Trust in the Lord

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 37:1–11

In these eleven verses we have set before us something to do and something not to do, noting first what we’re told not to do. Verse 1 reads, “Fret not thyself.” You will find this repeated in the seventh and eighth verses. Apparently, it is one of the great themes in this scripture. Don’t get anxious; don’t get worried; don’t murmur and complain; don’t be bothered about anything. Somebody says, Well, that’s very well for David to write down there, but David didn’t live in our time. That is true, but the Holy Spirit does and He’s the One who inspired this.

Take a look at the other side of the coin and see what we are to do if we are not to fret. We are to trust. Consider the wonderful message of this same Psalm as it relates to trust. Note that trust is not a substitute for work. You’ll find that in the 3rd verse. “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” Trust in the Lord, and do something. Faith is not a substitute for action, rather it inspires action. As someone has said, Faith is so good it works.

Another sidelight occurs in the latter part of the third verse, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” Dwell means to live, to stay, to inhabit; in other words, the way to meet problems is not to run away because they fret us. Settle down and meet the problem by trusting God and by doing good. And what is the result? “Verily thou shalt be fed,” satisfied, physically and spiritually. Another translation says, “And enjoy security.” Philippians 4:19 echoes that wonderful promise: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Now notice Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” That is also translated, “He shall give thee the petitions of thy heart.” In other words, He will give you what you ask for. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). Trust, then, is not a substitute for prayer, just as it is not a substitute for work. Rather it inspires prayer as it inspires work. The more we trust God the more our petitions will be sent to Him.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” What a wonderful combination of trust and prayer. What a difference it makes to God and to us if our prayers are banging on the door as if God had to be waked up and we were trying to change His mind and get Him interested, or whether we come as children to a loving father or mother, saying, I know you’re interested and here is the thing that’s on my heart. Trust and prayer belong together. Notice the wonderful promise, “And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” What an order!

There’s not a craving in the mind

Thou dost not meet and still;

There’s not a wish the heart can have,

Which Thou dost not fulfill.
Frederick William Faber, 1860.

What a God! He is there at the center of the universe, marshalling all the forces of omnipotence to give you what you want, to grant your heart’s desires, not only to fill your needs, your basic requirements, but even to gratify your wishes. What a friend! Oh, to trust Him, to come with confidence knowing that He’s waiting to hear our requests. “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)? He loves to give.

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Notice the marginal reading: “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” The picture is of a burden too heavy for us. Jesus says to let go of it and let it roll on Him. Peter picks up the thought and echoes it in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” That word translated casting has the thought of flinging, throwing the burden down at Jesus’ feet, an active choice of the mind, choosing to let go of the worry, the fretting care and giving it to Jesus. “Cast thy burden on the Lord. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” The trust goes with the committal. As we turn over the burden to Him, we are to believe He accepts it and accepts us, and makes Himself responsible for our success. “Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” As another translation puts it, “Leave all to Him, rely on Him and He will see to it.” Will He do it? Oh, He says He will. He will act without any question.

Now that beautiful seventh verse: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” A part of trusting is resting and waiting. Trust does not do away with the need for waiting. Some people suppose that if a man had faith, enough faith, strong enough faith, that he could get things done in an instant. They’re looking for somebody like that. The devil will have some miracle workers around before long to show us spectacular miraculous things, but they’ll be from hell, not from heaven. The people of God in this last generation are distinguished by patience. Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And patience is developed by waiting.

So, trust is not a substitute for waiting. Trust is not something that makes waiting unnecessary. Trust inspires waiting. It keeps us hopeful during the waiting period, whether it be long or short. In James there is a parallel statement. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth” (James 5:7, first part). Whether it’s apples or pears, grapes or strawberries, the farmer must wait for the harvest. There is no way to put in the plant today and reap the crop tomorrow. “The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (verses 7, last part, 8).

