Lesson & References Index

Lesson 12: December 12 – December 18

Back to Egypt

(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)

Sabbath Afternoon

Memory Text: Jeremiah 42:5

5 So they said to Jeremiah, Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the Lord your God sends us by you.

Sunday – Political Anarchy

Jeremiah 40:7-16

7 And when all the captains of the armies who were in the fields, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, children, and the poorest of the land who had not been carried away captive to Babylon,8 then they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah - Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath before them and their men, saying, Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, I will indeed dwell at Mizpah and serve the Chaldeans who come to us. But you, gather wine and summer fruit and oil, put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken. 11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab, among the Ammonites, in Edom, and who werein all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places where they had been driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in abundance.

13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces thatwere in the fields came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, 14 and said to him, Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to murder you? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.

15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, Let me go, please, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he murder you, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?

16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely concerning Ishmael.

Read Jeremiah 41
Jeremiah 41:1
Insurrection Against Gedaliah

1 Now it came to pass in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family and of the officers of the king, came with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at Mizpah. And there they ate bread together in Mizpah.

Jeremiah 40:5

5 Now while Jeremiah had not yet gone back, Nebuzaradan said, Go back to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever it seems convenient for you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him rations and a gift and let him go.

Jeremiah 41:3

3 Ishmael also struck down all the Jews who were with him, that is, with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war.

Monday – Seeking Divine Guidance

Read Jeremiah 42
Jeremiah 42:6

6 Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.

Tuesday – Returning to Egypt

Read Jeremiah 42
Jeremiah 43:1-7
Jeremiah Taken to Egypt

43 Now it happened, when Jeremiah had stopped speaking to all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him to them, all these words, 2 that Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men spoke, saying to Jeremiah, You speak falsely! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, Do not go to Egypt to dwell there.3 But Baruch the son of Neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may put us to death or carry us away captive to Babylon. 4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces, and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah. 5 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to dwell in the land of Judah, from all nations where they had been driven -  6 men, women, children, the kings daughters, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. 7 So they went to the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord. And they went as far as Tahpanhes.

Exodus 16:3

3 And the children of Israel said to them, Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Numbers 16:13

13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you should keep acting like a prince over us?

2 Corinthians 10:5

5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Wednesday – Taken Into Exile

Jeremiah 43:8-13

8 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 Take large stones in your hand, and hide them in the sight of the men of Judah, in the clay in the brick courtyard which is at the entrance to Pharaohs house in Tahpanhes; 10 and say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them. 11 When he comes, he shall strike the land of Egypt and deliver to death those appointed for death, and to captivity those appointed for captivity, and to the sword those appointed for the sword. 12 I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive. And he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd puts on his garment, and he shall go out from there in peace. 13 He shall also break the sacred pillars of Beth Shemesh that are in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians he shall burn with fire.

Jeremiah 37:7-8

Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Thus you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: Behold, Pharaohs army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire.

Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 25, 1890.
Need of Earnestness in the Cause of God

The Lord knocks at the door of your heart, desiring to enter, that he may impart spiritual riches to your soul. He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in his law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire. There are old, yet new truths still to be added to the treasures of our knowledge. We do not understand or exercise faith as we should. Christ has made rich promises in regard to bestowing the Holy Spirit upon his church, and yet how little these promises are appreciated! We are not called to worship and serve God by the use of the means employed in former years. God requires higher service now than ever before. He requires the improvement of the heavenly gifts. He has brought us into a position where we need higher and better things than have ever been needed before. The slumbering Church must be aroused, awakened out of its spiritual lethargy, to a realization of the important duties which have been left undone. The people have not entered into the holy place, where Jesus has gone to make an atonement for his children. We need the Holy Spirit in order to understand the truths for this time; but there is spiritual drought in the churches, and we have accustomed ourselves to be easily satisfied with our standing before God. We say that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, while we are poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked.

It is essential that we study the Scriptures far more earnestly than we do. With fervent prayer we should earnestly and thoroughly examine the pillars of our faith, to see that we have no false support. God will not bless men in indolence, nor in zealous, stubborn opposition to the light he gives to his people. Many who have come to the faith have received the truths from the lips of teachers, and have not sought a knowledge of the truth themselves. They are content with mere surface evidence. They have not obtained increased light by diligent investigation of the Scriptures, and are not quick to discern the temptations and delusions of Satan. Some are described in the words of Malachi: Ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.

Those who claim to keep and teach the holy law of God, and are continually transgressing that law, are stumbling-blocks not only to sinners, but also to believers in the truth. They oppose they know not what, because, unfortunately, they are leavened with the spirit of opposition. The loose, lax way in which many regard the law of Jehovah and the gift of his Son, is an insult to God. The only way in which we can correct this wide-spread evil, is to closely examine every one who would become a teacher of the word. Those upon whom this responsibility rests, should acquaint themselves with his history since he has professed to believe the truth. His Christian experience and his knowledge of the Scriptures, the way in which he holds the present truth, should all be understood. There has been too little done in examining ministers, and for this very reason churches have had the labors of unconverted, inefficient men, who have lulled the members to sleep, instead of awakening them to greater zeal and earnestness in the cause of God.

