November 14 - 20
READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: Prov. 3:1, 2; Eccl. 12:13; Isa. 40:13,14; Jer. 31:3; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2:7; Rev. 3:18.
MEMORY TEXT: : "And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV).
KEY THOUGHT: Because of His love for His children, God offers beneficial counsel to all who look to Him.
GOD AS COUNSELOR IS THE THEME OF THIS WEEK'S LESSON. Good counsel is always important, whether from another person or from God. Counsel from God is always good. In this world, we owe much of our happiness and success to counsel that comes from others. Misery and mistakes are all too frequently the result of our failure to accept counsel, both human and divine. We always hurt ourselves when we neglect to heed counsel from God. The Word of God consists largely of counsel the Lord has given. It is always the best counsel we can receive, because it is designed to give us happiness, prosperity, and peace here and an eternity of bliss in the world beyond. Only to a slight extent have we come to recognize the wisdom and worth of the heavenly counsel found in the Word of God. Giving heed to injunctions will expand our intellect, give health to our body, and purify our soul.
What is unique about God's wisdom and knowledge?
With whom could the Creator of the world, the One infinite in power, wisdom, and knowledge, have taken counsel when He brought the world into being? He alone knows and understands all. Only He can teach all others but has no one who can instruct Him. Only He can give unerring counsel to all but has none to direct His ways.
What contrast does Solomon make between the person who seeks counsel and the person who does not? Prov. 12:15.
The person who seeks counsel is _________________________________________
The person who does not seek counsel is a _________________________________
Accepting God's counsel of wisdom and counsel of love is like taking God by the hand. Without these counsels, we are no different from the wicked, who grope along in deep darkness, knowing not what they are stumbling over.
"I bless the Lord who gives me counsel," wrote the psalmist; then, addressing his Benefactor: "Thou dost show me the path of life" (Ps. 16:7, 11, RSV). There is One who knows the way, and we may safely trust our footsteps to HIM.
How does the psalmist describe people who follow God's counsel? Ps. 25:9.
God being the embodiment of wisdom, all His counsel is wise. And God being the embodiment of love, all His counsel is good, It is wisdom for us to listen to counsel of wisdom. He might have kept His wisdom to Himself. But had He done so, He would not have been God, for love called for the sharing of His wisdom and counsel with those in need.
"Let God teach you His way. Inquire of Him daily to know His will. He will give unerring counsel to all who seek Him with a sincere heart."Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 276.
|What area of your life are you having problems with? Your marriage? Your relationship with a friend or co-worker? Negative emotions such as anger, pride, or jealousy? What helpful counsel does the Bible give concerning this area? How can this counsel improve your life?|
How does God draw us to Himself, and what does this reveal to us about what He is like? Jer. 31:3.
True love does not forget. It always seeks to help, never to hurt. One of the best ways in which love can show itself is by giving counsel. Gifts of counsel are often of greater value than any other gifts. They cannot be measured in terms of material value, although at times they are of the highest material value. Heavenly counsel pro vides us with the greatest values we can obtain in life.
Counsel from people is not always prompted by love and is not always wise. People may give counsel to others that they would not want for themselves. Counsel from people may be for the purpose of benefiting the giver rather than the receiver.
But God's counsel is always prompted by love and is always helpful and wise. Accepted, God's counsel may seem to hurt at the time, but its fruitage is always good.
Those whom God loves, He rebukes and disciplines (Rev. 3:19). Jesus at times administered counsel in terms of stem rebuke. But when He did, it was prompted by love. "He did not censure human weak ness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. "Steps to Christ, p. 12.
As persons and situations differ, so counsel varies. What is good counsel for one may prove to be poor counsel for others. When people follow counsel intended for others in entirely different circumstances, the results they reap may be ill instead of good. But God must not be blamed for people's lack of judgment or discernment.
What counsel did Jesus give to a rich young ruler? Matt. 19:21.
