November 25 - December 1
"What Hath God Wrought!"
GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF REVELATION AND OF ALL TRUE SCIENCE. A study of either sheds light on the other and ultimately advances our knowledge of the Creator Himself.
"In their original perfection all created things were an expression of the thought of God. To Adam and Eve in their Eden home nature was full of the knowledge of God, teeming with divine instruction. Wisdom spoke to the eye and was received into the heart; for they communed with God in His created works. As soon as the holy pair transgressed the law of the Most High, the brightness from the face of God departed from the face of nature. The earth is now marred and defiled by sin. Yet even in its blighted state much that is beautiful remains. God's object lessons are not obliterated; rightly understood, nature speaks of her Creator."Christ's Object Lessons, p. 18.
THE WEEK AT A GLANCE:
I. Lessons From Life Science, Part 1 (Prov. 6:6-11).
II. Lessons From Life Science, Part 2 (Prov. 30:25, 27-31).
III. Lessons From Life Science, Part 3 (Matt. 6:25-34).
IV. Lessons From Physical Science (Prov. 3:19, 20; Ps. 19:1-6).
V. God's Creative Masterpiece (Ps. 8:3-6; Prov. 8:22-31).
MEMORY TEXT: "Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?" (Job 12:8, 9, NIV).
By connecting truth with familiar objects, we recall afresh, with every sight of those objects, the teaching of Scripture and the impressions of the Holy Spirit. This, incidentally, is one practical method of keeping our hearts "in tune" with heaven.
Of whom does Job advise us to inquire for information concerning God? Job 12:7-9.
We can learn so much from animals. Learning about them gives us a clearer picture of God's care for His creatures. How can a bear hibernate five months without losing its ability to use its muscles in the spring? How can young songbirds migrate hundreds of miles to wintering areas they have never seen, after the parent birds have gone ahead? How can lizards regenerate a tail after having dropped the original? Or how can a starfish not only grow a new arm to replace one lost from the original body but generate a new body on a severed arm if that arm includes a nerve from the main trunk?
Research in nature can also benefit humankind. Scientists studying the social behavior of wolves learn how they settle their differences short of bloodshed, thereby hoping to learn how to diffuse human anger and avoid national and world crises.
What parables of Jesus does Job 12:7-9 bring to mind? What do these parables teach? The following chart will get you started. What would you add to this chart?
|Object From Nature||Text||Parable Meaning|
|The good and bad will exist in the church until Christ returns. See Christ's Object Lessons, pp.122, 123.|
|The gospel will be heard by many types of people. (See Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 36-61.)|
List the characteristics of the coney. Prov. 30:24, 26.
What can we learn from the coney? "There is general agreement now that the animal intended must have been the hyrax."The Bible Almanac (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1980). The hyrax is a furry creature about the size of the hare. Its remarkable features include its feet and toes, four toes on its front feet and three on its hind feet. Skin folds connect the toes, and pads kept moist by glands equip the feet. The feet thus form natural suction cups, which enable the coney to climb the steepest and most slippery rocks.
Colonies of coneys live in mountainous areas. They still reside in the rocky Dead Sea area of Palestine. They post guards who, when danger approaches, sound an alarm by issuing sharp whistles. Then all scurry for cover in the crannies of the rocks. (Based on Encyclopedia of Bible Creatures [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965], pp. 63, 64. See Ps. 104:18.) Just as the rocks protect the coneys, so Christ, the solid Rock, protects Christians against ultimate harm. "He who is imbued with the spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence... . Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission."Thoughts From The Mount of Blessing, p. 71.
What other animals impressed the writer of Proverbs 30? What did he particularly like about each one? Vs. 25, 27-31.
|Animal||What Solomon Liked About It|
What other lessons does Solomon draw from the ant's habits? Prov. 6:6-11.
|Think of an animal that lives in your part of the world. What lessons can you learn from it?|
Yesterday's lesson ended with a discussion of the lessons we can learn from the ant. Today's lesson carries on with this topic.