The truth has been represented as a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. The man who had bought the field would plow every part of it to make himself possessor of the treasure. Thus it is with the word of God. It is filled with precious things; it is a field containing the unsearchable riches of Christ. Yet many who teach the truth have no ambition to become Bible students, and do not work the mine that contains the precious jewels of truth. They get a runway of a few discourses which they think will make them pass as preachers, but it is impossible for them to bring from the treasure-house of Gods word, things new and old. They are not thoroughly furnished for every good work, and are unable to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Let our prayers ascend to God for his converting, transforming grace. Meetings should be held in every church for solemn prayer and earnest searching of the word to know what is truth. Take the promises of God, and ask God in living faith for the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is shed upon us, marrow and fatness will be drawn from the word of God. Ministers will not handle it carelessly, but prayerfully, reverently, as the guide-book of heaven. They will see the altar upon which they are to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is their reasonable service. When self-denial becomes a part of our religion, we shall understand and do the will of God; for our eyes will be anointed with eye-salve so that we shall behold wonderful things out of his law. We shall see the path of obedience as the only path of safety. God holds his people responsible in proportion as the light of truth is brought to their understanding. The claims of his law are just and reasonable, and through the grace of Christ he expects us to fulfill his requirements. The demands of his law must be fully met. Men must advance in the path of duty from light to a greater light, for light unimproved becomes darkness, and a means of treasuring up wrath for themselves against the day of wrath.

Every member of the church is responsible for the talents intrusted to him; and in order to meet his responsibilities he needs to be instructed diligently, patiently, and with the spirit of Christ. This work devolves largely on the minister, but often his work is so slightly done that it cannot be acceptable to God or accomplish his purpose. Talent must be trained that the very highest service may be rendered by individual members of the church. When the churches become living, working churches, the Holy Spirit will be given in answer to their sincere request. Then the truth of Gods word will be regarded with new interest, and will be explored as if it were a revelation just from the courts above. Every declaration of inspiration concerning Christ will take hold of the inmost soul of those who love him. Envy, jealousy, evil surmising, will cease. The Bible will be regarded as a charter from heaven. Its study will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul. The promises of God now repeated as if the soul had never tasted of his love, will then glow upon the altar of the heart, and fall in burning words from the lips of the messengers of God. They will then plead with souls with an earnestness that cannot be repulsed. Then the windows of heaven will be open for the showers of the latter rain. The followers of Christ will be united in love.

The only way the truth can be presented to the world, in its pure and holy character, is for those who claim to believe it, to be exponents of its power. The Bible requires the sons and daughters of God to stand on an elevated platform; for God calls upon them to represent Christ to the world. As they represent Christ, they represent the Father. Unity of believers testifies of their oneness with Christ, and this unity is required by the accumulated light which now shines upon the pathway of the children of God. It is not the want of knowledge, or of spiritual understanding, that will separate us from the divine presence, and witness against us in the last day, but the truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has shone upon the soul and has not been appreciated, will judge and condemn us before God. My brethren, if we were blind, we would not sin, but we have been privileged to look upon great light. The treasures of truth and knowledge have been bestowed upon us without limit, and we are guilty in proportion to our failure to live up to the truth that has been placed within our reach. The character and work of many of the professed followers of Christ will not bear the test of Gods holy law. The Spirit of God is not in their worship, and the worship is not acceptable to God. There is no excuse for their present coldness. They have the riches of the truth, and make a boast of their knowledge, but they are content to make no advancement. Many plead that their fathers believed certain things, that they loved God and were favored by him, and therefore we shall be favored in taking a like position. But we cannot stand where our fathers stood. We cannot be accepted of God in rendering the same service that our fathers rendered. In order to have our life-work blessed of God, we must be as faithful, as zealous, in our time as they were in theirs; we must improve our light as they improved theirs, and do as they would have done if the increased light shining upon us had shone upon them.

We should not open the sacred volume with a light and trifling spirit. We should study Gods word with humility, with hope, with prayerful hearts, grateful that such a treasure has been vouchsafed to us. Every doctrine must be brought to the Bible. Every perplexing question must be settled by a thus saith the Lord.

The truth should be woven into our life, that it may influence our spirit and govern our actions. I declare to you in the name of the Lord, that the ministry must be elevated. We are not anything like as efficient as we might be. Some of the ministers do not teach the truth as it is in Jesus. They do not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Christ says, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. His words must become a part of our very life; then we shall offer fervent, effectual prayers with that faith which will bring returns. Then if ministers see that their labors are not effectual to the saving of souls, they will fast and pray, and the Holy Spirit will come upon them. They will work diligently to correct what may be wrong in their character. The sincerity of their prayers will be determined by the earnest efforts they make to place themselves in right relation to God. When they see in themselves sins and wrongs that must be confessed and renounced, they must exercise faith that when they repent of their sins, God forgives; that renovating power is given to the soul. By faith, living faith, the victory will be gained. In this work there should be no indolence indulged in, for God calls upon men for the exercise of every power, that he may work with their efforts. Man can never be saved himself, or be an instrument for the salvation of others, until he exercises living faith, and with determined effort acts his part in the work of God. He must take hold upon the strength of Christ, which will subdue every unholy passion, and enable him to conquer self. God has given to his people the light of great and solemn truths. He has opened to their understanding the mysteries of salvation; and if these truths are not improved, the favor of God will be withdrawn.

