April 3 - 9
Our Physical Nature
READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: Ps. 8:1-9.
MEMORY TEXT: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19, NKJV).
KEY THOUGHT: How is our physical well-being related to being created in God's image?
A MOST MAGNIFICENT TEMPLE! In. his book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: A Surgeon Looks at the Human and Spiritual Body, Dr. Paul Brand shares insightful descriptions of the functions of various parts of the human body. Regarding our body's cells, Dr. Brand comments that while cells are the same in terms of their construction, they specialize in function. Each cell carries the entire instruction book of 100,000 genes. Our DNA is so compacted that all our cells could fit into a small ice cube. Yet, if they could be unwound and joined together to make a strand, they would stretch from the earth to the sun and back more than 400 times.
It is estimated that our DNA contains instructions that, if written out, would fill a 1600-page book. A nerve cell may operate according to instructions from volume 4, while a kidney cell operates from volume 25. But both carry the whole book with them.Adapted from Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, "Unity," Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980), pp. 44,45.
This week, determine with God's help to keep your magnificent temple, created in His image as His masterpiece, functioning smoothly.
Contrast how God created the animals on the fifth and sixth day with how He created Adam. Gen. 1:20-23, 24, 25; 2:7.
The Hebrew word we translate as "formed" in Genesis 2:7 implies an act of molding and fashioning corresponding to the design the Creator had in mind. It is similar to the work of a potter that Isaiah describes in Isaiah 29:16 and 49:5. Then God breathed life into this clay model of Adam, and he became a living being (Gen. 2:7). Imagine, for a moment, the awesome sight of the Creator God working the wet clay with His hands, and then with His mouth, breathing His life into Adam's nostrils. What an amazing sight!
Compare and contrast the description of the creation of Adam given in Genesis 1:26, 27 with Genesis 2:7. Why are there two accounts of his creation?
Explain the significance of God breathing into lifeless Adam the "breath of life."
At first glance, the description in Genesis 2:7 is quite different from the description in Genesis 1. This does not mean there are two different accounts of Creation as some scholars think. Rather, Genesis 2 develops and explains what is in Genesis 1. The message of the Scriptures is that even though human beings are created in God's image, they are still creatures of earth. For Adam and Eve, to be created in the image of God does not mean they were immortal and partly divine. They were of the dust of the ground. Their loyalty to divine principles must be tested before they could be given immortality.
In the work of creation, humanity arose out of the dust by God's power. In the Fall, however, humanity returns to the dust by its own failure. Symbolically, all that leads to higher ground is the work of God. All that leads to degradation is the work of sinful humanity.
In what ways do you sense your dependence on God? What makes you conscious of your human limitations and weaknesses?
List four ways sin affected Adam and Eve physically. Gen. 3:16-19.
Before the Fall, Eve and Adam could "freely" eat the produce of the Garden. Afterward, Adam was to till the ground to obtain food. Neither was the condition of the land what God intended it to be. Thorns and thistles sprang up, and it no longer yielded what it produced of itself.
Symbolically, the importance of what we eat is associated with our relationship with God. The harvest feasts in the Old Testament were to celebrate God's gift of "the good land" of the covenant. And the eating of bread made without leaven pointed back to a life without sin. Adapted from The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 2, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), pp. 56, 57.
Explain how the promise of hope God gave to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:14-16 relates to the promise of a new heaven and a new earth in Revelation 21:1-5.
Genesis 3:15 was the first promise of redemption, the first glimmer of hope for Adam and Eve. God would send His Son to take their sin upon Himself, die in their place, and give them another opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Him by accepting the Son of God as their Saviour and Lord, then committing their lives in loving obedience to their Creator. Inherent in this promise was the eventual restoration of the earth as God had intended it to be. Calvary stands at the crossroads of history as a fulfillment of the promise given and of the assurance that God's promises cannot fail.
|Calvary also stands at the many crossroads of your life. In what ways does Christ's victory over Satan affect your daily activities? How does Calvary assure you that God's promises cannot fail?|
List some of the diseases in Deuteronomy 7:14, 15 and 28:27, 28 that were prevalent among the Egyptians.
Egyptian doctors were famous for their healing arts. Ancient medical books divided diseases into three classes: (1) those that could be treated, (2) those that could be arrested, and (3) those that could not be cured.
A surgical casebook from the Edwin Smith papyrus lists 48 surgical cases along with their observations on the procedure of examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Common diseases included arthritic conditions, arteriosclerosis, tuberculosis, meningitis, syphilis, and smallpox. The Egyptians were pioneers in utilizing animal secretions such as blood and bile in therapeutics and the fats of birds and animals as the base of some emollients. Nevertheless, Egyptian medicine was closely connected with religion. Many of their gods were credited with the power of healing.
The Israelites credited God with the power to heal. But they also regarded disease as conditioned by moral and spiritual factors, and they accepted the major ailments as the result of personal sin and rebellion.The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Edgar W. Smith, Jr., ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1979), vol. 1, pp. 954, 955.
Which individuals had the following health concerns?
