Sabbath School Lesson for August 20-26, 2022

Overview of Lesson 9

Learning to praise God, in order to help us deal with our crucibles, was explored this week. We find that…

  • praise is an act of faith that brings us peace (Sunday)
  • shouts of praise brought down the walls of Jericho–and can do much to change our circumstances too (Monday)
  • there are many reasons to praise God (Tuesday)
  • our praise can change our hearts and the hearts of those around us (Wednesday)
  • praise is a weapon God can use to defeat our enemies (Thursday)

Praise, which is faith in action, is needed during our life crucibles as much as, or even more than, in times of relative peace. By praising God, we unleash His power to help us survive. We receive His power in our souls, and are strengthened and spiritually nourished. Joyful praise helps sustain our faith by conquering our fears and uplifting our sagging spirits.

Memory Text: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NKJV

Rejoicing in the midst of turmoil and distress may seem almost impossible. But as this verse, and those that follow, indicate, rejoicing ALWAYS is the key to having peace and freedom from anxiety.

The emphasis isn’t on rejoicing just when we are having a crucible, or even when we aren’t. We are told to do it all the time. God’s blessings are freely abundant at all times, whether we see them or not. Therefore, He is always deserving of our worshipful praise.

Sunday: Framework for Praise (Philippians 4:4-8)

The verses following our memory text that tells us to rejoice in the Lord are revealing. They inform us about what this rejoicing looks like and what it can do.

  • Our gentleness touches people, and lets them know that God is near (Philippians 4:5).
  • Our prayers of thanksgiving relieve our anxiety (Philippians 4:6).
  • The peace we receive from praising God guards our hearts and minds with Christ’s love (Philippians 4:7).
  • Praise consists of meditating on the attributes of God: He is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8).

These descriptors comprise the framework of our praise to God.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Philippians 4:4

  • Why is it important to rejoice in the Lord, to praise Him at all times?

Philippians 4:5-7

  • How does our praise affect others, and what does it do for us?

Philippians 4:8

  • Why are we told to meditate or dwell on these things?

Monday: Praying Down Walls (Joshua 5:13-6:20)

To see praise as faith in action, we must go to Joshua, chapters 5 and 6, and see the story of how the walls of Jericho fell down. God instructed them to march quietly around the city for six days, but at the end of their seventh day of marching, they were to simultaneously offer up a shout. It was when they shouted that the walls of Jericho fell down and they were able to take the city.

Their shout represented praise for all that God had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt. David spoke about making a joyful shout to God in Psalm 66:1. Our shouts and singing of praise to God are defined as worship in this psalm (Psalm 66:4).

Worship is an expression of praise that recognizes God’s glory and majesty–His love and compassion for His created beings. How beautiful our praise must be to God. It moves Him to the point of intervention, allowing His will to be enacted in our lives. The walls of our confining crucible, whatever they are, are not strong enough to keep us from the God who cares.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Joshua 6:20 and Hebrews 11:30

  • What kind of faith was involved with the shouting that brought the walls of Jericho down?

Psalm 66:1-4

  • How important is music and singing to our worship?
  • How and why does music bring us joy?

Tuesday: The Life of Praise (Psalm 145)

Much can be learned about praise from the reading of Psalm 145. The main ideas brought out in this psalm include:

  1. Praise is our response to the wondrous works of God. As we look around at the natural beauty of God’s creation, we are motivated to praise Him. The inspiring transformation of lives we see happening spiritually is also a valid reason for our worship of praise.
  2. In addition to what we currently see of God’s work, we are inspired to worship by contemplating what He has done for us in the past. The symbols and rituals that are established in the worship service are designed to remind us of miraculous past events that are evidence of His loving care. They, too, bring forth emotions that inspire our praise.
  3. Praise is meant to be outwardly expressed. Although it can be a totally personal experience between us and God, He is glorified greatly when we allow our praise to be shared with others. Our worshipful praise is hard to keep to ourselves. Others benefit when we publicly declare our allegiance to God and praise His wonderful works and character.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Psalm 145:5

  • What do you see about God that makes you want to praise Him?

Psalm 145:6, 7

  • What has God done in the past that inspires your praise?

Psalm 145:21

  • Who benefits when we praise God publicly?

Wednesday: A Witness Who Convicts (Acts 16:29, 30)

We are thrilled to read how Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God after being beaten with rods and thrown in a Philippian jail. What could there possibly be to rejoice about after such harsh punishment?

An earthquake suddenly changed their situation, making an escape possible for all the prisoners that night. But, being moved by the prayers and songs of their latest jail mates, the prisoners only wanted to stay near the men who must have had such a close relationship with God that an earthquake was sent to save them.

The jailer, seeing the open prison doors, was distraught over the fact that his prisoners must have escaped. He drew his sword and was about to kill himself there in the dark, knowing that his death was imminent because of their escape. But Paul shouted out to him not to do it, because they were all still there.

The jailer was so overcome with gratitude and joy that he, too, wanted the kind of salvation these unusual prisoners had. He took them all to his house to nurse their wounds, giving Paul and Silas the chance to preach to them about this new found faith. The gospel was so compelling that the jailer and his whole family were baptized that very night.

This story illustrates how much others are affected by our praise to God, especially when we are faced with adversity. We must never hesitate to express our loyalty and praise to such a marvelous God, no matter what we’re going through.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Acts 16:22-25

  • Why do you think Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns after what they had gone through?

Acts 16:26-33

  • How does this story show that our heartfelt praise can have a positive effect on others?

Thursday: A Weapon That Conquers (2 Chronicles 20:1-30)

King Jehoshaphat’s people were facing multiple threats from the enemy tribes surrounding their tiny nation (2 Chronicles 20:1). After soul-searching prayer, God instructed them to go out and face their adversaries. They weren’t to worry though, for they would not even have to fight. The Lord would fight and win the battle for them (2 Chronicles 20:17).

This resulted in even more praise to God. Instead of fighting Jehoshaphat’s approaching army, their enemies were so unnerved by their songs of praise that they began to fight each other (2 Chronicles 20:22, 23).

When Jehoshaphat’s men reached the battlefield, it was already strewn with dead bodies everywhere. They had only to retrieve the spoil of their enemies and go home with even more shouts of praise and adoration for the Lord who had fought the battle for them (2 Chronicles 20:27).

We can have the same kind of victories in our life when we remember to praise God for fighting our battles. By faith, we can take the weapon of praise and know that our deliverance is assured. God will triumph for us in the end.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

2 Chronicles 20:9, 12

  • How can we have enough faith to praise God when we are threatened by our enemies?

2 Chronicles 20:15

  • Why does God take ownership of our battles and win them for us?

2 Chronicles 20: 27, 28

  • What emotion was prominent in their return from battle?
  • How does music help us express our emotions?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Praise is not always seen as exuberant joy with shouting and excited voices raised in songs of praise. It also consists in quiet expressions of God’s love and compassionate care for us.

There are many ways to praise God, to uplift Him by our words and actions in a way that glorifies our loving Father. We can either accomplish this through our personal devotions or in a more public way before others. Praise is especially effective in giving us rejuvenating peace and strength during our crucibles.

Let’s always remember to praise God who has and will do so much for those who love Him. When we love Him, we will want to praise Him!

Next Week: Meekness in the Crucible

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