Sabbath School Lesson for September 3-9, 2022

Overview of Lesson 11

Understanding why patience is needed as we wait in our crucibles is examined this week. Being patient is needed because…

  • God is patient. (Sunday)
  • God has good reasons for us to be patient. (Monday)
  • God’s ways are better for us, as David learned. (Tuesday)
  • God’s timing is better than ours, as Elijah learned. (Wednesday)
  • God is happy when we trust Him, which makes us more patient and happy. (Thursday)

Hope and meekness are great spiritual tools to help us navigate our difficulties and trials; but without patience, they can only go so far in helping us survive these crucibles of ours. Without patience, we will break down and let go of God in a way that may not lead to such a good outcome.

Anyone who has needed patience to endure a hard experience knows that sometimes the waiting can be a crucible in itself. Circumstances often persistently plague us to the extent that the timing and length of waiting needed to escape them is almost as hard to bear as the situation causing our suffering.

Only God’s Spirit can give us the fortitude and stamina to wait out our crucible, and not forge ahead without God’s guidance and blessing. Those who wait for the Second Coming of Jesus in these last days are in great need of this important fruit of the Spirit. Many will be misled or in danger of losing their faith if they don’t recognize the need for patient, steadfast endurance.

Memory Text: “But the fruit of the Spirit is…longsuffering…” Galatians 5;22 NKJV

English Standard Version: “But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience…”

Sunday: The God of Patience

As we’ve established in previous lessons, the key to surviving crucibles is to keep our eyes on God, not on our uncomfortable position of distress. God is the One who rules over our situation, and He’s the One we must model ourselves if we are to defeat it.

God’s patience with us is legendary. He shows enormous patience with us, either as individuals or collectively. God repeatedly encourages us to show patience as well–to wait and rest in Him.

If we have surrendered our lives to Him and are trusting in His care, then our attitude will be one of patient, obedient endurance. Our attitude makes all the difference in how we wait for God to work in our behalf.

Drawing close to Him, allowing His Spirit to fill us with love, will help any unhealthy attitudes that might grow during our lengthy wait for an escape from whatever we are suffering. Being patient, like God, is our ultimate goal.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Proverbs 27:14

  • What does waiting on the Lord do for us?

Proverbs 37:7

  • Why is it not helpful to think about those who would do us harm?
  • What should we do instead?

Romans 5:3-5

  • How does God’s love and the Holy Spirit help during our crucibles?

Monday: In God’s Time

God’s own timing was declared in the birth and death of His dear Son (Galatians 4:4 and Romans 5:6). “In due time” and “in the fulness of time” were the expressions used to remind us that God enacts His will according to a divine time schedule.  Most of the time, we are not aware of exactly when things will happen.

It’s probably more helpful for us to know the reason for a seeming delay in God’s timing. And there are many reasons that God may have for making us wait during our crucible.

  1. Waiting allows us to focus on God, and not just our crisis.
  2. Waiting gives us a clearer picture of our own motives and time to develop a better attitude about our suffering.
  3. Waiting builds the spiritual tools we need, such as faith and trust.
  4. Waiting provides God with more time to work out our situation in a way that is best for all involved.

In many cases, we may think we are waiting on God, but in truth He may be waiting on us. Our own spiritual immaturity may be the culprit. There’s a good reason we are told to wait on the Lord. His timing is always best. It’s tailor-made for our situation.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Galatians 4:4 and Romans 5:7

  • Why did God wait thousands of years before sending the Messiah to this earth?
  • Why was God’s timing important in both of these events?

Daniel 7:24

  • Why did God alert Daniel 70 weeks (or 490 years) before the Messiah was to come?
  • How can we do better than the Israelites, as we wait during our crucibles?

Tuesday: David–An Object Lesson in Waiting

David’s crucible was difficult indeed–running for his life from King Saul for so many years. Twice David had the opportunity to kill Saul during their encounters, but he spared him because Saul had also been anointed by God. Both times, Saul was impressed by David’s generous mercy. God was obviously trying to win back Saul, giving him every opportunity to repent. See 1 Samuel 26:1-11.

