The Rhythms of Life

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1, Genesis 8:22, Psalm 90:10
Date: 04/06/2019 
Lesson: 1
"This week let’s look at the seasons and rhythms of our lives, especially as they impact us and our families, too."
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Good morning, friends. Welcome once again to Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and our friends who are joining us across the country and around the world, as well as our regular church members, our Sabbath School members, and friends that are right here in person in the sanctuary. Again, thank you for joining us, we're going to be studying a brand new lesson, a new lesson quarterly dealing with the subject of the family. It's actually entitled, "Family Seasons," and I think most of you hear in the church, you have your lesson quarterly, so you're ready to study. We're going to be starting with lesson number one today entitled, "The Rhythms of Life." But before we get to our study, we do have a free offer that we'd like to let our friends know about those who are watching online and later on in the various television networks. Our free offer today is a magazine entitled, "The Rest of Your Life." And if you'd like to receive this, the number to call is 866-788-3966. And you can ask for offer number 813. And we'll be happy to send that out to anyone in North America. If you would like to receive a digital version of this great magazine, all you need to do is text the code "SH086" to the number 40544. You'll then receive a response that you click on that and you'll be able to download the magazine entitled, "The Rest of Your Life." Well, before we get to our study, we always want to begin our time in prayer, so let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear, Father, once again we're grateful that we're able to gather together and open up Your Word and study a subject that is important to each of us, the subject of the family. We know that the family here on earth is to be a reflection of what it's like in heaven. So we do pray, Lord, that You would guide our hearts, our minds, lead us into a clear understanding of how we can be more effective in ministering to our family and those around us, for we ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

So starting this brand new lesson quarterly on the family, we thought it would be appropriate to have our Family Life pastor here at the Granite Bay Church, start our series on this topic. So I'd like to welcome Pastor Shawn Brummund, and he'll be leading us in our study today.

Well, good morning, every one. It's good see you here on this sunny beautiful Sabbath morning. It's always good to be able to come together with the Granite Bay Church and study. And continue to learn one of my favorite topics. It certainly better be if I'm the Family Life pastor, right? And yes, family is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given to us. And it's a beautiful gift for everyone, for many here in this room, in the sanctuary as well as many that are watching online and on the television as well. By the way, just looking back at our free offer today, The Rest of Your Life, if you've never studied and looked for a Bible answer on the Sabbath question, this is by far one of the best offers that I have and best reads, that I've ever come across. So I just wanna give my plug for that as well.

I'd like to invite you to open your Bibles to our first text that reflects our memory text, but I'd like to look at the whole passage in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Now we don't turn to Ecclesiastes very often. It's a smaller book in the Old Testament, but it is one of the most important ones that we can find there. And so as we come to the third chapter, Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. And that's right after the Book of… Ecclesiastes, we don't go very often, it's right after the Book of Proverbs, why? Because as it turns out, most of the Proverbs were written by King Solomon and Ecclesiastes is also written by King Solomon. And so we're going to the third chapter and we're going to that key passage, starting with verse 1. Ecclesiastes 3:1, it says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up, a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to gain, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to throw away, a time to tear, and a time to sew, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak, a time to love, and a time to hate, a time of war, and a time of peace."

And so here we have this great poetic rendition that God has inspired the king to be able to write in the Holy Scriptures for you and I. Now we're going to play a little bit of trivia, I'm going to give you the easiest trivia question that you've ever had. And it comes with a sound effects and everything, I want you to guess what I'm imitating. Are you ready? Are you ready? Okay, I hear some yeses. Okay. Here it goes. Are you sure? Okay. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Okay, right away, everybody got it. You didn't take it, how long did it take you to be able to guess? Probably, after the first boom, boom, right? I told you, it's going to be easy. Okay, what makes our heart sound like that? If you ever picked up a stethoscope or may be put your head against the chest of a loved one in your family and you've kind of listen to the heartbeat and you hear that boom, boom, boom, boom.

What makes a heart beat like that? Well, I don't know. I'm a pastor, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a biologist. I can't give you the full answer to why, why a heart beats like that. Now I do a little bit. Remember a little bit in my biology class in high school and maybe in college when I wasn't paying attention as much as I should have at that time. But some of it saying, again, it's a little bit blurry, but it has something to do with the four ventricles or chambers that are found in the heart and they kind of, you know, they're kind of flexing at different times and what makes those flex while the muscles and, you know, the neurons and all those other things. And I know that a doctor and a biologist could do a much better job at describing exactly why we hear that distinct boom, boom, and why it is so consistent. And not only why is it so consistent, but why is it so important that it's so consistent in that matter. In fact, as soon as a doctor starts to pick up something, and when I was about 12, you know, he put the stethoscope to my heart. And then he kind of had a conversation with my parents afterward and said, you know, there's a little bit of a glitch in his heartbeat and there's what they call a murmur. I don't know if that's what they call it today. But back then they called it a murmur. And so I had to go back to the doctor, I don't know once a year for all my growing years until that murmur kind of faded away by God's grace. I'm very thankful that it never materialized into something bigger.

