Sabbath School Lesson Review 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 10
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 10 Friday
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 10 Friday in review this weeks thats that if I turn the truth down, well, this is how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He brought a revelation of himself to Pharaoh. Pharaoh could have said yes, and been softened by the truth, and maybe gone with them to Canaan! My, that would have been an interesting scene; towing Pharaoh in his chariot across the wilderness into Canaan. But he could have, if he had responded. Just as Judas could have been touched. But Judas turned this down. Pharaoh turned it down. And if you keep resisting the truth, it does something to your mind, and eventually the power to think and to do is destroyed; the image of God within us. And then there’s nothing more that God can do. And it’s not arbitrary at all.
But what does this say about the character of the God of Israel? For in the middle of the discussion of the plagues it keeps saying that God was hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t give in. Now, doesn’t that bring up very specifically the picture of God? And even whether it’s worth studying any further, for if he’s hardened our hearts, and we have no choice in the matter, why go any further? Look at Exodus 9:24, how it reads:
“But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken through Moses. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart.”
We touched on this during this week, does it still make sense, that apparently there’s a way in which all three are the same. Pharaoh hardened his own heart; God hardened his heart; Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Moses wrote this, and within a few lines he wouldn’t forget what he’d written before! When we come to Romans 9; you see the same words. “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” What we’ll need to do as we go along is look at other places where it says God did something. One of the most dramatic we’ll come to is the suicide of Saul, where Saul fell on his sword, and obviously committed suicide, and then it says: “Therefore the LORD slew Saul.” And yet Saul committed suicide.
Now moving back to Paul he mentions that it was their objection to Romans 1 through 8 that led to Romans 9. So one has to put Romans very carefully in context. It doesn’t help us too much perhaps, in understanding the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Except, what do you think of Ellen White’s words: “To no other ancient monarch did God reveal himself more clearly than to Pharaoh.” And Pharaoh said “no,” and if you say “no” long enough you become hardened in saying “no.”
If you reject light and truth given in appropriate manner at your time, then it becomes a habit to say “no” to the truth; and that’s how hearts are hardened. Well, when we take the truth to people, isn’t there a risk they will say “no”? Then aren’t we contributing to the hardening of some people’s hearts? We don’t harden their hearts, but if we take a choice to people and they vote no, and they persist in voting no, hopefully they won’t say no because we are doing such a bad job, but that they’re really saying no to the truth if they must.
Isn’t that the meaning of the “keys of the kingdom?” Now some have the feeling we have two keys: one marked “Heaven” and the other “Hell.” And when we go into a home, we look around and think, “Well, I don’t think I’d want to live next door to these people anyway; I’ll take out my key to hell.” And you open it, and you assign them to that other place. Then you move into another home. You think, these are lovely people; just need a little work, perhaps. I’ll take the key to Heaven. We don’t unlock those doors; we hand them the key, like handing them the Bible. We hand them the truth: we hand them the gospel. It happens to be a master key. The same key that opens heaven opens hell, and people take it, and they use it.
We know that Pharaoh hadn’t forgotten how to say “Yes”, had he? Because when he was scared enough, he said yes, they can go. But he quickly got over it. But it shows he still could say yes. But his heart was hard, and he resisted all the way through. Would you see light in this? I think we should watch for it as we go along. There is the hazard, when you take the truth to someone and do a magnificent job, and the Spirit brings conviction and clarification and understanding, that person may still say no, but you’ve got to harden your heart to resist the gracious truth, and the gracious Spirit of truth. And if one says no long enough, one becomes scarred and hard, and then one even loses the desire and the capacity for truth, even spoken in love, and then there is nothing more that can be done. Is that your understanding of the hardening of the heart? Let’s watch for it as we go along.
How about predestination, does this bother anybody? Shall we look, just in passing, very quickly? Romans 8:29:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son [we’re predestined then], And those whom he predestined [verse 30], he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Well, if you’re predestined, then why stay any longer?
