ARE THY WORKS”
VERSE: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” Job 38:4.
HELP: Job 38–41.
handiwork in nature is not God Himself in nature. The things of nature are an
expression of God’s character and power; but we are not to regard nature as
God. The artistic skill of human beings produces very beautiful workmanship,
things that delight the eye, and these things reveal to us something of the
thought of the designer; but the thing made is not the maker. It is not the
work, but the workman, that is counted worthy of honor. So while nature is an
expression of God’s thought, it is not nature, but the
God of nature, that is to be exalted.” Ministry of Healing, 413.
NOW THE BEASTS, AND THEY SHALL TEACH THEE”
1. What can we learn
from studying the animals, birds and fish? Job 12:7–10.
“Since He [Jesus] gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with
the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of
God’s word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God’s created
works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had
written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered
stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and
animals, and the life of man.” Desire of Ages, 70.
2. What valuable practical lessons can be
learned from God’s creatures? Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:24–28.
“We are not merely to tell the child about these creatures of God. The animals
themselves are to be his teachers. The ants teach lessons of patient industry,
of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of providence for the future. And the
birds are teachers of the sweet lesson of trust. Our heavenly Father provides
for them; but they must gather the food, they must build their nests and rear
their young. Every moment they are exposed to enemies that seek to destroy
them. Yet how cheerily they go about their work! how
full of joy are their little songs!” Education, 117, 118.
I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH”
3. How did God describe the design that went
into the creation of the earth? Job 38:4–6.
“In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ
that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand
that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. ‘His
strength setteth fast the mountains.’ ‘The sea is
His, and He made it.’ Psalms 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with
beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky,
He wrote the message of the Father’s love. Now sin has marred God’s perfect
work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the
glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that
lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no
animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is
no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every
tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither
man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of
tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty
in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds.
The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the
streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom
fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.” Desire of Ages, 20.
4. What response did the psalmist make to the
wisdom of the Lord in creation? Psalm 136:1–9.
“After God had made the world in six days, He rested and sanctified and blessed
the day upon which He rested from all His work which He had created and made.
He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, that, as he
should look upon the earth beneath and the heavens above, he might reflect that
God made all these in six days and rested upon the seventh; and that, as he
should behold the tangible proofs of God’s infinite wisdom, his heart might be
filled with love and reverence for his Maker.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 582.
IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM?”
5. When David considered the splendor of the
heavens, the work of the Creator, how did he think of mankind in comparison?
“Christ pointed to the birds flying in the heavens, to the flowers of the
field, and bade His hearers consider these objects of God’s creation. ‘Are not
ye of much more value than they?’ He said. Matthew 6:26, R.V. The measure of
divine attention bestowed on any object is proportionate to its rank in the
scale of being. The little brown sparrow is watched over by Providence. The flowers of the
field, the grass that carpets the earth, share the notice and care of our
heavenly Father. The great Master Artist has taken thought for the lilies,
making them so beautiful that they outshine the glory of Solomon. How much more
does He care for man, who is the image and glory of
God. He longs to see His children reveal a character after His similitude. As
the sunbeam imparts to the flowers their varied and delicate tints, so does God
impart to the soul the beauty of His own character.” Desire of Ages, 313.
6. How important are the nations of earth in
comparison with God? Isaiah 40: 15–17, 22–23.
“‘What is man,’ the psalmist inquires, ‘that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest
him?’ ‘Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the
small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the
isles as a very little thing.’ Thus, Isaiah declares, God regards the
inhabitants of this world, not excepting those who stand at the head of the
nobility of the earth, those who have acquired the greatest learning, those to
whose lot has fallen great riches and much honour.
Notwithstanding the insignificance of this world in comparison with the whole
universe, Christ volunteered to take upon Himself the nature of humanity, and
to bear on His divine soul the sins of mankind, in order that He might redeem
the fallen race and enable them to gain life eternal. Laying aside His kingly
crown and royal robe, He left His high command in the heavenly courts, clothed
His divinity with humanity, and entered the world as a helpless babe. For our
sakes He became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich.” Signs of the Times, January
AND WONDERFULLY MADE”
7. How did David describe his wonder at the
complexity of the human body? Psalm 139: 14–16.
