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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Insights From the Book of Isaiah (II)

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Lesson 8 Sabbath, November 19, 2016

Cooperating With Heaven

“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13).

“An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ’s presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 71.

Suggested Reading:   Education, pp. 169-184

Sunday November 13

1. WORDS OF COMFORT AND HEALING

a. What comforting message to wayward Judah echoes down to us today in our desire to live for God and promote His cause? Isaiah 41:10–14.

“The Lord has pledged Himself to make His name a praise in the earth. What power He has promised to all who will work in cooperation with heaven! The three highest powers in the universe are pledged to labor with those who will seek to save the lost. God wants His people to claim His promised help for the accomplishment of His work in the world.”—The Review and Herald, August 12, 1909.

“Let us be hopeful and courageous. Despondency in God’s service is sinful and unreasonable. He knows our every necessity. He has all power. He can bestow upon His servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands. His infinite love and compassion never weary. With the majesty of omnipotence He unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. We need have no fear that He will not fulfill His promises. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant that He has made with those that love Him. His promises to His church stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations.

“Study the forty-first chapter of Isaiah, and strive to understand it in all its significance.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 38, 39.


Monday November 14

2. ENCOURAGEMENT IN OUR MISSION

a. What assurances do we have of God’s love and protection in carrying forward our mission, even amid trials? Isaiah 43:1–6.

“The furnace fires are not to destroy but to refine, ennoble, sanctify. Without trial we should not feel so much our need of God and His help; and we should become proud and self-sufficient. In the trials that come to you I see evidence that the Lord’s eye is upon you and that He means to draw you to Himself. It is not the whole but the wounded, who need a physician; it is those who are pressed almost beyond the point of endurance who need a helper. Turn to the stronghold. Learn the precious lesson: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matthew 11:28–30).”—Ibid., pp.123, 124.

b. What lessons of cooperation and encouragement even among idolaters can we apply today in our work for God? Isaiah 41:6, 7.

“It would be helpful for the youth, and for parents and teachers as well, to study the lesson of cooperation as taught in the Scriptures. Among its many illustrations notice the building of the tabernacle—that object lesson of character building—in which the whole people united, ‘every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing’ (Exodus 35:21). Read how the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt by the returned captives, in the midst of poverty, difficulty, and danger, the great task successfully accomplished because ‘the people had a mind to work’ (Nehemiah 4:6). Consider the part acted by the disciples in the Saviour’s miracle for the feeding of the multitude. The food multiplied in the hands of Christ, but the disciples received the loaves and gave to the waiting throng.

“‘We are members one of another.’ As everyone therefore ‘hath received a (RV) gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ (Ephesians 4:25; 1 Peter 4:10).

“Well might the words written of the idol builders of old be, with worthier aim, adopted as a motto by character builders of today: [Isaiah 41:6 quoted].”—Education, p. 286.


Tuesday November 15

3. IN TUNE WITH OUR MAKER

a. How do both the psalmist and Isaiah declare the uniqueness of our Creator? Psalm 72:18; Isaiah 44:6–8; 45:11, 12. What should this cause us to consider?

“Let us have more confidence in our Redeemer. Turn not from the waters of Lebanon to seek refreshment at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. Have faith in God. Trustful dependence on Jesus makes victory not only possible, but certain. Though multitudes are pressing on in the wrong way, though the outlook be ever so discouraging, yet we may have full assurance in our Leader; for ‘I am God,’ he declares, ‘and there is none else.’ (Isaiah 45:22). He is infinite in power, and able to save all who come to Him. There is no other in whom we can safely trust.”—The Review and Herald, June 9, 1910.

b. Instead of cooperating with our Creator in His purpose for us, what do we often do? Isaiah 45:9, 10. How did the heathen king, Cyrus, respond to God’s purpose for him? Verse 13.

“We believe in a general way, but we lose much because we do not trust fully and entirely in God our Maker. When we can, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, rest confidingly in His love and shut ourselves in with Him, resting peacefully in His love, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil joy. This experience gains for us a faith that enables us not to fret, not to worry, but to depend upon a Power that is infinite.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 289.

“As the king [Cyrus] saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; as he read the message addressed to him by the Ruler of the universe [Isaiah 45:5b, 6a quoted], as he saw before his eyes the declaration of the eternal God, “For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me;” as he traced the inspired record, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward,” his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission (Verses 4, 13). He would let the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 557, 558.


Wednesday November 16

4. THE CERTAINTY OF GOD’S WORD

a. When tempted to doubt the certainty of God’s Word, what should we remember about God? Isaiah 46:8–10.

“It is impossible for the finite minds of men to fully comprehend the character or the works of the Infinite One. . . .

“We can so far comprehend His dealing with us, and the motives by which He is actuated, that we may discern boundless love and mercy united to infinite power. We can understand as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond this we must still trust the might of the Omnipotent, the love and wisdom of the Father and Sovereign of all. . . . But God has given us in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine character, and we are not to doubt His word because we cannot understand all the mysteries of His providence. . . . All that God has seen fit to make known we are to accept upon the authority of His word. Only a bare statement of facts may be given, with no explanation as to why or how; but though we cannot comprehend it we should rest content that it is true, because God has said it. All the difficulty lies in the weakness and narrowness of the human mind”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 698-700.

“In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.”—Education, p. 173.

b. In His purpose to use Cyrus to deliver Judah from Babylon, what great spiritual deliverance was assured by God, and through whom would this come? Isaiah 46:11–13.

“In word and in deed the Messiah, during His earthly ministry, was to reveal to mankind the glory of God the Father. Every act of His life, every word spoken, every miracle wrought, was to make known to fallen humanity the infinite love of God.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 696.


Thursday November 17

5. GOD’S HELPING HANDS

a. What essential experience must we all have in order to cooperate with God in the blessed work of soul-saving? Psalm 51:10–13; 2 Corinthians 4:1–7. Why?

“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 195.

“He who becomes a child of God should henceforth look upon himself as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ in His plan of mercy, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 105.

“Have you so deep an appreciation of the sacrifice made on Calvary that you are willing to make every other interest subordinate to the work of saving souls? The same intensity of desire to save sinners that marked the life of the Saviour marks the life of His true follower. The Christian has no desire to live for self. He delights to consecrate all that he has and is to the Master’s service. He is moved by an inexpressible desire to win souls to Christ. Those who have nothing of this desire might better be concerned for their own salvation. Let them pray for the spirit of service.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 10.

“Our work has been marked out for us by our heavenly Father. We are to take our Bibles and go forth to warn the world. We are to be God’s helping hands in saving souls—channels through which His love is day by day to flow to the perishing.”—Ibid., vol.9, p. 150.


Friday November 18

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Name some ways in which God’s cause can be benefited by our mutual cooperation.

2. What should we remember when faced with fierce trials and difficulties?

3. If we rest in God’s love and commit ourselves fully to Him, what will we gain?

4. Why is prophecy so useful in laying the groundwork for belief in God?

5. Why is evangelistic zeal an accurate gauge of genuine conversion?

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