But why am I talking about a heart during Sabbath School Hour, during a Bible Study? And well, the point is that the lesson study that we're looking at that opens up this great study on family. It points out that our body is containing essential rhythms to function effectively. And so if our heart started to lose that essential rhythm, why we would get alarmed very quickly because now our life's on the line. Now our health, our strength's on the line. And that's just one example. Again, if you were to talk to a biologist or a doctor, I'm sure that they could spend much more time than I could talking about all these essential rhythms, these regular activities that function with very essential regularity. And again, if we lose that rhythm, if we lose that regularity, then we're in trouble, aren't we? Then we find ourselves at the hospital or the doctor's office and they're trying to diagnose, they're trying to look at why is this essential rhythm not working properly.

Well, the rhythms, or cycles, or seasons of life here on this planet earth can be found everywhere. It's not just in our bodies, but scientists have discovered that there's all kinds of different rhythms, or cycles, or seasons that take place in nature, and all of creation, and the universe, and the planets that are around us, the stars in the universe. And so there's all these essential rhythms and cycles in regularity that take place. Ellen White had made this comment in page seven of our actual quarterly study. And so there's a short quote, one of the shortest quotes I've ever seen from her writings, but it is essential, it speaks volumes, it says, "Order is heaven's first love." "Order is heaven's first law," I should say, did I say love? I did, didn't I? See, God is, by the way that's also true. God is love but order is heaven's first law. And so God is a God of order. You know, when we look at our bodies, when we look at creation, we look at the creation story in Genesis, we find there that there is order found right from the very beginning of the conception of life here on earth. And so from the very get-go when God began to bring life and a life giving planet to this particular part of the universe is very distinctly, very importantly found in some regular order, rhythms, cycles, seasons. Now I have to confess that there is something that I really don't like about the passage that we read in Ecclesiastes. Anybody wanna guess what I don't like about the passage that we just read? Pardon me.

A time to kill.

A time to hate.

Okay, I hear a number of different answers. Somebody says, a time to die. Over here, it Says, a time to kill and what was the other one? A time to hate. Okay. And those are just the outstanding ones. Yeah, there's a number of things that I don't like about this particular passage. And I have a feeling that God agrees, I have a feeling that He doesn't like that as well. In fact, there's many verses that will sustain that particular perspective from the Lord Himself. There's positives in this passage and there's also negatives, isn't there? Okay, at first, I thought it was always, you know, positive, time to born and a time to die, you know, a time to this and a time for that. And I thought it was always positive, negative, positive, negative, but then I looked at it more carefully, I realized that's not true. It's actually positive, negative, positive, negative, then it goes negative, positive, negative, positive, positive, negative. And so there's not a particular pattern, maybe there's a rhythm inside that that goes back from positive, negative to negative, positive.

But the point is that, essentially every one of those different statements, we find a positive, and we also find a negative. And, of course, that wasn't original, originally found in the plan, was it? Was that God's part? Was that part of God's original plan? Was it, the way that God had always designed? Now some of us as Christians have been duped into thinking that, and we've started to buy into the lie of atheistic evolution, we call it theistic evolution. We kind of try to put God in there and so we say theistic, coming from the Greek word theo or theos, which means God. And so we try to bring God into the modern Darwinism of evolution. And so we say, well, negative is always been a part of God's plan because survival of the fittest is always been the way that God has kind of evolved creatures into higher more complex, more capable beings. But, of course, then we have to have the negative right from the beginning, don't we? But that's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches something very radically different. And so we need to be careful if any of us here in this room are watching online or in television that have fallen into that trap that I invite you to think that through as we just reflect Genesis.

And the first chapter, the second chapter as we read the actual biblical creation story and ask ourselves, can we fit the elements of Darwinism and the survival of the fittest that theory with what the biblical record tells us. And I think that there's a resounding no, there's a resounding no. And so, it's important for us to be able to stay with the Word, stay with what the Bible says, because that's the only safe place that we can be. Now, when we read Genesis Chapter 1, we find it very orderly, but not all along moderately orderly, but according to the Bible lesson, and this, of course, is on Sunday's lesson in the actual study guide, that there is a very orderly, scientifically logical progression of creation that is found. And so that which is established in science, I'm not talking about theory, because we have to remember that evolution or Darwin's evolution is a theory of evolution. It is not an observational, reproducible, experimental, established fact. Even though that's what the media and the scientific community is trying to convince us of. It's just a theory, okay. But when we look at established science, that which is observable, that which is reproducible, that which is recordable, and then we compare that to the way that God had brought different pieces into the creation of the planet which you and I now live in, we find that there is perfect harmony. Amen? And so it's very important for us to be able to understand that fact that the Bible is not contrary to established science, scientific fact that we have established, but rather it is in perfect harmony.

Let's just quickly review that. Because it is in our lesson study, as we look at the different cycles of life. God is establishing creation, on the first day He created… First day He created light, didn't He? Okay, so does that make sense? Sure. If you're going to go into your workshop and you're going to create something, okay, what's the first thing you do? You look for the light switch, don't you? And so you turn on the lights. And so God turned on the lights. All right, so He turns on the light for His workshop and so, so far we're in perfect harmony with logic and with science. Day two He created the… The atmosphere as well, we could call it, the Bible usually says the firmament. I had to go and look that up. And so I think we can safely say that synonymous with the atmosphere. And so if God is going to have life, and of course before He can create life forms, He knows that He has to create an environment that will sustain and help those life forms to be able to continue to live and to prosper and to flourish.

