Friday, October 14, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #3 October 15, 2016

Fourth Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Doth Job Fear God for Naught?"

October 15, 2016

This week's lesson deals with human motivation and explores fundamental truths of the Great Controversy.
Why do we serve God? Do we serve him for nothing? That is, nothing other than who He is - love incarnate? Does love alone have enough staying power to hold us fast to Him?
Satan's accusation was that Job was actuated by, and that God encouraged, selfish motives.
     "Unselfishness, the principle of God's kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God's principles of action to be selfish, and he deals in the same way with all who serve God. To disprove Satan's claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name."  Ed 154.3 
In contrast to this accusation, Job's experience on the stage of our world puts to the test God's plans in revealing Himself to and through our humanity.
"Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God's wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which "angels desire to look," and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which "seeketh not her own" has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.  DA 19,20  
Is selfless love really the life of the universe?
Time will tell.
The story of Job takes place over time - a time of suffering. But suffering for a purpose, a larger purpose: to demonstrate the holding power of the love of God. God is not the cause of suffering, but He accepts the responsibility of allowing it, in order to prove that to live is to give.
Do you aspire to serve God? To be blameless, upright, fearing God, blessed by Him with material blessings, with a loving family? To rise early in your intercession for others as Job did for his children? Do  you look to these things to validate whether or not you are successfully serving God?
The tests of the Great Controversy, as shown in the experience of Job, will eventually strip away our possessions, and then challenge our very person, and finally the core question must be answered: What is left when we have nothing? Do we serve God for nothingWhat is left when we can do nothing but hang on by faith to the knowledge that God is still there, and that He loves us? Blessed by the name, or character of our God, no matter what happens!!
Our response, like Job's, is to be the lesson that will solidify in the minds of the "sons of God" what motivates them, as well as us. Someday they will hear us sing,
"Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." Rev. 15:3b,4.
"Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Rev. 7:10b.
 And this will be the response:
"And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
"Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. 7:11,12.
Wednesday - Thursday
Very interesting, isn't it, that the same word is used for bless and curse in the Old Testament. Why might this be?
Faith, belief in the Word of God, regardless of circumstances, is what turns trials into blessings. 
"Thus we have presented to us the precious Son of God, given to be a precious Saviour, who redeemed us by his precious blood. Our faith in him is a precious faith, and the trial of our faith itself is precious; all more precious than gold that perisheth. Surely upon us, who believe in Christ, has come the fullness of the blessing pronounced of old upon Joseph. 'Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.' Deut. 33:13-19. And added to all this 'are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises.' Precious, precious indeed, are the gifts and promises of God."
 June 11, 1885 ATJ, SITI 358.2
Doubt, unbelief in the Word of God, because of circumstances and our expectations, is what turns blessings into curses.
"How can I ever have the blessing and the benefit there is in that thing if I do not take the thing? If I am always hesitating and afraid that I am not free from the service of sin, how long will it take to get me free from the service of sin? That very hesitating, that very fear, is from doubt, is from unbelief, and is sin in itself. But in Him, when God has wrought out for us indeed freedom from the service of sin, we have the right to thank God for it and as certainly as we claim it and thank Him for it, we shall enjoy it. 'He that is dead is freed from sin' (margin, 'is justified from sin'). and it is in Him, and we have it as we are in Him by faith." February 25, 1895 ATJ, GCB 352.8
"And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. All that God ordained unto life they found to be unto death. In the Jews' crucifixion of Christ was involved the destruction of Jerusalem. The blood shed upon Calvary was the weight that sank them to ruin for this world and for the world to come. So it will be in the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God's grace. Christ, their rock of offense, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire. Because of love rejected, grace despised, the sinner will be destroyed." DA 600.2 
Job decided to stick with believing, and so he would not curse God. Like Christ, he believed in spite of his feelings and all that was happening to him. Like Christ, he believed that He was under the Father's loving care, even in the midst of severe temptation. And he was blessed.
"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
"And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God. Job 19:25,26.
"But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10
God did test him. Until he had nothing. He trusted that God knew what He was doing. And he did come forth as gold, tried in the fire. And so can we, through nothing but the blood of our Redeemer, Jesus.
And that is really something!
~Todd Guthrie