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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: Nature as a Source of Health *
Introduction: If I asked you, "What is the greatest challenge to
your peace of mind," what would you say? Would it be a relationship
problem? Someone is not following the "rules" of kind and loving
behavior? Would it be a lack of money? How about a concern about
health? A concern over your job? Have you considered what nature has
to teach us about those things that disturb our peace and cause us
worry? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can
learn about this!
Nature and Trust
- Nature and Order
- Read Psalms 19:1-2. Is this true? If so, how is it true?
(It is true. When we look at the vast heavens around us,
and learn that the heavens operate in a reliable and
perfect order, the only reasonable conclusion is that
some amazing Intellect is responsible.)
- Read Psalms 19:3-4. What human can claim ignorance of the
heavens above us? (The basic message of the heavens can
be understood by everyone - although the full message of
the heavens is not fully understood by anyone. If you
doubt this, do a little research on "dark matter.")
- Read Psalms 19:5-6. What is one of the most basic, easily
understood messages in the heavens about God's
personality? (He is orderly. Our times are reliable. The
movement of the earth in relation to the sun sets the
most basic order of our lives.)
- Our lesson is supposed to be about health, and especially
emotional health. What does the message of the heavens
have to do with your emotional health?
- What causes you the most fear? (Facing the unknown?
Uncertainty? Imagine what your life would be like if
there was no order or certainty to the length of the
day, night or the regulation of time.)
- Read Psalms 19:7. The Psalmist goes directly from a
discussion of the movement of the heavens to a discussion
of God's law. What logic is there in connecting the two?
(If God has laws which govern the heavens and provide
basic order to our universe and our environment, it is
logical that God would have laws regarding how we should
- Notice the Bible says that this order "revives" our
soul. What application does this have to our mental
health, if any? (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
Commentary says "The law of God is a reviving
cordial [something that invigorates the heart] to
believers." The Commentary bolsters this reading by
citing Psalms 23:2-3.)
- Let's read Psalms 23:2-3. Do you see a
connection between Psalms 19:7 and Psalms 23:2-3? (Yes! Just as God's law brings order to the
universe at large, so His law brings order to
- When you have operated outside God's law, what
happened to the order in your life?
- What happened to your level of stress?
- Look again at Psalms 23:2-3. Is God giving
direction in these verses? (Yes. "He makes me
lie down .... He guides me.")
- When you think of green pastures and quiet
waters, does that give you feelings of
peace and tranquility? (The lesson from
nature is that following in the path of
God's law restores our mental health.)
- Let's go back to Psalms 19: 7. This verse also says
that God's law makes even simple people wise. Would
you rather be smart or dumb?
- Why? (We generally think that life is easier
for smart people.)
- What mental health advantage is suggested by
this? (If you obey God's law, you don't have to
be born smart to enjoy the advantages of being
- Read Psalms 19:8. Have you ever experienced joy by
following God's law? Have you ever experienced sadness
and gloom by not following God's law?
- This morning I took my customary walk on the beach.
What caught my attention was the brightness of the
sun. Think about standing in a bright sun on the
beach. How do you feel? (Light lifts my spirits.
When I travel to America's largest cities, I never
like New York or Chicago. I always like Los Angeles.
Why? One big factor is that I associate Los Angeles
with bright light. (Yes, I know about the smog!))
- Is the level of the light what the second half
of verse 8 is about? (The major point is that
God's law helps us to better see the right path
to take in life. The light metaphor presents a
combination of righteousness and joy.)
- What is the overarching lesson from what we have studied
of Psalms 19? (Our God believes in order. If we seek to
follow His rules we help protect ourselves from worry and
open the door to joy.)
Nature and Praise
- Read Matthew 6:25-27 and Luke 12:18-20. Is there a lesson
here about barns (and banks)?
- Did this farmer have a future "bird's life" in mind
- where he did not have to work?
- Have you ever watched birds? Are they always
(or often) working for food? (The sea birds I
see are always looking for food.)
- How should we understand Jesus' words with regard to
nature (birds) and our mental health? (The lesson is
not about how we prepare for the future (by savings
(barns) or continued work) the lesson is that
whatever we do, we need to trust God and look to
advance His kingdom.)
- Read Matthew 6:28-30 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Jesus says
the lilies "do not labor" as a positive point. Paul
teaches that those who do not work should not eat.
Assuming that the Bible does not contradict itself, what
is Jesus saying? (The splendor of the lily is not due to
- What is the practical lesson from nature for our
mental health? (We need to work. We need to have a
productive life. But, God's care for us is not
dependent upon the nature of our work.)
- In the first section we decided that following God's laws
tended to protect us from those things that would cause
us to worry. In this section we find that our work does
not have a direct relationship to our well-being. Are
these two conclusions in conflict? (No. Life is better if
we obey God. We know, however, from experience (and
reading the book of Job) that obedience (work) does not
always keep us safe from terrible things. Thus the
reasonable conclusion from nature is that we must trust
God. We must trust Him that His law is the best way to
live. We must trust Him that He will ultimately save us
Next week: Partnership With Jesus.
- Read Psalms 104:1-5. Did you notice the references to
nature in this reading? Is the Psalmist talking about
order here, or is he discussing another topic? (He is
discussing the Creation. This involves order, but more
importantly it shows the glory of God.)
- Scan Psalms 104:6-32 and Read Psalms 104:33-34. What is
the result of meditating on God's creation? (We sing
praises to God.)
- Read Revelation 4:6-8. When you get to heaven, would you
like this job? (I used to think "I hope I don't get that
job!" But now I've changed my mind. Have you ever really
praised God? Have you sung praises to God and found that
your spirit was lifted? Heartfelt praise to God creates
the most enjoyable time.)
- How will praising God impact your mental health? (It
is an antidote to depression, fear and worry. The
Bible teaches us that nature is a trigger for
- Last week I noticed a statement in Christianity Today
which said that when we praise God, we join in the
activity of the universe!
- Friend, nature declares our God, His power and His order.
This gives us confidence to trust in His care and power,
and a reason to follow His laws. No longer do we have to
rely on our weak and fumbling efforts. Seeing all this,
our natural emotion is to praise Him. Will you decide
today to trust God? Will you turn from worry and turn to
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.