Ellen G. White Writings

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Ms 151, 1901

Ms 151, 1901

Diary/The Reward of the Obedient

Crystal Springs, St. Helena, California

September 7, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1118; 3BC 1150; LHU 160; 8MR 193. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

It is the Sabbath of the Lord, and I desire to trace a few words in my diary.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” [Psalm 46:1-3.]

Just before His ascension, our divine Lord came to His disciples “and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.]

The Lord Jesus has been the help and the strength of all who have put their trust in Him. Christians are to be brought face to face with the fact that they have not hungered as they should for the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations.

My brethren and sisters, I present before you Christ, who is to be to us an abiding Presence. “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” will keep the soul fresh and sweet. [Colossians 1:27.] Christ was God’s gift to a perishing world. “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] Let everyone be assured that it is by receiving this life-saving Gift that we secure eternal life. This is our life-insurance policy.

At what infinite cost to the Father and to the Son was this merciful, wondrous provision made for our redemption! Christ stepped down from His high estate as Commander in the heavenly courts, and, laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to this earth, that He might dwell with us, and become our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness, our redemption.

Just before Christ’s betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion, He offered to His Father the prayer recorded in the seventeenth of John. We should study the whole chapter carefully, for it is a lesson for us all. We are not to trust in man or make flesh our arm; we are instructed to worship the Lord Jesus Christ as our Life-giver. “Him only shalt thou serve.” [Matthew 4:10.]

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” [Hebrews 1:1-9.]

“He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world.” [Verse 6.] This is the incarnation of Christ. In and through Him the Father establishes the kingdom of heaven among men.

*****

In the ninety-first Psalm is a most wonderful description of the coming of the Lord to bring the wickedness of the wicked to an end, and to give to those who have chosen Him as their Redeemer the assurance of His love and protecting care.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.” [Verses 1-15.]

The righteous understand God’s government and will triumph with holy gladness in the everlasting protection and salvation that Christ through His merits has secured for them. Let all remember this, and forget not that the wicked, who do not receive Christ as their personal Saviour, understand not His providence. The way of righteousness they have not chosen, and they know not God. Notwithstanding all the benefits He has so graciously bestowed upon them, they have abused His mercy by neglecting to acknowledge His goodness and mercy in showing them these favors.

At any moment God can withdraw from the impenitent the tokens of His wonderful mercy and love. Oh, that human agencies might consider what will be the sure result of their ingratitude to Him and of their disregard of the infinite gift of Christ to our world! If they continue to love transgression more than obedience, the present blessings and the great mercy of God that they now enjoy, but do not appreciate, will finally become the occasion of their eternal ruin. They may for a time choose to engage in worldly amusements and sinful pleasures, rather than to check themselves in their course of sin, and live for God and for the honor of the Majesty of heaven; but when it is too late for them to see and to understand that which they have slighted as a thing of naught, they will know what it means to be without God, without hope. Then they will sense what they have lost by choosing to be disloyal to God and to stand in rebellion against His commandments. In the past they defied His power and rejected His overtures of mercy; finally His judgments will fall upon them. Then they will realize that they have lost happiness—life, eternal life, in the heavenly courts. Surely they will say, “Our life was full of madness against God, and now we are lost!”

In the time when God’s judgments are falling without mercy, oh, how enviable to the wicked will be the position of those who abide “in the secret place of the Most High” [verse 1]—the pavilion in which the Lord hides all who have loved Him and have obeyed His commandments! The lot of the righteous is indeed an enviable one at such a time to those who are suffering because of their sins. But the door of mercy is closed to the wicked, no more prayers are offered in their behalf after probation ends.

But this time has not yet come. Mercy’s sweet voice is still to be heard. The Lord is now calling sinners to come to Him. As the light of His truth enters their hearts, will they repent and be converted? Will they, in humility, in meekness and lowliness of heart, come to the foot of the cross, there to learn of Jesus? Will they say to Him, “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord: that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works”? [Psalm 26:6, 7.]

