Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sabbath School Insights No. 12, Qtr 1-07

Special Insights No. 12

First Quarter 2007 Adult Sabbath School Lessons


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

The Way of the Wind

Ecclesiastes11:1 “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” Today we would say, “What goes around comes around.”

Ecclesiastes11:2 “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” Give to everyone. In fact, cast your love broadcast, because you don’t know what calamity might come next or who may be in its path. (When you feel loved, sometimes a calamity can be easier to accept.)

Ecclesiastes11:3 “If the clouds be full of rain, they empty [themselves] upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” A flood can come any time and a tree can fall any direction. Calamities can happen to anyone and at any time.

Ecclesiastes11:4 “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” Even good weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for anything.

Ecclesiastes11:5 “As thou knowest not what [is] the way of the spirit, [nor] how the bones [do grow] in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” We do not always know why God allows calamities to happen or for any of His people to suffer thereby. (But we know that all things work together for good to those who love Him. Romans 8:28)

Ecclesiastes11:6 “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both [shall be] alike good.” Don’t give up, keep working, and let the chips fall where they may. You never know what will become of it.

Ecclesiastes11:7 “Truly the light [is] sweet, and a pleasant [thing it is] for the eyes to behold the sun:” Jesus is the light of the world—and we are, too, if we let Him work in us. Just look at him.

Ecclesiastes11:8 “But if a man live many years, [and] rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh [is] vanity.” The primary meaning of the word that is translated “vanity” or “meaningless” is breath—a vapor. Remember the way the Lord has led you in the past and if you are going through a calamity today, remember, “This, too, shall pass.” And the sun will shine again—even on the just and the unjust. (And if the Lord allows the sun to shine on the unjust, too, how much more does he care for you, His child?)

Ecclesiastes11:9 “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these [things] God will bring thee into judgment. ” For those who are young, be thankful that you have your youth. You have your whole life ahead of you. And if your heart is thankful for what God has given you, you can safely “walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes”. However, remember that God is the one who delivers you. When God brings you to judgement, it means deliverance. The work of the judge in Bible times was to deliver the accused. (Ps 76:8,9; Judges 2:16; 1st Samuel 24:15), and Christ, by passing judgment upon us has judged all to be righteous by the righteousness He has forged out for us and given to us (by speaking and by living) and thus has delivered all from sin. (Isaiah 45:23) Should we actively choose to discard the gift He gave to us, then by our own resulting acts of unrighteousness, we condemn ourselves and God does not need to condemn anyone.

Note the work of the Divine Judge: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, [without God having to condemn him] because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:17-19.

"All this deliverance is ‘according to the will of our God and Father.’ The will of God is our sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3. He wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4. And He ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.’ Ephesians 1:11. ‘Do you mean to teach universal salvation?’ someone may ask. We mean to teach just what the Word of God teaches—that ‘the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men.’ Titus 2:11, R.V. God has wrought out salvation for every man, and has given it to him; but the majority spurn it and throw it away. The judgement will reveal the fact that full salvation [spiritual blessings as well as temporal] was given to every man and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession.” -E. J. Waggoner, Glad Tidings, p 13, 14 (Emphasis original)

The cross is the beginning of judgement. (John 12:31, 32) When Jesus tells us to “take up our cross and follow” Him. That means He gives us a life of denial of the temptations of the fallen sinful human flesh (otherwise known as “self-denial”), giving ourselves completely to Him, and saying in our hearts, “not my will, but Thine be done”—the experience of Christ in Gethsemene. To take up the cross of Christ results in the believer in God expressing agape in their relationships with others, and cheerful thankfulness in our hearts for what God has done. Then you can say you believe in Jesus.

Ecclesiastes11:10 “Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth [are] vanity.” Be happy because of this deliverance and righteousness God has given ou, and receive His Word into you expeience today, for your youth will soon disappear like a vapor.

What does it mean to cast your bread upon the waters? Cast yourself to a heartfelt appreciation of the Price God paid for your salvation so that you can receive the righteousness of God, experientially. Then leave the results with Him. What are we waiting for?

P.S. For those of us who are older, we are only as old as we think we are.—Craig Barnes


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