These are the Journeys.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
I. THEY IMPRESS UPON US THE GREAT FACT OF GOD'S CONTINUED PRESENCE AND INTEREST IN HUMAN LIFE.
II. THEY POINT OUT TO US THAT GOD IS THE ONE TRUE AND SAFE GUIDE THROUGH LIFE.
III. THEY PRESENT TO US A PICTURE OF HUMAN LIFE, AND THUS TEND TO GIVE US CORRECT VIEWS OF LIFE.
IV. THEY SHOW TO US THAT THE GREATEST EVILS OF LIFE AND ITS ONLY DANGERS COME FROM SIN.
V. THEY SUGGEST THE COMFORTING THOUGHT THAT BY TRUSTING IN GOD AND FOLLOWING HIM WE ARE SURE TO POSSESS THE INHERITANCE WHICH HE HAS PROMISED HIS PEOPLE.
I. AN INCENTIVE TO GRATITUDE TO GOD.
1. Emancipating them from bondage in Egypt.
2. Repeatedly delivering them from their enemies.
3. Infallibly guiding them in their journeys.
4. Constantly providing for them in the desert.
5. Inviolably guarding them from dangers.
II. AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO OBEY AND TRUST GOD. He is unchangeable; therefore His past doings are examples of what we may expect Him to do in the future. History, properly studied, will be the nurse of faith and hope (comp. Psalm 78:3-8).
III. A MONITOR AGAINST SIN.
1. Man's proneness to sin.
2. God's antagonism against sin.
3. The great evil of sin..
I. HOW THE ACCOUNT WAS KEPT (ver. 2). "Moses wrote their goings out." When they began this tedious march God ordered him to keep a journal or diary, and to insert in it all the remarkable occurrences of their way, that it might be a satisfaction to himself in the review and an instruction to others when it should be published. It may be of good use to private Christians, but especially for those in public stations, to preserve in writing an account of the providences of God concerning them, the constant series of mercies they have experienced, especially those turns and changes which have made some days of their lives more remarkable. Our memories are deceitful, and need this help, that we may "remember all the way which the Lord our God has led us in this wilderness" (Deuteronomy 8:2).
II. WHAT THE ACCOUNT ITSELF WAS. It began with their departure out of Egypt, continued with their march through the wilderness, and ended in the plains of Moab, where they now lay encamped.
1. Some things are observed here concerning their departure out of Egypt, which they are minded of upon all occasions as a work of wonder never to be forgotten.
2. Concerning their travels towards Canaan, observe —(1) They were continually upon the remove. When they had pitched a little while in one place, they departed from that to another. Such is our state in this world: we have here no continuing city.(2) Most of their way lay through a wilderness, uninhabited, untracked, unfurnished even with the necessaries of human life, which magnifies the wisdom and power of God, by whose wonderful conduct and bounty the thousands of Israel not only subsisted for forty years in that desolate place, but came out at least as numerous and vigorous as they went in. At first they pitched in the edge of the wilderness (ver. 6), but afterwards in the heart of it. By lesser difficulties God prepares His people for greater. We find them in the wilderness of Etham (ver. 8), of Sin (ver. 11). of Sinai (ver. 15). Our removes in this world are but from one wilderness to another.(3) That they were led to and fro, forward and backward, as in a maze or labyrinth, and yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. He led them out (Deuteronomy 32:10), and yet led them the right way (Psalm 107:7). The way God takes in bringing His people to Himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the best way.(4) Some events are mentioned in this journal, as their want of water at Rephidim (ver. 14), the death of Aaron (vers. 38, 39), the insult of Arad (ver. 40); and the very name of Kibroth-hattaavah, "the grave of the lusters" (ver. 16), has a story depending upon it. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and our families, us and our land, and the many instances of that Divine care which hath led us and fed us and kept us all our days hitherto.
( Matthew Henry, D. D..)
Ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you.I. THE IMPERATIVE COMMAND.
1. To utterly expel the inhabitants of Canaan.
2. To completely destroy all idolatrous objects and places.
3. To equitably divide the land.
4. The authority by which they were to do these things.
II. THE SOLEMN WARNING.
1. Those whom they spared would become their tormentors. "Under these metaphors," says Dr. A. Clarke, "the continual mischief that should be done to them, both in soul and body, by these idolaters, is set forth in a very expressive manner. What can be more vexatious than a continual goading of each side, so that the attempt to avoid the one throws the body more forcibly on the other? And what can be more distressing than a continual pricking in the eye, harassing the mind, tormenting the body, and extinguishing the sight?" "That which we are willing should tempt us we shall find will vex us."
