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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4-1st Quarter 2024--The Lord Hears and Delivers

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Richard Myers:
1st Quarter  Lesson 4                                                                                                                                                                                      Jan 20 - Jan 26

The Lord Hears and Delivers

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Richard Myers:
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study

Psalms 139:1-18; Psalms 121:1-8; Psalms 17:8; Matthew 23:37; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; Hebrews 4:15-16.

    Memory Text:
    “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17.

Again and again, the Psalms highlight the truth that the Sovereign Lord, who created and sustains the universe, also reveals Himself as a personal God who initiates and sustains a relationship with His people.

God is close to His people and to His creation, both in heaven and on earth (Psalms 73:23; Psalms 73:25). Though He “has established His throne in heaven” (Psalms 103:19) and “rides on the clouds” (Psalms 68:4), He also is “near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalms 145:18). The Psalms unswervingly uphold the truth that the Lord is the living God, who acts on behalf of those who call upon Him (Psalms 55:16-22). The Psalms are meaningful precisely because they are prompted by, and are addressed to, the living God, who hears and answers prayers.

We should remember that the proper response to the Lord’s nearness consists in a life of faith in Him and of obedience to His commandments. Nothing short of this faith and obedience will be acceptable to Him, as the history of Israel often revealed.

Amen!  The proper response which is always the case when we love the Lord our God with all of the heart. The all important question to ask and answer is "what must I do in order that I will love the Lord our God with all of the heart?"  When we love God with all of the heart, we will trust Him with all we have and all we are. How can this be? We cannot trust Him with all we have and all we are if we do not know Him intimately. How can this be? How can we know Him intimately if we do not spend time with Him, studying Him? It is by beholding His glory which is His character that we will not only love Him supremely, we will be transformed into His image, His character. It is a Bible promise. Believe it.  "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. 3:18.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 27.

Richard Myers:
Sunday January 21
My Frame Was Not Hidden From You

Read Psalms 139:1-18. How does this text poetically depict God’s power (Psalms 139:1-6), presence (Psalms 139:7-12), and goodness (Psalms 139:13-18)? What does God’s greatness say about God’s promises?

Did you ever want to help someone but had no means? Likewise, some people tried to help you but did not understand your needs. Unlike even the most loving and best-intentioned people, God has both the perfect knowledge of us and of our circumstances, and also the means to help us. Therefore, His promises of help and deliverance are not shallow platitudes but firm assurances.

God’s knowledge of the psalmist is so great and unique that even his mother’s womb could not hide him from God (Psalms 139:13; Psalms 139:15). Divine knowledge pertains to time (Psalms 139:2), inner being (Psalms 139:2; Psalms 139:4), and space (Psalms 139:3)—the psalmist’s entire existence. God’s wonderful knowledge is the result of His creatorship and close acquaintance with people and is manifest in His care for them.

He even knows the number of hairs on your head. “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7.

This wonderful truth about God knowing us intimately should not scare us but instead drive us into the arms of Jesus and what He has accomplished for us at the Cross. For by faith in Jesus, we have been given His righteousness, “the righteousness of God” Himself (Romans 3:5; Romans 3:21).

Amen, both imputed and imparted as long as we remain fully surrendered. What is the difference between the imputed and imparted righteousness? If you truly understand share this with your church, for many have been led astray by the verse that says our "righteousness is as filthy rags." The imparted righteousness is not as filthy rags. Filthy rags will not be allowed into heaven, and God will not take away filthy rags when He comes. His righteousness is not imparted over filthy rags today. The heart and mind are cleansed at conversion as white as fresh fallen snow. If you have not seen fresh fallen snow, then it may not be understood how clean it is. Suffice it to say, there is no darkness in it.

God’s presence is highlighted by depicting God as reaching as far as “hell” (sheol, “grave”) and “darkness” (Psalms 139:8; Psalms 139:11-12), places not typically depicted as where God dwells (Psalms 56:13). His presence also is depicted as taking “the wings of the morning” (east) to reach “the uttermost parts of the sea” (west) (Psalms 139:9). What these images convey is the truth that there is no place in the universe where we can be out of God’s reach. Though God is not part of the universe, as some believe, He is close to it all, having not only created it but sustaining it, as well (see Hebrews 1:3).

And is it not amazing how large the universe is. Bless those who have said how large it is and then confess they know not how large it is. It seems the mighty telescopes we have put into space have made liars out of some "great" scientists who tell us not only how large is the universe, but when it was created.

As the One who knows all about us, God can help and restore us. The fresh realization of His greatness prompts an outburst of praise and renewed trust in the psalmist. He welcomes divine scrutiny as the means that can remove from his life anything that troubles his relationship with God.

Amen! In Psalm 19:1 we are told what we know when we are at high altitude and away from city lights. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork." And because this glory is revealed even more when those telescopes reveal a portion of the extent of His heavens.

Some might find the fact that God knows so much about them, even their darkest secrets, a rather frightening thought.

It is surely a frightening thought for those who have not repented of their sins and turned from them. What is the wages of unrepented sin? On the other hand, so very many have been taught that they are saved in sin, not from it. Satan's lie that if we eat the forbidden fruit we will not die, has been accepted by much of professing Christianity. One day they will awake to the truth that God does not forgive known sins that are not repented of.

Why is the gospel, then, our only hope?

