilderness, where they could keep His law and obey His voice. The Egyptians, who had no regard for the Lord, were encamped close by them; yet what was to the Israelites a great flood of light, illuminating the whole camp, and shedding brightness upon the path before them, was to the hosts of Pharaoh a wall of clouds, making blacker the darkness of night.

“So, at this time, there is a people whom God has made the depositaries of His law. To those who obey them, the commandments of God are as a pillar of fire, lighting and leading the way to eternal salvation. But unto those who disregard them, they are as the clouds of night.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 27.

  • How is our experience to reflect the experience of Moses? Micah 6:3, 4; Revelation 15:2, 3.


1 In guiding the young, what can I learn from the focus of Jochebed, Moses’ mother?

2 How might God be leading me to learn what Moses did during his period of solitude in the desert?

3 How can I cultivate the discernment to distinguish between true and false miracles?

4 In what areas of my life may God be saying right now, “Go forward by faith”?

5 Why do the 144,000 sing the song of Moses and the Lamb?

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

Recipe – Almond Brown Rice Stuffing

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 Tbpn margarine

1/2 tsp. chicken style seasoning

1 medium tart red apple, cored and diced

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups cooked brown rice

Cook almonds in margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add apple, onion, celery, chicken style seasoning, and thyme; continue to cook until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in rice; cook until thoroughly heated. Bake in tightly covered baking dish at 350 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Food – Rice is Life

Remember when rice choices in most stores were pretty slim—brown or white, short grain or long? Today, bags of Arborio and boxes of basmati are offered alongside these basics, and jasmine rice is no longer relegated to Chinese take-out.

A grain belonging to the grass family, rice is life for billions of people. It is related to other grass plants such as wheat, oats and barley that produce grain for food and are known as cereals. Throughout history rice has been one of man’s most important foods. As a cereal grain, it is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of the societies for more than half of the world’s population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is the most rapidly growing source of food in Africa, and is of significant importance to food security in an increasing number of low-income food-deficit countries.

Tolerant to desert, hot, humid, flooded, dry and cool conditions, rice will grow in saline, alkaline and acidic soils. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after maize (corn). About four-fifths of the world’s rice is produced by small-scale farmers and is consumed locally. Rice cultivation is the principal activity and source of income for about 100 million households in Asia and Africa.

Rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide. A great source of complex carbohydrates, rice is healthful for what it does not contain. Rice has no fat, no cholesterol, and is gluten and sodium free. A good source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, niacin, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, and fiber, rice also contains resistant starch, which is the starch that reaches the bowel undigested. This encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, keeping the bowel healthy. It is also a fair source of protein, containing eight essential amino acids. Rice contains no additives or preservatives, making it an excellent inclusion in a healthy and balanced diet.

The increased selection of rice opens up a world of recipe possibilities. With the right rice, you don’t need a mile-long ingredients list to make dishes with international flair. Following is a quick guide to some of the choices you’ll find on boxes and bags of rice:

Arborio – This Italian short-grain rice is used for risotto because its high starch content makes it creamy and thick when cooked.

Basmati – Fragrant, fluffy, and light, this rice, grown in the Himalayan foothills, is standard in Indian recipes and pilafs.

Brown – Unlike white rice that is “polished” to remove the bran coating, nutty-flavored brown rice is a whole grain that’s high in fiber.

Jasmine – This long-grain Thai variety rice has a light, slightly floral flavor and aroma.

Sushi – This sweet, sticky short-grain rice is also great in desserts and risottos.

Beginning your meal with rice opens your plate up to better eating. That’s because rice attracts colorful vegetables, savory spices, and leaner protein entrees. Rice also leads to eating a wide variety of ethnic cuisines and, since everyone loves it, more family time at the dinner table.


Almond Brown Rice Stuffing

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 Tbpn margarine

1/2 tsp. chicken style seasoning

1 medium tart red apple, cored and diced

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups cooked brown rice

Cook almonds in margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add apple, onion, celery, chicken style seasoning, and thyme; continue to cook until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in rice; cook until thoroughly heated. Bake in tightly covered baking dish at 350 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Children’s Story – God and the Spider

God can use anything He chooses to help us in times of need because He knows just what our needs are. We may wonder how a little spider can help, but with trust in God, that little spider can be a big help.

