RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT IN THE PLAINS OF MOAB
The first verse of this chapter is placed in the Hebrew text at the end of ch.28, but
in the Septuagint and Vulgate the arrangement is as in the Authorized Version,
where it appears as the title of the section that follows. In that section is contained
an address to the people by Moses, in which he appeals to them to enter anew into
the covenant with the Lord, which had been before concluded at Horeb; denounces
apostasy as what would lead certainly to their being rejected of God; assures them
at the same time of God’s readiness to restore them should they sincerely repent
and return to Him; and once more sets before them the blessing and the curse, and
adjures them to choose the blessing.
1 “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded
Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the
covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” This was not a new covenant in
addition to that made at Sinai, but simply a renewal and reaffirmation of that
covenant. At Sinai the covenant was, properly speaking, made; sacrifices were
then offered, and the people were sprinkled with the sacrificial blood, whereby
the covenant was ratified (Exodus 24; Psalm 50:5); but on the occasion here
referred to, no sacrifices were offered, for this was merely the recognition of
the covenant formerly made as still subsisting.
Moses called unto all
all that the LORD did before your eyes in the
and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations
which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:”
Moses addresses the nation as such, and reminds them of their dullness to
apprehend the manifestations of God’s grace which had been so abundantly
afforded in their past history, in order that he may arouse them to a better state
of mind, and stimulate them to hearken to the voice of God in the future.
4 “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to
see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Moses says this “not to excuse their
wickedness, but partly to direct them what course to take, and to whom they
must have recourse for the amending of their former errors, and for a good
understanding and improvement of God’s works; and partly to aggravate
their sin, and to intimate that, although the hearing ear and the seeing eye and
the understanding heart are the workmanship of God (Proverbs 20:12), and
the effects of HIS SPECIAL GRACE (ch.30:6; Jeremiah 31:33; 32:39), yet
their want of this grace was their own fault and the just punishment of their
former sins. As they would not attend to God’s word, as they had shut their
eyes and their ears, that they might NOT SEE, or HEAR, or LEARN what
God was teaching them by His conduct towards them, they had been left to
themselves; and, as a necessary consequence, they had become as persons
who had no eyes to see, or ears to hear, or heart to perceive what was set
before them for their learning.
5 “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are
not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.
6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink:
that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 7 And when ye came
unto this place, Sihon
the king of Heshbon, and Og
the king of
came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: 8 And we took their
land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the
Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.” Having referred to the gracious
dealing of God with them in the wilderness, Moses introduces Jehovah Himself
as speaking to them.
Witnessing Without Seeing (vs. 1-8)
For nearly forty years the people had been witnesses of the extraordinary care of
God in watching over them, in supplying their wants, and in conducting them
through the wilderness; and yet the constant succession of mercies had had
no proper effect on them. They did not read the loving-kindness of God in all
as they should have done. Having eyes, they saw not; having ears, they heard
not. Moses evidently reproaches the people for their dullness. If there had been
an earnest desire to understand the deep meaning of God’s dealings with them,
certainly the needful light and wisdom would not have been withheld. Our
subject of thought arising hence is — Spiritual stolidity; or, witnessing without seeing.
The following passages of Scripture should be studied in regard to this theme:
o Psalm 25:14.
o Isaiah 6:9-10; 63:9-10,17;
o Jeremiah 5:21;
o Ezekiel 12:2; 14:1-23;
o Matthew 11:25; 12:24; 13:14-15; 15:16; 16:9; 21:27;
o Mark 3:5 (Greek); 6:52; 8:10-13,21;
o Luke 7:29-35; 12:56-57; 19:42;
o John 4:33; 7:17; 8:31-32,47; 9:39-41; 14:9,22;
(notice in v. 23 how Jesus said we would see!!!!!! – CY – 2012)
o I Corinthians 2:14;
o II Corinthians 3:14-15;
OF LIFE. Each one’s life is full of incident, from morning till evening, from
the beginning of the year unto the end of it. There may not have been the
succession of what is startling and striking, as there was in the case of
Israel, but simply common mercies coming speedily and without pause, just
as they were needed; the mercies one by one, fitting exactly into place, as if
a gracious care had provided all. As if — do we say? That is it. A GRACIOUS
CARE HATH HAD PROVIDED ALL! That is precisely our present situation.
