Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Genesis 1:26, 27; 1 John 4:7, 8, 16; Genesis 3:16-19; Genesis 11:1-9; Galatians 3:29; Deuteronomy 7:6-11
What’s the most peaceful country in the world? According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), an organization that analyzes 162 nations each year, Iceland rises to the top and has since 2008. The ranking studies 23 indicators, “like violent demonstrations and weapons imports—across three categories: societal safety and security, ongoing domestic international conflict, and militarization.” Other peaceful countries include New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark. The US ranked #114.1
Iceland is an island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. You might think it’s peaceful because there is never a protest, but the country actually went through a revolution between 2008 and 2010. Hundreds gathered outside Iceland’s capital buildings, shouting, and hitting cowbells. But there was no bloodshed. Some believe the limitless supply of heat from the many geysers (and turned into electricity), makes for a land where people never fight over energy sources.
In this week’s Sabbath school lesson, we begin our study this quarter on the topic of Oneness in Christ. Our lesson focuses son Creation and Fall, which provides the background for the introduction of disunity and unrest in our world. The unraveling of peace on our planet began when humanity turned away from God, the true source of life and energy. Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve God and follow their own inclinations—and it created discord, strife, and warfare that we experience to this day.
The consequences of sin continued after the worldwide flood, and people began to seek safety by turning to other gods and building temple to false deities. The confusion caused by false worship ended in further disunity, distrust, and separation among the peoples of the earth. It was God’s plan to bring humans back into harmony with heaven and one another. Only by faith in the Lord could such peace be restored.
Through Abraham and his lineage, God worked to bring unity and harmony back to the human race. It was not through this patriarch’s intelligence, or superior genes, that such unity would occur. (Actually, father Abraham made many mistakes that created disunity.) But what shines most about this chosen man was his trust in God. “Then [God] brought [Abraham] outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:5, 6).
Like the citizens of Iceland, when we rely on the only true source of life and energy in the universe, we’ll discover lasting unity and peace.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: What are the key elements that bring unity to a group? Using the acronym U-N-I-T-Y, write on a piece of paper five factors that contribute to unity. For instance, “U” might represent “undivided loyalty.”
Sharing: Study Genesis 3:6-13. What occurred that took away the harmonious unity that God intended? What were the results of these choices?
1. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
2. Our first parents doubted God’s Word and trusted the words of the serpent.
3. Selfish desire ruled over heaven’s wise counsel.
4. The couple separated themselves from God’s protection by wandering toward the forbidden tree.
5. When asked about their sin, Adam and Eve blamed each other and would not take personal responsibility for their wrong choice.
Applying: Using marriage as an illustration, outline the sad steps that lead a couple from beautiful harmony to brokenness, disunity, and divorce. Then write down the basic steps that lead back to unity.
Valuing: Have you seen disunity in your community? Reflect on the underlying issues that contribute to a lack of harmony. What could help change this discord?