SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)

4/80

Chapter 5

18-23 (ch. 8:12). Confidence in Man Blocks God's Messages—[Isaiah 5:18 quoted.] Men may seek to strengthen their forces by confederating together, making, as they suppose, strong societies to carry out the plans they have formed. They may lift up their souls in pride and self-sufficiency; but the One mighty in counsel does not plan with them. Their unbelief in His purposes and work, and their confidence in man, will not permit them to receive the messages He sends (The Review and Herald, December 22, 1896). 4BC 1138.2

19-23 (ch. 50:11). Men Call Evil Good, and Good Evil—[Isaiah 5:19-23 quoted.] The class here represented, in order to exalt their own opinions, employ a reasoning which is not authorized by the Word of God. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling. By their specious reasoning, they confuse the distinction that God desires to have drawn between good and evil. The sacred is brought down on a level with common things. Avarice and selfishness are called by false names; they are called prudence. Their rising up in independence and rebellion, their revenge and stubbornness, in their eyes are proofs of dignity, evidences of a noble mind. They act as though ignorance of divine things were not dangerous and even fatal to the soul; and they prefer their own reasoning to divine revelation, their own plans and human wisdom to the admonitions and commands of God. The piety and conscientiousness of others are called fanaticism, and those who practise truth and holiness are watched and criticized. They deride those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The principles underlying these things are not discerned by them; and they go on in wrong-doing, leaving the bars open for Satan to find ready access to the soul (The Review and Herald, December 22, 1896). 4BC 1138.3

20. Watch to Praise, Not Condemn—The lips that have uttered perverse things of God's delegated servants and have scorned the message they have borne, have put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Instead of watching, as did the Pharisees, for something to condemn in the message or the messengers, something to scoff at and deride, had they opened their hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, they would have been offering grateful praise rather than watching for something which they could misinterpret or twist so as to find fault (Letter 31a, 1894). 4BC 1138.4

Capable but Unconverted Men Do Great Harm—[Isaiah 5:20 quoted.] Men may possess capabilities given them in trust of God, but if they are not humble men, daily converted men, as vessels of honor, they will do the greater harm because of their capabilities. If they are not learners of Christ Jesus, if they do not pray and keep their natural hereditary and cultivated tendencies under control, traits of character that God abhors will pervert the judgment of those who associate with them (Letter 31a, 1894). 4BC 1138.5