We should as soon think that the letters in a printing office would spontaneously
arrange themselves into order for a printed book, as that the constant succession
of our comforts in life should come as they do without any prearrangement.
Ø Life’s comforts and supplies are a constant disclosure of DIVINE
LOVING-KINDNESS. They reveal God (Psalm 107:43).
Ø They are intended to help on the culture and growth of character.
Even supplies which come in the physical region, when granted
to moral beings, have a moral significance in them.
Ø By winning us to God, His mercies are intended to lead us to
repentance, and thus to open up to us a glorious goal in character
MISSED BY THOSE ON WHOM THOSE MERCIES ARE
BESTOWED. Of how many it may still he said, “Having eyes, they see
not; and having ears, they hear not!” This may arise from one or more of
Ø There may be some preconceived assumption or foregone conclusion
which, if indulged in, will shut out all acceptance of any thought of
God’s loving-kindness in common life, or anywhere else. Some
“high thought” may exalt itself against the knowledge of God.
(II Corinthians 10:5)
Ø There may be the lack of a spirit of loyalty, so that the individual is
indisposed to read aright the messages of the Father’s goodness.
Ø There may be a misuse, non-use, or abuse (as through the drug
culture) of the organs and faculties by which spiritual knowledge
may be acquired.
Ø There may be distraction of heart and soul by the whirl and rush of
life, so that the spirit has no leisure therefrom to learn of God in
“secret silence of the mind.”
Ø There may be entire indifference concerning the higher meaning of
common things. Any one of these five causes will amply account
for a man failing to learn of God through the experiences of life.
SUCH A FAILURE TO LEARN LIFE’S LESSONS. For:
Ø We have a revelation of God given to us in the Book, whereby we
may come at the true interpretation of life. Israel had their Law,
by which they might read their life. We have both the Law and the
gospel. And the preciousness of human life in the eye of God is
taught us in Luke 15, and in the light of such a chapter should the
mystery of human life and Divine care be studied.
Ø We have a distinct disclosure to us of the one condition on which
religions knowledge and certitude can be acquired (John 7:17;
Ø There is a direct and clear promise of wisdom to those who lack it
and seek it (James 1:5-7 – as I have said in the introduction to the
home page – this web site - this scripture was a big help to me.
I certainly don’t know all I should or could about God’s Word
but the Word of God has been real in my life and the Holy Spirit
is always there to make things plain for those who seek Him with
all the heart – CY – 2012). The promises given by our Lord are also
Ø There is the testimony of the experience of such as are taught of God.
They can tell of His mercies, and sing aloud of His righteousness
(Psalm 34:6; 66:16). And such experience is or should be an invaluable
help to those who have yet to learn “the secret of the Lord.” Now, with
this fourfold clue, it is altogether needless for any to misunderstand
life’s mystery and meaning. So that it follows:
PERCEPTION IS MATTER FOR SERIOUS REPROACH AND
REBUKE. It is not against God that the words of v. 4 are spoken. He
would have given them eyes to see, had they desired and sought that
blessing. And so He will now. Hence there is a fivefold injustice done by us
if we remain without the true knowledge of the rich meaning in our mercies.
Ø There is injustice to the Word of God.
Ø There is injustice to the God of the Word.
Ø There is injustice to ourselves.
Ø There is injustice to the mystery of life.
