Because of transgression, Adam and Eve lost their beautiful Eden home. Those who have the history of Adam before them should ever shun the course of action that opened the floodgates of woe upon our world. Adam’s descendants followed the imagination of their own hearts. Through His faithful messengers, the Lord warned them that in one hundred and twenty years, if they did not repent, He would destroy the earth, and the inhabitants with a flood. They held their future in their own hands. If during their probation they would repent and turn to the Lord, He would avert His judgment. But they would not believe the message, and they laughed at Noah. They would not turn from their wickedness to obey the commands of God, and as the result the word of God was fulfilled to the letter.
Many years after this the Lord spoke to His people from the pillar of cloud, promising to make them the most powerful people upon the face of the earth if they would obey His commandments. If they refused to do this, He must treat them as He can only in justice treat all apostates.
“And it shall come to pass,” He declared, “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments, which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out…. The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day to observe and to do them.”
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then will I give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of your land, neither shall the sword go through your land: and ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword: … And I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
If the people obeyed the word of the Lord, doing all that the Lord commanded them, they could present themselves before God, and pray with confidence, “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou gavest us, as thou swarest unto our fathers.”
God specified also the sure result of a disregard for His commands. “If ye will not hearken unto me,” He said, “and will not do all these commandments, … I also will do this unto you: I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you; for ye shall be slain by your enemies. They that hate you shall reign over you, and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins, and I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass, and your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”
“It shall come to pass if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and statutes, which I command you this day, that all these curses shall come unto thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shalt be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of the body, and the fruit of the land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.”
This is the result of disobedience and transgression. Let all read carefully the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, realizing that it makes every difference to a people whether they are obedient or disobedient to the law of Jehovah.
The prophecies regarding Israel were fulfilled to the letter. God permitted His chosen people to be scattered as captives in strange lands. When they repented, God took them to Himself again, and established them in His own land. But their continual disobedience resulted in their complete overthrow, and in the overthrow of Jerusalem.
“It shall come to pass,” the Lord declared, “when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice, according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, … the Lord thy God will put all thy curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee…. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it afar off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us? and bring it nigh unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
Please read carefully to the end of this chapter. The Lord gave directions that these commands should be put into song, and sung by all the Israel of God, lest these matters of such great importance should be forgotten.
God promised that by obedience to His law, the people would be exalted and made the representatives of His goodness, mercy, and love. Jesus was the hope and the tree of life to His elect and chosen people. He promised that sickness should not prey upon their bodies. But if they followed a course independent of God, they would be under the controlling power of Satan the destroyer.
It was because the Lord’s chosen people did the very things that the Lord told them not to do that the sure result of their course of action came upon them. They separated from God. They opened the door of the heart to Satan’s suggestions, and received his words as the words of God. They accepted maxims and ceremonies that God had not given. This brought in such a mass of rubbish that the principles given by Christ from the pillar of cloud were perverted. God could not give the people the blessings He longed to bestow upon them.
The people for whom God had done so much separated themselves from God. Solomon erected an imposing pile of buildings for the idolatrous worship of idols of wood and stone. These buildings were partially destroyed by Josiah. He gave orders that every building and idol should be swept away. But the debris remained, confronting the temple of God. Afterwards, the question was asked by those who worshiped in the temple, how came these buildings and idols on the opposite side of the Jehoshaphat ravine? The answer was, The builder was Solomon, he whom God honored when he honored God, to whom was given the stewardship of the temple on Mount Moriah, then called the beloved of God.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, but after a time his wisdom became mingled with chaff. When came the chaff? After a manhood of such glorious promise, a change came in Solomon’s history. He did not continue true to his purity and allegiance to God. He broke through the barriers which God had erected to preserve His people from idolatry. The Lord had singled out Israel as a nation, making them the depositaries of sacred truth, to be given to the world. But Solomon cherished pride of political powers. He encouraged alliances with pagan kingdoms. He procured the silver of Tarshish and the gold of Ophir, but it was at the expense of destroying sacred trusts. Evil communications corrupted good manners. One false movement led to an acquaintance with idolaters. He formed marriage alliances with the daughters of pagan worshipers, and his wives led him away from God. His separation from God through communication with idolaters ruined him.
Those idols, peering above the trees of nature, confronting the temple, were the broken, defaced evidence that a man who separates from obedience to God will separate from wisdom and righteousness. They told the pitiful story that a man closely related to God, who offered such a prayer at the dedication of the temple, became an idolater, because of his idolatrous wives. For them he built those high places. He became the tool of Satan, and a slave to impulse. His fine sensibilities were blunted, his conscience seared. His perceptions, so clear and exalted in his early service, were clouded.
In the early part of his reign, Solomon was visited by the Queen of Sheba. She came to see and hear his wisdom, and after she had heard him, she said that the half had not been told her. But his wise and strictly just reign changed. He who had known God and the truth made great outlay of means to please his godless wives. He made expensive gardens. God’s money, which should have been held sacred to help the poor among the people, as God directed, was absorbed by the king’s ambitious projects. It was diverted from its original channel. It was not expended to do for the nation the work of improvement that needed to be done. The suffering ones were not given houses and food and clothing, as God had specified they should be given. By his extravagant outlay of means, Solomon sought to please his wives and glorify himself. Thus he used the means which had been abundant, and brought a heavy taxation upon the poor.
Solomon’s heart was divided. His character was changed. How little dependence can be placed on human wisdom, human glory. From being a kind, just, God-fearing king, Solomon became a tyrant. His moral efficiency was gone, as the power is gone from a paralytic. He made an effort to incorporate light with darkness, to serve God and mammon. He felt at liberty to experiment in wild license. But Belial and purity could not mingle; and the course the king pursued brought its own penalty. He separated from God, and the knowledge of God departed from him. “His wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God.”
Let every man strive in the strength of the Most High to preserve his integrity before God, at any cost. Better, far, lose wife and children rather than lose living connection with the source of light and power. Unholy marriages which God cannot bless or sanctify, will prove the ruin of many souls.
Men who have the use of money are to learn a lesson from the history of Solomon. Those who have a competence are in continual danger of thinking that money and position will ensure them respect and they need not be so particular. But self-exaltation is but a bubble. By misusing the talents given him, Solomon apostatized from God. When God gives men prosperity, they are to beware of following the imaginations of their own hearts, lest they endanger the simplicity of their faith and deteriorate in religious experience.
— Manuscript 40, 1898