Notice that expression again, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). The margin says on rest, “Be silent to the Lord.” In an earlier verse we learned that we are to pour out our heart’s requests in supplication; we are to make known our desires in petitions but along with it we are to learn to be silent. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the quietness God will speak. Be silent to the Lord and wait patiently for Him. When we are waiting, wondering, it is sometimes a hard time to be still, but trust is exhibited in quietly, patiently, calmly waiting. When we have prayed, when we have worked, there’s a time to wait – quietly, trustfully, before God.

Think of Joseph in Egypt, ten years in Potiphar’s house as a slave, then unjustly accused and thrown into prison. Then his hopes are raised as, having interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, he is promised that he will be remembered in the throne room. Nevertheless, the chief butler forgot him. Can you imagine how Joseph felt, forgotten? But it was all in God’s providence. We usually think that God is always working to help people to remember things, but He also lets some people forget things. And it might be that God could allow somebody to forget something that you want them very much to remember. But after two years, one day that man woke up. The hour had struck. God’s time had come, and Joseph left the dungeon forever to be the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph had learned the lesson of crying to God for help, doing anything and everything he could to work out the plan, and then waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Thank God for these precious lessons. Resign yourself unto the Lord and wait.

Trust, true trust, goes deeper, higher, further than anything we’ve yet looked at. Trust enables us, when we have prayed, when we have worked, when we have waited, to accept a result which is contrary to the thing we thought we wanted. Trust enables us to join with Paul in saying we know that “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). And we love God enough to trust Him and we trust Him knowing that He loves us.

Take this beautiful passage in Steps to Christ, page 122: “Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare. We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to fret the mind and cloud the brow. If we do, we shall always have something to vex and annoy. We should not indulge a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials.

“You may be perplexed in business; your prospects may grow darker and darker, and you may be threatened with loss; but do not become discouraged; cast your care upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Pray for wisdom to manage your affairs with discretion, and thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all you can on your part to bring about favorable results. Jesus has promised His aid, but not apart from our effort. When relying upon our Helper, you have done all you can, accept the result cheerfully.”

That’s true with a crop, it’s true with a business, it’s true in our medical work as we try to help sick people. It’s true with every human circumstance. We are to pray, asking for what we believe is God’s will. We are to work seeking to accomplish what we believe is God’s will. We are to wait whether the time be long or short till the answer comes and if that answer comes as we’ve expected, how joyously we pour out our song of thanksgiving, but if a final answer that comes is no, trust still carries on, trust still says, Lord, I thank Thee.

This was the lesson that Jesus was seeking to teach Martha and Mary as recorded in John 11. You remember that Lazarus fell sick and, knowing of Christ’s love for their brother, they simply sent Him the message, “The one You love is sick” (John 11:3, last part). They thought Jesus would drop everything and come, but He just stayed where He was. Pretty soon Lazarus died and they thought, What does all this mean? They couldn’t figure it out. Had Jesus forsaken them? No. Had He forgotten them? No. He had sent them the message in answer to their message, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God” (verse 4). And how wonderfully it finally worked out.

Friends, we must never, and I stress this, we must never make our faith in God dependent upon the way He answers our prayers. He knows better than we do. He loves us better than we love ourselves. To trust Him does not mean that we get what we want; it means that we learn to submit to His way so that He gets what He wants. Somebody says, but Brother Frazee, you just read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart. Precisely. And Martha and Mary got more than they desired when their brother came back from the grave. It was a far more abundant answer than if Christ had come and simply broken the fever and raised up the sick man. God has a thousand ways of answering our prayers of which we know nothing. Sometimes the explanation of the answer awaits the eternal world. Jesus said to Peter, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

In The Ministry of Healing, 474, we are told: “In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” We love to read about marvelous, spectacular answers to prayer and they are wonderful. The lines in the top right corner express a great truth.

