Opening Prayer 00:00
Inside Story 32:31
Presenter Notes 36:11
Audio from the Sabbath School Podcast combined with the lesson’s text. Presenter: Dr. Percy Harrold.
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listen four for July 22 26 mercy and justice in Psalms and proverbs Sabbath afternoon July 20 before we start let's pray our Heavenly Father we come today to look at two books in the Old Testament which give us amazing advice on how we relate to you at different times and in different situations and we pray that you'll guide us through your Holy Spirit we thank you that Jesus came and lived and died that each of us could have eternal life and that you provide that gift so freely and as we open your word today we pray that our hearts may may be open to the infilling of your spirit and our own personal lives as we follow Jesus we pray in his dear name amen our memory takes this week is some 82 verses 3 and 4 defend the poor and fatherless do justice to the afflicted and needy deliver the poor and needy free them from the hand of the wicked let's read that again Psalm 82 verses 3 & 4 defend the poor and fatherless do justice to the afflicted and needy deliver the poor and needy free them from the hand of the wicked Psalms and proverbs depict the experience of living with God in the common things of life not just in times of worship or in other religious activities while the book of Proverbs offers a range of practical wisdom from relationships and families to business and government Psalms is a collection of songs that cover a variety of emotions and spiritual experiences from laments to exultant praise and everything in between it is easy to see that our faith should make a difference in every aspect and experience of our lives because God cares about every aspect of our lives meanwhile any reflection on life in this fallen world could hardly ignore the injustice that soper me the human condition in fact injustice is repeatedly described as something that our Lord cares about and seeks to relieve it is he who is the hope of the hopeless though we can only touch on what these books say about this topic perhaps this lesson might inspire you to be more proactive in ministering to the needs of the poor the oppressed and the Forgotten who exist all around us and whom we are obligated to help Sunday July 21 Psalms songs of hope for the oppressed as we've already noted God sees and hears people who are in distress and trouble most often in the Psalms we hear those cries from people who have trusted in God but are not seeing justice done the affirmations of the goodness justice and power of God can seem overwhelmed by the injustice and depression that the voices in these songs experience or observe yet these are the songs of those who are still singing neither their life nor their faith has been quenched there is still hope and the urgency is for God to act before it is too late before evil triumphs before the oppressed are destroyed by the weight of the evil brought against them in this way the writers of the Psalms tried to bridge the gap between the affirmations of their faith and the trials and tragedies of life question read some nine verses 7 to 9 and then 13 to 20 can you imagine the circumstances David the writer of the psalm was in can you feel the tension between his faith in God's goodness and his present experience how have you dealt with the struggle of faith in God amid times of severe trial Sam nine verses 7 to 9 but the Lord shall endure forever he has prepared his throne for judgment he shall judge the world in righteousness and he shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness the Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed a refuge in times of trouble and then beginning at verse 13 have mercy on me O Lord consider my trouble from those who hate me you who lift me up from the gates of death that I may tell of all your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion I will rejoice in your salvation the nation's have sunk down in the pit which they made in the net which they hid their own foot is caught the Lord is known by the judgment he executes the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands meditation Salah the wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God for the needy shall not always be forgotten the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever arise O Lord do not let me in prevail let the nations be judged in your sight put them in fear o Lord that the nations may know themselves to be but men Salah throughout the Psalms the repeated answer to this tension is the hope and promise of God's good and just judgment evil and injustice may seem triumphant for now but God will judge the evildoers and the unjust they will be punished while those they have hurt and oppressed will be restored and renewed in reflections on the sons seus Lewis described his initial surprise at the excitement and longing for God's judgment as expressed repeatedly in the Psalms observing that many Bible readers today considered judgment something to be feared he considers the original Jewish perspectives and writes in reflections on the Psalms published in 1958 page 11 thousands of people who have been stripped of all they possess and who have the right entirely on their side will at last be heard of course they are not afraid of judgment they know their case is unanswerable if only it could be heard when God comes to judge at last it will end of quote in the Psalms we see hope for the oppressed even now even amid their present sufferings and disappointments and so to finish the day what reasons do we have to view the idea of judgment is positive and not something to be feared Monday July 22 do something God question read Psalm 82 what is the message here to us it only contains eight verses let's begin at verse 1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty he judges among the gods how long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked seller defend the poor and fatherless do justice to the afflicted and needy deliver the poor and needy free them from the hand of the wicked they do not know nor do they understand they walk about in darkness all the foundations of the earth are unstable I said you are gods and all of you are children of the Most High but you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes arise O God judged the earth