But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness…
Success, when granted, bids for men's trust. They begin accordingly to insinuate that the reliable Rock who begat them is not the source of all success, and that the rill may be tracked to some nearer source. Hence new gods, novelties of man's imagination, or demons from the waste, grateful for even a false faith, are worshipped; and the ever-living and true God forgotten. Apostasy and skepticism, we would repeat, are born of luxury and success. Men think, because they are rich, that they can do bravely without God.
I. IT IS WELL TO CONSIDER THE DANGER OF WORLDLY SUCCESS. Many a man was more religious when poor than after he became rich. Increase of riches needs increase of grace; and, if men are not watchful, riches only minister to backsliding. It is undesirable independence which proves independence of God. Better to trust God in the absence of wealth than to defy him or ignore him with it. Many a successful worldling would have had more success in a poor station, through increase of faith and of heart. The success was at the price of leanness being sent into his soul.
II. THOSE WHO WILL NOT SACRIFICE TO GOD ARE ALWAYS FOUND SACRIFICING TO THEIR FEARS. The credulity of unbelief is one of the most curious questions of the time. When men deny God his due reverence and ignore his existence, their fancy haunts them with new gods, and powers whom they must propitiate - the luck and chance that they advance to the throne. The man alone is free from vain fears who trusts in the living God; all others sooner or later prove adepts at new religions, and are devotees at fancy shrines.
III. THE DIVINE JEALOUSY IS JUSTLY PROVOKED BY SUCH FORGETFULLNESS. Jealousy is the anger of ill-requited love. It is what has been called, as already observed, "love-pain," and is eminently worthy of him who is love itself. God cannot but feel he deserves man's love; he cannot but desire it; he longs for it more intensely than ever love-sick one among the children of men has longed; and when he sees the love he deserves made over to another, when he sees his life of love and death of love ignored, - is it not eminently reasonable that he should be jealous and have his holy anger stirred? Herein lies the danger, then, of success. It may decoy the unguarded soul to mean fears and fancy shrines, and lead at length to the encountering of that jealousy which a God of love most justly entertains. Hence the prayer of souls should be that with success may come watchfulness; that with fatness may come faith; that out of goodness may come repentance. Then success may help and not hinder. Successful saints become a blessing to their kind, and make success a stewardship. "It takes a steady hand to carry a full cup;" so says the proverb. Blessed be God, amid many shaky hands, unequal to the task, there is a select few that carry their success in a cool, conscientious fashion! - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.