We have never learned really to trust until we’ve mastered the principles set out in Psalm 37. Far on past the answers that are spectacular, far on past those experiences, comes the chapter on trusting God when there seems to be no answer or when the answer is no. This instead of coming from less faith is possible only when there’s more faith.

The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. His eyesight had been left greatly diminished after that meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus and how that scholarly man longed for good eyesight that he might continue his earnest study of the Old Testament scrolls and that he might write out the messages to the churches, but for reasons that God did not see fit fully to explain, Paul was left with poor eyesight. He carried that thorn in the flesh all his life, and he says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). God finally said no to Paul and answered him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly” then he says, “will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, … in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verses 9, 10).

Oh friends, prayer and trust and waiting and even work, all joined together, are not some sort of slot machine where you put in a quarter and wait and here comes the candy bar or the toy. There is more to it than that. We’re not dealing with a computer; we’re dealing with a Creator who is our friend. And He knows better than we do what we need. If He knows and He loves us, why worry our heads about it? Why not just wait until He gives it to us? Trusting Him means that we have faith in what He says and we choose to cooperate with Him and He has said that it is a part of His plan to grant us an answer to the prayer of faith that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.

To trust Jesus means that we pray because He has asked us to pray. We work because He has invited us to be partners with Him. We wait because that is His assignment. And through it all, in it all, and after all, we trust, we believe that He is in charge, that He is seated on the throne and that He is marshalling all the powers of the universe to carry out in our lives that which is best for us. Trust Him then. Trust Him when dark days assail. Trust Him when there seems to be no answer. Trust Him patiently, calmly waiting.

Sometimes when hearts are weak

He gives the very gifts believers seek;

But often faith must learn a deeper rest,

And trust God’s silence when He does not speak;

For He whose name is love

Will send the best to those who seek.


He knows, He loves, He cares;

Nothing this truth can dim.

He gives His very best to those

Who leave the choice to Him.


The Weaver, Source Unknown

Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.

Inspiration – A Friend to the Friendless

“You who are tempted and tried and discouraged, look up. A divine Hand is reached toward you. The hand of the Infinite is stretched over the battlements of heaven to grasp your hand in its embrace. The mighty Helper is nigh to help the most erring, the most sinful and despairing. His great heart of love is yearning with deep and tender compassion over those who are careless and neglectful of their eternal interests.

Individual Care, Love, and Sympathy

“Let us remember that Jesus knows us individually, and He cares for each one as though there were not another soul on the face of the earth. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the wants of each of his creatures, and reads the hidden, unspoken grief of every heart. If one of the little ones for whom He died is injured, He sees it; for He is acquainted with all that is misunderstood and misrepresented by man.

“Christ has weighed every human affliction, every human sorrow. He bears the weight of the yoke for every soul that yokes up with Him. He knows the sorrows which we feel to the depth of our being, and which we can not express. If no human heart is aroused in sympathy for us, we need not feel that we are without sympathy. Christ knows; and He says, ‘Look unto me and live.’ [See Isaiah 45:22.]

“All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but a tiny rill to the boundless ocean, when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue can not utter it; pen can not portray it. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving his Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it.

Fellowship in Suffering

“Christ is affected as His weakest follower is affected. The sympathy of Christ is such that He can not be an indifferent spectator of His children’s sufferings. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.

“As a faithful Physician, the world’s Redeemer has His finger upon the pulse of the soul. He marks every beat; He takes note of every throb. Not an emotion thrills it, not a sorrow shades it; not a sin stains it, not a thought or purpose passes through it, with which He is not acquainted. Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony.

Talking with God

“God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ The prayer that ascends from a broken and contrite heart is never disregarded; it is as sweet music in the ears of our heavenly Father: for He waits to bestow upon us the fulness of His blessing.

“The prayer of the sincere heart offered in faith will be heard in heaven. It may not be grammatical; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, graceful and perfect through His merit; for His righteousness refines and ennobles it, and makes it acceptable before the Father.

Our Best Motives and Efforts

“When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit; for He is the source of every right impulse.

