Passive in His Hands

By John Thiel, mp3

Psalms 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. 

Is it your prayer in reality for the Lord to have his own way? Is it easy to do that? We have learnt that in our preparation to enter the heavenly Canaan, we are in need of being like Him. We need to have a perfect a character, there must be no sin in our life. We must be overcomers and triumphant. This requires a change, it requires me to change into His image. Considering where we are living in earth’s history in its relation to the closing of this earth’s history, the work is almost finished. We have some alarming thoughts.

The rapidly diminishing space of time between us and eternity should more deeply impress us. Every day that passes makes one less left us to complete our work of perfecting character…. {OHC 346.5}

One day less, another week less. How do we stand before the Lord?

The day is at hand. For the lessons to be learned, the work to be done, the transformation of character to be effected, the time remaining is but too brief a span. {Ed 184.2}

How long does it take in the path of sanctification? What is sanctification? It is a work of a lifetime. Do we have that? Is this alarming?

Said the angel, “Deny self; ye must step fast.” Some of us have had time to get the truth and to advance step by step, and every step we have taken has given us strength to take the next. But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months. They will also have much to unlearn and much to learn again. {EW 67.2}

I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels. {EW 67.1}

There is no impurity that can enter heaven. To be able to enter there is what our preparation is about. Here we are in these last seconds of probation left and we have to change into his purity very rapidly. That alarming concept is already rather overwhelming but when you look at the detail of what is revealed in reference to what has to be changed, it becomes even more frightening when I look at my nature, disposition, blindness and sleepiness. What is our reaction under correction? What is the characteristic of being impatient of restraint? Do you like to be under restraint and to be held back? The moment something crosses my path of what I’m comfortable with and any reproof and correction, there is a reluctance to give over as I can’t see that this reproof is warranted.

Many underestimate the evil of an error in themselves who fully recognize its influence in another {CSW 175.1}

Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

We can see the problem in the other but we underestimate our own.

On every side we meet those who are entirely ignorant of possessing characteristics which need to be modified. Others can see their objectionable traits of character; but when they are reproved, they imagine that they have been misjudged. {CSW 175.1}

This is a dreadful condition of God’s efforts to try and restore us. These elements crowd my mind and the application of God’s Word on my character. There is a thought that comes and says, will I ever get there? The question of despair overwhelms many a Christian. God says I’m going to finish the work quickly. Let us open our hearts to what God is saying as these things crowd in upon us.

Romans 9:28 For he will finish the work, and cut [it] short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

God will do a fast, short work. He knows how much our character needs to change and he says I’m going to hasten the process. What else does our Lord say?

Isaiah 44:21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.

44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

In despair and an overwhelming sense of my incapacities and personal short comings I see they are of a nature where I’m right in my own eyes and I’m wrong. God knows it all and he wants to change me and I can’t even see straight. I can see all the other faults and I’m brought face to face that what I see in others is a reflection of me. God speaks and says don’t forget I have brought you were you are now, I have formed you and brought you to this place. What is God saying? I’ve done all this with you and he who has done this work who has redeemed thee, this God, what should we be confident of?

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

This is what our preparation is all about, the day of Jesus Christ. He who has done a good work in you will finish it. Reflect back to where the Lord has brought you till now. What a joy when we first saw the light and surrendered, we left behind so much. He began a work and he will also finish it in the same way in which he began. There is something else the Lord wants to do. He is saying to us something important. He is speaking to the people he has risen. The people in whom he has commenced a work and he wants to finish it.

Isaiah 48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

He is speaking to those in whom He has commenced a work with but He says you are not in perfect peace are you. There are situations in your life where if you listened to my counsel, you would be in perfect peace.

Isaiah 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time [that] thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

48:9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

48:11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

These people that he has commenced a work with, He says look you are still in troubled waters aren’t you? There is lack of perfect peace. If only you had hearkened to my commandments. You heard me but you didn’t hear. You know not even though I told you. I knew you would deal treacherously. I know all about you. I know when things don’t go right that you will be treacherous.

Isaiah 48:9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

I am finishing the work, I’m going to continue to refine you.

