Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 19

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 19

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 4 *An Everlasting Covenant*
Monday: ’El-Shaddai

Text: [[Gen 17:1]] KJV
_And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect._

Message
It’s unfortunate that we don’t understand God’s dealings with us the way he wants us to, and this is a major reason why we become too anxious about this life. God wants us to see, know, and relate him on a personal level. But we often see him as a distant God. This is how he reveals himself to us too. For Abram, when He established the *everlasting covenant* with him, he made himself known as the *Eternal one* Do you see the connection? How he wanted Abram to understand the covenant was linked with who he was. But something interesting happened years later.

Several years after the covenant, Abram had not gotten any child with Sarai, rather, Ishmael had been born to him. But God’s covenant wasn’t through Ishmael. Abram was running out of time. At age 99, it appeared nothing would work again, and probably, the covenant wasn’t going to work. At that point, the LORD appeared again to him, but this time, *not just as Yahweh, but as El Shaddai* What’s the significance? *El Shaddai means God Almighty. So at the time Abram thinks it’s over, God says, I’m the Almighty God, just focus (see 17:1)*

Abram needed reassurance, and God did exactly that. His self-existence wouldn’t mean much to Abram as the knowledge that He is the all powerful God. This was a great consolation. *Even today, God wants to relate to us on such a personal level. In our sickness he wants us to know him as Jehovah Raphah, when we feel rejected and alone, He’s Jehovah Jireh, in our sorrows, He’s our comforter.*

Reflection
Some have argument that names doesn’t really matter. But think about this. How much comfort and hope would you have if the Lord’s name was “The Frail God” or “The Weak God”? What personal consolation can you find in the Name, El Shaddai?

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 18

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 18

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 4 *An Everlasting Covenant*
Sunday: Yahweh and the Abrahamic Covenant

Text: [[Gen 15:7]] BSB
_The LORD also told him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”_

Message
We read from scripture how God was saddened by the increasing sin of men. Often we picture an angry God looking upon sinful men and waiting for an opportunity to destroy them. But far from this. On the contrary, he was pained, looking for an opportunity to save them rather. This was the condition after the flood, when sin began to increase again. He needed to commit himself that whatever happens, he will not destroy everyone. He took another step that was to assure humanity that his love will never change, but that we can trust him to save us.

To this end, God chose Abram to make a covenant with him and his posterity that was to assure him of his ever presence. We will look at the details of this everlasting covenant this week. First, we have to observe an interesting part of the covenant. When God appeared to initiate this covenant, He introduced himself to Abram as “The LORD”. This name means “the Eternal One,” “the Self-Existing One,” “the Self-Sufficient One,” or “the One who lives eternally.” For inhabitants of the ancient near East, names meant a lot to them. It depicted the persons character, so for God to introduce himself this way to Abram was for a purpose.

Keep in mind God was going to establish an everlasting covenant, and so he needed to show he is unlike any other god. He is one that was there before the beginning, and will be there after the end. By understanding this, Abram could trust that whatever covenant he makes is within scope. Again, God has several names (and attributes), but in this covenant, he introduces himself to Abram with his personal name. This shows a level of intimacy He wanted to build with Abram.

Reflection
God himself explains his name as ‘I Am Who I Am’. This shows God’s unconditioned existence, and rule over past, present, and future. When you think of or hear the name LORD (Yahweh), what traits or characteristics automatically come to mind? What can it teach you today?

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 13

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 13

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 3 *“All Future Generations”*
Tuesday: Covenant with Noah

*Text: [[Gen 6:18]] KJV*
_But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee._

*Message*
God wanted to destroy the world, but righteous Noah found grace in his sight so God wanted to spare him. He therefore enters into a covenant with Noah. This is the foundation of all biblical covenants – God and man enters into an agreement where He offers a blessing (and its conditions/laws), then the man is to accept to subscribe to it, obey, and receives the blessings. In this covenant too, Noah’s family had their part to do, and if they did not do it, the covenant would be broken. If the covenant was broken, they were the ultimate losers, for in the end they were the beneficiaries of the covenant.

Let’s try to understand the covenant with this simple analogy. If well understood, we’ll easily understand all biblical covenants God makes with man. *A man has fallen overboard from a boat in the midst of a storm. Someone on the deck says that he will throw a life preserver over to haul him in. The one in the water, however, has to agree to his end of the “deal,” and that is to grab on and to hold on to what has been provided him.* In all of God’s covenant, he initiates a plan to save us, when we are about to “drown”.

Generally speaking, in every covenant, the 2 parties have what they offer and what they benefit. But it’s absurd to say the one drowning did the man in a boat a favour by holding his life preserver he offered. God’s benefit in this covenant which he calls “My covenant” is that, He offers eternal life to his creation, and this means a lot to Him. So ultimately, God initiates the covenant which we enjoy all the benefits.

*Reflection*
_How does the analogy above help you to understand the concept of grace that exists in the covenant? How does it help you understand what your relationship to God even now needs to be based on?_

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 19

Sabbath School Daily Summary-April 12

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 3 “All Future Generations”
Monday: The Man Noah

Text: [[Gen 6:9]] BSB
_This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God._

Message
As we noted in our study yesterday, sin increased on earth to the point that God lamented. Evil grew each day in the then world, and probably some of the most popular statement’s today such as, “everyone is doing it, it doesn’t matter, etc.” were used there as well. But this was false! Not everyone did what the masses did. There was a man – Noah, who separated himself from all the evils. The Bible testifies that he was a righteous man, blameless, and one that had a close relationship with God. Noah showed that it was possible to be faithful in a corrupt world.

