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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 7-1st Quarter 2024--Your Mercy Reaches Unto the Heaven

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Richard Myers:

Quarter 1 Lesson 7
Feb 10 - Feb 16

Your Mercy Reaches Unto the Heavens

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Richard Myers:
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study

Psalms 136:1-26; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 130:1-8; Psalms 113:1-9; Psalms 123:1-4.

    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.” (Psalms 57:9-10).

The psalmists realize that they are spiritually poor and have nothing good to offer to God; that is, they have nothing in and of themselves that would recommend them before God’s holy throne (Psalms 40:17). They understand that they, as do all of us, need grace, God’s grace.

Amen! Every day, God does not give grace for tomorrow.

In short, they need the gospel.

Amen! Grace is more than a word, it is the power that transforms sinners into saints. It is the foundation of the gospel message.

The Psalms stress the fact that people are fully dependent on God’s mercy. Fortunately, God’s mercy is everlasting, as evidenced in both God’s creation and the history of God’s people (Psalms 136:1-26). Before the everlasting God, human life is as transient as grass, but God pities humans and renews their strength (Psalms 103:3; Psalms 103:5; Psalms 103:15), and in Him they have the promise of eternity.

God’s people take comfort in the fact that the Lord is faithful to His covenant. The people’s appeals, no matter how pressing at times, are often filled with hope because they are directed to their compassionate heavenly Father (Psalms 103:13; Psalms 68:5; Psalms 89:26). Fresh experiences of God’s grace and love strengthen their resolve to worship and serve God and no one or nothing else.

Amen! Without fresh supplies of grace, we return to our default nature, fallen. Then we have no protection from the smallest temptation to sin.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, February 17.

Richard Myers:
Sunday  February 11
His Mercy Endures Forever

Read Psalms 136:1-26.

1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

4 To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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

Psalms 136:1-26 summons God’s people to praise the Lord for His mercy as revealed in creation (Psalms 136:4-9) and in Israel’s history (Psalms 136:10-22). “Mercy” (Hebrew khesed, “steadfast love”) conveys God’s goodness and loyalty to His creation and to His covenant with Israel. The psalm shows that God’s immense power and magnificence are grounded in His steadfast love.

The Lord is “the God of gods” and “the Lord of lords,” which is a Hebrew idiom that means “the greatest God” (Psalms 136:1-3), not that there are other gods but that He is the only God.

The Lord’s great wonders, which cannot be replicated by anyone else, are the undeniable demonstration of His dominion (Psalms 136:4). God created the heavens, the earth, and the heavenly bodies, which are worshiped by the pagans (Deuteronomy 4:19). The Psalms, however, strip the pagan gods, and by extent every human-based source of confidence, of their authority. They are mere products of the creation. They are merely created things—not the Creator, a crucial distinction.

The image of the Lord’s strong hand and outstretched arm (Psalms 136:12) stresses the efficacy of God’s power and the far-reaching domain of His mercy.

God’s mercy in creation and history should inspire His people to trust in Him and to remain faithful to His covenant. The refrain “For His mercy endures forever” is repeated 26 times in Psalms 136:1-26, thus reassuring the worshipers that the Lord does not change and will repeat His past favors to each new generation. God remembers His people (Psalms 136:23) and is faithful to His covenant of grace. The belief in the Lord’s enduring mercy is at the core of biblical faith, which includes joyous worship and confidence, as well as reticence and repentance.

Psalms 136:1-26 closes with God’s universal care of the world (Psalms 136:23-25). God’s mercy is extended not only to Israel but to all creation. The psalm thus speaks of the universality of God’s saving grace and exhorts the whole world to join Israel’s praise of the Lord (see also Luke 2:10; John 3:16; Acts 15:17).

How does the image of Jesus on the cross, dying as a Substitute for our sins, most powerfully reveal the great truth about God, that “His love endures forever”?

Jesus hanging on the cross with bleeding back reveals grace in its most powerful sense. Here is the innocent Son of God taking the stripes that belong to you and me that we might be transformed and live forever in a world without sin. Do we not appreciate the pain and suffering that Jesus took that we might be forgiven? How often do we have to be reminded of what He has done?

Richard Myers:
Monday February 12
Create in Me a Clean Heart

Read Psalms 51:1-5.

1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Why does the psalmist appeal to God’s mercy?

King David pours out his heart before the Lord, asking for the forgiveness of sin during the spiritually darkest moments in his life (2 Samuel 12:1-31). Forgiveness is God’s extraordinary gift of grace, the result of the “multitude of Your tender mercies” (Psalms 51:1). King David appeals to God to deal with him not in accordance with what his sin deserves (Psalms 103:10) but in accordance with His divine character, namely His mercy, faithfulness, and compassion (Psalms 51:1; Exodus 34:6-7).

Read Psalms 51:6-19. How is forgiveness of sin portrayed here? What is the goal of divine forgiveness?

Divine forgiveness involves more than a legal proclamation of innocence. It produces a profound change that reaches the most inner parts of human self (Psalms 51:6; Hebrews 4:12). It brings about a new creation (Psalms 51:10; John 3:3-8). The Hebrew verb bara’, translated “create,” depicts divine creative power (Genesis 1:1). Only God can bara’; only God can produce a radical and lasting change in the repentant person’s heart (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Lasting only as long as we remember what we have learned about God's great sacrifice. We must come back to the cross daily that we are constrained to give the whole heart daily to Christ. We must "die daily." We do not get grace for tomorrow. We must come daily for fresh supplies.

