July 1 Esight, 2007

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” —Isaiah 43:2, KJVI would like you to notice the phrase, “Thou shalt not,” in the above passage. What’s most interesting is that in this verse, that phrase is perceived as a promise. Why is this significant? Because this is the exact same phrase used in Exodus 20.

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . .

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them . . .

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain . . .

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy . . .

Honour thy father and thy mother . . .

Thou shalt not kill . . .

Thou shalt not commit adultery . . .

Thou shalt not steal . . .

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour . . .

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house,

thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife . . .

(Exodus 20:1-17 KJV)

Why is it then that, when we read the phrase in Exodus 20, we perceive it as a prohibition, if the phrase used in Isaiah is a promise? Could the Ten Commandments actually be ten promises? Absolutely! These were never ten rules God expected us to live up to, but rather ten principled descriptions of how we would live if we could simply encounter God and His great love for us. By encountering His love, that same love is awakened in us, and love is the fulfillment of the law. This is why the Ten Commandments do not begin with the first “Thou shalt not” but the revelation of God’s love for Israel in bringing them out of bondage. It is by believing in His love and His love for us alone that the following principles will manifest in our life. Rather than trying to keep His commands, try focusing on His great love for you this week, and see if that awakens in you the other-centeredness described in those ten holy precepts.

“All His biddings are enablings.” (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333)

“The law of ten commandments is not to be looked upon as much from the prohibitory side, as from the mercy side.” (Ellen White, Letter 96, 1896.)

“The ten commandments,” “Thou shalt,” and, “Thou shalt not,” are ten promises . . .” (Ellen White, Bible Echo, June 17, 1901 par. 3)

July 1 Esight, 2007

Herb MontgomeryWhat’s in a word? The specific word I’m referring to is the tiny three-letter word “let.” Moses records this word as being the very first word God spoke in this earth’s history.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

I would like you consider the implication of using this word first. Webster’s Dictionary defines “to let” as “to not prevent or hinder but to allow.” When it comes to the Gospel we find Paul using this very word again in His letter to the believers in Philippi. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Could this really be true? We spend so much time and effort to “make” things happen but could it be that what God wants is simply for us to “let” them happen? This would imply that there is another power outside of us endeavoring to work, and we simply get in its way. But isn’t this exactly what Paul stated in the same letter just a few paragraphs (if they used paragraphs back then) later? “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Jesus also used this word.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

For Isaiah had written “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). The implication is that something is taking place which involves us but is being initiated and performed outside of our doing, and we are simply not to hinder it, but to “let” it happen. Why? Because as Paul stated at the very beginning of his letter to Philippi, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

“But isn’t there something we must do?” you may ask. Absolutely! But be careful.

“There is need of constant watchfulness, and of earnest, loving devotion; but these will come naturally when the soul is kept by the power of God through faith.” (Ellen White, Selected Messages Vol. 1 p. 354; emphasis added) Did you catch the word “naturally?” The principle remains, that by love is love awakened. (Desire of Ages, p. 22) God is ever at work seeking to awaken the principles of His other-centered love in each of us. He is ever bestowing grace, mercy and kindness upon all both good and evil alike (see Matthew 5:45) endeavoring to restore us back to His image, His love, through this awakening encounter. The greatest question we can answer is “will we let that awakening take place?” Will we keep trying to do it ourselves or will we choose instead to lay down our best efforts and focus instead on His great character, His great love for us? Only by encountering His love for us will that same love be awakened in us, both for Him and those around us. The path of self-reliance leads to continued failure, the path which keep His love ever our focus and emphasis leads to joy, happiness, peace and even victory. Again, “When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously” (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons p. 384). Spontaneously? Really? Yes!

Do you long for greater unselfishness in your life? Are you tired of continued failure? Try resting for a while. Try not trying. Give up! Surrender to Him and let Him do it! Take a moment right now and pray this prayer with me.

Dear Loving and Gracious Father,

I’m tired of always trying to do it myself. I’m tired of continually failing. I surrender to you right now. You have my full permission to take me on the journey of discovering Your great love for me with the hope that in encountering Your love, that same love will be awakened in me by You. I choose to believe that You are at work in my life, and that You have not given up on me. You will finish the work that you began. I choose, right now, to let you.

In the name of Your Son,

Amen.

