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Humble Hero

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    John’s Unusual Education

    In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated in the rabbinical schools. But since this would have unfitted him for his work, God called him to the desert, so that he could learn of nature and nature’s God.HH 39.1

    John found his home in the barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. Here his surroundings helped him form habits of simplicity and self-denial. Here he could study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of God’s leading. From his childhood, his God-fearing parents had kept his mission before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. The solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which unbelief and impurity had become almost universal. He avoided constant contact with sin in order not to lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.HH 39.2

    But John did not spend his life in austere religious gloom or in selfish isolation. From time to time, he went out to mingle in society, always an interested observer of what was happening in the world. Illuminated by the divine Spirit, he studied human nature to understand how to reach people’s hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was on him. By meditation and prayer, he set about to prepare himself for the life work before him.HH 39.3

    Although he was in the wilderness, John was not exempt from temptation. Satan tried to overthrow him, but his spiritual perceptions were clear, and through the Holy Spirit he was able to detect and resist the tempter’s approaches.HH 39.4

    Like Moses in the mountains of Midian, John was shut in by God’s presence. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above, over the dark clouds, arched the rainbow of promise.HH 39.5

    Alone in the silent night, John read God’s promise to Abraham of descendants as numberless as the stars. The light of dawn told of Him who would be like “the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds.” 2 Samuel 23:4. And in the brightness of noonday, he saw the splendor when “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Isaiah 40:5.HH 39.6

    With awed yet elated spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls for the revelations of the Messiah’s coming. Shiloh was to appear before a king would cease to reign on David’s throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace on Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, the Christ was already born.HH 39.7

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