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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 163, 1902

    David’s Testimony to God’s Goodness


    December 15, 1902 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 2BC 1018; 3BC 1128; CTr 146. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    The twenty-second chapter of second Samuel contains David’s testimony to the goodness, mercy, and love of God. He dwells on the watchful care that God has ever shown toward him. He recounts the Lord’s goodness and the manifestations of His power in his behalf.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 1

    “The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer,” he declares; “in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; Thou savest me from violence. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; the sorrow of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly; and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. And He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the sky. Through the brightness before Him were coals of fire kindled. ... He sent from above, He took me; He drew me from many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me; for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.” [Verses 2-13, 17-20.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 2

    “These be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of God of Jacob, and the sweet singer of Israel said, The Spirit of the Lord [spake] by me, and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel saith, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God, yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He made it not to grow.” [2 Samuel 23:1-5.] Thus David bears witness to the truth of God’s promises. With deep earnestness he praises God for his oversight over him in past years and declares his trust in His leading.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 3

    When God called David from his father’s sheepfold to anoint him king of Israel, He saw in him one to whom He could impart His Spirit. David was susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord in His providence trained him for His service, preparing him to carry out His purposes. Christ was the Master-builder of his character.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 4

    How joyfully David triumphs in God and his relation to Him. “Who is a rock save our God? ... The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation. He is my strength, my power. He is the source and foundation of all my blessings. He is to be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He is my strength, my support. He it is who keep me safe. In Him will I trust. I will submit my will to Him and will trust in His power, depending on His wisdom and goodness. He is worthy to be praised. To Him will I give thanks.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 5

    “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in His eyesight; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the way of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from God. For all His judgments were before me; as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before Him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in His eyesight. With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful, and with the upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright. With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure, and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself unsavory. And the afflicted people Thou wilt save; but Thine eyes are upon the haughty, that Thou mayest bring them down. For Thou art my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness. For by Thee have I run through a troop, by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.” [See 2 Samuel 22:32, 47, 21-31.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 6

    After David had been made king of Israel, God did not compliment him on his exalted position or his dignity and the extent of his power, but instructed him in regard to the obligations resting on him. This instruction was to be carefully cherished as the Word of the Lord for all who should follow David as rulers of the people. They were to be often repeated as lessons of counsel to future generations. Will those in positions of responsibility in the cause of God today study this instruction with humble, prayerful hearts, praying to the Lord for guidance?17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 7

    The heavier the responsibilities that a man bears, the more humble should he be and the more jealous of himself, lest he withdraw his confidence from God and become haughty, overbearing, presumptuous, and self-exalted. This is the danger threatening those who have been especially favored by God. Unless they become wise in the wisdom of God, and strive constantly to reveal the attributes of God, they are in danger of thinking themselves sufficient for all things. Unless they are guarded, they will set an example that will show that they are apostates from the truth, and their course will lead many astray.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 8

    He who sacrifices one principle of truth to gain the favor of man is not to be trusted. Be afraid of him. Only those who realize the sacredness of their responsibilities, and remember that if they walk in their own strength they will take a course that God cannot endorse, are to be trusted. Those placed in positions of responsibility should be men who fear God, who realize that they are men only, not God. They should be men who will rule under God and for Him. Will they give expression to the will of God for His people? Do they allow selfishness to tarnish word and action? Do they, after obtaining the confidence of the people as men of wisdom who fear God and keep His commandments, belittle the exalted position that the people of God should occupy in these days of peril? Will they through self-confidence become false guideposts, pointing the way to friendship with the world instead of the way to heaven?17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 9

    David’s Charge to Solomon

    From the very opening of David’s reign, one of his most cherished plans had been that of erecting a temple to the Lord. Though he had not been permitted to execute this design, he manifested no less zeal and earnestness in its behalf. He had provided an abundance of the most costly material—gold, silver, onyx stones and stones of divers colors, marble, and the most precious wood. And now these valuable treasures that he had collected must be committed to others; for other hands must build the house for the ark, the symbol of God’s presence.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 10

    Seeing that his end was near, the king summoned the princes of Israel, with representative men from all parts of the kingdom, to receive this legacy in trust. He desired to commit to them his dying charge and secure their concurrence and support in the great work to be accomplished. Because of his physical weakness, it had not been expected that he would attend this transfer in person; but the inspiration of God came upon him, and with more than his wonted fervor and power, he was able, for the last time, to address his people. He told them of his own desire to build the temple and of the Lord’s command that the work should be committed to Solomon his son. The divine assurance was, “Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts; for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover, I will establish his kingdom forever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore,” David said, “in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for the commandments of the Lord your God, that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever.” [1 Chronicles 28:6-8.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 11

    David had learned by his own experience how hard is the path of him who departs from God. He had felt the condemnation of God’s spoken law and had reaped the fruits of transgression; and his whole soul was moved with solicitude that the leaders of Israel should be true to God and that Solomon should obey God’s law, shunning the sins that had weakened his father’s authority, embittered his life, and dishonored God. David knew that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted stations; for such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan. Turning to his son, already acknowledged as his successor to the throne, David said: “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve Him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind; for the Lord searchest all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if thou wilt seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever.” “Be strong, and of good courage; ... fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” [Verses 9, 20.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 12

    This charge is given to the men in positions of trust in the work of God today as verily as it was given to Solomon. The day of test and trial is upon them, as verily as it was then upon Solomon.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 13

    Fidelity is required before God can bestow the blessings that He has promised. Those who offer God acceptable service must obey all His commandments. Thus they become representatives of Christ.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 14

    When David felt that his death was approaching, the burden of his heart was still for Solomon and for the kingdom of Israel, whose prosperity must so largely depend upon the fidelity of her king. “And he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth; be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself.” [1 Kings 2:1-3.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 15

    To those who are bearing responsibilities in the work of God today this charge is given. The Lord does not entrust His work to those who have no genuine religious experience, who cannot be trusted to bear burdens, whose example will not bless and uplift His people. Neither does He place His work in the hands of one man. It is divided among different ones. Each has a part to act. Each one is given a work that is in accordance with his skill and ability.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 16

    Thus it was in the kingdom of Israel. The work of the kingdom was divided among suitable men fitted to advance the interests of a great nation.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 17

    God has given us definite instruction as to how His work is to be carried forward in these last days. He is dishonored and grieved when those in positions of trust fail to carry our His designs, when they refuse to follow the methods that He desires them to follow in the accomplishment of His work. God tests and proves His workers. When men become self-sufficient, He separates them from His service and chooses those whose highest aim it is to carry out a “Thus saith the Lord.” Those who put aside the Lord’s sacred purposes show that they are not to be trusted. They dishonor God and betray their friends.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 18

    No position, however high, is to be allowed to cover the guilt of unfaithfulness. Men should be appointed to investigate closely the business transactions of those in responsible positions. This work has been strangely neglected, and things have been done that have imperiled the purity of the church and the safety of the institutions that are God’s instrumentalities.17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 19

    Holiness to the Lord is to be the motto of God’s workers. They are to labor with diligence and dispatch. God says to them, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.]17LtMs, Ms 163, 1902, par. 20

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