Ø There is injury to our future and eternal destiny.
given or withheld. It is given to those who feel their need of it, who seek it,
and who act in faithfulness to the light already possessed (Psalm 119:18;
Matthew 13:10-16). From none such will God withhold
the “heart to perceive, and eyes to see.” On the other hand, DIVINE
ILLUMINATION IS INDISPENSABLE TO TRUTH (compare
John 6:45; I Corinthians 2:12-16; II Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:17).
As the human eye is needed for the discernment of nature, so is the
spiritual eye needed to penetrate “the secret of the Lord.” To gain this
seeing eye, there must be prayer — prayer and obedience. Without
these two golden keys, no thought, no labor, no learning, no cleverness,
will enable us to force the gates of the inner sanctuary of truth.
God’s world, God’s Word, God’s providence, will be alike mysterious;
if spiritual instruction is offered, the mocked reply will be “Doth
He not speak parables?” (Ezekiel 20:49)
Well may we adopt for ourselves, on our own behalf, as well as on that of
others, the prayers of the apostle for spiritual enlightenment (Philippians 1:9-11;
Colossians 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:15-18). For as we understand the MYSTERY
OF GOD IN CHRIST will all minor ones have the light of heaven poured
9 “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may
prosper in all that ye do.” The verb here used (lyKic]hi) means primarily to
look at, to consider or attend to, hence to become intelligent, to be prudent,
to act wisely, and so to have success, to prosper. It is the prosperity which
comes from wise and prudent action that God commends to His people
(Of this advice, the secular and political leadership of the United States
today, seems to have no clue – CY – 2012 – compare Joshua 1:7-8).
In the next six verses (10-15), there is a summons to enter into the covenant of
the Lord with fresh ardor and cordiality.
10 “Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your
captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the
11 “Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from
the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: 12 That thou shouldest
enter into covenant with the LORD thy God,” – The covenant was a national
engagement, and as such included not only the adults anti existing generation,
the little ones, the strangers resident in
that is, all the elements of which the nation was composed, as well as their
posterity in coming, generations. That thou shouldest enter into covenant. The
expression in the Hebrew is a strong one, indicating not a mere formal
engagement, but a going thoroughly into the covenant; the phrase is used
of the sword going through the land (Leviticus 26:6), and of one going
into the pit (Job 33:28) - “and into His oath,” - Covenants were confirmed by
oath (Genesis 26:28; Hebrews 6:17); hence in Scripture the covenant of God is
sometimes called His oath (v. 14; I Chronicles 16:16; Hebrews 7:28). (On v. 13,
compare ch. 27:9; 28:9; Exodus 19:5-6) - “which the LORD thy God maketh
with thee this day: 13 That He may establish thee to day for a people unto
Himself, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He hath said unto thee,
and as He hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD
our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:”
In vs. 16-29, the summons to renew the covenant is enforced by a fresh
exposition of the evil and danger of APOSTASY FROM THE LORD. This
is introduced by a reference to the experience which the people already had
contact during their march through the wilderness, from which they must
have learned the utter worthlessness of all idols, that they were no gods,
but only wood and stone.
16 “For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we
came through the nations which ye passed by; 17 And ye have seen their
abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were
among them:” These verses are not a parenthesis, as in the Authorized
Version. V. 18 is connected, not with v. 15, but with v. 17; there should be a
full stop at the end of v. 15. Their idols; literally, their blocks or logs
(גִלוּלִים, from גָלַל, to roll something too heavy to be carried), a term of
contempt used frequently in Scripture of idols.
18 “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or
tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God,
to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be
among you” - rather, See that there be not among you - The participle
פֵן, lest, at the beginning of a sentence, sometimes implies a prohibition or
dissuasion, as Job 32:13, “say not;” Isaiah 36:18, “beware of saying”) –
“a root that beareth gall” - The Hebrew word so rendered (רלֺאשׁ) is supposed
by Gesenius to be the poppy plant, by Celsius to be the hemlock (it is so rendered,
Hosea 10:4; Amos 6:12, another thinks it to be colocynth. It is probably a general
name for what is poisonous and bitter; for it is used of poison generally (ch. 32:32)
and of the venom of asps (Ibid. v.33; Job 20:16), as well as of poisonous roots and
bitter fruits - “and wormwood;” - Coupled here with wormwood, it must be a
plant that is referred to; and the union of the two affords a striking image of the
DESTRUCTIVE FRUIT BORNE BY IDOLATRY!