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

3:3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

God is looking for an offering of our lives in righteousness. How is he going to do it? I’ve started the work, I’ve blotted out your iniquities and after I’ve done all this work you’re having a hard time still, you haven’t listened to my counsel, your peace would have been like a river but I won’t cut you off as I want to finish the work that I’ve commenced. That is the process of the refining fire by tribulation of burning quickly the dross out of my life. This is what God is saying to us in preparation. He wants me to be ready and He is going to cut short his work in righteousness. What will he do? He will cut off the dross, burn it off, chisel it and polish it and all that is required to make sure his people will glow with his righteousness. Consider who he is. The God who is speaking to us is the God of Isaiah 48.

Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.

I start you and I finish you.

God’s Hand

Isaiah 48:13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: [when] I call unto them, they stand up together.

We read these words glibly but go out into space and look down on the planet and go onto the ocean when it’s boisterous. Go out when an earthquake is taking place and see how precocious we are. This planet is on the verge of rocking to and fro. What does he say? My hand has laid down the foundation of the earth. My hand is responsible for the whole universe. I hold everything in my hand.

Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

12:8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

12:9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

12:10 In whose hand [is] the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

We are here to worship our God and the one who is speaking to us and to get us ready for his coming is the one we are worshipping who holds everything in his hand. How does that make you feel? My heart beat and breathe that I take so unconsciously is in his hand and he is keeping me alive.

Psalms 95:3 For the LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all Gods.

95:4 In his hand [are] the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills [is] his also.

95:5 The sea [is] his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry [land].

95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

95:7 For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

95:8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness:

We are reminded of God taking the children of Israel into the promised land and along the path, he who led them by a powerful hand who demonstrated his divine supernatural powers they murmured with. They did not feel comfortable with him. This same God is meeting the same problem today. In him we live and move and have our being see Acts 17:28. If he has the whole universe in his hand, if he has your life and your existence in his hand, is there anything too hard for him? Is anything too hard for him? Your and my hopeless case. You look at yourself and you say I have to do what he says but it’s so hard. Every little guidance he gives, he guides me with his eyes. As you read God’s Word and he is telling me this way, is it too hard?


Jeremiah was a very timid man.

Jeremiah 32:26 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

32:27 Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

When Sarah laughed because God said in their old age they were going to have a son, God said is there anything too hard for God? As we are overwhelmed with the high calling of God upon our life, do I believe that what he has done in my life so far he can complete? What is he able to do with you and me?

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

What does God do? I don’t even want to will sometimes and if He wants me to do something. He works in me to will and then I say yes I will but the good I want to do, I can’t do so he works within me to do what I can’t do. If I am going to stand perfectly pure one day in the near future and he has to cut his work short, how will he present me? What is he able to do? He who commenced the work for me to be where I am now, what will he do?

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.

Don’t look at yourself, look at the majesty of our God and what he said and what he has done and what he says he will continue to do. There is nothing impossible for him. For me to stand ready at his coming, is going to be his work to present me faultless before his throne, to keep me from falling in this world. This is God and what he is able to do. If he is able to, why are we not ready yet? Why is there still issues among Gods people that are taking away the perfect joy and peace that is available to them? Why hasn’t he come yet? He wants to come, he wants to come quickly, why hasn’t he done so?

Satan seeks continually to block the way, so that the truth shall be bound about by human devising, and those who have light and knowledge are in the greatest danger unless they constantly consecrate themselves to God, humiliating self, and realizing the peril of the times. {CTr 368.2}

This statement connects with the introduction. Is God able? Is there anything impossible for him to do? Nothing. But what is it that delays the whole action? Satan is continually blocking the way and binding the beautiful truth of Gods power by human devising. Those who have this wonderful light are actually in grave danger unless they constantly consecrate themselves to God humiliating themselves. Is it a nice thing to humiliate yourself? How do you feel when you have to humiliate yourself. If you are in an experience when your own expectations have been completely shattered and the Lord says to you, don’t run away, don’t do what your natural inclination is to do. You think wait a minute the person in my life has done something dreadfully wrong to me. God says stay there. Work it through. I’m here to help you, I want you to be perfect and I want you to be a company of people standing there brilliant and as I’m working with you, humiliate yourself. What? That will kill me. Yes it killed Jesus too but he rose again. While we humiliate and consecrate ourselves to the great master worker realising the peril I’m in, God can do his work. In the peril in which we are living that we so lightly take into consideration when things go wrong, we start murmuring and complaining like the Israelites did.

