The burden on Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall you lodge, O you traveling companies of Dedanim.…
In this "burden" upon Arabia we may detect a picture or, at least, find a suggestion of -
I. THE ILLS TO WHICH FLESH IS HEIR.
1. Being turned out of our course. The caravans of Dedan are obliged to forsake their track and find refuge in the forests or stony retreats of the desert (ver. 13). Continually are we compelled to change our route as travelers along the road of life. We mark out our course and set out on our way, but the irresistible obstacle is confronted and we are obliged to deviate into some other track, or wait in hope until the hindrance be removed.
2. Being straitened for the necessities of life. The refugees are reduced to such straits that they are glad to receive the bread and water which "the inhabitants of the land of Tema" bring (ver. 14). Though God has made this earth to be large and bountiful enough for a vastly greater population thou even now exists upon it, yet, chiefly owing to human folly or iniquity, though sometimes to misfortune, men are reduced to such extreme hardship that the common necessaries are beyond their reach. Between this exigency and the condition of competence, how many degrees of want, and how many thousands of the children of want, are there to be found!
3. Being assailed and pursued by the enemies of our spirit. (Ver. 15.) There are adverse powers from beneath - the "principalities and powers" of the kingdom of darkness; there are hostile powers that are around us - unprincipled and ungodly men, evil practices and harmful institutions in society; but our worst foes are those which are "of our own household," those that are within the chambers of our own souls - bad habits, evil propensities, those inclinations toward folly and sin which pursue us even when the main battle has been fought and won.
4. Finding our life oppressive and burdensome to us. "According to the years of a hireling" (ver. 16). The time thus counted is reckoned with extreme carefulness; there is no danger that a single day will be left untold. The hireling is impatient for the time to be past that he may lay down the yoke and receive his wage. How many are there to whom life is so much of a burden, who are so oppressed by toil, or weighed down with care, or overwhelmed by sorrow, that they look gladly, if not eagerly, forward to its evening hour, when the night of death will release them from their struggle!
5. Being distinctly and at length fatally enfeebled. "The glory of Kedar shall fail," the bowmen and the mighty men "be diminished" (vers. 16, 17). Up to a certain point human life means, not only enjoyment, but increase; from that point it means diminution - at first unconscious, but afterwards sensible and painful; at length fatal diminution - in the capacity for enjoyment, in intellectual grasp, in physical endurance, in force of character. The glory of life goes; the faculties of soul and of body are palpably diminished; death draws near. Bat we may take into our view -
II. DIVINELY PROVIDED REMEDIES.
1. Pursuing the straight path to the goal which is set before us, from which no enemy need make us turn aside.
2. Trusting in the faithful Promiser.
3. Hiding in the pavilion of Divine power, and securing the mighty aid of the Divine Spirit.
4. Seeking and finding the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
5. Awaiting the immortal youth of the heavenly land. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.