You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt; You heard their cry at the Red Sea.
At this great and solemn gathering, which followed the feast of tabernacles
, Ezra and eight Levites led the whole assembly in a reverent address and appeal to God. It is thought by some that the record of it in this chapter (vers. 6-38) is the exact copy of it as then written down for the use of the Levites; or it may be the leading topics of it as afterwards recollected
and recorded. We have seen that confession of sin is the groundwork and substance of it. But it includes adoration and thanksgiving
, for the grateful recital of the excellences of God's character and the graciousness of his dealings would be the very thing to deepen and to quicken penitence for their sin. A realisation of God's holiness and a remembrance of his kindness are inseparably connected with the sense of our own guilt. This recital of the goodness of God, both general and particular, contains reference to -
1. The essential greatness of God: as the one Lord; Creator and Preserver of men; Maker of heaven, "with all their host;"... whom "the host of heaven worshippeth" (ver. 6).
2. His distinguishing goodness to Israel: choosing Abraham (ver. 7), working great wonders on behalf of the race (vers. 10, 11), giving them a day of rest and a human leader (ver. 14), establishing and enriching them in the land of promise (vers. 22-25).
3. His miraculous and his abiding care for their wants: giving them "bread from heaven for their hunger," and bringing forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst (ver. 15); forty years sustaining them in the wilderness (ver. 21).
4. His faithfulness: "performing his words, for he is righteous" (ver. 8).
5. His pitifulness, and mercy, and patience: seeing their affliction and hearing their cry (ver. 9); "ready to pardon, slow to anger, and of great kindness" (ver. 17); "many times delivering them" in answer to their cry (ver. 28); "not utterly consuming nor forsaking them" (ver. 31).
6. His guidance and teaching: giving the cloudy pillar and the pillar of fire (ver. 12); speaking to them from heaven and giving them judgments and true laws, etc. (ver. 13), and his "good Spirit to instruct them" (ver. 20).
7. His chastening love (vers. 28-30). Let us consider -
I. THE ABUNDANT GROUND FOR GRATITUDE ON THE PART OF EVERY ONE OF US. We worship and bless God as
(1) our Creator: "it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;" it is he who breathed into us "the breath of life," and made us "living souls;" as
(2) our Divine Preserver and Sustainer, whose visitation has preserved our spirit; as
(3) One who has shown many peculiar and especial favours to us which he has not bestowed on others; as
(4) One who has been opening his band and satisfying our daily want - "daily loading us with benefits;" as
(5) One who has been faithful in all his dealings with us; who
(6) has borne much and long with our waywardness, our fruitlessness, our imperfection; as
(7) One who has been guiding us continually, "ordering our steps," leading us by a way we knew not, by a right and a wise way;
(8) teaching us his holy will, acting on us by his "good Spirit," and
(9) blessing us by that which we may have least appreciated, but which has been the truest instance of his love - by chastening us, correcting us, "leading us into the wilderness, humbling us," weakening us, impoverishing us, taking from us the "light of our eyes," "breaking our schemes of earthly joy," that we might return unto him, to find our rest in his love, our portion in his service.
II. GOOD REASONS WHY WE, AS ERRING BUT ENDEAVOURING SOULS, SHOULD RECALL AND RECOUNT IT. There are four very strong reasons why, in the presence of God and of one another, we should recall his past loving-kindness and his everlasting goodness.
1. It is in accordance with his will, and will give pleasure to him when we do so reverently and gratefully.
2. It will deepen our sense of sin; for we shall feel that it is against all this goodness and mercy we have rebelled.
3. It will give spirituality and intensity to the voice of our praise. Such recollections will constrain us to "make melody in our heart" when we make music with our voice.
4. It will give depth to our abiding gratitude - that sense of unbounded indebtedness which we carry with us from the sanctuary, and hold in our hearts everywhere. - C.
And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt.
THAT THE PATH OF HUMAN DUTY HERE RUNS THROUGH GREAT TRIALS.
1. Sometimes it involves the sacrifice of endeared friendship. Lot had to separate from Abraham, Barnabas from Paul, Paul from Mark.
2. Sometimes it involves the sacrifice of worldly prospects.
3. Sometimes it involves the endangering of life itself.
4. Sometimes it involves an outrage on our tender sentiments. Abraham offering up Isaac.
II. THAT GREAT TRIALS THROUGH WHICH THE PATH OF DUTY HERE RUNS SERVE TO TEST THE PRINCIPLES OF THE PILGRIMS.
1. It reveals the bad principles of the heart. The Jews at the Red Sea revealed their ingratitude, meanness, aspostasy, cowardice,
2. It reveals the good principles of the heart.
III. THAT UNBOUNDED FAITH IN GOD IS ESSENTIAL TO CARRY US SAFELY 'THROUGH THE PATH OF DUTY WITH ALL ITS GREAT TRIALS.
The following is an extract from Stanley to Sir William Mackinnon: "You, who throughout your long and varied life have steadfastly believed in the Christian's God, and before men have professed your devout thankfulness for many mercies vouchsafed to you, will better understand than many others the feelings which animate me when I find myself back again in civilisation, uninjured in life or health, after passing through so many stormy and distressful periods. Constrained at the darkest hour to humbly confess that without God's help I was helpless, I vowed a vow in the forest solitudes that I would confess His aid before men. A silence as of death was round about me; it was midnight; I was weakened by illness, prostrated with fatigue, and worn with anxiety for my white and black companions whose fate was a mystery. In this physical and mental distress I besought God to give me back my people. Nine hours later we were exulting with a rapturous joy. In full view of all was the crimson flag with the crescent, and beneath its waving folds was the long-lost rear column." Mungo Park was comforted by the Lord by a tiny morsel of moss, and Livingstone was preserved by Him when most people gave him up for lost: and now, from the awful gloom of endless forests, Stanley cries unto the living God, and lives to bear witness to the faithfulness of the prayer-hearing Jehovah.
