1. GOD’S VOICE IN DAY-TO-DAY LIFE
a. What is a common way that God reveals His will to us? Luke 17:10. Can we safely ignore this method of God’s communication?
“No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the Word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 396.
“While living in neglect of a known duty, [Moses] would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 256.
“Duty admits no rival, enters into no compromise with any opposing powers. The most precious friends and relatives must not step in between your duty and your God. The voice of duty is the voice of God in our souls.”—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.
b. Why was the master displeased with the servant to whom he had given one talent? Matthew 25:26, 27; Luke 16:10.
“By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his Maker of the service which is His due.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 356.
2. REFUSING TO HEAR
a. Why didn’t the rich young ruler want to do what Jesus had asked him to do? Matthew 19:21, 22. What two tools does God use to teach us our duty?
“The man or woman that leaves the place that God has given him or her, in order to please inclination, and acts on his own devised plan meets with disappointment, because he has chosen his way instead of God’s way.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 175.
“There are persons who would understand their duty clearly, if their duty was in harmony with their natural inclinations. Reason and circumstances may point out their duty clearly; but when the path of duty is not in line with their inclinations, these evidences are frequently set aside. Then these persons will presume to go to God to learn their duty. But God will not be trifled with. He will permit such persons to follow the desires of their own hearts.”—The Watchman, September 1, 1908.
“Those who disregard the requirements of God in this life would not respect His authority were they in heaven.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 312.
b. Why does God sometimes choose to refrain from teaching us His will? Isaiah 59:1, 2; Psalm 81:11, 12; John 7:17.
“There is no help for man, woman, or child who will not hear and obey the voice of duty; for the voice of duty is the voice of God. The eyes, the ears, and the heart will become unimpressible if men and women refuse to give heed to the divine counsel and choose the way that is best pleasing to themselves.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 175.
c. What is usually the reason for not listening to God? Deuteronomy 1:43; 1 Samuel 15:23.
3. NO MIDDLEMAN NEEDED
a. Do we need to wait for anyone else to teach us God’s will? James 1:5, 6.
“We are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others and wait for them to tell us what to do. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. If we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 668.
b. What are we promised when we ask God for guidance? Proverbs 3:5–7.
“When perplexities arise, and difficulties confront you, look not for help to humanity. Trust all with God. The practice of telling our difficulties to others only makes us weak and brings no strength to them. It lays upon them the burden of our spiritual infirmities, which they cannot relieve. We seek the strength of erring, finite man, when we might have the strength of the unerring, infinite God. . . .
“We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 146.
“Has not God said He would give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? and is not this spirit a real, true actual guide? Some men seem afraid to take God at His word as though it would be presumption in them. They pray for the Lord to teach us and yet are afraid to credit the pledged word of God and believe we have been taught of Him. So long as we come to our heavenly Father humbly and with a spirit to be taught, willing and anxious to learn, why should we doubt God’s fulfillment of His own promise?”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, pp. 1155, 1156.
4. GOD’S ATTITUDE TOWARD US
a. What did Christ say to reveal God’s willingness to teach us His ways, personally? Matthew 7:7–11.
“God wants His children to ask for those things that will enable Him to reveal His grace through them to the world. He wants them to seek His counsel, to acknowledge His power. Christ lays loving claims on all for whom He has given His life; they are to obey His will if they would share the joys that He has prepared for all who reflect His character here. It is well for us to feel our weakness, for then we shall seek the strength and wisdom that the Father delights to give to His children for their daily strife against the powers of evil.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 284.
b. How patient is God as He seeks to communicate with us? Romans 14:5 (second part); 2 Peter 3:9.
c. How patient should we be with others in their understanding of God’s ways? Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:2; Luke 6:37.
“As God’s free agents, all should ask wisdom of Him. When the learner depends wholly upon another’s thoughts, and goes no further than to accept his plans, he sees only through that man’s eyes and is, so far, only an echo of another. God deals with men as responsible beings. He will work by His Spirit through the mind He has put in man, if man will only give Him a chance to work and will recognize His dealings. He designs that each shall use his mind and conscience for himself. He does not intend that one man shall become the shadow of another, uttering only another’s sentiments. . . .
“Men are individually accountable to God, and each must act as God moves upon him, not as he is moved by the mind of another.”—Ibid., vol. 5, pp. 724, 725.
“No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think and to follow his own convictions. . . . No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 550.
5. HOW GOD USES IMPRESSIONS
a. In addition to guiding us through the voice of duty, what is another way that God speaks to us? Isaiah 30:21. How did God guide Mary through the impressions of the Holy Spirit?
“Mary knew not the full significance of her deed of love. She could not answer her accusers. She could not explain why she had chosen that occasion for anointing Jesus. The Holy Spirit had planned for her, and she had obeyed His promptings. Inspiration stoops to give no reason. An unseen presence, it speaks to mind and soul, and moves the heart to action. It is its own justification.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 560.
“Another way in which God’s voice is heard is through the appeals of His Holy Spirit, making impressions upon the heart, which will be wrought out in the character.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 512.
“Conscience is the voice of God, heard amid the conflict of human passions; when it is resisted, the Spirit of God is grieved.”—Ibid., p. 120.
“God speaks to us through His providential workings and through the influence of His Spirit upon the heart.”—Steps to Christ, p. 87.
b. Against what standard should we evaluate our impressions? Isaiah 8:20.
“The Bible . . . marks out the duty of man in every circumstance of life.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 312.
“If you are in doubt upon any subject you must first consult the Scriptures.”— Ibid., vol. 5, p. 512.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. If we neglect a known duty, what is our spiritual condition?
2. How are we to determine our duty?
3. What must we do in order to learn our duty?
4. What is the relationship between duty and individuality?
5. How does God use impressions? How can we abuse them?