Take heart my dear friend. He has promised,

“I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43:13, KJV)

July 1 Esight, 2007

E.J. Waggoner. . . All this deliverance is “according to the will of our God and Father.” The will of God is our sanctification (1Thess.4:3). He willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1Tim.2:4). And He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph.1:11). “What! do you mean to teach universal salvation?” We mean to teach just what the Word of God teaches,–that “the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11, R.V.). God has wrought out salvation for every man, and has given it to him; but the majority spurn it, and throw it away. The Judgment will reveal the fact that full and complete salvation was given to every man, and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession. Thus every mouth will be stopped.

The will of God is, therefore, something to rejoice in, and not something to be accepted with a wry face, and merely endured. Even though it involves suffering, it is for our good, and is designed to work “for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (Rom.8:28; 2Cor.4:17). In the law His will is revealed (Rom.2:18), and we should, therefore, study it, saying with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God” (Ps.40:8).

Here is the comfort of knowing the will of God. He wills our deliverance from the bondage of sin; therefore, we can pray with the utmost confidence, and with thanksgiving; for “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1John 5:14,15). Blessed assurance! Let us ever with glad and humble hearts pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Glad Tidings, pp. 23-24).

July 1 Esight, 2007

Ellen G. White At the first advent of Christ, darkness, covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Light and truth seemed to have departed from among men, and Satan appeared to reign in undisputed power. Rival sects existed, and among those who professed to be the servants of God were displayed love of preeminence and strife for power and position. Souls who were desirous of light were filled with perplexity and sorrow. Many were sighing, “What is truth?” Ignorance prevailed, but many were looking for something better, looking for light that would illuminate the moral darkness of the world. They were thirsting for a knowledge of the living God, for some assurance of a life beyond the tomb. There were men not of the Jewish nation who prophesied that an inspired instructor would come to teach them of the truth. There were among the Jews men who had not polluted their integrity, who read with eager anticipation the sure word of prophecy that pointed to the advent of the Redeemer. They rejoiced in the promise that God had made to his servant Moses: “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Again they read how the Lord should anoint Him to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. They read how he would set judgment in the earth, how the isles should wait for his law, how the Gentiles would come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising.

Christ came just as prophecy had foretold. He was the “way, the truth, and the life,” and the beams of the Sun of Righteousness dispelled the moral darkness so that the honest in heart might see the truth. The absence of outward display and worldly grandeur, called forth comments of disapprobation from the people. Doubt and criticism met him on every side. Christ himself had chosen the human conditions of his life. He had selected the lowliest place in society. He was the Majesty of heaven, and he knew that the world would bear sway by magnificence, carrying everything before its display and grandeur; but Jesus honored those whom the world looked upon with contempt. Christ’s birthplace was devoid of conveniences, not to speak of riches and luxury. And his entire life in this world was in keeping with the humble home of his early experience.

The Saviour of the world proposed that no attraction of an earthly character should call men to his side. The light and beauty of celestial truth alone should be the drawing power. The outward glory, the worldly honor, which attracts the attention of men, he would not assume. He made himself accessible to all, teaching the pure, exalted principle of truth as that which was only worthy of their notice. But although so humbly born, so unpretending in life, God did not leave him without a witness. The principalities of heaven did him homage. Wonders in the heavens above and signs in the earth beneath attested his power and majesty. At his baptism a voice from heaven fell upon the ears of men, declaring, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The bright glory of God in the form of a dove of burnished gold encircled him. John declared: “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

Christ came to represent the Father. We behold in him the image of the invisible God. He clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to the world that the erroneous ideas Satan had been the means of creating in the minds of men, in regard to the character of God, might be removed. We could not behold the glory of God unveiled in Christ and live; but as he came in the garb of humanity, we may draw nigh to our Redeemer. We are called upon to behold the Lord our Father in the person of his Son. Christ came in the robe of the flesh, with his glory subdued in humanity, that lost man might communicate with him and live. Through Christ we may comprehend something of him who is glorious in holiness. Jesus is the mystic ladder by which we may mount to behold the glory of the infinite God. By faith we behold Christ standing between humanity and divinity, connecting God and man, and earth and heaven.