“Through the merits of the Redeemer, the Father looks upon us with tender compassion, and speaks to us hopefully the language of forgiveness and love, for Christ was treated as we deserve that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness in which we had no share.

Our Best Interests in View

“God does not require us to give up any thing that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves! For the more we know God, the more intense will be our happiness, and the lips that are willing to speak, though unclean, will be touched with the living coals and purified. They will be enabled to speak words that will burn their way to the soul.”

The Oriental Watchman, December 1, 1901.

“I appeal to all our brethren and sisters to bear in mind the words of Christ, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ [Matthew 25:40.] Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, gave His precious life to save fallen man; every son and daughter of Adam is His purchased possession. He paid the infinite price, the ransom money in His own precious life, to redeem man; therefore He identifies His interest with suffering humanity. He requires every man to be interested for his fellow-man, making the word of God his standard of duty. With meekness and lowliness of heart we are to show reverence and love to Him who hath bought us, giving His own life, that ‘whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ [John 3:16.] Then let love and tender regard toward our fellow-men be ever revealed, not merely in words, but in deeds.

“The children of the heavenly King, should represent the character of the Ruler of the heavenly kingdom. They should cultivate unity and love for one another, each member of the royal family loyally representing the principles of the government of God. Jesus Christ was sent of God; in His character and life He represented every principle of the law of God. What are the two great principles of that law?—Love to God and love to our neighbor. We are to cherish a warm, deep, abiding interest in one another, an unfeigned respect for our brethren and sisters. We are none of us to set ourselves up as critics, to discern defects in those with whom we associate, and then engage in a work of cannibalism, tearing to pieces the reputation of those who may be more precious in the sight of God than we are. Evil-thinking and evil-speaking are a great offense in the sight of God, and those who do these things are not born of the Spirit, but of the flesh.

“The sad thing in our churches to-day, is that Jesus is misrepresented in the character of those who profess to be His followers. Many claim to believe in and love Jesus, while they do neither. They advocate the law of God, but are transgressors of its precepts. The first four commandments require supreme love to God. Parents, children, wife, husband, houses, lands, or any other earthly treasure, whether of friends or property, are not to be loved selfishly, and thus become an idol to divert the mind, the time, the service, from God. He that loves and serves mammon, cannot love and serve God supremely. When friends and relations are loved with inordinate affection, they are taking the place in the heart where God should be. ‘Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.’ ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ ‘Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’ [II Peter 3:17; I John 2:15; James 4:4.] Here idolatry is plainly revealed, as existing in those who claim to worship God. The pure, refined, ennobling love is buried up by the love of carnal things. This the True Witness represents as a fearful loss in experience and character-building—the loss of the first love. ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent.’ [Revelation 2:5.] The True Witness sends forth this warning. Mercy and the love of God are the attributes of His throne. While claiming to be the subjects of the kingdom of God, and yet refusing to be converted from their selfish love, their stern, iron will, their own perverse ways, many are constantly bearing a false testimony of Jesus Christ. . . .

“Let the people of God have root in themselves because they are planted in Jesus Christ. There must be no strife for supremacy. Let every one seek God for himself, and know for himself that the truth of God is the sanctifier of soul, life, and character. Let all feel that it is their duty and privilege to speak those things in the church which will edify. No one should try to sermonize, but with hearts filled with the love of God, let each one have something to say that will not savor in the least of self-exaltation, of questions that will cause dissension; but let each one present lessons from the life of Christ, and represent none of self, but all of Jesus.

