During the first two quarters of this year we studied lessons in evangelism from the history of God’s people. Near the end of our last quarter we followed the history of the southern kingdom of Judah, with its lessons in evangelism. In this quarter we will go back and look at lessons of evangelism in the experience of the northern kingdom. We will also observe God’s efforts to reveal Himself to the ancient world through His servants during the period of the captivity.
“It was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God were to unite themselves with His chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders until their kingdom should embrace the world.
“But ancient Israel did not fulfill God’s purpose. The Lord declared, ‘I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?’ ‘Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself’ (Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). . . .
“The Lord had through Moses set before His people the result of unfaithfulness. By refusing to keep His covenant, they would cut themselves off from the life of God, and His blessing could not come upon them. At times these warnings were heeded, and rich blessings were bestowed upon the Jewish nation and through them upon surrounding peoples. But more often in their history they forgot God and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 19, 20.
We will see that, in a sense, their exile worked as a blessing for them, because it led many of God’s professed people to find repentance. And it gave them an opportunity to testify in behalf of the truth before heathen nations. As a matter of fact, some let their light shine also in the presence of governors and kings, revealing the character of God in their conduct and speech. The lessons covering these facts are especially important for those who are studying to become efficient evangelists.
May the blessings of our heavenly Father be with all our Sabbath School teachers and students.
The General Conference Sabbath School Department