The Signs of the Times


March 10, 1881

God's Care for Israel


The time drew near when Moses was to leave to others the command of Israel. In obedience to God's decree, he must soon go up to Mount Nebo to die. But before he should leave the congregation, the Lord directed him to rehearse to them the main facts of their deliverance from Egypt and their journeyings in the wilderness. He was to present before them the wonderful manifestations of God's power in bringing them forth from the iron furnace, which figure well illustrated their cruel and degrading bondage in Egypt. They would never have been delivered from their oppressors but for the interposition of the God of Heaven. ST March 10, 1881, par. 1

Moses was not only to present before the people the merciful manifestations of divine power in all their journeyings, but to recapitulate the law of God spoken from Sinai. When the law was repeated by the mouth of Jehovah to their fathers, the present congregation of Israel were too young to comprehend the awful grandeur and solemnity of the occasion. Their fathers heard the voice of God, and witnessed his power, and were made to feel the sacred character of his holy law; but they had not kept that law, and for their transgressions, they fell in the wilderness without seeing the goodly land. The sins and mistakes which brought upon the fathers the wrath of God, were to be rehearsed before their children, that they might see the awful results of transgression of God's law. As they were soon to pass over Jordan and take possession of the promised land, God would present before them in a correct light the claims of his law, and enjoin upon them obedience as the only condition of their prosperity. It was not enough for them to be God's people in name only. Their love to him, their right to the name of the Israel of God, would be manifested by their obedience. ST March 10, 1881, par. 2

Moses stands before the people to repeat his last warnings and admonitions. His face is illuminated with a holy light. His hair is white with age; but his form is erect, his countenance expressing the unabated vigor of health, and his eye clear and undimmed. It was an important occasion. He was once more to give to the people the words of God. With deep feeling and poetic eloquence he magnified the Lord God of Israel. The great mercy, and the unfailing love of their Almighty Protector were portrayed in the most sublime and impressive language. He gave warnings, reproofs, cautions, and encouragement, as Christ had given him the words. ST March 10, 1881, par. 3

Moses dwelt with great earnestness upon the Lord's wonderful works in bringing his people from Egypt. He set before them the many blessings they had received, for which their hearts should have been filled with gratitude to God, instead of cherishing doubt and unbelief. He dwelt with peculiar earnestness upon the period when they were an unorganized, helpless mass of people, making their way in a disorderly march toward the Red Sea. The Lord favored them with his presence. The cloudy banner in the sky, the standard of their invisible Leader, was a sure guide, a canopy to protect them from fiery heat by day, and a pillar of fire, illuminating their encampment by night, constantly assuring them of the divine presence. And this angel of God, leading their armies in all their journeyings, was their Redeemer. ST March 10, 1881, par. 4

“When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out from the land of bondage came,
Their fathers’ God before them moved,
An awful guide in cloud and flame.
ST March 10, 1881, par. 5

“By day along the astonished land,
The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia's crimson sands
Returned the fiery column's glow.”
ST March 10, 1881, par. 6

Moses reminds them how, on the third day of their journey, the way grew strange and perplexing, and night found them walled in right and left by ranges of impassable mountains, while directly in front was the Red Sea. They were filled with apprehension, they knew not what course to pursue; yet they had followed the leading of the cloudy pillar. In weariness and hunger, they camped beside the sea, their hearts oppressed with dark forebodings. Then, to complete their despair, they saw and heard the Egyptian host in close pursuit. The armies of Israel were panic-stricken; to all appearance they were a sure prey to their bitterest enemies. But lo, they see the pillar of fire rise from the front, and pass grandly to the rear of the Hebrew host; as a massive wall between them and the Egyptians,—a bright light to the Hebrews, a cloud of thick and awful darkness to their enemies. ST March 10, 1881, par. 7

While the people reproached Moses as the cause of all their perplexities, the Lord bade him say to the terror-stricken multitude, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today.” “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” In obedience to the divine command, Go forward, the vast army move to the water's edge, then Moses lifts up the rod, and at its stroke the angry waves pile up on either side, revealing the path for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But no voice had spoken to the defiant king to go forward; and the path of God's providence, the path of safety for his people, was to the enemies of God the path of defeat and destruction. The waters closed over them, and Moses said to the Hebrew host, “The Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. ST March 10, 1881, par. 8

The thrilling incidents of this night passage had been oft repeated to the Israelites; but never before had it been so vividly portrayed. All who had taken an active part on this occasion, with the exception of Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, had died in the wilderness. Those who were now responsible men, were children at the time of their passage through the Red Sea, and they had not correct and distinct ideas of this wonderful manifestation of God's power in their deliverance. This important event, rehearsed by Moses with earnestness and solemn eloquence, softened their hearts, and increased their love, their faith and reverence for God. ST March 10, 1881, par. 9

Moses repeated the song of thanksgiving which he had composed, and which thousands of the Hebrew host united in singing on the shores of the Red Sea, not only men, but women also lifting up the voice of praise, joining to pour forth their exultant, Heaven-inspired gratitude. This song is one of the most sublime and thrilling expressions of triumph and of praise to be found in all the annals of history. Moses recounts the wonderful deliverance which God has wrought for his people and extols his justice and faithfulness and love. ST March 10, 1881, par. 10

The Lord frequently permits his people to be brought into strait places, that they may turn to him, their protector and deliverer, as a child would turn to his parents when in trouble and fear. It is no evidence that God is against us, because we are afflicted. When Christ was on earth, a man born blind was brought to him to be healed. The question was asked Jesus, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The Saviour answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” This answers the troubled questioning of many minds, “Why should these things be? Is it because of our sins that distress and sorrow have come upon us?” It is true that pain and death are the consequence of sin. But the Lord permits those he loves to be brought into trial, that they may learn the precious lessons of trust and faith. If trials are received aright, they will prove of the highest value to us in our religious experience. As they lead us to put our trust more firmly in God, we become better acquainted with his character. ST March 10, 1881, par. 11

When the Lord has answered our prayers, and proved himself better to us than our fears, we should not fail to express our gratitude for his mercies. Like the Hebrew host, we should praise him for his wonderful works. Here many fail to glorify God. They do not tell of his goodness, making known to all around them that the Lord is to them a present help in every time of need. ST March 10, 1881, par. 12

We should praise God for every blessing we enjoy, and above all else should we express our gratitude for the provisions of his grace. What compassion, what matchless love, hath God shown to us, lost sinners, in connecting us with himself to be to him a peculiar treasure! What an infinite sacrifice has been made by our Redeemer, that we may be called children of God! and what a tribute of love and gratitude should it call forth! ST March 10, 1881, par. 13

If the heart be given to God in earnest, sincere affection, we shall love those for whom Christ died, and thus may we reflect back glory to God. By meditating upon his word and drawing nigh to him in the simplicity of faith we may behold his excellency and his glory, and thus be changed into the same image. We should offer unto God the sacrifice of praise continually, giving thanks unto his name. ST March 10, 1881, par. 14