Thursday, January 12, 2006

SS Insights

Special Insights No. 2

First Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Families in the Family of God”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“God’s Word on Family Living”


“Family Living” is living out the truths of genuine righteousness by faith. The emphasis in the lesson is on things that we must DO in order to have happy homes. The Bible emphasis is on things that we must BELIEVE in order to have happy homes, because it is what we BELIEVE that transforms us in character from being the ornery, self-centered people that we are by nature into people in whom self has been crucified with Christ and He is permitted to live out His life within us (Gal. 2:20). Self-centered people are bound to have friction at home; the real, ultimate, powerful change in family relationships comes through the pure truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what Ellen White described as “the third angel’s message in verity.”


Through this means actual, dynamic love is created within cold hearts.

Our Lesson Book is good; let us look up all the texts that are listed for us in Sunday’s and Tuesday’s lessons, but not to read them with a mind half asleep or focused on something else. There is no merit in the amount of time we spend in “reading the Bible” if our mind is far away. Read the texts with a prayer that the Holy Spirit may “feed” you therein; take your time; He will hear you and respond. If you are having family problems, be sure that the Holy Spirit will find in those Bible texts some “bread” to feed your hungry soul, some water of life to refresh your thirst.


We are told that “three of the Ten Commandments deal with family life; it’s the violation of these three (in some way) that usually is the source of family unhappiness. Let us not misunderstand the Ten Commandments. Rightly understood, they are not Ten Rules; they are ten promises that God is making to us. The Preamble to the Ten must never be omitted—believe that “the Lord thy God.... have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, [that is] out of the house of bondage,” that He has done it past tense, which means that Christ on His cross has delivered you from the bondage of sin (Ex. 20:1, 2). Then, He promises, you will never fall into any sin that consciously or unconsciously can poison the joyous spirit in your family.


The author is to be commended for pointing us to the thrilling “love story” of Boaz and Ruth. Even if you have been married many years read it again and again. It will do two things: (1) enrich your memory and that of your spouse, and if perchance you are now lonely, (2) it will enrich your understanding of other people to whom you can be a real blessing.


The story of Ruth (Monday) brings the tenderness, the humility, the purity, of true love into our naturally cold hearts. When God has promised to “send [us] Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5, 6), what’s back of the promise is that marvelous work of “heart-reconciliation.” Notice the actual words of the promise: “He will turn.... hearts.”


Many people have said to me, “My heart is cold; I don’t know how to shed a tear of appreciation for the love of Christ! Is there no hope for me?” Cold-heartedness is the greatest problem God has had to deal with in His 6000 years of sacred history; it’s the problem of Laodicea. “Elijah” is coming to deal with it! Don’t resist his ministry, for it will be what our Lesson points us to in 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19 where Paul pleads, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God”! That’s the very essence of the Elijah message! It’s not calling down thunderbolts of God’s hot wrath on His people, which many of us have thought Elijah did on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:10-40)—it’s melting of hard human hearts and reconciliation first, with God, then with each other.


Then, thank God! the entire world church will be studying the Song of Solomon! This must be because somehow “Elijah” has touched the hearts of our Lesson Book writers and editors! Did you know that the Laodicean message, which is present truth to the remnant church, is related to this Song? Jesus actually quotes word for word from S. S. 5:2 when He says, “I stand at the door and knock,” but it’s not our Hebrew Masoretic text—it’s the Greek LXX (Septuagint translation) that He quotes! Thus He tells us that the Laodicean message is actually a love letter from Christ to His Bride-to-be! “She” has treated Him exactly like the lady in Solomon’s poem treated Him—she was so wrapped up in herself that she didn’t want to bother to get up and let Him in when He “knocked” (S. S. 5:2-6). The Song of Solomon is directly related both to the Laodicean message and to that of Revelation 19:7, 8, where the identical problem is divulged as the “Bride-to-be” delaying to make herself ready” for the marriage of the Lamb!


That’s the reason why after all these many years since 1844 when Jesus said that it was His will that “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled” (Matt. 24:34). Yes, Jesus intended all along that the generation which went through the Great Disappointment should live to see Him come the second time. But through our resisting His call to the wedding of 1888, the time has been greatly prolonged. God bless your study of this precious Sabbath School Lesson! May His reconciliation be our experience!

Robert J. Wieland



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