“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 examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:2-3 KJV.
“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 which he has ever manifested, and 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 life for them. If they imitate his self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care. They will manifest a deeper interest than 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 merely hirelings, of whom Jesus speaks, who possess no particular interest in the sheep; who, in time of danger or trial, flee and leave the sheep. A shepherd who labors merely for the wages he obtains, cares only for himself, and is continually studying his own interest 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. They should be diligent in their labor, and persevering in their efforts to keep the flock in a healthy, flourishing condition. They should consider the sheep intrusted to their care of the highest value, and realize that they will be called to render a strict account of their ministry. And if they are found faithful, they will receive a rich reward. ‘And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.’
Jacob says, ‘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, that he could not harm them. He proposed to make a covenant between them. And Laban said, ‘Now, therefore, come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap, and they did eat there upon the heap.’
Laban understood the wrong of polygamy, although it was alone through his artifice 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 his daughters are journeying at a great distance from him, and their interest is to be entirely separate from his own, he would guard, as far as possible, their happiness. Laban would not have Jacob bring still greater unhappiness upon himself, and upon Leah and Rachel, by taking other wives. 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 betwixt me and thee.’
Jacob made a solemn covenant before the Lord, that he would 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 swear by the fear of his father Isaac.’
As Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. And when he saw them, he said, ‘This is God’s host.’ He saw the angels of God, in a dream, encamping around about him. Jacob sent a humble, conciliatory message to his brother Esau. ‘And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; and said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
‘And Jacob said, 0 God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant ; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'” EGW, SOP Vol 1, 1870 pp. 114-118.
Have a wonderful preparation day.
Back to the Roots Part II: Christ, Food, Health, Garden, etc. A follow up on the counsel of SCRIPTURE & SOP on these important subjects via Zoom on September 10-15, 2023 nightly 7:00-9:00pm US EDT.
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