These are my personal notes on this week’s Sabbath School lesson. Hopefully you will find questions to ponder, thoughts to digest, and perhaps a different perspective or two. Feel free to add your thoughts, answers, and opinions. And enjoy the study of God’s Word!

Introduction of this Quarter’s Sabbath School Lessons

Read Romans 5:12. [“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” KJV]

Why does just knowing we will die cause humans so much grief and anguish, but animals seem to be oblivious to it? Why just humans?

Is death the only penalty for man’s sin or is the knowledge of death a factor?

Does God have a different perspective than ours about death?

Do Christians share the same anguish and dread of death as non-believers?

(When my father was in the hospital with cancer and about to be sent home on hospice, the chaplain came in to visit him. My sister and I wondered if Dad had made his heart right with God, but the chaplain who saw us later said she was fairly certain he had. She said he had a very calm, peaceful attitude and acceptance of his death, and she didn’t find that with everyone, except those she thought were on good terms with God.)

For the unbeliever, accepting death as just another part of life may help alleviate some of the anguish. But should a Christian be wary of this mindset? Why or why not?

(Death is an intruder and was never meant to be a part of man’s existence. God created us with the intention of having us live with Him eternally. The cross alone makes this possible again and it’s the only way we can accept the unnatural act of death.)

How can we develop attitudes that help us cope easier with death, and not just our own, but those loved ones we hold most dear? (Remember John 14:1-3. Our hearts don’t have to be troubled over death.)

The wording in the NRSV of Romans 5:12 says that “…and so death spread to all because all have sinned”.

This sounds like a very contagious disease. How do we prevent getting any kind of sickness? And how do we prevent sin on a spiritual level?

  • Do all you can to strengthen your immune system. (Study God’s Word and pray.)
  • Go to the doctor when you start to get symptoms. (Seek forgiveness from God and repent of your sin as soon as it happens.)
  • Stay away from others who are sick. (Do not put yourself needlessly in places where sinners gather.)
  • Do all you can to increase public awareness of the disease. (Witness to others about how they can keep from falling into sin.)

In The Faith I Live By, p. 109, Ellen White says that the great theme of the Bible is “the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.”

What work of God would that be? And what can man not do for himself?

This is also the theme of our quarterly’s lesson study. The Minor Prophets had a great story to tell about God’s grace and His desire to save us from death.

Lesson One—Spiritual Adultery (from the book of Hosea)

What was strange about God’s command to Hosea to marry an adulterous woman? Hadn’t He told the Israelites not to be unequally yoked?

What other prophets were called upon to do “strange” things?

  • Isaiah 20:1-6 (went naked and barefoot—oh, my!)
  • Jeremiah 27:1-7 (wore a yoke—ouch!)
  • Ezekiel 4:1-6 (laid on a large brick tile for days—double ouch!)
  • And what about Abraham, who was told to kill his own son?

How did these prophets know that what they were doing was by God’s direction?

Should we be any less fearless when we are convicted of God’s will?

If idolatry is the equivalent of spiritual adultery in Old Testament times, what would be equal to idolatry in our times? (materialism?)

How are materialism and idolatry the same? What do they tell us about our relationship to God? Who gives us the “things” we enjoy every day? Do we show ingratitude when we worship anything other than God?

What percentage of the gifts God has given me is intended for His service? See Matthew 6:24. Doesn’t this mean that 100% of our gifts are meant to serve God? It seems to imply that we can’t serve both God and money (or any other master), so it all has to be for God.

If we use God’s gifts selfishly and indulge ourselves in luxuries beyond what others enjoy, are we committing idolatry against God, the giver of those things?

Read Hosea 4:1. [“Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.” KJV]

Notice it said “knowledge of God”. How does this compare with a “knowledge about God”?

(On a personal level, when we say I know Bob or Susie, doesn’t that mean something different than I know about Bob or Susie?)

Israel was squandering God’s gifts of truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God. These seemed to mark their unique relationship with God, the special covenant with God they once enjoyed.

God promises in Hosea 2:23 to renew that covenant. [“…and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” KJV]

This promise was also given by Jeremiah in Jer. 31:33 [“…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” KJV]

The name Hosea means “the Lord saves” and is related to the names Joshua, Isaiah, and even Jesus.

How does this name fit Hosea? How does it point to our salvation?

Does his experience with being married to an adulterous woman and still loving her and even buying her back tell us anything about God’s love for us?

What other Biblical evidence do we have that God feels not only love, but pain for us because of our “adulterous” ways? (Isaiah says in chapter 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”)

The more I know about God the more I love Him. His patience for me and all His people is hard to understand, but it’s something we need to put into practice in our dealings with those around us. Forgiving the undeserving is God’s specialty and needs to be ours as well.

Next week, we’ll dig more treasures from Hosea’s story.