Get you up into this mountain Abarim, to mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho…
We are wont to note the sayings of dying men. The testimony both of the godly and the ungodly is more valuable and reliable at such a time. Moses was specially fitted to give an estimate of Israel's past experience and future prospects. He had been intimately connected with them for a lengthened period.
I. WHO IS ISRAEL?
1. A perverse people. They are often rebellious, they murmur often, they bring upon themselves punishment because of their obstinacy. They are slow to learn and obey. The type and the antitype correspond. The people of God are often so; and the world often sees it. Their leader and they do not always agree.
2. A peculiar people. They are different from the nations around them.
3. A pilgrim people. They were yet in the wilderness when Moses spoke of them.
4. A protesting people. They were raised up for this very purpose. "Ye are My witnesses."
5. A persecuted people. They were met by the Amalekites almost as soon as they had crossed the Red Sea. They had to encounter enmity and opposition all the way.
II. WHEREIN, THEN, CONSISTS ISRAEL'S HAPPINESS? Not certainly in their worldly, external, visible circumstances. There is nothing in these to draw forth the rapturous enthusiasm of Moses. No; but his vision and his voice extend beyond things seen and temporal. Their happiness arises out of their relation to God, the only true God.
1. They are chosen by His grace. Underneath them are the everlasting arms.
2. They are redeemed by His ann.
3. They are guided by His eye. He goes before them; He is their reward.
4. They are kept by His power. He is their refuge and their strength. Jehovah-nissi: the Lord is my banner.
5. They are cheered by His presence, His promise, and His purpose.
III. THERE IS NO HAPPINESS LIKE ISRAEL'S.
1. Because none comes from so good a source. With Thee is the Fountain of Life. From this fountain flows the river of the water of life. Other sources fail; they are broken cisterns.
2. Because none can be enjoyed with so much security. The promise of God is the best security which we can possibly possess.
3. Because none is so satisfactory in its own character. Out of Christ there is no happiness to be enjoyed worthy of the nature with which we are endowed.
4. Because none is so beneficial in its effects. The world, with its pleasures and pursuits, degrades and hardens the heart that is engrossed with them.
5. Because none is so permanent in its duration. "That knave, Death," as John Knox said, will take it all away — will mar the beauty, spoil the treasure, and bring the tenure to an end.
(J. Smith, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
WEB: "Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession;