Sabbath School Lesson for April 13-19, 2019


There are many examples in the Bible of people being prepared and unprepared for changes that come to us during our lifetime (Sunday’s lesson).

We especially want to be prepared, physically, mentally, and spiritually for these major life stages…

  • marriage (Monday)
  • parenthood (Tuesday)
  • our senior years (Wednesday)
  • death (Thursday)


There are some changes in life that are totally unexpected, and can catch us unprepared. Accidents and natural disasters will happen and often have long-term effects on individuals and families. Besides taking common sense safety precautions and maintaining a close relationship with God, there isn’t much we can do to avert such disasters from having a profound effect on our life.

On the other hand, there are life changes that come to most of us, and we would certainly benefit by knowing how to prepare to meet them. The first two–marriage and parenting–involve a lot of choices. There are some who aren’t even necessarily taken down this path in life, but manage to serve God just as well by remaining single and/or without becoming a parent. They still require us to make important decisions, however.

The last two–old age and dying–come to all of us, and don’t involve as much choice. Nevertheless, even these two events can be met with more comfortable outcomes, if we choose a lifestyle that reduces the inevitable negative impact they can have on us and our families.

Memory Text: “Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.” Psalm 85:13 NKJV

Walking in the footsteps of Christ will always get us to the right destination. His righteousness, not our own, is what will keep us on the path to heaven. Even when the biggest and scariest changes occur in life, we can trust our Lord to guide us to still waters and green pastures. Listening to the voice of the Shepherd, we can have our souls restored, our spirits renewed, and rest peacefully in His promises.

Sunday: Unprepared

The Bible includes many stories of people who seem unprepared to make rational, safe choices in life. Thankfully, we can learn from the mistakes of these individuals and not repeat their sad consequences.

For instance, there’s the story of

  • Ananias and Sapphira, greedily choosing to hold back some of the money they had promised to the cause of God
  • Sarai, rashly offering to her husband Abram her handmaiden Hagar, in order to give them a heir
  • the mother of James and John, boldly asking for her sons to receive high positions in the Kingdom of God

These and many others acted unwisely for one reason or another. We need a constant connection with our Father God, in order to transition well during life’s many challenging times. Above all, we need to be prepared and grounded in God’s all-powerful love.

Discussion Questions:

Read 1 Corinthians 10:6, 9-11 and Exodus 17:6, 7. How do we tempt (or test) Christ?

Read 1 Corinthians 10:12. How can we avoid thinking we are prepared, when we really aren’t?

Read Romans 3:23 and Galatians 3:26 27. How can we all be sinners and yet be sons of God as well? What needs to happen before we are a son of God?

Monday: Preparing for Marriage

Adam understood what it was like to be without a mate, at least briefly in the Garden of Eden. God has implanted within us humans a desire to be with someone, and not just anyone, but someone close to being like us.

We are born social creatures, and for many good reasons. Therefore, most of us find ourselves looking for that special soul mate, someone who will help us navigate all the changes that are inevitable in our lives.

This special relationship, like no other, needs to be entered into with the utmost care and preparation. Love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13, will most likely thrive when we consider these factors when considering a mate:

  1. Will this person be a good complement for me?
  2. Are they a hard worker?
  3. Do they struggle with anger issues?
  4. How do friends and family members feel about my choice?
  5. How is my faith, and not just my feelings, guiding this important decision?

Discussion Questions:

Read Genesis 2:24. Why do you think this verse is quoted in three other places in Scripture? What does it signify about the marriage relationship?

Read Ephesians 5:31, 32. How does marriage impact our thinking about Christ and the church? In what way should this guide us to a careful choice of a spouse?

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Knowing that love never fails, why are so many marriages subject to failure? Why is the end of a marriage not necessarily a sign of failure on the part of one or both of the partners? What other circumstances, in any, might occur that necessitate the ending of a marriage? How would better planning and preparation save some of these marriages?

Tuesday: Preparing for Parenting

After making the monumental decision to marry, most couples next struggle with if and when they should encourage the arrival of children. No matter how this decision is arrived at, if and when it happens, it’s important for potential parents to prepare for the changes that accompany their choices.

Prayer should be the number one strategy in this preparation, but other precautions are certainly not to be overlooked. Sensible prenatal care, along with studying the various aspects of infant and child care, are avenues available to most parents now. Anything that makes the process more successful should be explored by the parents of children, no matter how many there are in a family.

Raising children should be a joyful endeavor, but one that is also taken quite seriously. There are many ways being parents can benefit others, even beyond the family circle. God encourages the growth of families. He told Noah to multiply and fill the earth. And David wrote:

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:4, 5 NKJV

Obviously, having children increases our wisdom, giving us invaluable ammunition against Satan’s attacks. Just being around children can be an eye-opening experience. We need to seek every opportunity to connect with youth, even those not our own.

