Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 152

God's Punishments—Preferable to Those of Mortals? May 25

Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress: let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.” 2 Samuel 24:14, NRSV.

It was an insult to God when David numbered Israel. God's rebuke rested upon him, for he made himself as God, as though he could tell the strength of the armies of Israel by their numbers. “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” God looks not on the numbers of Israel for the success of His work. His armies number thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. These cooperate with the people who will connect with God to be channels of light.—Manuscript 17, 1898.

The soul that is conscious of sincere and honest intentions finds less to fear from God than from people who have hearts of steel. The soul wrenched with human agony turns away from the misjudgment and condemnation of people who cannot read the heart, yet have taken it upon them to judge their associates. He turns to One who is without a shadow of misapprehension, One who knows all the impulses of the heart, who is acquainted with all the circumstances of temptation. God knows every deed of the past life, and yet in consideration of all this, the troubled soul is ready to trust his or her case with God, knowing that He is a God of mercy and compassion.

When David was bidden to choose the punishment for his sin, he said, “Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.” He felt that God knew the struggle and anguish of the soul. When people are enabled to catch a glimpse of the character of God, they see not in Him the heartless, vindictive spirit manifested by human agents; they see that affliction and trial are God's appointed means of disciplining His children, and teaching them His way, that they may lay hold of His grace.... As poor backsliding souls are led to the river of God's love, they exclaim, When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold purified. Suffering souls are made patient, trustful, triumphant in God under adverse circumstances....

When finite, erring human beings give evidence that they regard themselves as of greater importance than God, when they think themselves righteous, yet do not manifest the tenderness of spirit that characterized the life of our Lord Jesus, we may know that unless they repent, the candlestick will quickly be removed out of its place.—Manuscript 7, 1895 (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 354-356).

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