Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

January 29, 1903

Strength in Humility

Moses was chosen for a special work. Having been adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, he was greatly honored in the king's court. Every one was intensely desirous of exalting him. Pharaoh determined to make him his successor on the throne.

Moses was a man of intelligence. In the providence of God he was given opportunity to gain a fitness for a great work. He was thoroughly educated as a general. When he went out to meet the enemy, he was successful; and on his return from battle, his praises were sung by the whole army. Notwithstanding this, he constantly remembered that through him God purposed to deliver the children of Israel.

But although he was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” while in the service of Pharaoh the character of Moses received a mold that disqualified him for the wonderful work he was to do, making him weak where he should have been strong. This weakness was manifested when he visited his brethren, and “spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew.” Taking the case in his own hands, he privately “slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” He would not have done this had he not, during his training in the Egyptian army, received the impression that the Israelites were to be delivered by the sword.

In order to prepare Moses for his work as the general of Israel, God removed him from Pharaoh's court, and placed him in another school,—the school of self-denial and hardship. The leader of the Egyptian armies went into the mountains, to become a keeper of sheep. What a change in his life and employment! Looking at the experience from a human point of view, men would pronounce it a failure.

Forty years Moses spent in the solitude of the wilderness. Here he had opportunity for study, meditation, and prayer. From the book of nature open before him, he drew many useful lessons. Surrounded by the evidences of God's power, he was led to humble himself, and to exercise living faith in God, thus obtaining a preparation for the work before him. God designed that Moses should stand alone, leaning only upon the arm of divine power.

Several years ago I saw the results of a tempest that had just passed through a forest, sweeping down everything before it. The trees standing close together had been uprooted and leveled like grass before a scythe. But a few trees standing out alone had not been overturned. I inquired the reason of this, and was told that the tap-roots of the trees unmoved by the hurricane were firmly fastened deep in the earth. These trees had gained strength to withstand the storm, while those that had stood close together were swept down.

The lesson is for us. We should know for ourselves what it means to stand firmly for God, ever learning that which Providence designs to teach us. But too often we think as others think, and do as they do. We are influenced by the habits of our associates. When we depend on finite help to support us, we do not really know our weakness, and when the storm comes, we are overthrown. But when thrust out where we must stand alone, our faith fastens upon the only sure support—the infinite God.

When at last Moses was called to bear God's message to Pharaoh, Moses had reached the place in his experience where he had a humble estimate of himself. He felt incapable of doing the work, and he pleaded earnestly that he might not be required to bear this responsibility. Not until the Lord had convinced him that he was his chosen instrument to deliver Israel, did he consent to go. He cherished no self-exaltation. While tending his flock among the lonely mountains, he had learned humility—that precious lesson so important for us all.

The more diligently we learn meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ, the greater advancement we shall make in a preparation for God's service. We should never feel that we have learned everything worth knowing. Let none think they are ready for graduation. As long as we remain on this earth, there will be new lessons for us to learn. And throughout the ages of eternity we shall have something to learn in regard to the wonderful plan of redemption.

Lack of humility is one great cause of our weakness. Too often we attempt in our own strength to do something great. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” By wearing his yoke, we can be co-workers with him. Every morning we should inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Thus we shall learn of Christ.

Not he who is pompous, boastful, and unbelieving, but the humble, faithful soul, is in God's sight accounted a man of power. In order that he may answer the prayers of his people, the Lord desires them to obtain a personal knowledge of Christ. The clearer their view of the Saviour's loveliness, the more humble will be their opinion of themselves. And the lower their estimate of self, the more distinct will be their view of the glory and majesty of God. When we begin to have a high opinion of ourselves, let us remember that for whatever we are or have in advance of our fellow men we are indebted wholly to the gift of God.

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt,” Moses kept his eye fixed on “the recompense of the reward.” Let us likewise keep our eyes fixed on the reward that God has promised, and walk in humility before him; for He who says, “Them that honor me I will honor,” will crown his faithful children with eternal honor.

Mrs. E. G. White

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