SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW)

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Chapter 16

2. God Reads the Secret Devisings—It is for the eternal interest of every one to search his own heart, and to improve every God-given faculty. Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result. We need a connection with divine power, that we may have an increase of clear light and an understanding of how to reason from cause to effect. We need to have the powers of the understanding cultivated, by our being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let each one consider carefully the solemn truth, God in heaven is true, and there is not a design, however intricate, nor a motive, however carefully hidden, that He does not clearly understand. He reads the secret devisings of every heart. Men may plan out crooked actions for the future, thinking that God does not understand; but in that great day when the books are opened, and every man is judged by the things written in the books, those actions will appear as they are.... 3BC 1160.2

[Psalm 139:1-5, 11, 12 quoted.] 3BC 1160.3

The Lord sees and understands all dishonesty in planning, all unlawful appropriation in any degree of property or means, all injustice in man's dealing with his fellow men ... [Daniel 5:27 quoted] (The Review and Herald, March 8, 1906). 3BC 1160.4

11 (Hosea 12:7). Religion With Deceitful Balances an Abomination—Fraud in any business transaction is a grievous sin in God's sight; for the goods men are handling belong to Him, and must be used to the glory of His name if men would be pure and clean in His sight. The religion that carries in its hand the scant measure and the deceitful balance is an abomination in the sight of God. He who cherishes such a religion will be brought to confusion; for God is a jealous God (Letter 8, 1901). 3BC 1160.5

28. See EGW on ch. 26:20-22. 3BC 1160.6

32 (See EGW on 1 Samuel 24:6, Vol. 2, p. 1021). How to Be Stronger Than Kings or Conquerors—Is Christ using cutting words, stern criticism and unkind suspicion toward His people who commit faults? No. He takes every infirmity into account; He acts with discernment. He knows every one of our failings; but He uses patience; for otherwise we would have perished long ago on account of our bad treatment of Him. The greatest insult we can inflict upon Him, is to pretend to be His disciples while manifesting the spirit of Satan in our words, our dispositions and our actions. It does not behoove those from whom Jesus has so much to bear, in their failings and perversity, to be ever mindful of slights and real or imaginary offense. And yet there are those who are ever suspecting the motives of others about them. They see offense and slights where no such thing was intended. All this is Satan's work in the human heart. The heart filled with that love which thinketh no evil will not be on the watch to notice discourtesies and grievances of which he may be the object. The will of God is that His love shall close the eyes, the ears and the heart to all such provocations and to all the suggestions with which Satan would fill them. There is a noble majesty in the silence of the one exposed to evil-surmising or outrage. To be master of one's spirit is to be stronger than kings or conquerors. A Christian leads one to think of Christ. He will be affable, kind, patient, humble and yet courageous and firm in vindicating the truth and the name of Christ (Manuscript 24, 1887). 3BC 1160.7

We must not consider as our enemies all those who do not receive us with a smile upon their lips and with demonstrations of love. It is much easier to play the martyr than to overcome a bad temper. 3BC 1160.8

We must give others an example of not stopping at every trifling offense in order to vindicate our rights. We may expect that false reports will circulate about us; but if we follow a straight course, if we remain indifferent to these things, others will also be indifferent. Let us leave to God the care of our reputation. And thus, like sons and daughters of God, we shall show that we have self-control. We shall show that we are led by the Spirit of God, and that we are slow to anger. Slander can be lived down by our manner of living; it is not lived down by words of indignation. Let our great anxiety be to act in the fear of God, and show by our conduct that these reports are false. No one can injure our character as much as ourselves. It is the weak trees and the tottering houses that need to be constantly propped. When we show ourselves so anxious to protect our reputation against attacks from the outside, we give the impression that it is not blameless before God, and that it needs therefore to be continually bolstered up (Manuscript 24, 1887). 3BC 1160.9

Avoid Intoxication Through Wrath—One class have come up without self-control; they have not bridled the temper or the tongue; and some of these claim to be Christ's followers, but they are not. Jesus has set them no such example. When they have the meekness and lowliness of the Saviour, they will not act out the promptings of the natural heart, for this is of Satan. Some are nervous, and if they begin to lose self-control in word or spirit under provocation, they are as much intoxicated with wrath as the inebriate is with liquor. They are unreasonable, and not easily persuaded or convinced. They are not sane; Satan for the time has full control. Every one of these exhibitions of wrath weakens the nervous system and the moral powers, and makes it difficult to restrain anger or another provocation. With this class there is only one remedy,—positive self-control under all circumstances. The effort to get into a favorable place, where self will not be annoyed, may succeed for a time; but Satan knows where to find these poor souls, and will assail them in their weak points again and again. They will be continually troubled so long as they think so much of self. They carry the heaviest load a mortal can lift, that is self, unsanctified and unsubdued. But there is hope for them. Let this life, so stormy with conflicts and worries, be brought into connection with Christ, and then self will no longer clamor for the supremacy (The Youth's Instructor, November 10, 1886). 3BC 1161.1