During World War 1, a United States marine was separated from his unit. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades and could not see them anywhere.

Alone in the hills, he heard some enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for a place to hide, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of those caves. He was safe for the moment, but shortly he realized that once the enemy soldiers who were looking for him climbed up the ridge, they would quickly search all of the caves, and they would be sure to find him.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be Your will, please protect me. I accept whatever is Your will though, because I love You and trust You. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly, listening to the enemy beginning to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy soldiers who were searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.

“Ha,” he laughed to himself. “What I need is a brick wall, and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer, he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. “Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in You a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is very easy to forget the victories that God willingly works in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways. As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, “The God of heaven will give us success!” (Nehemiah 2:20 NIV.)

Remember, whatever is happening in your life, with God, a mere spider’s web can become a brick wall of protection. Believe He is always with you. Just speak His name through Jesus His Son, and you will see His great power and love in your life.

In I Samuel 24 is recorded a story about David, who also hid himself in a cave so King Saul would not find him. God is able to protect us in ways that we know not—so trust in Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6.

Pen of Inspiration – The Love of God, A Constraining Motive

There always have been, and always will be to the end of time, two classes on the earth—the believers in Jesus and those who reject Him. The truth will be a savour of life unto life to those who believe. However wicked, abominable, and corrupt he may be, the sinner will be purified by faith in Him, made clean by the doing of His word. But the same truth will be to the unbeliever a savour of death unto death.

Argument will fail to convince the sinner of his responsibility to God. Learning and talent will fail to convince the soul. But the presentation of the love of God has a convincing power above that of argument, debate, or eloquence. The love of Christ, as expressed in self-denial, self-sacrifice, and death, as He bowed low under the sins of humanity, touches the sympathies and melts the stubborn heart. The fact that the Son of God, innocent and pure, suffered for sin; that the guiltless bore the punishment of the guilty, the just endured the penalty for the unjust, breaks the heart; and as Jesus is lifted up, conviction strikes to the soul, and the love that prompted the bestowal of the infinite gift of Christ, constrains the repenting one to surrender all to God. The seed of gospel truth has been dropped into his heart; and he beholds a love that is without a parallel, pledging a personal Saviour, and with Him every needed blessing. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” [Romans 8:32]?

Those who receive Christ are melted and subdued by the manifestation of His love in His humiliation, suffering, and death in their behalf. They behold Him as their substitute and surety, as pledging Himself to accomplish their full salvation through a plan that is consistent with the justice of God, and which vindicates the honour of His law. But there are some who are stirred with strong emotion as they view the humiliation of Jesus, who shrink from following in His footsteps when they understand that they must be sharers in His humiliation and suffering. When Jesus asks the surrender of self without reserve, when He asks compliance with His government, and that they shall walk in humble obedience and implicit trust, their nature rebels. “No,” says the proud heart; “we want to keep our independence.” But this is the very thing that Jesus wants you to have. It was that you might be freed from the slavery of sin that He died on Calvary’s cross. He died that through faith in Him, you might be free indeed, and stand fast in the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Contemplate the sufferings of your Redeemer, and you will find that a check will be put upon sin. Every sin that is committed is a re-enacting of Christ’s humiliation, a re-opening of His wounds. Those who refuse to look upon Jesus lifted up upon the cross, who will not deny the inclination of their perverse hearts, who will not give up what they term their independence, their freedom to serve the author of sin as they please, will find their hearts filled with bitterness against those who accept Jesus as a personal Saviour. To them Christians will seem their enemies and injurers, and the gospel a sword.

