The Review and Herald

1155/1902

October 8, 1901

A Blessing and a Curse

EGW

The prosperity of God's people is dependent on their obedience. The Lord declares, “It shall come to pass if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in the fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.... RH October 8, 1901, par. 1

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but ... go after other gods, which ye have not known.” RH October 8, 1901, par. 2

“Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” RH October 8, 1901, par. 3

These words should be as distinctly stamped upon every soul as though written with a pen of iron. Obedience brings its reward, disobedience its retribution. RH October 8, 1901, par. 4

God has given His people positive instruction, and has laid upon them positive restrictions, that they may obtain a perfect experience in His service, and be qualified to stand before the heavenly universe and before the fallen world as overcomers. They are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Those who fall short of making the preparation essential will be numbered with the unthankful and the unholy. RH October 8, 1901, par. 5

The Lord brings His people by ways they know not, that He may test and prove them. This world is our place of proving. Here we decide our eternal destiny. God humbles His people that His will may be wrought out through them. Thus He dealt with the children of Israel as He led them through the wilderness. He told them what their fate would have been had He not laid a restraining hand upon that which would have hurt them. He speaks to them. Hear what He says: it is a revelation of the ministration of angels: “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.... Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord.” RH October 8, 1901, par. 6

It is a solemn thought that by our present course of action we are deciding our eternal destiny. Let those who know the truth practice the truth, remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is of more value than all the treasure which the world contains. The world is the Lord's vineyard, and to each one of us He says, “Go work today in my vineyard. As I have cared for you, so you are to care for the honor of my name.” RH October 8, 1901, par. 7

In His dealing with ancient Israel God has given us an illustration of the result of disobedience. Even as He punished the children of Israel, so He will punish all who cause His glory to be reproached. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, even as Jerusalem, by her own course of action, was humiliated and brought low. Her people chose Barabbas, and God left them to their choice. They would not submit to God's way, so He permitted them to have their own way, to carry out the purposes of their unsanctified hearts. RH October 8, 1901, par. 8

Christ warned the Jews of their danger, and entreated them to return to Him; but they were too proud to accept His overtures of mercy. They persisted in their rebellious course, and as a result the protection of God's Spirit was withdrawn from them. RH October 8, 1901, par. 9

When Christ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, He predicted also the destruction of the world. He saw that till the end of this earth's history men would refuse God's mercy. God has given men and women talents that they may work in His service; but many in their selfishness misuse these talents. By a love of money and a desire for the supremacy they rob God and hurt their brethren. RH October 8, 1901, par. 10

God blesses the work of men's hands that they may return to Him His portion. They are to devote their means to His service, that His vineyard may not remain a barren waste. They are to study what the Lord would do were He in their place. They are to take all difficult matters to Him in prayer. They are to reveal an unselfish interest in the building up of His work in all parts of the world. RH October 8, 1901, par. 11

Money and goods, houses and lands,—these the Lord has intrusted to His human agents for the advancement of His work. Those who use for self-gratification the talents which have been lent them are not following in Christ's footsteps. Their course of action shows self-exaltation, and hinders the work the Lord desires to accomplish. RH October 8, 1901, par. 12

God's people are to maintain the elevated character of His work. They are to carry forward this work in His lines. Christ is their pattern, and He says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Let us remember that we are laborers together with God. We are not wise enough to work by ourselves. God has made us His stewards, to prove us and to try us, even as He proved and tried ancient Israel. He will not have His army composed of undisciplined, unsanctified, erratic soldiers, who would misrepresent His order and purity. RH October 8, 1901, par. 13

Those who think that they can please God by obeying some other law than His, and by performing works other than those which the gospel has enjoined, are mocking God. They are insulting the Holy One of Israel. Warning after warning is given in the last message of mercy to the world. Appeal after appeal is made. The worst of sinners are to hear the call. All are to be given a final test. Loath to give up, sorrowful, yet hoping, Christ knocks at the door of the heart. RH October 8, 1901, par. 14

When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian Church united to the world and the papacy. And as He stood upon Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hills, so He is weeping over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, “Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of my law.” Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and knowledge, as He said to the Jews, “If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes”? RH October 8, 1901, par. 15