19 “And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that
he bless himself in his heart,” – congratulate himself - “saying, I shall have
peace,” – i.e., all shall be well with me - “though I walk in the imagination
of mine heart,” - literally, in the firmness or hardness of my heart, (שְׁרִירוּת,
from שָׁרַר, to twist together, to be tough or firm); the word is always used
in a bad sense in Hebrew, though not in Aramaic (compare Psalm 81:12-13;
Jeremiah 3:17; 7:24; 9:13-14; 11:8) - “to add drunkenness to thirst:” - a
proverbial expression, of which very different explanations have been given.
It is now generally admitted that the verb (סְפות) cannot be taken here in
the sense of “add,” but has its proper sense of pouring out, pouring away,
destroying. The word rendered “drunkenness” (רָוֶת, from רָוָה,, to be sated
with moisture, to be drenched) means rather “sated, drenched, well-watered;”
and the word rendered “thirst” (צְמֵאָה, from צָמֵא, to thirst) is properly
thirsty, and is used of dry land (Isaiah 44:3); both are adjectives, and a
substantive is to be supplied. Some supply נֶפֶשׁ, soul or person; others,
אֶרֶץ, land. The former render, “The full [soul] with the thirsty” or, “Them
that are sated with them that are thirsty,” i.e. as well those who have imbibed
the poison as those who thirst for it; or “That the sated [soul] may destroy the
thirsty,” i.e. that the impious one, restrained by no law and, as it were, drunk
with crime, may corrupt others, also prone to evil, and bring on them destruction.
Those who supply “land,” render “To destroy the well-watered [land] with the dry.”
This last seems the preferable rendering; but the general meaning is the
same in either case, viz. that the effect of such hardness of heart would be
to destroy one and all. “The Orientals are fond of such bipartite forms of
expressing the whole (see ch. 32:36).
20 “The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and
His jealousy shall smoke” - Though the sinner fancies all is well with him, and
is hardened in his iniquity, and is leading others astray by his example, the
Lord will not suffer him to rest in impunity, but will send on him terrible
punishments. The anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke, i.e.
shall break forth in destructive fire (compare Psalm 74:1; Isaiah 65:5;
Psalm 18:8) -“against that man, and all the curses that are written in this
book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under
heaven.” (Exodus 17:14) 21 And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out
of all the tribes of
placed beyond the sphere over which rests the salvation of the Lord, they will be
exposed to destruction - “according to all the curses of the covenant that are
written in this book of the law:” - rather, as in the margin, is written; the
participle agrees with “covenant.”
Apostasy in Heart a Root of Bitterness (vs. 10-21)
In the midst of this paragraph there is an expression of which the writer to
the Hebrews makes use as a warning. It is found in the eighteenth verse:
“Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood.”
In the Epistle to the Hebrews 12:10, the sacred writer says, “Looking
diligently... lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby
many be defiled.” The root bearing gall and wormwood which Moses
deprecates is, APOSTASY FROM GOD who has revealed His will through him.
