The Review and Herald

1157/1902

October 22, 1901

The Voice of Faithful Rebuke

EGW

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” RH October 22, 1901, par. 1

At this time Israel was almost wholly given up to idolatry. Clouds and thick darkness covered the whole land. Images of Baalim and Ashtoreth were everywhere to be seen. Idolatrous temples and heathen idols occupied the sacred soil, and the air was polluted with the smoke of the sacrifices offered to false gods. Hill and vale resounded with the drunken cries of a heathen priesthood. Guided by the king and the priests, the people drank iniquity like water, and sported in shameful riot round their idols. RH October 22, 1901, par. 2

Alas! how had the glory of Israel departed! The light so graciously given them, despised and rejected, had indeed become darkness. The salt had lost its savor. The fine gold had become dim. So dense was the spiritual darkness that it could be felt. RH October 22, 1901, par. 3

Elijah saw that Israel had departed from God, that idolatry had become widespread, and he besought the Lord of heaven to arrest the people in their wickedness. He prayed that from those who had no appreciation of the mercies daily bestowed on them, these mercies might be withdrawn, that they might be brought to see their dependence, and to humble their hearts before God, confessing and forsaking their sins. RH October 22, 1901, par. 4

God answered his prayer by sending him to Ahab with the message of Heaven's curse. The prophet passed the guards,—they seemed to see him not,—and stood for a moment before the king, saying, “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky the message fell upon the ears of the wicked king, and before he could recover from his surprise, Elijah had disappeared, taking with him the key of heaven. The king made inquiry for him, but he was not to be found. No one had observed his coming or going. RH October 22, 1901, par. 5

No sooner had Elijah left the presence of Ahab than the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee.” God placed His servant beyond the malice of a king who by his course of action had brought upon the land the terrible denunciation of an offended God. RH October 22, 1901, par. 6

The prophet's message had been delivered in the name of the Lord, and the judgment declared immediately followed. “There was a sore famine in Samaria.” The country was desolated. Once flourishing cities and villages became places of mourning. The scorching rays of the sun and hot gusts of wind destroyed vegetation. Plants and trees withered and died. Streams dried up. The lowing herds and bleating flocks wandered hither and thither in distress. RH October 22, 1901, par. 7

“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” RH October 22, 1901, par. 8

Obeying the word of the Lord, Elijah presented himself before the king. “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” He cast upon the prophet the blame of the heavy judgment resting upon the land. Thus it is today when the truth is presented. A son, a daughter, a father, a mother, may heed the message of mercy. The other members of the family refuse to walk in the light. A division takes place, and the unbelieving ones feel that a great injury has been done them because the harmony of the family is destroyed. They cherish hatred against the one who bore the message of truth. The faithful presentation of the message of truth will always cause division. And upon the messenger of truth the blame of the trouble will be cast. “If these men had not come and turned things upside down, all would have been well,” it is said. But the blame rests upon the people, even as it did upon Ahab. RH October 22, 1901, par. 9

The messengers sent by God to deliver His warnings are hated by those whom they warn. The people charge upon them the calamities which are the result of their own departure from righteousness. Those who thus place themselves in Satan's power do not see things as God sees them. They are blinded by Satan. When God's mirror is held up before them, instead of repenting and turning from sin, they become indignant to think that they should be reproved. They think that an uncalled-for attack is being made upon them, and that the messengers of God are their enemies. RH October 22, 1901, par. 10

Elijah did not attempt to excuse himself or to flatter the king. He did not smooth down his message in order to save himself. He did not seek to evade the king's wrath by the good news that the drought was almost over. “I have not troubled Israel,” he answered; “but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” The prophet told the king plainly that his sins and the sins of his father's house had brought upon Israel the terrible calamity from which the land was suffering. RH October 22, 1901, par. 11

In this our day grievous sins have separated the people from God. Infidelity is fast becoming fashionable. “We will not have this man to reign over us,” is the language of thousands. God's people must lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgressions. The smooth sermons so often preached make no lasting impression. The trumpet does not give a certain sound. Men are not cut to the heart by the plain, sharp truths of God's word. RH October 22, 1901, par. 12

Many of those who profess to believe the truth would say, if they expressed their real sentiment, “What need is there of speaking so plainly?” They might as well ask, Why need John have said to the Pharisees, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Why need he have provoked the anger of Herodias by telling Herod that it was unlawful for him to live with his brother's wife? He lost his life by speaking so plainly. Why could he not have moved along without incurring the wrath of Herodias? RH October 22, 1901, par. 13

So men have argued, till policy has taken the place of faithfulness. Sin is allowed to go unrebuked. When will the voice of faithful rebuke be heard once more in the Church? RH October 22, 1901, par. 14

“Thou art the man.” These words are almost unheard among us. If they were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God. The Lord's messengers should not complain of their efforts being without fruit until they repent of their own love for approbation, their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress the truth, and to cry, Peace and safety, when God has not spoken peace. RH October 22, 1901, par. 15

The world is full of flatterers and dissemblers. Those who are men-pleasers, who cry Peace, peace, might well humble their hearts before God, asking for pardon for their insincerity and lack of moral courage. Such men do not smooth down their message from love for their neighbor, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love is a love which seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, they will not consider self. They will not excuse or palliate evil. RH October 22, 1901, par. 16

Would that every minister of God realized the holiness of his work and the sacredness of his office. As divinely appointed messengers, ministers are in a position of awful responsibility. They are to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering. In Christ's stead they are to labor as stewards of the mysteries of heaven, encouraging the obedient, and warning the disobedient. Worldly policy is to have no weight with them. Never are they to swerve from the plain path in which Jesus has bidden them walk. They are to go forward in faith, remembering that they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. They are not to speak their own words, but the words which One greater than the potentates of earth has bidden them speak. Their message is to be, “Thus saith the Lord.” God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist, men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences, who will speak the truth bravely, though it calls for the sacrifice of all they have. RH October 22, 1901, par. 17