Discussion Questions:

Read Psalm 127:4, 5 and Proverbs 27:11. In what ways do children strengthen us in meeting the challenges of life? Why is it important to be happy and proud of our young people?

Read 1 Samuel 1:27, 28. What benefit is prayer, both to us and our children? Why is it important to remember that we don’t “own” our children–that they really belong to God?

Read Judges 13:7. Although Samson was a Nazarite from the womb to his death (not in the womb), why were his parents given the same Nazarite restrictions from the time of his conception? How did their lifestyle affect that of their son?

Wednesday: Preparing for Old Age

No matter who you are or where you live, if you live long enough, you will experience the special needs of older individuals. These needs vary widely, of course, but there’s one thing not to be overlooked: The severity and duration of our senior years depends greatly on how we’ve lived our lives up to that point.

There are some factors out of our control: congenital diseases and conditions, a dysfunctional family growing up, and the many stresses and challenges of family living encountered along the way. But there are many ways we can impact our future life during our senior years by simply making sensible lifestyle choices. These choices include those of…

  • diet

(The number 1 risk factor for BOTH death and disability in the United States is the food we eat. See U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators, “The State of U.S. Health, 1990-2010 Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors,” JAMA 310, no. 6 [2013]: 600, doi:10.1001/jama.2013.13805)

  • exercise
  • getting enough rest, water, and sunshine
  • staying away from harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
  • trusting our Creator to enable us to make wise choices and keep us well, if that’s His will

Anyone with a passion for serving God should want to stay as healthy and active as possible, prolonging our ability to witness and praise God to the fullest extent possible on this earth.

This is not a selfish desire for our own health and happiness (although feeling better can be a side benefit). It’s simply taking the best care of the bodies God has given us. (Some people take better care of their cars and houses, than they do their bodies. Let’s not be one of them.)

Discussion Questions:

Read Psalm 71:9, 12, 18. Why do so many elderly people feel forsaken? How can the church help our seniors feel more connected with God and the church?

Read Psalm 71:20, 21. What are some of the troubles experienced in old age? How does God comfort us in our senior years?

Read Psalm 90:10, 12. What does it mean to “number our days”?

Thursday: Preparing for Death

This is an aspect of life that is probably the hardest of all to prepare for. And yet, it is also the most vital one. Death not only affects the one dying, but all the family members and friends left behind. Therefore, preparation for this event is valuable to all involved in that person’s life.

There are deaths that we can’t see coming. Therefore, it’s sensible for all of us to make sure our faith and connection with God are secure. We must be covered with Christ’s righteousness, every moment of our lives–not only when old age makes death seem more real.

When we, or someone we hold dear, are nearing the end of life, how very crucial it is to prepare ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for that inevitable event. Holding fast to the promises of God for the opportunity to spend eternity with our Lord can be comforting to all those involved in the sad prospect of losing a loved one.

Thank God, after a short rest in the grave, we can look forward to that great Resurrection Morning, when we will all meet together with the Lord at His Coming. See 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, and Revelation 20:6.

Discussion Questions:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:23-26. What has made death such an enemy for mankind? How and why will that be the last enemy that Christ destroys for us?

Read 1 Kings 2:1-4. How did King David advise his son Solomon to live his life? What can we do to prepare our loved ones to face our death, when it approaches?

Read Psalm 23:4-6. Why is there so much fear involved in the dying experience? What is comforting about God’s “rod” and “staff”?

And, finally…

Jesus encouraged thoughtful planning when it comes to “building” our lives, much as we plan so carefully when we build or buy our homes. He said…

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–“ Luke 14:28 NKJV

Yes, we must also count the cost of having an unhealthy lifestyle and making unwise choices without consulting God. Most would agree, just based on the observation of others, that much better outcomes result from taking an opposite course in life and taking better care of ourselves, both physically and spiritually.

Scientists are now making the case that by just taking a closer look at the foods we eat (eating primarily whole, unrefined plant foods) that we can lower death and disability, reducing it from being the number one risk factor in the United States.

Ellen G. White was certainly ahead of her time by recommending more than a hundred years ago that our diet should consist of foods chosen for us by our Creator–a diet of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. See The Ministry of Healing, p. 296.

Diet and other life practices that were shown to Ellen White so long ago show us a simple, practical way to prepare for life, involving not just a decision to make lifestyle changes, but to have the Lord by our side, helping us implement them.

Trust God today to enlighten and empower you to make continuous changes that will enable you to meet all of life’s many difficult challenges.

Next Week’s Lesson: When Alone

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