That which the New Testament writer dreads, and to ward off which his
whole Epistle was written is, Apostasy from GOD WHO HAS REVEALED
HIS WILL THROUGH HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON! We propose now to
suggest a line of thought which may “open up” and impress on the heart and
conscience the truth that heart apostasy is a root bearing GALL and
WITH INFLUENCES THAT ARE UNFAVORABLE TO FIDELITY
TO ALL THAT HE BELIEVES AND HOPES. Israel was in the midst
of other nations, who had a greatness and pomp with which they could not
vie, who had a religious worship other than theirs, and a literature and
learning which were greater than theirs; and it was not at all unnatural that
now and then, at any rate, they should cast a longing look at them, and
cherish a wish to rival them. And as their acquaintance with other nations
increased in the course of the ages, it cannot be wondered at if they were
tempted to depart from the simplicity of their monotheistic faith and
worship. And now, the parallel between them and us is closer than ever it
has been. Increasing research has brought to light much religious literature
in the world, which pertains to varied religions, in which even two hundred
years ago our fathers thought there was nothing good. The great religions of the
world — Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Mohammedanism —
were looked on by some as almost totally bad. And now, some are so
elated by the features of excellence that may be traced in one and another,
and so startled by some parallels between the Christian religion and others,
that they are tempted to indulge the thought that our faith is but one
among many — (Since 9/11 I have noticed among the secular media
there are those who seem to reverence Islam, perhaps out of fear, if so
terrorism works – CY – 2012) the best, perhaps, of all the varied religions
in the world, but yet differing from others rather in its superior measure
of excellence, than in any features altogether and absolutely unique and
LORD JESUS CHRIST, ANALOGOUS TO THE PERIL WHICH
exposed is not merely the ordinary one arising from the fickleness of the
human heart, and from the subtle temptations and fiery darts of the
wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16) With the larger knowledge just referred
to of whatever excellence other religions may have, a new temptation is
presented to the understanding, NO LONGER TO REGARD OUR
SAVIOUR AS THE ONE AND ONLY REDEEMER but as simply
the Highest and Best of the Religious Teachers of the world. And so far as
this temptation is yielded to, there may come a defection from the faith on
any one or more — or all — of the five following points:
Ø Christ may cease to be regarded as the only begotten Son of the
Ø His Godhead, and therefore His incarnation, may come to be
denied, or at least may cease to be held as a part of the “faith
once [for all] delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
Ø His redemption, as at once furnishing us with a gospel of
deliverance and a gospel of power, may be lost sight of as the
distinctive feature of His work, to which no religion in the world
can furnish a parallel or point of comparison. We have many
religions in the world; there is but ONE GOSPEL!
Ø His example may come to be regarded as simply one that towers
above that of other men, and as unattended with any power of
lifting the world up to His own level.
Ø And with all this, the dread and august majesty with which He,
as the Mediator of our race, exercises all power in heaven and
on earth, may be thrown into the background, and may thus cease
to sway the heart and life. No one who understands the times
can fail to see the reality of these dangers, and the serious
proportions they are assuming. That amid the storm, the kingdom
of Christ will be shaken, we have no fear whatever, (Jesus said,
“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it.” - [Matthew 16:18] – but many may depart
from the faith meanwhile.
Ø If thus the heart loses its hold of Christ as a Redeemer, the
attainment of salvation will henceforth become impossible.
Ø If once the power of Christ ceases to renew, the old self will reign,
and evil passions will be under no adequate control. Inferior power
may curb the manifestation of passion, but only Divine power can
tear up its roots.
Ø Such defection from the faith will “defile” many (Hebrews 12:15).
The evil will not stop with one. It will be infectious.
Ø Such dishonor done to the Son of God will bring upon those who
are guilty thereof the DIVINE WRATH!
Ø The sure effect will be the breaking up and disbanding of the Churches
which are poisoned thereby. There will be no reason why Churches
should hold together, if their Divine Christ is gone, and there will be
no power that can keep them together, if His Spirit is grieved and
departs. (Genesis 6:3; II Thessalonians 2:6-12)
SHOULD CAREFULLY GUARD. “Looking diligently lest” (v. 18).
Ø They should watch the signs of the times, in order that, as far as in
them lies, they may guard the Church to which they belong from the
dangers with which the changeful currents of human thought may
Ø They should seek so to quicken the zeal and inflame the fervor of
piety around them, that temptations to apostatize may have no
Ø They should cherish a loving solicitude, and fervently pray, for each
other, that mutual care and prayer may be an effectual guard against
the approach of disloyalty in faith or even in thought.
