Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 93, 1898

“Ask, and Ye Shall Receive.”

Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

July 22, 1898

Previously unpublished.

July 21, W. C. White, Sister Sara McEnterfer, and Mrs. E. G. White stepped on board the evening train at Dora Creek en route for Stanmore. We were all very weary and worn, but were favored with a compartment to ourselves. I lay down and slept nearly all the way to Strathfield. At Strathfield we changed cars, and another train took us to Petersham. From the Petersham station we took a cab to the Stanmore mission, where Brother and Sister Starr preside. It was twelve o’clock before we retired to rest. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 1

On the following morning I read important matters on asking and receiving in order to give. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 2

“Ask, and ye shall Receive.”

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” [Luke 11:9, 10.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 3

We do not appreciate as we should this assurance which means so much to every human being. The question is, Do we believe the Word of God, as presented in this parable? We are to bear in mind that our request is not to be a selfish asking in order merely to improve our own condition. Our requests that benefits be conferred on us are to be made that we may give to those who need them. The Lord will give grace to all who will impart to those in need. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 4

God stands back of every promise He has made. In order to inspire assurance and confidence, Christ continues: “What man is there of you, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things unto them that ask him!” [Matthew 7:9-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 5

As workers together with God, Christ’s disciples were to represent the character of their Redeemer. Christ said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go unto the Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” [John 14:12-14.] But there are conditions. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 6

“If ye love me,” He said, “keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not; neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall love also. At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself unto him.” [Verses 15-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 7

Here the conditions are plainly stated. Those who read their Bibles need make no mistake in this matter. Those who are doers of the Word will give evidence that they are believers of the Word. They will have strong consolation because of the promises made, and in confidence will lay hold on everlasting life. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 8

In the parable Christ seeks to keep before our minds the course our heavenly Father pursues toward His obedient children in delaying to answer their prayers. God would not have His people give up in discouragement if their prayers are not answered at once. He wants them to search their own hearts carefully, and with humility of mind. Have they used the talent of speech, given them to offer praise and thanksgiving to God, in hurting and discouraging any of God’s children? Have they used the precious gift of God, the voice, to bruise the soul of saint or sinner? If they have done this, let them put all things right by removing the poisonous sting. Then let them bring their trespass offering to God. Let them bring their soul, their tongue, their words, to the altar of God, to be used to glorify Him; and He will accept the offering. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 9

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. And who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in the former years.” [Malachi 3:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 10

These preparations must be made by all who expect to receive anything of the Lord. Even those who worship idols, make special preparation, and bring their gifts to the altar before they ask their idols to do anything for them. They praise and exalt their gods. And shall those who believe in God, the living God, approach Him with little reverence and with their human superiority? Shall they be like the Pharisee, who praised and adored himself, and in his pride and self-sufficiency demerited those whom he regarded as sinners? No; for the Lord will not hear their prayers. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 11

How few consider that it is a solemn thing to pray. How few watch unto prayer, and seek to speak and act in harmony with their prayers. The apostle says: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 12

Through His servant Malachi God declares: “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and turn aside the stranger from his rights, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” [Malachi 3:5, 6.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 13

If the Lord were as fitful and impulsive and changeable as human beings, those who show such fruits of unrighteousness would be consumed in their sins; but the Lord bears long with the perversity of men. He is constantly reproving them from His Word, constantly drawing them, that they may repent of their passionate exhibitions of temper and their selfishness, and be converted that He may heal them. The Word exhorts us: “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” [Ephesians 4:26.] Make confession to the ones you have injured. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 14

If others feel wrong to you, and have injured you, carry them some token of regard. Tell them that you do not want anything of division or contention to exist between you, for it dishonors God. Then if you cannot soften the heart of the one who has wronged you, if your kindness is repulsed, you have done your duty, and God will bless you. He will give you His peace of mind and His grace. He will increase your trust in Him. These efforts to preserve Christian love and unity are essential to a preparedness to come before God in faith and confidence, to seek Him with all the heart. And we shall ask that we may give to others. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 15

There is another subject that is of consequence to every soul who would seek the Lord in prayer. Have you been honest with your God? Search carefully; for the Lord said to His church and to every individual, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 3:15.] Everything is known to God. All is open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. The Lord says: “Even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” [Malachi 3:7.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 16

Spiritual blindness comes to men when they suppose they can choose their own way, and venture to transgress the commandments of God. God has given men His ordinances to keep men in harmony with His ways and will, that He may cooperate with man, and that man may cooperate with Him in advancing His kingdom in the world. The Lord has given in trust to man everything which he calls his own, and He says that a certain portion is to be given back to Him in tithes and offerings. This is the return man is to make to his God, to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to give the message of mercy to a fallen world, turning from unrighteousness and transgression to obedience to the Lord. The watchmen upon the walls of Zion must be provided for in no haphazard manner. The Lord has entrusted the advancement and up building of His kingdom to His sentinels, and they must do their appointed work. They must be faithful in their ministry, setting before all their duty and obligations to God in this respect. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 17

God’s appointed servants are to speak the words that God has given them. The message is to be borne to the people: “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. ... Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store house, that there may be meat in mine house: and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 7-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 18

Where is there language that can more clearly define the duty of all human receivers of God’s great treasure? The receivers of His mercies and of His stores are to express their appreciation of God’s gifts in complying with the conditions He has made. They are to use the gifts entrusted to them as faithful stewards of the Lord, saying as did David, “Of thine own have we given thee.” [1 Chronicles 29:14.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 19

“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:12.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 20

Are not the promises of God great and abundant? We need to pray much more than we do. With earnestness and perseverance we should pray, bringing our soul and body under consecration to God. Says the apostle Paul, “In everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God.” “Watch ye therefore, and pray always;” “continuing instant in prayer.” “Pray one for another.” [Philippians 4:6; Luke 21:36; Romans 12:12; James 5:16.] It is God who has given us the command to call upon Him. The requirements of the Lord are in every case the laws of His kingdom, and they must be obeyed. It is for our present and eternal interest to obey because all His commandments are gracious, and contemplate our best good. We are the Lord’s property, and we should, by obedience to His law, be in a condition to glorify His name. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 21

This parable and the parable of the importunate widow each teach its lesson. The position of the importunate widow reveals the position of the people of God in this world, and the trials they will be called to endure because of the injustice of men who are placed in positions of trust, but who fear not God, neither regard man. As we near the close of this earth’s history, those who fear God and honor Him need hope for little justice. Rather they must expect injustice and oppression at the hand of those who regard neither God nor man. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 22

In both these parables we are taught perseverance and entreaty. Again, Christ said: “Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mind in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him. And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut: and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth.” [Luke 11:5-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 23

Although he had nothing to set before the traveler, the man would not send him away. He goes to his friend, and asks him to lend him food. But his friend makes excuse, I cannot rise and give thee. The door is shut, and my children are with me in bed. He does not wish to be disturbed. 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 24

Selfish indifference is here revealed. He will not rise and give his neighbor because he is his friend; but he becomes weary of such persistent entreaty for the friend who at midnight had sought hospitality. “I say unto you,” Christ said, “though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” [Verse 8.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 25

In order to make plain the fact that God’s ways are not our ways, Christ makes an application of the parable. There is a decided contrast between our heavenly Father and the friend who made excuses. Christ would encourage altogether different ideas concerning Him who is our best Friend. Human nature is often found to be as represented in the parable, selfish, indifferent, or positively unjust. Men will accede to the request made, not because they have a heart to help when there is an opportunity, but to save themselves annoyance. Christ draws the contrast, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be open unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” [Verses 9, 10.] 13LtMs, Ms 93, 1898, par. 26