"The habitations which the ants build for themselves show skill and perseverance. Only one little grain at a time can they handle, but by diligence and perseverance they accomplish wonders. Solomon presents to the world the industry of the ant as a reproach to those who waste their hours in sinful idleness, in practices which corrupt soul and body. The ant prepares for future seasons. This is a lesson which many gifted with reasoning powers disregard. They fail entirely to prepare for the future immortal life which God has in His providence secured for the fallen race."Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, pp. 1157, 1158.
What seemingly opposite lesson does Jesus present in His Sermon on the Mount? Matt. 6:25, 26. Taken together, what do Proverbs 6:6-11 and Matthew 6:25, 26 tell us about God's expectations in the matter of meeting our needs?
"Relax! Eat, drink, and be merry, for God will provide!" Not so! The desired response is trust, not irresponsibility or extravagance. The Father in heaven provides for the birds, but He does not drop food into their mouths or build their nests for them. They must gather food, build nests, and raise their young. The possibility of destruction by enemy forces is very real on every side. Yet, how full of joy their songs are! These creatures of hill, wood, and field are part of God's great household, and it is from His hand that the desire of each is satisfied. (See Ps. 145:16.)
In Matthew 6:28-34, Jesus continues to illustrate from nature His teaching regarding trust. Why else would God have "clothed the grass" in such a magnificent array of flowers, from brilliant jewel tones and delicate pastels to glistening, almost iridescent whiteand all fashioned in exquisite, intricate detailunless He did it for sheer enjoyment? For God is the Master Artist, a lover of beauty. Within His children, He has planted a like appreciation and has even given us a power akin to His ownindividuality, creativity, inventiveness, apportioned in varying degrees. Because He is able to clothe nature and human personality with such beauty, why should we doubt His willingness to supply our daily needs?
|Are you so involved in the affairs of your busy life that you do not take time to enjoy nature? What other lessons from nature have you found helpful?|
How are God's wisdom and power manifested? Prov. 3:19, 20.
Verse 19 speaks of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Verse 20 indicates how God maintains His marvelous creation. He acted in the beginning. He continues to act day by day, moment by moment. Every day and night, God is at work in the natural world. He keeps the earth spinning on its axis, rotating in its orbit around the sun, not only keeping time but governing time, days, seasons, and years.
Despite its great weight, water is drawn up from the seas into the clouds and drips again as dew or rain to dress the earth in green vegetation. The grand cycle is constantly repeated. In His control over the processes of nature, God employs engineering marvels far beyond the ingenuity and power of any one person.
According to Psalm 19:1-6, what do the heavens declare about God?
The vastness, beauty, and clockwork order of the starry heavens reveal something of the character of God. His power is infinite. He is the author of matchless beauty, and He insists upon order and design. It takes at least as much faith to believe that galaxies of stars evolved on their own as it does to believe the Bible account that God created them.
Study Psalm 19:1-4 by focusing on the italicized words or phrases as they appear below. What do they tell us about how nature teaches us about God? (For example, the heavens do not just whisper about God, they declare, thus implying that they "shout it from the roof-tops.") Also, how do these words make you feel about God's creation?
The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. . .
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
|Unbelievers can see a bit of God's character in the universe and in the lives of Christians. By what attitudes, words, and actions do you make Christ known to others?|
While observing the brilliance of the night sky, what important question did David ask the Lord? Ps. 8:3-6.
As the following story suggests, we seem to be infinitesimal specks on a tiny world in one small solar system of infinite space. A Jewish rabbi once offered a possible explanation for the wearing of the yarmulka, the little cap worn at Passover. He said, "The yarmulka is like the palm of the hand of God resting in blessing on the man in the home saying, 'Little man, you're not such big stuff!"Ronald B. Allen, The Majesty of Man (Portland, Ore.: Multnomah Press, 1984), p. 70.
Yet, we must not forget that in Psalm 139:14 David rejoices that he is "wonderfully made" (NIV). Indeed, the creation of humankind is the most wonderful of all God's creative work, and the design and function of every system of the human body are wonders of supernatural wisdom and power. The human body is composed of 75-100 trillion cells. Several billion wear out and are replaced every day. The heart pumps about three gallons of blood per minute, millions of gallons in an average lifetime. The wonder of human physiology leads us to exclaim, "What hath God wrought!" (Num. 23:23).
