Sabbath School Lesson for August 13-19, 2022

Overview of Lesson 8

God may be invisible to sinful humans, but we have every reason to believe He is there for us, even during times of suffering. We see Him as…

  • caring enough to give us His Son so we can be saved (Sunday)
  • powerful enough to resurrect His Son (Monday)
  • generous enough to allow us to join Him in heaven someday (Tuesday)
  • willing to carry our burdens on earth (Wednesday)
  • desiring to be with us during times of persecution (Thursday)

The definition of faith should be examined in Hebrews 11:1. There we will find that this needed spiritual component consists of hoping and believing in things that are not seen. Moses was able to persevere “because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 NIV).

Are there things about God, however, that can be seen? We may not see His person, but what are some things we can learn about Him that increase our awareness of His actual presence? The more we learn about God, the more we will be able to endure, be transformed, and someday be rewarded for our faith.

Memory Text: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27 NKJV)

New International Version: “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

Sunday: Our Father’s Extravagance (Romans 8:28-39)

During our trials, we especially need to have faith and know that God is real. But this is often the time when it’s hardest to see Him. Our belief in God’s benevolence clashes with the painful experience we are having. It’s difficult to see God at work when things seem utterly dark and hopeless all around us.

Romans 8:28-39 is a passage that carries us from our suffering to the glory that awaits us in God’s Kingdom. After all, God did not spare His own Son when it came to showing us how much He loves us. As these verses testify, nothing can separate us from our Father’s extravagant love.

It’s hard to remain angry with or ignore a God, who cares so much that He was willing to die for us. Remembering His sacrifice reminds us that His love is very real indeed. There is just no way that God could be so giving, and then turn around and be heartless and cruel to us during our crucibles.

Staying focused on God’s supreme gift of His Son will make His presence more keenly felt. Just when we need Him most, He is there to comfort and assure us of His unfailing love.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Romans 8:28-30

  • How do things work together for good, and who can rely on this promise?
  • What does it mean to be “called” by God?

Romans 8:31-39

  • What evidence do we have that God’s love is so great?
  • How should this assurance help us during our crucibles? How has it helped you personally?

Monday: In the Name of Jesus (John 14:1-14)

Consider what Jesus meant when He told us we could have anything, if we ask for it in His name (John 14:14). Will all our requests be fulfilled, when we believe in God?

Jesus explained to His disciples in these verses how the Father is revealed through His Son. They could trust in Jesus to show them the way to heaven (John 14:1-3). He was “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus had a very real and vital connection with their heavenly Father (John 14:10).

If we believe and follow Jesus, we can rest assured that our prayers will reach the Father (John 14:12-14). Praying in Jesus’ name is the recommended way to feel close to God ourselves. That’s why so many people end their prayers with “in the name of Jesus”. When doing so, we are asking for God’s will, not ours–just as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Will all our prayers be answered the way we expect they should be? Probably not. But we can rest assured that God’s solution will be the best in the long run for all involved. His will and way does not fail. Remembering to pray “in Jesus’ name” will encourage and empower us during our darkest hours.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

John 14:1-3

  • How can we keep our hearts from being troubled when we’re going through a crucible?

John 14:6, 10, 17

  • How does God dwell in us, as He did in Jesus?

John 14:13, 14

  • What does it mean to ask “in the name of Jesus”?

Tuesday: The Power of the Resurrection (Ephesians 1:18-23)

Meditating on the power of God that was manifested in Christ’s resurrection, and contemplating the place of authority in heaven where He now sits, should give us strength in our times of suffering. This wonderful manifestation of God is described well in Ephesians 1:18-23.

The power exhibited in the extraordinary resurrection of God’s Son provides hope when we find ourselves in our own shadow of death. Prompted by God’s love for us, this event gives us a renewed sense of possibility for needed transformation and hope for our eternal future with Him.

Imagine how witnessing their resurrected Lord must have bolstered the faith and perseverance of His disciples. They each encountered enormous persecution and suffering for their faith in the years following the death of Jesus. Knowing that their Friend was in such a high place of authority in heaven must have lightened their heavy hearts and given them courage to endure their harsh circumstances.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Ephesians 1:18-23

  • Why is the Easter holiday not long enough for us to fully appreciate Christ’s resurrection?
  • What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you personally?

Wednesday: To Carry All Our Worry (Matthew 6:25-33)

Being without food or clothing may not be something of huge concern to many in the world, except those millions who struggle with poverty and hunger. In all honesty, however, many of our concerns are of a material nature. How can we trust an invisible God to supply us with these very real, tangible needs?

God understands that we will have worries in this life–concerns that sometimes overwhelm us with anxiety. He doesn’t expect us not to have worries, but to carry those burdens to Him. He’s far more able to carry them than we are.

Matthew 6:25-33 is a beautiful reminder that He feeds and clothes the birds and flowers, a miraculous feat when you stop to think about it. He will not hesitate to take care of the human beings He also created.

1 Peter 5:7, a beloved text for those with a tendency to worry, reassures us that God cares enough to invite us to cast all our cares on Him. That’s “all”, not “some” of our cares. Big and small ones, God can shoulder all our cares, if we turn them over to Him.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Matthew 6:25-33

  • Besides food and clothing, what do people struggle with in today’s world?
  • Why does God take care of His beautiful creation, including us?

1 Peter 5:7

  • Why can we trust God to carry our burdens?

Thursday: Still Faithful When God Cannot Be Seen (Isaiah 40:27-31)

The sad truth remains that the time when God is most invisible to us is when we are going through a crucible–some hardship that consumes us, making us feel deserted by God.

The Bible describes many such times when His people have felt so abandoned. The exiles of Isaiah’s time and the Jews during Esther’s reign received ample reassurances that God was working to relieve their suffering.

Isaiah provided them with comfort by describing God as their everlasting Creator, Someone who gives strength and power to the weak (Isaiah 40:27-31). He promised to make the faithful so strong that they would fly like the eagle. They would not be weak or faint, but would have their strength renewed. God must have been more visible to them with these very real promises from the prophet of God.

The story of Esther is well known, but we sometimes forget that God’s people will experience similar events just before the Lord returns. The miraculous deliverance of the Jews back then, just when it appeared they would all be exterminated, will be duplicated in the last days of persecution before the Second Coming (Revelation 13:15).

Reviewing these stories of deliverance is another way we can see and feel God’s presence, even when crucibles are about to crush us.

 Discussion/Thought Questions:

Isaiah 40:27-31

  • How can we keep from feeling deserted by God?
  • Why is knowing who God is and also what He does for us make Him more real and visible?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that faith, hope, and love are with us always, but that love is the greatest commodity to have. Why is love so important? Because without knowing and understanding how much someone loves us, we aren’t as likely to fully trust them or have hope that our relationship will grow.

We discovered this week just how much Jesus loves us–through His sacrifice, resurrection, and His work for us in heaven, pleading our cases, as we pray for blessings in Jesus’ name.

What better way to know that God is with us during our crucibles than to meditate on these great themes of redemption. Thinking about the work of Jesus on our behalf should strengthen and encourage us to persevere through the toughest times we are called to endure.

Just when we need to see God the most, He is very near, ready to comfort, ready to cheer…

Next Week: A Life of Praise

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