“We are God’s workmanship, and His word declares that we are ‘fearfully and
wonderfully made.’ He has prepared this living habitation for the mind; it is
‘curiously wrought,’ a temple which the Lord Himself has fitted up for the
indwelling of His Holy Spirit. The mind controls the whole man. All our
actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that
worships God, and allies us to heavenly beings. Yet many spend all their lives
without becoming intelligent in regard to the casket that contains this
treasure. All the physical organs are the servants of the mind, and the nerves
are the messengers that transmit its orders to every part of the body, guiding
the motions of the living machinery. Exercise is an important aid to physical
development. It quickens the circulation of the blood, and gives tone to the
system. If the muscles are allowed to remain unused, it will soon be apparent
that the blood does not sufficiently nourish them. Instead of increasing in
size and strength, they will lose their firmness and elasticity, and become
soft and weak. Inactivity is not the law the Lord has established in the human
body. The harmonious action of all the parts,—brain, bone, and muscle,—is
necessary to the full and healthful development of the entire human organism.” Special Testimonies on
8. How is the principle behind man’s creation
expressed? Genesis 1:26.
“The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. The
first and most precious knowledge is the knowledge of Christ; and wise parents
will keep this fact ever before the minds of their children. Should a limb be
broken or fractured, parents will try every means that love or wisdom can
suggest to restore the affected member to comeliness and soundness. This is
right; it is their duty. But the Lord requires that still greater tact,
patience, and persevering effort be employed to remedy blemishes of the soul. That
father is unworthy of the name who is not to his children a Christian teacher,
ruler, and friend, binding them to his heart by the strong ties of sanctified
love—a love which has its foundation in duty faithfully performed.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 322.
STORK IN THE HEAVENS”
9. How does God contrast the behavior of God’s
creatures with the behavior of His people? Isaiah 1:3;
NOTE: “What wonderful truths fell from the
lips of Christ when He called His disciples to consider the fowls of the air
and the flowers of the field, which obey the orders of God’s will.
These come to us as lessons of admonition and reproof, for our ingratitude and
lack of faith. Gifted with higher, nobler powers than the lower orders of
creation, man has nevertheless chosen to disobey his Creator.” Special Testimonies Series B, 229.
10. What lessons of simple trust can be learned
from the things of creation? Matthew 6:25–34.
“Can you not trust in your heavenly Father? Can you not rest upon His gracious
promise? ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Precious promise! Can we not
rely upon it? Can we not have implicit trust, knowing that He is faithful who
hath promised? I entreat you to let your trembling faith again grasp the
promises of God. Bear your whole weight upon them with unwavering faith; for
they will not, they cannot, fail.” Testimonies, vol.2, 497.
WAYS PAST FINDING OUT”
11. How did Paul express the impossibility of
fathoming the wisdom of God? Romans 11:33.
“We can never by searching find out God. He does not lay open His plans to
prying, inquisitive minds. We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand
the curtain behind which He veils His majesty. The apostle exclaims: ‘How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!’ It is a proof
of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power, that He is enshrouded in
the awful clouds of mystery and obscurity; for to lift the curtain that
conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy
in which the Mighty One dwells and works. We can comprehend no more of His
dealings with us and the motives that actuate Him than He sees fit to reveal.
He orders everything in righteousness, and we are not to be dissatisfied and
distrustful, but to bow in reverent submission. He will reveal to us as much of
His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond that we must trust the
hand that is omnipotent, the heart that is full of love.” Testimonies, vol. 5,
How did David express his thoughts about the ways of God? Psalm 36:5–9.
“Men had received their talents from God, and every gem of thought by which
they had been esteemed worthy of the attention of scholars and thinkers,
belongs not to them, but to the God of all wisdom, whom they did not
acknowledge. Through tradition, through false education, these men are exalted
as the world’s educators; but in going to them students are in danger of
accepting the vile with the precious; for superstition, specious reasoning, and
error are mingled with portions of true philosophy and instruction. This
mingling makes a potion that is poisonous to the soul,—destructive of faith in
the God of all truth. Those who have a thirst for knowledge need not go to
these polluted fountains; for they are invited to come to the fountain of life
and drink freely. Through searching the word of God, they may find the hidden
treasure of truth that has long been buried beneath the rubbish of error, human
tradition, and opinions of men.” Christian Education, 102, 103.