How about chapter 9, about the potter and the clay? He can take out of one lump; he can take some clay and make vessels made for destruction; take out the same lump and make vessels for salvation. Does that cancel all out? Could I suggest this very quickly? In Romans 8:29, “those whom he foreknew [how many does he foreknow? Everybody] he predestined.”
So how many are predestined? All. And all who are predestined, he calls. How many does he call? All. And those whom he calls, he justifies. How many? And those whom he justifies, he glorifies. How many does he glorify? Well, we have no need to worry! He’s going to justify and glorify everybody! Everybody! Saints and sinners alike? Then no one will be lost? It doesn’t work. So we start back through. How many does he glorify? Only those that he justifies. How many does he justify? Only those whom he calls. But he calls everybody. Then there’s something wrong. Because if you start in from both ends, you don’t meet in the middle.
So there must be some word misunderstood in there; and I wouldn’t have chosen this so late, except that it fits in with all the purpose of our study. Those whom he foreknew. What does it mean in the Bible to know?
“Thee only have I known.” I thought he knew everybody. “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
I thought he knew everybody. In the Bible, to know means to know as a friend. It even means to know with love and intimacy. Hence, “Adam knew Eve his wife” and they had a baby. It isn’t that babies come from being introduced. And you remember in Kings, when David had that extraordinary hot water bottle, and it says that he never knew her, (1 Kings 1:4) it doesn’t mean that he never learned her name. So we’re very familiar with this in the Bible. To know means to know in a special way. And to foreknow means to know in a special way. Those whom God foreknew would be his friends. Then all the rest follows. Does God know who will be his friends and who will not? Read Romans 9. Jacob and Esau, and the others. He knows this.
Do you mind that God foreknows the future? Would you trust anybody else with that kind of knowledge? Would God abuse such infinite power and knowledge? Not the kind of God we worship. So I don’t mind how much he knows. So then, it makes sense. We’re not predestined. “Choose you this day.” We’re free. “Whosoever will” is made plain all through Scripture.
But in chapter 9 it does talk about some difficult things. We shouldn’t take time for it in this lesson review, but I would understand them in the same light. Why does he talk so severely in chapter 9, and even say to the Jews, “Who are you to answer back to God?” Is it not because, in chapter 1 through 8 he’s said these magnificent things about God, and that God will save all who trust him, whether Jew or Gentile, Greek or Barbarian—it makes no difference. God will save all who trust him.
And the Jews said, “That’s not fair! We have served all day long, and you’re going to save laborers at the last minute on the same basis?” Remember that parable? “You can’t do this!” And Paul says, “Are you going to tell God how to run his universe? He’s going to run it any way he wants. Are you going to tell the potter how to run his pottery?” And people take it all out of context and say he runs the universe like a pottery! No, he says, “Are you going to tell the potter how to run his pottery?” Then he says, “Are you going to tell God how to run his universe?
P.S. How does God run his universe? Read chapter1 through 8. The way God runs his universe is to save all who trust him. All he asks of us is trust. And everyone is free to make that choice.
So don’t misunderstand Romans 9 as putting God in a bad light. The people who were misbehaving were in the audience. They were telling God, “You can’t save these people on that basis. You can’t run your universe that way.” And God says, “I will run my universe precisely as I wish.” And we say, “Please do, because we like the way you run your universe.” You see. So again one has to put it in its right setting and context.
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 10 Friday
If interested to follow our Sabbath School Lesson 2017 commentary online at Facebook, you may do so here;
Sabbathschoolquarterly.com is an independent ministry and is not part of, affiliated with, or supported by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists®, or any affiliates known as the Seventh-day Adventist® Church. Thus, any content or opinions expressed, implied or included in or with the use of the Sabbath School Quarterly offered by sabbathschoolquarterly.com are solely those of sabbathschoolquarterly.com and not those of the Seventh-day Adventist® Church.