The Pleading of Divine Wisdom
Deuteronomy 32:20-29
And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very fraudulent generation…

The judicial anger of God is not an uncontrollable passion; it acts in harmony with infinite wisdom. The vast and varied interests of all God's creatures are tenderly considered in the act of judicial retribution. We have here -

I. GOD'S ESTIMATE OF HUMAN DESERT. Were guilty men alone to be considered, no penalty would be too severe as the award for their high-handed offences. Every vestige of merit has disappeared. The consensus of all righteous beings requires unreserved condemnation. Nor can the condemned offender himself escape this conclusion. When his conscience awakes to ponder his guilt, he joins in his own condemnation; he confesses the justice of his sentence. If the demerit of the sinner were the only question to be solved, the answer would be at once forthcoming; the verdict would be complete destruction.


1. The advantage of other races is, by God, taken into the account. What effect upon other nations will the condign punishment of Israel have? Will it make them self-confident, arrogant, defiant? The true king has at heart the well-being of all his subjects.

2. The honor of God himself must be taken into account. The public reputation of God is indissolubly bound up with the well-being of his intelligent creatures. His honor is dear to him; for his honor is nothing more than his native excellence illustrated and made known.

3. How graciously the Most High accommodates his speech to suit the conceptions of men! As a man may fear the wrath of his foes, so God (to bring his doings within the compass of the human understanding) speaks of himself as the subject of fear. In our present state, we cannot rise to the comprehension of God as he is; our knowledge of him is conditioned by our limitations of mind.

III. GOD'S GRIEF FOR HUMAN FOLLY. The tender affection of God in pleading with men to avoid sin is very impressive; but more impressive still are his exclamations of grief when the final step has been taken, and when, for many, recovery is impossible. Thus when Jesus looked down from Olivet upon the guilty metropolis, and knew that the die was cast, he nevertheless wept and said, "How often would I have gathered your children, as a hen her brood; but ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!" So too in the Psalms God thus speaks, "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me! that Israel had walked in my ways!" The measure of God's love transcends all known limits; its forms are infinite in their variety! When every remedial measure has been tried in vain, love can only weep. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

WEB: He said, "I will hide my face from them. I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.

The Latter End
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