The Lord Hears and Delivers

Lesson 4, 1st Quarter January 20-26, 2024.

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Sabbath Afternoon, January 20

Memory Text:

“The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” KJV — Psalm 34:17

“Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God's heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” SC 94.1

Sunday, January 21

My frame was not hidden from You.

Read Psalm 139:1-18. How does this text poetically depict God’s power, presence, and goodness? What does God’s greatness say about God’s promises?

“It was the Maker of all things who ordained the wonderful adaptation of means to end, of supply to need. It was He who in the material world provided that every desire implanted should be met. It was He who created the human soul, with its capacity for knowing and for loving. And He is not in Himself such as to leave the demands of the soul unsatisfied. No intangible principle, no impersonal essence or mere abstraction, can satisfy the needs and longings of human beings in this life of struggle with sin and sorrow and pain. It is not enough to believe in law and force, in things that have no pity, and never hear the cry for help. We need to know of an almighty arm that will hold us up, of an infinite Friend that pities us. We need to clasp a hand that is warm, to trust in a heart full of tenderness. And even so God has in His word revealed Himself.” Ed 133.2

“God sees the sinner. The eye which never slumbers knows everything that is done. It is written in his book. One may conceal his sin from father, mother, wife, and friends, and yet all lies open before God, and is placed in his book of record. Darkness, secrecy, deception, and crime added to crime have not obliterated the record. David was a repentant man, and although he confessed and hated his sin, he could not forget it. He exclaimed, ‘Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me.... Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day.’” RH May 24, 1887, par. 5

“What rich blessings are these! With the Psalmist I could say, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sands. When I awake, I am still with thee.” [Psalm 139:17, 18.] The last words express my feelings and experience. When I awake, the first thought and expression of my heart is, Praise the Lord! I love Thee, O Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. Precious Saviour, Thou hast bought me with the price of Thine own blood. Thou hast considered me of value, or Thou wouldst not have paid an infinite price for my salvation. Thou, my Redeemer, hast given Thy life for me, and Thou shalt not have died for me in vain. I will give that life to Thee, to co-operate with Thee in the saving of my soul.” 7LtMs, Lt 2d, 1892, par. 4

Monday, January 22

Assurance of God’s Care

Read Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 50:15, Psalm 55:22, and Psalm 121. How is God involved in our daily affairs?

When you therefore make the Kingdom of God your chief interest, then you will most surely find yourself in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing and reaping God’s richest blessing. You can then rest assured that He will open the way and take you where you need to be even if He has to lift you out of the well, and to tell the Ishmaelites to carry you into Egypt and to put you working in Potiphar’s house. He may even have to take you into prison before He seats you with Pharaoh on the throne. Or He may cause you to run away from Egypt and have you keep sheep around Mt. Horeb. He may bring you against the Red Sea while the Egyptians are pursuing you. He may bring you into the desert where there is neither water nor food. The lion and the bear may come to take your lambs, Goliath to kill your people, and the king may cast you in the fiery furnace, or in the lions’ den.

Yes, hundreds and thousands of things may happen, but he that trusts in God and does His work well shall find all these so-called hindrances or mishaps wonderful deliverances, and avenues to success, all carrying out God’s marvelous plans, and God’s way toward your promotion from one great thing to another. When you are in God’s care and in His control never say the Devil did this or that regardless what it be, for he can do nothing except he is allowed to do it. Always give God the credit. 

When things go contrary to one’s will and way today, most Christians give credit to the Devil. Only when things go according to their liking do they give credit to God! Balaam, too, was happy when the way opened for him to go to Balak, but when the angel of the Lord blocked the road he was traveling on, then Balaam, became as mad as a dog and smote the ass.

“No, nothing but you yourself can defeat God’s plans for you. Be it your friends or your enemies, be it beasts or kings, you will find them all unwittingly or wittingly working for your good rather than for your harm if you are doing God’s bidding. What a rich resource Heaven is! And who knows it!” 

