I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Revelation 22:16.
The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message. We have no time to lose. . . . Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, “the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
We do not go deep enough in our search for truth. Every soul who believes present truth will be brought where he will be required to give a reason of the hope that is in him. The people of God will be called upon to stand before kings, princes, rulers, and great men of the earth, and they must know that they do know what is truth. They must be converted men and women. God can teach you more in one moment by His Holy Spirit than you could learn from the great men of the earth. The universe is looking upon the controversy that is going on upon the earth. At an infinite cost, God has provided for every man an opportunity to know that which will make him wise unto salvation. How eagerly do angels look to see who will avail himself of this opportunity! When a message is presented to God’s people, they should not rise up in opposition to it; they should go to the Bible, comparing it with the law and the testimony, and if it does not bear this test, it is not true. God wants our minds to expand. He desires to put His grace upon us. We may have a feast of good things every day, for God can open the whole treasure of heaven to us.
Maranatha p. 23
—–Please pray for the Church in Iceland. We need special help now. Please, this week. Unnur
Once I went to a concert at a college where I soon noticed that there were so many of the choir members who were not watching the conductor. Those who were looking elsewhere simply were not in focus to start in time and in harmony with their leader. Having sung in choirs myself, this half-hearted performance really spoiled the concert for me. It would have been far better to have only those choir members who were focused on the conductor. It would have been a much smaller group, but it would have been a much better performance.
As I left the concert, I began to think of a Bible story of another group some of whom were not earnest in their work for God and focused on their leader Gideon. You can read the entire story in Judges 6 and 7. Because of the Israelites’ idolatry, God had allowed the Midianites to conquer them. They were in abject poverty and distress. Many cried unto the Lord for help. Our Merciful Redeemer’s Great Heart of Love was touched with their distress. He sent His angel to Gideon, a young man who was secretly threshing wheat in a winepress because he figured that the Midianites wouldn’t look there. While working, Gideon was thinking about the plight of his people and the miracles God had done in the past. How he longed for God to work in behalf of Israel again. When bidden to be the one through whom God worked, he felt unworthy, but after several signs that God would be with him, he called his and the surrounding tribes to his aid. Thirty- two thousand came but they were not all focused on the task at hand.
“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. . . .And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.”
Just like the choir members who were watching and ready for the conductor’s signal to start, it was only those Israelites who were ready to give of themselves wholeheartedly to the service of the Lord that were used to bring deliverance from their enemies. Those three-hundred men kept their eyes on Gideon, keep their ears open for his signal. Their entire focus was on their leader. Through them, God delivered the Israelites from their enemies.
So today, our eyes must be focused upon our Heavenly Leader Who pleads, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa 45:22 Moment by moment, our heart must be in tune with His Great Heart of Love. We must, every moment, look upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, that we may ready for His leading. (Heb 12:2) How vital it is that we keep our attention on Him Who gave Himself for us, that we might gain the victory over sin and become fit to dwell with Him on High. How careful we must be that “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in” cause us to look away from Jesus. If we do, we will not be ready for His call.
May we give turn our eyes away from the things of this world and keep our focus and attention on the Lord Jesus Christ. May we heed the words of our Great Leader Who calls, “give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Prov 23:26 May we so live that we may be able to declare as did Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim 4:7, 8