October 7 - 13
A Star to Guide the Humble
WHAT IS TRUST, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Faith, the hand that lays hold upon God's resources, consists of more than just belief; trust is a vital part. What, though, is trust? How does it work?
Does trust belong in a compartment separate from daily life, preserved only for religion? Is it practical? Can it benefit anybody?
These questions deserve answers. Indeed, we need these answers in order to survive.
Trust includes the willingness to commit oneself to the care of the one trusted. It is one thing to agree that a tightrope walker is capable of wheeling a person in a wheelbarrow on a rope strung over a thundering waterfall. It is quite another to volunteer to ride in the wheelbarrow.
A dictionary defines trust as complete assurance regarding the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Trust involves placing confidence in someone, depending on that person, committing oneself to her or his care, and relying totally on her or his integrity.
Jesus is the only One we can fully trust. He is like a gleaming star on a clear night to whom each believing traveler may look for guidance and comfort, This week's lesson will answer the questions What is trust? What is it for? and Whom is it for?
THE WEEK AT A GLANCE:
I. What Trust Is Versus What Trust Is Not (Prov. 22:17-19).
II. Is Our Trust Misplaced?—Part 1 (Prov. 28:26).
III. Is Our Trust Misplaced?—Part 2 (Prov. 11:4).
IV. A Star to Guide the Humble, Part 1 (Prov. 3:5, 6).
V. A Star to Guide the Humble, Part 2 (Phil. 4:19; Prov. 16:9).
MEMORY TEXT: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NIV).
How do we acquire trust? Prov. 22:17-10.
Trust is God's gift to us that develops as we admit our weakness and submit to His enabling might. God does not make us trust Him when we wish to doubt. Real trust is based on an intimate knowledge of the one trusted. Because we learn of and accept God's love and ability to sustain us, we trust Him. Willingness to trust God enables us to trust human beings whom we have discovered to be trustworthy.
"While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God's word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light.
"Distrust of God is the natural outgrowth of the unrenewed heart, which is at enmity with Him. But faith is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it will flourish only as it is cherished. No man can become strong in faith without a determined effort. Unbelief strengthens as it is encouraged; and if men, instead of dwelling upon the evidences which God has given to sustain their faith, permit themselves to question and cavil [complain], they will find their doubts constantly becoming more confirmed."—The Great Controversy, p. 527; emphasis supplied.
What can you learn from the following scriptures concerning how trust grows and becomes strong?
What Did You Learn?
|Suppose friends of yours are suffering the tragedy of losing a child in a car accident or to a fatal illness. What could you say or do to help them trust in God?|
Faith is no problem for some people—they have faith in just about anything! Trust, however, is worthless if not anchored in that which is trustworthy.
What warning does Solomon sound in ?
Self-confidence in questions involving eternal salvation and the ability to overcome sin are a sure passport to ruin. (See John 15:5; Jer. 10:23; 2 Cor. 3:5.)
"The Jewish leaders were impenitent and self-sufficient. The religious life of the Jewish nation had become a pretense. . . . When Christ came in person to set before them the principles of the law [Matt. 22:3 4-37], they rejected Him."—Christ 's Object Lessons, p. 276.
Who else is unsafe to trust besides ourselves, and why does Scripture warn us against trusting such people?
Prov. 2:11-15 ________________________________________________________________________
Ps. 41:9 ____________________________________________________________________________
Jer. 17:5 _______________________________________________________________________
Scripture sends us this invitation: "Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart" (1 Pet. 1:22, NRSV). Obviously, such love involves a measure of trust. We trust those who trust the Lord—at least in regard to some things. We also trust unbelieving friends in regard to some things. It would be a fatal mistake, however, to trust fellow Christians to keep us from falling into sin. They might help, but the ultimate deliverance comes only from Christ.
