The Ultimate Hope
'Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance....' -- EXODUS xv.17.

I. The lesson taught by each present deliverance and kindness is that we shall be brought to His rest at last.

(a) Daily mercies are a pledge and a pattern of His continuous acts. The confidence that we shall be kept is based upon no hard doctrine of final perseverance, but on the assurance that God is always the same, like the sunshine which has poured out for all these millenniums and still rushes on with the same force. Consider --

The inexhaustibleness of the divine resources.

The steadfastness of the divine purposes.

The long-suffering of the divine patience.

(b) Thus daily mercies should lead on our thoughts to heavenly things. They should not prison us in their own sweetness. We should see the great Future shining through them as a transparent, not an opaque medium.

(c) That ultimate future should be the great object of our hope. Surely it is chiefly in order that we may have the light of that great to-morrow brightening and magnifying our dusty to-days, that we are endowed with the faculty of looking forward and 'calling things that are not as though they were.' So we should engage and enlarge our minds with it.

II. The form which that ultimate future assumes.

The Israelites thought of Canaan, and in particular of 'Zion,' its centre-point.

(a) Perpetual rest. 'Bring in and plant' -- a contrast to the desert nomad life.

(b) Perpetual safety. 'The sanctuary which Thy hands have established,' i.e. made firm.

(c) Perpetual dwelling in God. 'Thy dwelling,' 'Thy mountain,' 'Thy holy habitation' (ver.13), rather than 'our land.' For Israel their communion with Jehovah was perfected on Zion by the Temple and the sacrifices, including the revelation of (priestly) national service.

(d) Perpetual purity. 'Thy sanctuary.' 'Without' holiness 'no man shall see the Lord.'

the shepherd and the fold
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