The Review and Herald


October 5, 1905

Lessons From the Life of Solomon—No. 4

“To Every Man His Work”


The student of sacred history will observe that throughout the ages God has distributed the responsibilities of the varied interests of his work in the earth among men whose talents fitted them for service, and who by training might become skilful in the service required. RH October 5, 1905, par. 1

During Jethro's visit to the camp of Israel, the Lord permitted him to see how heavy were the burdens that rested upon Moses. To maintain order and discipline among that vast, ignorant, and untrained multitude was indeed a stupendous task. Moses was their recognized leader and magistrate; and not only the general interests and duties of the people, but the controversies that arose among them, were referred to him. He had permitted this, for it gave him an opportunity to instruct them; as he said, “I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.” RH October 5, 1905, par. 2

Jethro remonstrated against this, saying, “This thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone;” “thou wilt surely wear away;” and he counseled Moses to appoint proper persons as rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. They should be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” All matters of minor consequence were to be judged by the men placed over the smaller groups; matters of greater importance were to be carried to the higher officers; and the most difficult cases were still to be brought before Moses, who was to be to the people, said Jethro, “to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” This counsel was accepted, and it not only brought relief to Moses, but resulted in establishing order and system among the people. RH October 5, 1905, par. 3

Chosen Men for Special Duties

Later, when the tabernacle was to be built in the wilderness, chosen men were specially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. And when it was completed, certain men were appointed to perform certain parts of the holy service. Moses, and Aaron and his sons, were to minister before the tabernacle of witness. “The Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.... Ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.... Thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for everything of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift.” RH October 5, 1905, par. 4

So particular was the Lord that this sacred work should be performed only by those whom he had appointed, that he declared: “The stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.” Every worker was to know his place, and to perform faithfully the special duties committed to him; and he was to let alone that which another worker had been appointed to do. RH October 5, 1905, par. 5

To the Levites was committed the charge of the tabernacle and all that pertained thereto, both in the camp and on the journey. When the camp set forward, they were to strike the sacred tent; when a halting-place was reached, they were to set it up. No person of another tribe was allowed to come near, on pain of death. The Levites were separated into three divisions, the descendants of the three sons of Levi, and each was assigned its special position and work. In front of the tabernacle, and nearest to it, were the tents of Moses and Aaron. On the south were the Kohathites, whose duty it was to care for the ark and the other furniture; on the north the Merarites, who were placed in charge of the pillars, sockets, boards, etc.; in the rear the Gershonites, to whom the care of the curtains and hangings was committed. RH October 5, 1905, par. 6

This plan of carefully apportioning special duties to certain men who were best fitted for these duties, had been carefully studied by David, and followed in his administration of the government of Israel; and now that Solomon was placed upon the throne, David gave particular attention to the perfection of the organization of all branches of the ministration of the priests and Levites, of the civil officers, and of the army. RH October 5, 1905, par. 7

“When David was old and full of days, ... he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges: moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments.” RH October 5, 1905, par. 8

The four thousand musicians, divided into twenty-four courses, were each led by twelve men especially instructed and skilful in the use of musical instruments. The work of the porters was also definitely arranged. RH October 5, 1905, par. 9

The priests were divided into twenty-four courses, and a full and accurate record was made regarding this division. Each course was thoroughly organized under its chief, and each was to come to Jerusalem twice a year, to attend for one week to the ministry of the sanctuary. RH October 5, 1905, par. 10

The Levites, whose duty it was to assist in the sanctuary service, were organized and allotted their part with similar precision. RH October 5, 1905, par. 11

The care of the treasures was put into the hands of trusty men. “Of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.... All the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated; ... and all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated anything, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren.” RH October 5, 1905, par. 12

“And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth; ... and over the store-houses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan; ... and over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground, ... over the vineyards, ... over the increase of the vineyards for the wine-cellars, ... over the olive trees and the sycamore trees that were in the low plains, ... over the herds that fed in Sharon, ... over the herds that were in the valleys, ... over the camels also, ... over the asses, ... and over the flocks,” were placed men whose experience and training peculiarly fitted them for their respective duties. Thus many men of varied abilities were appointed “rulers of the substance which was King David's.” RH October 5, 1905, par. 13