2. The God whom they disobeyed would disinherit them.
I. ISRAEL'S CALLING. This was to drive out all the inhabitants of the land, to dispossess them, and themselves to dwell in it. If we view this with reference to the inhabitants themselves, we must regard it as the righteous judgment of God upon them on account of their sins. But we may also regard this visitation with reference to Israel, and then it will become evident that it was necessary for their safety. The Israelites themselves were so prone to fall away from God that their being surrounded by many idolatrous and degraded nations would be sure to lead them gradually away from Him. They would soon cease to be a separate people — a people consecrated to Jehovah. That little word "all" is very expressive. It shows that the judgment was to be universal. It proved the greatness of God's care for Israel. It was also the test of Israel's obedience; and it was a test, we know, which they did not stand. They substituted a partial for an unreserved obedience, and drove out same, but not all, the inhabitants of the land. We find a long list of Israel's defects of obedience in Judges 1:21. Now, in this, as in so many other points, Israel's calling is typical of the Christian life. In what way? We often take Canaan to be a type of heaven. Yet it is easy to see that there are many points in which Canaan was no type of heaven; and one of these evidently was that whereas in heaven there will be no sin, no enemies, no temptations, in Canaan all these existed. In this point of view, then, Canaan was not a type of heaven, but rather of the Christian life now; and to that command, "Drive out all the inhabitants of the land, and dispossess them," we shall find an analogous one, descriptive of the Christian calling, "Put off the old man with his deeds." There is a principle of evil, called in Scripture the "old man," which comprehends sinful desires and evil habits; and this we are called to dispossess of the land. The old man is daily to be put off, the new man to be put on. The old man, though nailed to the cross, is never utterly extinct until the earthly house of our tabernacle is exchanged for the "building of God, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." The new man requires to be constantly strengthened by fresh gifts of the Spirit of God. When, then, God says, "Drive out all the inhabitants of the land," it has a meaning for the Christian; and its meaning virtually is, "Mortify the old man," crucify the whole body of sin. Do not spare any sin. Let all be resisted and overcome. Now, the old man is in no sense the same in every Christian. It is the principle of sin, the principle of self. In whatever heart it is, its nature is the same; but in other aspects it is not always the same — for instance, it is not always the same in its power. In one Christian it prevails much, in another more believing and watchful heart it is kept under control. Then, again, it is made up of different elements, and the elements which constitute it are not always the same in their proportions. Thus, the chief element in one case will be pride, in another self-righteousness, in another hypocrisy, in another vanity, in another temper, in another impurity. Sometimes two will appear together in intimate alliance, and those not unfrequently two very opposite evils. In endeavouring, then, to carry out the injunction, "Drive out all the inhabitants of the land," it is important, on the one hand, that we should be aware of the element of the old man which is most prominent in it; and, on the other, that we should never forget that our besetting sin is not the only evil against which we have to contend, but against the old man as a whole.
II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLECTING THIS CALLING. We see it in Israel. They did not fulfil the command, "Drive out all the inhabitants of the land." Most of the tribes allowed some to remain, whom they brought under tribute; in fact, with whom they made a league. The consequence was that those few inhabitants, though not powerful, caused them constant trouble; sometimes they seized an opportunity to attack them again; still oftener they proved a snare to them by leading them into sin, so that in the expressive language of Scripture they were "pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides." Thus Israel's sin was made their punishment. They spared those whom they ought not to have spared, and they suffered terribly in consequence. All this bears upon the Christian's life. There is a deep mystery in the spiritual life. How wonderful it is that there should be two principles — two natures in perpetual warfare with each other in the Christian's heart — the one of God, the product of the Spirit, the other of Satan, the result of the Fall; the one the ally of God, holding communion with Him, the other allied with the powers of darkness, an enemy in the camp ever ready to open the gates! It seems to be God's purpose not to put His people at once and for ever beyond the reach of temptation, but to exercise their faith and patience, and to show the power of that Divine principle which His own grace has put into their hearts. Do not, then, be cast down when you are deeply and painfully conscious of this inward conflict. Take it as God's appointment. Remember that it is to prove you, and that God proves you in mercy, to make you more than conqueror. But there is another point of view in which we must look at this. There are many cases in which this painful severity of conflict is owing, in great measure, to previous unfaithfulness to God. Suppose a person to have indulged in some sinful habit at any period of his life; it may be a want of truth, or impurity, or in any other sin, though the power of that sin will be broken by the entrance of the Spirit of God into the heart, yet it will cast its shadow long after it. The habitual sins of the unrenewed man are the snares and temptations of the renewed man. There is much of practical warning in this solemn truth. If ever you are tempted to indulge any sinful thought in your heart, remember that that indulgence will certainly find you out again. God may, in mercy, forgive it; but if He does so that act of unfaithfulness will bring bitterness into the soul, will prepare the way for new conflicts and temptations. We should cast ourselves wholly on Jesus for the forgiveness of all past and present sins, and for strength to drive out "every inhabitant of the land" — the old man, with all his deceitful lusts.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(Marcus Dods, D. D.).
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