for you should inherit all nations despite the ordering and rules of society that God gave to them at various times in their history the Israelites failed to live up to this plan they to easily became like the nations around them living by a pattern of injustice and oppression leaders and judges looked after only themselves and their favor could be purchased with bribes without courts to protect them ordinary people and the poor especially was subject to exploitation some eighty two is a response to such a situation it describes God's role as supreme judge and it depicts a scene in which he judges the leaders and even the judges of the people this Psalm emphasizes that those who fill such roles in society are as Ellen White rights in prophets and kings page 198 appointed to act as judges under him end of quote they hold their position and conduct their work as representatives and subordinates of God in the psalmist view the Justice of God is a model for how earthly justice should function and it also provides that measure against which such justice or injustice and those who dispense it will be judged the psalm concludes with a specific call for God to act in verse 8 arise O God judge the earth for you shall inherit all nations to intervene and to stop the injustice that is so prevalent in the nation like many of the Psalms this one gives a voice to the voiceless and to the oppressed those whose voices have been silenced by the unjust systems in which they live and work Psalm 82 makes an appeal to God in his position of supreme judge and sovereign ruler of the universe and of all the nations there is no higher court or authority to which such an appeal could be made the assurance comes that when earthly courts do not hear or uphold the cries of the poor and the oppressed which is so often the case here there is still an undeniable opportunity to call for help at different times in our lives we might find ourselves as victims of injustice but at other times we might be the one committing or profiting from injustice in passages such as Psalm 82 we can find insight and wisdom whether we are oppressed or the oppressor God is concerned for the unjust judges – describing their messes children and wanting them to choose to live better as we read in verse 6 I said you are gods and all of you are children of the Most High thus there's hope even for those on the wrong side of oppression if they will allow themselves to be changed Tuesday July 23 a king's promises question read Psalm 101 though written for leaders what important counsel can we take from it for ourselves whatever our position in life Psalm 101 beginning at verse 1 I will sing of mercy and justice to you O Lord I will sing praises I will behave wisely in a perfect way Oh when will you come to me I will walk within my house with a perfect heart I will set nothing wicked before my eyes I hate the work of those who fall away it shall not cling to me a perverse heart shall depart from me I will not know wickedness who ever secretly slanders his neighbour him I will destroy the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart him I will not endure my eyes shall be on the faithful of the land that they may dwell with me he who walks in a perfect way he shall serve me he who works deceit shall not dwell within my house he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence early I will destroy all the wicked of the land that I may cut off all the evildoers from the City of the Lord some 100 is a text for leaders it is thought that these verses were composed by David in the early days of his reign as king of Israel they may even have been adapted from vows that he made at the time of becoming King in his experiences as a warrior for Saul and then a fugitive from him he had witnessed for himself our King who loses his way could damage the nation and his family David determined that he was going to be a different kind of leader few of us might be political or national leaders but we all have roles in life in which we have the opportunity to influence and encourage others these might be in our working life community involvement family or church as that on what comments on one of these sittings of leadership the vows of David she says in counsels to parents teachers and students page 119 recorded in the 101st psalm should be the vows of all upon whom rests the responsibilities of guarding the influences of the home end of quote as we have opportunity we should be prepared to suggest and uphold these principles to those who fill positions of leadership over us and all of us in our leadership and places of influence have the opportunity to apply David's leadership principles in order to help us be a blessing to others the starting point for David is honoring God for His mercy and justice as we read in verse 1 of chapter 101 I will sing of mercy and justice to you O Lord I will sing praises which become the foundation for everything David sought to uphold by his leadership he sought to learn and practice these same characteristics in his life and work to do this he must resist the temptations toward wrongdoing corruption and dishonesty all of which a particular traps for those in positions of power and leadership knowing how important good counselors were to help him to do right David pledges to seek you out trustworthy advisors and to appoint honest officials justice and mercy were to mark his leadership even among those who worked with and for him and so to finish today we might not be in a position to have advisors and officials but how can we fill our lives with influences that help us to live and to lead where we can with justice and mercy for those who need it weddings stay July 24 walking with the Lord as we near the end of the Book of Psalms the exclamations of praise seem to grow in crescendo after crescendo the final five sums begin with a simple and direct command to praise the Lord but the first of these Psalm 146 has a particular focus on God's concern for the poor and oppressed as a primary reason for such praise question read Psalm 146 what is the message here to us what is the psalmist saying especially in verses 5 through 2 9 let's begin at verse 1 praise the Lord praise the Lord O my soul while I live I will praise the Lord I will sing praises to my god while I have my being do not put your trust in Princes nor in a son of man in whom there is no