The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 46: The Blessings and the Curses
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Israel had received the law directly from the mouth of God
at Sinai; and its sacred precepts, written by His own hand, were [p. 503] still preserved in the ark. Now it had been again written where
all could read it. All had the privilege of seeing for themselves
the conditions of the covenant under which they were to hold
possession of Canaan. All were to signify their acceptance of the
terms of the covenant and give their assent to the blessings or
curses for its observance or neglect. The law was not only written
upon the memorial stones, but was read by Joshua himself in the
hearing of all Israel. It had not been many weeks since Moses
gave the whole book of Deuteronomy in discourses to the people,
yet now Joshua read the law again.
Not alone the men of Israel, but "all the women and the
little ones" listened to the reading of the law; for it was
important that they also should know and do their duty. God had
commanded Israel concerning His statutes: "Therefore shall ye
lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind
them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets
between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, . . .
that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children,
in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give
them, as the days of heaven upon the earth." Deuteronomy
Every seventh year the whole law was to be read in the
assembly of all Israel, as Moses commanded: "At the end of every
seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of
tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord
thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this
law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together,
men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within
thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear
the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
and that their children, which have not known anything, may
hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live
in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it." Deuteronomy
Satan is ever at work endeavoring to pervert what God has
spoken, to blind the mind and darken the understanding, and
thus lead men into sin. This is why the Lord is so explicit,
making His requirements so very plain that none need err. God
is constantly seeking to draw men close under His protection,
that Satan may not practice his cruel, deceptive power upon
them. He has condescended to speak to them with His own [p. 504] voice, to write with His own hand the living oracles. And these
blessed words, all instinct with life and luminous with truth,
are committed to men as a perfect guide. Because Satan is so
ready to catch away the mind and divert the affections from
the Lord's promises and requirements, the greater diligence is
needed to fix them in the mind and impress them upon the heart.
Greater attention should be given by religious teachers to
instructing the people in the facts and lessons of Bible history
and the warnings and requirements of the Lord. These should
be presented in simple language, adapted to the comprehension
of children. It should be a part of the work both of ministers
and parents to see that the young are instructed in the Scriptures.
Parents can and should interest their children in the varied
knowledge found in the sacred pages. But if they would interest
their sons and daughters in the word of God, they must be
interested in it themselves. They must be familiar with its
teachings, and, as God commanded Israel, speak of it, "when thou
sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when
thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deuteronomy 11:19.
Those who desire their children to love and reverence God must
talk of His goodness, His majesty, and His power, as revealed
in His word and in the works of creation.
Every chapter and every verse of the Bible is a communication
from God to men. We should bind its precepts as signs
upon our hands and as frontlets between our eyes. If studied
and obeyed, it would lead God's people, as the Israelites were led,
by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
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