Ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude - This was the promise God made to Abraham, Genesis 15:5, Genesis 15:6; and Moses considers it now as amply fulfilled. But was it really so? Many suppose the expression to be hyperbolical; and others, no friends to revelation, think it a vain empty boast, because the stars, in their apprehension, amount to innumerable millions. Let us consider this subject. How many in number are the stars which appear to the naked eye? for it is by what appears to the naked eye we are to be governed in this business, for God brought Abraham forth abroad, i. e., out of doors, and bade him look towards heaven, not with a telescope, but with his naked eyes, Genesis 15:5. Now I shall beg the objector to come forth abroad, and look up in the brightest and most favorable night, and count the stars - he need not be terrified at their abundance; the more they are, the more he can count; and I shall pledge myself to find a male Israelite in the very last census taken of this people, Numbers 26, for every star he finds in the whole upper hemisphere of heaven. The truth is, only about 3,010 stars can be seen by the naked eye in both the northern and southern hemispheres; and the Israelites, independently of women and children, were at the above time more than 600,000. And suppose we even allow that, from the late discoveries of Dr. Herschel and others with telescopes which have magnified between 35 and 36,000 times, there may be 75 millions of stars visible by the help of such instruments, which is the highest calculation ever made, yet still the Divine word stands literally true: St. Matthew says, Deuteronomy 1, that the generations from Abraham to Christ were 42; now we find at the second census that the fighting men among the Hebrews amounted to 603,000; and the Israelites, who have never ceased to be a distinct people, have so multiplied as far to exceed the number of all the fixed stars taken together.
A comparison between this passage and that in Exodus makes it obvious that Moses is only touching on certain parts of the whole history, without regard to order of time, but with a special purpose. This important arrangement for the good government of the people took place before they left Horeb to march direct to the promised land. This fact sets more clearly before us the perverseness and ingratitude of the people, to which the orator next passes; and shows, what he was anxious to impress, that the fault of the 40 years‘ delay rested only with themselves!
15-24. Balak Amazed by Revelation—The Moabites understood the import of the prophetic words of Balaam—that the Israelites after conquering the Canaanites, should settle in their land, and all attempts to subdue them would be of no more avail than for a feeble beast to arouse the lion out of his den. Balaam told Balak that he would inform him what the Israelites should do to his people at a later period. The Lord unfolded the future before Balaam, and permitted events which would occur, to pass before his sight, that the Moabites should understand that Israel should finally triumph. As Balaam prophetically rehearsed the future to Balak and his princes, he was struck with amazement at the future display of God's power (Spiritual Gifts 4a:48). 1BC 1117.1Read in context »
Some can see only the destruction of God's enemies, which looks to them unmerciful and severe. They do not look upon the other side. But let everlasting thanks be given, that impulsive, changeable man, with all his boasted benevolence, is not the disposer and controller of events. “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” 4aSG 52.1Read in context »
“For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.” Read Deuteronomy 7:6. Read the whole chapter, also chapters 1 and 8. These were presented to me as the words of the Lord. These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. TM 420.1
We are to have only those connected with our institutions who will hear the word of the Lord and appreciate and obey His voice. When a man will plead and urge to have his mind and his judgment to be supreme in any one of our institutions, you can have no greater evidence that that man does not know himself and is not qualified to manage. He will make mistakes and injure rather than restore. He does not know what responsibilities are involved in his relation to God or to his fellowmen. TM 420.2
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be? Those who walk humbly with God will not be striving to obtain greater responsibilities, but will consider that they have a special work to do, and will be faithful to their duty. In our institutions, great good can be done in educating by precept and example, in economy in all lines. If you, my brother, had learned in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart, you would always stand on vantage ground. You have not an evenly balanced character. You cannot safely put confidence in your own judgment in all things. Man's way is to devise and scheme; God implants a principle. Man is striving to make duty soft and accommodating to his own natural character; but life is a battlefield; life is a race which he has to run if he is victor.... TM 420.3Read in context »