SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Sunday November 3, 1996

God and the Nations
(Acts 17:26)

The first 11 chapters of Genesis outline the history of the world up to the time of Abraham.   In these chapters, the Lord's covenant with Adam and Eve outlines His intention to evangelize lost humanity (Gen. 3:15).  Enoch becomes a living example of the power of the everlasting gospel.   And Methuselah's very name, meaning "when he dies, it will come," becomes a living testimony that "the hour of His judgment has come."  The judgment in this case was the Flood.  Thus, we see the essence of the three angels' messages at the beginning of history as well as at the end.

Next, God renews the covenant with Noah and his family, this time with a visible sign still with us-the rainbow.   The table of nations in Genesis 10 and 11 outlines God's intention to deal with all humanity under the provisions of His covenant.

Explain Paul's statement recorded in Acts 17:26 that God determines where people should live.

Look carefully at verse 27.   Paul is telling the pagan Athenians that they cannot escape the presence of God.   He places people close to someone or some group that will witness to them about His love.  "In that age of caste, when the rights of men were often unrecognized, Paul set forth the great truth of human brotherhood.... In the sight of God all are on an equality, and to the Creator every human being owes supreme allegiance.   Then the apostle showed how, through all God's dealings with man, His purpose of grace and mercy runs like a thread of gold."--The Acts of the Apostles, p. 238.

How does Jonah fit this picture?   Why did he run?   Jonah 4:1-3.  Why did the Lord bring him back?   Jonah 4:10.

God reaches down into a small town, finds a man with the ability to do the job, and sends him as a missionary.  But the man does not want to go, because he dislikes the people God wants him to help.  But because the Lord wants the Assyrians saved, He nearly forces him to go.  The result is a major revival.   That God was determined to evangelize the Assyrians, even if the reluctant missionary was not, illustrates His passion to save the human race.

Are there people you do not like, but who deed to know about Christ?   God plans to get the message to them some way.  Quite possibly through you!