Deuteronomy 32
Sermon Bible
Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

Deuteronomy 32:11-12

Without attaching any mystic meaning to this figure of the eagle, we may readily discover the great principles of God's action that it was intended to illustrate.

I. The Divine discipline of life is designed to awaken man to the development of his own powers. The instinct of the eagle in breaking up her nest is to arouse the native energies of her young. The power of flight is in them, but unknown, because it has never been called into play; it is a slumbering faculty, and must be awakened into action. Man's soul is formed into God's image by the right action of his spiritual powers, and these powers are only awakened by the activity of God. (1) The great purpose of all spiritual discipline is to render men Divine. By the very constitution of the soul, the Godlike image must be formed by awakening the energies that lie slumbering within. The soul contains in itself the germinal forces of the life it may possess in the future ages. (2) The image of the text suggests two methods of Divine action: the stimulating and the exemplary. The eagle breaks up her nest, and is not the voice of life's experiences God's summons to man to rise and live to Him? God sends a shock of change through our circumstances, and rouses us from repose.

II. Discipline attains its end only when regarded as under the control of a father. It is obvious that the instinct of the eagle is that of parental affection. (1) Believe in the Father, and you submissively accept the mysterious in life. (2) Believe in the Father, and you shall strive to realise the purpose of this discipline. We have no impulse to any spiritual aspiration, to any true self-sacrifice, to the exertion of any spiritual energy, which is not awakened by the touch of the Eternal Spirit. Let us then awake out of sleep. God is breaking up our material resting-places in order that we may aspire towards the imperishable and the immortal.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 131.

I. This passage suggests the thought of Divine incitements. The world is all alive with nest-building. Men seek comfort, satisfaction, and rest in outward things. In a scene where all is flowing they try to make fixity. God shatters what man builds, drives away what man gathers, takes what man in vain tries to hold.

II. Divine example. "As an eagle fluttereth over her young," as showing them the way to fly, so God sets before us the example of the good, the strivings of the great, the lives of the saints, and chiefly the perfect pattern, the perfect life of His incarnate Son. With the disturbances and dislodgments of life will be found very often invitations, and possibilities, and enlargements.

III. Divine protection. "The eagle spreadeth abroad her wings." The spreading of the wings is the promise of protection to the young birds, both while in the nest and while attempting to fly. So here we have the Divine protection amply promised and assured to us by the word of God.

IV. Divine compulsion. "As an eagle... taketh them," if they will, in helpfulness; if they will not, in compulsion; in one way or another they must be got out of the nest. God takes oftentimes one and another in quiet, common life, and by a kind of sacred violence forces them into new scenes and almost into better states.

A. Raleigh, Front Dawn to the Perfect Day, p. 219.

References: Deuteronomy 32:11, Deuteronomy 32:12.—W. Haslam, The Threefold Gift of God, Part I., p. 41; T. Cuyler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 529; W. M. Taylor, The Limitations of Life, p.. 78. Deuteronomy 32:13.—H. Melvill, The Lothbury Lectures, p. 19. Deuteronomy 32:20.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx., No. 1784.

Deuteronomy 32:29I. That there is very generally a strange want of reflection and concern respecting our condition as mortal is most apparent in many plain, familiar proofs. Perhaps nothing in the world, that appears so out of consistency, is so obvious. Notice: (1) The very small effect of the memory of the departed in the way of admonition of our own mortality. (2) How little and seldom we are struck with the reflection how many things we are exposed to that might cause death. (3) How soon a recovery from danger sets aside the serious thought of death. (4) How many schemes are formed for a long future time with as much interest and as much anticipating confidence as if there were no such thing in the world as death.

II. When it is asked, How comes this to be? the general explanation is that which accounts for everything that is wrong, namely, the radical depravity of our nature. There are doubtless special causes, such as: (1) The perfect distinctness of life and death. (2) Even the certainty and universality of death may be numbered among the causes tending to withdraw men's thoughts from it. (3) The general presumption of having long to live is a cause of a more obvious kind. (4) Another great cause is that men occupy their whole soul and life with things that preclude the thought of its end. (5) There is in a large proportion of men a formal, systematic endeavour to keep off the thought of death.

III. Let us remember that to end our life is the mightiest event that awaits us in this world. And it is that which we are living but to come to. To have been thoughtless of it, then, will ultimately be an immense calamity; it will be to be in a state unprepared for it. And consider that there is a sovereign antidote to the fear of death. There is One that has Himself yielded to death, in order to vanquish it for us and take its terrors away.

J. Foster, Lectures, 2nd series, p. 241.

References: Deuteronomy 32:29.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 120; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi., No. 304; J. C. Hare, Sermons in Herstmonceux Church, p. 415. Deuteronomy 32:31.—D. Moore, Penny Pulpit, No. 3342; R. Glover, By the Waters of Babylon, p. 153. Deuteronomy 32:32.—H. Macmillan, The Olive Leaf, p. 280. Deuteronomy 32:35.—A. Tholuck, Hours of Christian Devotion, p. 128; Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 455. Deuteronomy 32:36.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 45. Deuteronomy 32:37, Deuteronomy 32:38.—Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 225.

Deuteronomy 32:39The text declares with a magnificent fulness the personality and the power of God.

I. God as healing is made visible to us in Jesus. The miracles of Jesus were mainly connected with the bodies of men. There were two great reasons for this. (1) One reason is to show the close connection of sickness with sin. One indication of this we have in a great fact of our Saviour's life. He was incarnate that He might have sympathy with us. Yet He was never sick. He had no particular sickness because He had no sin. (2) Christ's miracles of healing were not the luxury of a Divine good-nature. They were not random alms that cost Him nothing. A perceptible exhaustion of vital energy accompanied the exertion of His power. Here then is a second cause for our Lord's miracles of healing: to teach us self-denial and thought for the sick. He took to Himself God's motto, "I heal," for one of the highest of theological and for one of the tenderest of practical reasons.

II. We now consider God as wounding. As to the wounds of suffering humanity—sickness—two considerations practically diminish the perplexity which they bring to us when we consider them as existing under a rule of love, (1) One of these considerations is the intention of sickness as a part of the spiritual discipline of the Christian life. (2) Another moral object of sickness is to draw out the fulness of Christian sympathy, scientific and personal.

III. As we enlarge our view, the Divine pity predominates. There are, indeed, voices of anguish on every breeze; there are shadows in the foreground of the picture of the history of humanity. But these voices of anguish are only surface discords, underlying which is a wondrous harmony. All those shadows do but set off the picture that closes with the long golden distances of sunlit hills whose atmosphere is perfect wisdom, whose magic colouring drops from the tender pencil of perfect love.

Bishop Alexander, The Great Question, p. 30.

References: Deuteronomy 32:39.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1465. Deuteronomy 32:44-52.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 443. Deuteronomy 32:47.—J. C. Jones, Penny Pulpit, No. 664; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 457; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 124. Deuteronomy 32:48-52.—H. Wonnacott, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 158; H. Batchelor, The Incarnation of God, p. 193. Deut 32—Parker, vol. iv., pp. 350, 365, 375. Deuteronomy 33:1-5.—F. Whitfield, The Blessings of the Tribes, p. 23. Deuteronomy 33:1-12.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 281. Deut 33—M. Dods, Israel's Iron Age, p. 173.

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this.
For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of MeribahKadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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