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BY ELDER DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
Restless and Rebellious
Memory Text: 1 Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come”
Over the centuries, many people have reported strange, restless behavior in dogs and other domestic animals before major earthquakes. Scientists have now established that animals are able to detect the first of an earthquake’s seismic waves—the pressure wave—that arrives in advance of the secondary shaking wave.
This probably explains why animals have been reported as acting confused, or restless, right before the ground starts to shake. Some animals, such as elephants, can perceive low-frequency sound waves and vibrations from foreshocks, which humans can’t detect at all.
In this week’s study, we look at some examples of strange human restlessness that was brought about, not by impending natural disasters such as earthquakes, but, rather, by the basic sinfulness of fallen human beings who were not resting in what Christ offers all who come to Him in faith and obedience.
SABBATH: Generally, animals are gifted with senses that aid them to locate a prey or avoid predators. Over the years, anecdotal evidence suggests that animals anticipate natural disasters. Animals acted strangely (e.g. lemurs cried loudly) just before the 5.8 magnitude quake in Washington, D.C., area on 23/08/2011. The study sheds light on strange acts of men prompted not by natural disasters but sin.
SUNDAY: Israel’s journey to the Promised Land (Canaan) was not without complains. For more than a year since they left Egypt, God fed them with manna. But ungratefully, they craved for the food of Egypt & forgot its hardship. They murmured at their first stop from Sinai such that Moses was also affected. Yet, Moses relied on God to lead the restless people (Num. 1-11, 16-33). We lie in the same danger today.
MONDAY: The bestowal upon 70 elders leadership roles gave rise to dissatisfaction in Miriam & Aaron (Num. 12:1-3). The two expressed their anger by finding fault in Moses’ choice of a Cushite wife—Zipporah, an outsider (Num. 11:16, 17, 24, 25, Exod. 4:13-15, Micah 6:4). Miriam got leprosy for her sin but her brothers interceded for her & was healed (Num. 12:4-13). We need not to be restless but pray.
TUESDAY: The 12 spies sent to observe Canaan after they reached its borders reported that the land flowed with milk & honey. Yet, all but two said that it was needless to possess because of “giants” on the land (Num. 13:27-33). Restless at heart, the ten spies & others chose weeping over shouting for victory (Num. 14:1-10). Restlessness leads to rebellion. The rebels aimed to stone Joshua & Caleb (PP, p. 390).
WEDNESDAY: From the lips of Moses, the voice of intercession ascended to heaven after rebellion (Num. 14:11, 12). God desired to destroy Israel & build a new nation with Moses as the father, but the patriarch interceded for Israel. In 1,400 years later, Jesus would also intercede for His disciples (John 17). God’s grace gave Israel a new beginning amid their restlessness & rebellion (Num. 14:13-19, 20-23).
THURSDAY: Our lives today can be likened to Israel’s journey to the Promised Land. They wandered in the wilderness in search of peace. We also wander in the media space to quiet our woes; pornography, materialism, entertainment & a sense of fashion are promoted as an answer to our problems (1 Cor. 10:1-11). Many Israelites died (by presumption) after they refused God’s new order (Num. 14:39-45).
FRIDAY: After God’s judgement, the Israelites repented but not from a sincere heart. They felt their guilt but were sorrowful because of the consequences of their evil actions. When tested by God to retreat to the wilderness, they refused. They presumed to go up to posses Canaan instead of acting by faith. Presumption is Satan’s counterfeit to faith in God. Genuine faith is one that trust in God’s promises.
—Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 391 & The Desire of Ages, p. 126.
PP- Patriarchs and Prophets
Aaron- The prophet was spared on his sin with Miriam against Moses possibly because; Miriam was the instigator of the sin & his work as a priest. He also prayed instead of being restless (Monday’s lesson).
SUNDAY- Restless In A Wilderness
MONDAY- It’s Contagious
TUESDAY- Restlessness Leads To Rebellion
WEDNESDAY- An Intercessor
THURSDAY- Faith Versus Presumption
📌 Discuss the difference between faith and presumption. Why would conquering the land of Canaan first be seen as an act of faith and then later, when the Israelites did attack, be seen as a presumptuous act? How do motive and circumstances play a big role in the difference between faith and presumption?
📌 Dwell more on the fact that though sin can be forgiven, we often have to live with the consequences of those sins. How can you help those who struggle with knowing that they are forgiven a sin that, nevertheless, still negatively impacts them and, perhaps, even their loved ones?