Christ came to save fallen man, and Satan with fiercest wrath met him on the field of conflict; for the enemy knew that when divine strength was added to human weakness, man was armed with power and intelligence, and could break away from the captivity in which he had bound him. Satan sought to intercept every ray of light from the throne of God. He sought to cast his shadow across the earth, that men might lose the true views of God’s character, and that the knowledge of God might become extinct in the earth. He had caused truth of vital importance to be so mingled with error that it had lost its significance. The law of Jehovah was burdened with needless exactions and traditions, and God was represented as severe, exacting, revengeful, and arbitrary. He was pictured as one who could take pleasure in the sufferings of his creatures. The very attributes that belonged to the character of Satan, the evil one represented as belonging to the character of God. Jesus came to teach men of the Father, to correctly represent him before the fallen children of earth. Angels could not fully portray the character of God, but Christ, who was a living impersonation of God, could not fail to accomplish the work. The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes. That men might have salvation he came directly to man, and became a partaker of his nature.

The Father was revealed in Christ as altogether a different being from that which Satan had represented him to be. Said Christ, “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” The love of Jesus, expressed for the fallen race in his life of self-denial and sufferings, is the manifestation of the Father’s love for a sinful, fallen world. Christ endured shame and grief and death for those who despised his love and trampled upon his mercy. He paid the debt of man’s transgression upon the cross of Calvary with his own precious blood. The men of his own nation, the leaders of the people, were so ensnared by the deceptions of Satan that the plan of redemption for a fallen race seemed to their minds indistinct and unexplainable.

Man was God’s workmanship, made after his image, endowed with talents, and fitted for a high destiny. But Satan has worked to obliterate the divine image, and to impress his own image instead of the image of God in man’s nature. Jesus condescended to humble himself, to take human nature, and by uniting divinity with humanity, he proposed to elevate man in the scale of moral value. All heaven was poured out in the gift of God’s dear Son. Through faith in him the sinner could be justified, and God could yet be just in justifying the sinner; for Christ had become a propitiation for the sins of the repentant soul. The only plan that could be devised to save the human race was that which called for the incarnation, humiliation, and crucifixion of the Son of God, the Majesty of heaven. After the plan of salvation was devised, Satan could have no ground upon which to found his suggestion that God, because so great, could care nothing for so insignificant a creature as man. The redemption of man is a wonderful theme, and the love manifested to the fallen race through the plan of salvation, can be estimated only by the cross of Calvary. The depth of this love even angels cannot sound. That God could consent to become flesh, and dwell among fallen beings, to lift them up from their helplessness and despair, is an unfathomed mystery. He whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, whose dominion endureth throughout all generations, made himself to be sin for us that he might lift up all that are bowed down, and give life to those who are ready to perish.

Oh, that men might open their minds to know God as he is revealed in his Son! Truth came forth from the lips of Jesus, uncorrupted with human philosophy. His words were from heaven, such as mortal lips had never spoken nor mortal ears ever heard. His heart was an altar on which burned the flames of infinite love. Goodness, mercy, and love were enthroned in the breast of the Son of God. He set up his tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment, pitched his tent by the side of the tents of men, that he might dwell among them and make them familiar with his divine character and love. No one could love Christ and pay homage to him without serving and honoring the infinite God. Those who had an appreciation of the character and mission of Christ, were filled with reverence and awe, as they looked upon him and felt that they were looking upon the temple of the living God. Officers were sent to take the Son of God, that the temple in which God was enshrined might be destroyed. But as they drew near and heard the words of divine wisdom that fell from his lips, they were charmed, and the power and excellence of his instruction so filled their hearts and minds that they forgot the purpose for which they had been sent. Christ revealed himself to their souls. Divinity flashed through humanity, and they returned so filled with this one thought, so charmed with the ideas he had presented, that when the leaders of Israel inquired, “Why have ye not brought him? they replied, “Never man spake like this man.” They had seen that which priests and rulers would not see,–humanity flooded with the light and glory of divinity. Those who would behold this glory would be drawn to love Jesus and to love the Father whom he represented. Christ exalted the character of God, attributing to him the praise, and giving to him the credit, of the whole purpose of his own mission on earth,–to set men right through the revelation of God. In Christ was arrayed before men the paternal grace and the matchless perfections of the Father. In his prayer just before his crucifixion, he declared, “I have manifested thy name.” “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” When the object of his mission was attained,–the revelation of God to the world,–the Son of God announced that his work was accomplished, and that the character of the Father was made manifest to men.

(Signs of the Times, January 20, 1890)