Now I don't know about you and I, but… Well, I do, I do know about you and I, both of us know that science has very clearly established that we can't live long without air. And not only us, but also the plant life. And so really, it's pretty well impossible to find living things on the planet that can't be sustained without the different elements of air. And so it tells us that God created air after He turned on the lights, and so day two He created the atmosphere. He created a shell around the planet and He created the sky that separated from the waters of the planet and He put just the right elements of oxygen, and nitrogen, and carbon, and so on. And just the right elements and the different molecules to be able to sustain that life. And so now we have the right temperature, we have the right elements in the air, what we call now the air. And so now God can safely begin to establish those different living creatures.

So then we come to day three and He creates dry land. And not only did He separates, begin to separate the waters from the land because before that, the Bible tells us that it was completely covered with water. So that does well for the marine life but it doesn't do well for you and I, does it? Doesn't do well with the cows, and the deer, and the dogs, and the cats, and everything else that we enjoy that God later created upon the dry land and so He knew, He needed to be able to create that before He created the different animals that we find on the planet. And so very wisely, and very logically, and scientifically, He separated the waters and created dry land. Well, the next thing He tells us, He begins to create His first life form on that third day as well. What's that life form? It's the plant life, isn't it? So God created all the different wonderful species of plant life, and not only did He covered the dry land, but we also know when we look under water, in our local freshwater lakes, the ocean, and so on that we also find plant life there as well, don't we? Okay.

Now God also knew that the later life forms that He was going to create wouldn't last long not only without air but without plants, why? Because what's the number and number one and only source of energy that 99.99% of all living creatures upon the planet rely on? Plants. Okay, the only way that you and I get to the day, the only way that we can receive calories is through plants. And some of you are saying, well, I'm not a vegan, I get some of my energies from dairy products, and from meat, and so on. And so what, well, let's back up a little bit. Let's go back before, you know, where did the cow that gave you the milk and gave you the meat? Where did he get his energy from? They eat another cow. No, he didn't get it from meat, he got it from, from plants. All right, so if we back up far enough, no matter what we put in our mouth, the only way that we get energy from that is from plants. And so God very logically, very distinctly, very intelligently put plant life upon the planet. Then we come to number four, when we come to day four, God knows that He needs to be able to establish something that will turn on the lights every day. And so He establishes the sun in just the right place. He establishes the moon to reflect the sun to give us some light during the night as well. And then He established the stars in this part of the universe as well. And so we have this wonderful account in which God now puts the sun.

Now, of course, if He creates the plants, He knows that the plants, you know, if you put your plant in the closet and you close the door without a light in there, how long will they live? They won't live very long, will they? Why? Because science established to us. And again, you can do that science experiment yourself. This is primary, established scientific fact. You can do your experiment, put it in, and week later your plants not going to be doing very well, is it? Why? Because it requires its energy source to come from the sun, from the UV rays that come down upon it, and through photosynthesis, and so on. It does this wonderful thing where he transfers that, that ultraviolet radiation, and light, and energy into its own energy into calories and it burns its calories through that. And then if we pick it up and eat it, we also can find our calories from that as well. And so He knew that the plants weren't going to last very long and so very scientifically, very logically, He creates the sun and puts it in place to keep the right temperature upon the planet, to be able to turn on the lights and turn it off every day and every night, as well as to be able to give us the energy, the plant life as well as all other animal forms, and life forms the energy that it needs as well.

Are you with me so far? Okay, then we come to number five. Day five He creates, He fills the air now. And as He fills the air, He fills it with the different species of birds. Now, we don't know how many original species of birds there were, but we know there was more than a couple. And there was more than a few million that filled the air as it began to flourish and fill the air and be able to enjoy their different ways of life on the planet, and in the air, in the sky. And then, of course, He also created the marine life and so He filled the air and then He also filled the water with different creatures and different life forms. And then, of course, we come to the sixth day, He creates animals on the dry land, He creates every creeping thing, which is the insect life and then finally, He creates us, doesn't He? And we have the privilege of knowing that He originally created us in His own image, and not only physically in His own image, but much more importantly He created us in the image of God in regards to our character, and in regards to having a relationship with God, that no other living creature on the planet can have.

There's not a single other animal I've never, you know, I've had dogs, many years of my life not once I've ever seen him pray to God. You know, there's something special, there's something unique that God has given to us in which we have a personal, intelligent and spiritual relationship with God. And so we're the pinnacle of creation. It didn't take millions of years to evolve through all kinds of negative aspects, and killing, and try to outdo each other, and doing away with the week. No, God had created us all perfect. And that's where we come to our next scripture reading and we have a volunteer that's going to read that for us, which is Genesis 1:31, and I believe Doris is going to bless us with that reading. Thank you.