The Work Of God to Bring It About

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

Why weren’t they let go? Why doesn’t hell break loose on this planet? Why not?

Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

What are the angels doing? They have been commissioned to do a job with Gods people. They have been commissioned to seal them in their forehead. They are to be without sin. The reason why those winds have not been fully let go of is because God’s people are not yet perfect. They have let go a little in the first and second world war and now we are in dire straits, men’s hearts are failing them for fear. Lives are being thrown into devastation.

Heavenly beings are appointed to answer the prayers of those who are working unselfishly for the interests of the cause of God. The very highest angels in the heavenly courts are appointed to work out the prayers that ascend to God for the advancement of the cause of God. Each angel has a particular post of duty, and is not permitted to leave for any other place. If an angel should leave, the powers of darkness would gain an advantage. . . . {CTr 368.3}

The angels are under a chain of command and when Jesus was on the cross and in Gethsemane, the angels were there and some wanted to help him but the commanding angel said no stay back. There are commanding angels in heaven that command other angels. Some are put into position that are not permitted to leave. If the curtain could be drawn back and you could see the warfare going on over your head, you would be appalled and shocked. The angels of God who are to seal us are commissioned in their work that they must not leave because if they did Satan would destroy.

Day by day the conflict between good and evil is going on. . . . As a people we do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Evil angels are constantly at work, planning their line of attack, controlling as commanders, kings, and rulers, the disloyal human forces. {CTr 368.4}

We do not appreciate as we should.

I call upon you who are not ready for the last great controversy to wake up. You are not watching for that which is soon coming upon the earth. Human instrumentalities under the control of fallen angels are seeking to gather in their harvest. Those who would find themselves under the protection of the angels of God must live wholly for God’s glory, prepared to stand in their lot and in their place. . . . {CTr 368.5} Over every person good and evil angels strive. It is the person himself who determines which shall win. {CTr 368.6}

Is anything impossible for God? Nothing. If I’m going to be lost, it was my determination which has put me there. The angels of God are commanded to do what they do and are happy to obey. Are you and I happy to obey the influences of the angels that are loyal to God? Or am I sensing the terrible onslaught of Satan and his angels? As I’m being tossed back and forward, which is going to win in my life?

I call upon the ministers of Christ to press home upon the understanding of all who come within the reach of their voice the truth of the ministration of angels. Do not indulge in fanciful speculations. {CTr 368.6}

We are living in a war zone. There is no room for fanciful pictures of the angels. We are desperately in need of understanding how to participate with the good angels.

The written Word is our only safety. We must pray as did Daniel, that we may be guarded by heavenly intelligences. As ministering spirits, angels are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Pray . . . pray as you have never prayed before. We are not prepared for the Lord’s coming. We need to make thorough work for eternity.—Letter 201, 1899. {CTr 368.6}

That was written in 1899. We are not prepared for his coming. Why? Because the Lord wanting to cut short his work in righteousness but people are not understanding the battle and here we have a preparation year that we have been launched into since our December conference. We must individually engage deliberately and diligently to be guided by the eyes of the Lord into everything that is his understanding, not mine. In my own understanding, I’m clean in my own eyes but it’s all wrong. I’m must open my mind to his understanding every step of the way and it means to humiliate myself. Humiliate self. That is what is meant in this statement.

What a wonderful thought it is that we, poor, fallen sinners, can become one with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, through His grace refined, purified, glorified. We may overcome, and sit down with . . . Christ. We are to be conformed to His image. He loves, and He will help us. We are to be passive in His hands. {TDG 202.3}

If he is going to cut short his work and achieve for you and me what he has in plan, is he able? He is. But it depends on whether I am passive in his hands. I will guide you with my eyes just as I do the angels.

