1. CREATOR AND MAINTAINER
a. What should we realize in gazing upon the magnificent splendor of creation? Psalm 19:1–3; Isaiah 40:18, 21, 22, 26.
“[Psalm 19:1–3 quoted.] Some may suppose that these grand things in the natural world are God. They are not God. All these wonders in the heavens are only doing the work appointed them. They are the Lord’s agencies. God is the superintendent, as well as the Creator, of all things.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 293, 294.
b. What aspect of God’s omnipotence touches us daily? Acts 17:24–29.
“The physical organism of man is under the supervision of God; but it is not like a clock, which is set in operation, and must go of itself. The heart beats, pulse succeeds pulse, breath succeeds breath, but the entire being is under the supervision of God. . . . Each heartbeat, each breath, is the inspiration of Him who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life—the inspiration of the ever-present God, the great I AM.”—Ibid., pp.294, 295.
2. WORTHY OF REVERENCE
a. What facts show that God is unique in deserving our continual worship? Psalm 33:6–9; Jeremiah 10:9–13.
“God’s claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is based upon the fact that He is the Creator, and that to Him all other beings owe their existence.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 336.
“The Divine Being is engaged in upholding the things that He has created. The same hand that holds the mountains and balances them in position, guides the worlds in their mysterious march around the sun. . . .
“God furnishes the matter and the properties with which to carry out His plans. He employs His agencies that vegetation may flourish. He sends the dew and the rain and the sunshine, that verdure may spring forth, and spread its carpet over the earth; that the shrubs and fruit trees may bud and blossom and bring forth.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 294.
b. What questions should inspire us with reverence for God? Job 11:7; 38:1–7. In what way can reverence for our Creator impact our salvation?
“Divine inspiration asks many questions which the most profound scholar cannot answer. These questions were not asked, supposing that we could answer them, but to call our attention to the deep mysteries of God, and to make men know that their wisdom is limited; that in the common things of daily life there are mysteries past the comprehension of finite minds; that the judgment and purposes of God are past finding out, His wisdom unsearchable. If He reveals Himself to man, it is by shrouding Himself in the thick cloud of mystery.
“God’s purpose is to conceal more of Himself than He makes known to man. Could men fully understand the ways and works of God, they would not then believe Him to be the infinite One. He is not to be comprehended by man in His wisdom, and reasons, and purposes. ‘His ways are past finding out’ (Romans 11:33). His love can never be explained upon natural principles. If this could be done, we would not feel that we could trust Him with the interests of our souls. Skeptics refuse to believe, because with their finite minds they cannot comprehend the infinite power by which God reveals Himself to men. Even the mechanism of the human body cannot be fully understood; it presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1141.
3. TRUE OWNERSHIP
a. What has God always wanted us to understand regarding the ownership of property? Psalm 50:7, 10–12.
“The Lord sought to teach Israel that in everything He must be first. Thus they were reminded that God was the proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that it was He who sent them the sunshine and the rain that developed and ripened the harvest. Everything that they possessed was His.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 337.
“Our bodies belong to God. He paid the price of redemption for the body as well as the soul. ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. ‘The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.’ Verse 13. The Creator watches over the human machinery, keeping it in motion. Were it not for His constant care, the pulse would not beat, the action of the heart would cease, the brain would no longer act its part.”—Counsels on Health, p. 586.
b. How extensive is God’s property? Psalm 24:1, 2; Deuteronomy 10:14. What does this mean to us? Revelation 4:11.
“Consider that there is only one Proprietor of the universe, and that every man, with his time, his intellect, his resources, belongs to the One who has paid the ransom for the soul. God has a righteous claim to constant service and supreme affection. God’s will, not your pleasure, is to be your criterion.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 137.
“We should not forget that we are in the service of God, and that he owns us, and he owns the world. Though we are all poor and unable to do large things, the Lord calls upon every soul to practice self-denial in this time of scarcity, and be able to give, not grudgingly nor of necessity, but with cheerful gratitude for God’s unspeakable gift.”—The Review and Herald, August 21, 1894.
“Those who have a constant realization that they stand in this relation to God will not place in the stomach food which pleases the appetite, but which injures the digestive organs. They will not spoil the property of God by indulging improper habits of eating, drinking, or dressing. They will take great care of the human machinery, realizing that they must do this in order to work in copartnership with God. He wills that they shall be healthy, happy, and useful. But in order for them to be this, they must place their wills on the side of His will.”—Child Guidance, p. 399.
4. WHO HAS DOMINION?
a. To whom did God entrust dominion over His earthly goods? Genesis 1:26–28. Why is this an honor to humanity? Psalm 8:1–9.
“He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was ‘the son of God’ [Luke 3:38].”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
b. Because of Adam’s fall, what did the deceiver boast to Christ? Luke 4:5, 6.
c. When is Christ’s dominion over this planet to be fully recovered? Daniel 7:13, 14, 26, 27; Micah 4:8; Revelation 11:15.
“When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will’ (Daniel 4:17). Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 129, 130.
“Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;’ He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband’ (Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2). Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.”—The Great Controversy, p. 427.
5. STEWARDSHIP ENTRUSTED
a. Whenever any degree of dominion—great or small—is entrusted to us, what admonition are we to heed? Deuteronomy 8:11–18.
“We should regard ourselves as stewards of the Lord’s property and God as the supreme proprietor, to whom we are to render His own when He shall require it.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 480, 481.
b. What message bears special force in these final days, just before our Lord’s return? Luke 19:11–13.
“God calls us servants, which implies that we are employed by Him to do a certain work and bear certain responsibilities. He has lent us capital for investment. It is not our property, and we displease God if we hoard up our Lord’s goods or spend them as we please. . . .
“Every talent which returns to the Master will be scrutinized. The doings and trusts of God’s servants will not be considered an unimportant matter. Every individual will be dealt with personally and will be required to give an account of the talents entrusted to him, whether he has improved or abused them. The reward bestowed will be proportionate to the improvement of the talents. The punishment awarded will be according as the talents have been abused. . . .
“The talents are in our hands. Shall we use them to God’s glory, or shall we abuse them? We may trade with them today, but tomorrow our probation may end and our account be forever fixed.”—Ibid., vol.2, p. 668. [Author’s Italics.]
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What facts reveal that our Creator is also our Sustainer?
2. Why is God alone worthy to be worshipped?
3. How should we respond when we consider that God owns everything, and that he has entrusted dominion of the earth to humans?
4. What should we understand about Satan’s usurped authority?
5. What temptation comes when we are entrusted with goods?