help his spirit departs he returns to his earth in that very day his plans perish happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help whose hope is in the Lord his God who made heaven and earth the sea and all that is in them who keeps truth forever who execute judgment for the oppressed who gives food to the hungry the Lord gives freedom to the prisoners the Lord opens the eyes of the blind the Lord raises those who are bowed down the Lord loves the righteous the Lord watches over the strangers he relieves the fatherless and widow but the way of the wicked he turns upside down the Lord shall reign forever your God o Zion to all generations praise the Lord as surely is God as creator of this world as we read in verse 6 who made the heaven and earth the sea and all that is in them who keeps truth forever this Psalm describes God's continuing work in the world as Judge provider Liberator healer helper defender all of these focused on people in specific needs of these kinds of help it is an inspiring vision of what God does and seeks to do in our lives in our communities and in our world sometimes we think of caring for the needy is something we ought to do because God said so but Psalm 146 says this is something God already does and we are invited to join with him when we work against poverty oppression and disease we are truly working with God and His purposes what greater privilege can there be than partnering with God and fulfilling something as inspiring as Psalm 146 but there also are benefits for us Christians often talk about their search for God and their desire to have a closer relationship with him yet verses such as Psalm 146 verses 7 to 9 and so many others throughout the Bible indicate to us that one way to find God is to join in with what he does let's read those verses 7 through 2 9 who execute justice for the oppressed they gives food to the hungry the Lord gives freedom to the prisoners the Lord opens the eyes of the blind the Lord raises those who are bowed down the Lord loves the righteous the Lord watches over the strangers he relieves the fatherless and widow but the way of the wicked he turns upside down so if he is working to lift up the poor sick and oppressed as some 146 says he is we should be working with him as well Christ came to this earth to walk and work among the poor and suffering they received the greatest share of his attention Ellen White writes in testimonies for the church volume 7 page 226 and today in the person of his children he visits the poor and needy relieving whoa and alleviating suffering take away suffering a need and we should have no way of understanding the mercy and love of God no way of knowing the compassionate sympathetic Heavenly Father never does the gospel put on an aspect of greater loveliness then when it is brought to the most needy and destitute regions and so to finish today what has been your experience in how we become close to God by serving others Thursday July 25 Proverbs mercy on the needy as the collection of wisdom sayings the book of Proverbs touches on a diverse range of topics and life experiences among these their reflections on poverty riches contentment justice and injustice and sometimes from different angles life is not always simple and straightforward and proverbs alerts us to the different circumstances and choices that influence how life is lived even among those who are faithful to God question read and compare proverbs 10 verse 4 proverbs 13 verses 23 and 25 chapter 14 verse 31 chapter 15 verse 15 and 16 and chapter 19 verses 15 and 17 and finally chapter 30 verses 7 to 9 what are these texts saying that is relevant to wealth poverty and helping those in need first of all proverbs 10 verse 4 he who has a slack hand becomes poor but the hand of the diligent makes rich and proverbs 13 verses 23 and 25 much food is in the fellow ground of the poor and for the lack of justice there is waste the righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want and chapter 14 verse 31 he who oppresses the poor reproaches his maker but he who honors him has mercy on the needy and chapter 15 verses 15 and 16 all the days of the afflicted are evil but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with trouble end chapter 19 verses 15 and 17 laziness cast one into a deep sleep and an idle person will for hunger he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord and he will pay back what he has given and chapter 30 verses 7 through 2:9 two things are requests of you deprive me not before I die remove falsehood and lies far from me give me neither poverty nor riches feed me with the food allotted to me lest I be full and deny you and say who is the Lord or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my god proverbs emphasizes the concern and attention God has for the poor and vulnerable sometimes people are poor because of circumstances poor choices or exploitation but whatever the causes of their situation the Lord is still described as their Creator as we read in proverbs chapter 22 and verse 2 the rich and the poor have this in common the Lord is the maker of them all and defender as we read in verses 22 and 23 do not rob the poor because he is poor nor oppress the afflicted at the gate for the Lord will please their cause and plunder the soul of those who plunder them these people are not to be oppressed or taken advantage of whatever their mistakes while proverbs does offer a better life through choosing wisdom and obeying God riches are not always the result of God's blessing faithfulness to God is always seen as more important and ultimately more rewarding than material gain as we read in proverbs 16 verse 8 better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice another concern in Proverbs is honesty and fair dealing in business government and in administering justice as we read in proverbs 14 and verse five a faithful witness does not lie but a false witness will utter lies and verse 25 a true witness delivers souls but a deceitful witness speaks lies and chapter 16 and verses 11 to 13 honest weights and scales are the Lord's all the weights in the bag are his work it is an abomination for Kings to commit wickedness for a throne is established for by righteousness righteous lips are the delight of kings and they love him who speaks what is right in Proverbs 17 and verse 15 he who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the