Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts - Συ, κυριε, καρδιογνωστα . The word καρδιογνωστης, the searcher of hearts, seems to be used here as an attribute of God; he knows the hearts, the most secret purposes, intentions, and dispositions of all men; and because he is the knower of hearts, he knew which of these men he had qualified the best, by natural and gracious dispositions and powers, for the important work to which one of them was now to be appointed.
And they prayed - As they could not agree on the individual, they invoked the direction of God in their choice - an example which should be followed in every selection of an individual to exercise the duties of the sacred office of the ministry.
Which knowest the hearts of all men - This is often declared to be the special prerogative of God, Jeremiah 17:10, “I, Yahweh, search the heart,” etc.; Psalm 139:1, Psalm 139:23; 1 Chronicles 28:9. Yet this attribute is also expressly ascribed to Jesus Christ, Revelation 2:18; compare 23, “These things saith the Son of God - I am he which searcheth the reins and the hearts”; John 2:25; John 6:64; John 16:19. There are strong reasons for supposing that the apostles on this occasion addressed this prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:
(2)we are told that they worshipped him, or rendered him divine honors after his ascension, Luke 24:52.
(4)this was a matter pertaining especially to the church which the Lord Jesus had redeemed, and “to his own arrangement” in regard to it. He had chosen the apostles; he had given them their commission; he had fixed their number; and, what is worthy of special remark here, he had been the companion of the very men here designated as candidates for the office, and knew their qualifications for this work. If the apostles ever called on the Lord Jesus after his ascension, this was a case in which they would be likely to do it. That it was done is clear from the account of the death of Stephen, Acts 7:59-60. And in this important matter of ordaining a new apostle to be a witness for Jesus Christ, nothing was more natural than that they should address him, though bodily absent, as they would assuredly have done if he were present. But if on this occasion they did actually address Christ, then two things clearly follow. First, that it is proper to render him divine homage, agreeably to the uniform declarations of the Scripture: John 5:23, “That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father”; Hebrews 1:6, “And let all the angels of God worship him”; Philemon 2:10-11; Revelation 5:8-14; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12. Secondly, he must be divine. To none other but God can religious homage be rendered; and none other can be described as knowing the hearts of all people. The reason why they appealed to him on this occasion as the searcher of the heart was doubtless the great importance of the work to which the successor of Judas was to be called. One apostle of fair external character had proved a traitor; and, with this fact before them, they appealed to the Saviour himself to select one who would be true to him, and not bring dishonor upon his cause.
Show whether - Show which of them.
Thou hast chosen - Which of the two thou hast judged to be best qualified for the work.
The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation, and leaving in the rear those who are disposed to draw off from the body, who are not willing to be led, and are satisfied with their own righteousness. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” No greater delusion can deceive the human mind than that which leads men to indulge a self-confident spirit, to believe that they are right and in the light, when they are drawing away from God's people, and their cherished light is darkness. 1T 333.1
The class in —— who have been drawing off from the body have possessed a hard, bitter spirit against those whom God is using as His instruments to bring His people up united upon the only true platform. Their spirit is opposed to the work of God, and their influence has brought reproach upon the cause of God, and has made our faith disgusting to unbelievers, and caused Satan to exult. Those who are walking in church capacity and trying to serve God, may for a time be annoyed with those among them who are not right, and who have been shown me as self-righteous and pharisaical; but if they are patient, and walk humbly before God, earnestly praying for His power and Spirit, they will advance, and those who are unsound in the faith will be left behind. 1T 333.2
Brother J was presented before me, and I was shown that his course has not been pleasing to God. He was unstable. He has been befogged with the Age-to-Come, and as there is not the least harmony between the Age-to-Come theory and the third angel's message, he lost his love for and faith in the message, and felt irritated because so much had been said in regard to it. The third angel is proclaiming a most solemn message to the inhabitants of the earth; and shall God's chosen people be indifferent to it, and not unite their voice to sound this solemn warning? Brother J is deceived, and is deceiving others. His theme has been consecration, when his heart was not right. His mind has been divided. He has had no anchor to hold him, and has been floating about without a settled faith. Much of his time has been occupied in relating to one and another reports and stories calculated to distract and unsettle minds. He has had much to say in regard to my husband and myself, and against the visions. He has stood in a position, “Report, ... and we will report it.” God sent him not on such a mission. He has not known whom he has been serving. Satan has been using him to throw minds into confusion. What little influence he had he has used to prejudice minds against the third angel's message. He has by false reports presented the visions in a wrong light, and weak souls who were not established in all the present truth have fed upon these things instead of clean provender thoroughly winnowed. He has been deceived in regard to sanctification. Unless he now changes his course, and is willing to be instructed, and cherishes the light given, he will be left of God to pursue his own course and follow his own imperfect judgment until he will make shipwreck of faith, and by his unwise course become a signal warning to those who choose to go independent of the body. God will open the eyes of honest souls to understand the cruel work of those who scatter and divide. He will mark those who cause divisions, that every honest one may escape from Satan's snare. 1T 333.3Read in context »
“If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. 9T 263.1
“So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.” Exodus 18:13-26. 9T 263.2
In the first chapter of Acts, also, instruction is given regarding the choosing of men to bear responsibilities in the church. The apostasy of Judas had left one place vacant in the ranks of the apostles, and it was necessary that another be chosen to take this place. Speaking of this, Peter said: 9T 263.3Read in context »
Study the first and second chapters of Acts. Light has been given me that our work must be carried forward in a higher and broader way than it has ever yet been carried. The light of heaven is to be appreciated and cherished. This light is for the laborers. It is for those who feel that God has given them a message, and that they have a sacred responsibility to bear in its proclamation. FE 530.1
The message of present truth is to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Let us understand this, and let those placed in responsible positions come into such unity that the work shall go forward solidly. Do not allow any man to come in as an arbitrary ruler, and say, You must go here, and you must not go there; and you must do this, and you must not do that. We have a great and important work to do, and God would have us take hold of that work intelligently. The placing of men in positions of responsibility in the various conferences, does not make them gods. No one has sufficient wisdom to act without counsel. Men need to consult with their brethren, to counsel together, to pray together, and to plan together for the advancement of the work. Let laborers kneel down together and pray to God, asking Him to direct their course. There has been a great lack with us on this point. We have trusted too much to men's devisings. We cannot afford to do this. Perilous times are upon us, and we must come to the place where we know that the Lord lives and rules, and that He dwells in the hearts of the children of men. We must have confidence in God. FE 530.2
Wherever you may be sent, cherish in your hearts and minds the fear and love of God. Go daily to the Lord for instruction and guidance; depend upon God for light and knowledge. Pray for this instruction and this light, until you get it. It will not avail for you to ask, and then forget the thing for which you prayed. Keep your mind upon your prayer. You can do this while working with your hands. You can say, Lord, I believe; with all my heart I believe. Let the Holy Spirit's power come upon me. FE 530.3Read in context »