1. A POWERFUL TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD
a. What song did the children of Israel sing during their sacred feasts in Canaan Deuteronomy 31:30; 32:1–3. What influence should this song have had upon the neighboring nations? Psalm 67:2.
“The people of Israel, as they journeyed through the wilderness, praised God in sacred song. . . . And in Canaan as they met at their sacred feasts God’s wonderful works were to be recounted, and grateful thanksgiving was to be offered to His name. God desired that the whole life of His people should be a life of praise.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 298, 299.
b. What is the most effective means to show to the world that we have received great blessings from God through the gospel of Jesus Christ? Psalm 145:5, 6.
“Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience.”—Ibid., p.299.
2. REPEATED EXHORTATIONS
a. In what terms did the Lord set before His people the consequences of their unfaithfulness? Deuteronomy 8:18–20.
“[Deuteronomy 28 quoted.] The more deeply to impress these truths [of conditional blessings] upon all minds, the great leader embodied them in sacred verse. This song was not only historical, but prophetic. While it recounted the wonderful dealings of God with His people in the past, it also foreshadowed the great events of the future, the final victory of the faithful when Christ shall come the second time in power and glory. The people were directed to commit to memory this poetic history, and to teach it to their children and children’s children. It was to be chanted by the congregation when they assembled for worship, and to be repeated by the people as they went about their daily labors. It was the duty of parents to so impress these words upon the susceptible minds of their children that they might never be forgotten.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 467, 468.
b. What exhortation did Moses address to the people of Israel at the end of their pilgrimage through the desert? Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 9–11, 58, 59, 64.
“Moses called their attention to the ‘day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb.’ And he challenged the Hebrew host: ‘What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?’(Deuteronomy 4:10, 7, 8). Today the challenge to Israel might be repeated. The laws which God gave His ancient people were wiser, better, and more humane than those of the most civilized nations of the earth. The laws of the nations bear marks of the infirmities and passions of the unrenewed heart; but God’s law bears the stamp of the divine. . . . Still the great leader [Moses] was filled with fear that the people would depart from God. In a most sublime and thrilling address he set before them the blessings that would be theirs on condition of obedience, and the curses that would follow upon transgression.”—Ibid., pp.465, 466.
3. A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT
a. How did Israel as a nation handle the sacred trust received from God? Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1.
“The people of Israel lost sight of their high privileges as God’s representatives. They forgot God and failed to fulfill their holy mission. The blessings they received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages they appropriated for their own glorification.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 14.
b. How was the prophetic exhortation of God, given through Moses, fulfilled in the time of the kings of Judah? 2 Chronicles 36:14–17, 20; Jeremiah 39:8, 9.
“The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God, and no longer maintained the principles that had been given to keep them free from the methods and practices of the nations who dishonored God. The Lord could not give them prosperity, He could not fulfill His covenant with them, while they were untrue to the principles He had given them zealously to maintain. By their spirit and their actions they misrepresented His character, and He permitted them to be taken captive. Because of their separation from Him, He humbled them. He left them to their own ways, and the innocent suffered with the guilty.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1040.
c. How did God reveal His disappointment with Israel? Isaiah 5:1, 2, 25.
“The warning was not heeded by the Jewish people. They forgot God and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 291, 292.
4. ISRAEL SCATTERED AMONG THE NATIONS
a. What is written about the conduct and the fate of the last king of Judah? 2 Chronicles 36:11–13; Jeremiah 39:4–7.
“What a sad and awful warning is this [record of Zedekiah’s calamitous end] to those who harden themselves under reproof, and who will not humble themselves in repentance, that God may save them!”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1040.
b. What was to be accomplished by scattering the chosen people of God among the nations, even though they had already proved themselves untrustworthy?
“The Lord scattered [His people], that the knowledge of His truth might be carried to the world. If they were loyal and true and submissive, God would bring them again into their own land. . . .
“Among the children of Israel there were Christian patriots, who were as true as steel to principle, and upon these loyal men the Lord looked with great pleasure. These were men who would not be corrupted by selfishness, who would not mar the work of God by following erroneous methods and practices, men who would honor God at the loss of all things. They had to suffer with the guilty, but in the providence of God their captivity at Babylon was the means of bringing them to the front, and their example of untarnished integrity shines with heaven’s luster.”—Ibid.
c. What was the result of the persecution that came upon the believers in Jerusalem? Acts 8:1, 4, 5.
“Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, [the disciples] were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished. To scatter His representatives abroad, where they could work for others, God permitted persecution to come upon them. Driven from Jerusalem, the believers ‘went everywhere preaching the word’ (Acts 8:40.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105.
5. THE EXEEDING DANGER OF FALSE ASSURANCES
a. How did John the Baptist shake the false assurance of the Jewish people? Matthew 3:9.
“The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 294.
“The Jews had misinterpreted God’s promise of eternal favor to Israel: [Jeremiah 31:35–37 quoted.] The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. . . .
“To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. . . . Because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men and entitled to His blessings. These things ‘are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come’ (1 Corinthians 10:11). How often we misinterpret God’s blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 106.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the most effective means to show to the world that we have received great blessings from God through the gospel of Jesus Christ?
2. What exhortation did Moses address to the people of Israel at the end of their pilgrimage through the desert?
3. How did God reveal His disappointment with Israel?
4. How does the Bible teach that false assurance is very dangerous?
5. For what purpose did the Lord scatter the people of Israel among the nations?