God explicitly instructed, "Ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him" (KJV, Joshua 6:3-5).
What unique and peculiar instructions God laid out. It leads one to ponder about the feelings of the people. How many in that vast congregation doubted? How many believed that the plan of the Almighty would fail? How many were simply waiting their turn to implement the plan they thought would be better suited for the situation? Is not this the same thought process Judas indulged?
In fact, Judas thought that if he were received as a counselor, “he could suggest many plans for the advantage of the little church. His principles and methods would differ somewhat from Christ’s, but in these things he thought himself wiser than Christ" (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, 719).
Mark this and mark it carefully. There is no plan greater than Jehovah's. Nothing is better than the instructions He has given, and I'm positive no one reading this believes God would have given Israel the victory in their battle against Jericho if they had in any way disregarded His commands. I ask solemnly, has God changed? We are told that "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Of course Jesus has not changed!
MODERN ISRAEL NOT SO VERY DIFFERENT
Today, in modern Israel, we look back in disappointment at the history of our forefather’s disobedience, and sadly, we often practice the same principles. When one is convicted by God’s message, they are consumed with the desire to do God’s work, to preach the gospel in all the world, and to see Jesus come. Yet, despite our intentions and sincerity, we continue to fail in our efforts to co-labor with God in bringing these things to past, simply because we have failed to search out what God has plainly stated would accomplish this goal.
When Israel fought Amalek, God would have not given them the victory if they failed to hold up Moses hands. "Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun" (Exodus 17:12).
In the valley by the hill of Moreh, God would not have delivered the Midianites into Gideon's hand if he took 400 men with him to the battle. "And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place" (Judges 7:7).
On the day of Pentecost, God would not have poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples if they were not assembled in Jerusalem. "And, being assembled together with them, [he] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me" (Acts 1:4).
What about now? Will God empower us to finish the work in our day, while we disobey His clear instructions? No, He will not. In the words He spoke to Gideon, "The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me" (Judges 7:2).
"I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8).
Revelation 18:1 paints a picture of the world being lightened with God's glory - His character, His ways. Dwell on this fact: God will not finish the work, while we are using our current methods, because He would not get the glory. Finishing the work under these conditions would only provide heaven with boastful human beings who are ready to start the great controversy all over again. We are fighting against the last message in ignorance of proclaiming it.
"What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself" (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 456).
Self must be laid in the dust, including our plans, our methods, and our evangelistic strategies. In the inspired writings, both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, God has instructed us individually and corporately just as surely as He instructed Israel of old. It remains with us to search out His counsels to cooperate with Him in His purpose for the remnant church.
IS THIS SIMPLY ABOUT EVANGELISM?
No! God has entrusted us with a wealth of truth and we will be judged by our demonstration, or lack thereof, of that knowledge. How can we limit His ways to what we consider evangelism and outreach? Should not our life, in all its bearings, witness to Jesus and evangelize the world? We must snap out of our shortsightedness and obey God's will, His plan, in every area of our life. We must show His ways to be better than what the world offers. Only then can we truly finish the work. Only then will the earth be lightened with His glory. Only then will the world acknowledge the wisdom and understanding God has given us above all the nations.
“The theme of greatest importance is the third angel’s message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths” (Counsels to Writers and Editors, 29). Let us seek God's plan that we may lighten the earth with His glory and His glory alone. Then, the work will be finished