The Signs of the Times
May 28, 1896
And Shall Not God Avenge His Own Elect?
The Saviour manifested divine compassion toward the Syro-Phenician woman. His heart was touched with pitying tenderness, as he saw her woe and grief. He longed to give her an immediate assurance that her prayer was heard, and her request fulfilled; but he desired to teach his disciples a lesson; and for a short period of time he seemed to act out the feelings that prompted them, and neglected the cry of her heart. He acted towards her in the same manner as the Pharisees taught the people to act toward all such so-called heathen. Christ even repulsed her. He knew the heart of the woman. He knew what sorrow pressed upon her soul, and understood her persistent determination not to be driven away until her request was granted. When she made known her request to Christ, he said, “It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto dogs.” But she had an answer ready, and said, “The dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master's table.” This is all I ask. Give me the privilege of eating the crumbs that fall from the table. Did she go away empty and discouraged?—No, she received her request. The Lord commended her for her great faith, and sent her away with the precious boon she had asked. He then turned to his disciples and said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Did the disciples ever forget this lesson?—No. This case is placed on record to show what is the result of persevering in presenting our needs to the Hearer of prayer. Of Christ it was written. “The bruised reed shall he not break, the smoking flax shall he not quench.” No soul will be left to perish who asks in faith for the help of Christ. The weakest, the most struggling soul, may live, and find hope and sufficiency in God. When Jesus comes into the storm and the darkness, midnight is as bright as noonday. The faith that recognizes Christ leads the soul to rest implicitly upon the promises, because God is behind them. There is hope for the most desponding. Those who take Christ at his word, who surrender their souls to his keeping, their lives to his ordering, will find peace, quietude, and rest. He will impart grace to the needy soul. ST May 28, 1896, par. 1
The Lord calls attention to the words of the judge, saying: “Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him? He so presents the unjust judge and himself as to show that it is an impossibility that God shall fail his people in a time of necessity. Just before the Lord is near to come, the proving of God will be upon his people. The church will be tried until the time when the Lord shall appear in the clouds of heaven. Those who receive answers to their prayers are those who walk in the light of God's commandments. But let not that man who walks contrary to the expressed will of God, expect that he will receive anything of the Lord. The Lord says: “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. If ye love me, 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 can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be 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 will manifest myself to him.” Again the Lord assures us: “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” ST May 28, 1896, par. 2
In order to receive the precious gifts of God, we must meet him upon the platform of his own devising, complying with the conditions that he has laid down in his word. There is much turning aside from the word of God. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. When a trial of faith comes upon those that profess to be the children of God, they do not perseveringly present their petitions before the throne of mercy, depending upon the Holy Spirit, waiting and watching, and continuing to present their requests, searching the Scriptures at the same time to know what is the mind of God. Place your feet in the path of God's commandments, and be assured that your prayers will be answered. There is a great lack of earnestness, a great lack of vital interest in prayer. Yet we are exhorted to be “instant in prayer,” “to pray without ceasing.” We are to keep a spirit of intercession, and present all our wants to God. We are to tell him about the smallest things of life,—our cares, our business, our desires and needs. You can never weary the Lord by your importuning. It is by beholding Jesus that you become changed into the divine similitude. We may behold him by continuing in prayer, until we are not aware that we are praying; for our souls turn to the Sun of Righteousness as a flower turns to the light. ST May 28, 1896, par. 3
We should study the prayer of Christ that has been given to us in the seventeenth chapter of John. In living out that prayer, we may be lifted day after day into a pure, holy atmosphere, and thus have faith to believe that we receive that thing we ask of God. The Saviour said: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” What a statement is this! How can the finite man grasp it? Man may become elevated, ennobled through obedience to the commandments of God, and become loyal and true subjects of his kingdom. We may become one with Christ in spirit and character, and testify to the world that God loves us as he loves his Son. What possibilities are there before the fallen human agent! Let perfect obedience be rendered to God through the imputed righteousness of Christ, and we shall reveal to the world the fact that God loves us as he loves Jesus. It will be made evident that “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” ST May 28, 1896, par. 4
Why is it that we are so disposed to distrust God? Why do we as a church doubt his love? Let faith increase by exercise. Let it be sustained by works of righteousness. It is sin that darkens the reason of man, and clouds the understanding. Let the affections be given to God in order that his law may be written in the heart, and the whole man will become a new creature, born again of the Spirit. Then it will be made manifest that the law of God “is perfect, converting the soul.” The Lord Jesus has revealed to us the value of the human soul. He says: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Again the promise is made, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Shall we co-operate with God, and possess the faith that works by love and purifies the soul? ST May 28, 1896, par. 5