December 29, 2019 – January 4, 2020
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 497–502.
“You may reach God’s ideal if you will resolve that self shall not be woven into your work. To know that you are striving in spirit and in works to be Christlike, will give you strength and comfort and courage.” Gospel Workers, 164.
THE VALUE OF A FAITHFUL LEADER
- How did Israel respond to the death of Moses? Deuteronomy 34:7, 8; Psalm 112:6.
Note: “The Israelites deeply mourned for their departed leader, and thirty days were devoted to special services in honor of his memory. Never till he was taken from them had they so fully realized the value of his wise counsels, his parental tenderness, and his unswerving faith. With a new and deeper appreciation they recalled the precious lessons he had given while still with them.
“Moses was dead, but his influence did not die with him. It was to live on, reproducing itself in the hearts of his people. The memory of that holy, unselfish life would long be cherished, with silent, persuasive power molding the lives even of those who had neglected his living words.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 481.
- What should the loss of faithful workers make us consider? Psalm 116:15.
Note: “Satan is constantly working through his agents to dishearten and destroy those whom God has chosen to accomplish a great and good work. They may be ready to sacrifice even their own life for the advancement of the cause of Christ, yet the great deceiver will suggest doubts, distrust, jealousy, concerning them, that if entertained will undermine confidence in their integrity of character, and thus cripple their usefulness. Too often he succeeds in working through their own brethren, to bring upon them such sorrow and anguish of heart that God graciously interposes to give his persecuted servants rest. After the hands are folded upon the pulseless breast, after the voice of warning and encouragement is silent, then death may accomplish that which life has failed to do; then the obdurate may be aroused to see and prize the blessings they have cast from them.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 232.
- Why is it important to respect God-fearing leaders? Hebrews 13:17; 1Timothy 5:17.
Note: “The names of God’s chosen servants have been handled with disrespect, and in some cases with absolute contempt, by certain persons whose duty it is to uphold them. The children have not failed to hear the disrespectful remarks of their parents in reference to the solemn reproofs and warnings of God’s servants. They have understood the scornful jests and depreciatory speeches that from time to time have met their ears, and the tendency has been to bring sacred and eternal interests, in their minds, on a level with the common affairs of the world. What a work are these parents doing in making infidels of their children even in their childhood! This is the way that children are taught to be irreverent and to rebel against Heaven’s reproof of sin. …
“There are many who find special enjoyment in discoursing and dwelling upon the defects, whether real or imaginary, of those who bear heavy responsibilities in connection with the institutions of God’s cause. They overlook the good that has been accomplished, the benefits that have resulted from arduous labor and unflinching devotion to the cause, and fasten their attention upon some apparent mistake, some matter that, after it has been done and the consequences have followed, they fancy could have been done in a better manner with fairer results, when the truth is, had they been left to do the work, they would either have refused to move at all under the attending discouragements of the case, or would have managed more indiscreetly than those who did do the work, following the opening of God’s providence.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 195, 196.
- How can we demonstrate respect and care for church leaders today? Hebrews 12:12, 13; Job 4:4.
Note: “The words of criticism that have been spoken have at times had a very discouraging effect. But again and again in their necessity, the Lord sent them the word to go straight ahead, to follow their Leader. I have been instructed to lift up the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees, to encourage the faithful laborers with words from the Lord.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 409.
THE SUCCESSOR OF MOSES
- Who was appointed to be the visible leader of Israel after Moses’ death? What were his qualifications? Deuteronomy 34:9.
Note: “Joshua was now the acknowledged leader of Israel. He had been known chiefly as a warrior, and his gifts and virtues were especially valuable at this stage in the history of his people. Courageous, resolute, and persevering, prompt, incorruptible, unmindful of selfish interests in his care for those committed to his charge, and, above all, inspired by a living faith in God—such was the character of the man divinely chosen to conduct the armies of Israel in their entrance upon the Promised Land. During the sojourn in the wilderness he had acted as prime minister to Moses, and by his quiet, unpretending fidelity, his steadfastness when others wavered, his firmness to maintain the truth in the midst of danger, he had given evidence of his fitness to succeed Moses, even before he was called to the position by the voice of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 481, 482.
