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The Great Controversy

January 18, 2020

THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT

“ It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

“ The First approached the Elephant,
And, happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl,
‘God bless me! but the Elephant Is very like a wall!’

“ The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, ‘Ho! What have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!’

“ The Third approached the animal,
And, happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
‘I see,’ quoth he, ‘the
Elephant Is very like a snake!’

“ The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
‘What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain,’ quoth he;
‘Tis clear enough the
Elephant Is very like a tree!’ “

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said, ‘E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!’

“ The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
‘I see,’ quoth he, ‘the
Elephant Is very like a rope!’ “

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong! “

So oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!”

—John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887).

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Sabbath

FOR STUDY

Memory Text: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, NKJV).

Our Beliefs, no. 8, The Great Controversy: “All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. . . . To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation.”

Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 109, 110

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Sunday

RESPONDING

Read Romans 5:12.

The main reason people stay away from Christianity is that they have a hard time with what other people say about God and what they think they see God doing or not doing in our world. Here are three questions that young and old have shared as to why they don’t believe in God or choose to follow Him:

1. If God is good, then why do evil and bad seem to reign in the world?
2. If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He do something about pain and suffering?
3. If God is supposed to be so close, why do I feel only His absence? How would you answer these questions? You may choose one or all.

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Monday

BIBLE ANSWERS ON THE GREAT CONTROVERSY

Read Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Peter 5:8.

There has been enmity [hostility] between God and His children and Satan and his followers since Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. The devil does not want us to trust and know God. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to resist the devil and follow God.

What do these verses say to you about the great controversy?

Unscramble the scrambled words and use them to fill in the blanks in the verse below.

lanelf iLurfce nngormi naeekdwe tehra escand rstsa rogenoctiang nrtoh nudrog torhen ehhgsit

“How you are from heaven, O, son of the! How you are cut down to the, you who the nations! For you have said in your: ‘I will into heaven, I will exalt my above the of God; I will also sit on the mount of the on the farthest sides of the; I will ascend above the of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’ ” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NKJV).

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Tuesday

REFLECTING

Read Romans 8:19-22.

Have you heard songs on the radio or listened to people talk about prayer in the news, magazines, and in movies? The world is not afraid to talk about God anymore, but what are they saying? The problem is that many know that there is a God, but rarely do people agree on what He is like. While many speculate, Christians have a message about God, and it is not just a snapshot; it is a view of the big picture. If you stand in front of a painting on the wall with your nose two inches from the canvas, you see up close but only a small portion.

The great controversy, as explained in the Bible, has been the most amazing topic for many because it paints the big picture, and when you step back to see it, you can make sense out of the little parts in the scene. What if someone had the answer to “Why is this world so bad?” Do you think people might listen? What if someone had the answer to the question “Will there ever be a time when there is no pain?” Do you think people might be curious? What if someone had a good answer to the heart cry “Is God really there, and does He know me?” Do you know some people who might listen? God has spoken to us through His Word, and while we don’t know everything, we see enough of the truth to say, “Choose God. He’s worth it.”

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Wednesday

BIBLE INSIGHTS

»Match the words that go with the texts from the New International Version of the Bible. Match the correct words with their texts.

Revelation 12:7-11 LORD hearts serve Philistines
Romans 7:21-25, NIV Israel Ahab Baal follow
Matthew 6:24, NIV worshiped LORD customs nations
2 Kings 17:33, NIV fallen throne clouds Most High
1 Kings 18:20, 21 ancestors Euphrates Amorites household
1 Samuel 7:3 heaven war Michael blood testimony
Joshua 24:15, NIV serve masters God money
Isaiah 14:12-14 law work body Jesus Christ Lord sin

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Thursday

CONNECTING

Read Joshua 24:15.

Review the memory text.

Young people often say, “I don’t care what others think of me. If they don’t like me for who I am, then forget them!” Is it really true that we don’t care what others think of us? We do care. In fact, God created us with the capacity to care and feel hurt if others don’t care. We may choose to live as if their opinions don’t affect us, but we really do care, especially if we are being misunderstood or falsely accused.

Be sure that God cares what you think about Him. A. W. Tozer once noted that the most important thing about being human is what we come to think about God. Why do you think God has stepped into our world to communicate to us what He is like and what His thoughts about us are? What about the times when God has spoken—at the Red Sea? in the fire from Mount Carmel? through David and Goliath? during Gideon’s miraculous victory? with Daniel in the lions’ den? at the feeding of the 5,000? the healing of the leper? the calming of the sea? What about Calvary?

God has spoken to you through His Word, and although everything has not been explained, you have enough information to say yes to God. God has more than said yes to you. He has endured centuries of people’s misunderstanding Him just for your love and friendship.

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Friday

APPLYING

Read Romans 7:21-25.

The internal war for your loyalty to God is like having two lions living inside you, the lion of good, and the lion of evil. Here’s a challenge. Pick three things you want to do to feed the good lion (things that feed and strengthen your connection to God). Also, consider what you normally feed the bad lion (things that draw you away from God and others) and choose to starve it this week. See how things go, and then reflect on the week and the way it has affected your awareness of the war between God and Satan and the role you play in that battle zone.

What am I going to do to feed the good lion? What am I going to do to starve the bad lion?
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.