By H. M. Phillips
In this age of free and liberal religious thinking we often hear some one say: “Preach the gospel and let others alone.” The idea is to let others do as they please and let God accept or reject them. Preachers have made quite a study of how to preach and let people alone, yet it is not a success even with the people or the preacher, and surely God is not at all pleased with such efforts.
The Israelities said to Moses: “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians?” (Ex. 14:12) This was said when they came to the Red Sea and saw no way of escape.
The prophet Hosea said: “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hos. 4:17). So often we may see what appears to us a case for which there is no hope. It is like casting pearls before swine, and we despair of any good being done. Ezra (6:7) exhorts certain ones to let the work of the house of God alone. They were not of the people of God, and it is for God’s people to take care of the house of God. What a lesson for some now who call on outsiders to help the church!
This book on Proverbs is in our new “Bible Text Books” series of adult and senior high studies. It contains 13 lessons covering the book of Proverbs. The book contains commentary plus a good selection of different kinds of questions to motivate class preparation and participation.
But possibly the most interesting thing connected with the expression, “Let me alone,” is when God told Moses to let him alone and he would destroy the Israelites (Exod. 32:10). Why did God speak to Moses? Whom did he ever tell, before or after, to let him alone when he got ready to do anything? Who or what was Moses, that God seemingly consulted him before acting? Again, why did God take the advice of Moses rather than do as he said he would, which was to destroy the people? Did Moses have to instruct God as to what people would say about his action? Had God got so angry and so hasty in it that Moses had to give him a rebuke to settle affairs for the best and let God not do anything rashly? Well, I think not, but God was putting Moses to a test. If he would plead for a people who had gone astray; if he would die with them; if he would even be blotted out if they were not spared, then God could look with some hope to Moses as a leader in patience, love, and intense interest. What a noble spirit to plead for the rebellious! What a great thing to know that Moses pleaded with God to spare Israel and let him lead them on to success! If God would destroy those who were rebellious, then what hope would Moses have? For he, too, was rebellious in not glorifying God in the rock. Let us not want to let God alone and may we never want him to let us alone.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 6, p. 180
March 15, 1990