Further Study: The Priority of the Promise
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“In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him. He brought them down to the Red Sea—where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible—that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude to God and with confidence in His power to help them. He had bound them to Himself as their deliverer from temporal bondage.

“But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 371.

“The law of God, spoken in awful grandeur from Sinai, is the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is in it no power to pardon or to redeem.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1094.

Discussion Questions:

1  Think about this whole idea of promises, especially broken ones. How did you feel about those who have broken their promise to you? How much difference did it make whether a person intended to keep it and then either couldn’t or changed his or her mind, or if you realized that the person never meant to keep it? What happened to your level of trust after the promise was broken, whatever the reason? What does it mean to you to know that you can trust God’s promises? Or perhaps the question should be, How can you learn to trust God’s promises in the first place? 

2 In what ways are we in danger of being corrupted by our environment to the point that we lose sight of the important truths God has given us? How can we make ourselves aware of just what those corrupting influences are, and then how can we counteract them?

Summary:

The giving of the law on Sinai did not invalidate the promise that God made to Abraham, nor did the law alter the promise’s provisions. The law was given so that people might be made aware of the true extent of their sinfulness and recognize their need of God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants.

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Further Study: The Priority of the Promise — 1 Comment

  1. (Think about this whole idea of promises, especially broken ones. How did you feel about those who have broken their promise to you?)

    The degree of hurt has always depended (for me) on the closeness of the relationship I had with the person to break the promise. The closer to me, the more hurt it caused. Only those close to me had the ability to have access to hurting me in a broken promise.

    (How much difference did it make whether a person intended to keep it and then either couldn’t or changed his or her mind, or if you realized that the person never meant to keep it?)

    As an early teen I realized the importance of “my word”. I vowed to never make a promise I didn’t know for sure I would be able to keep. I also decided that lying was a form of “my word”, I strived to be honest with all I encountered. Obviously I wasn’t able to stick to these principals completely, but I at least made a conscience effort in doing so. As I grew older and became more responsible for myself, I became more aware of the consequences to my actions. I found firsthand how lying by omission, and or breaking my promises would undercut the relationship I found with others. Once trust is broken between me and those around me, it is extremely difficult to rebuild it. Weather it was I that broke the trust, or others, this has been the case.

    (What happened to your level of trust after the promise was broken, whatever the reason?)

    Trust is broken, and in some cases, impossible to rebuild. Of course the promise made that is broken, depending on the level of trust involved made the difference in how badly my trust was shaken.

    (What does it mean to you to know that you can trust God’s promises?)

    Everything! To know that God is the only one that I can place complete trust in is comforting. I can only pray I would be as trust worthy for Him.

    (Or perhaps the question should be, how can you learn to trust God’s promises in the first place?)

    First of all I must learn what God’s promises for me are. Once I learn of them, then it is up to me to test those promises. Some of God’s promises to me are easy to trust, like salvation, where as others are harder to believe in; as in paying tithe when I don’t have much money. I know the promise, and yet find myself holding back. Ten percent doesn’t seem like much; until you have so little that it may mean going without something I “think” I need.

    (In what ways are we in danger of being corrupted by our environment to the point that we lose sight of the important truths God has given us?)

    In so many ways, I wouldn’t even want to count them. I sometimes think it would take being stranded on a deserted island to find complete dependence on God’s promises. I find myself “slipping” back into the “control” position of my life. Thinking I am either capable or afraid to let go. I know I must continue to pray for help in this regard, and hope I can learn it without actually being “stranded on that island.”

    (How can we make ourselves aware of just what those corrupting influences are, and then how can we counteract them?)

    I must study the bible, and learn for myself, as well as walking with Jesus always. I must give myself to His direction rather that “taking the wheel” and running myself off the cliff. As my eyes are made clearer, I will see the corruption and learn what to avoid and where it is safe to walk.

    I must say I am very thankful my salvation is not dependant on my ability to “keep the law”. In my knowledge that I am addicted to sin, without faith in my salvation through Jesus I would have no hope of ever being saved. I look forward to the day when temptation will no longer be.

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