Many people "have not been in the habit of prayerfully considering for themselves, with unprejudiced, unbiased judgment, questions and subjects that are new and that are ever liable to arise. They wait to see what others will think. . . . Unless these become sensible of their wavering character and correct it, they will all fail of everlasting life; they will be unable to cope with the perils of the last days."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 129, 130.
|If we are sincere about our Christianity, how will God prevent us from becoming self-confident in matters of salvation?|
In our materialistic age, the tendency is to rely upon things for security. The inspired counsel is that the Lord is our only security. He expects us to do what we can to provide for ourselves and our families, but ultimately our dependence must be totally upon Him. When it is no longer possible for believers to buy or sell (Rev. 13:17), they will know from past experience the value of trust in God to carry them through the time of tribulation and persecution.
List some things that are unworthy of our trust, stating briefly why they are untrustworthy.
Prov. 3:31, 32 ________________________________________________________________________
Prov. 10:18 _________________________________________________________________________
Prov. 11:4 __________________________________________________________________________
Prov. 31:30 ____________________________________________________________________
What special blessings are given to those who trust in the Lord? Prov. 8:17, 18.
God invites us to trust in Him to receive His righteousness. Goodness, love, mercy, and wise counsel flow from the life of the one who constantly relies upon the Lord. Self-dependence, self-assurance in spiritual life, is a snare that Satan has prepared to destroy God's people. Satan's studied purpose is to lead us to trust our own efforts and to respect our own goodness. If he were to succeed in this, we would become his victims, and the life of victory would escape us.
|Proverbs 8:17, 18, says that when we
trust God, He gives us "durable riches." What are some of these riches, and
how can we use them as a means of serving God?
Ps. 9:9 _____________________________________________________________________________
Ps. 73:24 ___________________________________________________________________________
Isa. 45:22 __________________________________________________________________________
Matt. 28:20 __________________________________________________________________
Explain why God wants us to trust Him. Prov. 3:5,6; Matt. 6:25-34.
"If you have given yourself to God, to do His work, you have no need to be anxious for tomorrow. . . . When we take into our hands the management of things with which we have to do, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we are taking a burden which God has not given us, and are trying to bear it without His aid. We are taking upon ourselves the responsibility that belongs to God, and thus are really putting ourselves in His place. We may well have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it is certain to befall us. But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, for our will is swallowed up in the will of God."—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 100, 101.
What principle did Paul express in ?
Paul did not enjoy pain and suffering but was glad he could share in the sufferings of Christ. In times of trial and pain, he recognized more fully the need for total dependence upon the Lord. After he had prayed three times for his "thorn in the flesh" to be removed ( 2 Cor. 12:7, 8 ), God assured him that His grace was sufficient, that His "strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul's response amounted to the declaration: "Then I am willing to acknowledge my weakness so that I can have the grace (the power) of Christ. Now I see in trials and persecution the means by which I am led to rely more fully upon the Source of my power."
List some prerequisites for answered prayer. Matt. 7:7; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14, 15 . Under what circumstances will God not answer our prayers? James 4:3; Ps. 66:18 .
Before we ask, we must realize our need. This is one of the first conditions of effective prayer. Cherished sin makes it impossible for God to answer our prayers. When we put away sin and trust the Lord to answer us, we can be assured that He will give us whatever is for our best good.
|How can we weaken our faith in God by the way we pray?|
yesterday, we studied about why God wants us to trust Him and the part prayer has in establishing that trust. Today's lesson continues that study.
As shortsighted human beings, we tend to pray for things that would do us more harm than good. The beautiful truth is that God may deny us what we have asked for, but in its place He will give us that which is best for us. Our faith should not fail when God does not answer our prayer right away. From His divine perspective, He is able to see perfectly the results of any course of action. He knows best where we should work, with whom we should associate closely, where we should live, and what influences are most likely to prepare us effectively to spend eternity with Him. Trust Him!
