“Thus saith the Lord,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good
way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].”Jeremiah 6:16.
Study Help:Prophets and Kings, 408–416; 425–429.
conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that
only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about.”Prophets and Kings, 412.
the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.This [is] my comfort in my affliction: for
thy word hath quickened me.The proud
have had me greatly in derision: [yet] have I not declined from thy law.I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the
wicked that forsake thy law.Thy
statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy
law.This I had, because I kept thy
1In the time of Jeremiah, what was the
condition of God’s chosen people?Jeremiah 8:5, 6.
forty years Jeremiah was to stand before the nation as a witness for truth and
righteousness.In a time of unparalleled
apostasy he was to exemplify in life and character the worship of the only true
God.During the terrible sieges ofJerusalem he was to be the
mouthpiece of Jehovah. He was
to predict the downfall of the house of David and the destruction of the
beautiful temple built by Solomon.And
when imprisoned because of his fearless utterances, he was still to speak
plainly against sin in high places.Despised, hated, rejected of men, he was finally to witness the literal fulfillment of his own prophecies of impending doom, and
share in the sorrow and woe that should follow the destruction of the fated
city.”Prophets and Kings, 408.
2Especially on what point of transgression did God specify through
His prophets?Jeremiah 17:19–23.
work of the priests in connection with the sacrificial offerings was increased
upon the Sabbath, yet in their holy work in the service of God they did not
violate the fourth commandment of the decalogue.As Israel separated from
God, the true object of the Sabbath institution became less distinct in their
minds.They grew careless of its
observance, and unmindful of its ordinances.The prophets testified to them of God’s displeasure in the violation of
his Sabbath.Nehemiah says: ‘In those
days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in
sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of
burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day, and I testified
against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.’[Nehemiah 13:15.] . . .
heeded not the admonitions of the inspired prophets, and departed more and more
from the religion of their fathers.At
length calamities, persecution, and bondage came upon them in consequence of
their disregard of God’s requirements.”The Spirit of Prophecy,
vol. 2, 194.
3How did God reveal His longsuffering and forgiving character to
His people in spite of their continued transgression?Jeremiah 17:24–26.
Jeremiah the word of the Lord to His people was: ‘Return, thou backsliding Israel, . . .
and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever.Only acknowledge thine
iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.
. . .Turn, O backsliding
children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto
call Me, My Father; and shalt not turn away from Me.’ ‘Return, ye backsliding children, and I will
heal your backslidings.’Jeremiah 3:12–14, 19, 22.”Prophets and Kings, 410.
4Where was God directing His people then, just as He is
the prophet stood firmly for the sound principles of right living so clearly
outlined in the book of the law.But the
conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that
only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought
about; therefore he labored most earnestly in behalf
of the impenitent.‘Break up your fallow
ground,’ he pleaded, ‘and sow not among thorns.’‘O Jerusalem, wash thine
heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be
saved.’Jeremiah 4:3, 14.”Prophets and Kings, 412.
quoted.]The prophet here describes a
people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are
seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God.They are repairers of a breach that has been
made in God’s law—the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their
protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to
be their perpetual safeguard.”Ibid.,677, 678.
5What condition must be met before we can realize the fulfillment of God’s promises?Deuteronomy , 31; –28; Isaiah 1:19.
are those who profess holiness, who declare that they are wholly the Lord’s,
who claim a right to the promises of God, while refusing to render obedience to
His commandments.These transgressors of
the law claim everything that is promised to the children of God; but this is
presumption on their part, for John tells us that true love for God will be
revealed in obedience to all His commandments.It is not enough to believe the theory of truth, to make a profession of
faith in Christ, to believe that Jesus is no impostor, and that the religion of
the Bible is no cunningly devised fable.‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments,’ John wrote, ‘is a liar, and
the truth is not in him.But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God
perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.’‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.’1 John 2:4, 5; .”The Acts of the Apostles, 562,
“So it is
with every other one of God’s requirements.All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience.God has a heaven full of blessings for those
who will co-operate with Him.All who
obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of
His promises.”Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.
6What was the warning given to Israel if they would not turn from their ways, especially in
regards to the Sabbath?Jeremiah 18:15–17; 25:8–12.
, 25 quoted.]This promise of
prosperity as the reward of allegiance was accompanied by a prophecy of the
terrible judgments that would befall the city should its inhabitants prove
disloyal to God and His law.If the
admonitions to obey the Lord God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath day
were not heeded, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by
fire.”Prophets and Kings, 411, 412.
