Lesson 14 | Sabbath, 2 October 2021
“From a race of slaves the Israelites had been exalted above all peoples to be the peculiar treasure of the King of kings. God had separated them from the world, that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He had made them the depositaries of His law, and He purposed, through them, to preserve among men the knowledge of Himself. Thus the light of heaven was to shine out to a world enshrouded in darkness, and a voice was to be heard appealing to all peoples to turn from their idolatry to serve the living God. If the Israelites would be true to their trust, they would become a power in the world. God would be their defense, and He would exalt them above all other nations. His light and truth would be revealed through them, and they would stand forth under His wise and holy rule as an example of the superiority of His worship over every form of idolatry.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 314.
His treasured possession
1. How did the Lord express His feelings of affection for His people? What shows that He intended for Israel to be special and holy?
Deuteronomy 7:6; 26:18. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.… 26:18And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments.
“Human learning cannot qualify for that kingdom. The subjects of Christ’s kingdom are not made thus by forms and ceremonies, by a large study of books. ‘This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent.’ The members of Christ’s kingdom are members of His body, of which He himself is the head. They are the elect sons of God, ‘a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,’ that they should show forth the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 413.
2. How do you feel when the Lord says that He wants you to be His special treasure?
Exodus 19:5. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.
Psalm 135:4. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
“Christ’s redeemed ones are His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. ‘They shall be as the stones of a crown’–’the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.’ Zechariah 9:16; Ephesians 1:18. In them ‘He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.’ Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory–Christ the great center, from whom radiates all glory.” –That I May Know Him, p. 369.
3. According to the Holy Scriptures, what does the Lord feel about His people? Compare the benevolent attitude that He has toward His church with how we tend to treat others.
Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
1 Kings 10:9, middle part …The Lord loved Israel for ever.
Jeremiah 31:3. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
“I testify to my brethren and sisters that the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church. ‘If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning…. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.’” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 15.
4. How precious does He consider the church members? If someone harms them, how sensitive is God to it?
Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
“God surrounded Israel with every facility, gave them every privilege, that would make them an honor to His name and a blessing to surrounding nations. If they would walk in the ways of obedience, He promised to make them ‘high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor.’‘All people of the earth,’ He said, ‘shall hear that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.’ The nations which shall hear all these statutes shall say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ Deuteronomy 26:19; 28:10; 4:6.” –Education, p. 40.
“God has thrust His people into the gap, to make up the hedge, to raise up the foundation of many generations. The heavenly intelligences, angels that excel in strength, are waiting, obedient to His command, to unite with human agencies; and the Lord will interpose when matters have come to such a pass that none but a divine power can counteract the satanic agencies at work. When His people shall be in the greatest danger, seemingly unable to stand against the power of Satan, God will work in their behalf. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” –Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 373.
5. What are some things that show God’s loving care for His people?
Deuteronomy 29:2,3, 5; 8:4, 7-9. And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:… 5And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot…. 8:4Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years….7For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; 9A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
“‘Go forward,’ God said to Israel, when the flowing waters of the Red Sea blocked their passage as they moved out in the path which Providence had indicated. As they placed their feet in the waters of the sea, they did what the Lord required of them. They did not see what God would do next. They did not see the broad path opened for them by the power of God until they manifested their faith by moving forward. And then God’s power was revealed. The waters on either side were piled up like a wall, leaving an open path before them.” –Signs of the Times, July 19, 1899.
6. After receiving so many blessings, what should flow naturally from our hearts? How deep should our compliance with and loyalty to His commandments be?
Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; 10:12-15. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might…. 10:12And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
“Christ gave Himself for the redemption of the race, that all who believe in Him may have everlasting life. Those who appreciate this great sacrifice receive from the Saviour that most precious of all gifts–a clean heart. They gain an experience that is more valuable than gold or silver or precious stones. They sit together in heavenly places in Christ, enjoying in communion with Him the joy and peace that He alone can give. They love Him with heart and mind and soul and strength, realizing that they are His blood-bought heritage. Their spiritual eyesight is not dimmed by worldly policy or worldly aims. They are one with Christ as He is one with the Father.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 7.
“To love God with all the heart, to be a partaker with Christ in His humiliation and suffering, means more than many understand. The atonement of Christ is the great central truth around which cluster all the truths that pertain to the great work of redemption. The mind of man is to blend with the mind of Christ. This union sanctifies the understanding, giving the thoughts clearness and force….” –Lift Him Up, p. 229.
Praise and fellowship
7. What other expressions of praise will logically flow out to others from those who truly trust the Lord? If we love Him, whom will we esteem and maintain a good relationship with?
Psalm 149:1. Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Philippians 2:1,2. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
“In obedience to the word of their Master the disciples assembled in Jerusalem to wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Here they spent ten days, days of deep heart searching. They put away all differences and drew close together in Christian fellowship.
“At the end of ten days the Lord fulfilled His promise by a wonderful outpouring of His Spirit. ‘Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’‘ And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.’ Acts 2:2-4, 41.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 15.
For additional study
“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 not more strength. He will help His believing children in every emergency, if they will place their entire confidence in Him. He will work mightily for a faithful people who obey His word without questioning or doubt.” –Signs of the Times, July 19, 1899.