1. THE INFERIORITY OF THE WISDOM OF EGYPT
a. How did Solomon’s wisdom compare to that of Egypt? 1 Kings 4:30.
“There is an education which is essentially worldly. Its aim is success in the world, the gratification of selfish ambition. To secure this education many students spend time and money in crowding their minds with unnecessary knowledge. The world accounts them learned; but God is not in their thoughts.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 64.
b. According to Solomon, what is the basis of true wisdom? Proverbs 9:10; 8:13; 15:33.
“The great work of life is character building, and a knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 596.
“The experimental knowledge of true godliness, found in daily consecration and service, ensures the highest culture of body, mind, and soul. This consecration of all our powers to God prevents self-exaltation. The impartation of divine power honors our sincere striving after wisdom that will enable us to use our highest faculties in a way that will honor God and bless our fellow men.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 63.
2. MOSES FORSAKES EGYPT
a. How extensive was Moses’ training, considering Egypt was the most highly civilized nation of his time? Acts 7:22.
“In the schools of Egypt, Moses received the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions, noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and renowned as a military leader, he became the nation’s pride. The king of Egypt was also a member of the priesthood; and Moses, though refusing to participate in the heathen worship, was initiated into all the mysteries of the Egyptian religion.”—Education, p. 62.
b. When confronted with the choice between worldly honors and serving God, what did Moses choose? Why? Hebrews 11:24–27.
c. What was necessary in order for Moses to unlearn the negative aspects of his Egyptian education? Exodus 3:1 (first part).
“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. . . .
“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.”—Education, pp. 62, 63.
“Many have, as had Moses, very much to unlearn in order to learn the very lessons that they need to learn. He had need to be self-trained by severest mental and moral discipline, and God wrought with him before he could be fitted to train others in mind and heart.”—This Day with God, p. 321.
“It was not the education received in Egypt that enabled Moses to triumph over his enemies, but an ever-abiding, unflinching faith, which did not fail under the most trying circumstances.”—The Signs of the Times, July 12, 1905.
3. FREEDOM FROM THE EDUCATION OF EGYPT
a. What counsel should we listen to when educating our children? Jeremiah 10:2; Proverbs 19:27.
“In turning from God’s word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened. It is not brought in contact with deep, broad principles of eternal truth. The understanding adapts itself to the comprehension of the things with which it is familiar, and in this devotion to finite things it is weakened, its power is contracted, and after a time it becomes unable to expand.
“All this is false education. The work of every teacher should be to fasten the mind of the youth upon the grand truths of the word of Inspiration. This is the education essential for this life and for the life to come.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 41, 42.
b. What is God’s purpose for us, just as it was for ancient Israel? Deuteronomy 14:2. What do we, like Israel, desire instead? 1 Samuel 8:5.
“The discipline and training that God appointed for Israel would cause them, in all their ways of life, to differ from the people of other nations. This peculiarity, which should have been regarded as a special privilege and blessing, was to them unwelcome. The simplicity and self-restraint essential to the highest development they sought to exchange for the pomp and self-indulgence of heathen peoples. To be ‘like all the nations’ (1 Samuel 8:5) was their ambition. God’s plan of education was set aside, His authority disowned.”—Education, pp. 49, 50.
c. What danger should we guard against? John 12:43. Can Christ dwell in a divided heart? Matthew 6:24.
“It is not [God’s] design that those whose services He has purchased, shall be trained to serve mammon, trained to receive human praise, human glorification, or to be subservient to the world.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 470.
“We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.”—Steps to Christ, p. 44.
4. NEW TRAINING NEEDED
a. Why do we need to be re-educated by God? Judges 17:6; Isaiah 53:6. Why did the parents among the Israelites need re-education after they left Egypt? How are we any different to them today?
“When brought out of Egypt there were among the Israelites few prepared to be workers together with Him in the training of their children. The parents themselves needed instruction and discipline. Victims of lifelong slavery, they were ignorant, untrained, degraded. They had little knowledge of God and little faith in Him. They were confused by false teaching and corrupted by their long contact with heathenism.”—Education, p. 34.
“Parents will have need of patience and moral strength, in order that in the fear of God they may unlearn the customs of the world.”—The Review and Herald, November 13, 1894.
b. What happened to those Israelites who did not accept the training God wanted them to have? 1 Corinthians 10:5, 6. To which sins were they more prone due to their education in Egypt?
“The Lord did not forsake His people in their wanderings through the wilderness, but many of them forsook the Lord. The education they had had in Egypt made them subject to temptation, to idolatry, and to licentiousness, and because they disregarded the commandments of the Lord, nearly all the adults who left Egypt were overthrown in the wilderness; but their children were permitted to enter Canaan.”—The Review and Herald, December 17, 1895.
c. What are we to keep in mind as we seek to educate our children and youth? 1 John 2:15–17; Romans 12:2.
“The great lesson to be given to the youth is that, as worshipers of God, they are to cherish Bible principles, and hold the world as subordinate. God would have all instructed as to how they can work the works of Christ, and enter in through the gates into the heavenly city. We are not to let the world convert us; we are to strive most earnestly to convert the world.”—Ibid., August 17, 1897.
5. FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN
a. How was God’s original plan for education shown in the life of Abraham? What was the intended result of this education? Genesis 18:19.
“In the divine plan of education as adapted to man’s condition after the fall, Christ stands as the representative of the Father, the connecting link between God and man; He is the great teacher of mankind. And He ordained that men and women should be His representatives. The family was the school, and the parents were the teachers.
“The education centering in the family was that which prevailed in the days of the patriarchs. For the schools thus established, God provided the conditions most favorable for the development of character. . . . The men who held fast God’s principles of life dwelt among the fields and hills. They were tillers of the soil and keepers of flocks and herds.”—The Adventist Home, p. 181.
b. Why is communion with God an essential part of education? Job 22:21.
“When the mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite, the effect on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate. In such communion is found the highest education. It is God’s own method of development.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 126.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Instead of gratifying selfish ambition, what does true education lead us to do?
2. How can we forsake Egypt today? Why do we need to do this?
3. In what ways are we imitating the world in the way we educate our children?
4. Why do many parents today need to be trained in God’s methods of education? What do they need to unlearn?
5. Where were the first schools, and how can we return to God’s plan for education today?