What clue does Proverbs 8:22-31 give regarding the Creator's purpose and motivation?
Wisdom is the subject of this chapter (v. 12). We discovered in an earlier lesson that the wisdom of Proverbs is the wisdom of God. In the central passage of this chapter, the author tells of God's wisdom in creating the world. In the New Testament, we learn that Christ is "the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24), and five texts declare that He created the world (John 1:1-3, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3). Proverbs 3:19 teaches that "the Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth." Commenting on Proverbs 8:22, Ellen White writes: "The Son of God declares concerning Himself: 'The Lord possessed me in the beginning."Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34. Hence, wisdom is Christ the Creator.
|Read the Creation story in Genesis 1:1-27. Then take time to envision Adam and Eve hearing about how God created humans and the world. Feel as they must have felt when God told them how He had formed Adam out of the earth and Eve from one of his ribs. Marvel as they did when God explained how He decorated the earth with all the plants and animals and the sky with its various lights. Worship God for all His splendor and glory.|
What do the following verses teach us about our relationship to God's creation: Genesis 1:26; 2:15; and Revelation 11:18?
"God's command that humanity exercise dominion over and subdue the earth does not constitute license to exploit the environment. . . . He created the earth, and maintains it so that it does not degenerate to chaos. And those God placed on earth to rule 'in his own image' are to imitate God as rulers and creators.
"Humanity, then, are to maintain the creation. They are, so to speak, co-creators-stewards of the earth. God cannot sanction our harmful exploitation of it. This would indicate alienation from His creation. .
Approving humanity's destruction of the creation would imply divine mindlessness to humanity's self-destruction. .
"Emphasis on human health is fundamentally illogical without an equal concern for the well-being of the environment. Air and water pollution is as much a threat to human health as are those poisons we have the liberty not to take into our bodies."A. Josef Greig, "Adventists and the Environment," Adventist Review (April 19, 1990), pp. 16, 18.
SUMMARIZE this week's lesson by answering this question: How does the natural world, the physical universe, and the physical structure of humankind direct us to Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God?
As you continue to contemplate God's reflection in nature, remember that He seeks to restore us to the perfect image of Himself so that we can have unending joy in the sin-free universe.
Tanya is the 26-year-old wife of a Russian pastor living in Archangelsk, a major city in northern Siberia. While Tanya enjoys her Christian friends, she eagerly seeks out friendships with non-Adventist women. And in the past few years she has won 10 of her friends to Christ.
Recently she received a telephone call from a friend who lives in the city where Tanya and her husband served before moving to Archangelsk. Her friend called to thank her for sharing the joy of knowing Jesus and to tell her that she had just been baptized.
As Tanya shared this good news with others, she added, "I praise the Lord that 10 of my friends are now friends with Jesus also." When asked how she finds her new friends and wins so many to Christ, Tanya answered, "They are my neighbors. I just enjoy visiting them and sharing my life with them. I do not preach, but as we become acquainted they ask me what it is that makes me so happy."
Tanya gave an example of her friendship ministry. Recently she was preparing a meal for some visiting church leaders and asked Natali, her neighbor, to help her. As the two women worked together preparing the meal, Natali began asking Tanya questions. "Who are these people from Moscow and Washington D.C. who have come to our city? Why are they here?" Tanya used this opportunity to tell Natali about her church and its mission. The foods she chose to prepare for the guests and the absence of liquor led to a discussion of biblical health principles.
As the women's friendship grew and Natali saw more of Tanya's way of life, she was impressed by the peace and joy this family enjoyed.
Sometime later Tanya learned that Natali had convinced her husband to stop smoking and drinking. Without realizing it, Natali and her family already are beginning to experience the positive results of the Adventist lifestyle.
Tanya says, "The Lord is working. It won't be long before an opportunity will come to discuss our beliefs." This time Tanya may win more than one friend for Christ; she may win her friend's husband, too.
J. H. Zachary is coordinator of international evangelism for The Quiet Hour and a special consultant for the General Conference Ministerial Association.
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