Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 181

God Still Needs People, June 23

The former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people. Nehemiah 5:15.

The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God, and no longer felt that it was their duty to maintain principles unadulterated by the sentiments of the nations around them. Because of their separation from God, the Lord humbled them. He could not work for their prosperity, He could not fulfill His covenant with them while they were untrue to the principles He had given them to zealously maintain, that they might be kept from the methods and practices of the heathen nations who dishonored God.... He left them to their own ways, and the innocent suffered with the sinners in Zion.

But among the children of Israel there were Christian patriots, who were as true as steel to principle, and upon these loyal and true men the Lord looked with great pleasure.... They had to suffer with the guilty, but in the providence of God this captivity was the means of bringing them to the front. Their example of untarnished integrity, while captives at Babylon, shines with heaven's luster.

Many of the Lord's chosen people had proved themselves untrustworthy. They separated from God and became selfish, scheming, and dishonorable. The part acted by Daniel and his fellows, and by Ezra and Nehemiah, was in marked contrast to this, and the Lord specially blessed these men for standing firmly for the right.

Nehemiah was chosen by God because he was willing to cooperate with God as a restorer.... He would not be led and corrupted by the devices of unprincipled men who had been hired to do an evil work. He would not allow them to intimidate him into following a cowardly course. When he saw wrong principles being acted upon, he did not stand by as an onlooker and by his silence give consent. He did not leave the people to conclude that he would stand on the wrong side. He took a firm, unyielding stand for the right. He would not lend one jot of influence to the perversion of the principles that God had established. Whatever course others might pursue, he could say, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.”—Manuscript 121, 1898.

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