Ms 130, 1899


Ms 130, 1899

The Test of Obedience


September 8, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in SD 313, 314; Te 65, 79-80, 195-196; 5BC 1121; 4MR 410; 11MR 274-275; 15MR 166. +Note

In the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy is given a description of the blessings to be bestowed on the Hebrew nation. How often it is repeated that their prosperity in the land of Canaan would be continual if they kept the commandments of God. In plain, simple language the Lord Jesus gave His direction to Moses to give to the people. Ms130-1899.1

“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the ways which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know, that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. Ms130-1899.2

“Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills: a land of wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; and land of oil, olives, and honey; a land wherein thou canst eat bread without scarceness. Thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.” [Verses 1-9.] Ms130-1899.3

Then a warning is given. “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he has given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.” [Verses 10, 11.] This is where a decided failure has ever been made. The thankfulness of God’s people has been in no way proportionate to the favors and blessings God has liberally bestowed. Is it not strange that those who claim to be Bible readers and to have a knowledge of God do the very things the Lord has commanded them not to do? Ms130-1899.4

“Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” [Verses 12-17.] Ms130-1899.5

The children of Israel were to remember that when the Lord favored them, they were not to become lifted up unto vanity, thinking that it was because of their own piety and righteousness that they were blessed. They were to realize that their blessings came because of the undeserved mercy and lovingkindness of God. “Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant, which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.” [Verses 18-20.] Ms130-1899.6

The children of Israel did not heed this instruction. They did not keep the statutes and judgments of God’s law. Their prosperity was promised on condition of their obedience, but they became unthankful and selfish. They transgressed God’s holy law, making it impossible for him to fulfill his agreement with them. The Lord bore long with their impatience and self-exaltation because he would not suffer his name to be dishonored before the heathen. Is it not strange that with such incentives to obedience—the promises so great and full—the chosen people did not obey? Obedience was for their prosperity and happiness, but though they knew this, it did not keep them from disloyalty. Ms130-1899.7

How many there are in our day who are regardless of God’s warnings and cautions against self-exaltation. They are self-satisfied, and they look upon the blessings God has given them as the result of their genius and skill. They flatter themselves that they possess talents of a superior order. Ms130-1899.8

God’s great object in the working out of His providences is to try men, to give them opportunity to develop character. Thus He proves whether they are obedient or disobedient to His commands. A record is kept of all willing obedience, which flows from an appreciation of God’s love, goodness, and abundant liberality. Obedience is God’s test of character. Those who would be permitted to enter the city of God must honor and respect God by obeying His law. Those who disregard His commands in this life, notwithstanding their knowledge of the reward of obedience—immortal life in the presence of God—would disregard His commandments in heaven above. Ms130-1899.9