Hosea 13:5
No more signal instance of Divine interposition is recorded, even in the wonderful history of Israel, than the care and guidance and protection vouchsafed to the chosen people in their desert-wanderings. No wonder that the inspired prophets should again and again refer to this marvelous record of Divine regard, remembrance, and assistance.


1. To Israel and to humanity (for of the race at large was the chosen people a type) God reveals himself when help is sorely needed. In the wilderness the people hungered; they thirsted; they were in danger from many perils of the way; they were opposed and harassed by many foes; they were beset by frequent perplexities; they were cast down by many fears. Similarly, this race of mankind was without any supply for its sorest needs, without any deliverance from direst dangers and mightiest and most malignant foes, when the eternal Father "remembered us in our low estate."

2. It was an occasion when all other resource and hope were vain. In this respect the tribes in the desert were representative of humanity. "I looked, and there was no helper."


1. The thoughtfulness of God supplies his people's wants. Israel's hunger was met by manna; Israel's thirst by water from the rock, etc. So "the Lord hath been mindful of us." Every spiritual want is supplied in the gospel, where is living water, heavenly bread, etc.

2. Adversaries are overcome by the interposition of the Most High. He who vanquished Israel's foes led captivity captive, and secured salvation for all who trust in him.

3. Difficulties are removed by Divine intervention.

4. Courage and hope are inspired in the breasts of the timid and downcast.

5. Gratitude, piety, and devotion are enkindled in the souls of those who are set free and rescued by the interposition of a merciful and mighty Savior.

APPLICATION. The gracious knowledge and remembrance of God, leading to merciful interposition on our behalf, should incite us to think upon and to remember him "who led his people through the wilderness; for his mercy endureth forever." - T.

I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
God knows His people where nobody else will take any notice of them. You do not know a man until you know him in the wilderness. There is but little revelation of character in laughter. So long as a man is living in rioting and wantonness, in great abundance and prosperity, having only to lift his hand to command a regiment of servants, you cannot really tell what his true quality is. Men show themselves in the darkness; men cry out of their hearts when they are in distress; it is in the nighttime of life's bitter sorrows that men's true quality is revealed. God never forsakes His people in wilderness and in desert places; He is more God and Father to them there than ever. No man knows God who only knows Him theologically. It is impossible to read much about God; you must read the writing in your own heart The world is within you; you carry the universe in your own bosom. Unless you have the faculty and genius of introspection, and the power to read the small print that is being daily typed upon your inmost life, you can never be scholars in the sanctuary of Christ, you can never attain to high degrees of wisdom in the school of heaven. Men seek God in the wilderness. The wilderness is the school of discipline. In the Bible there lies one great desert land, and it is called "that great and terrible wilderness." There could not be two such in any globe; there could not be a duplicate experience in any life. Some things can be done only once; no man can be twice in Gethsemane; no man can be twice crucified. There are acts in life which, having been accomplished, enable the sufferer to say, The bitterness of death is passed; come what will now, it is but a day's march into heaven.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

God knew Israel in the wilderness —

(1)In respect of their sin, which He visited.

(2)In regard of their wants, which He provided for.Observe —

1. Man's wickedness strangely contrasts with God's goodness; God knew their sin and yet destroyed them not; they receive mercies, and yet sin.

2. It is a great mercy for God to know a man in time of distress. This is God's way. Men know in prosperity; but let us make God our friend, He will be a friend otherwise than men win he.

3. We should not be dejected in times of trouble; that is the time for God to know thee: be willing to follow God in any estate.

4. God's knowing us in distress is a mighty engagement. Let us look back to the times when we were in trouble.

5. Let us know God's cause when it suffers, and know our brethren in their sufferings.

6. God's knowledge is operative and working; it does us good. Our knowledge of God should be so too. To sin against our know. ledge of God is evil, but to sin against God's knowledge of us is worse.

(Jeremiah Burroughs.)


1. It refers to their spiritual wants, weaknesses, and troubles. In their first convictions of sin. In their first, beginning to walk in the ways of the Lord. In after temptations. In seasons of dejection.

2. To their temporal wants, weaknesses, and troubles. In poverty and want; in pain and sickness; in the dangers of life.


1. It is with pity and compassion.

2. So as to manifest His love to them.

3. So as to bestow His comforts on them.

4. He grants His presence to them.

5. He affords them help.


1. The Word of the Lord often declares it.

2. God's dealings with His people in all ages further confirm it, e.g., Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonah, Hezekiah, ancient Israel.Application —

1. Let us be concerned to have this God for our God.

2. When in a wilderness state, let us trust in our God.

3. Remember God's kindness in appearing for you.

4. Despise not those who are in a wilderness state, but "weep with those who weep," etc.

(T. Hannam.)

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