Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

June 22, 1888

David's Throne Established at Jerusalem

By Mrs. E. G. White

As soon as David was established on the throne of Israel, he began to plan for a more appropriate position for the capital of his realm. Twenty miles from Hebron a place was selected as the future metropolis of the kingdom. Before Joshua had led the armies of Israel over Jordan to the promised possession, it had been called Salem. Near this place Abraham had proved his loyalty to God. He had prepared an altar, and had laid upon it his only son Isaac, in obedience to the command of the Lord. Here had been the home of Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God, nearly nine hundred years before the coronation of David. It held a central and elevated position in the country, and it was barricaded by an environment of hills. On the north rose Lebanon, with its snow-crowned summits.

Away to the south stretched the Arabian desert, with its moving sands. To the west were the waters of the Mediterranean, and to the east were the Dead Sea and the river Jordan.

In order to secure this much-desired location, the Hebrews must dispossess a remnant of the old Canaanites. King David called for men to besiege and take the city of Jebus from their heathen enemies. A large force gathered at the command of the King, and David left his throne, and his armies surrounded and took the city, and the capital of Israel was moved to Jebus. This heathen name was changed to the City of David, and it was afterward called Jerusalem, and Mount Zion. “And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.”

Tyre was a rich city on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and Hiram, king of Tyre, sought the friendship of Israel, and rendered them assistance in various undertakings. Hiram “sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons; and they built David a house. And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.”

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all the tribes of Israel, they “came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.” The Philistines marshaled an immense force, hoping again to bring Israel into subjection. They spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. “David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into my hand?” And the Lord bade David go up, and promised to deliver the Philistines into his hand.

King David asked counsel of the Lord in his extremity, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and answered his servant, and Israel was victorious. But the Philistines made a more decided display, that they might intimidate Israel. Their numbers were very great. Again David sought the Lord, and the great I AM became the general of the armies of Israel. God himself laid the plan of the attack. He instructed David, saying, “Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the top of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself; for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.”

If David had chosen his own way, as did Saul, success would not have attended his warfare. But David did as the Lord had commanded, and he “smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.” Saul had been honored of God to occupy a high position of trust. He was tested and proven of the Lord, but he did not obey the voice of God. He had become tired of his simplicity, and he chose to follow his own finite judgment, and departed from the Lord. Saul had been a man of striking personal attractions, and at the beginning of his reign the Spirit of the Lord had been upon him. After his coronation he had been a changed man; but pride came into his heart, and he became lifted up in his own estimation. He thought, as some success had attended his plans and his generalship, that his prosperity was due to the wise movements he had made. The people praised him, and gave glory to him, and did not acknowledge the Lord as the prime mover in all their successes. Through his appointed agents, God had given definite instruction; but those who were self-sufficient, and puffed up with pride,—the poor, finite beings whom God had given position, and endowed with honor,—had concluded that they understood the situation of things far better than did the Lord, and they determined to follow their own way, and have their own will carried out, and unite with the godless.

The Maker of mind possesses in himself alone the principles of life and action that must regulate and govern inferior minds. The natural, selfish mind, as it exists in its carnal state, acts without reference to God, and is evil, and only evil, continually. The soul cannot be in a state of peace or safety unless it is waiting upon God and receiving instruction from him. Saul's heart was estranged from God; and when he was reproved by Samuel, he stubbornly refused to admit that he had disobeyed God, although the lowing of the oxen, and the bleating of the sheep, sounded in the ears of the king and the prophet, and the king of the Amalekites, who, with all his nation and their possessions, was devoted to utter destruction, was preserved alive in the camp of Israel. While Saul persisted in self-justification, he knew in his heart that he had decidedly transgressed the commandment of the Lord. He was displeased that the Lord did not recognize his judgment, and approve of the victory he had gained, which was the most brilliant of his successes. But the Lord does not look upon successes as men do. Obedience to his word is counted as of more value than the most brilliant conquest that is gained in opposition to his will. In heart and act, Saul was decidedly opposed to the will of God. He flattered himself that in sparing Agag he was manifesting more mercy than the Judge of all the earth. And he told the prophet that the sheep and oxen, which God had ordered to be slain, were to be presented before him as sacrifices in Gilgal.

We have often been grieved to meet this same spirit of self-justification in those who profess in this day to be doing the will of God, while they are living in transgression of his holy law. Those who depart from God's way to follow their own way, refuse to acknowledge their perversity and sin when reproved by the servants of God. As did Saul, so do these stubbornly fortify themselves in their rebellion, that they may hold fast to their errors and defects. God's voice is heard, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it;” but they have wandered on forbidden ground, and in place of making full and free confession they do everything that is possible to make it appear that they are rebuked without cause, and are innocent of the charges brought against them. In this way they make God out a liar. The displeasure of the Lord is kindled against them; and unless they repent, and turn to him, his wrath will certainly fall upon them. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

Those whose deeds are evil, will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved and their real characters revealed. If they continue in the path of transgression, and sever themselves entirely from the Redeemer, stubbornness, and sullenness, and a spirit of revenge will take possession of them, and they will say to their own souls, Peace, peace, when there is every reason that they should be alarmed, for their steps are directed toward destruction. As Saul resisted the reproofs of the servant of the Lord, this spirit took possession of him. He defied the Lord, he defied his servant, and his enmity toward David was the outworking of the murderous spirit that comes into the heart of those who justify themselves in the face of their guilt.

David had sought and obtained divine instruction, and he obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gave the glory of his success to the Lord, who had delivered the enemies of Israel into his hands. Oh that the people of God, at all times and in every extremity, would seek the Lord, who is the sovereign ruler of all worlds, and the general of all the armies of those who honor and serve him. We need to pray more, and to trust less in our own power. When sincere prayer is offered, and our souls are humbled in deep contrition before God, and are not lifted up in self-importance, the Lord will bless his people. The promise is given, that those who commit their way unto the Lord, shall be directed in the path of righteousness. Those who truly seek and obtain God's favor and help, and preserve their union with Heaven, will not glorify themselves, but they will glorify God for his great power and majesty that has wrought in their behalf.

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