Paul writes, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” [Galatians 6:14]. There is a mutual suffering here presented on the part of the Christian and the world. The world sees no charm in Jesus, and the Christian sees in Him matchless charms, and expresses his love, saying, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” [1 Samuel 22:36]. Christians realize the blessing that comes upon those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they are filled. The blessing comes upon those who desire entire conformity to the will of God, who desire to know Christ and to reflect His image. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, they realize that nothing is reserved in the heart of God for them but the fountain of the water of life—tender mercy, loving-kindness, infinite compassion. Jesus changes place with the sinner who believes, and the Father loves the followers of Christ, even as He loves His Son. He who receives the truth, has his heart filled with peace and joy as he contemplates Jesus.

But how different is the case of him who refuses to receive the salvation purchased at infinite cost. He refuses to look upon the humiliation and love of Jesus. He plainly says, “I will not have this man to reign over me.” To all who take this attitude, Jesus says, “I came not to send peace, but a sword” [Matthew 10:34]. Families must be divided, in order that all who call upon the name of the Lord may be saved. All who refuse His infinite love, will find Christianity a sword, a disturber of their peace. The light of Christ will cut away the darkness that covers their evil doings; and their corruption, their fraud, their cruelty will be exposed. Christianity unmasks the hypocrisies of Satan, and it is this unmasking of his designs that stirs his bitter hatred against Christ and His followers.

Satan has woven his spell even over the professed church of Christ, and many who claim to believe in Christ seem to be in the stupor of death. But the Lord has not left them to slumber on; He has sent them a message to arouse them from their carnal security. A part of these professors arouse and repent, and do their first works; but those who take comfort in their legal religion, in their form of godliness that is devoid of the power, feel that they have been personally rebuked and injured by the repentance of those who have aroused and returned unto the Lord. Instead of humbling their hearts and confessing their backsliding, they resist and oppose the message the Lord has sent. They oppose their finite wisdom against the wisdom of the Infinite. They allow their prejudices and passions to hold sway; they work on Satan’s side of the question. Thus the advocates of truth are brought into an unexpected conflict, and they are forced to bear witness to the truth, and to resist the hostility and hatred of those who would make the truth of God of none effect. Thus dissension comes in like a sword to divide believers and unbelievers.

The Bible Echo, March 26, 1894.

Customs of Bible Times – Daily Program of Activities

Grinding of the Grain by the Women

The first sound to greet the ear in the early morning in many a Palestinian village will be the sound of the grinding of the grain. Today, as in the long ago, many of these people resort to the handmill for this purpose. A traveler passing by these humble homes will hear the hum of the handmill morning or evening and sometimes after dark. This sound of the grinding is not exactly musical, and yet many love to go to sleep under it. In the mind of those who live in the East, this sound is associated with home, and comfort and plenty. The women are the ones who engage in this task, and they begin it early in the morning, and it often requires half a day to complete. (Anis C. Haddad, Palestine Speaks, The Warner Press, 1937, p. 54, 55.)

When Jeremiah foretold judgment upon Israel for her sins, he said, concerning what God would take from her, “I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, and the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle” (Jeremiah 25:10). From this it can be seen that the sound of these handmills is an indication of life and activity, and the absence of them would be a sign of utter desolation.

The Bible references to the grinding mills are true to Eastern customs. The task is for servants if the family has them, and if not, the women do the job, but the men would consider it beneath them to engage in such a menial task. Part of the judgment upon Israel at the destruction of Jerusalem was that the enemy “took the young men to grind” (Lamentations 5:13).

And the Philistines punished Samson in this way, for it says of him, “and he did grind in the prison house” (Judges 16:21).

Although there are simple handmills made for the use of one person, more often two women operate one together. The mill is composed of two stones eighteen to twenty-four inches in diameter. The two women sit at these stones facing each other. The upper stone turns upon the lower one by means of an upright handle, which the women alternately pull and push. Here is how the process works:

The upper stone rotates about a wooden pivot fixed in the center of the lower. The opening in the upper stone for the pivot is funnel-shaped to receive the corn, which each woman throws in as required with her disengaged hand. The flour issuing from between the stones is usually caught on a sheepskin placed under the mill. Ibid., 56.

