The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
May 1, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                         Chapter Twelve-Concluded.
                           and .
                            By Mrs. E. G. White.

In the absence of , Jacob took his family and all that he had, and departed. After he had pursued his journey three days, Laban learned that he had left him, and he was very , and pursued after him, determined to bring him back by force. But had pity upon , and as Laban was about to overtake him, gave him a dream not to speak good or bad to Jacob. That is, he should not force him to return, or urge him by flattering inducements. When Laban met his , he inquired why he had stolen away unawares, and carried away his as taken with the sword. Laban tells him, “It is in the of my hand to do you hurt; but the of your fathers spake unto me yesternight,” and he mentioned how he had been warned by the . Jacob then rehearsed to Laban the ungenerous course he had pursued toward him, that he had studied only his own advantage. He appeals to his as to the of his while with him: “That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.”

A ’s life was one of diligence. He was obliged to watch his flocks day and night. Wild beasts were common, and often bold, and would do great injury to sheep and cattle that were not guarded by a faithful shepherd. Although Jacob had a number of servants to aid him in tending the flocks owned by himself and Laban, the responsibility of the whole matter rested upon him. And during some portions of the year he was obliged to be with the flocks himself, day and night, to care for them in the dry season, that they might not perish with thirst; in the coldest part of the year to save them from becoming chilled with the heavy night frosts. Their flocks were also in danger of being stolen by unprincipled shepherds.

A shepherd’s life was one of constant care. He was not qualified for his position unless he was merciful, and possessed courage and perseverance. Jacob was chief shepherd, and had shepherds under him who were termed servants. The chief shepherd called these servants, to whom he intrusted the care of the flock, to a strict account if they were not found in a flourishing condition. If any of the cattle were missing, the chief shepherd suffered the loss.

Christ, in his relation to his people, is compared to a shepherd. He saw, after the fall, his sheep in a pitiable condition, exposed to sure destruction. He left the honors and glories of his father’s house to become a shepherd, to save the miserable, wandering sheep, who were ready to perish. His winning voice was heard calling them to his fold, a safe and sure retreat from the hand of robbers; also a shelter from the scorching heat, and a protection from the chilling blasts. His care was continually exercised for the good of his sheep. He strengthened the weak, nourished the suffering, and gathered the lambs of the flocks in his arms, and carried them in his bosom. His sheep love him. He goeth before them, and they hear his voice, and follow him. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” Christ says,”I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

Christ is the chief shepherd. He has intrusted the care of his flock to under-shepherds. He requires these shepherds to have the same interest for his sheep that he has ever manifested, to ever feel the responsibility of the charge he has intrusted to them. Ministers, who are called of God to labor in word and doctrine, are Christ’s shepherds. He has appointed them under himself to oversee and tend his flock. He has solemnly commanded these to be faithful shepherds, to feed the flock with diligence, to follow his example, to strengthen the weak, nourish the fainting, and shield them from devouring beasts. He points them to his example of love for his sheep. To secure their deliverance, he laid down his own life. If they imitate his self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care. They will manifest a deeper interest than did Jacob, who was a faithful shepherd over the sheep and cattle of Laban. They will be constantly laboring for the welfare of the flock. They will not be mere hirelings, of whom Jesus speaks, who possess no particular interest in the sheep; who, in time of danger of trial, flee and leave the flock. A shepherd who labors merely for the wages he obtains, cares only for himself, and is continually studying his own interests and ease, instead of the welfare of his flock.

Says Peter, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Says Paul, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

All those professing to be shepherds, who feel that to minister in word and doctrine, and bear the burdens and have the care which every faithful shepherd should have, is a disagreeable task, are reproved by the apostle: “Not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” All such unfaithful shepherds, the chief Shepherd would willingly release. The church of God is purchased with the blood of Christ, and every shepherd should realize that the sheep under his care cost a priceless sum. He should be diligent in his labor, and persevering in his efforts to keep the flock in a healthy, flourishing condition. He should consider the sheep intrusted to his care of the highest value, and realize that he will be called to render a strict account of his ministry. And if he is found faithful, he will receive a rich reward. “When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Jacob continued, plainly presenting before Laban the injustice of his course: “Thus have I been twenty years in thy house. I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle; and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.”

Laban then assured Jacob that he had an interest for his daughters and their children, and he could not harm them. “Now, therefore,” he said. “come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.” To this, Jacob consented, and a pile of stones was thrown up as a visible token of the compact.

And Laban said, “The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives besides my daughters; no man is with us, see, God is witness between me and thee.” Laban understood the wrong of polygamy, although it was through his artifice alone that Jacob had taken two wives. He well knew that it was the jealousy of Leah and Rachel that led them to give their maids to Jacob, which confused the family relation, and increased the unhappiness of his daughters. And now as they are journeying to a distant country, and their interest is to be entirely separate from his own, he would guard their happiness as far as possible.

Jacob made a solemn covenant before the Lord, that he should not take other wives. “And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; this heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac.”

Jenny @ 10:44 am

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