David asks for cleansing with hyssop (Leviticus 14:2-8; Psalms 51:7). He feels that his guilt keeps him banned from the Lord’s presence in the same way as the leper is banned from the community while the state of uncleanness lasts (Psalms 51:11). He fears that sacrifices cannot restore him fully because there was no sacrifice that could atone for his premeditated sins of adultery and murder (Exodus 21:14; Leviticus 20:10).

He was wrong, the sacrifice is sufficient for the greatest of sins. That is the power of grace to transform the greatest sinner into a saint. But, we must receive a fresh supply of grace daily. It would be very good to spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Jesus, especially the closing scenes where we behold this grace in a most powerful revelation.

Only unconditional divine grace could accept David’s “broken and contrite heart” as a sacrifice and restore David back into harmony with God (Psalms 51:16-17). By asking for cleansing with hyssop, he wants to return to God’s presence.

Grace does nothing for sinners if it is not accepted into the heart. It surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe, but sadly most do not see it nor accept it. Thus, there is no repentance. What is it that brings about a true repentance not to be repentant of? Share with your class from Scripture that it is the sorrow of God that leads to repentance or it is the goodness of God that brings about repentance.

If God can forgive David for adultery, deception, and murder, what hope exists for you?

What does the Bible say about forgiveness?  What is required for salvation? We must love the Lord our God with all of the heart. This is our part without which we shall not be saved. The great question to be asked and answered is what must I do to be saved? Or better yet, how is it that I can love the Lord our God with  all of my heart? If we cannot answer this, then how can I be assured of salvation?  Prayerfully consider what we are told in verse 18 in 2 Corinthians chap 3. Are we willing spend time doing this? What did Jesus tell Nicodemus he ought to do when Nicodemus asked "How can these things be?" How does His revelation of what Moses did correspond to 2 Cor. 3:18? Now, that you understand clearly our small part in the plan of salvation, spend the rest of your life sharing this most important truth that others might understand what we must do so that God can do His part which is so large we cannot measure it.

Richard Myers:
Tuesday  February 13
“If You, Lord, Should Mark Iniquities”

Read Psalms 130:1-8.

1 (A Song of degrees.) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

How are the gravity of sin and hope for sinners portrayed?

The psalmist’s great affliction is related to his own and his people’s sins (Psalms 130:3; Psalms 130:8 ). The people’s sins are so grave that they threaten to separate the people from God forever (Psalms 130:3). Scripture speaks of the records of sins that are being kept for the Judgment Day (Daniel 7:10; ) and of sinners’ names being removed from the book of life (Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; ).

The psalmist thus appeals to God’s forgiveness, which will eradicate the record of sins (Psalms 51:1; Psalms 51:9; Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19). He knows that “God is not angry by nature. His love is everlasting. His ‘anger’ is aroused only by man’s failure to appreciate His love. . . . The purpose of His anger is not to wound, but rather to heal man; not to destroy but to save His covenant people (see Hosea 6:1-2).”—Hans K. LaRondelle, Deliverance in the Psalms (Berrien Springs, MI: First Impressions, 1983), pp. 180, 181. Remarkably, it is God’s readiness to forgive sins, and not to punish them, that inspires reverence of God (Psalms 130:4; Romans 2:4). Genuine worship is built on admiration of God’s character of love, not on fear of punishment.

Justice and mercy are not ever to be separated. Justice is just as much a part of God's government as is mercy. What does justice have to do with salvation? Until we understand we are evil and cannot do any good thing until converted, we do not understand do not see we need a physician. Thus, it is helpful to understand what is going to happen if we do not repent of our sins. This punishment will not save anyone, yet what does Scripture say about such a thing? From Jude:

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

God’s children are called to wait on the Lord (Psalms 27:14; Psalms 37:34). The Hebrew qawah, “wait,” literally means “to stretch,” and is the root of the Hebrew word for “hope.” Thus, waiting for the Lord is not a passive surrender to miserable circumstances but rather a hopeful “stretching” or eager anticipation of the Lord’s intervention. The psalmist’s hope is grounded not in his personal optimism but in God’s Word (Psalms 130:5). Faithful waiting on the Lord is not in vain because after the dark night, the morning of divine deliverance comes.

See how the psalmist’s personal plea becomes that of the entire community (Psalms 130:7-8). The individual’s well-being is inseparable from that of the whole people. Thus, one prays not only for himself but for the community. As believers, we are part of a community, and what impacts one part of the community impacts everyone.

Think about the question, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” _(Psalms 130:3)_. What does that mean to you personally? Where would you be if the Lord marked your iniquities?

What does it mean to "mark" iniquities? We know that God will blot out our sins if we are truly repentant of all sins. What does this happen? Until then, are our sins forgiven? If so, who are forgiven? Only those who have repented of all known sin. They will come back on us if we sin a known sin. If repented, they all again will be forgiven. When our probation closes, then were all sins repented of? If so, then in the investigative judgment our sins will be blotted out and not "marked" against us.


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