Psalms 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

32:9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Earth, the Only Problem Planet

Be passive in my hands. A horse needs to be held with a bridle. It wants to sometimes take off and it has to be held. Sometimes it wants to stop and you have to push it on. Its nicer riding one when you don’t have to do a thing. A specially trained horse will go when you lean over. God wants to delight in us too. Be passive in his hands. Is that hard? The universe is held by his hand. The only planet that has a problem with his hand is us. Did you know that not even God can save you unless you are passive in his hands? It is uttered like this.

So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. {MH 487.2}

You and I can actually do something with God that makes him incapable. Is anything impossible for God? Nothing. One thing is impossible, God can never force your will. That is contrary to his nature. If you don’t want to listen to his counsel, if I don’t wish to listen, he can’t do anything. He is inviting me and says we can get the victory over anything if we will be passive in his hand. Not even God can perfect my character unless I’m passive in his hand.

The Practical Reality of What It Means to Be Passive in His Hands

This the Word of God explicitly teaches, but the Lord cannot work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure unless we crucify self, {UL 218.4}

Not even God can do something. He cannot work in us to do of his good pleasure if we don’t crucify self.

with the affections and lusts, at every step. If we try to work in our own way, we shall grievously fail. . . . We have a great work to do, and if we are laborers together with God, the ministering angels will cooperate with us in the work. Then let us lay hold of this mighty power by living faith, praying and believing, trusting and working. Then God will do that which only God can do. {UL 218.4}

He can only do that which we do our part of by being passive in his hand. We are not to take the work out of his hands. Not even God can do it but what is my passive action required? What is the passiveness suggested?

There is a real work to be wrought in us. Constantly we must submit our will to God’s will, our way to God’s way. Our peculiar ideas will strive constantly for the supremacy, but we must make God all and in all. We are not free from the failings of humanity, but we must constantly strive to be free from these failings, not to be perfect in our own eyes, but perfect in every good work. We must not dwell on the dark side. Our souls must not rest in self, but in the One who is all and in all. {UL 218.2}

We must not discuss problems all the time.

By beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are actually to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. We expect too little, and we receive according to our faith. We are not to cling to our own ways, our own plans, our own ideas; we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. {UL 218.3}

If you are passive you will let go. I don’t have to construct anything about what He said, just do it as He said so. Concentrate and do what He said. Watch his eyes as He will lead and guide us by His eyes. Concentrate on what He is saying not what I think He is saying.

Besetting sins are to be conquered, and evil habits overcome. Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out, and holy tempers and emotions begotten in us by the Spirit of God. {UL 218.3}

That’s what he wants to do.

Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ. Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His Spirit your coldness and listlessness will disappear. Christ will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. . . . {UL 218.5}

Let the sanctifying power of truth be expressed in your life and revealed in your character. Let Christ mold you, as clay is molded in the hands of the potter. {UL 218.6}


What are we made of? Mud. He has already made us and we spoilt it and God says let me make you new. As the pot is spinning around, and he is moulding it and all of a sudden a hand comes out and messes it up, what sort of a pot will that make? Do you struggle? You are battling, if you want to gain the victory quickly become passive as then you don’t have to struggle so hard as the only struggle we will have is to put self down. When I am passive I can drift with his counsel and constant suggestion and I’m constantly submitting to him and he takes care of me as he takes care of the universe.

How To Get There Quickly

When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life’s burden light. He who walks in the way of God’s commandments is walking in company with Christ. {DA 331.1}

Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory–character–of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy. {DA 331.2}

Passive in his hands, a peace that passes understanding. May this peace be with us all so that Jesus can come quickly and take us over the border to the heavenly Canaan.


About The Typist

Sabbath Sermons is a small resource information ministry in Australia standing upon the original platform of the Adventist truth. We are dedicated to spreading the special 'testing truths' for our time and are not affiliated with the various denominations. This website is administered by lay members only

Posted on 07/08/2010, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. John Martial King

    Thanks for the great article.

    May I suggest Psalms Code for a deeper study in to the real message of the Psalms? I’m sure most people are not even aware of that extra dimension found in Psalms!


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