Job speaks of a heart being as “hard as a piece of the nether millstone” (Job 41:24). Thomson says that the lower millstone is not always harder than the upper, but he had seen the nether made of a very compact and thick sandstone, while the upper was of lava, no doubt because being lighter it would be easier to drive it around with the hand. (W.M. Thomson, The Land and the Book, Hyperion Books, December 1985, vol. 1, p. 108.)

Weaving Cloth and Making Clothes

The Jewish women were responsible for making the clothing for the family. The wool which was used came from their flocks. It had to be spun into yarn without the use of modern spinning wheels. … The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, being experts in weaving, had large looms, but for the most part the common people of Palestine used a very primitive loom and the weaving process was of necessity a slow and tedious one. Of course, there were no sewing machines or steel needles. Their needles were coarse ones made of bronze or sometimes of splinters of bone that had been sharpened at one end, and with a hole through the other end. … (Harold B. Hunting, Hebrew Life and Times, Nabu Press, August 2, 2010, p. 17–19.)

When the scripture says, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff” (Proverbs 31:19), it is the same way as saying, “She is never idle” or, as the Syrians would say, “Her spindle is never out of her hands.” (Abraham M. Rihbany, The Syrian Christ, Cornell University Library, July 8, 2009, p. 360, 361.)

Washing Clothes

The Arab women, in washing their clothes today, usually go to nearby sources of water such as streams, pools, or watering troughs. They will dip their clothes in and out of the water, and then, placing them upon flat stones which abound in Palestine, they will beat them with a club, which is about a foot and a half long. They carry the water in goatskins and have a vessel for rinsing purposes. (Information received during personal interview with Mr. G. Eric Matson, photographer, and long time resident of Palestine.)

That this sort of process was used in the time of David, is indicated by the prayer of his penitential psalm: “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity” (Psalm 51:2). His picture here comes from the process of washing clothes.

“The word employed is significant, in that it probably means washing by kneading or beating, not by simple rinsing. The psalmist is ready to submit to any painful discipline, if only he may be cleansed. “Wash me, beat me, tread me down, hammer me with mallets, dash me against the stones, do anything with me, if only these foul stains are melted from the texture of my soul.” Alexander Maclaren [Hebrew and Greek scholar in the late 1800s], The Psalms (The Expositor’s Bible), vol. 11, (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1892, p. 130.)

Going of the Women for Water

Carrying a pitcher of water was all but universally done by women. It must have been a picturesque sight to see them going and coming with the pitcher poised gracefully upon the head or shoulder. When Jesus instructed two of his disciples, “Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him” (Mark 14:13), that would be an easy way of identifying the person, for it is exceedingly uncommon to see a man carrying a pitcher of water, which is a woman’s task.

When larger supplies of water are needed, men use large skins of sheep or goats for carrying the supply. The pitchers are reserved for the use of the women. (A. Goodrich-Freer, Things Seen in Palestine, General Books LLC, January 1, 2010, p. 72.)

Excerpts from Fred H. Wight, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, The Moody Institute of Chicago, 1953, p. 81–90.

Jesus and the Sickle

Revelation 14:14 describes a scene of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” It is very clear that this text is talking about the coming of Christ, as many times the Bible describes His coming in clouds accompanied by all of His angels. He will come as King of kings with glory and power wearing a golden crown upon His head. Interestingly, He will come not only as a King, but also with a sharp sickle in His hand. A sickle is a tool of farmers, so why will Jesus come as a King of kings, and at the same time come as a farmer?

The season in which the farmer uses his sickle is at the time of harvest. Jesus Christ is coming back with a sickle in His hand because the second coming of Christ is the time of harvest. The harvest is the children of God, those who reflect His image. “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Verse 15. A similar picture is seen in Mark 4:29: “But when the fruit is brought forth [ripe], immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” These verses give us an idea that Jesus is coming back as soon as the earth is “ripe.”

With this in mind, who is waiting for whom? Is the farmer waiting for the fruits, or are the fruits waiting for the farmer? Are we waiting for Christ, or is Christ waiting for us? Christ is waiting for us to be ripe, although we can also say that we are waiting for Christ as well.

