The Review and Herald

401/1902

May 10, 1887

Importance of Trust in God

[Sermon at Grimsby, England, September 18, 1886.]

EGW

“And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord and before his host: and they carried away very much spoil. And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the Lord came upon them; and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.” 2 Chronicles 14:11-14. RH May 10, 1887, par. 1

Here is brought before us the fact that when ancient Israel trusted in the Lord their God he always wrought for them. Here was a large army; thousands and thousands were brought up against them, and it looked to them that with their small army they would certainly be overcome. But here we see that Asa's trust was in the Lord God of Israel. It was not in their number, but he believed that the Lord could deliver them by few as well as by many. He reached out for God, and his faith took hold upon the Lord, and the Lord graciously heard and answered the petition of Asa; and they obtained the victory because God was wholly on their side. RH May 10, 1887, par. 2

This was, indeed, a test and trial to the faith of those who served the Lord of the armies of Israel. They had fears that sin might be so cherished in their midst that God could not do wonderful things in their behalf. It was a vast number that they had to meet, a thousand thousand men. But Asa had not been giving himself to amusement and pleasure; in time of peace he had been preparing for any emergency; he had an army trained for conflict; but how few were their numbers when compared with their enemies! Did this appearance weaken their faith? did it discourage effort?—No; faith increased and strengthened for the occasion—not in self-confidence, but in the only One in whom they could trust. The prayers of Asa were not offered in vain. He had sought the Lord in the days of his prosperity, and now he could rely upon him in days of adversity. He showed by his petitions that he was not a stranger to the Lord's wonderful power. “It is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art God; let not man prevail against thee.” RH May 10, 1887, par. 3

This is an appropriate prayer for us to make. Our prospects are anything but flattering. There are vast numbers arrayed against the truth, whom we must meet in presenting the light to others. Our hope is not in our knowledge of the truth, and in our own ability, but in the living God. And if, like king Asa, we have educated ourselves, and educated and trained others, to be familiar with the truth, who wear the armor of righteousness, ready to meet the enemies of God and the truth, we have done our part of the work in the way of preparation; and then the living faith in God must be exercised to work with the efforts of the workers. God's glory is at stake. And there should be decided effort as far as human effort is concerned, and living faith for the mighty God to manifest his power, else all will prove a failure. God defeated the enemies of Israel. He put their forces into disorder. They fled they knew not whither. Who can stand before the Lord God of Israel. RH May 10, 1887, par. 4

Now we are not warring against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. The Lord would encourage us to look to him as the source of all our strength, the one who is able to help us. We may look to men, and they will give us counsel, and yet this may be defeated; but when the God of Israel undertakes work for us, he will make it a success. We want to know that we are right before God; if we are not right before him, then we want to make an earnest effort to come in right relation to him. We must individually do something ourselves. We are not to risk our eternal interest upon guess-work. We must set everything right; we must follow out the requirements of God, and then expect God to work with our efforts. 2 Chronicles 20:15. God works in us by the light of his truth. We are to be obedient to all his commandments. RH May 10, 1887, par. 5

Oh that we could take this point into consideration, that the work in which we are engaged is not our work, but God's work, and we as humble instruments are laborers together with him; and with an eye single to God's glory, not mistake the beginning of the Christian life for its consummation, but see the necessity of training upon the earth to prepare us for doing God's will! We are not to lift up ourselves, not to be self-confident, but to trust in God, knowing that he is willing and able to help us. God will work with his people, but we want to be in that position where our trust and confidence will become firm in him. RH May 10, 1887, par. 6

I wanted to bring these things before you, that you might see the importance of our coming into working order individually. We should examine our own hearts, and see that everything that is not in accordance with God's will is separated from us. There is with human nature one great difficulty: where the individual is not connected with God in any wise, the natural disposition reveals itself. Now, if Satan can crowd selfishness in among those connected with this precious work of God, if they become self righteous, independent of their brethren, independent of God, we need not expect that the blessing of God will attend our work; but if our hearts are pure, and uncorrupted with selfishness, we shall present the truth as it is in Jesus; and then we will have the blessing of the Lord. RH May 10, 1887, par. 7

