The Review and Herald

511/1902

January 14, 1890

Serve the Lord With Gladness

EGW

“Ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.” Those who honor God by obedience to all his requirements are free to eat and rejoice before the Lord, and he himself, as an unseen guest, will preside at the board. That which is done for the glory of God should be done with cheerfulness, with songs of praise and thanksgiving, not with sadness and gloom. Would that all who profess to be the children of God, who profess to keep his commandments, might bring thankfulness and rejoicing into the service of Christ. Nothing is more grievous to God than for his children to go constantly mourning, covering the altar with tears. He says by the prophet Malachi, “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.” RH January 14, 1890, par. 1

Our God should be regarded as a tender, merciful father. The service of God should not be looked upon as a heart-saddening, distressing exercise. It should be a pleasure to worship the Lord and to take part in his work. As the people of God meditate upon the plan of salvation, their hearts will be melted in love and gratitude. When they were lost, Christ died to save them; through the gift of the Son of God, provision has been made whereby none need perish, but all may have everlasting life. God would not have his children, for whom so great a salvation has been provided, act as though he were a hard, exacting task-master. He is their best friend, and when they worship him, he expects to be with them to bless and comfort them, and fill their hearts with joy and love. The Lord desires his children to take comfort in his service, and to find more pleasure than hardship in his work. The Lord desires that those who come to worship him shall carry away with them precious thoughts of his care and love that they may be cheered in all the employments of daily life, that they may have grace to deal honestly and faithfully in all things. RH January 14, 1890, par. 2

The children of God are called upon to be representatives of Christ, showing forth the goodness and mercy of the Lord. If they but revealed his goodness from day to day, barriers would be raised around their souls against the temptations of the evil one. If they would keep in remembrance the goodness and love of God, they would be cheerful, but not vain and full of carnal mirth. RH January 14, 1890, par. 3

The Lord would have all his sons and daughters happy, peaceful, and obedient. Jesus says, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my Father; for my Father is greater than I.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” RH January 14, 1890, par. 4

When we go mourning, we leave the impression upon minds that God is not pleased to have us happy, and in this we bear false witness against our Heavenly Father. Satan is exultant when he can lead the people of God into unbelief and despondency. He delights to see us mistrusting God, doubting his willingness and power to save us. He loves to have us feel that the Lord will do us harm by his providences. O let the attitude of doubt be changed! Christ in the Old Testament is the same as Christ in the New Testament. His commands and promises are identical. When he charged his people of old to rejoice before him, it was for our comfort as well as for theirs. Happiness that is sought only from selfish motives, outside of the path of duty, is ill-balanced, fitful, and transitory, and when it is over, the soul is filled with loneliness and sorrow. But when we engage in the service of God, the heart should be aglow with thanksgiving; for the Christian is not left to walk in uncertain paths, he is not left to vain regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the pleasures of this life, we may still be joyful in looking to the life beyond. Let us never doubt God. He made us, he loves us, and in one rich gift poured out all heaven for us; and “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” RH January 14, 1890, par. 5

God knows our wants, and has provided for them. The Lord has a treasure-house of supplies for his children, and can give them what they need under all circumstances. Then why do we not trust him? He has made precious promises to his children on condition of faithful obedience to his precepts. There is not a burden but he can remove, no darkness but he can dispel, no weakness but he can change to power, no fears but he can calm, no worthy aspiration but he can guide and justify. RH January 14, 1890, par. 6

We are not to look at ourselves. The more we dwell upon our own imperfections, the less strength we shall have to overcome them. We are to render a cheerful service to God. It is the work of Satan to present the Lord as lacking in compassion and pity. He misstates the truth in regard to him. He fills the imagination with false theories concerning God; and instead of dwelling upon the truth in regard to the character of our Heavenly Father, we fasten our minds upon the misrepresentations of Satan, and dishonor God by mistrusting him and by murmuring against him. When we act like culprits under sentence of death, we bear false witness against God. The Father gave his only begotten and well-beloved Son to die for us, and in so doing he placed great honor upon humanity; for in Christ the link that was broken through sin was reunited, and man again connected with Heaven. You who doubt the mercy of God, look at the Lamb of God, look at the man of sorrows, who bore your grief and suffered for your sin. He is your friend. He died on the cross because he loved you. He is touched with the feeling of your infirmities, and bears you up before the throne. In view of his unspeakable love, should not hope, love, and gratitude be cherished in your heart? Should not gladness fill your service to God? RH January 14, 1890, par. 7

Satan ever seeks to make the religious life one of gloom. He desires it to appear toilsome and difficult; and when the Christian presents this view of religion in his own life, he is, through his unbelief, seconding the falsehood of Satan. We dishonor God when we think of him only as a judge ready to pass sentence upon us, and forget that he is a loving Father. The whole spiritual life is molded by our conceptions of God; and if we cherish erroneous views of his character, our souls will sustain injury. We should see in God one who yearns toward the children of men, longing to do them good. He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. All through the Scriptures, God is represented as one who calls, woos by his tender love, the hearts of his erring children. No earthly parent could be as patient with the faults and mistakes of their children as is God with those he seeks to save. No one could plead more tenderly with the transgressor. No human lips ever poured out more tender entreaty to the wanderer than does he. O shall we not love God, and show our love by humble obedience? Let us have a care for our thoughts, our experiences, our attitude toward God; for all his promises are but the breathings of unutterable love. RH January 14, 1890, par. 8