The Review and Herald

159/1902

March 18, 1880

The Sin of Indifference

EGW

To secure the indulgence of appetite, Esau sacrificed his birthright. Afterward he saw his folly; but “when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” RH March 18, 1880, par. 1

Esau represents a class who have a blessing of priceless value within their reach,—the immortal inheritance; life that is as enduring as the life of God, the Creator of the universe; happiness immeasurable, and an eternal weight of glory. Yet there are very many who have indulged appetite, passion, and inclination, so long that their power to discern and appreciate the value of eternal things is weakened. Esau had a strong desire for a particular article of food, and he had so long gratified self that he did not feel the necessity of turning from the tempting coveted dish. RH March 18, 1880, par. 2

He made no special effort to restrain his appetite, until that power bore down every other consideration, and controlled him, and he imagined he would suffer great inconvenience, and even death, if he could not have that particular dish. The more he thought upon it the more his desire strengthened, until his birthright, which was sacred, lost its value and its sacredness. He thought, Well, if I now sell it, I can easily buy it back again. He flattered himself that he could dispose of it at will, and buy it back at pleasure. When he sought to purchase it back, even at a great sacrifice on his part, he was not able to do so. He then bitterly repented his rashness, his folly, his madness. He looked the matter over on every side. He sought for repentance carefully and with tears. It was all in vain. He had despised the blessing, and the Lord removed it from him forever. RH March 18, 1880, par. 3

Some have thought that they could sacrifice the truth for a time to their worldly interests, without becoming entirely reckless, so that if they should be disappointed in their hopes and expectations of worldly gain, they could again interest themselves in the truth and become candidates for everlasting life. But in this they only deceive themselves. Under the parable of a great supper, our Saviour shows that many will choose the world above himself, and will as the result lose Heaven. The gracious invitation of our Saviour is slighted. The man in the parable had been to the trouble and expense of making a great preparation at an immense sacrifice, and then invited the guests to his feast. But they with one consent began to make excuse. One said, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” RH March 18, 1880, par. 4

The Lord turns from the wealthy and world-loving, whose lands and oxen and wives were of so great value in their estimation as to outweigh the advantages they would gain by accepting the gracious invitation he had given them to eat of his supper. The master of the house was angry and turned from those who had thus insulted his bounty offered them, to a class who are not full, but are poor and hungry, and who are maimed and lame, halt and blind. These have not possessions of lands and houses, and will appreciate the bounties provided, and in return will render the master sincere gratitude, unfeigned love and devotion. But his house is not yet filled, and the command is, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled; for I say unto you that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Here is a class rejected of God because they despised the invitation of the Master. RH March 18, 1880, par. 5

The Lord declared to Eli, “Them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” Says Christ, “If any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.” God will not be trifled with. Those who have the light and reject it, or neglect to walk in it, to them it will become darkness. An immense sacrifice was made on the part of God's dear Son, that he might have power to rescue fallen man and exalt him to his own right hand, make him an heir of the world, and a possessor of the eternal weight of glory. RH March 18, 1880, par. 6

The riches, glory, and honor, offered by the Son of God, are of such infinite value that it is beyond the power of men or even angels to give any just idea of their worth, excellence, and magnificence. If men, plunged in sin and degradation, refuse these heavenly benefits, refuse a life of obedience, trample upon the gracious invitations of mercy, and choose the paltry things of earth because they are seen, and it is convenient for their present enjoyment to pursue a course of sin, Jesus will carry out the figure in the parable; such shall not taste of his glory; but the invitation will be extended to another class. Those who choose to make excuses, and continue in sin and conformity to the world, will be left to their idols. There will be a day when they will not beg to be excused. Not one will wish to be excused. When Christ shall come in his glory, and with the glory of his Father, and all the heavenly angels surrounding him, escorting him on his way, with voices of triumph, while strains of the most enchanting music fall upon the ear, all will then be interested; there will not then be one indifferent spectator. RH March 18, 1880, par. 7

Speculations will not then engross the soul. The miser's piles of gold, which are before him, and which have feasted his eyes, will be no longer attractive. The palaces which the proud men of earth have erected, and which have been their idols, will be turned from with loathing and disgust. No one will then plead his lands, his oxen, or his wife that he has just married, as a reason why he should be excused from sharing the glory that bursts upon his astonished vision. All will want a share, but some will know that it is not for them. RH March 18, 1880, par. 8

They will then call, in earnest, agonizing prayer, for God to pass them not by. The kings, the mighty men, the lofty, the proud, the mean man, will bow together under an inexpressible load of woe; and heart-anguished prayers of Mercy! mercy! Save us from the wrath of an offended God! will be wrung from their lips. A voice answers them with terrible distinctness: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” RH March 18, 1880, par. 9

Then kings and nobles, the mighty man, and the poor man, and the mean man, alike will cry most bitterly. They who in the days of their prosperity despised Christ and the humble ones who followed in his footsteps, men who would not humble their dignity to bow to Jesus Christ, who hated his despised cross, are now prostrate in the mire of the earth. Their greatness has all at once left them, and they do not hesitate to bow to the earth at the feet of the saints. They then realize with terrible bitterness that they are eating the fruit of their own way, and being filled with their own devices. In their supposed wisdom they turned away from the high, eternal reward, rejected the heavenly inducement for earthly gain. The glitter and tinsel of earth fascinated them, and in their supposed wisdom they became fools. They exulted in their worldly prosperity as though their advantages were so great that they could, through them, be recommended to God, and thus secure Heaven. RH March 18, 1880, par. 10