Virginia and South Carolina are two of the fruit growing states in the United States. If you were to go to an apple orchard around the end of September, you would see acres of apple trees all laden with an abundance of fruit, some red, some green, and some yellow. Even before the fruit is ripe, it looks as if it would be juicy and sweet and ready to eat. You may be hungry and reach out to pluck that apple when it is not ripe, but it will hang on tight to the branch, and you will have to pull at it, having a war with the branch, twisting and pulling it hard before you can pluck it and then bite into it. Only then do you realize it is not ripe; it does not taste good because it is very sour and if you eat it you may get a stomachache.

However, if you go to that same orchard around the beautiful time of autumn the fruit will be ripe. At the first bite the delicious sweet juice will run down your chin because it is ready with a sweet taste; it is ripe. Jesus Christ is coming back, not for sour people, but for sweet people. He is coming back, not to fight with the world over you, not to twist you, not to turn you, or pull you. All that Jesus needs to do when He returns the second time is just touch you, and you will be ready. Those are the kinds of people that Christ is waiting for—sweet people of God.

How then do we get ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

It is very simple! We must become ripe and sweet fruit. This can be confirmed one more time from the Bible to make it clear. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman [farmer] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” James 5:7.

There you have it. Christ is waiting for His people to become ripe fruit. But to become a ripe fruit, you have to receive the early and the latter rain. Before even considering the early and latter rain, a seed must be planted into the ground. Planting yourself into the ground is the beginning or the start of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. That tree is dependent upon how the seed grows in its first three years.

Once the seed is planted, it must die. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24. According to the Bible, to bring forth much fruit the seed must first go into the ground and die. Without the death of the seed, there is no life in that plant and hence no fruit.

The only way to be ready for the coming of Christ, to be harvested by the sickle of Jesus and be taken away by the heavenly Farmer, is to first die. As soon as a baby is born into this world, it begins to die. In this world, you are born to die.

However, in the Christian world, you die to live. The worldly philosophy is to ask what life is all about. Let us eat; let us drink; let us party and have a good time. If it feels good, do it; if it tastes good, eat it! If you want to get it, get it now and have a good time, because tomorrow you will die. But the Christian’s philosophy is totally opposite. It says, let us die with Jesus today that we may live with Him tomorrow.

A strong Biblical concept is that those who want to have life must experience death with Christ in baptism. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:3. Here we see that baptism represents death with Christ. So, baptism represents death to the old life and the beginning of the new.

The Bible says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Verse 4.

The three most important ceremonies that you will celebrate in this life are your birthday, wedding, and funeral. All three of these events happen on the day you are baptized: birthday, marriage to Christ, and the most important aspect, the funeral to the old self. What kind of person is buried in the ground? A dead person! If a live person was buried it would be considered murder, so only those who are dead—dead to self—should be baptized. There are many people being baptized who can say, “I know the doctrines; I don’t eat pork; I don’t drink alcohol; I will keep God’s holy day, and I will pay my tithe; I know about the second coming, and I know about the law of God.” Yet they are still full of selfishness, impatience, jealousy and evil surmising; are still envious, revengeful, backbiting, gossiping and greedy, having all these things in their hearts.

To have doctrinal understanding only and be baptized is to be buried alive. When people are baptized alive, not understanding the meaning of dying to self by surrendering himself or herself to God, it brings trouble into the midst of Christian fellowship. Understanding the true meaning of baptism is essential to the new candidate, to prevent him/her from making such a solemn vow. Baptism is clear—dying with Jesus and living with Christ. “For if we have been planted [in the ground] together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, [you had better know this!] that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Verses 5, 6.

So what needs to die?

The old man! Whether you like it or not, all have an old man that must be slain day by day. You see, baptism is the occasion that you commit yourself to die to self, the day that you allow Christ to crucify the old man. But after baptism it does not feel as if the old man is completely dead. That is the reason why Paul says, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. That old man wants to live again and again and again. But, by the power of God you can keep him dead day by day. That is the power of the message of salvation for mankind.

