Playing God

This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion questions in a relational pattern designed to build fellowship and spiritual reflection.

 

For use: January 31 – February 6

Texts: Isaiah 13, Isaiah 13:2–22, Isaiah 14, Isaiah 24–27

 

“As we saw, there’s a lot of guys that deserve the letter, and it’s not about the letter; it’s about, you know, coming together as a team,” Patrice Bergeron said as he accepted the captaincy of the Boston Bruins … after first being passed over in a prank announcement. The Bruins, knowing the veteran ice hockey center expected the coveted position, decided to play on that pride and first named another teammate as the 20th captain in Bruins history.

Although taking the prank in stride and wording a gracious response, there was not much else he could say. Bergeron had been caught steeping in pride, and the prank was a gentle reminder that our arrogance and self-flattery can cloud our vision.

Although Bergeron’s wake-up call came with no dire consequences, this week’s studies bring to light much more serious consequences to narcissism: Eve desired to be like God but was granted mortality; Nebuchadnezzar sought glory and worship, only to graze fields like cattle; Aaron’s sons offered unauthorized fire before the Lord and as a result—perhaps ironically—were burned to death.

Pride was the downfall of Satan, and its seeds have been used by Satan to deceive the whole world. Both this fallen angel and the Babylon motif show that when we try to build ourselves up, rather than keeping our eyes on what comes from above, we risk losing a connection with the Creator by worshiping ourselves and the works of our hands.

Fortunately, God has a plan of redemption for us and a strategy to replace the arrogance of the world with humility and light. “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23, NRSV).


For Reflection

Connecting: Have you ever been passed over for a job promotion? How did it make you feel, and what did you take away from it?

SharingWhen we’re proud, we tend to see what we want rather than areas in which we need to change or improve. How would you choose to identify areas in which we need to practice more humility?

  1. Ask someone for constructive feedback on your work and then gauge your reaction
  2. Save and display rejection letters
  3. Join a boot camp
  4. Read the Bible and pray
  5. I don’t have any pride to fix because I’m already perfect
  6. Other

Applying: The Seventh-day Adventist Church has prided itself on upholding remnant truth (and great medical practices). How could this stance act as a stumbling block for someone unfamiliar with Adventist beliefs? Prepare with your small group, over your online connections, to brainstorm ways to work around that obstacle in your own congregation.

Valuing: Read Isaiah 13:19-22. Now think of what you’re most proud of about yourself, and think of what it would mean if that trait/accomplishment were taken away from you. Would you need to redefine yourself, or would things continue as normal? Confide in a friend and ask that person to pray with you, seeking divine assistance in overcoming that pride.

~ Stefani Leeper

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