Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Signs of the Times

April 2, 1894

“Look and Live”

By Mrs. E. G. White

“And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.” The Lord does not remove all the difficulties and trials and hardships from the pathway of his people. He would have them learn to put their trust in him, believing that the invisible God is their mighty helper. The children of Israel became accustomed to the presence of the pillar of cloud, that covered them as a canopy by day, and was as a pillar of fire by night. They came to look upon the cloud as a common thing. They did not appreciate the fact that they were favored with the presence of the only-begotten Son of God, who was equal with God; and, in spite of all their perversity, their murmuring and rebellion, he had done wonderful things for them in all their journeyings.

The Lord had said: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; than I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee.” The one great object of the care and guardianship of Christ was the church in the wilderness. He said of Israel: “I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour; I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” Egypt was desolated with plagues and became a wasted land, in order that Israel might be freed from bondage; but the people did not appreciate the goodness and mercy and love of God. The Lord, their Redeemer, undertook to lead and guide them, but when he brought them into strait places, they were discouraged because of the way, and spake against God and Moses, saying: “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”

The Lord had fed them with the bread of heaven, even with angels’ food; and yet they murmured against him. By his power he had held in check the wild beasts of the forests, and the reptiles of the wilderness, so that they had not hurt his people; but now he removed his restraining hand, and let the poisonous serpents do as they would have done all along the way had the Lord not restrained them. The real trouble that now came upon them served to bring them to their senses, and to awaken their paralyzed thoughts as to what course to pursue. “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.... And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

Throughout the camp of Israel there were the suffering and the dying who had been wounded by the deadly sting of the serpent. But Jesus Christ spoke from the pillar of cloud, and gave directions whereby the people might be healed. The promise was made that whosoever looked upon the brazen serpent should live; and to those who looked the promise was verified. But if anyone said: “What good will it do to look? I shall certainly die under the serpent's deadly sting;” if he continued to talk of his deadly wound, and declared that his case was hopeless, and would not perform the simple act of obedience, he would die. But everyone who looked, lived.

Jesus said: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Christ is speaking to us now as certainly as he spoke to the children of Israel in the wilderness. He is the Healer of both body and soul. Our attention is now called to the Great Physician. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Just as long as we look at our sins, and talk of and deplore our wretched condition, our wounds and putrefying sores will remain. It is when we take our eyes from ourselves, and fasten them upon the uplifted Saviour, that our souls find hope and peace. The Lord speaks to us through his word, bidding us “look and live.” “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”

There is every reason why we should be encouraged to hope for the salvation of our souls. In Jesus Christ every provision for our salvation has been made. No matter what may have been our sins and shortcomings, there is a fountain open in the house of David for all sin and uncleanness. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” This is the word of the Lord. Shall we accept it? Shall we believe on him?

David had been bitten by the fiery serpent,—he had been poisoned with the venom of sin,—yet hear the words that describe his experience after looking upon the uplifted Saviour: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.... I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit... The Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»