And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
There are many ways in which sin may be regarded. Directed by these words, we may look at it in -
I. ITS UGLY ASPECT AS SEEN IN HUMAN ILLUSTRATIONS. The children of Israel were warned to separate themselves in every way from "the doings of the land of Egypt" and from "the doings of the land of Canaan" (verse 3). These were to be a beacon to them; they were things to be hated and shunned. To those who had not been brought down themselves to the same low moral level, these doings would appear the shameful things they were - base, corrupt, vile. It is well for us to glance at, though not to dwell upon, sin in its last and worst developments, in its final issues; to see and understand what it leads to and ends in. Look at intemperance, dishonesty, cruelty, cupidity, profanity, impurity, as these sins are seen in their full development and complete outworking; see how utterly vile and hideous they appear to those in whom any purity is left. You would not resemble these; you start and shrink at the very thought of it; then do not move one inch down the smooth decline, do not take one step along "the primrose path of dalliance" with temptation. If we would keep well away from the beginnings of evil, we shall find a strong inducement to purity and honour by one thought of "the doings of the land" of impurity and shame.
II. ITS EVIL ASPECT AS GATHERED FROM THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. "I am the Lord your God... Ye shall not do... Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God." These solemn and weighty words introduce the prohibition of various evil lusts; these unholy passions were not only to be loathed and shunned because of the shamefulness of them in themselves and because of the evil consequences they would entail, but also and chiefly because they were imperatively disallowed by God. "I am the Lord... ye shall not do these things," etc. God's decisive disapproval is enough for us; it is final; it should be all-prevailing. For:
1. His sovereignty suffices, without further thought. He is "the Lord our God." Surely our Divine Creator, he from whom we came, in whom we live, without the continual exercise of whose power we should cease to be, to whom we owe all that we are and have, has sovereign right to decide concerning us, what things we may do and what things we shall shun. It is enough, it is more than enough, that the Lord our God says, concerning anything, "Ye shall not do it."
2. Nevertheless, there is the further thought that God knows best what is good and evil. He who made us, who "knows what is in man," who sees the end from the beginning, and knows what are the tendencies and issues of all things, can surely decide better than we can what are the desirable relations we should hold with our fellows; how near we may approach them; what may be our alliances and intimacies with them, etc.; which is the right and true path in which to walk.
3. And there is this additional thought that his Divine interest in us is equal to his Divine knowledge of us. We are sure that God will not deny us any really desirable thing; that he seeks our happiness and well-being; that if he limits our liberty or narrows our delights, it is purely because he is working out our true and lasting good. Therefore, if we would not "condemn ourselves in those things which we allow" (Romans 14:22), we must not only shrink from those evils which show themselves in the "doings of the land" of ungodly men, but also consult the commandment of the Lord. We must ask ourselves what those actions and relations are which he has forbidden. We must remind ourselves of his sovereignty over us, his knowledge of us, and his good pleasure toward us; we must. also sedulously banish from our mind as well as put away from our life the evil thing to which we may be tempted. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,