They chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim - They seem to have presumed that the men of Ai would have immediately opened their gates to them, and therefore they marched up with confidence; but the enemy appearing, they were put to flight, their ranks utterly broken, and thirty-six of them killed. שברים Shebarim signifies breaches or broken places, and may here apply to the ranks of the Israelites, which were broken by the men of Ai; for the people were totally routed, though there were but few slain. They were panic-struck, and fled in the utmost confusion.
The hearts of the people melted - They were utterly discouraged; and by this gave an ample proof that without the supernatural assistance of God they could never have conquered the land.
Shebarim - Rather, perhaps, “the stone quarries.” The smallness of the slaughter among the Israelites indicates that they fled early, probably without real conflict in battle.
A concealed golden wedge and a Babylonish garment troubled the entire camp of Israel. The frown of God was brought upon the people because of the sin of one man. Thousands were slain upon the field of battle because God would not bless and prosper a people among whom there was even one sinner, one who had transgressed His word. This sinner was not in holy office, yet a jealous God could not go forth to battle with the armies of Israel while these concealed sins were in the camp. 3T 239.1
Notwithstanding the apostle's warning is before us to “abstain from all appearance of evil,” some persist in pursuing a course unbecoming Christians. God requires His people to be holy, to keep themselves separate from the works of darkness, to be pure in heart and life, and unspotted from the world. The children of God, by faith in Christ, are His chosen people; and when they stand upon the holy ground of Bible truth they will be saved from fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. 3T 239.2
Brother R, you have stood directly in the way of the work of God and have brought great darkness and discouragement upon His cause. You have been blinded by Satan; you have worked for sympathy and have obtained it. Had you stood in the light you could have discerned the power of Satan at work to deceive and destroy you. The children of God do not eat and drink to please the appetite, but to preserve life and strength to do their Master's will. They clothe themselves for health, not for display or to keep pace with changing fashion. The desire of the eye and the pride of life are banished from their wardrobes and from their houses, from principle. They move from godly sincerity, and their conversation is elevated and heavenly. 3T 239.3
God is very pitiful, for He understands our weaknesses and our temptations; and when we come to Him with broken hearts and contrite spirits, He accepts our repentance, and promises that, as we take hold of His strength to make peace with Him, we shall make peace with Him. Oh, what gratitude, what joy, should we feel that God is merciful! 3T 239.4Read in context »
The sin of one man discomfited the entire army of Israel. A wrong course pursued by one toward his brother will turn the light of God from His people until the wrong is searched out and the cause of the oppressed is vindicated. God requires His people to be tender in their feelings and discriminations, while their hearts should be enlarged, their feelings should be broad and deep, not narrow, selfish, and penurious. Noble sympathy, largeness of soul, and disinterested benevolence are needed. Then can the church triumph in God. But just as long as the church suffer selfishness to dry up kindly sympathy and tender, thoughtful love and interest for their brethren, every virtue will be corroded. Isaiah's fast should be studied and close self-examination made with a spirit to discern whether there is in them the principles which God's people are required to possess in order that they may receive the rich blessings promised. 3T 519.1
God requires that His people should not allow the poor and afflicted to be oppressed. If they break every yoke and release the oppressed, and are unselfish and kindly considerate of the needy, then shall the blessings promised be theirs. If there are those in the church who would cause the blind to stumble, they should be brought to justice; for God has made us guardians of the blind, the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless. The stumbling block referred to in the word of God does not mean a block of wood placed before the feet of the blind to cause him to stumble, but it means much more than this. It means any course that may be pursued to injure the influence of their blind brother, to work against his interest, or to hinder his prosperity. 3T 519.2
A brother who is blind and poor and diseased, and who is making every exertion to help himself that he may not be dependent, should be encouraged by his brethren in every way possible. But those who profess to be his brethren, who have the use of all their faculties, who are not dependent, but who so far forget their duty to the blind as to perplex and distress and hedge up his way, are doing a work which will require repentance and restoration before God will accept their prayers. And the church of God who have permitted their unfortunate brother to be wronged will be guilty of sin until they do all in their power to have the wrong righted. 3T 519.3Read in context »
The promptness and bravery of Saul, as well as the generalship shown in the successful conduct of so large a force, were qualities which the people of Israel had desired in a monarch, that they might be able to cope with other nations. They now greeted him as their king, attributing the honor of the victory to human agencies and forgetting that without God's special blessing all their efforts would have been in vain. In their enthusiasm some proposed to put to death those who had at first refused to acknowledge the authority of Saul. But the king interfered, saying, “There shall not a man be put to death this day: for today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel.” Here Saul gave evidence of the change that had taken place in his character. Instead of taking honor to himself, he gave the glory to God. Instead of showing a desire for revenge, he manifested a spirit of compassion and forgiveness. This is unmistakable evidence that the grace of God dwells in the heart. PP 613.1
Samuel now proposed that a national assembly should be convoked at Gilgal, that the kingdom might there be publicly confirmed to Saul. It was done; “and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.” PP 613.2
Gilgal had been the place of Israel's first encampment in the Promised Land. It was here that Joshua, by divine direction, set up the pillar of twelve stones to commemorate the miraculous passage of the Jordan. Here circumcision had been renewed. Here they had kept the first Passover after the sin at Kadesh and the desert sojourn. Here the manna ceased. Here the Captain of the Lord's host had revealed Himself as chief in command of the armies of Israel. From this place they marched to the overthrow of Jericho and the conquest of Ai. Here Achan met the penalty of his sin, and here was made that treaty with the Gibeonites which punished Israel's neglect to ask counsel of God. Upon this plain, linked with so many thrilling associations, stood Samuel and Saul; and when the shouts of welcome to the king had died away, the aged prophet gave his parting words as ruler of the nation. PP 613.3Read in context »
The work of publication is to be developed in new lines and carried as it has never yet been carried.—Letter 328, 1907. PM 147.1
Confederacy in Review Offices—The question has been asked, “What does Sister White mean by saying and writing that there was in the office [of the Review and Herald Publishing Association] a confederacy that was an offense to God?” If those to whom this testimony was given had been under the enlightenment of the Spirit of God, they would have understood this. PM 147.2
There was a confederacy in regard to the matter of wages. Certain ones agreed together not to yield their decision on that point, and they did not until the reproof came over and over and pressed closer and closer home, so that they dared not go farther without some change. Then they yielded, but not heartily, not because they saw the sinfulness of their course of action. PM 147.3
Did the Lord accept the spirit and the manner of the yielding? No; He could not trust them as representatives in His cause to advance His work. They had gone forward in their own spirit of self-sufficiency, and the work was marred in their hands. They confederated together to sustain and uphold one another—in what? Let them answer. I leave them with God. Sufficient is it that God would not trust His work in their hands, for them to mold and fashion after their own order while the Holy Spirit was not molding and fashioning them. PM 147.4
Light has been given repeatedly in regard to the spirit that should control the Review and Herald office. No excuse can be presented for a departure from the principles that should ever be revealed in every branch of the work of God. Men are not to put their hands to the work, to fashion it after their own ideas, ignoring the principles that God has repeatedly declared should be maintained in the upbuilding and prosperity of His cause. PM 147.5
The Pattern, Jesus Christ, must ever be kept before us. The Lord Jesus says, “Follow me.” He that would “come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” This was not done, but a new order of things was introduced into the office. The counsels of God were too often ruled out of your assemblies. How? With some by an unholy confederacy. “We will stand together,” they said. “You give me your support, and I will give you my support.” This was the principle that controlled some of the workers in the office. God calls it an unholy confederacy. His grace and His spirit had nothing to do with this human policy.... PM 147.6Read in context »