Sabbath School Lesson for January 13-19, 2024

Overview of Lesson 2, The Lord Reigns

Memory Text: “The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.” Psalm 93:1 NIV

Psalms has much to say when it comes to the Lord’s sovereign governance of the whole world and universe. His creatorship establishes His right to this kind of total sovereignty. His independent, majestic, absolute power to rule allows Him to do whatever is necessary to sustain and maintain His creation.

The psalmists demonstrate their understanding of the way our world thrives. The foundational truth of His sovereignty undergirds their worldview and allowed them to serve God from the heart with their whole being, and to trust Him no matter what they’re going through.

Many of the prayers and praise found in Psalms involved God’s protection of His beloved people. They had a firm grasp on His right to intervene as He saw fit. They repeatedly relied on His divine rule in their favor in the past, in order to have hope in their often dark, murky future.

What to expect from this study:

  • Sunday: The Lord Has Made Us (Psalms 8 and 100–His creatorship)
  • Monday: The Lord Reigns (Psalm 97–His rulership)
  • Tuesday: God Is the Judge (Psalm 75–His judgments)
  • Wednesday: Ever Mindful of His Covenant (Psalm 105–His covenant)
  • Thursday: Your Testimonies Are Very Sure (Psalms 19 and 119–His law, or testimonies)

Sunday: The Lord Has Made Us (Ps. 8 and 100)

Many times, works of nature are used to remind us of the power of God’s sovereign rule. Especially when we consider the heavens, the moon and the stars, we recognize our humble place in the vast universe (Psalm 8:3-5). We were made “a little lower than the angels”, the psalmist tells us. With the humility this brings, we feel closer to God who created us and to the Son of God who humbled Himself to become one of us (Philippians 2:5-8).

The imagery of sheep in a pasture (Psalm 100:3), representing the love and care the Shepherd has for us, motivates us to joyfully praise and serve Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 100:1,2). The creative powers of God make Him the only one worthy of our trust and praise.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 8

What kind of response do you have when you consider God as our Creator?

  • Psalm 100

In what ways has God been faithful to You?

Monday: The Lord Reigns (Ps. 97)

God’s creative powers in the marvelous acts of nature, seen throughout the psalms, makes it easy to understand why God has a right to be Ruler over all He has made. Nothing matches the beauty and power of His created works. Just as nothing matches the mercy and justice that describe His character and sovereign acts as Ruler of the universe.

We see the Lord as Ruler through His creation, His provisions for our salvation, and His holy righteousness and acts of justice. Psalm 97, among others, reveals the Lord as a supreme Ruler, one who is worthy of our undying love and praise.

Idols that were worshiped back then, and the ones that we have created for ourselves in the modern world, are nothing when compared to the glorious God of the Israelites. These idols hold no power to rule us, because they themselves are works of God’s creation. It is useless to serve and worship them, just as it is worthless and dangerous to worship ourselves, even though we were made in His image (Genesis 1:27).

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 97:10

What does it mean to “hate evil”, and why are we told to do it?

How is this different from hating evildoers?

Tuesday: God Is the Judge (Ps. 75)

The government of God’s kingdom includes legislative, executive, and judicial powers, all rolled into one. He is not only a fair Judge and compassionate Ruler, but He’s also the perfect Lawgiver.

How thankful we should be that God has judicial powers over all His creation. None of our earthly court systems or governments can match His level of justice. His absolute sovereignty allows Him to not only judge our innocence or guilt, but to make fair and equitable laws that guide us in how we should live our lives.

In order to have a transparent government, He also allows investigative work to take place before His judgments, so the whole universe can see His unmatched, merciful rulership. We remember how the Lord looked down and saw the wickedness of Noah’s generation (Genesis 6:5, 8), before deciding that a worldwide flood was needed to cleanse the earth and preserve Noah and his family. God even sent angels to Sodom and the house of Lot to see how many righteous were living in the area, before they were destroyed by fire, an example of the fire that will someday destroy the whole earth again (Jude 1:7).