Thursday – Open Defiance

Jeremiah 44:1-10
Israelites Will Be Punished in Egypt

44 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt, who dwell at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them,3 because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. 4 However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate! 5 But they did not listen or incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. 6 So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.

Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain, 8 in that you provoke Me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to dwell, that you may cut yourselves off and be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers.

Jeremiah 44:15-19

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: 16 As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! 17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.

19 The women also said, And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands permission?

Jeremiah 44:20-30

20 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people - the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer - saying: 21 The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not theLord remember them, and did it not come into His mind? 22 So the Lord could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.

24 Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women, Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt! 25 Thus says the Lordof hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her. You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!26 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by My great name, says the Lord, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord God lives. 27 Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. 28 Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 And this shall be a sign to you, says the Lord, that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.

30 Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.

Friday – Further Study

Romans 7:7
Sins Advantage in the Law

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, You shall not covet.

Micah 6:8

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Joshua 24:15

15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Deuteronomy 12:8

You shall not at all do as we are doing here today - every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes -

Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book one, pp. 116 – 118.
Chapter 15 - When the Church Awakes

Prayer is needed in the home life, in the church life, in the missionary life. The efficiency of earnest prayer is but feebly understood. Were the church faithful in prayer, she would not be found remiss in so many things; for faithfulness in calling upon God will bring rich returns.

When the church awakes to the sense of her holy calling, many more fervent and effective prayers will ascend to heaven for the Holy Spirit to point out the work and duty of Gods people regarding the salvation of souls. We have a standing promise that God will draw near to every seeking soul.

The church needs to be begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away (1 Peter 1:3, 4. When the church awakes to a sense of what must be done in our world, the members will have travail of soul for those who know not God and who in their spiritual ignorance cannot understand the truth for this time. Self-denial, self-sacrifice, is to be woven into all our experience. We are to pray and watch unto prayer, that there may be no inconsistency in our lives. We must not fail to show others that we understand that watching unto prayer means living our prayers before God, that He may answer them.

The church will not retrograde while the members seek help from the throne of grace, that they may not fail to cooperate in the great work of saving the souls that are on the brink of ruin. The members of a church that is an active, working church, will have a realization that they are wearing Christs yoke, and drawing with Him.

The heavenly universe is waiting for consecrated channels, through which God can communicate with His people, and through them with the world. God will work through a consecrated, self-denying church, and He will reveal His Spirit in a visible and glorious manner, especially in this time, when Satan is working in a masterly manner to deceive the souls of both ministers and people. If Gods ministers will cooperate with Him, He will be with them in a remarkable manner, even as He was with His disciples of old.

Will not the church awake to her responsibility? God is waiting to impart the Spirit of the greatest missionary the world has ever known to those who will work with self-denying, self-sacrificing consecration. When Gods people receive this Spirit, power will go forth from them

The Passive Graces

The Lord permits circumstances to come that call for the exercise of the passive graces, which increase in purity and efficiency as we endeavor to give back to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings. You know something of what it means to pass through trials. These have given you the opportunity of trusting in God, of seeking Him in earnest prayer, that you may believe in Him, and rely upon Him with simple faith. It is by suffering that our virtues are tested, and our faith tried. It is in the day of trouble that we feel the preciousness of Jesus. You will be given opportunity to say, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15). Oh, it is so precious to think that opportunities are afforded us to confess our faith in the face of danger, and amid sorrow, sickness, pain, and death....

With us, everything depends on how we accept the Lords terms. As is our spirit, so will be the moral result upon our future life and character. Each individual soul has victories to gain, but he must realize that he cannot have things just as he wants them. We are to observe carefully every lesson Christ has given throughout His life and teaching. He does not destroy; He improves whatever He touches.

Humility and Faith

In the work for this time, it is not money or talent or learning or eloquence that are needed so much as faith graced with humility. No opposition can prevail against truth presented in faith and humility, by workers who willingly bear toil and sacrifice and reproach for the Masters sake. We must be co-workers with Christ if we would see our efforts crowned with success. We must weep as He wept for those who will not weep for themselves, and plead as He pleaded for those who will not plead for themselves.

A Quick Work

When divine power is combined with human effort, the work will spread like fire in the stubble. God will employ agencies whose origin man will be unable to discern; angels will do a work which men might have had the blessing of accomplishing, had they not neglected to answer the claims of God.