Sabbath School Lesson for September 25-October 1, 2021

Teresa’s YouTube channel about the lesson:

Overview of Lesson 1

We’ll be looking at three major divisions in our introduction to the book of Deuteronomy. They include:

  • The Fall
    • Lucifer’s fall and expulsion from heaven (Sunday)
    • Adam and Eve’s sin, and the wickedness of Noah’s world (Monday)
  • The Call
    • of Abraham (Tuesday)
    • of Moses (Wednesday)
  • The Covenant with God’s People at Sinai
    • their apostasy and punishment (Thursday)

Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell address to the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land after forty, long years in the wilderness. It has become a textbook for the leaders of God’s people, helping to keep them on the path of righteousness.

The first verse (Deuteronomy 1:1) declares it to be for “all Israel”. This, of course, includes spiritual Israelites, those who are “of Christ” (Galatians 3:29). Christians who are close to entering the heavenly Promised Land should be particularly interested in the message of Moses in Deuteronomy. It is indeed “present truth” for us in the last days (2 Peter 1:12).

John 8:32 says that truth shall set us free. Verse 31 talks about abiding in Christ in order to know the truth. Knowing and loving God will set us free, just as the Hebrew slaves were set free by staying in a loving relationship with their Creator.

Memory Text: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NKJV

Love is the most fundamental principle of God’s government and His covenant with His people. We will find love throughout Moses’ farewell speech in Deuteronomy. The reciprocal relationship we have with God, based on love, is the most important message Moses was trying to leave his people.

Sunday: Love, to Be Loved

The declaration in our memory text that “God is love” is a difficult concept at first. People who have studied language know that “love” in this statement isn’t a verb, something we do. It isn’t even an adjective, something that describes God. It’s clearly a noun, equating God with love. They are one and the same. Love is most definitely the very essence of God’s identity.

Our human experience with love teaches us that love cannot be forced. When it becomes compulsory, it’s no longer love. Love must be freely given by individuals with the ability to love or not to love. There is risk involved in loving someone, but God was willing to take that risk by creating beings who were capable of truly loving Him back.

This helps explain why Lucifer, one of God’s most blessed angels, made the unfortunate decision to question and ultimately stop loving God. The apostasy he encouraged in the minds of many of his angel companions led to a spiritual battle of some kind with God’s Son. And then, Lucifer’s final expulsion to planet Earth.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Deuteronomy 6:5 and Mark 12:28-30

  • What was the significance of Jesus quoting from Deuteronomy about which commandment was first?

1 John 4:8 and Mark 12:30, 31

  • What is the common ingredient in keeping the commandments?
  • Why is love so important in keeping God’s law?

Monday: The Fall and the Flood

The law of gravity operates throughout the universe, keeping the planets in their proper orbits. Likewise the law of love is universal. Lucifer failed to love God in heaven and was cast out. Later, Adam and Eve found that the same law of love applied to them, causing them to suffer separation from God when they lost faith and disobeyed their Creator.

Humans continue to have freedom of choice, however, when it comes to loving or not. The plan of salvation that God designed would make this earth the testing ground for the rest of the universe to see how God’s love is superior to any program Lucifer, now Satan, promotes.

Wickedness and violence were evident in mankind from the very beginning. The first generation saw Cain’s jealousy that caused him to kill his own brother Abel. By the time of Noah, the whole world was filled with evil. God found a way to save Noah’s family from destruction, but even after the frightful flood, people who built the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) showed their tendency to defy God once again.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Genesis 2:16, 14 and 3:5, 6

  • Why was this test necessary for Adam and Eve?
  • What caused them to fail the test?

Genesis 6:5, 8

  • Why was a flood necessary to cleanse the earth?
  • Why do you think Noah found grace in God’s eyes?
  • Why was Noah’s family saved from the flood?

Tuesday: The Call of Abram

Not long after the Tower of Babel incident, God found a friend in Abram. God would call Abram out of idolatry, but more importantly He would use him to spread the gospel of love to nations that were fast returning to sin and degradation.

