Sabbath School Lesson for August 6-12, 2022

Overview of Lesson 7

We attempt this week to get a better glimpse of God and His plan of salvation, so we can have hope in this trying world of crucibles. We explore…

  • the big picture–it’s more than about us (Sunday)
  • who God is–knowing about Him is more important than knowing about our crucible (Monday)
  • the fact that God is close enough to hold our hand (Tuesday)
  • God’s plans for us include our past, present, and future (Wednesday)
  • God’s discipline brings us lasting peace and righteousness (Thursday)

We’ve seen the value of knowing the truth, and understanding why and how we suffer in this world of sin. But the purpose of all our knowledge is to give us hope. And the hope God provides is more than enough to sustain us in the hottest crucible.

So, how do we get this hope? What examples do we have to see how hope operates in the life of a Christian? There were crucibles being experienced in the Old Testament, as well as the New. We will explore how God’s people saw their hope renewed and were able to survive the harshest griefs imaginable, coming out with a more mature faith than they would have thought possible.

Memory Text: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 NKJV

New Century Version:And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.”

Sunday: The Big Picture (Habakkuk 1)

Daniel and Habakkuk lived during the same time period and shared similar prophetic experiences. They both had gone through the trauma of exile and the Babylonian rule, but God predicted more trouble on the horizon for God’s people and this must have been troubling to discover.

Habakkuk asked God some difficult questions in the first chapter of his book. And God honestly told him that the worst was yet to come with the Assyrian takeover. It sometimes becomes necessary for God to give us the bigger picture, so we can put our present trials in perspective and soldier on. Habakkuk had expressed a need for that wider information and God saw that it would be profitable for him to receive it at that time.

Christians living today can expect things in this world to get worse too. But that knowledge should not inhibit our hope for the future. Our eternity with God is still guaranteed for those who hold onto the blessed hope of salvation.

Although we don’t need to dwell on dark, apocalyptic prophecies that God has shared in His word, there will come times when we will appreciate the honest revelations God has laid out for us. Knowing the bigger picture ahead of time can be useful when times of trouble overwhelm us.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Habakkuk 1:1-3

  • How familiar is this prophet’s cry? What prompts us to ask similar questions of God?

Habakkuk 1:5-7

  • Why is it better for God to tell us honestly what our unpleasant future holds, especially when we have asked Him to?

Habakkuk 2:2-4 and Hebrews 10:37, 38

  • Why are we similarly told that “Babylon is fallen” in the end times?
  • How does knowing the bigger picture help us survive our crucibles now?

Monday: Who Our Father Is (Job 42)

Although there are times when knowing what the future holds is valuable, there are also times when just knowing who God is will be all the information we need.

This was the case with Job’s persistent demands to know why God was making him suffer. His desire for answers were met with God’s sixty piercing questions in chapters 38 and 39 that highlighted His magnificent creative powers. Getting this renewed picture of God’s greatness was enough to satisfy Job and give him the peace he was seeking.

By getting a sense of our own ignorance, we can be armed with a renewed sense of security in God’s unparalleled power and ability. This humbling exchange with God was enough to give Job hope for his future.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Job 40:3-5 and Ezra 9:6

  • Why must we remain humble during our crucibles?

Job 42:1-6

  • Why did such an upright, noble man like Job need to repent?
  • Why is having pride so difficult to correct?

Tuesday: Our Father’s Presence (Isaiah 41)

One outstanding feature of God that should give us hope is His promise to be with us. For the exiled Jews in Isaiah’s time, however, He must have felt very distant. But Isaiah happily reported the very near presence of God, even in those faraway places. He tenderly described Himself as taking hold of their hand (Isaiah 41:13).

God had not distanced Himself from them at all, so there was every reason for them to have hope for their future with Him.

The comforting promises found in Isaiah 41:8-14 must have sounded like music to their ears. But they are just as pertinent and motivating to God’s people today. Knowing that God will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us with His hand (indicating a very real and close connection) gives us all the hope we need to survive the most terrifying crucibles Satan can hurl at us.

With God at our side, we can understand better His purposes, embrace His promises, and be transformed by His redeeming grace.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Isaiah 41:10, 13

  • How does it make you feel to know that God uses His right hand to take hold of our right hand (like a handshake)?

Deuteronomy 31:6 and Matthew 28:20

  • Why does God have to repeatedly remind us of His presence?
  • How does His presence give us hope and help us during our crucibles?

Wednesday: Our Father’s Plans for Us (Jeremiah 29)

When crucibles crush us, one of the ways we can maintain a hopeful mindset is to consider God’s comprehensive plans for us. So many areas of our life concentrate on narrow plans. Going to a family reunion reminds us of the hope our past family life has brought us. Receiving a special blessing, such as the birth of a new child or moving into a new house, focuses on hope in our present circumstances, hope for even better things to come. Even preparing for death, something in our future, leaves us with hope that we will join our Father in heaven someday.

God’s plans encompass the past, present, and future better than anything we could plan for ourselves. We can know that He has been with us in the past. Even though our trials seemed insurmountable, God was present and helped us overcome them. When hardships are felt in our present circumstances, God is with us and encourages us to persevere despite them. And when the end nears, as our future demise looms large, God lightens our burdens and carries us on to our eternal reward.

Yes, God’s plan is comforting in its totality. His plan is for the church, but also for each individual, as we put Him in charge of our past, present, and future. His plans for us and the church will not disappoint. They are ample evidence that gives us peaceful memories of our past, joyful emotions in our current life, and hopeful longings for the future, in spite of our crucibles.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Jeremiah 29:11-14

  • How is God seen working in our past, present, and future in these words of encouragement to Jeremiah?
  • How does including your name after the word “you” in these verses change how you see God working in this world–in your world?

Thursday: Our Father’s Discipline (Hebrews 12)

Hebrews 11, known widely as “the faith chapter”, thrills us with stories of how God’s people down through the ages have survived their crucibles by exercising faith. The chapter that follows, however, is equally worthy of our attention.

Hebrews 12 underscores the need to accept God’s disciplinary actions, or chastening, which often appear as the harsh trials we have a tendency to complain about (Hebrews 12:5, 6, 9).

The key to our successfully dealing with our crucibles is found in Hebrews 12:2. By looking at Jesus and how He persevered during His Father’s discipline, we, too, can have what it takes to survive and shine brighter in the end. Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, endured the cross so we can model His perfect surrender and compliance through the faith He gives us.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Hebrews 12:2, 3

  • In what ways is Christ both the author and finisher (or perfecter) of our faith? What does this mean?

Hebrews 12:9-11

  • How and why does God’s painful chastening lead to holiness and righteousness?
  • Why must we be in subjection to our Father?

Friday: Final Thoughts

From Prophets and Kings, p. 162:

“Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement–days when sorrow is the portion, and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children; days when troubles harass the soul, till death seems preferable to life. It is then that many lose their hold on God and are brought into the slavery of doubt, the bondage of unbelief. Could we at such times discern with spiritual insight the meaning of God’s providences we should see angels seeking to save us from ourselves, striving to plant our feet upon a foundation more firm than the everlasting hills, and new faith, new life, would spring into being.” ~Ellen G. White

Seeing the big picture of who God is and knowing He has plans for His people should give us indestructible hope that His Coming is soon.

Next Week: Seeing the Invisible

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