Lesson 9 | Sabbath, 29 February 2020
“The unfaltering servants of God have usually suffered the bitterest perse- cution from false teachers of religion. But the true prophets will ever prefer re- proach, and even death, rather than unfaithfulness to God. The Infinite Eye is upon the instruments of divine reproof, and they bear a heavy responsibility. But God regards the injury done to them through misrepresentation, falsehood, or abuse as though it were done unto Himself, and will punish accordingly.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 167.
A seemingly beneficial alliance
- What did Ahab, the king of Israel, propose to the king of Judah? What did Jehoshaphat reply?
1 Kings 22:1-4 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. 2And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? 4And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
“On one occasion Jehoshaphat visited the king of Israel at Samaria. Special honor was shown the royal guest from Jerusalem, and before the close of his visit he was persuaded to unite with the king of Israel in war against the Syrians. Ahab hoped that by joining his forces with those of Judah he might regain Ramoth, one of the old cities of refuge, which, he contended, rightfully belonged to the Israelites.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 195.
- However, what did Jehoshaphat then ask Ahab to do before going ahead with this idea? What was the answer of the false prophets?
1 Kings 22:5, 6 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day. 6Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets togeth- er, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
“Although Jehoshaphat in a moment of weakness had rashly promised to join the king of Israel in his war against the Syrians, yet his better judgment led him to seek to learn the will of God concerning the undertaking. ‘Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today,’ he suggested to Ahab. In response, Ahab called to- gether four hundred of the false prophets of Samaria, and asked of them, ‘Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear?’ And they answered, ‘Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.’ Verses 4, 5.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 195.
True vs. false prophets
- How satisfied was the faithful Jehoshaphat with the outcome of the meeting with the prophets that Ahab summoned? What was Ahab’s opinion of the Lord’s true prophet? Why did he and others in the Scriptures hold such an opinion of a prophet?
1 Kings 22:7, 8 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord be- sides, that we might inquire of him? 8And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
“Unsatisfied, Jehoshaphat sought to learn for a certainty the will of God. ‘Is there not here a prophet of the Lord,’ he asked, ‘that we might inquire of him?’ Verse 6. ‘There is yet one man, Micaiah to son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord,’ Ahab answered; ‘but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good con- cerning me, but evil.’ 1 Kings 22:8.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 195.
“Every one whom the Lord calls should be distrustful of self, and have full trust in God. Moses went forth in the name of ‘I AM THAT I AM,’ without outward display of grandeur; yet the rod in his hand was a symbol of the divine power of Jehovah, and Moses was the instrumentality through whom God would deliver Israel from the bondage of tyranny.” –Review and Herald, April 2, 1895.
- What did the false prophet Zedekiah prophesy after making some iron horns? What did the other false prophets say? When one wants to follow his own ideas, what evidence for them will he seek and find?
1 Kings 22:10-12 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 11And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. 12And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall de- liver it into the king’s hand.
“Those who pursue a course of rebellion against the Lord can always find false prophets who will justify them in their acts, and flatter them to their destruction. Lying words often make many friends, as is illustrated in the case of these false teachers among the Israelites. These so-called prophets, in their pretended zeal for God, found many more believers and followers than the true prophet who delivered the simple message of the Lord.” –(Review and Herald, March 14, 1907) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1158.
“God has blessed His commandment-keeping people, and all the opposition and falsehoods that may be brought against them will only strengthen those who stand firm in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints. But if those who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law become transgressors of that law, His protecting care will be withdrawn…. Then we shall indeed be unable to stand be- fore our enemies. But if His people remain separate and distinct from the world, as a nation that do righteousness, God will be their defense, and no weapons formed against them shall prosper.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 601.
- What did the messenger who was sent to summon the true prophet tell him to do? Why? What did the prophet’s reply show?
1 Kings 22:9, 13, 14 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah…. 13And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. 14And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.
“Read the cautions so abundantly given in the word of God in regard to false prophets that will come in with their heresies, and if possible will deceive the very elect. With these warnings, why is it that the church does not distinguish the false from the genuine? Those who have in any way been thus misled need to humble themselves before God, and sincerely repent, because they have so easily been led astray. They have not distinguished the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. Let all such review this chapter of their experience.” –Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 393, 394.
“We have before us a warfare–a lifelong conflict with Satan and his seductive temptations. The enemy will use every argument, every deception, to entangle the soul; and in order to win the crown of life, we must put forth earnest, persevering effort. We must not lay off the armor or leave the battlefield until we have gained the victory, and can triumph in our Redeemer.” –My Life Today, p. 105.
Refusal to cherish the Lord’s counsel
- What did the prophet say would be the result of the two kings’ going to war together? How pleased was Ahab with the prophet’s words? What was shown by his answer?
1 Kings 22:17, 18 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. 18And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
“The words of the prophet should have been enough to show the kings that their project was not favored by Heaven, but neither ruler felt inclined to heed the warning. Ahab had marked out his course, and he was determined to follow it. Jehoshaphat had given his word of honor, ‘We will be with thee in the war;’ and after making such a promise, he was reluctant to withdraw his forces. 2 Chronicles 18:3.