No, there is neither beast nor man that can take your life or cheat you of promotion if you do God’s bidding, if you know that He Who keepeth Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers (Ps. 121:3, 4); that He knows all about you, my friends, every moment of the day and of the night; that He takes notice even of the hairs that fall from your heads; that whatever befalls you is but God’s own will for your own good. I say, if you know and believe that He is God and the Keeper of your bodies and souls, then regardless what befalls you, you will be happy in it and give God the credit for it, not murmuring, but glorying even in your trials and afflictions.

Tuesday, January 23

The Lord is a Refuge in Adversity

Read Psalm 17:7-9, Psalm 31:1-3, and Psalm 91:2-7. What does the psalmist do in times of trouble?

“The righteous understand God’s government and will triumph with holy gladness in the everlasting protection and salvation that Christ through His merits has secured for them. Let all remember this, and forget not that the wicked, who do not receive Christ as their personal Saviour, understand not His providence. The way of righteousness they have not chosen, and they know not God. Notwithstanding all the benefits He has so graciously bestowed upon them, they have abused His mercy by neglecting to acknowledge His goodness and mercy in showing them these favors. 16LtMs, Ms 151, 1901, par. 12

“At any moment God can withdraw from the impenitent the tokens of His wonderful mercy and love. Oh, that human agencies might consider what will be the sure result of their ingratitude to Him and of their disregard of the infinite gift of Christ to our world! If they continue to love transgression more than obedience, the present blessings and the great mercy of God that they now enjoy, but do not appreciate, will finally become the occasion of their eternal ruin. They may for a time choose to engage in worldly amusements and sinful pleasures, rather than to check themselves in their course of sin, and live for God and for the honor of the Majesty of heaven; but when it is too late for them to see and to understand that which they have slighted as a thing of naught, they will know what it means to be without God, without hope. Then they will sense what they have lost by choosing to be disloyal to God and to stand in rebellion against His commandments. In the past they defied His power and rejected His overtures of mercy; finally His judgments will fall upon them. Then they will realize that they have lost happiness—life, eternal life, in the heavenly courts. Surely they will say, “Our life was full of madness against God, and now we are lost!” 16LtMs, Ms 151, 1901, par. 13

“In the time when God’s judgments are falling without mercy, oh, how enviable to the wicked will be the position of those who abide “in the secret place of the Most High” [verse 1]—the pavilion in which the Lord hides all who have loved Him and have obeyed His commandments! The lot of the righteous is indeed an enviable one at such a time to those who are suffering because of their sins. But the door of mercy is closed to the wicked, no more prayers are offered in their behalf after probation ends.” 16LtMs, Ms 151, 1901, par. 14

Wednesday, January 24

Defender and Deliverer

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. How does Paul describe the Exodus story? What spiritual lesson does he seek to teach with it? In Psalm 114, how is the divine deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt potentially described here?

Let us begin our examination by starting with Moses, with the human agent, the visible leader of the movement. Reared in the courts of Pharaoh, he received the highest education the world then offered. And having understood that he was the one to free his brethren from Egyptian bondage, he felt quite capable for the job.

You remember the story of how he started out to deliver them although he was not yet told to do so. He killed an Egyptian, fell into a quarrel with one of the Hebrews, and then fled for his life. So it was that in Midian he obtained a job, became a shepherd, and married his employer’s daughter. During those forty years of shepherd’s life he forgot the Egyptian language, and with it the Egyptian learning. In its place, though, he learned to tend well to sheep. He therefore dismissed from his mind the idea of ever delivering the people of God from their Egyptian bondage. Then it was that God saw him strong and well able, and commanded him to go back to Egypt and to bring out of it His groaning people. You recall that Moses protested against the idea and argued that he had failed at his first attempt, the time he was young and well-informed and that at that late hour of his life he was not trying again, that he could no longer even speak the language. After a prolonged conversation God removed his objections by promising to give him his brother, Aaron, to be his spokesman, and Moses finally consented to return to Egypt.

