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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8-1st Quarter 2024--Wisdom for Righteous Living

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Richard Myers:
1st Quarter  Lesson 8
Feb 17 - Feb 23

Wisdom for Righteous Living

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Richard Myers:
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study

Psalms 119:1-16; Psalms 90:1-17; John 3:16; Psalms 95:7-11; Psalms 141:1-10; Psalms 128:1-6.

    Memory Text:
    “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12

As we have seen, God’s grace provides for the forgiveness of sin, and it creates a new heart in the repentant sinner, who now lives by faith.

God’s Word also provides instructions for righteous living (Psalms 119:9-16). Keeping God’s law is by no means a legalistic observance of rules but life in an intimate relationship with God, a life full of blessings (Psalms 119:1-2; Psalms 128:1-6).

However, the life of the righteous person is not without temptations. Sometimes the righteous can be tempted by the cunning nature of sin (Psalms 141:2-4) and even fall to that temptation. God allows times of testing to let His children’s faithfulness (or unfaithfulness) be clearly revealed. If God’s children heed God’s instruction and admonishment, their faith will be purified and their trust in the Lord strengthened. Wisdom for righteous living is gained through the dynamics of life with God amid temptations and challenges. Thus, the prayer that God would teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90:12) reflects an ongoing commitment to walk in faithfulness to the Lord.

Amen!  God is patient with us. We are granted a period of probation wherein we can learn how to be faithful. Do we understand we are to learn of our continual need of His grace in order to develop a character of obedience (sanctification)?  It is by grace we are saved (transformed). It is by beholding His glory (character ) that we are changed into the same image (character) by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). Thus, during our period of probation it would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus, especially the closing scenes where we clearly see the cost for our salvation. an hour a day

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, February 24.

Richard Myers:
Sunday  February 18
Your Word I Have Hidden in My Heart

Read Psalms 119:1-16; Psalms 119:161-168. How should we keep God’s commandments, and what are the blessings that come from doing that?

The Bible depicts a daily life of faith as a pilgrimage (“walk”) with God in His path of righteousness. The life of faith is maintained by walking “in the law of the Lord” (Psalms 119:1) and by walking “in the light of Your countenance” (Psalms 89:15). These are by no means two different walks. Walking in the light of God’s countenance implies upholding God’s law. Equally, walking “in the law of the Lord” involves seeking God with the whole heart (Psalms 119:1-2; Psalms 119:10).

Being “undefiled in the way” is another way the Psalms describe the righteous life (Psalms 119:1). “Undefiled” describes a sacrifice “without blemish” that is acceptable to God (Exodus 12:5). Likewise, the life of the righteous individual is a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Thus, a love for sin must not defile it. A life devoted to God is also a “perfect way,” meaning that the person assumes a right direction in life that is pleasing to God (Psalms 101:2; Psalms 101:6; see also Psalms 18:32).

Keeping God’s commandments has nothing to do with a legalistic observance of divine rules. On the contrary, it consists of “a good understanding” of the difference between right and wrong and good and evil (Psalms 111:10; see also 1 Chronicles 22:12), and involves the whole person, not merely outward actions. Being “undefiled,” keeping God’s commandments and seeking God with the whole heart, are inseparable attitudes in life (Psalms 119:1-2).

God’s commandments are a revelation of God’s will for the world. They instruct people on how to become wise and to live in freedom and peace (Psalms 119:7-11; Psalms 119:133). The psalmist delights in the law because the law assures him of God’s faithfulness (Psalms 119:77; Psalms 119:174).

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalms 119:165). The image of stumbling depicts moral failure. As the lamp to the psalmist’s feet (Psalms 119:105), God’s Word protects us from temptations (Psalms 119:110).

How did Christ demonstrate the power of God’s Word in His life (Matthew 4:1-11)? What should this tell us about the power that comes from a heart set on obeying God’s law?

Richard Myers:
Monday  February 19
Teach Us to Number Our Days

Read Psalms 90:1-17; Psalms 102:11; Psalms 103:14-16. What is the human predicament?