Circulatory1 Sam. 25:36-38 _____________________________________________
Paralysis1 Kings 13:4-6 ________________________________________________
Physical deformities2 Sam. 21:20 ________________________________________
Blindness1 Kings 14:4 _________________________________________________
"Disease has been transmitted from parents to children, from genera-tion to generation. Infants in the cradle are miserably afflicted because of the sins of their parents, which have lessened their vital force. Their wrong habits of eating and dressing, and their general dissipation, are transmitted as an inheritance to their children."Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 140.
|If you and your spouse are considering having a child, what health habits should you change in preparation?|
From God's perspective, why is health so important? To what does the apostle John compare the value of good health? 3 John 2.
The Greek work translated "in good health" means to practice hygiene, to be sound. This is how the physician Luke uses the word (Luke 5:31; 7:10; 15:27). God is interested in our well-being. There is a close relationship between the mind, body, and soul or character. Each influences the other. When we neglect our body's health, our spiritual life suffers. And when we neglect our spiritual health, our mind and body suffer. (See SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 695.)
"Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. 'A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine.The Ministry of Healing, p. 241. "Too little attention is generally given to the preservation of health. It is far better to prevent disease than to know how to treat it when contracted."The Ministry of Healing, p. 128.
Beside each of the eight principles of health, write a goal for yourself. (See The Ministry of Healing, p.127).
Trust in God ________________________________________________________
|How much do you value health? Why? If it is simply health for health's sake, then what do you do more than others? Are there not secular people who are interested in health? What, then, is the difference between them and those of us who follow Scripture?|
Since the bodies of believers are sacred shrines of the Holy Spirit, we must not pollute them. God gave us our bodies. Therefore, every sin committed against our bodies is a sin against our Maker and against the Holy Spirit (see John 14:16, 17). God places a high value on humans as shown by the price He was willing to pay for them. Because Christ purchased us with His life, we have an obligation to honor Him in all we do. This includes keeping our bodies morally pure and in the best condition possible.
What comparison or spiritual application can you find between Christ's act of cleansing the temple and the Holy Spirit's cleansing of our lives? How do you find such an application helpful to you? Matt. 21:12, 13; Mark 11:15, 16.
Paul contrasts the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) with the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 22, 23). Why does Paul speak of the fruit (singular) of the Spirit, then list nine different kinds? Gal. 5:22, 23.
The fruit of the Spirit suggests that which is the natural product of the Holy Spirit rather than the natural product of men and women. It suggests that these nine qualities are a unity, like a bunch of grapes, instead of separate pieces of fruit. To some degree, all these qualities exist in all true Christians, depending on the rate of a person's spiritual growth. Thus, the fruit differs from the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12), which the Spirit gives to different people as the church needs them.
The fruit of the Spirit falls into three categories of three each: (1) habits of mind, primarily God-ward; (2) relationships with others and social graces; and (3) concerns about how the Christian is to be in himself or herself.Adapted from The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 10, p. 498.
Personal assessment: How many of your habits of mind are God-ward? How do you see your relationships with others and your social graces?
|Do you find that you manifest some of the nine virtues more others? If so, what are your strong ones and weak ones? What can you do to strengthen the weak ones? Should all these virtues be equally strong in each of us? Explain your answer.|
FURTHER STUDY: Read Daniel 1. What does this prophet's experience teach us about the connection between maintaining our physical well-being and our relationship with God?
Also read The Ministry of Healing, "General Hygiene," pp. 271-286.
"Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelingsas much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father's house?
"Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the natural world, who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful living flowers, who see no beauty in grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green, who close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening earthese are not in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in His beams."The Ministry of Healing, p. 251.
SUMMARY: What affects the body easily affects the mind. And what affects the mind easily affects the body. Because God created our bodies and because He dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, we should strive, with His help, to maintain optimum physical and mental health.
J. H. Zachary
Vincente Cumbe shared his dream with the small group of believes who worshiped in a garage in a suburb of Quito, Ecuador. While siting in North America, he had seen lovely churches with Sabbath school rooms for the children. He wanted to build a church in his city at would seat 450 people. "It will have Sabbath School rooms for e children and enough land for a school as well."
The members of his small congregation tried to discourage their eder. "How can we afford such a large church, and how will we ever have that many believers?" they asked.
But Vincente would not give up his dream. "My God is able," he answered. The income from his little vegetarian restaurant and bakery was small. "Lord, help us find a new product to sell, and will have a second tithe for the new church," he prayed. He and his wife, aura, began selling fresh fruit juice. At first his sales were only about $8.00 a day, but Vincente and Laura continued to pray, and promised God 20 percent of their income after their tithe. The Lord blessed, and the new juice business grew. So did their offerings for the new church. Today their fruit business grosses $400 a day.
Vincente spent many hours searching for land. But after several landowners refused to sell, he became frustrated. One night he lay awake praying. "I'm not going to look for land any longer, Lord. If You want a church in this part of the city, send a landowner to me."
Three days later a stranger offered Vincente an excellent piece of land at a good price. The land was large enough to build a large church plus an elementary school.
Early in 1997 a group of Maranatha volunteers from the United States flew to Ecuador and helped the believers begin construction of the church's main shell. As funds came in, the believers contin-ued to work on their church. Then in July 1997 the congregation sponsored its first evangelistic meeting, and the company grew to 70 members.
Even as the believers work to finish their new church, Vincente Cumbe believes that one day this church will be too small.
J. H. Zachary is international evangelism coordinator for The Quiet Hour in Redlands, California.
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