Delivering God’s message of love was not an easy task; but Abraham, as he was later called, was an important link to preserving the truth about God’s lovd for future generations. His descendants were often dysfunctional family members at best. but God’s promise to bless them finally bore fruit when Moses received the call to lead them out of Egypt, which had become to them a land of slavery.

The story of Moses was told in rich detail by Stephen, the first Christian martyr, in his last sermon before he was about to be stoned. It’s important for us to know and appreciate stories of ancient Israel, as their toils and troubles often mirror our own in the Christian era. We need the strength and courage of these pioneers of faith to continue God’s work in these last days of earth’s history.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:7-9

  • Why did God want to bless Abraham?
  • Why does God bless all those who have faith in Him?

Acts 7:30, 36

  • How did God use forty years in the wilderness to prepare Moses and later the Hebrews?

Wednesday: The Covenant at Sinai

God called and blessed Abram, and later, when things got desperate in Egypt, He called and blessed Moses. The Hebrew slaves were witnesses of God’s love and blessing, as He rescued them so miraculously from the Egyptians and took care of them in the desert. Through many signs and wonders during the Exodus, they felt God’s love firsthand. It was obvious that God had special plans for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

As God established once again His covenant with Moses and the people, they were reminded that they were God’s special treasure. He would make them a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, who would share God’s love with others around them.

Their only requirement was to keep His commandments. Especially the Ten Commandments, which were the embodiment of love–loving God and each other. As they obeyed His law, they would continue to thrive and eventually share God’s truth with the surrounding nations and even the whole world.

The covenant was sealed with blood. The sacrifices and ceremonies that involved blood were to remind the Israelites that the plan of salvation has a cost. And that cost was the blood of God’s own Son. He was the Lamb of God, symbolized by their sacrifices. No greater love than this could be found in all the universe than the sacrifice He made at Calvary.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 19:4, 5 and Deuteronomy 4:34

  • What kinds of signs and wonders did the Israelites witness and for what purpose?

Hebrews 9:19, 20 and Matthew 26:27, 28

  • What does “blood” have to do with the covenant?
  • How did symbols change after Jesus lived and died here on earth?

Thursday: Apostasy and Punishment

The Hebrews meant it when they declared, after hearing God’s law, ” ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do’ ” (Exodus 19:8). But actions must follow our words, and their actions did not always match their intentions. Time and again, distrust of God led to disobedience and punishment.

This disobedience was obvious when they refused to enter the land God had promised them. After forty days of spying, they determined that Canaan’s inhabitants were too formidable to attempt the conquest. Only two of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb, trusted God and encouraged them to go ahead and take the land.

Their refusal to follow God at this crucial time resulted in their forty-year journey across the desert wilderness. It seemed like a cruel punishment, one year for each day of spying. But God used that time to prepare them to do His will. The punishment was meant to teach them that obedience and faith are required to remain in a covenant relationship with God.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 19:4, 5

  • What had God done to deserve their trust?
  • What was required of the Israelites for them to be God’s special people?
  • Why are trust and obedience both necessary?

John 14:15 and James 2:20

  • Why was keeping the commandments so important for the Israelites?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Perhaps one of our biggest fears is that our attempts to obey God today will fail like they did for the ancient Israelites so many times. What was missing back then that turned their obedience into legalism?

We can thank Jesus’ beloved disciple, John, for the answer to this question. As stated in our memory text, 1 John 4:8, God is love. It’s impossible to please Him without loving Him first. Obedience is a byproduct of our love. It’s not the source of it.

Sometimes our love for God is tainted by viewing the punishments of sin as the result of not obeying Him correctly. The fact is these punishments are the result of not loving Him correctly. God pronounces, even predicts, these punishments, but they would happen for no other reason than they’re being the result of our separation from God’s love.

The book of Deuteronomy, Moses’ last book of the Pentateuch, contains themes of God’s people, their history, and the covenant He has with them. But underlying it all is the theme of love. God’s love for us, and our love for Him are both important principles throughout these farewell speeches. Deuteronomy may be a repeating of the law, but above all, it’s a repeating of God’s love, as expressed in that law.

Next Week: Moses’ History Lesson

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