just both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord and proverbs 20 verse 23 diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord and dishonour scales are not good in chapter 21 verse 28 a false witness shall perish but the man who hears him will speak endlessly in proverbs 28 verses 14 to 16 happy is the man who was always reverent but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over poor people a ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days proverbs is not only concerned with the lives of individuals but also offers insight as to how society as a whole should function for the benefit of all particularly for those who need protection we are reminded again that at their best those who govern and lead do so with the help of God as we read in proverbs chapter 8 and verses 15 and 16 by me Kings reign and rulers decree justice by me Prince's rule and Nobles all the judges of the earth and so should be acting as agents of His grace and compassion toward those in need so to finish today it's easy for anyone to feel sorry for those in bad situations how though can we take that feeling of sorrow and turn it into action Friday July 26 from the book patriarchs and prophets page 754 we read the Psalms of David passed through the whole range of experience from the depths of conscious guilt and self condemnation to the loftiest faith and the most exalted communing with God his life record declares that sin can bring only shame and woe but that God's love and mercy can reach to the deepest depths that faith will lift up the repenting soul to share the adoption of the sons of God of all the assurances which His Word contains it is one of the strongest testimonies to the faithfulness the Justice and the covenant mercy of God end referring to the wisdom in the book of Proverbs we read in education page 137 these are principles with which are bound up the well-being of society of both secular and religious associations it is these principles that give security to property and life for all that makes confidence and cooperation possible the world is indebted to the law of God as given in his word and as still traced in lines often obscure and well nigh obliterated in the hearts of men and that brings us to our 4 discussion questions for this week one in what ways would you consider yourself a leader or in a position of influence how can you be an agent of justice in that aspect of your life to think about the culture and social structures of the place where you live in what way can you work within the existing system to better the lot of those in need 3 why are the principles of justice and fairness so important for building a strong society and for while the book of Proverbs is focused on wisdom for living well what does it tell us about what God is like and to summarize this week's lesson Psalms and proverbs are two books particularly tuned to the challenges of living faithfully amid life's common experiences and trials both offer insights into God's vision for society and his special concern for the poor and oppressed the cry of the Psalms and the wisdom of Proverbs are that God does notice and will intervene to protect those too often ignored or exploited and if that's what God's about it's what we should be about as well inside story our mission story this week is titled missionary SUV and it's by Andrew McChesney of Adventist mission parking at home in the US state of Maryland Joe masolino saw a trail of oil winding up the street from his eyes uzu trooper SUV uh-oh he said to his wife Susan things aren't good Joe a 33 year old IT manager at the seventh-day Adventist World Church headquarters in Silver Spring Maryland called a friend for help the friend Eric armor found oil spewing from the oil filter and warned that engine repairs probably would cost more than three thousand dollars Joe and Susan recently married had exactly three thousand in the bank but Joe was reluctant to spend the money on the SUV because the couple had fallen behind in returning tithe they owed one thousand five hundred for the past three months Susan saw no room for discussion we need to give our firstfruits she said Joe and Susan prayed and decided to return tithe rather than repair the SUV after the decision Eric advised Joe to call the filling station that had changed the oil shortly before the spill the filling station sent a mechanic to Joe's house and after an inspection offered to rebuild the engine for free Joe however wasn't sure he trusted the gas station so he accepted a three thousand dollar payment instead Joe asked another friend Bill Brady a car mechanic to rebuild the engine when the repairs were finished Joe received the bill for 1500 to his surprise the three thousand dollars from the gas station had been enough to cover repairs and tithe Bill cautioned Joe is a friend to sell the SUV saying it could break down at any time days later wayne kalbi purchasing director at adventist church headquarters asked joe whether he be willing to sell the SUV a missionary in Africa has asked specifically to buy an Isuzu Trooper he said Joe immediately shared the SUV's history but way in the SID he was willing to take the risk he gave Joe a fair price and shipped the vehicle to Africa the SUV had about four thousand forty thousand miles that's sixty four thousand kilometers on it about eighteen months passed and Wayne told Joe you remember that SUV now it has more than 100,000 miles on it praise the Lord Joe said I didn't think it would last that long a couple of years later Wayne announced that it had passed two hundred thousand miles then three hundred thousand miles Joe was amazed it is the Lord who kept it going for this missionary he said Joe now 61 and is a picture of him with his wife here said the experience taught him a lesson about mission and tithe the Lord met our needs when we sat down and decided as husband and wife to give our firstfruits to him he said he didn't only meet our needs but he also met the needs of the missionary in Africa the SUV became a blessing that kept on giving year after year after year you have been listening to a reading of the adults Sabbath School Bible study guide by dr. Percy Herald from Queensland Australia this service is brought to you by hope channel the Sabbath School Department and Christian services for the blind remember God is always faithful