But let us go a little deeper than this. What kind of man is the old man? The Bible says when the old man is dead, then you should not serve sin. So if the old man is alive, that means we are still serving sin. Consider this: If I am serving you, that would mean that I am your slave or servant and you are my master. So I have a master named old man. That master named old man is to die in order for me, as a servant of this master, to be free. When the master is dead, I am free. The Bible says, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Verse 7.

Is it possible to be free from sin?

The Bible answers this and reveals the secret how to be free from sin—to be dead. This means surrender, to be completely surrendered to God. He that is dead to the old man, it is he who is free from sin.

When first learning how to type, it seems so awkward and difficult to hit the right key, but with practice, doing it over and over again, you find that it is no longer necessary to look at the keys because it just happens automatically. Repetition forms habits. And when a habit is formed, it is acted upon without any thought. Habits can be good or dangerous. So what kind of old man is this? It is an old man that causes you to commit sin automatically, and the sins committed are habitual sins to which you are enslaved.

As a young person I had a bad habit of stealing. At first I found it very difficult. My heart pumped with fear as I looked at the storeowner and looked around making sure no one was watching as I grabbed the candy and put it in my pocket. My whole body shook, and I was sweating as I slowly walked out of the door when the owner was not watching. I took off and then stopped, looking around to make sure that no one was watching, before I ate my candy with fear and trembling. Each time after that it became easier and easier, until after years walking into a store, stealing became automatic without any nervousness. Sin becomes automatic, and you become a slave to it until it is impossible to give it up.

Some have habits of smoking or drinking alcohol, and others have a bad temper that they claim to have inherited from their family and it seems impossible to change. There are young people who are addicted to drugs, cocaine, crystal meth, marijuana, sex and alcohol, and some husbands are so addicted to anger that they beat up their wives. Children are addicted to video games that consume their every thought, playing games for hours each day. Some mothers are addicted to shopping, and that is all they can think about doing—shop, shop, shop, ’til they drop! All of these habits consume a person and take so much time and energy that those who are trapped often think they are too far in sin for God to change them, so they try to kill that old man themselves by making resolutions to quit their habit. They muster all of their strength, and with great effort tear that cigarette apart, flush it down a toilet, and then say, “Ok, from this day I’m not going to smoke!”

The first week is often fine and even the second week goes well, but on the third week the boss may speak as though they might get fired. The fourth week their child starts being a bother. Then on the fifth week the wife starts nagging because there is no money coming in. Nervousness sets in and then worry. Then starts the search for something to give some comfort. The old habit kicks in—just one time, one more! After all, isn’t there a reason? I am stressed out. I am full of anxieties; let me relax; just one more! And they do it. Next day they do it again, and then, in half a week they are back to where they were before, but even worse.

Because they tried to kill their old man with human strength, it did not happen. There are many ways to kill a person. You can shoot him, strangle him, hang him, poison him, cut him, beat him or drown him, but there is only one way to kill the old man. That old man must be brought to Jesus at the foot of the cross and see Him dying there; see Jesus bleeding for his/her sins; see Jesus suffering for his/her transgressions. See Jesus agonizing before God, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.

That old man must be brought to the cross, not in your own effort alone. The only effort you can put forth is to drag that old man to the cross and fall at the feet of Jesus helplessly. Tell Him all about the pains in your life and the guilt that you face. Tell Him about the bondage that you are in. Tell Him you are sick of falling again, and again, into the same old sins, that you are tired of it. Jesus will cleanse you with the power of the love of God if you will allow Him, He will crucify that old man.

Christ has the power. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. Ephesians 4:22.

When the Bible says, “put off,” it gives the idea of putting off a garment. It goes on to say, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Verse 23. Putting off the old man means the transformation of the heart and mind. The Bible says, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Verse 24. Praise God! Through Christ you can put off the old man and put on the new man. But the question is, How do we put off the old man?

“Crucify him.” Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

When we pray as Paul prayed, we receive power to live a new life with Christ dwelling in our hearts. That old man must die. What is the condition of a dead person? “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they anymore a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

According to this Scripture, a dead person cannot talk, cannot love, and cannot hate. So when your old man is dead, he cannot hate; he cannot love, and he does not know anything.