“To every man is given his work. One man cannot do the work for which another man has been trained and educated. But the work of every man must begin at the heart, in the character, by surrendering the soul to God, and by co-operating with divine agencies. The root must be holy, or there will be no holy fruit. All are to be workers together with God, and self must not appear. The Lord has entrusted talent and capabilities to every individual, and those who are most highly favored with opportunities and privileges, are under the heaviest obligations to God. Those who are represented as having but one talent have their work to do. By diligent trading, not with pounds, but with pence, they are diligently to employ their ability, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. Those who faithfully trade upon their one talent will hear the gracious commendation given them with as full heartiness as those who have been gifted with many talents, and who wisely improve them, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.’ He who had but one talent, had an influence to exert, and his work was needed. In perfecting his own character, he was exerting an influence that helped to perfect the character of those who had larger responsibilities, who were in danger of building themselves up, and of neglecting some important little things, which that faithful man with his one talent was regarding with diligent care. By his diligence and unwearied, faithful efforts, he gave lessons worthy of imitation to those who, from outward appearance, seemed to be greatly his superiors. Our various trusts are proportioned to our various abilities. –

“Christ can give His peace to those only who surrender their will and their way to his method and plans. Restless cravings and heart-burnings bring no joy, no happiness, but only sadness and misery to the soul. He who cherishes them, views all things in a distorted light, and thinks that others who do not view matters as he does, do not appreciate his individual importance and worth. We may be complete in Jesus Christ only as we are emptied of self. When our life is hid with Christ in God, self is lost, submerged in the breadth, length, depth, and height of infinite love. Let the burden of every soul be to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

The Home Missionary, December 1, 1894.

Children’s Story – Send Me a Friend

One morning, in a city of Switzerland, a rich man sat in his beautiful home.He was lonely and discouraged. There was no earthly friend to whom he cared to tell his troubles.  He knelt down alone and prayed that God would send him a friend.

That same morning in the same city there was a young lad who had learned about the soon coming of Jesus. His heart was filled with joy as he thought of soon seeing his Saviour. He longed to tell others this truth, that they too might be happy.

He had decided to canvass [share with others door to door] a book that told about the second coming of Christ. Before he left his room that morning, he prayed that God would guide him to those who needed help. He prayed that God would send an angel before him to get people ready to buy the book.

Up one city street and down another this lad walked, showing the people his book, telling them about Jesus, and here and there taking orders. So the morning passed until it was nearly noon. On the street where he was working there were still a few houses at which he had not called. He wanted to finish his work on that street before he stopped for lunch.

The next house was large and beautiful. He always dreaded to call at such rich homes, for often the people did not want to let him in. Still he must not pass any by. He stepped to the door. He wiped his feet on the big rug, and then wiped them again. He rang the doorbell. Then he waited.

Soon a servant opened the door, and the lad gave him his card. The servant carried the card to his master. In a few moments he returned.

“The master is at lunch,” he said. “He is sure you have nothing that will interest him, and he does not wish to be disturbed.”

“Thank you,” said the lad as he walked away.

A few moments later he heard someone hurrying after him. He looked around, and there was the servant whom he had just left.

“The master wishes you to return at once, if you will be so kind,” he said.

The lad hurried back to the rich home where he met a fine, rather elderly Swiss gentleman. The gentleman took the lad into the dining room, gave him a chair at the table, and told the servant to lay another plate. Soon they were left alone.

“My boy,” said the gentleman, “this morning I prayed God to send me a friend. I was lonely and discouraged, and I knew of no one to whom I cared to turn. Just now when I sent you away, a voice said to me distinctly, ‘There I sent you a friend, and you have sent him away!’ So I called you back. Now why did God send you to me? What have you brought me?”

The lad’s heart went out in love to this man. The man had all that money could buy, but he did not know the hope of Jesus’ soon coming. The lad looked at the man with eyes full of the hope and joy that he himself had found in obeying the commandments of God.

“I have brought you a book which contains a message of hope and courage and faith in the Friend of friends, who can give you all that you wish,” the lad answered.

The gentleman was deeply interested. Hope began to spring up in his heart. He believed God had sent this lad in answer to his prayer. He invited the lad to come to his home every week and study the Bible with him. It is in just this way that God is seeking out the earnest, praying ones and getting them ready for Jesus’ soon coming.