7What course did God’s people take in spite of the warnings?Jeremiah 6:16, 17; 11 Chronicles
had pleaded with Judah not to provoke Him
to anger, but they had hearkened not. Finally sentence was pronounced against
them.They were to be led away captive
to Babylon.The Chaldeans were
to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient
people.The sufferings of the men of Judah were to be in
proportion to the light they had had and to the warnings they had despised and
rejected.Long had God delayed His
judgments, but now He would visit His displeasure upon them as a last effort to
check them in their evil course.”Prophets and Kings, 425.
the attention of Judah to the sins that finally brought upon them the
Babylonian Captivity, the Lord declared: ‘Thou hast . . . profaned My
Sabbaths.’‘Therefore have I poured out
Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their
heads.’Ezekiel 22:8, 31.”Ibid.,182.
8Why was God compelled to take such action?11 Chronicles
36:14–16; Ezekiel 22:8, 31.
children of Israel were taken captive
to Babylon because they
separated from God, and no longer maintained the principles that had been given
to keep them free from the methods and practises of the nations who dishonored God.The Lord
could not give them prosperity, he could not fulfil his covenant with them,
while they were untrue to the principles he had given them zealously to
maintain.By their spirit and their
actions they misrepresented his character, and he permitted them to be taken
captive.Because of their separation
from him, he humbled them.He left them
to their own ways, and the innocent suffered with the guilty.”Review
and Herald, May 2, 1899.
9What are the most important characteristics of God’s love toward
us?Psalm 89:14; Exodus 34:6, 7.
infinite love of God has been manifested in the gift of His only-begotten Son
to redeem a lost race.Christ came to
the earth to reveal to men the character of His Father, and His life was filled
with deeds of divine tenderness and compassion.And yet Christ Himself declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or
one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’Matthew
5:18. The same voice that with patient, loving
entreaty invites the sinner to come to Him and find pardon and peace, will in
the judgment bid the rejecters of His mercy, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed.’Matthew 25:41.In all the Bible,
God is represented not only as a tender father but as a righteous judge.Though He delights in showing mercy, and
‘forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,’ yet He ‘will by no means clear
the guilty.’Exodus 34:7.”Patriarchs and Prophets, 469.
10How can we be assured that God will always deal justly with the
does not change his plans and devise new expedients to save man in different
ages or dispensations.With him ‘is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning.’[James 1:17.]He does not abolish the law to bring man into
harmony with himself.If he had proposed
to destroy the jurisdiction of the law over man at any time, he would have done
so when Adam’s failure to keep its requirements brought him under its terrible
condemnation.But God does not provide
any such escape in this emergency.He
expels the guilty pair from the garden.The law says the penalty of sin is death, and they have brought on
themselves, by deliberate choice, the loss of eternal life.The course of God toward the rebellious has
not changed.There is no way back to
innocence and life except through repentance for having transgressed God’s law,
and faith in the merits of the divine sacrifice, who has suffered for your
transgressions of the past; and you are accepted in the Beloved on condition of
obedience to the commandments of your Creator.”The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1887.
Blindness—“God’s love and justice have provided one way, and one only, whereby
man can be saved from eternal separation from Heaven and alienation from God,
and that is by faith in Christ and obedience to his law.The Spirit of God operating upon the human
heart never leads men to belittle the law of Jehovah.Enlightened by this divine influence, we will
see with awe the majesty of its requirements, the heinousness of sin, and feel
the terror of its inevitable penalties upon the transgressor.
“ ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous,’ [1 John 2:1] and to this refuge the repentant soul turns to plead the merits of his
Saviour’s blood.But while the blood of
Christ avails for the repenting soul, Christ is not the minister of sin, and
there is no peace, no assurance, no genuine hope, for anyone who ignores the
claims of God’s law and tramples upon its just demands.To trust in man’s good purposes or works is
seen by the repenting sinner to be utmost folly.To suppose that a few deeds of beneficence or
the performance of duty will cancel a life-time of sin,
is a blindness that Satan brings over the mind to befog the moral perceptions,
and lead men to trust in themselves.”The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1887.
Deliverance—“Thus prophecies of oncoming judgment were mingled with promises of
final and glorious deliverance.Those
who should choose to make their peace with God and live holy lives amid the
prevailing apostasy, would receive strength for every trial and be enabled to
witness for Him with mighty power.And
in the ages to come the deliverance wrought in their behalf would exceed in
fame that wrought for the children of Israel at the time of the
Exodus.The days were coming, the Lord
declared through His prophet, when ‘they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the
land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up
and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and
from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own
land.’Jeremiah 23:7, 8.”Prophets and Kings, 427.
with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.