Selected Messages Book 2


Chapter 35—Guidance by Chance Methods

[Counsel to a businessman concerning methods he employed in making important decisions.]

You endeavor to reach correct decisions regarding religious duties, and to make decisions regarding business enterprises, by the tossing up of a coin, and letting the position in which it falls decide what course you shall pursue. I am instructed to say that we are not to give encouragement to any such methods. They are too common, too much like sleight-of-hand movements. They are not of the Lord, and those who depend upon them for direction will meet with failure and disappointment. Being nothing more than a matter of chance, the influence of adopting such tests regarding duty is calculated to lead the mind to depend on chance and guesswork, when all our work and plans for work should be established on the sure foundation of the Word of God. 2SM 325.1

The people of God can come to a correct understanding of their duty only through sincere prayer and earnest seeking for the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. When they seek aright for instruction concerning their course of action, these strange and unreliable methods will not be accepted by them. They will then be saved from haphazard work, and from the confusion that is ever the result of depending on human devisings.... 2SM 325.2

To our people I will say, Let none be led from the sound, sensible principles that God has laid down for the guidance of His people, to depend for direction on any such device as the tossing up of a coin. Such a course is well pleasing to the enemy of souls; for he works to control the coin, and through its agency works out his plans. Let none be so easily deceived as to place confidence in any such tests. Let none belittle their experience by resorting to cheap devices for direction in important matters connected with the work of God. 2SM 326.1

The Lord works in no haphazard way. Seek Him most earnestly in prayer. He will impress the mind, and will give tongue and utterance. The people of God are to be educated not to trust in human inventions and uncertain tests as a means of learning God's will concerning them. Satan and his agencies are always ready to step into any opening to be found that will lead souls away from the pure principles of the Word of God. The people who are led and taught of God will give no place to devisings for which there is not a “Thus saith the Lord.” 2SM 326.2

Let all who claim to be preparing for the coming of the Lord humbly seek Him for a knowledge of His will, and for a spirit that is willing to walk in all the light He sends. As a people we have had much instruction regarding our duty to depend upon God for wisdom and counsel. Let us go to the Word of God for instruction. “Search the scriptures,” the Saviour said.... We need to humble our hearts and purify our souls daily, learning at all times to walk by the faith of the Son of God. 2SM 326.3

My brethren and sisters, leave all minor tests that you may be tempted to make, and test your spirit by the witness of the Word of God. Study that Word, that you may know the character and will of God. It is positively essential that every believer make the truths of the Bible his guide and safeguard. To every young man and woman, and to those of advanced years, I testify that the study of the Word is the only safeguard for the soul who would remain steadfast unto the end.—Special Testimonies, Series B 17a:25-29. 2SM 326.4

Questions Answered in an Interview

W. C. White: What is your mind regarding the matter of deciding business questions and questions about the daily movements and decisions of an individual by asking the Lord to answer “Yes” or “No” to his question, in this way? He writes the words on either side of a card, and then drops it, and accepts as an answer the way in which the card falls, believing that in this way God indicates that He does or does not want him to do a certain thing. 2SM 327.1

E. G. White: [It is a haphazard method, which God does not approve. To men who have suggested such tests, I have said, “No, no.” The sacred things which concern the cause of God must not be dealt with by such methods. God does not instruct us that we are to learn His will in any such way. 2SM 327.2

Will it furnish us with experiences that will glorify God, for us to decide what is His will by the dropping of a card or a coin, and observing how it falls? No, no. Such tests as this will spoil the religious experience of the one who adopts them. Everyone who depends upon such things for guidance, needs to be reconverted.] [Inserted by Mrs. E. G. White when reading this report.] 2SM 327.3

After the great disappointment of the Adventist people in 1844, we had all these things to contend with over and over again. Then I was raised up from a bed of sickness, and sent to give a message of reproof for such fanaticism. They used different methods. They would select a sign, and then follow the course indicated by the sign. 2SM 327.4

In one case they would not bury a child that had died, because they understood from the sign that they had set, that the child was going to be raised from the dead. 2SM 327.5

I was sent to bear my testimony regarding the fallacy of these things that they were using as signs. According to the light that God has given me, there is no safety for us except to take a “Thus saith the Lord”.... 2SM 327.6

W. C. White: Suppose it comes to a business transaction. I see a property that looks good to me, I ask the Lord to tell me whether to buy it or not. Then I adopt the manner of tossing up a piece of money, and if it comes one side up, I buy it; and if the other side comes up, I will not buy it. 2SM 327.7

E. G. White: God has given me the message that no such thing is to come into the work of His cause. It would lower it into the dust. This is how it was presented to me. It would divert the mind from God and His power and His grace, to commonplace things, and the enemy would use these commonplace things so as to show something wonderful as the result of following these man-made tests.... 2SM 328.1

W. C. White: Sister Harris says that Brother Harris always prays before he tosses up his coin. Would not that make some difference? 2SM 328.2

E. G. White: Not a whit of difference. Did not the fanatics of whom I have spoken always pray when they were going through those awful experiences in the State of Maine? This plan leads to trusting in what the human can do. What we want is not less of the power of God, but more. We want a solemnity that will come alone from the God of heaven. Then we shall work in accordance with His divine teachings.... 2SM 328.3

We have been working with all our powers to encourage our people to come to God in faith, and to believe that His Holy Spirit will be freely given them as a teacher and guide, and that by its ministration they may know the will of God.—Ibid, 16-20. 2SM 328.4