Did the writer exaggerate when he said Noah was righteous or blameless? Or was he only picking a lesser of 2 evils? No! Noah was indeed a righteous man. But does it mean Noah never sinned? No! *The Bible nowhere equates righteousness to sinlessness.* There are accounts of several righteous people in scripture, but Only Christ was sinless. Noah simply did what God expected. He ensured he was constantly right with God and so no witness could be raised against him. This isn’t a strange concept. Throughout history, men are made right with God (righteous) when surrender all to God and receive pardon. At that moment, we become blameless, and this can be achieved only through a constant living relationship with God. This is what Noah pursued.

God was about to destroy the world, “but Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord. (Vs 8)” Noah therefore was going to be spared, not because he was righteous, but because of God’s Grace. *He was righteous, but that couldn’t save him, God’s Grace alone could!* What a powerful lesson for us today. If Noah was sinless, then he didn’t need grace to escape, for the sinless cannot be condemned by a just God. But *however “blameless” and “righteous” Noah was, he was still a sinner who needed the unmerited favor of his God* His situation isn’t different from any sincere sinner seeking God today.

Reflection
Understanding that Noah needed God’s grace, as do the rest of us, look at your own life and ask yourself this question: Could it be said of me that I am, like Noah, “righteous,” “blameless,” and that I “walk with God”?

Sabbath School Daily Summary – April 18

Sabbath School Daily Summary-April 11

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 3 “All Future Generations”
Sunday: The Sin Principle

Text: [[Gen 6:5]] KJV
_And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually._

Message
One of the arguments that still bothers many minds today is whether our generation is better or worse of than those that lived 1000s of years ago. On one hand, we see technological advances that one might say never existed in those days. Going by this, we may be better of. But again, think about the exponential increase in crime and evil. This is not surprising because from the day man sinned in Eden, we became inclined naturally to sin,and our nature actually enjoyed it. Man’s urge to sin, like bacteria growth, increases rapidly. But God, in order to remedy the situation employed the best approach which we’ll explore this week. We’ll look at God’s covenant with Noah in detail.

From the time of creation to the time of Noah, things had moved from being “exceptionally very good” to unbearably bad. The Bible records that, “the imagination of men were evil continually”. Things were getting out of hand, and God couldn’t watch all his creation destroyed. “it repented God for creating man”. This is a language implying God’s impending judgment. But how did things get worse so quickly like that? The problem we all face today is, we underestimate sin or play with it hoping we can kick it out anytime. But one sin subtly leads to another, then another, till we’re far gone.

Sin progressively gets worse. It tends to do that. Sin is not like a cut or a wound, with some automatic, built-in process that brings healing. On the contrary, if left unchecked, sin multiplies, never satisfied until it leads to ruin and death.Unfortunately, like our 1st parents, we follow the same slippery way. To avoid its multiplication is to avoid nurturing the very 1st seed (thought of evil).

Reflection

The Good news is that, though God wants to destroy sin, He eagerly wants to save the sinner. This is how to view the story of the (Noah’s) Flood, and it’s the premise for God’s covenant with Noah.

Sabbath School Daily Summary-April 8

Sabbath School Daily Summary-April 8

2nd Quarter: The Promise: God’s Everlasting Covenant
Lesson 2 Covenant Primer
Thursday: The New Covenant

Text: [[Jer 31:31]] KJV
_Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:_

Message
The story of Israel after they left Egypt is known to us all. Though God showed them great love and Mercy, their response was very negative. Over and over again the nation broke the covenant law. God was faithful in keeping the covenant promises, but Israel remained unfaithful. Because of God’s faithfulness, He couldn’t go against his words, and so, for the 1st time in the OT, God mentions his intention to make a new covenant with Israel after their long exile. One consistent thing we can see about God’s covenant with man is that, He always initiates it, and He comes with the full package to bless.

Again, the type of covenant relationship He had with Israel is one we can learn from. It was a marriage relationship – one that required strict faithfulness. Israel failed in this. In God’s new covenant, note that the components remained the same, namely: two parties, a promise, and a requirement (law). God still required a relationship which will be expressed through obedience, the difference is found in how Israel was to keep their part now. In the earlier covenant, their fathers attempted to obey and they failed, in the new one, God himself promises that He’ll put those laws in their hearts so that obeying will be easy.

But what does this mean? Has God left everyone to follow his/her conscience? No! No! Note that, even in the new covenant, the laws are still very important (without it, there’s no covenant). What we see is an element to help them keep the same law which their fathers disobeyed. This element is God’s amazing Grace. A special enablement to keep God’s law out of love for Him not just because you have to. Paul says, _”For the grace of God… hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,… (Titus 2:11,12)_ In short, in the New covenant, everything, including our ability to obey is on God. When men tried by their strength, they failed.

Reflection
In the New Covenant, _the people simply obey Him, not in some rote, mechanical way, but purely because they know Him, because they love Him, and because they want to serve Him. This captures the essence of the covenant relationship the Lord seeks with His people._