There with his shepherd’s rod he performed many signs and wonders before both the Egyptians and the Hebrews. And you remember what took place the night of the Passover, the night before they left Egypt: Moses had proclaimed throughout the land that in every dwelling where no blood was found on the doorpost, that very night the firstborn in each such dwelling would die.

Those who disobeyed the Divine injunction, were, on the day following busily moaning and burying their dead, while those who obeyed the command were joyously and orderly marching out of the cities. Yes, only those who were able to take orders were made free from slavery. It is, therefore, prerequisite that we learn to take orders if we are to receive the seal of God in our foreheads. 

Let us not forget, though, that the children of Israel left Egypt with great zeal and high hopes. But when they saw the Red Sea ahead of them, and Pharaoh’s army behind them, they were filled with consternation. They saw themselves in a death trap although they were at the brink of another marvelous deliverance. Then they turned on Moses and accused him of bringing them to the sea, of making their escape from their enemies absolutely impossible.

Humanly viewing the situation, they were in a precarious predicament. In that moment they forgot their miraculous deliverance from Pharaoh’s taskmasters and their eyes closed to the wondrous cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that had led them all the way. As they saw it, the evidence against Moses’ ability to lead them safely was overwhelming. Insofar as they were concerned, the whole venture appeared doomed to failure. Their hopes of going ahead or of even going back left them, and all because they thought Moses, not God, was their deliverer! How shortsighted, unstable, doubting, and forgetful human beings are! Experience in the gospel work has taught me that God’s people of today have the same tempter to contend with, and similar temptations to overcome if they are to receive the seal of God.

What a great difference would there have been had the Israelites only believed that God, not Moses, was their Leader, that that which appeared to be their death trap, was their door of hope. Let their experience teach us to remember that God is either leading us altogether or not at all, that His ways are not; our ways, and that what may appear to be our greatest obstacle, may actually turn out to be our greatest blessing.

Israel’s real danger, we now see, was not in what Moses did, but in their unbelief of God’s having the reins in His hands, in not knowing that His ways are beyond finding out – contrary to ours. They failed to see that God could again and again perform miracle after miracle to deliver them from their enemy’s hand, that He could dry the ocean as easily as He could flood the earth.

Having their failures before us, we should make them our stepping stones to success. Let us therefore wholeheartedly believe that God is in charge of our salvation, of our lives and of our death, too. That He is able to take us to safety even if the earth should drop out of space, that we cannot die if He wants us alive, and that we cannot live if He wants us dead. Let us ever bear in mind that we of ourselves know nothing about God’s plans except as told through His appointed servants, the prophets, and as we witness them day by day. If we daily walk with God, if we commit all to Him, then the responsibility is all His.

God, in His wisdom, brought Israel to the Red Sea for their own good, and though they could not see it His way, He nevertheless for His Name’s sake divided the sea, took them safely across, and at the same time, by the same miracle, He destroyed their enemies!

Had Moses been as doubtful of God’s power and leadership as were the people that were with him, what effect would his rod have had as he struck the sea with it? – None whatsoever. If the Judgment of the Infinite were the same as the judgment of the finite, then Pharaoh’s army would have either killed or enslaved Israel anew.

Their mighty deliverances should, therefore, forever establish our confidence in God, and should stand as everlasting memorials that the wisdom of men is foolishness with God, and that faith in Him does actually remove mountains and seas, too.

Thursday, January 25

Help from the Sanctuary

Read Psalm 3:4; Psalm 14:7; Psalm 20:1-3; Psalm 27:5; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 61:4; and Psalm 68:5, 35. Where does help come from in these texts?