"God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God."Steps to Christ, p. 46.
|Why are we sometimes reluctant to accept good counsel? If you had the choice of receiving money or good counsel, which would you choose, and why?|
What counsel did Paul give Timothy? 1 Tim. 1:2; 2:7; 4:12, 15, 16.
Although Paul's words were directed to Timothy, they are of value to all who aspire to be God's helping hand.
Timothy was a young minister with his future before him. In his work, he might be merely mediocre. He might be a failure. Or he might be an outstanding success. Paul loved Timothy as his own son and gave him the best counsel he could so he might be successful.
"This epistle was written to Timothy while he was pastor of the Ephesian church, and is composed primarily of instructions addressed to him as a leader of the church.... In it Paul admonishes Timothy to conduct himself in a manner pleasing to God and helpful to the flock over which God has placed him, and delivers to him a solemn charge to preach the Word and to defend its teachings. "SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 285.
"Paul urged Timothy to meditate upon those things that are pure and excellent, that his profiting might appear unto all. The same counsel is greatly needed by men of the present age. I urge upon our workers the necessity of purity in every thought, every act. We have an individual accountability to God, an individual work which no one else can do for us. It is to strive to make the world better. While we should cultivate sociability, let it not be merely for amusement but for a higher purpose.
"Is there not enough taking place around us to show the need for this caution? Everywhere are seen wrecks of humanity, broken-down family altars, ruined homes."Gospel Workers, p. 125.
What truth did Paul note to encourage Timothy to be fearless? 2 Tim. 1:7, 8.
When one is on the side of right, on the side of God, there is no reason to fear. Note how Jesus was unafraid in the storm and before the two demoniacs. (See Matt. 8:23-34.)
"The inference may be drawn from this epistle that Timothy was a man of mild temperament and not so aggressive as Paul might have wished. Accordingly the apostle encourages his younger companion in the ministry to more vigorous leadership. "SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 285.
|Read 2 Timothy 2:1, 2, 16, 19, 22-25; 3:14, 15; 4:2, 5; and indicate the ways in which this counsel is relevant to you today.|
Explain why it is important to fear God. Eccles. 12:13. Why is our first duty to God and not ourselves?
No better counsel can be given than to make first things first. True religion requires an ordering of priorities. Eternity is at stake. If we lose heaven, we lose everything. If we do not find God in this world and fail to live in accord with His ways, we not only lose the finest and best that this life can offer but eternal life, as well.
What counsel do we read in Matthew 6:25-33 regarding our daily needs?
"God's law is the law of love. He has surrounded you with beauty to teach you that you are not placed on earth merely to delve for self, to dig and build, to toll and spin, but to make life bright and joyous and beautiful with the love of Christ-like the flowers, to gladden other lives by the ministry of love....
"Lead the children to see in every pleasant and beautiful thing an expression of God's love for them. Recommend your religion to them by its pleasantness."Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 97. The present world of sin is doomed to pay the wages of sin, which is destruction. Evil people are simply destroying themselves and the world in which they live.
When we forget God and His commandments, we forget the only force that can hold the world together, the only means by which peace, happiness, and well-being can be preserved and life itself maintained.
We need to learn that there is a God in heaven and that we owe allegiance to Him-an allegiance we can neglect only at the expense of our present well-being and eternal happiness. When we do neglect our allegiance to the Lord, we neglect ourselves and others and the world in which we live. The price for such negligence is a life on earth without God's goodness and love and the loss of life in heaven.
What is Micah's summary of God's requirements?
|Is there a person you know who walks humbly with God and treats others with mercy (kindness) and justice? How has that person made a difference in your life? Pray for God to help you meet these requirements.|
What special counsel does Revelation 3:18 give to the Laodicean church?
We do not need to be rich in this world's goods. But we do need to have spiritual riches. The symbolism of gold, white raiment, and eye salve may be interpreted as follows: gold-faith that works by love; white raiment-Christ's righteousness; eye salve-the ability, through the Spirit of God, to distinguish between truth and error.