Great joy will come to the saved in that day when every man shall receive according to his works! What are the songs that should now come from the lips of those who love God and keep His commandments? What is the song that some are now singing? “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, even then will I be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the day of trouble he shall keep me secretly in his pavilion: in the covert of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall lift me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.” [Psalm 27:1-6.]

So long as God’s people, in this time of peril, are careful to be sincere and upright, pure and undefiled in the life-practice, trusting alone in the One who is all-wise, all-merciful, full of compassion, they are walking in a safe path and will not turn aside for trifles. God is their defense, their front-guard, and their rearward.

The time has come when the righteous should understand that God’s judgments are to fall upon all those who transgress His law, and that those who walk humbly before Him will triumph with holy gladness, realizing constantly that they are under the assuring protection of His everlasting covenant of love. As Jehovah is holy, He requires His people to be holy, pure, undefiled. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Those who worship Him in sincerity and truth will be accepted by Him.

*****

Let us guard against manifesting a denunciatory, overbearing, dictatorial spirit. Yet while we are to be kind, we must speak the Word of the Lord faithfully. Much more decided efforts than have been made should be made to cleanse our institutions from the sins, the evil practices, the unjustness in dealing, that the enemy has brought in during the past few years. Even the smallest matters should be dealt with as fairly, justly, and sacredly as are the largest matters.

Let us not allow one man to exalt his judgment as infallible or in any way to oppress his brethren who are seeking as verily as is he to do for the cause of God that which they suppose is right. Let us search our hearts diligently, lest selfishness and idolatry shall come in unawares.

Let us, in our business transactions, talk over matters with one another. When difficulties arise, let us adjust them in a Christlike manner. Heart should unite with heart in striving to follow correct principles. Let us do nothing that shall result even in a misunderstanding. Humbling ourselves before God, we should make every matter right.

Oppression God will never tolerate. The indifference created by idolatry of self close the heart to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Hard-heartedness, cherished, will result in men’s seeking to bring their fellow men to the terms they stipulate and will lead to many other evils.

My brethren, it is altogether too late in the day to be half-hearted, serving divers lusts, and cherishing traits of character that will exclude you from heaven. You cannot put away the evils of your doing too soon. I beseech you to make thorough work for eternity. Now is the accepted time, beloved; now is the day of salvation. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.]

How thankful we should be for such an assurance, weighted with the grace of our God! The Lord Jesus yearns over us with intense earnestness. He desires that we shall be saved. But we shall perish, if we depart from God, and place ourselves in the enemy’s power. God has forbidden His people to stand upon Satan’s ground. Our God has built round about us a wall of protection, lest we become exposed to the temptations that beset us on every side.

Comparatively speaking, only a few honor God on the Sabbath day, according to His commandment. In the fifth of Deuteronomy we read that Moses called the children of Israel together, “and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep them, and do them.” [Verse 1.] Then he referred to the covenant that they made with the Lord when they received His commandments at Sinai. “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire.” [Verses 2-4.] Then Moses repeated to the assembled multitude the words that the Lord had spoken to them at mount Sinai, even the ten holy precepts.

We who are living in the year 1901 should often repeat the words that are recorded in this chapter. That God who talked with Israel face to face is speaking to us. Every requirement, every caution, every restraint given them, is recorded for us to study and to put into practice in principle. Let us read attentively the words that He spake to ancient Israel. There is altogether too great a willingness to forget these words. And when those who heed not the instruction given to Israel are reproved for the good of their souls, that they shall not corrupt their ways and suffer the sure result of disobedience and unsanctified works, they often feel that they are dealt with harshly. But in this chapter are specified the commandments that will make the path plain before them and shield them from the temptations of the enemy. He who gives these commandments introduces Himself in the following words: “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” [Verse 6.] Then follow the ten commandments.

The day that God requires His people to observe is clearly specified not only in this chapter, but in the thirty-first of Exodus. In Exodus we read: “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

“And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” [Verses 12-18.]

Both at Sinai and on the borders of the promised land, on the two occasions when the law was repeated with such solemnity to the Israelites, God’s people were enjoined to remember their degradation as slaves in Egypt. He it was who had brought them forth “out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders.” [Deuteronomy 26:8.]

