The Review and Herald

690/1902

October 10, 1893

Respect Is Due to God's Instrumentalities

EGW

There are many sinners in Zion, and they are likened to tares among the wheat. But Christ has said, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” We have no discouraging message for the church. Although reproofs and cautions and corrections have been given, the church has stood as God's chosen instrumentality to diffuse light. The commandment-keeping people of God have sounded forth a warning to the world, to all languages, tongues, and kindreds. The church of God is a living witness, a continual testimony to convince men of truth if accepted, to condemn them, if resisted and rejected. RH October 10, 1893, par. 1

The sin of Israel is again presented in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. By their representations of matters they influenced men in a course of evil. “And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown.” (Read the history in Numbers 16.) RH October 10, 1893, par. 2

“And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.... And all Israel that were roundabout them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 3

But after this terrible exhibition, after hearing the horrible cries of those who went down into the bowels of the earth, after seeing the 250 men consumed by fire, we would suppose that rebellion would have been cured. But history records the fact that the congregation murmured against Aaron and Moses, saying, “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” Does not this show us the great danger of murmuring and rebellion? It seems that rebellion is next to incurable. If all the evidence that God gave them did not convince them of the sin of accusing the chosen of the Lord, what power could be brought to bear upon them to correct their unjust charges and accusations? They saw the earth open, they saw the men swallowed up, they heard their cries of terror, they saw the 250 consumed by fire, all famous in the congregation, and men of renown; but where was their remorse and repentance? On the morrow it was evident that their principles and sentiments were unchanged. They had still a charge to make against the chosen instrumentalities of the Lord. And they said to Moses and Aaron, “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” They were so enraged against them that they would not have hesitated to kill Moses and Aaron. RH October 10, 1893, par. 4

“And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korah.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 5

All this trouble, the slaying of nearly 15,000 souls, was the result of envy and jealousy. How sad was the outcome to those who were seeking to be first, and who were not willing that Moses and Aaron should occupy the position of trust in which God had placed them. We are to be guarded on every point. By many the office of the Christian ministry is not understood. While there are some in the church who almost worship their ministers, who praise and flatter them and place them where God should be, there are others who do not pay them proper respect. RH October 10, 1893, par. 6

Those who place their entire dependence upon their minister, place upon him their burdens, and make him carry their cares, and do not seek the Lord with earnest prayer for his counsel. They make the minister do their thinking for them and be their wisdom. They are slothful servants, failing to improve the talents God has given, failing to bear the burdens God has appointed to them. They do not educate themselves to think and devise and plan, and seek to lift every unnecessary weight from the minister. Burden upon burden is placed upon the minister, and men act as though they thought he was endowed with immortal power. The minister who is placed where God should be, is left to faint and fail, when he might have lived years to do faithful work for God; and yet though this result has often been seen among us, men do not learn the lesson, and share the burden of him who is placed in a position of trust. When it is too late, many see that they should have shared his load, instead of placing all their burdens upon him. They see that they should not have taken their trials to mortal man, but should have carried them to God, and thus have obtained a precious experience in lifting their own burden through the strength of Christ. We must be faithful in the least, if we would be faithful in much. RH October 10, 1893, par. 7

But while the minister is by some exalted to the place of God, and is seeking to do what God never designed he should do,—trying to work out his own salvation and the salvation of others,—by others he is not treated with the respect and reverence due to God's appointed agencies. Those who disrespect the minister of God will not accept his counsel, and they refuse to be helped by any of God's appointed instrumentalities. They have determined that they will go to God alone for help; but while they have this spirit, God does not give them the help they desire; for their pride, their self-esteem, their erroneous ideas, must be corrected before they can be in a situation where they can appreciate help from God. RH October 10, 1893, par. 8

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 9

But the angel did not give him the light that he might have given him, but directed him to take a course whereby he might come into connection with one who could tell him precious truth. So the angel gave him specific direction, saying, “And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 10

Cornelius implicitly obeyed the instruction, and the same angel went to Peter, and gave him his instructions. This chapter (Acts 10) has much precious counsel in it for us, and we should study it with humble attention. When the Lord has his appointed agencies whereby he gives help to souls, and men disrespect these agencies, and refuse to receive help from them, and decide that they will be directly taught of God, the Lord does not gratify their desire. The man who takes such a position is in danger of taking up with the voices of strangers, and of being led into false paths. Both Cornelius and Peter were instructed what they were to do, and they obeyed the angel's word. Cornelius gathered his household together to hear the message of light from Peter. If he had said, I will not be taught of any man, the angel of God would have left him to himself; but this was not his attitude. When Peter came to the house of Cornelius, Cornelius fell at his feet to worship him, but Peter at once raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 11

The two men then told how they had seen an angel of God, and how they had been directed to come together. After Cornelius had told his wonderful story, he said, “Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” While Peter was speaking the words of life, the Holy Ghost fell upon all that were there assembled. Now we should avoid the two extremes that are seen among us in regard to the treatment of ministers. We should not manifest a superstitious attachment toward our ministers, and exalt them to the place where God should be, neither should we ignore them, disrespect the office of the ministry, and fail to take heed to counsel and reproof given by those in the sacred desk. Let no one think that he will go away by himself, and be taught of no man, when it is the order of God that human agents shall instruct his people. The Prince of heaven clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. He identified his interests with those of humanity. RH October 10, 1893, par. 12

The work and order of the ministry were established by Christ himself, the great head of the church. He said to his disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” These whom God has appointed are workers together with God, and they are to be respected and honored and loved. “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.” RH October 10, 1893, par. 13