Genesis 1:31, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

Okay, thank you. All right, so what… How does God conclude when He stands back and He looks at everything that He created? He said, "Hmm, that's pretty close." Is that what He said? No. He said, "It was very good." Okay. So we have an adjective, we have the very, He said not only was it good but it was, it was very good. It was a wonderful thing that God looked down upon. And everything was in all of its perfection. You see, the original, the point is that the scriptures and the lessons that He's trying to point us to is that the original rhythms, the regularity of everything that existed, the seasons, the rhythms, the cycles, and so on, only included the positive. In other words, the passage that we originally read in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 wouldn't fit in the original plan. It wouldn't fit in the original world in existence that God had created with all of its wonderful life on the planet including you and I. And so we would have to take out the hate, we'd have to take out the killing, we'd have to take out the dying, wouldn't we?

In fact, I did a little bit of an exercise and if you'll… If you'll permit me, I'd like to share a little bit about what I believe Ecclesiastes might have had to be written about or might have sounded like, if sin had never entered the planet. And so if sin had never cursed the world, I believe it goes something like this, "A time to be born and a time to live forever, a time to plant and a time to enjoy that plant forever, a time to enjoy life and never a time to need healing, a time to only build up never to weep but always lots of opportunity to laugh, never to mourn but always many reasons to dance, a time to continually gather stones, always a good time to embrace, always a time to gain, but never lose, always to keep, but never to throw away, never to tear and therefore never a time to need to sew, a time to love and never hate, always peace and never war."

Wouldn't that be a much better passage? This is the passage that would fit with the original plan, wouldn't it? Why? Because the original plan, the original world, before sin had cursed the world was only full of joy, wasn't it? When all creation got up in the morning, when the lights went on at sunrise in every morning, when they would get up and they'd have joy in their hearts. Have you ever woken up sometimes in this life and you didn't have that joy? Now, I'm not talking about the joy of the Lord, where even during the hardest times you have that inner joy, but I'm talking about more of the happiness part of joy. Have you ever woken up in the morning where you're not happy? Sure, you have. You don't have to live very long to be able to experience that. But every creature was originally blessed, and originally created to enjoy and to be happy from the moment that they opened their eyes every morning, when the lights turned on all the way through until they closed their eyes for rest again that night. Isn't it a beautiful picture? You long for that day when we can go back to that original cycle, that original rhythm that God had given to us? That's the great hope of the gospel, isn't it? That's the great hope that God has given to us. Not only is it a hope, but it's a promise.

God has promised us that He will take us, and He will recreate this planet, and He will recreate our bodies, He will recreate our hearts, our mind, and it will all be just like it was in the beginning. He will reverse the curse of sin completely after Jesus comes again. And that's why I thank God that I'm a Seventh-day Adventist. And I thank God that I have Seventh-day Adventist believer, brothers and sisters in this church and around the world that also cling to that hope and believe that Jesus is going to reverse the curse. But for now in a sinful and selfish world, many if not most of the negatives that we find in the passage of Ecclesiastes must apply to our lives. Now, that's not really good news, is it? It's part of reality. It's part of our life. But the good news is this. And this is what the lesson study also points out for you and I. What the scriptures give to you and I, and that is that it tells us of the good news is that we don't, but that we aren't call to go it alone. That we aren't call to go through the day and through our struggles and the challenges that come with a curse of sin, a fallen world but He tells us that He wants us to have help, that He wants us to have important relationships, so that we don't have to go it alone.

Now, the first relationship, of course, is God Himself, offering Himself to you and me. God tells us that we are not to go through the day alone, but we are to invite Him into our hearts every day. Jesus tells us He stands at the door and He knocks and if anyone, how many? And if anyone, that's every single human being, if anyone opens the door, Jesus says, He will come in and dine with us and, and us with Him. And, of course, that's representing an intimate relationship when you have a lunch with somebody, when you have shared a meal with, with someone, there's something special about eating together, and Jesus' culture was no different. In fact, even more so than ours, that was recognized as an act of friendship, an act of a relationship, one with another. And so Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts on a daily basis and the wisest of us will open our hearts and will say, Lord, please come in. I want to dine with you again today. Help me through the day, help me to be able to have the wisdom, and the courage, and the peace, and the compassion, and the forgiveness, and all the other attributes I need to be able to get through the different negatives that this life also brings as well as enjoy the positives and to praise You for helping the negatives and also forgiving the positives.

Well, the good news is that we're not to go alone, not only because we can have God at our side and in us to be able to work in us and with us through the day, but it also tells us that God gives us each other as well. God had never intended both before the fall as well as since the fall for us to live in isolation. You know, one of the biggest deceptions that the devil brought into Christian traditions is that the greatest and most joy filled and holiest life that you can live is to go and isolate yourself somewhere from other people, kind of build walls around the monastery or different, you know, institutions and buildings. And, you know, there's one individual I forget his name now and, you know, and he kind of put himself up on the top of the pillar. And he just lived up on top of this pillar, you know, I don't know, 50 feet up or something and people throw food up to him and water. And he would live for years that way. And he became one of the most famous individuals in Christianity, but he had been duped because God didn't call us to be able to isolate ourselves from each other. He's called us to be able to, to look to each other and that's why we have dozens of verses, one of my favorites in Hebrews Chapter 10. I think it's verse 25. It said, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves but rather come together, come together, gather together, to encourage each other in good works and in love."