Cockleshells, True Education Series, Pacific Press Publishing Association, © 1976, 5–8.

Bible Study Guides – Our Neighbor

April 17, 2011 – April 23, 2011

Key Text

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17.

Study Help: Education, 84–96; The Desire of Ages, 637–641.


“Many think that it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves, but it is the only genuine fruit of Christianity.” Welfare Ministry, 49.


  • What is to govern our fellowship among believers? Proverbs 17:17; 30:5; Galatians 6:10.

Note: “He [Christ] should be presented as the Source of all true pleasure and satisfaction, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of every blessing, the One in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered. In every religious exercise let the love of God and the joy of the Christian experience appear in their true beauty.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 175.

  • What is God’s plan for our relationship with one another in church capacity? James 2:8; John 17:21; Proverbs 18:24.

Note: “He who is conformed to the image of Christ will possess his grace, and will help to strengthen every brother in the faith. No harsh or bitter words that discourage the soul will fall from his lips. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.’ ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. … Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ [II Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 12:12–14].” The Review and Herald, February 23, 1897.


  • What principle of service should we keep in mind regarding all our fellowmen? Proverbs 27:10, first part.

Note: “Among the Jews the question, ‘Who is my neighbour’ [Luke 10:20]? caused endless dispute. They had no doubt as to the heathen and the Samaritans. These were strangers and enemies. But where should the distinction be made among the people of their own nation and among the different classes of society? …

“This question Christ answered in the parable of the good Samaritan. He showed that our neighbor does not mean merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is every one who is the property of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 376.

  • What can we learn from the way God’s infinite wisdom was manifested in the ministry of Jesus? Proverbs 11:30.

Note: “Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon Himself that He might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as He found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon His throne. But it was written of Him that ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged’ [Isaiah 42:4], and He went forth in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, giving us an example that we should follow in His steps. We should work as did Jesus, departing from our own pleasure, turning away from Satan’s bribes, despising ease, and abhorring selfishness, that we may seek and save that which is lost, bringing souls from darkness into light, into the sunshine of God’s love. We have been commissioned to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.


  • What are we always to bear in mind regarding the poor? Proverbs 14:21; 19:17, 22. How did Jesus explain His perspective on this matter? Matthew 25:31–46.

Note: “To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brethren. They do not put themselves in the poor man’s place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts. In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.

“But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison.” The Desire of Ages, 639, 640.

“We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.” The Ministry of Healing, 195.

  • Describe an example of how the impartiality of our love may be tested. James 2:1–9.


  • What better future can we present to the discouraged? Proverbs 10:28; I Thessalonians 4:13–18.

Note: “We are to bring to the lost the tidings that Christ can forgive sin, can renew the nature, can clothe the soul in the garments of His righteousness, bring the sinner to His right mind, and teach him and fit him up to be a laborer together with God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.

  • What should we remember about wealthy persons who know not God? Ecclesiastes 6:1, 2; Proverbs 11:4; 13:22.

Note: “Riches and worldly honor can not satisfy the soul. Many among the rich are longing for some divine assurance, some spiritual hope. Many long for something that will bring to an end the monotony of their aimless life. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive little benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the heart. Shall we make no special appeal to them?

“God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that the wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor be discouraged.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.

  • How are we to consider those who hate and abuse us? Proverbs 24:17; 25:21. What was Jesus’ example?

Note: “It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 71.


  • How can we have safety from evil company? Proverbs 2:1–15. How did Enoch maintain his strength in service?

Note: “It was by prayer and communion with God that Enoch was enabled to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same Source. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us, for we cannot remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” In Heavenly Places, 70.

