Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;…
The detective force in God's kingdom is perfect. Escape through the meshes of his Law is an impossibility. Every defaulter is within the custody of the Omniscient Eye. Arraignment, conviction, and execution proceed (sometimes leisurely) with the precision and certitude of irresistible law. In this paragraph -
I. WE LEARN THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE NATION. Every individual is a member of the community - an integral part of the kingdom. "No man liveth unto himself." A citizen of an empire cannot demean himself as he please. He is bound to consider the well-being of the body politic. Hence Moses affirmed that the covenant made with the elders and officers present was a covenant also made with those not present. Whoever elected to share in the security and triumphs of the nation was bound to share in its obligations. We cannot belong to society and claim exemption from its laws. The individual is bound by the decisions of the nation.
II. WE LEARN THE GREAT USES OF EXPERIENCE. "Ye have seen their abominations." To a generation that had not seen the obscenities, impurities, and social corruptions of idolatry, it would be difficult to convey an adequate idea of the evil. It was, therefore, of the first importance that the experience of the Hebrews who had come up from Egypt should mold and inspire the convictions of the younger generation. Those who had seen the abominations of Egypt, felt its oppressions, and taken part in uprooting the corrupt races of Canaan, ought to have cherished a deep sense of the value of this covenant with God. The evil against which they solemnly leagued they knew to be a curse to men and an abhorrence to Jehovah. If only the treasures of experience were garnered and utilized, they would be worth more than mountains of silver and gold.
III. WE LEARN THE DECEPTIVE FLATTERIES OF SIN. "I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart."
1. The transgressor is intensely selfish. He plots for himself, and thinks only of his comfort. "I shall have peace."
2. The transgressor is essentially blind. He imagines that although all others may be detected, he shall escape. He sees no immediate danger. He vainly fancies that his evil course is sagacious, and will bring prompt returns of advantage.
3. The transgressor is a practical atheist. Because human magistrates or human witnesses may not discover his crime, he concludes that God will not. In fact, he leaves God out of the calculation. He lays his plans and carries them as if there were no God. The great sin of men is this, viz. that "God is not in all their thoughts." Sin seldom appears in its true color in this life. It is ashamed of its own fruits. It promises its dupes the fruits of righteousness. The creed of this world is that men "may gather grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles."
IV. WE LEARN THAT GOD'S DETECTIVES NEVER FAIL. "The Lord will not spare him." The secret conspiracy of the heart shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. If the culprit hide in the darkest den of a populous city, thence will Jehovah's arm drag him forth. "He besets us behind and before." If he be alone in his guilt, he is the more to blame, since he has no help or encouragement from others. All social influences have been deterrent from evil; but he has resisted them all with his obstinate folly. He has been singular in his sin; he shall be singular in his suffering. Against him the anger of Jehovah will burn with a white heat of justice. All the vials of righteous wrath shall be emptied on that guilty head. His name shall perish. He shall be "separated unto evil." The nation shall loathe him. The universe shall be banded together to punish him.
V. WE LEARN THAT THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC RETRIBUTION IS TO MAKE LUMINOUS GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. God delights in earth's fertility. He finds pleasure in fruits and flowers. But his delight in the fruits and flowers of the soul is so much greater, that he will blast all the beauty and fertility of earth in order to produce in men the fruits of holiness. His police force is enormous. Pestilence and earthquake, volcanic flame and electricity, human armies and microscopic insects, execute his judicial word. And the effect upon mankind is to excite inquiry. Wherefore this demolition and curse? Some solid reason must exist for this complete reversal of former blessing. The contrast is eloquent with meaning. The flames of Sodom shed a luster on the Divine righteousness. The barren hills, with mute yet mournful tongue, declare God's faithfulness. A broken covenant explains it all! The hills shall flee; the stars shall fade; but not a word from Jehovah's lips shall ever miscarry. The sleepless sword of judicial vengeance shall pursue to the death every false thing. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;