For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he sees that their power is gone…
In this inspired song - an epitome of the Bible - Moses looks adown the long vista of history, and discerns what will be the outcome of the whole, viz. to establish on a safe basis the acknowledged supremacy of Jehovah. Truth shall eventually conquer, whatever be her present fortunes; and the supreme authority of Jehovah is a fundamental truth, which must in duo time effectually shine forth.
I. HUMAN EXPERIENCE WILL ULTIMATELY CONFIRM THE VANITY AND FUTILITY OF IDOLATRY. Men will accept, at the close of a changeful and bitter experience, what they would not accept at the outset of their course, viz. that there is one God - invisible, supreme, eternal. In the conscious pride of self-will, men will sound all the possible problems of life. They will not at first accept, with the docility of a child-like nature, the ipse dixit even of God himself. But when all trust in self and in created power has proved a failure; when all power is gone, and we lie on the battlefield, wounded and helpless; - then we begin to give heed to the heavenly voice. Then the gentle message of God comes, with the charm of evening music, upon the ear - yea, as an anodyne and a balm upon the bleeding heart. In a mood of self-despair, we clutch the hope of the gospel, viz. God manifest to man. God invites us to earnest and profound inquiry. He asks us to give a mature deliverance touching the power and helpfulness of the God whom we have long trusted; and the final experience of men, in all lands and ages, is uniform. "The gods who have not created the heavens and the earth shall perish!"
II. HUMAN EXPERIENCE ATTESTS THE SUPREMACY AND TRIUMPH OF JEHOVAH. "See now, that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me." The eye of man can clearly discern the fact - the foundation-fact of all religion - so soon as the veil of prejudice and sin is removed. The revelation is clear enough, if only the organ of mental vision be in healthful vigor. Without question, God is the sole Arbiter of life and death. No other deity has ever assumed an act of creation. The powers of evil have flourished the wand of a necromancer, and have pretended to effect sudden changes in the conditions of nature; but not one has ever pretended to create a star or to produce a single human life. God is still left upon the throne, as sole and undisputed Monarch. Eternal existence is another prerogative of Jehovah. Where are now the gods of the heathen? Who now worships Jupiter, or Dagon, or Isis, or Moloch? Their names are historic only. They had a passing popularity, but it has long since vanished. But with solemn form of adjuration, the Most High lifts his hand and swears, "I live forever!" As in a court of justice men accept the testimony of a fellow-man, when that testimony is given under the sanction of a religious oath; so, in self-consistency, are we bound to accept the asseveration of the eternal God. In pity for his creatures, he also takes the form of oath, and since "he can swear by none greater, he swears by himself."
III. THE ROYAL SUPREMACY OF JEHOVAH IS A GROUND FOR HUMAN JOY. Every perfection of God is suitable material for grateful praise. His power is a security for good men. All our interests are safe, being under the protection of such a Friend. His holiness also affords distinct ground for gladness. Because he is holy, we can cherish a confident hope that we shall be holy too. Hence we "give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." We rejoice to know that the scepter of the universe is in the hands of a God who is absolutely and incorruptibly just. We know that "the right" will not long be trodden underfoot of the oppressor. We are assured that the malice and craft of Satan shall not triumph. We heartily rejoice that Jehovah is King of all the earth; for "all things must now work together for good to them that love him."
"Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,
And dies amid her worshippers." Most of all, we rejoice in his mercy. "He will be merciful to his land and to his people." We are the very persons who need Divine mercy; for lack of that mercy we die. Not more urgently does the parched land need the liquid shower, than do we, who have so grossly sinned, need Jehovah's mercy. Yet not more sure is the need than the supply. That mercy is made amply secure to all who desire it. As certainly as light streams from the natural sun, so freely and copiously does mercy stream forth from Jehovah's heart. Therefore we do well to "rejoice and to be exceeding glad." For saith Jehovah, "I will pardon your unrighteousness, and your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more." God's revelation closes with the theme of mercy. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.