“Enoch faithfully rehearsed to the people all that God had revealed to him by the spirit of prophecy. Some believed his words, and turned from their wickedness to fear and worship God. Such often sought Enoch in his places of retirement, and he instructed them, and prayed for them that God would give them a knowledge of His will. At length he chose certain periods for retirement, and would not suffer the people to find him, for they interrupted his holy meditation and communion with God. He did not exclude himself at all times from the society of those who loved him and listened to his words of wisdom; neither did he separate himself wholly from the corrupt. He met with the good and bad at stated times, and labored to turn the ungodly from their evil course, and instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. He taught those who had the knowledge of God to serve him more perfectly.

“He would remain with them as long as he could benefit them by his godly conversation and holy example, and then would withdraw himself from all society—from the just, the scoffing and idolatrous, to remain in solitude, hungering and thirsting for communion with God, and that divine knowledge which he alone could give him.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 62, 63.

Review and Thought Questions

1 What is to characterize our Christian fellowship?

2 Name some ways in which we are to follow Jesus.

3 How can we improve our attitude toward the poor?

4 What do we often forget about the wealthy?

5 Describe the balanced life of Enoch.

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Knowing God

Abraham was called a friend of God. “Art not thou our God, Who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend for ever?” II Chronicles 20:7. James also said, “And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” James 2:23. In the book, Patriarchs and Prophets, 128, Ellen White wrote these words: “Abraham, ‘the friend of God,’ set us a worthy example. His was a life of prayer. Wherever he pitched his tent, close beside it was set up his altar.”

To become a friend of God, Abraham spent much time with Him on his knees praying. He set up an altar—morning and evening worship. I cannot think of anything more wonderful than having the Creator of the universe, the One Who holds all of the stars and planets in their place and conducts all of the little duties here on this earth and watches over each little thing, as a personal friend. Can you imagine what that means? We need to come to the place where we consider God not only our God and our Creator, which He is, and we do not want to take any of the reverence from that, but we also consider Him as a friend Who hears us, watches what we do and tends to things that happen around us so that our life can walk straight on to the kingdom of heaven.

Considering God as a friend helps to have Him closer to us and helps us to realize that we can turn and talk to Him. It is necessary to come to the place that when you are talking to God you realize that you are talking to a real person. He is your friend. He loves you.

One time, when I was a child, I heard a minister make the remark that the Bible is a love story from God to man. I thought that was funny and I didn’t understand that. But as the years have gone by and I study and read my Bible, I understand from the promises and from the loving things God has told us that it really is a love book to us as human beings. As we read and study we become conscious of His presence. That experience is crucial if someday we are going to be able to walk into the kingdom of God. We have to be able to recognize down here on earth that we have God’s presence, and as we talk and work, or whatever we do, we do it to please Him and not to please man.

Jesus told us, in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” To know Jesus Christ is to have eternal life. We all have a desire to have eternal life, so what we need to do is learn to know God, to know Him better.

Jeremiah 9:23, 24 says, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches.” This is the part of the verse I want you to pay close attention to. “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

He says, “in these things I delight.” He delights in loving kindness.

He has given us a whole chapter in the Bible dedicated to teaching us about this subject. This is found in I Corinthians 13:1: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Just to talk and talk is like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, unless it is in love. We should love one another as we talk to them and think of them.

Paul continues in verses 2 and 3: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [Charity is the same as love.] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” The most important thing is that we love one another, and if we love one another we will love God.

Continuing with verse 4, “Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind … .” You know, sometimes it takes a long time for a thought to get through, but “love suffereth long.” Sometimes people forget, and we say, “Well, I told you that before.” These quick answers, like, “I told you that before; why don’t you see it?” are not really love. Love suffereth long, and if a person has to be told the same thing ten times, it is still to be with love—it is to be kind and thoughtful.

“Charity [love] envieth not … .” Don’t try to get better than the next fellow. Enjoy who and what he is and be happy for his accomplishments and that he is where he is. And “charity [love] vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” It is not trying to show himself and say, “Hey, this is me; would you pay attention to me?”