This investigative work, called “the hour of His judgment” is thought to be going on in the heavenly sanctuary right before the Second Coming, as our rewards will by then be determined (Revelation 14:7 and 22:12).

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 75 and 1 Samuel 16:7

Why should we be thankful that God is our Judge?

  • Psalm 75:8 and Revelation 14:10

What is meant by the cup of God’s wine?

  • Psalm 75:4, 5, 10

Horns are a symbol of honor and strength. How would this word image of a horn be useful in these verses?

Wednesday: Ever Mindful of His Covenant (Ps. 105)

Besides having a worldview that included God as Creator, Ruler, and Judge, the psalmists were ever mindful of God as a faithful Covenant-keeper. In other words, He always keeps His promises. How much easier it is to trust someone when they solidly stand behind their words.

We can count on God to be steadfast in what He commits to do for and with His people. Even when we fail miserably to keep the covenant ourselves, He strives diligently to lead us to make better choices and to come back to our covenant relationship with Him.

Psalm 105 speaks extensively about God’s faithfulness to us. Several times the word “remember” is used in this psalm. We, and all of Abraham’s seed, are to “remember His marvelous works which He has done” (Psalm 105:5, 6). “He remembers His covenant forever” (Psalm 105:8).

After recounting all God had done for the Israelites, the psalmist once again affirmed that God “remembered His holy promise” to Abraham (Psalm 105:42). Thankfully Abraham’s seed includes Christians today (Galatians 3:29). We must be mindful, too, of His covenant.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 105:5, 6 and Galatians 3:29

What are we to remember about God?

In what ways has God remembered you personally?

  • Psalm 105:1-4

What are some of the things we can do to show our faithfulness to God’s covenant?

Thursday: Your Testimonies Are Very Sure

Many of the psalms direct us to the testimonies, or laws, of our Creator, Ruler, Judge, and Covenant-keeper. It is these sets of laws that allow God to be all these things to His people. Psalm 19:7-10 attests to this, proclaiming God’s law as perfect, sure, right, pure, long lasting, and true. His testimonies convert us, make us wise, and cause us to rejoice.

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, goes on and on about how excellent is God’s testimony. His words, statutes, precepts, laws are unmistakably responsible for our ability to have a close relationship with God. The closer we are to His divine character, expressed in His law, the closer we derive pleasure and life from that relationship.

We find in Psalms 119:105 the key, central thought here: His word is a lamp to our feet, a light on our path. His testimonies allow us to keep our hearts steadfast by being rooted in righteous living, keeping us free from the consequences of sin. They make us more like Him–not a bad thing at all.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 18:30 and Ephesians 6:16

What is God’s shield and what does it do for us?

  • Psalm 119:105

How have you been guided by God’s unfailing light in His word?

Friday: Final Thoughts

People usually tend to feel uncomfortable or even intimidated when they are called before an authority figure, especially the principal of a school or a judge in a courtroom. But, the sovereign God of the universe wants the coming into His presence to be a peaceful, comforting, even joyful experience.

He longs to be in a close, loving, covenant relationship with His created beings, so we aren’t afraid of Him. He tenderly outlines how this is possible by giving us, not only the laws we are to live by, but the means to obey them. We are encouraged to think of Him as our heavenly Father–someone we can trust, who we long to be like, and find easy to obey. Only those who willfully disobey Him, with evil in their hearts, have need of fear in the Judgment.

Knowledge of the great controversy of Christ and Satan helps us understand all that troubles us in this world, reminding us that God is always in control of the outcome of our rogue planet. He deserves all our love and praise for His perfect, divine sovereignty.

Here are some hymns that speak of our topic this week. Find more of them in the “Scriptural Allusions in Hymns” index in the back of your church hymnal:

  • “Praise to the Lord”, #1
  • “The Lord in Zion Reigneth”, #7

Next Week: The Lord Hears and Delivers

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