Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

April 23, 1903

God's Purpose Concerning Israel

[The foregoing article is the first of a series by Sister White on the history and experiences of Daniel and his companions in Babylon. The articles are in the form of a connected narrative, and we are sure they will be of much interest to our young people.]

Every temporal and every spiritual advantage was given to the Jewish nation, the Lord's chosen people. God himself wrought for them, multiplying them in Egypt, delivering them from bondage, and leading them to the land of Canaan, their promised inheritance.

To the Jewish nation were committed the oracles of God, which were to be as a wall of protection round about them. As his chosen people, the Israelites were to show to the nations of the earth that the law of God's kingdom is holy and just and good. By obedience to this law they were to be brought under the control of their Creator and Redeemer, and made a pure, wise people, whose joy it would be to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

Never were the Israelites to depart from the instruction given them by Christ from the pillar of cloud. God declared that if his people would live by the pure, unselfish principles of his law, and thus fulfill his purpose for them, he would honor them before all the world. “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee,” he said, “that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee forever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God. When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? ... for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

“Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spew you not out. And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.”

God specified also the sure result of a disregard for his commandments. “If ye will not harken unto me,” he declared, “and will not do all these commandments, ... I also will do this unto you; I will ... set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you.... And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.... And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.”

With these solemn warnings foretelling the results of disobedience, were given words of encouragement. God declared that even if his people should fail of fulfilling his purpose, he would not forsake them utterly. “If they shall confess their iniquity,” he said, “and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.... When they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them; to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”

These are some of the prophecies concerning Israel. The special advantages and privileges that God's chosen people enjoyed, made their responsibility greater than that of any other people. By holiness of life, by steadfast loyalty, by faithfulness in the payment of tithes and offerings, by cheerful, devoted service, they were to acknowledge God's sovereignty, and testify in word and deed that they were made better by the favors bestowed upon them. Thus they were to be a light to the surrounding nations, revealing to idolatrous peoples the true God and the glory of his character.

Mrs. E. G. White

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