“Sabbath School Summary
Our Forgiving God
Memory Text: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” ( Proverbs 28:13)
SATURDAY: After the merry making during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), the people were advised to speedily & frankly confess their sins. Nehemiah, Ezra, & the leaders had bid the people not to cry but rejoice after they felt their guilt, but now they were not only to mourn but sincerely repent. There is no particular order in confessing sin & rejoicing at God’s forgiveness. To rejoice first is good too (Rom. 2:4).
SUNDAY: The entire assembly were engaged in fasting, confession of sins, & worship (Neh. 9:1-3). Israel sin led them to exile, in fasting, they dissociated themselves from those (foreigners) who had not partook in their sins. They united & prayed without blaming past generations whose sins led them into captivity. As they read the Torah, they were drawn to the reality of their sins & the love of Christ (Dan. 9:4-19).
MONDAY: At the inception of their prayers, Israel exalted God’s name as the creator & sustainer of the universe. The universe & all that is in it depends on Him (Neh. 9:4-8; Col. 1:16, 17). God is a “Promise Keeper” who blessed Abraham for passing his test. Like Abraham, we can build our faith in God amidst the highs & lows we experience. Our thoughts & actions should reflect the faith we have in God.
TUESDAY: Visiting the past should not be something we ought to do especially when it’s full of mistakes & woes. But visiting it to draw lessons to make better choices is certainly a good thing. Israel were not proud of their past, yet, they drew lessons from it & poured out their hearts to God (Neh. 9:9-22). We’re to accept our flaws, confess & repent. We’re only saved by the blood of Christ (3SM, p. 191).
WEDNESDAY: In recalling their past sins, Israel acknowledged how God fulfilled all His promises to them, & how they nailed His law & slew His prophets. Their history was marred with disobedience, but God could change their history to “His-story” of obedience (Neh. 9:23-31). They had things in abundance (“growing fat” read Deut. 32:15, Jer. 5:28) but still sinned. We can be happy but it does not guarantee obedience.
THURSDAY: The Israelites crowned their prayer with praise & petition. In all their words they felt their guilt and their dependency on the grace of God (Neh. 9:32-38). Yet, they lamented over how foreign nations burdened them. Hence, they cried to God to relief them from distress. Israel saw the need to serve God. They desired to obey the law of God. Recalling God’s salvation in the past, they called Him to save.
FRIDAY: Eden is our final home. The bible depicts how God will restore our fallen world back to its edenic state. The Hebrews recalled how their ancestors delighted themselves in God (“edenized themselves”). Myriad blessings from God attended to them such that they had a feel of Eden (Neh. 9:25, Isa. 51:3). But, the gift God gives us should draw us to Him & not away from Him (Ezek. 23:35).
—Ellen G. White, “Confession,” pp. 37-41, in Steps to Christ.
3SM- Selected Messages, Volume 3
SUNDAY- Fasting and Worship
MONDAY- Beginning Of The Prayer
TUESDAY- Lessons From The Past
WEDNESDAY- The Law And The Prophets
THURSDAY- Praise and Petition
Jesus had said, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22, NKJV). What does He mean by “the deceitfulness of riches,” and how does this relate to the prayer of confession that we studied this week?
Dwell again on the doctrine of Creation. Notice in the prayer of Nehemiah 9 that they almost immediately talked about the Lord as Creator and Sustainer. What does that tell us about how foundational this doctrine is to our faith?
How do we strike the right balance in acknowledging our inherent sinfulness and yet, at the same time, not allow Satan to use our sinfulness in ways that could cause us to be discouraged and to give up our faith entirely?
Inside Story: In the wake of exams been stapled for Sabbath days in Uganda, President of the worldwide SDA Church, Ted N. C. Wilson on a mission trip decided to visit the country’s President. Elder Wilson had a customized pen with the SDA logo inscribed on it which he planned to gift the Ugandan President, Museveni. He requested a young missionary with him if he had Adventist literature to add to the pen as gifts to the President. Before embarking on the trip, the father of the young missionary persuaded him to buy a new Bible and copies of the book Steps to Christ. Although, he hesitantly bought the literatures, it became important for the meeting. President Wilson gifted the items to President Museveni, explained to him about the Sabbath day and pleaded with him to cancel all exams scheduled on Saturdays. He gave him the pen to use it to write and sign on important documents. Now, this young missionary testifies he takes with him a new Bible & copies of Steps to Christ on any missionary trip.
For November 9-15. Happy Sabbath.