Money was their power, and money was their god; but their very prosperity destroyed them. They became fools in the eyes of God and his heavenly angels, while men of worldly ambition thought them wise. Now their supposed wisdom is all foolishness, and their prosperity their destruction. Again rings forth in shrieks of fearful, heart-rending anguish, “Rocks and mountains, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?” To the caves of the earth they flee as a covert, but these fail to be a protection then. RH March 18, 1880, par. 11

Said Christ: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” If this commandment is obeyed, it prepares the heart to obey the second, which is like unto it,—Love thy neighbor as thyself. All the ten commandments are embodied in these two specified. The first takes in the first four commandments, which show the duty of man to his Creator. The second takes in the last six, which show the duty of man to his fellow-man. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. They are two great arms sustaining all ten of the commandments, the first four and the last six. These must be strictly obeyed. “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Very many who profess to be Christ's disciples will apparently pass along smoothly in this world, and men will regard them as upright, godly men, when they have a plague spot at the core, which taints their whole character, and corrupts their religious experience. RH March 18, 1880, par. 12

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This forbids the taking advantage of our fellowmen in order to advantage ourselves. We are forbidden to wrong our neighbor in anything. We should not view the matter from the worldling's standpoint. To deal with our fellow-men, in every instance, just as we would wish them to deal with us, is a rule we should apply to ourselves. God's laws are to be obeyed to the letter. In all our intercourse and dealing with our fellow-men, whether believers, or unbelievers, this rule is to be applied: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Many who profess to be Christians will not bear the measurement of God on this point; but will be found wanting when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” What a promise is this. We should not lose sight of the fact that this promise is based upon obedience to a specific command. God calls upon all to separate from the world, and not to follow its practices or be conformed to it. “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” RH March 18, 1880, par. 13

God calls for separation from the world. Will we obey? Will we come out from among them, and remain separate and distinct from them? “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” No one can mingle with worldlings, partake of their spirit, and follow their example, and be at the same time a child of God. The Creator of the universe addresses his children as an affectionate Father. All who separate from the world in their affections, and remain free from its contaminations, will be adopted into the family of God, and made heirs of an immortal inheritance. In place of this world, he will give them the kingdom under the whole heaven, and life that is as enduring as eternity. RH March 18, 1880, par. 14

If we would have his blessing attend us, and his presence to abide in our families, we must obey him, and do his will irrespective of losses or gains, or our own pleasure. We should not consult our desires, nor the approbation of worldlings, who know not God, and seek not to glorify him. If we walk contrary to God, he will walk contrary to us. If we have other gods before the Lord, our hearts will be turned away from serving the only true and living God, who requires the whole heart, the undivided affections. God requires all the heart, all the soul, all the mind, and all the strength. He will accept nothing short of this. No separation is allowed here. No half-hearted work will be accepted. RH March 18, 1880, par. 15

In order to render to God perfect service, we must have clear conceptions of his will. This will require us to use only healthful food, prepared in a simple manner, that the fine nerves of the brain be not injured, making it impossible for us to discern the value of the atonement, and the priceless worth of the cleansing blood of Christ. “Know ye not that they which run in a race, run all; but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” RH March 18, 1880, par. 16

If, for no higher object than a wreath or perishable crown as a reward of their ambition, men subjected themselves to temperance in all things, how much more should those who profess to be seeking, not only an unfading crown of immortal glory, but a life which is to endure as long as the throne of Jehovah, and riches that are eternal, honors which are imperishable, and an eternal weight of glory. Will not the inducements presented before those who are running in the Christian race, lead them to practice self-denial, and temperance in all things, that they may keep their animal propensities in subjection, keep under the body, control the lustful passions and appetites? Then can they be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. RH March 18, 1880, par. 17

If the exceeding precious and glorious reward promised will not lead us to welcome greater privations, and endure greater self-denial than worldly men who are seeking merely a bauble of earth, a perishable laurel which brings honors from a few of the worldly, we are unworthy of everlasting life. With earnestness and intensity of desire to do the will of God, we should excel the zeal of those who are engaged in any other enterprise, to a degree as much greater as the value of the object we are seeking to attain is higher. The treasure we are striving to secure is imperishable, immortal, and all-glorious; while that which the worldling is in pursuit of endures but a day is fading and perishable, fleeting as the morning cloud. RH March 18, 1880, par. 18

We should let nothing obstruct our progress in the way to everlasting life. Our eternal interest is at stake. There must be a thorough work wrought in us, or we shall fail of Heaven. But Jesus invites us to make him our strength, our support. He will be to us a present help in every time of need. He will be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. May it not be our great anxiety to succeed in this world; but may the burden of our souls be, How shall I secure the better world? What have I to do to be saved? In saving our own souls, we save others. In lifting ourselves, we lift others. In fastening our grasp upon the truth, and upon the throne of God, we aid others to fix their trembling faith upon the promises of God, and his eternal throne. The position all must come into, is to value salvation, dearer than earthly gain, to count everything but loss that they may win Christ. The consecration must be entire. God will admit of no reserve, of no divided sacrifice, no idol. All must die to self, and to the world. Then let us each renew our consecration to God daily. Everlasting life is worth a life-long, persevering, untiring effort. RH March 18, 1880, par. 19