After accepting Christ and the advent message, a young man went to college to prepare for the ministry. Halfway through the year he realized that he did not have enough money to continue. Earnestly he shared with a religion teacher his deep conviction that he should be a minister, but how could he ever fulfill the Lord's will if he could not afford an education? The teacher encouraged the student to remain in college for two more weeks, and they both agreed to take the young man's financial need to the Lord every day. At the end of the two weeks, the student received a letter containing a check for the amount he needed to continue in college. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19, NIV).
What special blessing can we claim when we trust the Lord to guide us? Prov. 16:9; Ps. 32:8.
The various translations of Proverbs 16:9 help us grasp the full meaning of this blessing: "You may make your plans, but God directs your actions" (TEV). "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure" (Amplified).
Of course, there is a definite condition to such guidance. We can expect it when we are committed to Christ and, by His grace, doing His will. Proverbs16:8 reads: "Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice" (Prov. 16:8, NIV).
Think of an example from your own experience of God's leading you in a direction that you never would have chosen for yourself. Why did His way prove to be better than the way you could have planned for yourself? Plan to share your experience with your Sabbath School class.
FURTHER STUDY: Consider the following counsel regarding the importance of trusting the Lord: Psalm 37:3-6 ; Psalm 118:5-8; Isaiah 26:3, 4. Also consider the following regarding the dangers of distrusting Him: Isaiah 30:1, 2 ; Jeremiah 5:17; Jeremiah 17:5.
Read Steps to Christ, pp. 121-124.
"If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have—the great mercy and love of God— we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God."—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 122.
"Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character and life."—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 99.
SUMMARIZE this week's lesson by answering the following questions: What is trust? What is it for? and Whom is it for?
It is impossible for a proud heart to trust in God, but only He has the solutions for our personal and corporate problems. His blessings are available in abundance as we ask and submit ourselves to His perfect and gracious will.
Cicero was the fifth of fourteen children living in a remote region of northeastern Brazil. He was a quiet boy who worked hard. His father worked for an Adventist farmer, and when Cicero was 12 years old, the farmer invited him to work on the farm, too.
Cicero proved to be an honest and faithful worker, and the farmer's family invited him to live with them. When the family went to the city, they trusted Cicero to take care of the farm. They often talked to Cicero about God and invited him to attend church with them. Thus Cicero met God. He had never attended school, but he taught himself to read so he could read the Bible with his new family. Often the farmer saw Cicero standing among the trees, preaching to an invisible audience.
Cicero was baptized when he was 16. He enjoyed taking part in church activities and dreamed that one day he would preach in church. The lay elders often preached when the pastor was absent. Finally, Cicero found the courage to offer to preach. He carefully wrote his own sermon. After that he often preached.
As they worked together on the farm, Cicero talked to his younger brothers, José, 15, and Ricardo, 13, about God and invited them to attend church with him.
One day José and Ricardo were weeding when they heard a noise and looked up to see Cicero stumbling toward them. The boys ran to their brother. They saw that he was sick and remembered he had been spraying insecticide that morning. They realized he must be suffering from insecticide poisoning. Ricardo wanted to run for help, but Cicero stopped him. "I am going to sleep now," Cicero said. "You boys follow Jesus and tell everyone to be ready, for His coming is soon. I want to see you in heaven." Cicero was losing consciousness as Ricardo raced for help.
Cicero was unconscious when a neighbor arrived. He loaded the young man into the car for the 20-minute drive to the nearest hospital. When they arrived doctors tried to revive the boy, but he did not respond. Within an hour Cicero was dead.
Ricardo and José told their mother what Cicero had said before he died. She had attended church when Cicero preached, but her husband would not permit her to be baptized. After Cicero's death she did not ask permission. She and her children began attending church regularly. She and her daughter and José were baptized. Cicero's testimony led them to Christ, Now they want to carry his spirit of service to others.
Charlotte Ishkanjan is editor of Mission.
Join the SSNET moderated email discussion group. You are also warmly invited to join a group discussion of this lesson Sabbath morning with your local Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.
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