Sabbath School Lesson for April 6-12, 2019
First of all,–
- we are given free choice for a reason (Sunday)
- what are some ways to make good choices (Monday)
- how and why to choose these important things in life…
- good friends who encourage us to praise God (Tuesday)
- a life partner who helps us serve God (Wednesday)
- an occupation that helps us glorify God (Thursday)
(In other words, it’s important to choose God!)
Most of us don’t think about it, but we are making choices all day long, every day of our lives. From the time we get up, we have chosen whether and how long to brush our teeth, til we go to bed at night and decide whether to have that last piece of pie in the refrigerator.
The choice is ours, and some of these choices will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on our quality of life. And, many of them will not only affect us, but family members, even for generations.
But, there is good news, according to the Bible. When wrong choices are made, and obviously, there will be many, because we live in a world of imperfect beings, there is still hope. God promises us…
- the opportunity to redeem ourselves
- healing from the consequences that are likely to occur
Memory Text: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV
Joshua’s inclusive phrase “me and my house” puts emphasis on the fact that our choices are not made in a vacuum. There are always family members, or those close to us, who are impacted by the choices we make.
This verse also reminds us that there is really one, major choice we have to make in life, and that is whom we will serve, God or Satan. This includes whom we will love and worship, because unless we love and worship our God, our service is for nothing. When we choose God, we should recognize that love, worship, and service come as a package plan.
The easy part is remembering that our God is the only one with the blessings and promises that make our service worthwhile. Because despite any hardship that might result from our service, the reward for that service is eternal life. No greater reward exists, outside of God.
Don’t overlook the idea of choosing NOW…”choose for yourselves THIS DAY”. Actually, that means every day we are on this earth is a day of choice for us. It’s an ongoing process.
Sunday: Free Will, Free Choice
We must attempt to grasp what it means to have free choice. Some Christians interpret the Bible to mean that God has already determined who will be saved and who will be lost. This theological concept is called predestination.
If this were the case, then human beings would have reason to cease their search for salvation. After all, God has already decided for us; there’s no need to struggle any more. Our fate is set, and we have no real choice to make.
A full study on the subject, however, brings us to a more loving, just, and reasonable conclusion. Yes, we do have a choice to serve God or not. Otherwise, our mutual love in this relationship would have no meaning.
Our service and worship would not be based on love, but on God’s predetermined plan. This would most likely lead to a shallow, almost nonexistent relationship, and does not match the loving, just God we find in the Bible.
God does have a predetermined plan for our salvation. This plan was set, even before the world began. In other words, there was never a time when God did not love us. We have always had this choice of whether to love Him or not.
Read Ephesians 1:4, Titus 1:2, and Matthew 22:14. Why is it important for us to know that the plan of salvation was set before the world began? What does it mean then that “many are called” and “few are chosen”?
Read Matthew 22:35-37. What kind of love does God expect from His followers? How does our love affect our choices?
Read Matthew 25:37-41. Why is this everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, and not for us? Why will some humans be included in the punishment, even though it wasn’t prepared for them?
Monday: Making the Right Choices
The Bible gives us information and guidance when it comes to making right choices. We find that…
- constant prayer makes us wise (“pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17–“If any of you lack wisdom…” James 1:5)
- we must be both “willing and obedient” Isaiah 1:19–hearers AND doers of the word (Matthew 7:24, 25)
- the Bible is a helpful guide (“a lamp to my feet” Psalm 119:105–“All Scripture is…profitable for…instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16)
- we can trust God to guide us, when we acknowledge Him (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart” Proverbs 3:5,6–“The Lord will guide you continually” Isaiah 58:11)
- getting counsel from many sources is beneficial (“in a multitude of counselors there is safety” Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6)
Read James 1:5 and Isaiah 1:19. How do prayer and action go together? What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Are prayers alone enough to accomplish things? When might we have to depend totally on God, and not do anything ourselves?
Read Proverbs 3:5, 6 and Isaiah 58:11. Why is it necessary and even possible to trust God with our choices?
Read Proverbs 11:14. What happens when we don’t seek counsel from many people? Why should more than one person be consulted about a problem we might have?
Tuesday: Choosing Friends
One of the most celebrated friendships found in the Bible was that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan had every right to be jealous and angry with David, who was chosen by God to be king and replace King Saul.
Jonathan, being Saul’s eldest son, would be next in line to inherit the throne. Instead Jonathan chose to give assistance to David and remain friends with him, despite the wrath of his father.
Their friendship was described this way: “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” He certainly risked his life to protect David, giving us a wonderful example of true friendship.
Most of us would describe our friends as those who love and appreciate us, even with all our faults. A mutual, forgiving spirit makes a valued friendship possible.