“The same trust is breathed in the words written when, a dethroned and crownless king, David fled from Jerusalem at the rebellion of Absalom. Spent with grief and the weariness of his flight, he with his company had tarried beside the Jordan for a few hours’ rest. He was awakened by the summons to immediate flight. In the darkness, the passage of the deep and swift-flowing stream must be made by that whole company of men, women, and little children; for hard after them were the forces of the traitor son.” Ed 164.7

“Satan is very ready to insinuate that prayer is a mere form, and avails us nothing. He cannot bear to have his powerful rival appealed to. At the sound of fervent prayer the hosts of darkness tremble. Fearing that their captive may escape, they form a wall around him, that Heaven's light may not reach his soul. But if in his distress and helplessness the sinner looks to Jesus, pleading the merits of his blood, our compassionate Redeemer listens to the earnest, persevering prayer of faith, and sends to his deliverance a re-enforcement of angels that excel in strength. And when these angels, all-powerful, clothed with the armory of heaven, come to the help of the fainting, pursued soul, the angels of darkness fall back, well knowing that their battle is lost, and that one more soul is escaping from the power of their influence.—Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886. PH048 35.3

“Psalm 20:1, 2, 6: The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion.... Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.” PH048 36.1

“If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their enemies, it would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist: “In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.” Psalm 27:5. Christ has spoken: “Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Isaiah 26:20, 21. Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have patiently waited for His coming and whose names are written in the book of life.” GC 634.1

“What a touching figure is this! What an idea it gives us of the watchful care of Christ for all who trust in Him. Christ longed to gather Israel under His mediatorial wings...” 16MR 276.1

“The widow and the fatherless are the objects of the Lord's special care.” MH 202.1

“It is time we were endowed with power from on high. Satan and all his confederacy of evil are working with untiring vigilance to oppose good. Never was there a stronger combination formed to neutralize the lessons and teachings of Christ and to sow the seeds of infidelity in regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures....” TMK 345.2

Friday, January 26

Further Thought

What spiritual lessons can be learned from the Exodus story?

 Christians often think that the Israelites were very wicked and unruly people, but after having their experiences to profit by, think how much worse we would be if we do as they did! If we do no better than they, how can we expect to be eligible for the seal and for the Kingdom since they were not eligible?

In the very prime of life, Moses thought himself capable of delivering the children of Israel. But Providence said: “You are not fit for the work, come out and I will make you fit.” And out Moses went.

He did not need Pharaoh’s training in order to do God’s work. It was a hindrance to him! Why? Because it made him self-sufficient, independent of God. Such a person would be the right one to lead God’s people away from Him and into sin, but the wrong one to lead them to God and away from sin.

How true the statement in Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 80: “…In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and he cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view.”

God can help only those who know that they are unequal to their task, those who know that they need His help. So, then, those who think that they can do wonders are the very ones who can do nothing but harm.

Plainly, those whom God is to use in His final work, in the time of the end, are not to be anything like the Egyptian crown prince, not anything like the learned Moses. Those who can learn to keep and feed sheep well and to readily take orders, are the ones who can be taught how to keep and feed God’s people.

Moses’ wife was the only Ethiopian in the entire company. For this reason some thought they were superior to her. They thought that Moses had committed the unpardonable sin by marrying out of his nation, as though race had anything to do with making people superior or inferior. Moses’ own sister, Miriam, was caught in that sin. There she was, trying to break up his family, yet Moses prayed for her recovery when she was stricken with leprosy.

Who went into the promised land? – All but the murmurers. Do you suppose that you can entertain the same spirit of murmuring and complaining, and in spite of it receive the seal? – How absurd the very thought! How unfair it would be for a just God to destroy the disobedient of that day, but to save the disobedient of this day.

What made one group eligible to cross the Jordan? – It was their trust in God, knowing that He was their Chief Leader. They recognized Moses and Joshua as the ones through whom God was communicating with them. They did not look upon them as being anyone other than who they actually were. They were satisfied with their lot. They took orders as the orders were given. So it was that they were the only ones who entered into the land.