There is constant danger of dropping Jesus out of your labor; but when the truth is presented in meekness and grace as it is in Jesus, it is then you reveal Jesus Christ in every effort you make, and as you seek to approach souls you are revealing Christ to all those with whom you are brought in contact. If you are resting upon the loving Saviour as your only hope, if self is hid with Christ in God, God will be with you, and you will be with him. You will feel and know the power of true religion; your influence will be used wholly for God's glory; you will not have a high estimate of yourselves. The path is narrow that leads to eternal life. You will find many difficulties in your way, which you must meet and overcome in the name of Jesus. What discouragements the disciples met when they saw Him in whom their hopes were centered mocked in the judgment hall, scourged, and suffering the most shameful death by crucifixion! And what triumph on the part of Satan as he bruised his heel when Jesus was nailed to the cross, amid the revilings of evil men who claimed the highest piety! After he had been inclosed in the tomb, his enemies expected to see the disciples discouraged, ashamed, and deny, as did Peter, all knowledge of him. But when these disciples went forth in faith, in holy boldness preaching a risen Saviour, their enemies marveled; for they did not present Jesus but as a Prince of life, risen from the dead, ascended into the heavens to make intercession for his followers, when their enemies and others took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Thus should it be with believers of the truth. RH May 10, 1887, par. 8

Here, then, is the power that the people of God are to have, and which will give them the victory in these last days. Every ism is existing. Every kind of false doctrine is prevailing everywhere, and the truth of God that is preached now involves a cross. But the truth must go to all cities and villages, into the highways and hedges. The apostle exhorts believers to “fight the good fight of faith,” and “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus and author and finisher of our faith.” Men are always trying to make an easier way to heaven than that which the Lord has provided. They do not want to run and to strive as the Lord has commanded. But we can see that there were conditions that the children of Israel were to comply with on their part. They were to seek the Lord, the children with the parents. This is the very work we are to do. There is not one half the seeking of the Lord there should be with us. We know not how soon our cases may come up in the Judgment, and in our present condition many will be disowned of Jesus. We are too apt to let the little cares of this life take our attention, and as soon as we do this we are bereft of our strength. RH May 10, 1887, par. 9

What we want at the present time is to examine our own hearts, to discover if there is anything in them that is not right before God. If we teach the truth according to our own ways, we shall see that there will not always be perfect harmony as there should be. But if we teach the truth as it is in Jesus, we shall teach it in the spirit of the true Educator; and we will not have various opinions, and cling to our own ideas with tenacity, but we will see eye to eye. And while we thus teach, believing that Jesus will help us to present the truth as it is in him, then we may expect his help, and we will have it. We have not today a Saviour inclosed in Joseph's new tomb, but we have a risen Saviour, one who stands in the presence of God for us, whose glory overshadows the mercy-seat, under which is the law of God. And here mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and peace have kissed each other. And while Christ is pleading in our behalf, there must be with us a coming up to a higher standard in the work. RH May 10, 1887, par. 10

The true Witness’ voice is heard, saying, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; ... and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” The gold here recommended is faith and love, which we must have interwoven into our life and character. But if the world has a controlling power upon life and character, they are losing the precious lessons of Christ. If they will only let Christ teach them as he did the disciples, he will take the simple things of nature to teach them lessons which, if put in practice, will secure for them the enduring reward. There are many ways in which we can learn, but we let opportunities and precious privileges to receive greater light be lost, and still greater ideas are entertained contrary to the truth because mind and heart are not brought into perfect harmony with God's will. If we can put these things away, and come right into the school of Christ, and learn of him the precious lessons he has for us, then we shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But how thankful we should be that we have a Saviour, and that we can come to God with all our perversity of heart, and he will accept us if we come in faith believing! He will impart to us of his divine nature, and we may bring our godliness into our everyday life, and imitate the great Teacher in seeking to win souls. We must not seek our own will, but seek to serve God with the whole heart. RH May 10, 1887, par. 11

