Sabbath School Summary
The Reading of the Word
Memory Text: “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” Nehemiah 8:8
SATURDAY: Amidst the fierce opposition the Jerusalem wall was completely positioned. Its gates were placed & “enemies” marveled, believing God was with Israel (Neh. 6:16). Nehemiah then appointed Hanani to be the governor of Israel & Hananiah to be the leader of the citadel because of their integrity (Neh. 7:2). After the wall was fully built on the 6th month (Elul), the Law of God was read to the nation.
SUNDAY: Israel was united like the bricks of the Jerusalem wall after they finished the work (Neh. 8:1-2). In the 7th month in an open square, they met together to worship God. The month was when they had their Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, & Feast of Tabernacles. The people craved to hear God’s Law and requested Ezra to read to their hearing (Deut. 31:9-13). We ought to be united “as one man”.
MONDAY: Ezra’s time spent on reading the “book of the Law” tells us that it was not only the Torah but the 5 books of Moses. Thus, Ezra reviewed with them creation, the exodus, blessings, & struggles. Ezra’s efforts in teaching the Word for 13 years was not in vain, this time the people sought for the Word willingly (Neh. 8:3; Deut. 4:1; 6:3, 4; Josh. 1:9; Ps. 1:2; Prov. 19:20; Ezek. 37:4; and Matt. 17:5).
TUESDAY: From morning to midday two sects of 13 men helped Ezra. The former helped him to read & the latter helped the people to grasp the reading. Living in captivity might have made the Hebrew dialect something strange to them & having someone explain the Word to you help impress it upon the heart. It might be why the two groups of 13 men helped Ezra. Read & ponder on Acts 8:26-38.
WEDNESDAY: Extolling God was Ezra’s first act, & the last act was a united response from the assembly; “Amen, Amen!” (Neh. 8:5). They were admonished not to cry but rejoice for they could always trust in God. The reading revealed to the God’s holiness & their sinfulness. Seeing the enormity of their sins they could not hold back their tears (MH, p. 281, Neh 8:10). This holy day was also a call to repentance.
THURSDAY: Life is full of troubles, but God (the giver of eternal life) is full of blessings. In the midst of our woes, we should find a reason (the love of God) to rejoice. On a troubled day, God is our strength for the day (Neh. 8:10, 13-18). “You cannot give what you don’t have”, this the leaders knew, and hence, decided to know more about God from Ezra to instruct the people. Compare with Leviticus 23:39-43.
FRIDAY: After sincerely feeling a sense of guilt, the nation were not to be idle, but to rejoice in the assurance of God’s forgiveness. “Every true turning to the Lord brings abiding joy into the life”. God, the Searcher of hearts, sees within and gifts us His Holy Spirit when we truly confess and repent from our sins. No sinner is condemned in God, He clothe sinners with His righteousness.
—Ellen G. White, “Instructed in the Law of God,” pp. 661-668, in Prophets and Kings.
Torah- Also known as the Decalogue/the book of the Law.
MH- The Ministry of Healing.
Feast of Trumpets- Reminded the nation to prepare for God’s judgement.
Day of Atonement- Judgement day.
Feast of Tabernacles- reminded the nation of God’s deliverance from Egypt and the manna He gave them.
SUNDAY- The People Gather
MONDAY- Reading And Hearing The Law
TUESDAY- Reading And Interpreting The Word
WEDNESDAY- The People’s Response
THURSDAY- The Joy Of The Lord
On what conditions may you experience “the joy of the Lord” (Neh. 8:10) as your strength? That is, is there something that we have to do in order to experience the power of God and His forgiveness in our lives? If so, what?
How do we find the right balance in mourning over our sins and yet, at the same time, rejoicing in the Lord? Are not these contradictory to each other? How do the law and gospel together provide the answer? See Rom. 3:19-24.
Read Nehemiah 8:10, in which Nehemiah says to the people, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Eat the fat, drink the sweet, provide for those for whom nothing is prepared—and do all this because the “day is holy to our Lord”? What does this teach us about ways in which we can rejoice in the Lord? What does the fact that it is “holy” mean in this context?
Inside Story: Sunny & Salma made friends with each other when they met at university in the Middle East. While Sunny is an SDA, Salma grew up in a non-Christina family. Cautioned about Christians, Salma was wary of Sunny. Yet, Salma realized Sunny was kind and accepted her invitation to church. Salma was warned for going to church. After a year, she was engaged in church activities. Although her family told her they would be cursed when she become a Christian, at one meeting, she came across Acts 16:31, which quiet her fears. She then decided to baptize & was welcomed to the SDA family.
For November 2-8. Happy Sabbath.