April 25, 2007

How God Sees the Nations

2007 1512 page12 cape are living in perilous times, and because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. Shall those who profess to love God be carried away with the prevailing wickedness? Shall they be tempted to disregard the law of Jehovah, and render less reverence to the holy commandment, because the tide of evil brings to bear so strong a current against goodness and righteousness? The zeal and love of the children of God should rise in proportion as they see the law of Jehovah set aside and treated as nonessential. They should cry, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”
Our Responsibility
As iniquity increases, and contempt is manifested against the law of God, those who truly love God will reach for a higher state of holiness. Let us all bear in mind the fact that we are fast approaching that crisis in human iniquity when it will be necessary for God to interfere. The Amorites were inhabitants of Canaan, and the Lord had promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites; but a long interval must pass before his people should possess the land. He stated the reason why this interval must pass. He told them that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full, and their expulsion and extermination could not be justified until they had filled up the cup of their iniquity. Idolatry and sin marked their course, but the measure of their guilt was not such that they could be devoted to destruction. In his love and pity God would let light shine upon them in more distinct rays; he would give them opportunity to behold the working of his wondrous power, that there might be no excuse for their course of evil. It is thus that God deals with the nations. Through a certain period of probation he exercises longsuffering toward nations, cities, and individuals. But when it is evident that they will not come unto him that they might have life, judgments are visited upon them. The time came when judgment was inflicted upon the Amorites, and the time will come when all the transgressors of his law will know that God will by no means clear the guilty. “Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” 
Lessons From History
2007 1512 page12The Jews rejected light and truth, and the Son of God who died to save the worst sinners, who had said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,” declared that the blood of all the prophets which had been shed from the foundation of the world should be required of the Jewish nation. Great light had been given the Jews, but they would not heed it. To substantiate truth, evidence had been piled upon evidence; but as a nation, they rejected the counsel of God against themselves. When the judgment of God did fall upon the Jews, it was an evidence that they were finally impenitent, and set stubbornly against light and truth, against the messages and warnings of God. They pursued a course similar to that of their fathers, and had filled up the measure of their iniquity. They had worn out the divine patience by their repeated sins, and so great was their influence for evil upon the human family, that God made an example of them before the world.  
Let us consider solemnly the dealings of God with nations and individuals, that we may avoid taking a course that will ruin us through transgression of the law of God. Let us treasure up every blessing, every heaven-sent ray of light, in warnings, in reproofs, in tokens of mercy given unto us. Let us not be among those who lightly regard God’s forbearance. The figures of their iniquity are traced with unerring accuracy in the records of heaven, and are rapidly accumulating to the full measure of their guilt. God is still sending his precious messages of truth; he is still revealing precious gems of truth that have been hidden beneath the rubbish of error. He is still making plain his overtures of mercy, his willingness to pardon transgression and sin. He is still offering the wedding garment woven in the loom of heaven, even the righteousness of Christ, that men may be clothed, and prepared to enter the marriage supper of the Lamb. 
Eternal Certainties
God does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. With tearful utterance the husbandman says, “What could have been done more for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” The unrivaled mercies and blessings of God have been showered upon our nation, it has been a land of liberty, and the glory of the whole earth. But instead of returning gratitude to God, instead of honoring God and his law, the professed Christians of America have become leavened with pride, covetousness, and self-sufficiency. The love of money, which is the root of all evil, has had a large place in their hearts. Many whose names are upon the church records have oppressed the poor, and grasped every possible advantage over those who were under them. They have lived to gratify appetite, to make extravagant display; and pride is fast making a Sodom of our world. But God is keeping his reckoning. The treatment of the poor, the robbery of the widow and the fatherless by those who are lifted up against the weak and helpless, is all written in the book of heaven. The cries of those who are oppressed have reached the ears of him who judgeth righteously. 
This article is selected from one that first appeared in the May 2, 1893, edition of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (now the Adventist Review). Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.