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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 64, 1903

    God’s Covenant With Israel


    July 2, 1902 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MR 104-109.

    “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” [Exodus 19:1-6.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 1

    Here are found the terms of a covenant that God desired to make with the children of Israel. If they would fulfil the pledge He asked of them, he would greatly bless them. He promised to honor them, to manifest His love and power upon them, and constantly to care for them, if they would comply with the conditions He asked of them. They were not merely to profess to worship God, but were to obey His voice indeed.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 2

    The wonderful love of God for the human race is here revealed. The fulfilment of the promises of this covenant involved the humiliation and death of Christ for a world perishing in sin. But for man to receive these blessings, it is necessary for him to obey the law of God. Only those who keep His commandments can enter in through the gates into the city of God.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 3

    This covenant is a revelation of God’s goodness. The people had not sought for it. They were not reaching out their hands after God; but He Himself graciously extended His almighty arm, inviting them to link their arm with His, that He might be their defense. He voluntarily chose as His heritage a nation that had just come from Egyptian slavery, a people who must be educated and trained at every step. What an expression of omnipotent goodness and love!18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 4

    God’s people are precious in His sight, and He desires them to be honored among the nations. “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. ... Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God will keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers. ... Thou shalt be blessed above all people. ... And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.” [Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 11, 12, 14, 15.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 5

    The Lord recounts what He has already done for His people. “Ye have seen,” He says, “what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.” [Exodus 19:4.] God had delivered His people gloriously. He had given them marked evidences of His power, that their faith in Him might be increased.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 6

    Over and over again, the Lord permitted His people to be brought into strait places, that in their deliverance, He might reveal His mercy and His goodness. If they now chose to disbelieve Him, they must doubt the evidence of their own eyes. They had had unmistakable proof that He was a living God, “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” [Exodus 34:6.] He had honored Israel in the sight of all the heavenly intelligences. He brought them unto Himself—into covenant relation and communion with Him.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 7

    The children of Israel had been three months on their journey from Egypt and were now camped before Mount Sinai where in awful grandeur the Lord spoke His law. He did not manifest Himself in grand buildings made with men’s hands, the structures of human device. He revealed His glory in a high mountain, a temple of His own creation. The top of Mount Sinai rose above all others, in a range of mountains in the barren desert. This mountain God chose as the place where He would make Himself known to His people.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 8

    He appeared to them in awful grandeur and spoke in audible voice. He there revealed Himself to His people, as He never has at any other time, thereby showing the importance of the law for all ages. God is particular today that we keep His commandments.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 9

    To Moses, as His mouthpiece, God gave His message; and Moses faithfully showed the children of Israel the advantages that they would receive by following the instruction that God had given them. He carefully pointed out to them the difference between right and wrong. Then He left it with them to decide whether they would comply with the conditions of God’s promises. They accepted the words of God, and said, “All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do.” [Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 10

    “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey My voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be My people, and I will be your God: that I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. ... I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey My voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart.” [Jeremiah 11:3-5, 7, 8.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 11

    The people did not fulfil their promise, and they therefore did not receive the blessings God wished to bestow on them. By following their own impulses, they pursued a course that disqualified them for being recognized as God’s peculiar treasure.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 12

    “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they harkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imaginations of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers went forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.” [Jeremiah 7:23-25.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 13

    Why did God send them so many messages and warnings? Because He knew that the enemy was wide awake, and active in his efforts to deceive men, and to lead them away from the law of God into his deceptions. Satan ever seeks to cause men to swerve from their obedience to God.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 14

    The Covenant With Us

    The covenant God made at Sinai is for the Israel of God for all time. Herein is revealed God’s purpose for us, if we will only co-operate with Him. The Lord Jesus today will gather His people as a hen gathers her chickens beneath her wings, if they will only come to Him.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 15

    If we comply with the conditions God laid down for Israel, if we come before God in the beauty of holiness, and worship Him in Spirit and in truth, we shall receive the blessings that God promised to them. God sends His word to assure us that if we will be obedient to Him, He will acknowledge us as members of His royal family. He will honor His peculiar people above all nations. “This honor have all His saints.” [Psalm 149:9.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 16

    God’s Messengers

    Moses was chosen by God as the messenger of His covenant. The Lord called him up into the mountain, to receive the words of God to Israel. Today God chooses men, as He chose Moses, to be His messengers. They are not to be mediators. They are to point to Christ as the all-sufficient Mediator. They must first receive instruction from the living oracles of God, then they are to impart the knowledge they have received, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Every word they speak must be spoken in truth. God will require the lives of those who turn the truth of God into a lie and teach falsehood. Their example will lead others to falsify, but those who thus pervert God’s truth will never become members of the royal family. It is dangerous now to be unable to discern the truth. Those who would minister the Word of God must be men who know His will. They must be careful lest they misunderstand the Word of God and make mistakes which will need to be rectified.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 17