God has called us to encourage each other. And so I think that's an important point for us to be able to understand that good news. Now, of course, who is most, often the most consistent and closest people that we find outside of ourselves? And so, if you were to think of the most consistent and the most closest people outside of ourselves in relationships, who would those people be? Family, okay. There's another easy question. Okay, I'm not challenging you too much here this morning. And so I'm giving easy questions, it's family, isn't it? All right, there is no more relationships for most of us. Now we live in a fallen world and I know there's more than one person here in this room and is watching this particular program and your family experience hasn't been all that positive. In fact, may be, you are estranged from your family completely, you know, we will talk a little about that if we have time, if not in future weeks. We talk about that as well. But for the most part, for most of us, the most consistent, longstanding, most loyal relationships that we can find in life is in the family unit.

And so here is another easy question. Does that make the family unit important?


It does, doesn't it? All right. Now it's important before the fall, his family was invented by God even before sin cursed the world, but now it's even more important than it was before sin came into the picture. Why? Because it's hard to get through life now, isn't it? It's more difficult to get through the day a lot of the times. And so that's why God has given us family, and I believe that's also why the devil is attacking that particular unit more than ever. Now we have to remember that, attack on the family is a quarterly point so, it's not new, you know, yes, it's part of our society today, it's part of the challenge that we have, the devil's on rage with the remnant, he's in rage with everything that reflects Christ, but he is always been against Christ and everything that Christ has gifted us, including the family unit. And so the family unit has always been under attack, perhaps just a little bit more intense now than it has been in the past and so, there's a good reason why God gives us hundreds of verses on how to do family well. Why? Because He wants us to be able to know how to do family well. He wants us to have a successful family, He wants us to have a positive family experience.

You know, I'm just so thankful for the many parents. We've about 20 something, 21, 22, 23 different homes that have represented in this parenting seminar that we are conducting every Wednesday evening for 17 nights. And at first, it sounded daunting, 17 nights, but as I kind of helped to get on that perspective, and we have these different parents and they are coming night by night, we know, I think we have finished night seven now. And I asked them, how is it going, is this routine working for you? And they are, yeah, they are going gung ho there. They're eating it up, why? Because they are committed to the family. Every time they show up on Wednesday evening, they are coming there and vesting in the most important social unit of their life, in the world, and so I'm very thankful for that.

And so because of that, we find that is not by coincidence, I believe that family is one of the most prominent themes that we find throughout the Bible. And then I started to do a bit of a cursory study as I started to kind of walk through the Bible quickly in preparing for this lesson. And as I started to walk through the Bible, I started recognizing, right from the beginning to the end, there is family theme, that theme is very, very strong, stronger than perhaps I've ever thought about it before.

What is the first family? I keep challenging you in such an easy way, don't I? All right. Many of you that read the Bible, that's a no-brainer. What is the very first family in history? Okay, Adam and Eve, isn't it? Okay. But Adam and Eve, they're nice like themselves, God didn't say, "Okay now go and enjoy the world to yourselves." No, He said, "Go and be fruitful and multiply," He says, doesn't He? He says, start your family. And so that's what they did, and so they had their first child and from the Bible record everything seems to indicate that the very first born was Cain. Now we kind of hesitate to say that because he didn't turn out too well, did he? But then they had another boy and his name was Abel, and he made good choices. As far as the Bible record goes, he made good choices all the way through to the end of his premature life because we also find the first family feud very sadly, and so sins started to take its course, and started to reveal its ugly head in a very evil way and that family feud started to, that actually led to murder, didn't it? And so Cain eventually murdered his younger brother, Abel.

And, of course, then Adam and Eve continued on and they had another son, and his name was Seth, and was that the end of the family for Adam and Eve? No, that's a common Bible question, you can find in Genesis Chapter 4 or 5, I should say in verse 4, that the Bible record tells us in that particular verse, again Genesis 5:4, it says that "There were many other sons and daughters that Adam and Eve had." And just before that, it gave the whole life span of Adam. You know, he lived 800 and something years after Seth was born. And so the best indication that we find from the biblical record is that Adam and Eve had children for hundreds of years after he had Cain, and Abel, and Seth. And so they probably had dozens, maybe even hundreds of sons and daughters through those centuries as they continue to multiply. And so we don't know exactly how large that family began, but it was the first family, and it was the first example that we have. It was an example through the parents of how a parent, a mom or a dad can blow it in a very serious moral way and what got us all in trouble in the first place. But it also can reflect how that parent can show the grace of God and repent from that sin and make their relationship right with God again. And we also have that on record, and that's the good news about the first family, isn't it? Is that all records of all the evidence indicates that Adam and Eve repented from their sin, and they gave their hearts and devotion to God for the rest of their lives. And so that's a great example of restoration for us as families.

And then we come to those sections in the Bible, you know, that we find in the first chapters of Genesis and then you come to Numbers and people get bogged down, they think, "Oh my goodness, how many genealogies do I have to read." You know, these are the boring passages and sometimes, you know, it can get you bogged down and so, I recommend that you kind of, I do, you know, I start speed reading, you know. And so I'll read that genealogy in that chapter about 30 seconds and just keep going because I don't want to get discouraged and bogged down but genealogy is really is recording what? It's recording families, isn't it? And so here is the family of Levi, one of the brothers of, and sons of Jacob, I should say, you know, the sons of Judah, and his family, and their family's family and then his great grandchildren. Oh, and here's Judah's great, great, great, great, great children. Oh, and then he also has some great, great, great, great, great grandchildren and that's their names. And so we find family trees, genealogies really are family trees, aren't they? Sure they are, and so again it speaks family, family.

