And Moses said to Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying to the place of which the LORD said…
I. THE WONDERFUL CHANGES GOD MAKES IN HUMAN LIFE. What men do themselves, the history of self-made men, is often very astonishing, yet nothing to the history of God-made men. For forty years Moses had been a shepherd in this wilderness; as we may conjecture, an oft companion with Hobab in these very scenes, Suddenly he goes away to Egypt to visit his brethren, and in the course of a few months returns to the wilderness with over 600,000 fighting men, beside women and children. So in the Scriptures we find many other wonderful God-made changes in human life. Joseph leaving his brethren a slave - his brethren finding him again prime minister to Pharaoh. The lad David brought from the recluse pastoral scene to stand before armies and slay the dreaded foe of Israel. Jesus visiting Nazareth to be a wonderment and stumbling-block to those who had known him from infancy. Saul among the persecutors when he left Jerusalem - among the persecuted when he returns.
II. THESE WONDERFUL CHANGES MAY BE EXHIBITED SO AS TO MAKE OTHERS THE SUBJECTS OF THEM. Hobab had probably been much with Moses, for old acquaintance' sake, while the people of God were round about Sinai. The recollections of the past were comparatively fresh, and Moses had a natural interest in a kinsman. But now the time has come to move, and what must Hobab do? The necessities of God's kingdom bring a separation sooner or later in all friendship, unless both parties are in the kingdom. It is the critical moment of Hobab's life, and he must decide at once. Not but what he might change his mind, and follow afterwards, only the chances were that it was now or never. Thus Hobab is the illustration of all who are asked and pressed to join the people of God. To such persons every narration of God's experienced grace to others brings a cordial invitation in the very telling of it. It is our own fault if we be mere spectators of the cloud, hearers of the trumpet. God had made most gracious provision for the stranger to come into Israel. No word could be more cordial and pressing than that of Moses here. It was not hatred of outsiders as outsiders, but as abominably wicked, that brought God's vengeance on them.
III. THESE WONDERFUL CHANGES MAY BE EXHIBITED WITHOUT PRODUCING SYMPATHY AND APPRECIATION. The reply of Hobab illustrates the natural man in his want of sympathy with spiritual struggles. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God." How many there have been of such spectators in every age, those who have seen some old companion suddenly borne away, come under the influence of new powers, and turn what is called fanatic and enthusiast! The old ties are all broken, or, if any remain, there is no substance in them. Believer and unbeliever may continue to meet in the commerce of the world, but in closer relations they can meet no longer. When Pitt was told of the great religious change that had passed over Wilberforce, he suggested to his friend that he was out of spirits, and that company and conversation would be the best way of dissipating his impressions. Hobab was quite contented with his sheep in the desert. He did not want to be circumcised, and held in with such rigorous restrictions. Doubtless he had a warm place in his heart for Moses, but he could not say as Buxton once signed himself in a letter to J.J. Gurney, "Yours, in the threefold cord of taste, affection, and religion." - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
WEB: Moses said to Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are journeying to the place of which Yahweh said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us, and we will treat you well; for Yahweh has spoken good concerning Israel."