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Deuteronomy 1:16

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Moses reminds the people of the happy constitution of their government, which might make them all safe and easy, if it was not their own fault. He owns the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham, and prays for the further accomplishment of it. We are not straitened in the power and goodness of God; why should we be straitened in our own faith and hope? Good laws were given to the Israelites, and good men were to see to the execution of them, which showed God's goodness to them, and the care of Moses.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 94

Later, when choosing seventy elders to share with him the responsibilities of leadership, Moses was careful to select, as his helpers, men possessing dignity, sound judgment, and experience. In his charge to these elders at the time of their ordination, he outlined some of the qualifications that fit a man to be a wise ruler in the church. “Hear the causes between your brethren,” said Moses, “and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's.” Deuteronomy 1:16, 17. AA 94.1

King David, toward the close of his reign, delivered a solemn charge to those bearing the burden of the work of God in his day. Summoning to Jerusalem “all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men,” the aged king solemnly charged them, “in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God,” to “keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 28:1, 8. AA 94.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 381

“The people, among whom I am,” exclaimed Moses, “are six hundred thousand footmen; and Thou has said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them?” PP 381.1

He was reproved for his distrust: “Is the Lord's hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” PP 381.2

Moses repeated to the congregation the words of the Lord, and announced the appointment of the seventy elders. The great leader's charge to these chosen men might well serve as a model of judicial integrity for the judges and legislators of modern times: “Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's.” Deuteronomy 1:16, 17. PP 381.3

Moses now summoned the seventy to the tabernacle. “And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” Like the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, they were endued with “power from on high.” It pleased the Lord thus to prepare them for their work, and to honor them in the presence of the congregation, that confidence might be established in them as men divinely chosen to unite with Moses in the government of Israel. PP 381.4

Again evidence was given of the lofty, unselfish spirit of the great leader. Two of the seventy, humbly counting themselves unworthy of so responsible a position, had not joined their brethren at the tabernacle; but the Spirit of God came upon them where they were, and they, too, exercised the prophetic gift. On being informed of this, Joshua desired to check such irregularity, fearing that it might tend to division. Jealous for the honor of his master, “My lord Moses,” he said, “forbid them.” The answer was, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” PP 381.5

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 604

It was with the full assent of the nation that Samuel had appointed his sons to office, but they did not prove themselves worthy of their father's choice. The Lord had, through Moses, given special directions to His people that the rulers of Israel should judge righteously, deal justly with the widow and the fatherless, and receive no bribes. But the sons of Samuel “turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” The sons of the prophet had not heeded the precepts which he had sought to impress upon their minds. They had not copied the pure, unselfish life of their father. The warning given to Eli had not exerted the influence upon the mind of Samuel that it should have done. He had been to some extent too indulgent with his sons, and the result was apparent in their character and life. PP 604.1

The injustice of these judges caused much dissatisfaction, and a pretext was thus furnished for urging the change that had long been secretly desired. “All the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” The cases of abuse among the people had not been referred to Samuel. Had the evil course of his sons been known to him, he would have removed them without delay; but this was not what the petitioners desired. Samuel saw that their real motive was discontent and pride, and that their demand was the result of a deliberate and determined purpose. No complaint had been made against Samuel. All acknowledged the integrity and wisdom of his administration; but the aged prophet looked upon the request as a censure upon himself, and a direct effort to set him aside. He did not, however, reveal his feelings; he uttered no reproach, but carried the matter to the Lord in prayer and sought counsel from Him alone. PP 604.2

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 52

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 52.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 420

“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 420.3

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