God's Refusal of Desire
Deuteronomy 3:23-26
And I sought the LORD at that time, saying,…

1. Natural to wish to enter Canaan as an object of curiosity, of which he had heard so much; still more as an object of hope, which had been promised so long with every enhancement. This animated the people to leave Egypt, and encouraged them in the desert. This was the end, the recompense of their toils for forty years, and now they had nearly reached it. How painful to miss the prize when the hand was seizing it — to have the cup dashed even from the lip!

2. Yet the desire was refused. God sometimes refuses the desires of His servants, even the most eminent. He does this in two ways.

3. Sometimes He does it in love. What is desired might prove dangerous and injurious. In many cases must a wise and good parent distinguish between wishes and wants! A child may wish for liberty, and want restraint; for a holiday, and want schooling; for dainties, and want medicine. Here the parent must act, not according to the wish, but the welfare of the child. How much better for the Jews had God turned a deaf ear to their importunity! Who knows what is good for a man in this life? No one but God — the good God.

4. He sometimes refuses in anger. Wrath is incompatible with love; but anger is not: anger may even flow from it. Though Christians cannot be condemned, they may be chastened: and the law of the house is, that if the children obey not, He will visit with the rod. Hence those saved eternally may fall under present rebuke, and be refused many things on which they set their heart. By such conduct Providence teaches submission to His people, and the evil of sin to others.

5. Yet his desire was partially indulged. The command to get on the top of Pisgah was not to tantalise him, but to be a mitigation of the severe sentence. The preservation of his sight fitted him for the gaze — the prospect showed him how worthy the country was of all that had been said about it; and would give him high views of the truth and goodness of God in His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. With this also was the influence of Divine grace which satisfied hint and made him content with his condition. While his mind was raised to things above, in type and emblem, to a better country, into which he was immediately to enter — and there would be no want of Canaan. Thus in judgment God remembers mercy, and though He cause grief yet will He have compassion.

(W. Jay.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,

WEB: I begged Yahweh at that time, saying,

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