Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2.
Can any earthly promotion confer honor equal to this—to be sons of God, children of the heavenly King, members of the royal family? ... The nobility of earth are but men; they die, and return to dust; and there is no lasting satisfaction in their praise and honor. But the honor that comes from God is lasting. To be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, is to be entitled to unsearchable riches—treasures of such value that in comparison with them the gold and silver, the gems and precious stones of earth, sink into insignificance.
To have fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is to be ennobled and elevated, and made a partaker of joys unspeakable and full of glory. Food, clothing, station, and wealth may have their value; but to have a connection with God and to be a partaker of His divine nature is of priceless value. Our lives should be hid with Christ in God; and although it “doth not yet appear what we shall be,” “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear,” “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” The princely dignity of the Christian character will shine forth as the sun, and the beams of light from the face of Christ will be reflected upon those who have purified themselves even as He is pure. The privilege of becoming sons of God is cheaply purchased, even at the sacrifice of everything we possess, be it life itself.
When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when the children of God shall have put on immortality, they will “see him as he is.” They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ in His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of God, there to praise God through all eternity.
This text is from the devotional book Maranatha by Ellen G. White. To view more books by Ellen G. White, or to download this devotional book, visit egwwritings.org
I Lay Me Down
Observation: I laid me down. The pronoun “I” is emphatic. David represents himself as in danger of attack at any moment during the night, hunted and cursed by his enemies, nevertheless able to lie down in peace and sleep, so great was his trust in God. Since everything was in God’s hands, he had a sense of complete protection. His sleep was not mere weariness or indolence or presumption; it was an act of faith. Internal calm nerved him for the next day’s fight.
The Lord sustained me. The first waking thought is one of recognition that God had honored the trust placed in Him, even as his last thought on going to sleep had been one of complete confidence. The psalmist is strengthened to meet the needs of the day. The last thoughts of the night are often the first thoughts of the day. Note the sudden dramatic change from depression to triumph. Such is the benediction of the night and the promise of the new day (see Lam. 3:22, 23). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 3. 1977 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (636–637). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]
Application: Countless numbers of children have been taught to repeat every night the bedtime prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Innocently children have been taught that we have a soul inside of us which lies in God’s hands when we sleep, and which, if we die, He is free to keep for Himself forever. In a way it’s a bit scary, for a child, to learn that it is God’s arbitrary, maybe even selfish, choice to decide whose “soul” He chooses to keep for Himself and which ones He chooses to return to the body of a child so he/she may awake.
The psalmist writes a morning prayer in which he thanks God for keeping him safe and for watching over him throughout the night. As important as it is to pray with our children at bedtime, we need to make sure that we teach them not to fear God with the thought that He may keep their soul but rather with the assurance of His watchful care for them while they sleep. And then, first thing in the morning, pray with them so they can thank Him for His protection overnight thus teaching them gratitude for each new day of their life.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You for a new day of life and health, and thank You for watching over us last night as we slept.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.