Your Mercy Reaches Unto the Heavens

Lesson 7, 1st Quarter February 10-16, 2024.

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Sabbath Afternoon, February 10

Memory Text:

“I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.” KJV — Psalm 57:9, 10

The experience of the psalmist is the experience that all may gain by receiving God's word through nature and through revelation. He says: MH 462.3

“Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; And Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep.... MH 463.1

It is our privilege to reach higher and still higher for clearer revealings of the character of God. When Moses prayed, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory,” the Lord did not rebuke him, but He granted his prayer. God declared to His servant, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” Exodus 33:18, 19. MH 464.5

It is sin that darkens our minds and dims our perceptions. As sin is purged from our hearts, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, illuminating His word and reflected from the face of nature, more and more fully will declare Him “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Exodus 34:6. MH 464.6

Sunday, February 11

His Mercy Endures Forever

Read Psalm 136. What thought predominates in this psalm? Where does the psalmist find evidence for his prevalent claim?

“With sacred song and thanksgiving the worshipers celebrated this occasion. A little before the feast was the Day of Atonement, when, after confession of their sins, the people were declared to be at peace with Heaven. Thus the way was prepared for the rejoicing of the feast. “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever” (Psalm 106:1) rose triumphantly, while all kinds of music, mingled with shouts of hosanna, accompanied the united singing. The temple was the center of the universal joy. Here was the pomp of the sacrificial ceremonies. Here, ranged on either side of the white marble steps of the sacred building, the choir of Levites led the service of song. The multitude of worshipers, waving their branches of palm and myrtle, took up the strain, and echoed the chorus; and again the melody was caught up by voices near and afar off, till the encircling hills were vocal with praise. DA 448.3

A congregation may be the poorest in the land. It may be without the attractions of any outward show; but if the members possess the principles of the character of Christ, angels will unite with them in their worship. The praise and thanksgiving from grateful hearts will ascend to God as a sweet oblation. PK 566.1

“Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: For His mercy endureth forever…” PK 566.2

We must not distrust the Lord. Our prayers are to ascend on high; we must learn to take God at His word. I refer you also to the 105th psalm. The Lord desires that you shall appropriate these words to your own individual experience. The psalmist declares, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Let your faith increase, and not diminish. Thank the Lord for His Word; this is to be your stronghold. “O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” [Psalm 107:1, 2, 8.] 24LtMs, Lt 68, 1909, par. 11

My brother, look on the bright side of circumstances. Say with the psalmist, “O God, my heart is fixed. I will sing, and give praise, even with my glory.” [Psalm 108:1.] Be of good courage. Talk faith. Do not let the clouds and trials quench your faith. Trials we shall all have as long as time shall last. Satan is working to discourage; but have faith. 24LtMs, Lt 68, 1909, par. 12

Monday, February 12

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Read Psalm 51:1-5, 6-19. Why does the psalmist appeal to God’s mercy? How is forgiveness of sin portrayed here? What is the goal of divine forgiveness?

“Nathan declared: ‘Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul.... Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house.... Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor.... For thou didst it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ PP 721.4

“The prophet's rebuke touched the heart of David; conscience was aroused; his guilt appeared in all its enormity. His soul was bowed in penitence before God. With trembling lips he said, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ All wrong done to others reaches back from the injured one to God. David had committed a grievous sin, toward both Uriah and Bathsheba, and he keenly felt this. But infinitely greater was his sin against God. PP 722.1

“Though there would be found none in Israel to execute the sentence of death upon the anointed of the Lord, David trembled, lest, guilty and unforgiven, he should be cut down by the swift judgment of God. But the message was sent him by the prophet, ‘The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.’ Yet justice must be maintained. The sentence of death was transferred from David to the child of his sin. Thus the king was given opportunity for repentance; while to him the suffering and death of the child, as a part of his punishment, was far more bitter than his own death could have been. The prophet said, ‘Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.’” PP 722.2

“Very many, reading the history of David's fall, have inquired, ‘Why has this record been made public? Why did God see fit to throw open to the world this dark passage in the life of one so highly honored of Heaven?’ The prophet, in his reproof to David, had declared concerning his sin, ‘By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.’ Through successive generations infidels have pointed to the character of David, bearing this dark stain, and have exclaimed in triumph and derision, ‘This is the man after God's own heart!’ Thus a reproach has been brought upon religion, God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin. PP 722.4

“But the history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God's own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord. The word of God plainly declares, ‘The thing that David had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord.’ 2 Samuel 11:27, margin. And the Lord said to David by the prophet, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? ... Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me.” Though David repented of his sin and was forgiven and accepted by the Lord, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he himself had sown. The judgments upon him and upon his house testify to God's abhorrence of the sin.” PP 723.1

“God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter's power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground.” PP 724.1

Tuesday, February 13

“If You, Lord, should mark iniquity.”