Diligence in Business

In his work today, the Lord would be pleased to have those who are engaged in any part of his service, guard against the tendency to take upon themselves responsibilities that they are not called upon to bear. Some of his servants are to direct the business matters connected with his work in the earth; others are to look after the spiritual matters. Every laborer is to strive to do well his part, leaving to others the duties entrusted to them. RH October 5, 1905, par. 14

For years the Lord has been instructing us to choose wise men,—men who are devoted to God,—men who know what the principles of heaven are,—men who have learned what it means to walk with God,—and to place upon them the responsibility of looking after the business affairs connected with our work. This is in accordance with the Bible plan as outlined in the sixth chapter of Acts. We need to study this plan; for it is approved of God. Let us follow the Word. RH October 5, 1905, par. 15

It is a great mistake to keep a minister who is gifted with power to preach the gospel, constantly at work in business matters. He who holds forth the Word of life is not to allow too many burdens to be placed upon him. He must take time to study the Word and to examine self. If he closely searches his own heart, and gives himself to the Lord, he will better understand how to grasp the hidden things of God. RH October 5, 1905, par. 16

Let ministers and teachers remember that God holds them accountable to fill their office to the best of their ability, to bring into their work their very best powers. They are not to take up duties that conflict with the work that God has given them. It is time for our ministers to understand the responsibility and sacredness of their mission. There is a woe upon them, if they fail of performing the work which they themselves acknowledge that God has placed in their hands. RH October 5, 1905, par. 17

The finances of the cause are to be properly managed by business men of ability; but preachers and evangelists are set apart for another line of work. Let the management of financial matters rest on others than those set apart for the work of preaching the gospel. Our ministers are not to be heavily burdened with the business details of the evangelical work carried on in our large cities. Those in charge of our conferences should find business men to look after the financial details of city work. If such men can not be found, let facilities be provided for training men to bear these burdens. RH October 5, 1905, par. 18

Men of experience in business lines, with a practical knowledge of bookkeeping, should be chosen to superintend the keeping of the accounts in our institutions at home and abroad. If such men had been appointed in years past to superintend the financial affairs of our conferences and institutions, thousands of dollars would have been saved, and the efficiency of the ministry would not have been so greatly weakened by the burden of financial cares and perplexities that has too often fallen where it does not belong. RH October 5, 1905, par. 19

Close investigation of the business transactions in various departments of the cause, are to be frequently made. This work must not be neglected. Never are we to sanction any transactions that imperil the purity of the Lord's church, and of his institutions, which are his appointed instrumentalities. RH October 5, 1905, par. 20

Those in charge of the work have erred sometimes in permitting the appointment of men devoid of business tact and ability to manage important financial interests. A man's fitness for one position does not always qualify him to fill another position. Experience is of great value. The Lord desires to have men of intelligence connected with his work,—men qualified for various positions of trust in our conferences and institutions. Especially are consecrated business men needed,—men who will carry the principles of truth into every business transaction. Those placed in charge of financial matters should not assume other burdens,—burdens that they are incapable of bearing; nor is the business management to be entrusted to incompetent men. RH October 5, 1905, par. 21

Men of promise in business lines should develop and perfect their talents by most thorough study and training. They should be encouraged to place themselves where, as students, they can rapidly gain a knowledge of right business principles and methods. All may improve; no one needs to remain a novice. RH October 5, 1905, par. 22

If men in any line of work ought to improve their opportunities to become wise and efficient, it is those who are using their ability in the work of building up the kingdom of God in our world. In view of the fact that we are living so near the close of this earth's history, there should be greater thoroughness in labor, more vigilant waiting, watching, praying, and working. All the religious service and every branch of business are to bear the signature of heaven. RH October 5, 1905, par. 23

“Holiness unto the Lord” is to be the motto of the laborers in every department. The human agent should strive to attain to perfection, that he may be an ideal Christian, complete in Christ Jesus. RH October 5, 1905, par. 24