God is telling us that the family unit is important, even when we come to the genealogies, and so God doesn't just stop at Adam and Eve, or Cain, and Abel, and Seth, but we find that Cain had children, recorded his children's children, Seth's children, and his children's children, that their family tree is all recorded, they all had families.

Then we come to Noah. Was Noah mentioned in isolation? No, not at all. It not only talks about Noah but it talks about Mrs. Noah, doesn't it? Okay. All right, so we have Noah, and then we have his wife, and it also says that he had three sons and not only did he have three sons, but he had three daughters-in-law, and after the flood, it says that they had children, and then it records their children, and their great, great grandchildren, their great, great grandchildren, and so we have the family life of Noah that is recorded. Not only for family life, the family, but we also have different incidence that take place within that family life that are recorded. Now, with Noah, it's a little bit more limited, but it is there and we find it even more so when we come to Abraham and Sarah, we find a lot of incidents and recorded in their family life, and not only do we have it in Abraham but also Isaac. And then, the most, of course, we find in the great grand or the grandchild of Abraham, which is Jacob. And then, of course, we have many, many chapters, the most chapters that we record and many of those chapters is recording the family life of Jacob.

Did everything go well with the Jacob's family? Did Jacob always make good decisions? No, he didn't, did he? Yeah. It records the bad and it records the good, the bad, and the ugly, doesn't it? And that's why the Bible is so real, you know, it's from God, God wants us to see the whole story, not just part and so, it's important for us to see that I believe as well. And then 400 plus years later, the Bible picks it up again with a man named Moses. And is Moses mentioned in isolation? No, in fact, it starts by introducing his family, doesn't it? In case, it talks about his mother, and he has a father and in the Book of Numbers 26:59, he names them, Jochebed and…

Now here's a… Oh, I shouldn't have gave you that. Now I want to challenge you a little bit more, I have been so easy on you. Trivia question. What's the name of Moses's mother? Jochebed, you're right, you're right. Jochebed, okay. And then, what's the name of Moses's dad? Pardon me. Amram, that I think I heard of somewhere, that's good. That's a harder one, isn't it? Okay, we have Amram and Jochebed, and they have more than just Moses, but it mentions Moses's brother, his elder brother Aaron, and it also mentions his sister, who's named Miriam, who also became a prophetess and a key player in the plan of salvation for God and the Israelite people. And so the whole family is mentioned there, and then we have some beautiful family life pictures in windows that we can see through. You know, we find that Moses, his life is on the line, they hide him for three months and then finally they come up with this plan to be able to put him in this basket, this waterproof basket. They kind of strategically placed it within the reeds, you know, nearby where one of the princesses of the Pharaoh would come down and bathe or at least, you know, some scholars are also saying that she came now not so much to bathe as they had baths within the palaces and so on, but to give her oblations, her worship to the river god or gods of the Nile. And so, while she was down there, she spotted this, you know, this floating basket.

Many of us know the story. And we find there that Moses wasn't alone but his sister Miriam was there, wasn't she? And so she is hiding behind the bushes or something and watching the whole scene and saying her prayers, I'm sure. And then once the princess kind of picked up the baby, and the baby kind of won her heart. She risks her life on a real way and she comes out from the bushes and she comes out and speaks up to royalty. Now this is a slave, you have to remember. Miriam is not an Egyptian citizen, and so when she step forward from the bushes, she was risking her life. She knew she could die, because she was approaching royalty without being invited and so she risks her life. Why? Because there is a loyalty within the family unit that is stronger than any other loyalty... I'm talking about a healthy family. Within a healthy family, there is loyalty within the family unit that is stronger than any other unit, isn't that true? Sure, it is. Now you can talk about my neighbor and you can tell me some of their faults, you start talking about my daughters like that, oh boy. The temperature rises fast, doesn't it? You start talking about my wife that way, you know, so there's a loyalty, isn't there? There's a special protective loyalty that God gives to us. And we'll even risk our lives for each other more than we would for other people and Miriam is one of those prime examples.

Then we have Samson, he is not mentioned in isolation, we have his family mentioned, family life incidents, Ruth and Boaz, what a beautiful picture. That's all surrounded under this beautiful family, some of the hardships and the losses they went through and how the loyalty is within that family unit got them through. Elkanah and Hannah, now this is an interesting story. They gave up the firstborn for adoption, his name was Samuel, and Samuel became one of the most key players in the history of God's plan of salvation in Israel. And so Samuel found himself adopted in a very unique and special way and still in connection with his parents, of course. And then we have Eli who had adopted him, and did Eli have a very successful family life? Not at all, did he? In fact, we find that his children turned out to be, you know, super bad apples in the sanctuary and in the temple services and so on. And so it didn't turn out very pretty and so, God didn't choose one of his sons, but He says, "Listen, I've got a plan for another boy, his name is Samuel." And so, Eli now is set up to adopt somebody, another son that is to be able to take that place. And so we have a beautiful picture of Samuel coming through and these two families kind of blending because you think Eli and his family as well as Elkanah and Hannah kind of had a special relationship? Sure, they did. Okay. Because this was not your typical adoption scenario, and so there was a continual lifetime relationship.

