Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 12, 1904

The Blessing of Obedience

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

January 11, 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in CW 109.

I am not able to sleep after half-past two. I think, “I will not begin the day’s work so early.” But my mind is active, and I can not but desire to communicate the instruction that the Lord has given me. I did not go to rest unto after eight. I awoke at two and arose at half-past two. After dressing, I built my fire. Raking out a rich bed of live coals from under the ashes, I put on some small wood, and then a large chunk, and I soon had a splendid fire. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 1

At my door, I found the latest number of the Review and Herald, and I read this for a while. It is full of good food for the flock of God. The truth, plain, positive truth, is set forth just as it should be. The experiences that it relates of the workers in mission fields are very interesting. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 2

In these last days the one who was once an exalted angel in the heavenly courts is to take the philosophy of men under his training. The people of God are to guard carefully against the seductive influence of the deceiver. They are to hold firmly to the truths which called them out from the world and led them to stand as God’s denominated people. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 3

It makes me very sad to think of how many will fall short of the Bible standard. If we knew that in just one year from now, the Lord would come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, what a feeling of solemnity would rest upon us! How earnestly we should strive to prepare for His coming, that, clothed in the wedding garment, we might go in unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 4

The Law Repeated

The children of Israel had come one more to the river Jordan. The Lord announced to Moses that the appointed time for the possession of Canaan was at hand and directed him to rehearse to the people the history of their deliverance from Egypt and their journeyings in the wilderness, and also to recapitulate the law spoken from Sinai. When the law was given, but few of the present generation were old enough to comprehend the awful solemnity of the occasion. As they were soon to pass over Jordan and take possession of the promised land, God would present before them the claims of His law and enjoin upon them obedience as the condition of prosperity. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 5

“And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Here, O Israel, that statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 6

“The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, ... saying, 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 7

“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 8

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 9

“Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 10

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 11

“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a stranger in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 12

“Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 13

“Thou shalt not kill. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 14

“Thou shalt not commit adultery. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 15

“Neither shalt thou steal. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 16

“Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 17

“Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” [Deuteronomy 5:1-21.] 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 18

Have we kept these commandments? If not, why not? How can we expect the Lord to co-operate with us and bless us if we are disobedient? May the Lord God of heaven clear the fog of unbelief away from the minds that are so clouded that they do not reverence God or obey His law. Many of those who profess to be serving the Lord refuse to obey the precepts of His law. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 19

“These words the Lord spake unto you in all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them to me. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 20

“And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountains did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto Me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; and ye said, Behold, the Lord our God has showed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire; we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 21

“Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 22

“And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: They have well said all that they have spoken. O that there was such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 23

“Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. But as for thee, stand thou here by Me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 24

“Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.” [Verses 22-33.] 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 25

God’s desire for His people to obey His law is shown in the words, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.” [Verse 29.] God’s statutes and judgments are given to His people for their good, to be a wall of protection round about them. It is by obedience to them that we gain eternal life. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 26

God saw that of themselves, human beings have no power to keep His law. He sent His Son to the world to bring them this power. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:14, 12.] Only through the grace of Christ can men and women become partakers of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 27

The Sabbath

God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work.” [Genesis 2:3.] The Lord gave the seventh day to man as a day of rest and worship. It is His memorial of creation, bearing witness to the power of the everlasting God, who in six days created the heavens and the earth. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 28

Men have trampled underfoot the requirements of God and have exalted the first day of the week as holy. They have made laws to compel men to keep holy a day on which God has placed no sanctity. The Protestant churches have exalted Sunday, the child of the Papacy, to the place of the Sabbath of Jehovah. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 29

Those who dishonor the Lord’s Sabbath set themselves in opposition to Him and the laws of His kingdom. Read what God has said in the thirty-first chapter of Exodus in regard to the seventh-day Sabbath. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 30

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily, My sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 31

“Six days may work be done; but the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath to observe the sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” [Verses 12-17.] 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 32

The seventh-day Sabbath points to Jehovah as the personal, all-powerful God, the Creator of the world. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 33

The Blessing of Obedience

God is testing and proving His family in this world to see whether they will return to their loyalty. Only by obedience to His commandments can they gain eternal life. 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 34

“Behold,” God declares, “I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:12-14.] 19LtMs, Ms 12, 1904, par. 35