We are constantly endeavoring to make a smooth path for our feet, and calculating to have an easy time, and to shun labor; but then it is that we have the very hardest time, and are the most complaining. We hear many say, All you have to do, is to believe, believe. But by the examples given us, we see there is hard work for somebody to do. We see that Israel had the presence of God when they connected themselves with him, but when they forsook the Lord and followed after other gods, they were overcome by their enemies. And we read how Israel's God gave them the victory over that great host. Because their number was so great they thought to overthrow Israel; but the prophet came to them and said, “Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou King Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.” RH May 10, 1887, par. 12

Now, here is the very thing that we want to understand, that it is not our work but God's work, and we are only instruments in his hands to accomplish it. We want to seek the Lord with all our hearts, and the Lord will work for us. But if we think that, right or wrong, success will attend our efforts, we will just as surely fail as we live. What we want is to know we are fully on the side of God, and that we have a living Saviour, and that he is willing to work for us. We must not allow ourselves to cherish the selfish spirit that I can do so much better than my brother. Are you not permeated with this spirit, and does it not greatly grieve the Holy Spirit of God? For it is not you, but the Lord working through you, that your labors are attended with any success. And how important it is that you present the truth as it is in Jesus! RH May 10, 1887, par. 13

Your work is not to gather up burdens of your own. As you take the burdens that Christ would have you, then you can realize what burdens he carried. Let us study the Bible, and find out what kind of yoke he bore. He was a help to those around him. He says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” You see there is a yoke to bear. Now this is the very faith that we want,—a faith that will grasp the promises of God, one that will take the yoke of Christ and bear the burdens that he would have us. We often think we are having a hard time in bearing burdens, and it is too often the case, because God has not made any provision for us to carry these burdens; but when we bear his yoke and carry his burdens, we can testify that the yoke of Christ is easy and his burdens are light, because he has made provision for these. But when you feel depressed and discouraged, do not give up the battle; you have a living Saviour that will help you, and you will have rest in him. You must not put your neck under the yoke of fashion, and yokes that God has never designed that you should bear. It is not our work to study how to meet the world's standard, but the great question with each one should be, How can I meet God's standard. Then it is that you will find rest to the soul; for Christ has said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” RH May 10, 1887, par. 14

When you have a yoke that is galling to the neck, you may know it is not Christ's yoke; for he says his yoke is easy. What God wants of us is to be learning every day of our lives how to build our characters for time and for eternity. He does not want us to get into one channel and never turn out of that; to have fixed ideas, and hold them fast, whether they are right or wrong. He will place us amid trials and difficulties, and when we have learned to overcome obstacles in a right spirit, with high and holy purpose, he will give us another lesson. And if we have not the meekness of Christ to be constantly learning of Jesus in his school, then we must know that we have not the yoke of Christ. RH May 10, 1887, par. 15

I am glad we have a risen Saviour, that he bears with the frailties of humanity! We so easily become impatient with one another! I think of how much Jesus has had to bear with us; our sins have grieved him so often; and how thankful we should be to learn how to labor and have patience with one another! And when we see faults in our brethren, we should go to them in the spirit of meekness, and tell them of their failings, and pray with them, and have it all settled. Do you not think that heavenly angels would look with pleasure upon such a meeting? Not a word should be spoken to hurt one another. What we want is the truth as it is in Jesus, laboring constantly to bind together never to separate. If our little churches in Riseley and Southampton have the truth as it is in Jesus, they will send up their petitions to Jesus for overcoming grace. Do not think that you must overcome in your own strength, neither try to save your own life. “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” RH May 10, 1887, par. 16

I am so glad that we have the truth so straight and plain. Although difficulties will present themselves, we have a God sufficient for all difficulties. One says, You cannot labor here as you labor in America; so they say in Sweden and in Norway; but I labor just the same in all these places as in America. The same God that gave me my commission to reach hearts in America, is giving me power to reach hearts in this country. I present Jesus to you as the one great Saviour; and if there is any reason why I cannot labor the same here as in America, it is because you have another mold than the mold of Jesus Christ. But God wants you to have his mold. He wants us to bring ourselves in right relation with him. He wants us to have his meekness and lowliness. The very same God that delivered ancient Israel will work for us. God does not change. He has not one character for Denmark, another for Sweden, and another for Norway, and still another for England, but he is the same to all. God wants us to fulfill the conditions laid down in his word. He has not a school varying for the different nationalities, but he has one school for all. RH May 10, 1887, par. 17