King Saul, we have all kinds of family life windows into his life, don't we? And again, some of them didn't turn out very pretty. We find that one of his first sons-in-laws, may be was his first son-in-law was named, King David, okay, so he eventually gave his daughter Michal to David, and so David married the princess who's the daughter of Saul. And now David is in the family of Saul now. He is married into the family. That's why we say during marriage counseling and so on pre-marriage counseling is that, you know, we always point out to the couple. You have to remember that when you marry somebody, you are not just married into your spouse, you and your husband or wife, but you're also marrying into a new family, aren't you? Okay, that took place with David and Saul. Did things go well, did David have a good relationship with his new family, with his second family we could say, his in-law family? Well, he did with his brother-in-law, didn't he? He had a wonderful relationship with his brother-in-law, his name was Jonathan, and so they loved each other like brothers. And so they had a wonderful relationship that brought them through some very real hardships because we feel sorry for David so often but we have to remember, we have to feel sorry for Jonathan as well. Did he have a good relationship with his dad? It would be impossible. In fact, we find all kinds of evidence that he had a very, very difficult and estranged relationship with his dad. When you have a dad that wants to murder your best friend, is that a good relationship? No. So we have all kinds of windows within this family and of course that dynasty then carries on, because David makes some very serious mistakes that affects their family in negative ways for decades that follow after right up until David's death. And even after his death there was different repercussions because of his serious and sinful mistakes. So that's all painted out for us.

We find the good, the bad, and the ugly as we look in the windows of these different families. But it's so pervasive throughout the Bible. All the way through, we have Abigail, of course, one of the other wives of David and again it's giving us that life lesson that picking more than one wife is not a good plan. And so David is no exception and so we'll find out as well. Polygamy is pointed out and painted out as a negative thing. Bathsheba, okay, finding your wife outside of your marriage and having a child before you get married, is that a good idea? No. It didn't turn out well, did it? Okay. And so we have Bathsheba eventually became the wife of David but in a very painful and with some very negative consequences. And one of those consequences was one of his sons, David's son Absalom. And when we look at Absalom, of course, we have all kinds of strange really, you know, evidence that there was a very strained relationship between Absalom and his dad.

You know, David was hesitant to be able to discipline his sons and to guide him in the way of righteousness even though he had sincerely repented because, of course, he carried that shame with him through the rest of his life. And so because of that, Absalom rebelled against his own dad and tried to take the throne from his dad by force. Was that a good thing? No, not at all. He failed, didn't he? He eventually failed, you know, we got the classic story, his long hair got caught in one of the, you know, one of the branches over top of him as he was riding the horses through the warfare that was taking place between him and his army and David and his armies and then, of course there's, you know, the general and his soldiers came up and pierced him through that he might die because, you know, when you rebel against the king and try to overtake the throne that was standard procedure. Was David happy about that? Did he say, oh, good, finally I got my throne back and everything is going to be good, that the kingdom is in peace? No, here we have a man that, that lied to David. He systematically won the hearts of the population of Jerusalem, the capital of his kingdom and of the Israelites so that he might be able to win the throne and forcefully take it from his own dad. And then he goes through with the plan and is willing to do anything he needs to. In fact, I'm sure even take his own dad's life if it was need be. And yet here we find the dad's loyalty, his heart is still for his son Absalom, isn't it? And he has the struggle in his heart, do I grieve over this or do I not, and his general eventually had to kind of straighten him out a little bit on that, didn't he?

So we have all these families again as we go through, as we walk through the scriptures and then there's Solomon. Now Solomon is the ultimate major example of how not to do family. Solomon kind of took all the negatives, and the bad, the worst decisions that you could possibly make and he just took it to the nth degree, just as far as he could possibly take it. You know, if polygamy is bad with three, or four, or five, what's it going to be like if I have a few thousand. You know, and so, you know, he just took it to the worst extreme. And so that's the ultimate example of when we look at his family life on how not to do family. Then we have Job, again not in isolation, he has a wife, he has 10 kids, church grown children and, of course, we find that there's some relational strains between him and his wife as they go through a very difficult time. And then we have Isaiah, we have the kids that are named with different prophetic names, concerning God's promises for Israel as he was speaking through the Prophet Isaiah.

Hosea. What about Hosea? Okay, anybody ever recommend to their son as they get to married age, you said, you know, I think it's a good idea if you go down to the red light district, and pick yourself out a nice young bride. Can anybody ever do that with their daughter or their sons? No, I don't recommend it. And I don't think God does either. This is a very unique exception, isn't it? But here we have God telling the prophet Hosea, He say, go down to the red light district and pick yourself out one of the active prostitutes there as your bride. And, of course, his whole life and his family life then became a living message to Israel of how God feels and how God is going through his marriage relationship and his relationship with Israel as a nation and how unfaithful Israel was to Him.