    They must be men of knowledge, able to instruct others. How can they speak clearly and intelligently if they have no time nor opportunity to commune with God, to seek Him in earnest prayer? They must obtain their wisdom from God. They are to be “instant in season and out of season,” always prepared for whatever they may be called to do. [2 Timothy 4:2.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 18

    “The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 2:7.] The people should counsel with him, as God’s appointed messenger. They should not only hear, but they should ask questions, that they may have a clear knowledge of truth. He is not to withhold his knowledge from the people, but he is to keep it as a sacred trust, to be imparted to others.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 19

    The priest must keep knowledge, not only in the mind, but the “lips should keep knowledge;” he is to have it at his tongue’s end. [Verse 7.] He must be ready always to speak of the good and beautiful things of God.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 20

    God’s messengers must make their minds a treasure house of good things, from which they may be able to draw a “Thus saith the Lord” whenever occasion demands. They are to present things new and old. They must continually hold up the covenant of peace between God and man, that He made with His people Israel.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 21

    God’s ministers are not to be diverted from their work of soul-saving, to settle difficulties which may arise in board meetings or councils, for this injures their influence. They must not be called from the special work to which they have been ordained to engage in secular matters.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 22

    No man is to call the attention of others to himself. All men are finite and erring. All are subject to temptation. Then let no one set himself up as a supreme authority and deal with others as if they were inferior to him, and as if he were qualified to govern the minds and consciences of others.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 23

    Unless God is exalted in the heart, selfishness and pride will be manifested. No one can truly love his fellow men unless his own heart is filled with the love of Christ. He may make an idol of some one, but he will thereby imperil the soul of the one he thinks he loves. Those who love God supremely will also love their fellow men and will treat them as they should be treated. They will love their neighbor as themselves.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 24

    “Murmur Not Among Yourselves”

    After the children of Israel left the Red Sea, “They went three days in the wilderness and found no water.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 25

    “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” [Exodus 15:22-26.] The Lord reveals Himself as the great Medical Missionary.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 26

    The Lord permitted His people to pass through unpleasant experiences. After traveling for three days without water, they came to Marah. But the water here was bitter and could not be used. Instead of quenching their thirst, it increased it.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 27

    These experiences were hard for the children of Israel to bear. But these trials were in the purpose of God to prove them, to see if they had learned lessons of trust and obedience from the deliverances God had wrought for them in Egypt and at the Red Sea. God sometimes brings His people into strait places that He may reveal His power and His glory in working out their deliverance.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 28

    The Lord allowed this difficulty to come to them to see if they would turn to the Lord in prayer. But they did not trust in God. In their disappointment, they murmured against Moses. They reproached the man whom God had chosen as their leader. Though he had followed the counsel of God, yet they accused him of acting unwisely and blamed him for their disappointments.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 29

    By their murmuring the children of Israel brought discouragement and dissension into the whole camp. They quarreled among themselves. One had some plan he thought should be followed, and others who had plans of their own opposed him.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 30

    Moses prayed to God. He showed them that he himself was dependent upon the great Leader. He would teach them that God was the only one who could deliver them out of their difficulties. The undershepherds should always carry all their perplexities to the Chief Shepherd.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 31

    “And Moses cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” [Verse 25.] A remedy was close at hand. God gave them a lesson in nature, showing them how to remove the bitterness from the water.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 32

    This History Repeated Today

    “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” [1 Corinthians 10:11.]18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 33

    This history is being repeated in our day. There are many murmurers, but only a few can be found who will put their shoulders to the wheel and help just where they are needed.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 34

    A man may be led by God into unworked fields, into places where he may meet obstacles and difficulties. Having earnestly sought the Lord in prayer, he is unselfishly endeavoring to do the work that should have been done by those who, when they should be speaking words of encouragement, are finding fault. His brethren, if they have the right spirit, will then stand by him and pray to God to help him. But often he is left to stand alone in his trial, and his burden is made heavier by the criticism and murmuring of his brethren. His difficulties are increased because others, who should assist him, refuse to stand in their lot and place, seeking rather to discourage than to encourage him.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 35

    We should pray for those who by hard labor and sacrifice have accomplished a work that was necessary to be done, and we should seek to hold up their hands.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 36


    In the twenty-first, twenty-second, and twenty-third chapters of Exodus are found commandments that the Lord gave to Moses for the children of Israel to regulate their dealings one with another. If all had read these carefully, and would obey them, would there be such a condition of things as is now seen in our world?18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 37


    If the people of God realized as they should that the prophecies are being fulfilled in our world today, would they be so indifferent? Every soul who has heard the truth for this time must be holy in spirit, in word, and in action.18LtMs, Ms 64, 1903, par. 38

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