The Review and Herald

1334/1902

August 4, 1904

God's Chosen People

EGW

I have been bidden to call the attention of our people to the instruction given by the Lord to Israel regarding the importance of separation from the world. In the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy we read: RH August 4, 1904, par. 1

“Now therefore, harken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 2

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons and thy sons’ sons.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 3

“When the Lord shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations from before thee, ... and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. RH August 4, 1904, par. 4

“But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 5

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 6

A Departure from Right

Under David's rule, the people of Israel gained strength, and uprightness through obedience to God's law. But the kings that followed strove for self-exaltation. They took to themselves glory for the greatness of the kingdom, forgetting how utterly dependent they were upon God. They regarded themselves as wise and independent, because of the honor showed them by fallible, erring man. They became corrupt, immoral, and rebelled against the Lord, turning from him to the worship of idols. RH August 4, 1904, par. 7

God bore long with them, calling them often to repentance. But they refused to hear, and at last God spoke in judgment, showing them how weak they were without him. He saw that they were determined to have their own way, and he gave them into the hands of their enemies, who spoiled their land, and took the people captive. RH August 4, 1904, par. 8

The alliances made by the Israelites with their heathen neighbors resulted in the loss of their identity as God's peculiar people. They became leavened by the evil practises of those with whom they formed forbidden alliances. Affiliation with worldlings caused them to lose their first love, and their zeal for God's service. The advantages they sold themselves to gain, brought only disappointment, and caused the loss of many souls. RH August 4, 1904, par. 9

The experience of Israel will be the experience of all who go to the world for strength, turning away from the living God. Those who forsake the mighty One, the source of all strength, and affiliate with worldlings, placing on them their dependence, become weak in moral power, as are those in whom they trust. RH August 4, 1904, par. 10

God comes with entreaties and assurances to those who are making mistakes. He seeks to show them their error, and lead them to repentance. But if they refuse to humble their hearts before him, if they strive to exalt themselves above him, he must speak to them in judgment. No semblance of nearness to God, no assertion of connection with him, will be accepted from those who persist in dishonoring him by leaning upon the arm of worldly power. RH August 4, 1904, par. 11

God's Word to Us Today

Today God's word to his people is: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 12

God's people are to be distinguished as a people who serve him fully, whole-heartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and him only. RH August 4, 1904, par. 13

The Sign Between God and His People

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 14

Do not these words point us out as God's denominated people? and do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us? The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations “for a perpetual covenant.” The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and his people, and it will be so forever. RH August 4, 1904, par. 15

Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederation with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God, so plainly set forth in his law. RH August 4, 1904, par. 16

We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven. RH August 4, 1904, par. 17

God is testing his people, to see who will be loyal to the principles of his truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels’ messages. In the discharge of our duty, we are neither to despise nor fear our enemies. To bind ourselves up by contracts or in partnerships or business associations with those not of our faith is not in the order of God. We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of his work; for this is not the way of the Lord. RH August 4, 1904, par. 18

Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing his work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon him, committing ourselves and our present and future to his wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ, and our acceptance, through faith in him, of God's abounding grace. RH August 4, 1904, par. 19

I pray that my brethren may realize that the third angel's message means much to us, and that the observance of the true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honor God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with him, that we may receive his blessings—the blessings so essential for a people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives, is greatly to dishonor God. Thus we turn from his commandments, which are our life, denying that he is our God and we his people. RH August 4, 1904, par. 20

“The Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them; he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 21

Where shall we be before the thousand generations mentioned in this scripture are ended? Our fate will have been decided for eternity. We shall either have been pronounced worthy of a home in the everlasting kingdom of God, or we shall have received sentence of eternal death. Those who have been true and faithful to their covenant with God, those who, remembering Calvary, have stood firmly on the side of truth, ever striving to honor God, will hear the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But those who have given God only half-hearted service, allowing their lives to be conformed to the ways and practises of the world, will hear the sad words, “Depart from me; I know you not.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 22

The Home of the Faithful

“The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 23

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 24

Who are these?—God's denominated people,—those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they?—Those who have kept the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; those who have owned the crucified One as their Saviour. RH August 4, 1904, par. 25

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 26

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” RH August 4, 1904, par. 27