Fallen human existence is but a vapor in the light of eternity. A thousand years in God’s sight is “like a watch in the night,” which lasted three or four hours (Psalms 90:4). Compared to divine time, a human lifetime flies away (Psalms 90:10). The strongest among humans are analogous to the weakest among plants (Psalms 90:5-6; Psalms 103:15-16). Yet, even that short life is filled with labor and sorrow (Psalms 90:10). Even secular people, who have no belief in God, mourn and lament the shortness of life, especially in contrast to the eternity that’s out there and that, they know, threatens to go on without them.

Psalms 90:1-17 places the human predicament in the context of God’s care for people as their Creator. The Lord has been the dwelling place of His people in all generations (Psalms 90:1-2). The Hebrew word ma‘on, “dwelling place,” portrays the Lord as the shelter or refuge of His people (Psalms 91:9).

God restrains His righteous wrath and extends His grace anew. The psalmist exclaims, “Who knows the power of Your anger?” (Psalms 90:11), implying that no one has ever experienced the full effect of God’s anger against sin, and so, there is hope for people to repent and gain wisdom for righteous living.

Wisdom in the Bible depicts not merely intelligence but reverence for God. The wisdom that we need is knowing how “to number our days” (Psalms 90:12). If we can number our days, it means that our days are limited and that we know that they are limited. Wise living means living with an awareness of life’s transience that leads to faith and obedience. This wisdom is gained only through repentance (Psalms 90:8; Psalms 90:12) and God’s gifts of forgiveness, compassion, and mercy (Psalms 90:13-14).

Our fundamental problem stems not from the fact that we are created as human beings but from sin and from what sin has wrought in our world. Its devastating effects are seen everywhere and in every person.

Thanks to Jesus, however, a way has been made for us out of our human predicament (John 1:29; John 3:14-21). Otherwise, we would have no hope at all.

No matter how quickly our life passes, what promise do we have in Jesus? (See John 3:16.) What hope would we have without Him?

Richard Myers:
Tuesday  February 20
The Lord’s Test

Read Psalms 81:7-8; Psalms 95:7-11; Psalms 105:17-22. What does divine testing involve in these texts?

Meribah is the place where Israel tested God by challenging His faithfulness and power to provide for their needs (Exodus 17:1-7; Psalms 95:8-9; Psalms 81:1-16 makes an intriguing reversal and interprets the same event as the time when God tested Israel (Psalms 81:7). And, by their disobedience and lack of trust (Psalms 81:11), the people failed God’s test.

The reference to Meribah conveys a twofold message. First, God’s people must not repeat the mistakes of past generations. Instead, they are to trust God and to walk in His way (Psalms 81:13). Second, although the people failed the test, God came to their rescue when they were in trouble (Psalms 81:7). God’s saving grace in the past gives an assurance of God’s grace to new generations.

Psalms 105:1-45 shows that the trials were God’s means of testing Joseph’s trust in God’s foretelling of his future (Genesis 37:5-10; Psalms 105:19). The Hebrew tsarap, “tested,” in verse 19 conveys a sense of “purging,” “refining,” or “purifying.” Thus, the goal of God’s testing of Joseph’s faith was to remove any doubt in God’s promise and to strengthen Joseph’s trust in God’s guidance.

The goal of divine discipline is to strengthen God’s children and to prepare them for the fulfillment of the promise, as shown in Joseph’s example (Psalms 105:20-22).

However, rejection of God’s instruction results in growing stubbornness and hardening of an obstinate person’s heart.

“God requires prompt and unquestioning obedience of His law; but men are asleep or paralyzed by the deceptions of Satan, who suggests excuses and subterfuges, and conquers their scruples, saying as he said to Eve in the garden: ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ Disobedience not only hardens the heart and conscience of the guilty one, but it tends to corrupt the faith of others. That which looked very wrong to them at first, gradually loses this appearance by being constantly before them, till finally they question whether it is really sin and unconsciously fall into the same error.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 146.

What has been your own experience with how sin hardens the heart? Why should that thought drive us to the Cross, where we can find the power to obey?


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