Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 72, 1898

“Shall Not God Avenge His Own Elect?”


June 14, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 416-418.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city: and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” [Luke 18:1-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 1

The widow’s perseverance gained for her the favor she asked. To save himself from trouble and annoyance, the judge decided to grant her request. He saw that he was making his injustice conspicuous; for many complaints were being made regarding his course of action. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 2

God’s elect may suffer condemnation and oppression from the world. But they are as dear to the heart of God as the apple of His eye. “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” [Deuteronomy 32:9, 10.] “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations that spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” [Zechariah 2:8.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 3

“Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” [Isaiah 1:16, 17.] “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” [James 1:27.] The widow and the fatherless are the objects of the Lord’s special care, and those who in any way rob them of the means they should have, those who regard their wants with indifference, will be dealt with by the Judge of all the earth. Men cannot receive God’s favor while they are unfeeling and selfish. The Lord will test His people as individuals. He will not suffer His heritage to be oppressed. Shall He not avenge His own elect, “which cry day and night unto him? ... I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” [Luke 18:7, 8.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 4

The Lord has left a work to all who claim to be His people. But this work is strangely neglected. “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the perfect law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy that showed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he have faith and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [James 2:12-17.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 5

If you are afflicted or unjustly used, cry to God. Turn away from those whose hearts are as steel, and make your requests known to your Maker. Your case may seem discouraging, but do not look at outward appearances. Continue to pray. Have faith in God, for He has promised that He will hear the prayer of faith. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” [Hebrews 10:35-37.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 6

The judge spoken of in this parable represents those judges who, when human life is in the balance, decide the question in accordance with debased, perverted sentiments. He neither feared God nor regarded man. Self was his God. By this, God would show us to what depths of degradation men can sink. This judge was filled with satanic attributes. Appetite and passion had destroyed his powers of perception. When men yield their powers to Satan, their lower nature is fully developed. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 7

There are judges now in office who neither fear God nor regard man. Intemperate practices, liquor drinking, and tobacco using are perverting the judgment of many who occupy positions of responsibility. These unfaithful stewards will be stripped of their robes of honor. They will one day stand before the bar of God, to be tried, and the Judge of all the earth will judge righteously. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 8

Had the unjust judge feared God, the widow would not have been obliged to put forth such strenuous efforts to obtain justice. The men who are appointed to judge their fellow men need clear, sharp discrimination, that their judgment may be correct and their decisions righteous. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 9

“Ye shall not respect persons in judgment,” God declares, “but ye shall hear the small as well as the great. Ye shall not [as a judge] be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s.” [Deuteronomy 1:17.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 10

Had Pilate had the courage to follow his convictions, he would have faced the people in Christ’s defense, not only declaring, “I find no fault at all in him” [John 18:38; 19:4], but condemning the crowd as a band of murderers for desiring to take the life of a just man. Had he feared God, it would not have been recorded of him that he scourged an innocent man, and then delivered him up to the most ignominious of deaths. If when the hoarse cry was raised, Crucify him, crucify him, he had said firmly, He shall not be crucified, he would have saved himself the stings of a guilty conscience. His name would not have been handed down to infamy. But he yielded to the clamors of the mob, and his course of action has been followed by judges more times than can be numbered. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 11

The teaching of this parable is applicable to the church of God at this time. When troubles assail, do not go for help to lawyers not of our faith. God would not have us open church difficulties before those who do not fear Him. Let God’s people agree as touching the thing they desire, and then let them unite in offering prayer to God, persevering in asking for deliverance. God would not have us depend for help upon those who do not obey His requirements. They have not that wisdom that cometh down from above. Those who trust in such counsellors show that they have not faith in God. They dishonor Him by appealing to unbelievers to settle difficulties in the church. What do they think they will gain by opening to lawyers the supposed wrongdoings of their fellow church members? 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 12

Satanic agencies are at work, seeking to create disunion in the church. Those who yield to unholy propensities show that they are not walking in the light as Christ is in the light. The exhortation comes to us, “Ye therefore beloved, seeing ye know these things, beware lest ye also, being led away by the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 3:17, 18.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 13

The widow who entreated the judge for justice had lost her husband by death. Poor and friendless, she had no means of righting herself. By sin men have lost their connection with God, and without Christ they have no means of salvation. But He is our peace, “who is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” [1 Corinthians 1:30.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 14

Again and again the widow was torn from the judgment seat, for there were plenty ready to show in this way their contempt for persevering patience. But rough treatment did not quench her determination. Though so often repulsed, she was found again at the feet of the judge, asking for justice, and finally her perseverance gained its reward. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 15

Why do not the members of the church of God remember that they are His property, by creation and by redemption? Has He not an interest in those who make Him their dependence, who pray to Him as earnestly as the defrauded woman prayed to the unjust judge? “My little children,” John writes, “these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 16

Many church members appear to render great respect to the fourth commandment, while by their conduct they show that they do not love their brethren who differ from them in any respect. He that offends in one point is guilty of all. A careless neglect of one commandment makes apparent obedience to another of no value with God. The heart must be an abiding place for Christ. Then the law of love will dwell in the heart, and the fruits thereof will be revealed unto eternal life. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 17

“Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning. Again a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. ... Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” [Verses 5-8, 18-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 18

Much pride of heart has been revealed by the professed people of God. Many selfish opinions have been cherished. It has been regarded as justifiable to appeal to lawyers to adjust difficulties. Thus God’s people have shown, as did ancient Israel, that notwithstanding He has led and prospered them, they will dishonor Him by seeking help from unbelievers. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 19

Read the commandments of God one after another, and ask the Lord to enlighten the eyes of your understanding and give you a clear realization of where you have transgressed His precepts. “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed. Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” [Exodus 22:20, 21.] The Lord would have His people remember their past affliction and call to mind who changed their circumstances, whose hand delivered them. Thus their hearts are kept soft and tender by the precious dew of grace. God can safely work with them, because they are mindful of His favors, and offer Him praise and thanksgiving. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 20

“Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in an wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry. And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbor’s garment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it to him by that the sun goeth down: for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass that when he crieth unto me, I will hear; for I am gracious.” [Verses 22-27.] 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 21

From this we see that the Lord requires His people to be particular in carrying out right principles. When they are in trouble He would have them call upon Him, in the place of betraying the cause of God into the hands of unbelievers. It is a betrayal of sacred trust to open before unbelievers the working of God’s institutions. In this way false statements are made, and these statements are reported to others. Those who do this, counterwork the cause of God. They are adversaries of the truth. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 22

The shameful history of Aaron’s weakness has been recorded for our instruction. He was appointed as a watchman, but he listened to the counsels of men who were unconsecrated and unholy, and he was led to do things which have left a sad blot on his history, and which resulted in the apostasy of Israel. 13LtMs, Ms 72, 1898, par. 23