Sabbath School Summary
15 July 2022
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The Birdcage

Lesson 3

Memory Text: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6, NKJV).


In the full light of day, and in hearing of the music of other voices, the caged bird will not sing the song that his master seeks to teach him. He learns a snatch of this, a trill of that, but never a separate and entire melody. But the master covers the cage, and places it where the bird will listen to the one song he is to sing. In the dark, he tries and tries again to sing that song until it is learned, and he breaks forth in perfect melody. Then the bird is brought forth, and ever after he can sing that song in the light. Thus God deals with His children. He has a song to teach us, and when we have learned it amid the shadows of affliction we can sing it ever afterward.”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 472.

Notice that the one who carries the bird into the darkness is the master himself.
It is easy to understand that Satan causes pain, but would God Himself actively take a part in guiding us into crucibles where we experience confusion or hurt?

The Week at a Glance: What examples can you think of in the Bible in which God Himself leads people into experiences that He knows will include suffering? What do you think were the new songs He wanted them to sing?

SABBATH: God’s grace breeds no sorrow, except the healthy sorrow that wipes our tears & refines us. A bird without a tutor can sing, but its song will be poorly made for it’ll be mixed with other voices. It isn’t able to separate an entire melody from other sounds. But when put in a covered cage by its master to learn one song repeatedly, it sings the perfect melody (MH, p. 472). God is with us even in the dark.

SUNDAY: Surprises are inevitable in life. It can be walking into a room of friends who all shout “Surprise! Happy Birthday” or walking into a friendship of betrayal. Israel were met with unpleasant surprises in their walk to Canaan. Yet, it was God who led them. First, He led them to a “dead end” (Red Sea). God doesn’t guarantee an absence of trouble but His salvation (Exod. 14:10, 31, 13:21, Jer. 17:9).

MONDAY: Water is a great treasure in a desert. But Israel after the Red Sea event could find no water for 3 days in the desert (Exod. 17:1). At Marah, they found water but they spat it out because it was bitter. It was God (“The pillar”) who took them to Marah & later Rephidim where there was no water at all. God knew Rephidim had no water but He sought to test their faith (see Exod. 15:22-27, 17:1-7).

TUESDAY: God sometimes lead us to trying places for us to know our helplessness & our dependency in Him (Luke 4:1-13). Christ was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where He was tempted at the start of His ministry. God doesn’t tempt us (James 1:13). Through tests & trials, He perfects us (DA, pp. 126, 129). We can get burned in the crucible rather than purified. Thus, we can hope in Christ (1 Tim. 1:15).

WEDNESDAY: Heaven is worth any sacrifice. This is what Peter shared with the early believers who were experiencing “grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Pet. 1:6). At the time, they were a minority who were often misunderstood & persecuted. The trials are not random, they come to produce a genuine faith in us. We should keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate price; Heaven when tried (1 Pet. 1:6-9). God purges us!

THURSDAY: Our lives are pilgrim life. As we journey, we’ll face many unplanned hurdles. God wants us to trust His plan for our lives. Alex, a young man, battled with drugs, violence, & had a jail time. A local church member he stole from led him to God to a time he planned to be a pastor (1 John 5:1, 2). Yet, his life began to crush again at school. Was his time with God a mistake? (Prov. 3, Jer. 29:13, Rom. 8:28, 2 Cor. 12:9, Heb. 13:5). God cares!

FRIDAY: As God (the pillar) chose to lead Israel to Rephidim, He may choose to lead us to trying places to test our loyalty. He doesn’t at all times lead us to pleasant places. If He did, we’d trust in our own might & forget that He’s our helper. It’s His wish to manifest Himself to us, to show us the abundant supplies in store for us, & come to Him for aid when troubled. He made a cool stream to flow from a stony rock.

—Ellen G. White, “The Exodus,” pp. 281–290; “From the Red Sea to Sinai,” pp. 291–302, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “The Temptation,” pp. 114–123, in The Desire of Ages & Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 7, 1903.


MH- The Ministry of Healing

DA- The Desire of Ages

Crucible- a vessel used for melting a substance that requires a high degree of heat, a severe test, or a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development.

Canaan- The Promised Land or the Land of Promise

“The pillar”- God. He was the pillar of cloud to guide Israel on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.


SUNDAY- To the Promised Land via a Dead End
MONDAY- Bitter Waters
TUESDAY- The Great Controversy in the Desert
WEDNESDAY- An Enduring Legacy
THURSDAY- Trial by Fire

Discussion Questions

📌 We often talk of temptation as an individual thing, which, of course, it is. At the same time, are there any corporate temptations, things that we as a church or a local church family might have to guard against as a group? If so, what?

📌 Ask those who are willing to talk about any of the “unpleasant places” that they have been brought to. Why were these unpleasant? If they had to revisit those experiences today, would they view them any differently?

📌 We all understand the principle behind God allowing us to be purified and refined by trials. How, though, do we understand the situation in which trials appear to have no value—for instance, someone is killed instantly in a car wreck? As a class, seek to work through possible answers.

God bless you all. Happy Sabbath

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