- What characteristics contributed to Joshua’s success? Isaiah 57:15; 66:2.
Note: “It was with great anxiety and self-distrust that Joshua had looked forward to the work before him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 482.
- What was God’s plan for the successful conquest of Canaan? Joshua 1:1–5, 9.
Note: “Joshua was a wise general because God was his guide.” Conflict and Courage, 116.
“The Lord promised Joshua that He would be with him as He had been with Moses, and He would make Canaan an easy conquest to him, provided he would be faithful to observe all His commandments. Joshua had been anxious concerning the execution of his commission to lead the people into the land of Canaan; but this assurance removed his fears.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 156, 157.
COURAGE THROUGH CONSECRATION
- What did God repeatedly tell this new leader? Why? Joshua 1:6, 7.
Note: “Do you think that all these charges would have been given to Joshua if there had been no danger of his being brought under misleading influences? It was because the strongest influences were to be brought to bear against his principles of righteousness that the Lord in mercy charged him not to turn to the right hand or to the left. He was to follow a course of strictest integrity. … If there had been no peril before Joshua, God would not over and over again have charged him to be of good courage. But amid all his cares, Joshua had his God to guide him.
“There is no greater deception than for man to suppose that in any difficulty he can find a better guide than God, a wiser counselor in any emergency, a stronger defense under any circumstance.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 993.
- How was Joshua to be prepared in order to fulfill God’s plans? Joshua 1:8. What can we learn from this?
Note: “While Bible religion embodies the principles of activity in service, at the same time there is the necessity of asking for wisdom daily from the Source of all wisdom. What was Joshua’s victory? Thou shalt meditate upon the Word of God day and night. …
“Those holding the positions of counselors should be unselfish men, men of faith, men of prayer, men that will not dare to rely upon their own human wisdom, but will seek earnestly for light and intelligence as to what is the best manner of conducting their business. Joshua, the commander of Israel, searched the books diligently in which Moses had faithfully chronicled the directions given by God—His requirements, reproofs, and restrictions,—lest he should move unadvisedly. Joshua was afraid to trust his own impulses, or his own wisdom. He regarded everything that came from Christ, who was enshrouded by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, as of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 993, 994.
COURAGE FOR A WORTHY CAUSE
- What assurance do we have as we seek to be of good courage in doing our part in the Lord’s vineyard? Psalm 31:24; Isaiah 41:10.
Note: “As the standard-bearers are fainting and falling, who are coming up to take their place? … Are there not men who will dedicate themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit, to go forth and enlighten others? …
“The torch of truth must be carried into the dark places of the earth. While the angels are holding the winds, we must work as Christ worked. …
“If we had toiled with fidelity, patience, and love, we should have had one hundred workers where there is one. Unimproved opportunities are written against us in the same book that bears the record of envy and rebellion against God.” The Review and Herald, December 15, 1885.
“This world is God’s great field of labor; He has purchased those that dwell on it with the blood of His only-begotten Son, and He means that His message of mercy shall go to everyone. Those who are commissioned to do this work will be tested and tried, but they are always to remember that God is near to strengthen and uphold them. He does not ask us to depend upon any broken reed. We are not to look for human aid. God forbid that we should place man where God should be. … The Lord Jehovah is ‘everlasting strength’ (Isaiah 26:4).” Reflecting Christ, 352.
“Be of good courage in the Lord. Remember how merciful and kind He is, how great has been His keeping power over you. That which men have failed to do, God has done. Honor Him. Be an example of piety to all with whom you are connected. Let God do all judging. Your work is to love and serve God and to be a help to others.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 151.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What should the Israelites have considered while Moses was still alive?
2 How may I be at risk of undermining the effectiveness of faithful leaders?
3 Explain the secrets of Joshua’s success from the very beginning of his work.
4 How was Joshua able to develop courage?
5 What should motivate us to cultivate the quality of courage?