In addition, when we exhibit those traits that we desire from a friend, we will naturally be drawn to people of the same character, who enjoy the same things in life.
Read Proverbs 12:26. Why do adults, as well as teenagers, tend to imitate their friends, and how can this get us into trouble?
Read Proverbs 22:24, 25, Ephesians 4:26, and Psalm 4:4. Why are we advised to stay away from angry people? How can we be angry and not sin?
Read Proverbs 17:17 and 18:24. What does it mean that “a brother is born for adversity”? Does it have anything to do with the expression “blood is thicker than water”, and in what way? What’s the difference in being friendly and being a true friend?
Wednesday: Choosing a Life Partner
The Bible gives a lot of advice on choosing our friends, and one of the reasons this is important is obviously because one of those “friends” may end up becoming our spouse.
But friends, even after marriage, can have a negative or positive influence on our lives and marriages. So, in a way, we must be equally cautious about our friends after marriage, because more than one person is involved.
After choosing God, the choice of a life partner is undoubtedly the most important choice we make in life. It must be done with the utmost care and prayerful thought. Because, unlike our friends, this person will have a lifelong impact on, not just our life, but on our children, and our children’s children.
Besides family impact, choosing the right person to marry will also influence how and how many we are able to reach with the gospel. That’s why God has an interest in our marrying wisely. His plan of redeeming mankind depends on the choices we make that lead to strong, God-fearing families.
Let’s also remember to be the person we want to marry. That seems to be the best formula for success in finding a compatible mate, according to the Bible, and other marital experts.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:33 and James 1:23-25. What are some of the important things to look for in a mate? And why are some deceived when it comes to making this choice?
Read Matthew 7:12. What makes the Golden Rule so valuable in choosing your life partner? Why is this rule necessary for a successful marriage, and yet so overlooked and neglected in families today?
Read Matthew 7:3. Why is it important to work on getting our own life right, before making the choice of a life partner?
Thursday: Choosing a Course
Genesis 2:15 tells us that Adam and Eve were given a task in the Garden of Eden. They were to tend and keep it. Any gardener or farmer knows the labor required in this world of sin to keep up a garden or plant a field and grow a crop. But with the perfect weather and no plants to wither and die for various reasons, this must have been a pleasant occupation for the couple in the Garden before sin.
God knows that Adam and Eve needed useful work to occupy their time in between Sabbaths, when they would have special time with their Maker. And likewise, we today need an occupation, a way to occupy our time on earth, if we are, not only to survive, but to thrive both physically, mentally, and spiritually.
People come with such various skills and interests, and there are so many different needs for workers in our world today, that choosing a job or career is perhaps more difficult than for Adam and Eve, but equally vital to our Christian walk.
King Solomon shared with us in Ecclesiastes his many attempts to “occupy” himself. All of them proved to be vain attempts to be happy, before He made God his primary source of earthly joy.
With God to guide us, we can find our most productive occupation, and realize, not only our own satisfaction and joy, but the best way to advance God’s kingdom. Our contribution to spreading the gospel must always be our main consideration when choosing a career or trade.
Read Genesis 2:15. What were the purpose of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Why should God still be involved in our career choices?
Read 1 Timothy 6:10. Why do many people let money guide their job choices? What are the dangers in this line of thinking? Instead, what should be our main considerations in choosing an occupation?
Read Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11. Besides money, why should we not allow our own happiness to be the main guiding force in our job choices? Although God understands our need for money and our desire to be happy with our jobs, how do we keep these goals in perspective and not become excessively focused on them? What else should be considered when choosing a line of work?
Our most important choice in life is whether to choose God or not. Our choice of friends, a spouse, a job are all impacted by whom we serve, God or Satan.
Many times, there seems to be no clear path to follow in life. The closer our relationship to Jesus though, the easier it gets to make important choices.
Keep in mind that…
- choosing God will at times be easy (after all, it does have the eternal benefit of being in heaven)–but it may also lead to persecution and hardship that we never expected
- choosing Satan will at first seem easy as well (our first exposure to the pleasures of sin can’t be denied)–but these empty attempts at happiness lead to untold human suffering and end up in our eternal loss of heaven
Thankfully, this free choice is ours. Our loving God ensures that we can make choices that show our love…or not. Let’s remember to ask whether a course of action would show that we love and serve God. And when in doubt, we can rely on…
- obeying God’s commandments
- following examples and advice in the Bible
- listening to Christian counselors and friends
- and just trusting God to provide guidance
Next Week’s Lesson: Preparing for Change
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to https://www.absg.adventist.org/
Other Outlook blogposts by Teresa Thompson, are at http://outlookmag.org/author/teresathompson/