No Other God Before Me

During the night I was sorely distressed. A great burden rested upon me. I had been pleading with God to work in behalf of His people. My attention was called to the money which they have invested in photographs. I was taken from house to house, through the homes of our people, and as I went from room to room, my Instructor said, “Behold the idols which have accumulated!”

As I visited the homes of our people and our schools, I see that all the available space on tables, what-nots, and mantelpieces is filled up with photographs. On the right hand and on the left are seen the pictures of human faces. God desires this order of things to be changed. Were Christ on earth, He would say, “Take these things hence.” I have been instructed that these pictures are as so many idols, taking up the time and thought which should be sacredly devoted to God.

These photographs cost money. Is it consistent for us, knowing the work that is to be done at this time, to spend God’s money in producing pictures of our own faces and the faces of our friends? Should not every dollar that we can spare be used in the upbuilding of the cause of God? These pictures take money that should be sacredly devoted to God’s service; and they divert the mind from the truths of God’s word.

This making and exchanging photographs is a species of idolatry. Satan is doing all he can to eclipse heaven from our view. Let us not help him by making picture-idols. We need to reach a higher standard than these human faces suggest. The Lord says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Those who claim to believe in Christ need to realize that they are to reflect His image. It is His likeness that is to be kept before the mind. The words that are spoken are to be freighted with heavenly inspiration.

Christ looks upon a world filled with the din of merchandise and trade, with the dishonesty and scheming of buyers and sellers. In their desire to get gain, men have lost sight of the laws of justice and equity. “It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.” Satan has devised a multitude of ways in which to keep men from serving God. He has invented sports and games, into which men enter with such intensity that one would suppose a crown of life was to reward the winner. At the horse races and football matches, which are attended by thousands and thousands of people, lives for which Christ shed His blood are thrown away. What will become of the souls of the men and boys whose lives are thus extinguished? Will they be counted worthy of the redemption which Christ died to secure for them?

Looking upon these God-dishonoring scenes, Christ asks, “What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” He calls the attention of men to the nobler world which they have lost from view. He points them to the threshold of heaven, flushed with the glory of the infinite God.

Those who have taken part in the solemn rite of baptism have pledged themselves to seek for those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; pledged themselves to labor earnestly for the salvation of sinners. God asks those who take His name, How are you using the powers that have been redeemed by the death of my Son? Are you doing all in your power to rise to a greater height in spiritual understanding? Are you adjusting your interests and actions in harmony with the momentous claims of eternity?

Let there be a reformation among the people of God. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Those upon whom the Lord has placed the burden of His work are struggling to proclaim the message, that souls perishing in ignorance may be warned. Can you not, by self-denial, do something to help them in their work? Arouse, and show by your unselfish zeal and earnestness that you are converted.

Every dollar is required in the work of saving souls. The money invested by the professed people of God in getting pictures made of human faces would support several missionaries in the field. Many small streams, when put together, swell into a large river.

We embezzle our Lord’s goods when we use for selfish pleasure the means which should be used to proclaim the last message of warning. If you spend the Lord’s money for self-gratification, how can you expect Him to continue to bestow His goods on you? How does the Master regard those who selfishly invest His money in photographs? That very money could have been used to purchase reading-matter to send to those in the darkness of ignorance.

The truth that God has given us must be heralded to the world. We have been given the privilege of doing this work. We are to sow the seed of truth beside all waters. The Lord calls upon us to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice. The gospel demands entire consecration. The necessities of the cause demand all that we can give. Our indulgence in photographs has been a selfish gratification on our part, which bears silent witness against us. By this indulgence a large amount of wood, hay, and stubble has been brought to the foundation, to be consumed by the fires of the last day.

After going from home to home, and seeing the many photographs, I was instructed to warn our people against this evil. This much we can do for God. We can put these picture-idols out of sight. They have no power for good, but interpose between God and the soul. They can do nothing to help in sowing the seeds of truth. Christ calls upon those who claim to be following Him to put on the whole armor of God. Our educational institutions need to feel the reforming power of the Spirit of God. “If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Those who are engaged as teachers in our schools and sanitariums should reach a high standard of consecration. And the students in these institutions, who are fitting themselves to go forth as missionaries, should learn to practice self-denial.

We are God’s stewards, and “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” The money that God has intrusted to us is to be carefully husbanded. We are to increase in efficiency by putting to the best use the talents given us, that at God’s coming we may return to Him His own with usury.1White, E. G. (1901, September 10). No Other Gods Before Me.  The Review and Herald

References   [ + ]

The Watchman

The Watchman

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light - bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. Evangelism, p. 119

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Words of Life

That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

— Deuteronomy 6:2

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