Read Psalm 130. How are the gravity of sin and hope for sinners portrayed?

“To those who have made strange paths for their feet, the Lord offers words of encouragement. He will accept their prayers, if they will repent and be converted. Through the infinite sacrifice of Christ, and through faith in His name, they may receive the promises of God. The sons of Adam may become sons of God. O how full of thankfulness we should be that by the act of Christ in assuming humanity, fallen men are granted a second trial! Christ places them on vantage ground. Through connection with Him they may be laborers together with God. Through the grace given daily by Christ, they may be elevated and ennobled to become the sons and daughters of God. Such love is without parallel. TDG 255.2

“Jesus asks for perfect obedience. There must be thorough, practical work. Daily we are to increase in the knowledge of the divine will. Christ will impart His Spirit to all who will unitedly labor in humility.” TDG 255.3

“I testify to my brethren and sisters that the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church. “If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.... Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” TM 15.1

“Ministers and all the church, let this be our language, from hearts that respond to the great goodness and love of God to us as a people and to us individually, “Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.” “Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto His name; for it is pleasant. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure. For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.” Consider, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church, to be His own, His own fortress, which He holds in a sin-stricken, revolted world; and He intended that no authority should be known in it, no laws be acknowledged by it, but His own.” TM 15.2

Wednesday, February 14

Praise to the Majestic and Merciful God

Read Psalms 113 and 123. What two different aspects of God’s character are depicted in these psalms?

“The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. “The Lord's throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present. He has an intimate knowledge of, and a personal interest in, all the works of His hand. Ed 132.2

“‘Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!’” Ed 132.3

“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 requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by unquestioning obedience. In deciding upon any course we should not ask merely whether we can see harm to result from it, but whether it is contrary to the will of God. We must learn to distrust self and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of His will, and for strength to perform it. We must be much in communion with God. Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season, the heart's desires ever ascending to God—this is our only safety. In this manner Enoch walked with God. In this manner our Exemplar obtained strength to tread the thorny path from Nazareth to Calvary.” TMK 252.3

Thursday, February 15

Forget not all His Benefits

Read Psalm 103. How is God’s mercy portrayed here?

“We come unto God in the name of Jesus by special invitation, and he welcomes us to his audience chamber, and imparts to the humble and contrite heart that faith in Christ by which he is justified, and Jesus blots out as a thick cloud his transgressions by the bright sunshine of his love, and the comforted heart exclaims, ‘O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.’ [Isaiah 12:1.] He will understand in experience the words of Paul, ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ [Romans 10:10.] He then becomes a sanctified agent that God can employ to work out his noble purposes. He then represents Christ, holding forth to the world his mercy and love. He has a testimony that he is desirous that others should hear, and in the language of the psalmist, he says, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercy.” [Psalm 103:1-4.]’” CE 128.1

“Our heavenly Father requires no more nor less than He has given us ability to do. He lays upon His servants no burdens that they are not able to bear. ‘He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:14. All that He claims from us we through divine grace can render.” COL 362.5

“Church membership will not guarantee us heaven. We must abide in Christ, and his love must abide in us. We must every day make advancement in the formation of symmetrical character. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.] As God is perfect in his sphere, so are we required to be perfect in ours. There is a great work before us individually, to reach this high standard. Our attainments will be just in accordance with the effort we make, our character just what we choose to make it; for through the divine aid promised us, we can overcome. Jesus ‘knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.’ [Psalm 103:14.] In pitying tenderness he will give us the help and strength we need.” GW92 446.3

Friday, February 16

Further Thought

“The knowledge of God as revealed in His word is the knowledge to be given to our children. From the earliest dawn of reason they should be made familiar with the name and the life of Jesus. Their first lessons should teach them that God is their Father. Their first training should be that of loving obedience. Reverently and tenderly let the word of God be read and repeated to them in portions suited to their comprehension and adapted to awaken their interest. And, above all, let them learn of His love revealed in Christ, and its great lesson: MH 460.2

“‘If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.’ 1 John 4:11. MH 460.3

“Let the youth make the word of God the food of mind and soul. Let the cross of Christ be made the science of all education, the center of all teaching and all study. Let it be brought into the daily experience in practical life. So will the Saviour become to the youth a daily companion and friend. Every thought will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. With the apostle Paul they will be able to say: MH 460.4

“‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ Galatians 6:14.” MH 460.5