“Love doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own …” Verse 5. If you watch children, you quickly acknowledge that they have to be trained. Children do so many things for one purpose, and that is to get attention. But according to I Corinthians 13, we don’t do that. Love does not behave itself unseemly, does not seek her own but seeks others.

It “is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” Sometimes we forget, and it is so easy to get provoked. We may lose something and find out that somebody has put it where it does not belong, and we are provoked at these things. But love does not do this, because you love the other person so much that it does not bother you. You don’t think evil about people. It is very easy to see somebody do something and then judge their motive in your mind. But love does not think evil about others.

“Charity [love] never faileth: whether there be prophecies, they shall fail …” Verse 8. Now, that really used to bother me, because I always thought that prophecies were supposed to be for sure. But if you stop and think about it, there are prophecies that fail because the conditions of the promises are not lived up to. There were prophecies for Jerusalem that it would stand forever, but look at what happened to it. The city was destroyed. However, in the end the prophecy will be fulfilled and it will stand forever in the New Jerusalem making the prophecy sure. The prophecy that it would stand here on earth failed because men failed God. So, prophecies may fail. “Whether there be tongues, they shall cease … .” We all eventually pass away. “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” There have been a lot of really bright people in this world, but when their time comes, they too vanish away.

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Verses 9, 10.

It is so wonderful that the Lord has described the meaning of loving kindness. What else does it say in Jeremiah 9:24? “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” He wants us to know that He exercises loving kindness—so He has given us the description of it. The next thing He says is that He exercises judgment. I read a little bit about this in the Spirit of Prophecy. God’s judgment is true, and you and I need not worry about being mistreated. We do not need to worry about when we get a raw deal on money, care or any other thing, or somebody thinks something about us that is not so and we get treated wrongly. We do not need to worry about those things, because God says He exercises judgment. He takes care of those things. He says, in Romans 12:19, “Vengeance is Mine.” You and I do not need to worry about vengeance or, if you have gotten a wrong deal, about paying somebody back, because the Lord is taking care of those things. He will exercise judgment. We on this earth need to let God take care of the judgments.

The last gift mentioned in Jeremiah 9:24 is so important and so wonderful. He exerciseth “righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” He wants to give us His robe of righteousness! Not one of us can really do right. We just cannot do the right thing all of the time. It is impossible, except as God exercises His righteousness and gives us His robe of righteousness. We must claim this robe of righteousness and practice it, because He says, “for in these things I delight.”

The three things that He says He delights in are: loving kindness, judgment and righteousness. Those are the three things that, as we study, we will become acquainted with God, Whom to know is to have eternal life. Surely each one of us wants to have eternal life. That is one reason we believe. He wants us to enter His kingdom, but the only way we can enter it is to have His beautiful robe of righteousness. We must wear this robe made up of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22, 23). These are the fibers that make up His robe. It is well for us to contemplate what God has for us, the wonderful things He will do for us and the goal that He has for us. His goal is that one day we will be with Him in glory. The only way we will do that is to accept His robe of righteousness and wear it day by day.

Remember, love suffers long and is kind. With this love we can perfect a character that will fit into the society of heaven. We are told to practice the kind of life that will be accepted in the society of angels. In The Signs of the Times, July 18, 1878, it says, “The principles of the commandments, carried out in the daily life ennoble and sanctify the heart and mind and give one a moral fitness through Jesus Christ, for the society of holy angels. Our all wise heavenly Father knew what rules were required to guard man from sin and to regulate his life, leading him to practice such virtues as would make him a fit subject for heaven.”

Just think, down here on earth we can begin to enjoy those blessings. It is here that we need to build a character that can stand and be clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

Ruth Grosboll, matriarch of Steps to Life, lived a long life in the service of her Master. She served as a missionary nurse in Myanmar, formerly Burma. In her later years she held the position of receptionist and correspondent at Steps to Life Ministry, blessing many people with her heartfelt encouraging letters. She is sadly missed to this day.