The Review and Herald


November 8, 1887

Humility Before Honor


“When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel?” Here Samuel points out the reason for Saul's appointment to the throne of Israel. He had a humble opinion of his own capabilities, and was willing to be instructed. When the divine choice fell upon him, he was deficient in knowledge and experience, and had, with many good qualities, serious defects of character. But the Lord granted him the Holy Spirit as a guide and helper, and placed him in a position where he could develop the qualities requisite for a ruler of Israel. RH November 8, 1887, par. 1

Should he trust to his own strength and judgment, Saul would move impulsively, and would commit grave errors. But if he would remain humble, seeking constantly to be guided by divine wisdom, and advancing as the providence of God opened the way, he could be enabled to discharge the duties of his high position with success and honor. Under the influence of divine grace, every good quality would be gaining strength, while evil traits would as steadily lose their power. RH November 8, 1887, par. 2

This is the work which the Lord proposes to do for all who consecrate themselves to him. There are many whom he has called to positions in his work for the same reason that he called Saul, because they are little in their own sight, because they have a humble and teachable spirit. In his providence he places them where they may learn of him. To all who will receive instruction he will impart grace and wisdom. It is his purpose to bring them into so close connection with himself that Satan shall have no opportunity to pervert their judgment or overpower their conscience. He will reveal to them their defects of character, and bestow upon all who seek his aid, strength to correct their errors. Whatever may be man's besetting sin, whatever bitter or baleful passions struggle for the mastery, he may conquer, if he will watch and war against them in the name and strength of Israel's Helper. The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan's most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But those little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retrograde movement begins, no one can tell where it may end. RH November 8, 1887, par. 3

In sparing Agag, the king of Amalek, Saul led his people to feel that they might follow their own judgment instead of God's explicit command. They did not see that their own prosperity as individuals and as a nation depended upon their strict adherence to the command of Him who sees the end from the beginning. God requires us to prove our loyalty to him by unquestioning obedience. In deciding upon any course, we should not ask merely whether we can see harm to result from it, but whether it is contrary to the will of God. RH November 8, 1887, par. 4

We must learn to distrust self, and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of his will, and for strength to perform it. We must be much in communion with God. Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season, the heart's desires ever ascending to God,—this is our only safety. In this manner Enoch walked with God. In this manner our Exemplar obtained strength to tread the thorny path from Nazareth to Calvary. RH November 8, 1887, par. 5

Christ, the sinless One, upon whom the Holy Spirit was bestowed without measure, constantly acknowledged his dependence upon God, and sought fresh supplies from the Source of strength and wisdom. How much more should finite, erring man feel his need of help from God every hour and every moment. How carefully should he follow the Leading Hand; how carefully treasure every word that has been given for his guidance and instruction! “As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress,” so should our eyes be upon the Lord our God. His commands should be received with implicit faith, and obeyed with cheerful exactness. RH November 8, 1887, par. 6

Self confidence is the rock upon which many have been wrecked. The secret of the Christian's strength and safety is revealed in the words of the apostle, “kept by the power of God.” In all the undertakings of life, the language of the heart should be, “If the Lord will.” We should humbly wait for divine instruction, never going before, or contrary to our, Heavenly Guide. RH November 8, 1887, par. 7

Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, “Christ suffered, being tempted.” While he was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of his holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to him. Yet with human nature upon him, he met the arch apostate face to face, and single-handed withstood the foe of his throne. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foot-hold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” The storms of temptation burst upon him, but they could not cause him to swerve from his allegiance to God. RH November 8, 1887, par. 8

All the followers of Christ have to meet the same malignant foe that assailed their Master. With marvelous skill he adapts his temptations to their circumstances, their temperament, their mental and moral bias, their strong passions. He is ever whispering in the ears of the children of men, as he points to worldly pleasures, gains, or honors, “All this will I give you, if you will do my bidding.” We must look to Christ; we must resist as he resisted; we must pray as he prayed; we must agonize, as he agonized, if we would conquer as he conquered. RH November 8, 1887, par. 9

Whatever the position in which God has placed us, whatever our responsibilities or our dangers, we should remember that he has pledged himself to impart needed grace to the earnest seeker. Those who feel insufficient for their position, and yet accept it because God bids them, relying upon his power and wisdom, will go on from strength to strength. When they enter upon their work, they may have almost everything to learn; but with Christ as a teacher they will become efficient laborers. God does not intrust his work to the worldly wise; for they are too proud to learn. He chooses those who, feeling their deficiencies, seek to be guided by unerring wisdom. RH November 8, 1887, par. 10

Those who have learned of Christ will manifest in all their intercourse a humble, teachable spirit, ever willing to receive counsel or correction. The Lord confers upon his servants varied gifts. No one person possesses all the qualifications essential in carrying forward the work of God. Hence no one is qualified to act independently in all matters pertaining to the Lord's cause. In the body of Christ there is the same law of dependence and the same necessity for harmony of action that exists in the human body. While no one member of the church is complete in himself, all combined form a perfect whole. RH November 8, 1887, par. 11

The meekness and humility of Christ will be seen in his followers. The grain ready for harvest, bending under the burden of its full, ripe ears, is a fitting emblem of the Christian ripening for the heavenly garner. The more closely he resembles Jesus, and the richer and more perfect his character in the development of the Christian graces, the less disposition will he have to honor or exalt self. With the sweet singer of Israel, the language of his heart will be, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give we glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake.” RH November 8, 1887, par. 12