Because the wages of sin is death even if we don't know God sees it all. And the poor Pharisees did not understand that the commandments, statutes, and judgments, both moral and ceremonial reached to the intent of the heart. It is the heart, the whole heart that God wants. Jesus made it clear with His sermon on the mount.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God....Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Richard Myers:
Monday  January 22
Assurance of God’s Care

Read Psalms 40:1-3; Psalms 50:15; Psalms 55:22; Psalms 121:1-8. How is God involved in our daily affairs?

The Lord reveals Himself in Scripture as the living God who acts on behalf of those who call upon Him.

For the psalmist, “the Lord [is] always before me” (Psalms 16:8). Therefore, he trusts God and calls upon Him (Psalms 7:1; Psalms 9:10). The Lord will hear him even when he cries out of the “depths” (Psalms 130:1-2), conveying that no life circumstance escapes God’s sovereign dominion. Thus, the psalmist’s cry, no matter how urgent, is never devoid of hope.

Psalms 121:1-8, meanwhile, celebrates the power of the Creator in the faithful individual’s life. This power includes:

1. “He will not allow your foot to be moved” (Psalms 121:3). The image of “foot” is often descriptive of one’s life journey (Psalms 66:9; Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 3:23). The Hebrew word for “move” describes the security that God gives to the world (Psalms 93:1) and to Zion (Psalms 125:1).

2. The image of the Lord as Israel’s Keeper who does not slumber nor sleep highlights the Lord’s constant alertness and readiness to act on behalf of His children (Psalms 121:3-4).

3. The Lord is “your shade” (Psalms 121:5-6) calls to mind the pillar of cloud in the time of the Exodus (Exodus 13:21-22). Similarly, the Lord provides physical and spiritual shelter to His people.

4. God is at their right hand (Psalms 121:5). The right hand typically designates a person’s stronger hand, the hand of action (Psalms 74:11; Psalms 89:13). Here it conveys God’s nearness and favor (Psalms 16:8; Psalms 109:31; Psalms 110:5).

5. God’s protection of His people is clearly confirmed in Psalms 121:6-8. God shall preserve His children from all evil. Neither “the sun” nor “the moon” shall strike them. God shall preserve their “going out” and “coming in.” These poetic figures underscore God’s comprehensive, unceasing care.

The bottom line? The psalmist trusted in God’s loving care. We, of course, should do the same.

What are some practical ways that you can better experience the reality of God’s care? How can you better cooperate with God in order to enable Him to work within you and for you?

The answers are always the same, we must be truly fully surrendered to God. We must love the Lord our God with all of the heart. If we hold anything back, we shall not be saved (converted).  How can we love God supremely? What did Jesus tell the rich young ruler when he asked what he must do to have eternal life?
The rich young ruler was so deeply moved that as Christ was going on His way, he ran after Him, and kneeling at His feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to the soul of every human being, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

Yes, not just the rich young ruler, but the question is to be understood by "every human being."  There is something we all must do in order to be saved. The first and greatest of all commandments is to love the Lord our God with all of the heart. Until we love God supremely we cannot be saved. Then the question is what must I do that I will love God with all I am and all I have, holding nothing back. There is only one way to do this, spend time beholding His glory which is His character.

Only those who will become co-workers with Christ, only those who will say, Lord, all I have and all I am is Thine, will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God.

We can not trust God with all we have and all we are until we know Him intimately. It would be very good for us to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus. We are a forgetful people. We must day by day come back to the cross to remember what God has done for us. He does not give us grace for tomorrow, but only for today. Then by beholding His character we shall be transformed into His character every day. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. 3:18.

Richard Myers:
Tuesday  January 23
The Lord Is a Refuge in Adversity

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

The psalmist encounters various sorts of troubles and, in them, turns to the Lord, who is a refuge in every adversity. Trust is a deliberate choice to acknowledge God’s lordship over one’s life in all circumstances. If trust does not work in adversity, then it will not work anywhere.

Amen!  In order to have this faith, trusting in God with all we have and all we are is only possible when we know God supremely. How can this be asked Nicodemus. Jesus told Him that he must "look and live." It is by beholding Him that we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18).

The psalmist’s testimony, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust’ ” (Psalms 91:2), springs from his past experience with God and now serves to strengthen his faith for the future. The psalmist calls God the Most High and the Almighty (Psalms 91:1-2), remembering the surpassing greatness of his God.

The psalmist also tells of the security that one can find in God: the “secret place” (“shelter” or “hiding place”), “shadow” (Psalms 91:1), “refuge,” “fortress” (Psalms 91:2), “wings,” “shield,” “buckler” (Psalms 91:4), and “dwelling place” (Psalms 91:9). These images represent safe havens in the psalmist’s culture. One needs only to think of the unbearable heat of the sun in that part of the world in order to appreciate the shadow (or shade) or to recall the times of wars in Israel’s history in order to value the security provided by the shield or the fortress.

Read Psalms 17:8; Matthew 23:37. What image is used here, and what does it reveal?

One of the most intimate metaphors is the one that refers to being “under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalms 17:8; Psalms 57:1; Psalms 63:7). This metaphor elicits comfort and assurance by implying the protection of a mother bird. The Lord is compared to an eagle who guards its young with its wings (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11) and to a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37).

How, though, do we deal with the times when calamity strikes, and we can’t seem to see the Lord’s protection? Why do these traumas not mean that the Lord is not there with us?

God allows trials to come for our good and His glory. If there is no pain, there can be little gain. We glory in our tribulation because it makes us more patient, it gives us an experience that prepares us for what is coming and the love of God is seen in us by the world. We are His witnesses especially in time of great trial. Read Romans 5:3-5. Of course these verses only apply to those who are abiding in Christ and He in them (converted).


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