As a river "Like the river" - That is, the Euphrates.
O that thou hadst heardened to my commandments! - This expresses the earnest wish and desire of God. He would greatly have preferred that they should have kept his law. He had no wish that they should sin, and that these judgments should come upon them. The doctrine taught here is, that God greatly prefers that people should keep his laws. He does not desire that they should be sinners, or that they should be punished. It was so with regard to the Jews; and it is so with regard to all. In all cases, at all times, and with reference to all his creatures, he prefers holiness to sin; he sincerely desires that there should be perfect obedience to his commandments. It is to be remarked also that this is not merely prospective, or a declaration in the abstract. It relates to sin which had been actually committed, and proves that even in regard to that, God would have preferred that it had not been committed. A declaration remarkably similar to this, occurs in Psalm 81:13-16:
O that my people had hearkened unto me,
And Israel had walked in my ways;
I should soon have subdued their‘ enemies,
And turned their hand against their adversaries
The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him:
But their time should have endured forever.
He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.
Then had thy peace been as a river - The word ‹peace‘ here (שׁלום shâlôm ) means properly wholeness, soundness, and then health, welfare, prosperity, good of every kind. It then denotes peace, as opposed to war, and also concord and friendship. Here it evidently denotes prosperity in general, as opposed to the calamities which actually came upon them.
As a river - That is, abundant - like a full, flowing river that fills the banks, and that conveys fertility and blessedness through a land. ‹The pagan, in order to represent the Universal power and beneficence of Jupiter, used the symbol of a river flowing from his throne; and to this the Sycophant in Plautus alludes (Trium. Act iv. Sc. 2, v. 98), in his saying that he had been at the head of that river:
Ad caput amuis, quod de coelo exoritur, sub solio Jovis.
See also Wemyss‘ Key to the Symbolical Language of Scripture, Art. River. Rivers are often used by the sacred writers, and particularly by Isaiah, as symbolic of plenty and prosperity Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 33:21; Isaiah 41:18; Isaiah 43:19.
And thy righteousness - The holiness and purity of the nation. Religion, with all its inestimable benefits, would have abounded to the utmost extent. Instead of the prevailing idolatry and corruption, the hypocrisy and insincerity which had abounded, and which made it necessary for God to remote them, they would have been distinguished for sincerity, purity, love, and holy living. And this proves that God would have preferred the prevalence of holiness.
As the waves of the sea - What can be a more beautiful or sublime image than this? What can more strikingly represent the abundance of the blessings which religion would have conferred on the land? The waves of the sea are an emblem of plenty. They seem to be boundless. They are constantly rolling. And so their righteousness would have been without a limit; and would have rolled unceasingly its rich blessings over the land. Who can doubt that this would have been a better state, a condition to have been preferred to that which actually existed?
We visited Healdsburg, St. Helena, Vacaville, and Pacheco. My husband accompanied me when the weather was favorable. The winter was rather a trying one to us; and as my husband had improved in health, and the weather in Michigan had become mild, he returned to be treated at the sanitarium. Here he received great benefit, and resumed writing for our papers with his usual clearness and force. 4T 284.1
I dared not accompany my husband across the plains; for constant care and anxiety, and inability to sleep, had brought upon me heart difficulties which were alarming. We felt keenly as the hour of separation drew on. It was impossible to restrain our tears; for we knew not that we should meet again in this world. My husband was returning to Michigan, and we had decided that it was advisable for me to visit Oregon and bear my testimony to those who had never heard me. 4T 284.2
I left Healdsburg for Oakland the 7th of June and met with the Oakland and San Francisco churches under the large tent in San Francisco, where Brother Healey had been laboring. I felt the burden of testimony and the great need of persevering personal efforts on the part of these churches to bring others to the knowledge of the truth. I had been shown that San Francisco and Oakland were missionary fields and ever would be. Their increase of numbers would be slow; but if all in these churches were living members and would do what they might do in getting the light before others, many more would be brought into the ranks and obey the truth. The present believers in the truth were not interested for the salvation of others as they should be. Inactivity and indolence in the cause of God would result in backsliding from God themselves, and by their example they would hinder others from going forward. Unselfish, persevering, active exertion would be productive of the very best results. I tried to impress upon them that which the Lord had presented before me, that He would have the truth presented to others by earnest, active laborers, not those who merely profess to believe it. They should not present the truth in words merely, but by a circumspect life, by being living representatives of the truth. 4T 284.3Read in context »
If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ for us, the same spirit will flow out to others. We should love and respect one another, notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us large-hearted and generous. SC 121.1
The psalmist says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Psalm 37:3. “Trust in the Lord.” Each day has its burdens, its cares and perplexities; and when we meet how ready we are to talk of our difficulties and trials. So many borrowed troubles intrude, so many fears are indulged, such a weight of anxiety is expressed, that one might suppose we had no pitying, loving Saviour ready to hear all our requests and to be to us a present help in every time of need. SC 121.2
Some are always fearing, and borrowing trouble. Every day they are surrounded with the tokens of God's love; every day they are enjoying the bounties of His providence; but they overlook these present blessings. Their minds are continually dwelling upon something disagreeable which they fear may come; or some difficulty may really exist which, though small, blinds their eyes to the many things that demand gratitude. The difficulties they encounter, instead of driving them to God, the only source of their help, separate them from Him because they awaken unrest and repining. SC 121.3Read in context »
My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord . Psalm 104:34. SD 311.1
Rest yourself wholly in the hands of Jesus. Contemplate His great love, and while you meditate upon His self-denial, His infinite sacrifice made in our behalf in order that we should believe in Him, your heart will be filled with holy joy, calm peace, and indescribable love. As we talk of Jesus, as we call upon Him in prayer, our confidence that He is our personal, loving Saviour will strengthen, and His character will appear more and more lovely.... We may enjoy rich feasts of love, and as we fully believe that we are His by adoption, we may have a foretaste of heaven. Wait upon the Lord in faith. The Lord draws out the soul in prayer, and gives us to feel His precious love. We have a nearness to Him, and can hold sweet communion with Him. We obtain distinct views of His tenderness and compassion, and our hearts are broken and melted with contemplation of the love that is given to us. We feel indeed an abiding Christ in the soul.... Our peace is like a river, wave after wave of glory rolls into the heart, and indeed we sup with Jesus and He with us. We have a realizing sense of the love of God, and we rest in His love. No language can describe it, it is beyond knowledge. We are one with Christ, our life is hid with Christ in God. We have the assurance that when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. With strong confidence, we can call God our Father. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. His Spirit makes us like Jesus Christ in temper, and disposition, and we represent Christ to others. When Christ is abiding in the soul the fact cannot be hid; for He is like a well of water springing up into everlasting life. We can but represent the likeness of Christ in our character, and our words, our deportment, produces in others a deep, abiding, increasing love for Jesus, and we make manifest ... that we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.59Letter 52, 1894. SD 311.2Read in context »
There is a work before us to subdue the pride and vanity that seek a place in our hearts, and through penitence and faith to bring ourselves into familiar and holy converse with Christ.... We must deny self, and fight continually against pride. We must hide self in Jesus, and let Him appear in our character and conversation. While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. Our lives, our deportment, will testify how highly we prize our Redeemer, and the salvation He has wrought out for us at such a cost to Himself. And our peace will be as a river while we bind ourselves in willing, happy captivity to Jesus (The Signs of the Times, March 17, 1887). LHU 233.4Read in context »