Ellen G. White Writings

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The Southern Watchman

February 21, 1905

A Blessing and a Curse

The promise of special protection and prosperity to those who faithfully heed the Lord's instruction regarding tithes and offerings, was not a new message, delivered first by Malachi. Early in the history of the Israelites, the Lord, through Moses, covenanted with his people that if they would obey his commandments, he would give them rain in due season, the land should yield her increase, and the trees of the field should yield their fruit. He promised that their threshing should reach unto the vintage, and their vintage unto the sowing-time, and that they should eat their bread to the full, and dwell in their land safely. But if they disregarded his requirements, he would deal with them entirely contrary to all this. His curse should rest upon them in place of his blessing. He would break their pride of power, and would make the heavens over them as iron and the earth as brass. “Your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me,” “then will I also walk contrary unto you.”

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.”

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”

These words should be as distinctly stamped upon every soul as if written with a pen of iron. Obedience brings its reward, disobedience its retribution.

Today, as in the days of the Jewish nation, God's prospering hand attends the obedient. And those whom the Lord blesses are ever to be mindful of his mercies. Their gifts are to be in accordance with the blessings received. But many whom God prospers manifest base ingratitude to him. When blessings rest upon them, and their substance is increased, they make these bounties as cords to bind them to the love of their possessions; they allow worldly business to take control of their affections and their entire being. Turning the blessings of God into a curse, they serve their own temporal interests to the neglect of God's requirements.

Those who are selfishly withholding their means need not be surprised if God's hand scatters their possessions. That which should have been devoted to the advancement of his work and cause, but which has been withheld, may in various ways be taken away. God will come near to them in judgments. Many losses will be sustained. God can scatter the means he has lent to his stewards, if they refuse to use it to his glory. Some may have none of these losses to remind them of their remissness in duty, but their cases may be the more hopeless.

It is a solemn thought that by our present course we are deciding our eternal destiny. Let those who know the truth practice the truth, remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is of more value than all the treasure the world contains. The world is the Lord's vineyard. To every one of us the Master says, “‘Go work today in my vineyard.’ As I have cared for you, so you are to care for the honor of my name.”

God blesses the work of men's hands, that they may return to him his portion. He gives them the sunshine and the rain; he causes vegetation to flourish; he gives health, and ability to acquire means. Every blessing comes from his bountiful hand, and he desires men and women to show their gratitude by returning him a portion in tithes and offerings,—in thank-offerings, in free-will offerings, in trespass-offerings. They are to devote their means to his service, that his vineyard may not remain a barren waste. They are to study what the Lord would do were he in their place. They are to take all difficult matters to him in prayer. They are to reveal an unselfish interest in the building up of his work in all parts of the world.

Money and goods, houses and lands,—these the Lord has entrusted to his human agents for the advancement of his work. Those who use in his service the talents that have been lent them, are following in Christ's footsteps. Their unselfish course hastens forward the work the Lord desires to accomplish.

Those who think that they can please God by obeying some other law than his, and by performing works other than those which the gospel has enjoined, are mocking God. They are insulting the Holy One of Israel. Warning after warning is given in the last message of mercy to the world. Appeal after appeal is made. The worst of sinners are to hear the call. All are to be given a final test. Loath to give up, sorrowful, yet hoping. Christ knocks at the door of the heart.

God's people are to maintain the elevated character of his work. They are to carry forward this work in his lines. Christ is their pattern, and he says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Let us remember that we are laborers together with God. He has made us his stewards, to prove us and to try us, even as he proved and tried ancient Israel.

Mrs. E. G. White

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