David’s journey to the throne was certainly a long one. But he was willing to do the right thing and wait for God to make it happen. We, too, must be careful not to run ahead of God. It’s more important to wait and see how God will work things out.

Instead of grabbing onto what we feel is rightfully ours, we need to be willing to let God’s will be done in His own way. Most of the time, we will only mess things up, if we think only of how to get out of our discouraging situation. However, God is the one who needs to be glorified, not us. So, we need to humbly and patiently wait for Him to deal with the situation.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

1 Samuel 23:17 and 24:20

  • Even though both Saul and David knew the outcome of who would be king, why did it take so long for it to happen?

1 Samuel 26:9-11

  • How was it helpful for David to consider all the ways God could change the situation?
  • How might we also use that strategy when things aren’t happening as fast as we’d like?

Wednesday: Elijah–The Problem of Rushing

If anyone had zeal in his worship and ministry, it was the prophet Elijah. His outstanding efforts to reveal the inadequacy of those pagan priests on Mount Carmel showed an overwhelming desire to glorify God.

However, when Jezebel set out on a revengeful campaign to kill Elijah, the prophet was overcome with fear and literally ran for his life. Instead of standing up to her threats, Elijah found himself in a place that God had not intended for him–the desert.

Many times, God’s faithful ones have responded with similar, disastrous results. Through impatience, lust, anger, or pride, we may find ourselves in a similar rush to solve our own problems, instead of letting God work them out for us.

Abram taking Hagar as a wife (Genesis 16:1-3), Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:10-12), and Samson’s decision to marry the wrong person (Judges 14:1-3) are just some of the examples of the foolishness of rushing ahead of God. It seldom works out as we intended, and usually just delays the good outcome God has for us.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

1 Kings 19:9, 10

  • Why was this the wrong place for Elijah?
  • How had worry about his own life affected Elijah’s hasty action?

Matthew 20:20, 21, Luke 9:52-56, and Acts 9:1

  • What is the danger of rushing ahead of God in these instances?
  • How was God’s will ignored or delayed by these unwise choices?

Thursday: Learning to Take Delight in the Lord

Psalm 37 speaks repeatedly of trusting God, of resting in His bountiful justice and mercy. Verse 4 also tells us that in order to get the desires of our heart, we must delight in God.

This chapter explains how to do this. We must not fret or be envious (Psalm 37:1). We should trust God and commit our way to Him (Psalm 37:5). This includes resting in the Lord, being patient about getting our needs met (Psalm 37:7). And one final admonition…we should not be angry about the way things are happening to us (Psalm 37:8).

Therefore, to take delight in the Lord means  trusting Him enough to leave all our worries and anger behind. Patiently resting in God causes us to delight in Him. This is surely something to be delightfully joyful about. God will sort it all out, in His own time and way. We have only to wait for Him to act, trusting His way to be best for all.

Discussion/Thought Questions:

Psalm 37:3-5, 39-40

  • Why do we need to trust and commit to God as we wait for His will to be done?

Psalm 37:1-2, 8

  • Why are we told not to worry or be angry? What do these emotions lead to?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Patience is a primary characteristic of God’s people in the last days. Revelation 14:12 describes the source and outcome of the patience of His saints at that time. They obey His commandments and have faith in their Lord. Trusting in Him will lead to our patient perseverance as we wait for what seems like a long time.

We are given one of the reasons why the waiting seems so long. 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is not willing that any should perish. He is trying desperately to save as many as His can. We know not the hour of His returning, but we also know that we can trust His timing and methods for saving us.

There will be unprecedented pressure during that extremely hard time of trouble at the very end. But God has promised that those days “will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). Evidently, the final events will be rapid ones.

Trusting and obeying God will keep us humble and faithful to the very end. Times and events point to the soon fulfillment of our deliverance. We know not the hour, but we know it will happen soon.

Next Week: Dying Like a Seed

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