PeopleAbram, Amorites, Bani, Bunni, Canaanites, Chenani, Egyptians, Ezra, Girgashite, Girgashites, Hashabniah, Hittites, Hodiah, Hodijah, Israelites, Jebusites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Levites, Og, Perizzites, Pethahiah, Pharaoh, Shebaniah, Sherebiah, Sihon
PlacesAssyria, Bashan, Egypt, Gate of Ephraim, Heshbon, Mount Sinai, Red Sea, Ur
TopicsAffliction, Cry, Ears, Egypt, Fathers, Forefathers, Hast, Heardest, Red, Sawest, Suph, Trouble
Outline1. A solemn fast, and repentance of the people
4. The Levites make a confession of God's goodness, and their wickedness
Dictionary of Bible ThemesNehemiah 9:9
1210 God, human descriptions
1315 God, as redeemer
7223 exodus, significance
LibraryThe Joy of the Lord is Your Strength. Neh 9:10
John Newton—Olney Hymns
Questions About the Nature and Perpetuity of the Seventh-Day Sabbath.
AND PROOF, THAT THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN SABBATH. BY JOHN BUNYAN. 'The Son of man is lord also of the Sabbath day.' London: Printed for Nath, Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, 1685. EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. All our inquiries into divine commands are required to be made personally, solemnly, prayerful. To 'prove all things,' and 'hold fast' and obey 'that which is good,' is a precept, equally binding upon the clown, as it is upon the philosopher. Satisfied from our observations …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
Ten Reasons Demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be Moral.
1. Because all the reasons of this commandment are moral and perpetual; and God has bound us to the obedience of this commandment with more forcible reasons than to any of the rest--First, because he foresaw that irreligious men would either more carelessly neglect, or more boldly break this commandment than any other; secondly, because that in the practice of this commandment the keeping of all the other consists; which makes God so often complain that all his worship is neglected or overthrown, …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
The "Fraternity" of Pharisees
To realise the state of religious society at the time of our Lord, the fact that the Pharisees were a regular "order," and that there were many such "fraternities," in great measure the outcome of the original Pharisees, must always be kept in view. For the New Testament simply transports us among contemporary scenes and actors, taking the then existent state of things, so to speak, for granted. But the fact referred to explains many seemingly strange circumstances, and casts fresh light upon all. …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were …
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come
The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
Before one can correctly understand the work of the Holy Spirit, he must first of all know the Spirit Himself. A frequent source of error and fanaticism about the work of the Holy Spirit is the attempt to study and understand His work without first of all coming to know Him as a Person. It is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship that we decide whether the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith, our love, and our entire surrender to Himself, …
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit
The Early Life of Malachy. Having Been Admitted to Holy Orders He Associates with Malchus
[Sidenote: 1095.] 1. Our Malachy, born in Ireland, of a barbarous people, was brought up there, and there received his education. But from the barbarism of his birth he contracted no taint, any more than the fishes of the sea from their native salt. But how delightful to reflect, that uncultured barbarism should have produced for us so worthy a fellow-citizen with the saints and member of the household of God. He who brings honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock …
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh
The Prophecy of Obadiah.
We need not enter into details regarding the question as to the time when the prophet wrote. By a thorough argumentation, Caspari has proved, that he occupies his right position in the Canon, and hence belongs to the earliest age of written prophecy, i.e., to the time of Jeroboam II. and Uzziah. As bearing conclusively against those who would assign to him a far later date, viz., the time of the exile, there is not only the indirect testimony borne by the place which this prophecy occupies in …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
The Preface to the Commandments
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God,' &c. Exod 20: 1, 2. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments? The preface to the Ten Commandments is, I am the Lord thy God.' The preface to the preface is, God spake all these words, saying,' &c. This is like the sounding of a trumpet before a solemn proclamation. Other parts of the Bible are said to be uttered by the mouth of the holy prophets (Luke 1: 70), but here God spake in his own person. How are we to understand that, God spake, …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
Of Immediate Revelation.
Of Immediate Revelation.  Seeing no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him; and seeing the revelation of the Son is in and by the Spirit; therefore the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed; who as, by the moving of his own Spirit, he disposed the chaos of this world into that wonderful order in which it was in the beginning, and created man a living soul, to rule and govern it, so by …
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity
Influences that Gave Rise to the Priestly Laws and Histories
[Sidenote: Influences in the exile that produced written ceremonial laws] The Babylonian exile gave a great opportunity and incentive to the further development of written law. While the temple stood, the ceremonial rites and customs received constant illustration, and were transmitted directly from father to son in the priestly families. Hence, there was little need of writing them down. But when most of the priests were carried captive to Babylonia, as in 597 B.C., and ten years later the temple …
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament
The Holy War,
MADE BY SHADDAI UPON DIABOLUS, FOR THE REGAINING OF THE METROPOLIS OF THE WORLD; OR, THE LOSING AND TAKING AGAIN OF THE TOWN OF MANSOUL. THE AUTHOR OF 'THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.' 'I have used similitudes.'--Hosea 12:10. London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms in the Poultry; and Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Bunyan's account of the Holy War is indeed an extraordinary book, manifesting a degree of genius, research, and spiritual …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
Some of the most complicated problems in Hebrew history as well as in the literary criticism of the Old Testament gather about the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Apart from these books, all that we know of the origin and early history of Judaism is inferential. They are our only historical sources for that period; and if in them we have, as we seem to have, authentic memoirs, fragmentary though they be, written by the two men who, more than any other, gave permanent shape and direction to Judaism, then …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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