The Review and Herald

1137/1902

June 25, 1901

A Message to Be Borne

EGW

The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah should be studied carefully and prayerfully. Here God's messengers are given a direct, forcible message: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” It is to church-members that this message is to be given, to those who suppose that they are righteous, who take delight in approaching to God. “They seek me daily,” God declares, “and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness; and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 1

But they do not delight themselves in the truth. If they searched the Scriptures with a heart free from pride and prejudice, their eyes would be opened to see wonderful things in the law of God. But to accept the truth involves a cross, and therefore they reject it. They think they are righteous, but their righteousness is self-righteousness. RH June 25, 1901, par. 2

The people described in this chapter realize that they have not the favor of God; but instead of seeking His favor in His own way, they enter into a controversy with Him. Why, they ask, since we observe many ceremonies, does the Lord not give us special recognition? “Wherefore have we fasted, ... and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?” RH June 25, 1901, par. 3

God answers, “Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 4

The fasts observed by these worshipers are a mere pretense, a mockery of humility. They retain all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of its influence. They manifest no repentance, no faith that works by love. They are unjust and selfish in their dealing with their fellow men, mercilessly oppressing those whom they regard as their inferiors. Yet they complain because God does not exalt them above all others because of their righteousness. RH June 25, 1901, par. 5

The Lord sends them a message of positive reproof, showing plainly why they are not visited by His grace. “Is it such a fast that I have chosen?” He asks, “a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” RH June 25, 1901, par. 6

Will they accept this reproof, and pray for true repentance? Will they put away their sins and ask for pardon? Will they bring the atmosphere of heaven into their families, and into their association with their fellow men? RH June 25, 1901, par. 7

The Lord says, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” RH June 25, 1901, par. 8

Here are laid down the duties devolving upon those who claim to be Christ's followers. Those who are truly connected with the Saviour will reveal this connection by doing the works of mercy here outlined. RH June 25, 1901, par. 9

And to those who obey this command is given the promise, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. RH June 25, 1901, par. 10

“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Notice the work that is to be done. A breach is to be repaired, and the Lord gives His ambassadors a message to bear to the people, calling upon them to do this work. RH June 25, 1901, par. 11

The Sabbath command has been set aside by human authority. Men have torn down God's holy day, and have exalted in its stead a common working day. Thus God has been greatly dishonored. The Sabbath is His memorial of creation. After He had finished creating the world, He rested from His work, and He sanctified and blessed the day on which He rested, giving it to man as a day of rest. It is to be a sign between Him and His people forever. He says to those who live in this age of the world: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 12

God has a message for the sinners in Zion, and the bearing of this message is the work before Seventh-day Adventists. The warning must be given. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” Be earnest and decided. Make no concessions to transgressors. Bear the message to all peoples, nations, and kindreds, telling them that God has a law which is as high above man-made laws as heaven is above the earth. Let not the truth languish upon your lips. Let not your words be words of peace and safety. Say not to the transgressors, It does not matter what you believe. Say to the people, as Christ said to Moses, “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 13

A message of eternal importance is to be borne to those nigh and to those afar off. Let God's messengers form no confederacy with those who, after hearing the message, refuse to search the Scriptures to see whether or not these things are so. God's servants are to deal with evil as He has directed. They are to make no covenant with the world. The instruction which God gave to Moses for Israel is for us today: “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee.” Satan works through those who do not acknowledge God as their Ruler. “Ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 14

The message God sends through His servants will be scorned and derided by unfaithful shepherds, who tread down with their feet the feed of the pastures, giving the flock as food that which they have defiled. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.” No outward nearness to God will screen from divine wrath those who trample under their feet the law of Jehovah. God will render to every man according to his deeds; “to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.... As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” RH June 25, 1901, par. 15

God will not treat men according to the position they occupy, according to their possessions, or their color, but according to the character they have formed. Thus will be decided the case of each one. The punishment of those who have had abundant opportunity to know the truth, but who in blindness and unbelief have contended against God and His messengers, will be proportionate to the light they have rejected. God greatly favored them, giving them peculiar advantages and gifts, that they might let their light shine forth to others. But in their perversity they led others astray. God will judge them for the good they might have done, but did not. He will call them to account for their misused opportunities. They turned from God's way to their own way, and they will be judged according to their works. By walking contrary to the principles of the truth, they greatly dishonored God. They became fools in His sight by turning His truth into a lie. As they have been distinguished by the mercies bestowed on them, so they will be distinguished by the severity of their punishment. RH June 25, 1901, par. 16