And the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,…
Every one can trace in his own life how one unconquered sin becomes a thorn in the side. For ours also is commonly but a half-completed conquest. We have not made war upon our sin in its fastnesses and breeding-places, in the lurking-places of thought and of our habitual tone. We did not believe that happy was he who dashed the little ones against the stones; we did not grapple and put an end to the young things that grow up to be strong and subduing sins. We were not remorseless, did not rouse ourselves to take stern and extreme measures. But it is not enough to let sin alone so long as it does not violently molest us. If we know our own hearts at all, we know that sin may be lodging in them, and gathering strength, without making incursions that visibly devastate the life. And so it has come true in our experience that God has not driven out what we would not rouse ourselves to drive out, and our sin has become a thorn in our side. Again and again that thing we would not slay makes us cry out before God that life is not worth having if it is to be life with this sin. We may learn to wear the thorn under our garment, and go about smiling, as if there were not terrible havoc being made of our peace with God; we may wear it as the ascetic wears his spiked girdle under his frock; but it is there, reminding us by pain and misery and weakness of our slackness in cleansing our life. One sin thus excepted and overlooked cleaves to us and makes itself felt in all our life: not a day passes but something occurs to give it occasion; it is a thorn in our flesh, carried with us into all companies, cleaving to us at all times; our one inseparable; exasperating, saddening, heart-breaking in its pertinacity.
(Marcus Dods, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,