‘So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.’ 1 Kings 22:29.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 196.
“The more closely the Scriptures are studied, the more clearly shall we under- stand the true character of our thoughts and actions. But thousands put the Bible on one side for the same reason that Ahab hated Micaiah. Because it prophesies evil against the sinner, they claim that they find objections and contradictions in God’s word. While professing to be open to conviction, they allow prejudice to hold sway, and refuse to see the truth which that word reveals.” –(The Youth’s Instructor, June 10, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1036.
- What did Jesus say about those who reject the counsel of the Lord’s prophets? Who was speaking to Ahab through the prophet Micaiah?
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
2 Peter 1:20, 21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
“God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired word to finite man. This word, arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world, bequeathed to them that, by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven….
“God designed the Bible to be a lesson book to all mankind, in childhood, youth, and manhood, and to be studied through all time. He gave His word to men as a revelation of Himself…. It is the medium of communication between God and man.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 10.
For additional study
“I have been shown that the false shepherds were drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. The truth of God is sealed up to them; they cannot read it…. I saw that these prophets were like the foxes of the desert. They have not gone up into the gaps, they have not made up the hedge that the people of God may stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. When the minds of any get stirred up, and they begin to inquire of these false shepherds about the truth, they take the easiest and best manner to effect their object and quiet the minds of the inquiring ones, even changing their own position to do it. Light has shone on many of these shepherds, but they would not acknowledge it and have changed their position a number of times to evade the truth and get away from the conclusions that they must come to if they continued in their former position. The power of truth tore up their foundation, but instead of yielding to it they would get up an- other platform that they were not satisfied with themselves.” –Early Writings, p. 123.
Missionary Report from Uruguay
To be read on Sabbath, February 29, 2020
“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:33, 34.
Greetings to all the brethren with the blessed peace of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the great desire that all the promises of His precious word will be fulfilled to you.
Uruguay, officially the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, is a South American country located in the eastern part of the American Southern Cone. It borders Brazil on the northeast and Argentina on the west and southwest, while the Atlantic Ocean is on the south and east. The country covers 176,215 square kilometers (68,037 square miles), making it the second smallest in South America, after Suriname. According to the data of the last census (2011), the population of Uruguay is of 3,444,006 inhabitants. The language spoken is Spanish, while Portuguese is also spoken in some border regions, along with Portuñol Riverense, a Portuguese dialect.
A study conducted in 2014 by the Latinobarómetro Corporation highlights Uruguay as the most secular country in Latin America, with 38% atheists or ag- nostics compared to 41% Catholics, 8% Protestants, and 13% African metaphysical religions (Macumberos, Umbandas, Kimbandas, and others).
The International Missionary Society, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Reform Movement, began its mission in Uruguay in 1940 through the work of Brother Car- los Kozel, who helped to establish the Field on November 12, 1943, in the city of Rosario, Colonia, 130 kilometers (81 miles) from the capital. On May 3, 1989, the above headquarters was sold and property was purchased in the capital, Montevi- deo. The property is approximately 500 square meters in size and is accessible by two streets; the mission house faces Calle Comercio and houses the headquarters of the Uruguayan Field. A small room serves as a chapel for thirty people. We are thankful to God that this has now become too small due to an increase in the number of believers attending the meetings.
The work in Uruguay is expanding, in spite of much suffering. There are souls who need to hear the word of God and to know about the true God. We have many projects for advancing His work, for this is our greatest need, as the inspired writing says: “The establishment of churches … is only a further manifestation of the love of God, and in this work all God’s people should have a part. Christ formed His church here below for the express purpose of showing forth through the mem- bers the grace of God. Throughout the world His people are to raise memorials of His Sabbath–the sign between Him and them that He is the One who sanctifies them. Thus they are to show that they have returned to their loyalty and stand firmly for the principles of His law.” –Counsels on Health, p. 223.
In 1993, a project was begun to build a church for 150 people facing Governor Viana Street. Unfortunately we have not been able to finish this building because of scarce financial resources and few members (53), for construction costs are very high in this country. The foundation is complete, and the walls have been erected to the height of three meters. Unfortunately, since the building could not be roofed, it has been open for many years and has deteriorated a lot. Our great desire is to be able to see a completed church dedicated to the worship of our good God; it makes us very sad that, in spite of 26 years of construction, it is not yet finished. It is said of us as written in Luke 14:30: “This … began to build, and was not able to finish.”
The building’s foundation is strong and can support a second floor, which is planned to be a minister’s living quarters as well as the Field headquarters, since there is no place available to carry out the administrative work.
We invite the people of God to contribute generously to complete this project for God’s honor and glory and the advancement of His cause in Uruguay. May He reward you a hundred times over! We thank you with all our hearts.
Uruguayan Field President