And then, of course, we come to the New Testament and the most important family we could probably think of in all history is Jesus' family. Okay, and so here we have a faithful young woman by the name of Mary we have her, her husband to be Joseph. They come together in wedlock and then we find that as they go forward, she has the little baby Jesus. Was Jesus alone when He grew up? No, the Bible tells us that He had brothers. And some have speculated and we don't know for certain but you know the Bible evidence isn't clear, crystal clear in that. But, because Joseph was already out of the picture by the time Jesus died 33 years after His birth, the evidence is that there's a good chance that Joseph was quite a bit older and he already had children from another and he was a widower and so, these would be Jesus' step brothers. But we don't know for certain, it doesn't tell us that, because we do know that Mary and Joseph. Joseph did not know Mary until after she gave birth to Jesus. And so they had an active intimate life and so there's a really good chance that they also had children together as well.

And so we have this great relationship or this great family and, of course, Jesus is the only perfect child that ever lived. And, of course, as He grew up, He influenced His family in a good way, but was that the end of it? Well, no, it didn't turn out good at first, did it? In fact, we find on the Bible record that Jesus found His brothers frustrated with Him and they were quite worldly in their thinking. They were frustrated with Jesus, go out there and make a name for yourself. You got all this power and stuff, you got to capitalize on it. You've got to be able to get out there. Think of the power, and the prestige, and the fame, and the popularity that You can have. And Jesus says, "You're thinking in a worldly way. I'm not interested in all that, I'm interested in saving souls. I'm interested in being able to bless the world and not try to only receive from it." And, but the good news is that the Bible tells us that eventually He, eventually He did win His brothers through and so we can find evidence later. And Acts 1:14, we're going to ask a volunteer in there. I see that we're out of time, and so we're going to have to close, thank you.

Acts Chapter 1?

Acts 1:14. Thank you, Michael.

Acts 1:14, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."

Okay, good, thank you. All right, so there we have Jesus' brothers. Our families may not be perfect, but there is hope for growth and success. And so that's the hope I want to leave with you as we close here today is that growth and success is where we have it. How do we find that? Faith in Jesus. We find that in Wednesday's lesson study, Philippians 1:16, okay, tells us that "He who has begun a good work in us will also complete it." And so that's important for us as well. And then we have some other scriptures to look there as well.

So I'm just so glad that you have joined us here for our Bible study as we look at this very important subject on family. And again, don't forget to take advantage of our free gift offer, The Rest of Your Life. Everything you need to know about the Sabbath. And so, please if you've never studied or if you've studied through this particular free gift, take advantage of that. Phone the number that is on the screen and or text it and you can get it yourself a free copy to study. God bless you, and we look forward to seeing you next week.

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For over 60 years Jeepneys have been the virtual king of the road here in the Philippians. These unique vehicles that are festered with colorful stickers, lights and chrome, go into their chief source of transportation in the country. Let's go. These iconic four-wheel drive military vehicles made by the Willys Company or known as Jeeps because it's stood for general purpose, but it also came from a character in a Popeye cartoon that was known as Eugene the Jeep. He was an imaginary dog that can crawl across the ceilings and the walls, and these jeeps could go anywhere. When the Americans left the Philippines following World War II, it was just cheaper for them to leave these thousands of military vehicles behind rather than to transport them back to the States.

The creative Filipino people modified these military vehicles by extending the frame about six feet. They added a couple of cozy inventions that are designed to carry about 18 people. They put a cab over to prevent the water from coming in, but I've seen that looks like 20 to 25 people hanging on every possible edge and ledge of a Jeepney. They're jumping off, they're jumping on as it goes through in just in the middle of traffic. Every Jeepney is little bit different. Some are just held together with patches of daily wire and bubblegum, a little bit of duck tape. Some are little more ornate and modern, they've got chrome and stainless steel. And there's good reason that the ceilings are padded. When one of the local Filipinos wants to ride on a Jeepney, they just flag them down, they shout, they tap on the hood, then they jump on board. They may not even slowdown when they do this. Then they pay about 8 pesos which is equivalent of 16 cents for us. It's by far the most economical way to get around in the country. Some Jeepneys are even equipped with an old emergency privy.

One little downside to the Jeepneys is because the cabs are open like this, they're not air-conditioned, it gets very hot in summertime and all the fumes from the street coming in which can make it an exhausting experience. One of the downside of the Jeepney is they don't have all of the modern safety features, no seatbelts. You have to take advantage of the padding if you hit a hard bump. And if you're in a serious accident, there is no airbags other than the friends that might be sitting around you. And that's the upside of the Jeepney because you're up close and personal with everybody, you make some new friends. Riding on a Jeepney requires teamwork. If you buy something from one of the vendors, you all sort of pass it back to each other. And when passengers get on board, you just pass your money upfront. Thanks a lot.

Friends, it's safe to say there are no two Jeepneys that are exactly the same. They're all unique and distinct and so are you. Have you ever felt that you get lost in a massive humanity and God doesn't notice you? Bible tells us that He knows your name, the very hairs of your head are numbered and He hears your prayers. More than that, the Lord wants to take you to His kingdom, you just have to get on board.

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