Why is it necessary for us to be on guard at all times? Matt. 25:13.
God has given many details concerning the kind of people the saints should be in order to be ready for His coming. Some character istics are as follows:
Sober (1 Thess. 5:6). The daytime is a time to work, not to sleep. (See John 9:4.)
Diligent (2 Pet. 1:10, 11). Although we are called and chosen, we must never cease to be careful lest we fall.
Obedient (Rev. 22:14). An alternate reading gives "wash their robes." We need to have the robe of Christ's righteousness to enter the kingdom.
Confident (Heb. 10:35). There may be periods of waiting and uncertainty. But our faith must remain firm.
Patient (Heb. 10:36, 37). Christ's coming is as certain as day following night. Wait for it!
Overcoming (Rev. 2:7). The Christian is a faithful warrior for Christ. Victory is assured.
Now look up the following texts to find others:
1 Pet. 5:8 __________________________________________________________
2 Pet. 3:11, 14 ______________________________________________________
1 John 3:3 _________________________________________________________
Rev. 21:27 ________________________________________________________
|Why is it more difficult, or less so, to be holy in the last days than in earlier times? In what practical ways can God help you to grow in holiness?|
FURTHER STUDY: To team about the blessing of heeding God's counsel, read Proverbs 3 and Deuteronomy 28. Also read Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 147-152.
"Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world's object-lesson of health and prosperity. If as a people they had lived according to God's plan, they would have been preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations. Above any other people they would have possessed physical strength and vigor of intellect. They would have been the mightiest nation on the earth."The Ministry of Healing, p. 283.
SUMMARY: God is not silent. He speaks. What He says benefits His creation. Although Adam and Eve walked away from Him in disobedience and rebellion, God did not remain silent. He has kept in touch.
The extent to which our wonderful God has kept in touch is truly amazing. He might have simply revealed His keen disappointment over our first parents' lack of trust. But He did more. He came calling for them in the Garden. He might have simply told them how He was going to put an end to Satan's escapades. But He did more. He promised the guilty pair full restoration. He might have simply told them to look for a better tomorrow. But He did more. He helped them and their descendants live good lives today. God has always been interested in the total welfare of His people. He is a wonderful Counselor.
Josef had recently finished school and started a new job in Budapest, Hungary. With time on his hands, he began looking for new friends and interesting things to do. He became involved with some young people who worshiped Satan. They taught h m how to call up demons, and he soon won their respect, for he seemed to have great psychic power.
The young people spent their time smoking marijuana, drinking, and listening to hard rock music. Josef bought a motorcycle so he could ride with his friends. But a serious accident nearly cost, him his life when a piece of flying debris cut a long gash in his neck, and he nearly bled to death. The doctor who cared for him told him he was lucky to be alive. "You should have died beside the road," he told Josef solemnly. But Josef paid little attention. He did not believe in God.
Just weeks after his near-fatal accident, Josef was again riding his motorcycle. Then one day as he sped down a road, he lost control and hit a pole, tearing his motorcycle apart and throwing him into a ditch. But he climbed out of the ditch with barely a scratch. His friends began calling him Lucky, but Josef began to think that maybe something-or Someone-had saved his life. But why? Was God trying to tell him something?
Josef knew nothing about religion; he felt he needed to learn if God exists and what God wanted from him. He had no idea which church to attend, so he looked up a friend who was a Christian. Josef talked to him about religion and began attending church and studying the Bible with him.
The devil was not willing to let Josef go without a struggle. One night Josef awoke feeling as though a heavy weight had been laid across his chest. He tried to get out of bed, but he could not move. It was as if a mighty hand was holding him down. The experience frightened him, and when he told his girlfriend, she became frightened too. "You must pray to God-and keep studying the Bible!" she urged. She found an enrollment card for a Bible correspondence course and gave it to Josef He sent for the course and began studying it.
(continued next week)
Mihalet Dogaborh is a pastor in Hungary.
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