You, because of Your great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud never turned away from guiding them on their path; and by the night the pillar of fire illuminated the way they should go.
I. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS FAVOURED WITH THE DIVINE FORBEARANCE. The sins of the people were pride (ver. 16), disobedience (ver. 17), idolatry (ver. 18), murder (ver. 26), provocation, obduracy. "Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness" (ver. 19).
1. This forbearance is merciful.
2. This forbearance is considerate. In the wilderness it is so much needed.
3. This forbearance is unrecognised. See the obduracy of sin.
II. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS FAVOURED WITH ALL THE BENEFICENT MINISTRIES OF HEAVEN. "The pillar of the cloud departed not from them" (ver. 19).
1. The sinful life has light.
2. The sinful life has guidance.
3. The sinful life has spiritual instruction (ver. 20). See the ingratitude of sin.
III. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS SUSTAINED BY THE KIND PROVIDENCE OF GOD (ver. 21).
4. Various. See the wilful blindness and ingratitude of sin.
IV. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE OFTEN EXPERIENCES GREAT TEMPORAL PROSPERITY AT THE HAND OF GOD (ver. 22).
4. Plenty. Yet the goodness of God does not lead to repentance.
V. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS ALSO DISCIPLINED BY AFFLICTIVE PROVIDENCES (ver. 27). In all this see the Divine effort to awaken the sinner. - E.
Thou careen down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven.
(J. Reid Howatt.)
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