Ellen G. White Writings

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From the Heart, Page 209

Forty Years of Retraining, July 16

The children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. Exodus 2:23.

Moses had become, in every sense, a great man. As a writer, as a military leader, and as a philosopher, he had no superior. Love of truth and righteousness had become the basis of his character and had produced a steadfastness of purpose which no fickleness of fashion, opinion, or pursuits could influence. Courtesy, diligence, and a firm trust in God marked his life. He was young and vigorous, overflowing with energy and manly strength. He had deeply sympathized with his brethren in their affliction, and his soul had kindled with a desire to deliver them. Surely, it would appear to human wisdom that he was in every way fitted for his work.

But God seeth not as man sees; His ways are not as ours. Moses is not yet prepared to accomplish this great work; neither are the people prepared for deliverance. He has been educated in the school of Egypt, but he has yet to pass through the stern school of discipline before he is qualified for his sacred mission. Before he can successfully govern the hosts of Israel, he must learn to obey, he must learn self-control. For forty long years he is sent into the retirement of the desert, that, in his life of obscurity, in the humble work of caring for the sheep and lambs of the flock, he may gain the victory over his own passions. He must learn entire submission to the will of God before he can teach that will to a great people.

Short-sighted mortals would have dispensed with that forty years of training amid the mountains of Midian, deeming it a great loss of time. But Infinite Wisdom placed him who was to be the mighty statesman, the deliverer of his people from slavery, in circumstances during this period to develop his honesty, his forethought, his faithfulness and caretaking, and his ability to identify himself with the necessities of his dumb charge. Those to whom God has entrusted important responsibilities have not been brought up in ease and luxury; the noble prophets, the leaders and judges of God's appointment, have been those whose characters were formed by the stern realities of life.

God does not select for His work persons of one mold and one temperament only, but individuals of varied temperaments.—Signs of the Times, February 19, 1880.

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