We found in Copenhagen that since we were there last fall some had embraced the truth. Among them was a man who had opposed his wife for ten years, and after hearing me speak he arose and said, “I am glad I came to Copenhagen. What we have heard here today is wonderful.” Then, after attending the Sabbath-school he said, “I never saw anything like this. I am going home and tell my Baptist brethren all about it.” In the testimonies heard there, I could not see that there was any difference in the general tenor from those we hear in America, and I can see no difference here; and I have come to believe that we are learning in the same school, and have one Teacher. And we can present the truth to the people as it is in Jesus, and let God do the work for us. The same prayers that are ascending to God in America, are ascending to God here, that the God of Israel may work in our behalf. And I beseech of you not to become discouraged, although the powers of Satan may be great, but look to Jesus. RH May 10, 1887, par. 18

How little access Christ seemed to have to the people! Many believed on him, but dared not confess him because they were afraid of being put out of the synagogue. Now, we see how Christ was treated by them, and shall we treat him in the same manner? Think of Christ's coming down from glory, leaving his Father's throne, and suffering as he did for us! He came to bring the cup of salvation to those who were willing to drink it; but they struck it out of their hands. And when the people embrace the truth under your labors, do not think that it is you that have done the work, but remember that it is Jesus working through you; and let Jesus put his Spirit upon them, and also upon you, that you may work with all the ability that God has given you. If you have a sharp, bright thought, it is not you who created that thought, but God. I never yet felt satisfied as I have stood before the people. I never felt that I had said anything that I should be lifted up over. But if I have said anything that has reached the hearts of the people, it has been because God has worked through me. We must press the battle to the gate. There is no time for us to lose. There is no time for us to try to make a smooth path for our feet. We must take it as it is, with all its inconveniences and troubles, knowing that the God of Israel is by your side, and we shall see of his salvation. RH May 10, 1887, par. 19

My brethren and sisters, let us remember here is the evidence that God will work. You are not to trust in any power but that of the Lord God of Israel. But if you have enmity in your hearts, you cannot expect that God will let his blessing rest upon you. No one will enter the city of God with anything that defiles. We must get ready for the latter rain. The earth is to be lighted with the glory of the third angel,—not a little corner only, but the whole earth. You may think that the work you are doing now is lost; but I tell you it is not lost. When the message shall go with a loud cry, those who hear the truth now will spring to the front and work with mighty power. But you must have faith. It is no use to enter cities unless you have faith in God, and believe that a work is to be accomplished there. You must believe that it is Christ who is by our side, and is finding access to souls; and when you have done the best you can, you must believe, and commit it all to Jesus. RH May 10, 1887, par. 20

There is a company who will stand upon Mount Zion, and we want you to be determined that you will be among that company. You will have trials here, but be determined that you will have a home in the city of God. Says Paul, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” He cannot find words strong enough to express himself, and he says an “eternal weight of glory.” Well, then, cannot we bear the roughness a little? Here is the eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. Keep talking of Jesus, of the widespread truth, of the life that measures with the life of God. Why, the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal. Then let us grasp the hand of infinite power. Here we are channels of light, and we should communicate this light to those around us. RH May 10, 1887, par. 21

I feel so thankful every day that we have a Saviour, and I do not know how to dwell enough upon his goodness. Let us remember that he bore reproach for us; he was reviled, but reviled not again; he was mocked, and finally crucified, that we might have eternal life. In the greatest difficulties have faith in God; believe you have a mighty helper with you. He is the source of your strength. But we are not to try to bring every one into our mold. May God help us to walk in all humility of mind before him. RH May 10, 1887, par. 22