After repeating the first four precepts of the Decalogue, which relate to man’s duty to his Creator; and the last six precepts, which relate to man’s duty to his fellow men, Moses declared: “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” [Deuteronomy 5:22.]

The people pleaded with Moses when they heard the voice from Sinai. “Ye came near unto me,” said Moses, “and ye said, ... Why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” [Verses 23-29.]

Let all remember that prosperity and blessing are promised us on condition of obedience to God’s commandments.

After telling the Israelites to return to their tents, the Lord said to Moses: “As for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.” [Verses 31-33.]

These closing verses of the fifth of Deuteronomy plainly specify that Israel’s prosperity depended upon their obedience to the commandments of God.

Sixth chapter: “Now these are the commandments (written in the tables of stone), the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.” [Verses 1, 2.]

In this Scripture we are taught that obedience to God’s requirements brings the obedient under the laws that control the physical being. Those who would preserve themselves in health must bring into subjection all appetites and passions. They must not indulge lustful passion and intemperate appetite; for they are to remain under control to God, and their physical, mental, and moral powers are to be so wisely employed that the bodily mechanism will remain in good working order. Health, life, and happiness are the result of obedience to physical laws governing our bodies. If our will and way are in accordance with God’s will and way; if we do the pleasure of our Creator, He will keep the human organism in good condition, and restore the moral, mental, and physical powers, in order that He may work through us, to His glory. Constantly His restoring power is manifested in our bodies. If we co-operate with Him in this work, health and happiness, peace and usefulness, are the sure results.

“Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which though filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (for the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

“Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.” [Verses 3-18.]

The whole chapter is a lesson for us to study. In the twentieth verse, and onward, we read: “When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: and the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.” [Verses 20-23.] Parents should understand this instruction, and be prepared to speak to their children words that will give them correct impressions in regard to the Lord’s dealings with His chosen people.

“And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” [Verses 24, 25.] The fear here spoken of is not a servile fear, but a godly fear.

God gave these laws to Israel to preserve them in a happy, healthful state. If there had existed no Satan to tempt them, these special instructions would not have been needed; but unless the people had something to guide them, they would surely be led astray by the specious devisings of the enemy of all righteousness. Their only safety was to be found in hearkening with all diligence to the Word of the Lord.

Parents who desire to train their children aright should heed the instruction given in these Scriptures and allow their little ones to do nothing in disregard of God’s commandments so plainly given. Let fathers and mothers faithfully teach their children these precepts and impress upon their tender minds the fact that in obedience there is life, health, happiness.

These Scriptures are “written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” [1 Corinthians 10:11.] “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Hebrews 2:1-4.]

The great object we should always keep in view, when obtaining a knowledge of God’s laws, is that we are to become acquainted with His will in order that we may obey Him.

God constantly kept before the Israelites their wonderful deliverance from the bondage of slavery and the remarkable circumstances that called for His special workings, by His mighty power, to execute their deliverance. This history was to be kept before their children, as an expression of God’s love for them. He was placing them under the most favorable circumstances for loving and serving Him.

He who has entrusted men and women with children calls upon those parents to realize their God-given responsibilities. They are to guard their children from the many temptations to which the little ones are subject on account of the words and practices of the children of disobedience. From babyhood, children are to be taught to obey the requirements of their parents. And the parents themselves are under most solemn obligation to God to keep their spirit in subjection to God’s will. In word and act they should set a right example before their children, and thus teach by example, as well as by precept, the principles of righteousness and justice.

Let no half-hearted work be done by parents. The younger members of the Lord’s family are to be taught in the home life. The home is an educating school. Children are to be shielded from associating with the wicked. There is to be no commingling with idolaters. Concerning this the Lord says: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them (worldlings); thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shalt ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.” [Deuteronomy 7:3-5.]

Let us study the instruction God has given us in His Word in regard to obedience and disobedience. He has forbidden us to form intimate connections with the openly wicked; for those who place themselves in companionship with unbelievers are in great danger of being corrupted by the sentiments and practices of their associates, and of being so influenced that they will be drawn into sin. Sin soon loses its offensive features, if beheld constantly; and the obedient are soon led by wicked associates to dishonor God.

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