We as human beings, living in this world, see, hear, smell, and feel temptations. Many times Satan is so clever that when he tempts, he tempts you in such a way that he causes you to think you have already committed sin while you are only being tempted. He turns your feelings, emotions and thoughts in such a way that he causes you to think you already committed the sin. The devil manipulates and plays with your mind. Temptation is not sin, but when yielding to that temptation, then it is sin. So, between the temptation and yielding, the Christian has the power to say, “Stop! Before I yield to this. I claim that I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; but Christ liveth in me.” If Christ is living in you, you will respond just the way that Christ would respond to the temptation.

Christ was tempted in all points as we are, but without sin (See Hebrews 4:15). Christ must live within your heart and you must surrender to Him moment by moment to receive His power. But how is that possible when we see, feel, hear and even smell temptation? While living by feelings, it is impossible; you must live by faith. Faith and feelings are as different as east and west—totally different. Some people depend upon feelings to determine the strength of their faith. When feeling good, they have strong faith, but if they feel bad, they are low in spirituality. Feelings may fluctuate, but faith remains steady without listening to feelings, relying on the word of God. The power that is available can only be received by making the right choice.

Though temptations come, respond by faith in the love of Christ, which is the power and secret of the Christian life. When a body is buried, it is put six feet under the ground, and so should the old man be buried, six feet under, but why not make it seven feet under—a perfect burial, and then put a little mountain on top of it so that the old man will not come back up again.

If only a part of the old man is buried, then a foot or hand may come back out and grab something that he likes. That old man wants to live, but by faith you must tell Jesus, “Lord, keep my old man dead, every day, and by faith I live by You and not by him.”

If you have this kind of commitment with the Lord, you will have a victorious Christian experience. The old man has wounded some of you and some others make mistakes here and there, but Jesus is saying, “My child, come to Me. My son, come to me. Let Me explain to you how you can overcome your own self. Let’s walk together again. Die with Me so you can live with Me and walk with Me.”

Do you know how to live the life of humility and obedience? “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.” I John 3:6. To dwell on the sin, saying, I cannot commit sin, I better not commit sin, keeps the focus always on the sin, but this misses the crucial point. In order to have strength to overcome sin, the first effort must be to abide with Christ, day by day learning to abide in Him: “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20.

Why then are there so many fights in the church?

Church members are so often not talking to each other, or competing with each other, or jostling over who will be the next head elder and fighting for position or power. They say, “Who’s paying the most money into church?” “Who has the best education?” Why is it that so often in the board meeting there is dissention, which ends up in fighting? The root of the problem is that we have not learned to die to self, daily. If the church members are dead to self and Christ is living in them, automatically and naturally there will be complete unity and power.

God arranged that there would be order. He planned it, and we must follow His example and follow His steps. Are you fighting for a position or power? How often we see the bigger brother pull rank on the younger brother, pushing the responsibilities his way. When young men show their muscle and their magnificence comparing themselves one against another, self is not dead. When girls gather together and compare who is the thinnest, who is the most beautiful, who has the best-looking boy friend, self is not dead. And then when watching television with every soap opera saturated with adultery, fornication, and self-exaltation by beholding, we become changed. Self is not dead. When young people play computer games of destruction, bloodshed and blowing things up, self is not dead. Do you understand?

Satan is in this world, and he is doing all he can to deceive the people. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he caused the people watching to say, “If you are the Son of God, come down and save Yourself and we will believe You.” Matthew 27:40. But Christ said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. They beat Him, whipped Him, spat upon Him, dragged Him, mocked Him, reviled Him, and nailed Him on the cross, but Jesus, ever so softly and tenderly looked down and said, “My child, I love you. I cannot come down because I want to save you.”

Oh, my brothers and sisters, look to Jesus. Look to Christ. If you do, your old man will become nothing. The only thing you will see is Jesus Christ Who is all in all. Jesus says, “Let us go; let us live together.”

Judy Hallingstad is part of the LandMarks team. She may be contacted by email at: