Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

February 12, 1903

Strength in Self-Sacrifice

In order that Moses might know how to be kind and tender toward his erring brethren, God taught him, through the hardships incident to the life of a shepherd, precious lessons of kindness and tenderness, patience and self-sacrifice. Years afterward, while leading the children of Israel to the promised land, he was often severely tried by the waywardness of his brethren, but at such times he pleaded with God to work for them.

When in their flight from Egypt the Israelites came to the Red Sea, and learned that the Egyptians were following them, it seemed to them as if they had been taken there to perish. They were in a position of great peril, the Red Sea on one hand and an impassable mountain on the other, and Pharaoh pursuing them; and they murmured against Moses, saying, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” The Lord had wrought wondrously in their behalf, but still their faith was small.

But Moses had learned to trust in God. In this emergency he looked in faith to his invisible Leader, and his cry was heard. God gave the command, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.”

As the people stepped into the sea, the waters rolled back, a path was made, and they walked through on dry land. As they went forward in the path that Providence had made for them, the pillar of cloud rose and grandly moved over their heads, descending between the two armies, following the Israelites instead of going before them, thus shielding them from the sight of the Egyptians.

“The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”

The mysterious cloud changed to a pillar of fire before their astonished eyes. The thunders pealed, and the lightnings flashed. “The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.”

The Egyptians were seized with confusion and dismay. Amid the wrath of the elements, in which they heard the voice of an angry God, they endeavored to retrace their steps, and flee to the shore they had quitted. But Moses stretched out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, rushed together, and swallowed the Egyptian army in their black depths.

The faith that Moses had is the faith that Jesus desires us to have. When difficulties arise, let us have confidence in God. When it seems that we must meet impossibilities, let us pray. Like Moses, we may commune with the God of heaven as with a friend, trusting in him to work for us. Wherever we are, we may send silent petitions to him for counsel and strength. His ear is ever open to the cry of his needy children. “Man's necessity is God's opportunity.”

After the children of Israel had listened to the giving of the ten commandments, they fell into idolatry. The Lord said to Moses, “Let me alone, ... that I may destroy them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” But no; the man who in the wilderness had so often sought the lost sheep, the man who had braved storm and tempest rather than leave one sheep to perish, could not give up the people placed in his care.

Moses discerned ground for hope where appeared only discouragement and wrath. The words of God, “Let me alone,” he understood not to forbid but to encourage intercession; to imply that nothing but his prayers could save Israel, but that if thus entreated, God would spare his people. He “besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?” And his earnest intercession prevailed.

When in need, we should bear in mind our relation to the children of Israel. Their history has been recorded for our admonition. We are not to imitate their example of murmuring. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Cleanse the soul-temple of its defilement, that Christ may come in and reign supreme. Consecrate to God your strength, your mind, all your abilities. Wherever he places you, however humble your position, work with fidelity. In order to know the power of true godliness, you must hide in Jesus, giving yourself to him without reserve. When you make an entire surrender, laying yourself on his altar as a living sacrifice, you will be accepted.

Not all the gold or silver of this earth can redeem one soul. Neither intellect nor education can win the immortal inheritance. Only as a free gift, received through entire surrender to God, can we gain eternal life.

In this world there is neither comfort nor happiness without Jesus. Let us acknowledge him as our Friend and Saviour. How can we fail of loving him who has first loved us? In him are matchless charms. O, may we all so live during this brief period of probationary time that we shall reign with him throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity!

Mrs. E. G. White

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