Sabbath School Lesson for April 3-9, 2021

For videos about the lesson on Tue, Wed, and Thu, see


(livestreaming on those days at 3 p.m. CST from the Facebook group “The Teacher’s Notes on the Sabbath School Lesson”)

Overview for Lesson 2

In order to get a quick look at our theme this quarter, we will be looking at these basics of God’s covenant:

  • Sunday: the three elements of a biblical covenant
  • Monday: the covenant promises to Noah
  • Tuesday: the covenant blessings for Abraham
  • Wednesday: the covenant agreement with Moses
  • Thursday: the features of the new covenant

Memory Text: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” Exodus 19:5 KJV

We might be led to think that our covenant with God is like a business deal, and focus on the details of the contract, without seeing its personal, relational aspects. God proves Himself worthy of our trust and desirous of our love, however. When we are faithful to Him, the rewards center mostly around our relationship with the Sovereign of the Universe.

As we see this week, God approaches individuals He seems to trust. Noah, Abram, and Moses, in particular, were chosen to reveal God’s intentions at reconciliation. They share the covenant agreement in ways that were understood best at the time.

Two things seem to emerge with the re-telling of these covenant promises. Faith is required on our part, and providing us salvation and eternal life is the role of God.

Sunday: Covenant Basics

The Hebrew word for covenant may also be translated “last will and testament”, indicating its binding and lasting nature. The word has come to mean something which binds two parties together. A biblical covenant, besides defining the relationship between these parties, also describes arrangements made to make the covenant effective.

Three features are seen in a stated, biblical covenant:

  1. An oath from God to affirm the promises of the covenant
  2. The obligations of humanity in securing the relationship
  3. A plan by both parties, God and man, for making the covenant accomplish its goal

The Old Testament offers instruction in all of these areas. The sacrificial system, as practiced in the tabernacle, and later the temple, outlined the many elements of salvation God was trying to impart. The purpose of the covenant, in all its forms throughout Old Testament history, is to procure salvation of mankind and restore our relationship with God.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Galatians 3:16, Genesis 3:15, and John 1:3, 4

  • Who has always had a part in God’s covenant with man?
  • Why was Jesus needed to make this covenant work?

Deuteronomy 4:13

  • Why are the Ten Commandments so important to the covenant God establishes with us?
  • How do the Commandments bring us closer to God?

Isaiah 42:1, 6

  • Besides dying for our sins, what was Jesus’ purpose when He came to earth?
  • How did this arrangement help God and man to keep their covenant promises?

Monday: Covenant With Noah

We find the word “covenant” first in Genesis 6:18. The world had become very violent and wicked, but God saw Noah’s faithfulness and chose to share His covenant promises with him. Noah was instructed to build an ark of safety for his family, and he faithfully obeyed God’s directions. The ark saved them from a terrible, worldwide flood that God predicted would happen.

Noah preached 120 years about the coming deluge, but only eight people chose to enter the ark and be saved. Faith was needed to survive such an ordeal, but that is no different in any age. We need the faith of Noah to be able to follow God’s commandments and be saved from the fires that will burn and destroy this earth again at the end of the millennium.

Early on, we find God giving a sign that He would keep His covenant with us. The rainbow was used to show Noah that God was still with them, after all they had gone through. See Genesis 9:14, 15.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Genesis 6:18 and 9:14, 15

  • How was a covenant used in the story of Noah and the flood? Why did they need a covenant to do what they did?
  • What does this event teach us about salvation?

Hebrews 11:7

  • How did Noah accomplish what he did before and after the flood came?

Tuesday: The Covenant With Abram

God blessed Abram fivefold from the very beginning of his faith journey. In Genesis 12:1-3, we find these promises…

  1. God would make Abram a great nation.
  2. He would make his name great.
  3. He would bless those who blessed him.
  4. He would curse those who cursed him.
  5. All the families of the earth would be blessed.

God’s repeated “I will” in these verses shows the depth of God’s involvement and His overall concern for those who choose to follow Him. Further expressions of the covenant are shared with Abram later in chapter 15 and 17.

Noah’s test of faith was to build an ark, and Abram’s was to “go forth”. He was told to leave his homeland and go to a place, as yet unheard of. This was also an act of faith, as we find in Hebrews 11:8. It says that “he went out, not knowing where he was going”.

Noah’s covenant sign had been a rainbow, and Abram’s was the long-awaited birth of his son Isaac. They both showed their faith by their obedient actions.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Genesis 12:1-3

  • How would Abram fit into God’s plan for our salvation? How would he make it possible for the Seed (in Genesis) and the Servant (in Isaiah) to come to this planet?

Genesis 16:6 and Hebrews 11:8

  • Why is our faith important in keeping a covenant with God?
  • In what ways was Abraham’s faith tested, and for what purpose?

Wednesday: The Covenant With Moses

Once again, God reaches out to people who are in great need of being saved. With Noah, it was salvation from the wickedness and violence that had filled the earth. With Abram, it was salvation from the cruel forms of idolatry that had taken over society. And with Moses, it was salvation from the bondage of Egyptian slavery that had held them in captivity for so many years.

With Moses, God referred to the previous covenant He had with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:8). As a matter of fact, the basic elements of God’s promises have been unchanged since the beginning. God has His focus on His promise of the Seed that was originally given to Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:15). Their only requirement to keep their connection with God was to love and trust Him enough to keep His commandments.

Moses was the first one to hear God referred to as the Hebrew word YHWH, or I AM. This was a name that Christ used for Himself (John 8:58).  God’s Son is intimately involved in these covenant agreements. Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God’s first task is to save us through Christ, the Seed. Then, and only then, are we able to live out God’s law, showing that we have been saved.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 6:2, 3 and John 8:58

  • Why does God come to man at certain times in the form of His Son?
  • How does this verify the divinity of Christ?

Exodus 6:8

  • Why does God always fulfill His promises?

Thursday: The New Covenant

The new covenant we’ve heard a lot about was actually mentioned in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 31:31-33 talks about a time when God’s law will be written on our hearts and minds.

God is longing for His people to worship Him, not just going through the motions of the symbolic rituals that are merely meant to teach us about the plan of salvation. He wants us to obey His commandments, because we love Him and want to be like Him.

This is what He intended from the beginning. He wants a people, in His image, with whom He can have a meaningful, loving relationship. God’s Son dying for us, forgiving us even when we were enemies, has made the new covenant relationship possible.

This new covenant follows the theme of salvation. Through Christ, we are shown, in the most dramatic way possible, our salvation from sin and death (John 17:3). His life, death, and resurrection are all the proof we need that God is serious about His covenant promises.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Psalm 40:8

  • How did David show that God’s law was in his heart?
  • What kind of attitude does God expect us to have when we keep His law?

John 17:3

  • Why is the promise of eternal life an important feature of God’s covenant?
  • How is eternal life linked with our salvation from death?

Friday: Final Thoughts

“Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.” ~Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 330.

When we see and follow Christ’s example in the three things mentioned in this quote, we will be on the way to keeping God’s covenant. It is God’s mercy that motivates the covenant relationship He desires with His people. Psalm 103:17, 18 says…

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”

Those commandments based on love are not optional features of this everlasting covenant. Just as Adam and Eve were expected to obey, and all the other patriarchs after them, we must trust and obey as the Spirit enables us, in order to secure our final destiny.

Next Week: Sabbath: “All Future Generations”

To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to