Ø Each one should be very jealous over his own heart. In others we can
discern only fruit; in ourselves we can detect the root, of evil. Hence
this watchfulness over our own spirits is doubly important, since it
may be doubly effective. Even in others we may perhaps lop off the
evil fruit, but in ourselves we can see that even the root is plucked up.
For this, the only radical, certain, and absolute preventive of apostasy,
THE SPIRIT OF GOD can effect, and HE WILL if we resign
ourselves to His Almighty Hands. He can so renew and sanctify
the heart that no “root of bitterness” can find any hold.
He can make the soil so receptive of truth that any living seed of
righteousness will at once germinate, and yet withal so destructive
of error that any seed of evil casually dropping in will perish in its fall.
Happy man, whose heart is in the effectual keeping of THE HOLY
GHOST and who is so sanctified that no germ of ill can find even a
The Lying Hope (vs. 16-21)
Jehovah, went after the gods by the nations, was doubly inexcusable!
Ø The true God had been revealed to him.
Ø The worthlessness of heathen idols had been demonstrated. He had
the light, and could compare it with the darkness of the nations around.
If not himself,
a witness of God’s mighty works in
he had heard of them from his forefathers, or could read of them in his
Scriptures (v. 20). The existence of the nation was a proof that such
things had been done.
remarkable. He blesses himself in his heart, and says, “I will have peace,”
at the very time that God’s curses are being read out to him. Yet his
case is not a solitary one. He does no more than men do every day in the
teeth of the threatenings of the Bible. Satan whispers, “Ye shall not surely
die” (Genesis 3:4); “Be it far from thee: this shall not be unto thee”
(Matthew 16:22); and Satan, not God, is believed. We may explain this
Ø From want of consideration (Isaiah 1:3). The wicked man does
not really trouble himself about the curses. They are mere words to him.
The mind makes no application, scarcely even asks the meaning, of
what it hears. The oracle with which the wicked man consults is in his
own heart (Psalm 36:1-5), and the “oracles of God” get no attention.
Ø From self-will. Will enters into the question of our beliefs; so long as it
can twist evidence, resist unwelcome conclusions, find evasions
and pretexts, it will not accept what is contrary to its ordinary bent.
While, if the worst comes to the worst, it can cut the knot by a simple
“I won’t,” and obstinately refuse to believe aught but what it likes.
The account of the sinner’s unbelief and self-deceit is therefore this:
o He has not liked to retain God in his knowledge.
o Unwelcome subjects have been banished from his mind.
o Through unfamiliarity to his thoughts, the supernatural world
Has become less and less a reality to him.
o He acquires the power of ignoring it, and ends by
disbelief in it.
sinner, cannot alter the actual state of the case. God’s auger smokes
against him, and will certainly destroy him. His sin, agreeable as it may
appear at present, will yield at last gall and wormwood. Contending with
the Almighty, he rushes on to his ruin. The curses written in the Book will not
fail to overtake him. It is easy for sinners to “laugh now” (Luke 6:25),
but there awaits them a terrible undeceiving — a day when they shall
“mourn and weep.”
22 “So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after
you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they
see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid
upon it; 23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and
burning,” - rather, sulfur and salt, a burning the whole land thereof, it
shall not be sown, etc. The words “sulfur,” etc., are in apposition to the
“plagues and sicknesses” of v. 22, and thus so far depend on the “see.”
The description here is taken from the country around the
which there is an express allusion in the close of the verse (compare Genesis
19:23). As this country, which before had been as the garden of the
Lord, became, when the wrath of God was poured upon it, utterly desolate
and waste; so should it be with the
sicknesses threatened were laid on it by the Lord - “that it is not sown,
nor beareth, nor any grass growth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom,
and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in
His anger, and in His wrath:” (I recommend arkdiscovery.com – check
out the section on Sodom and Gomorrah – very worthwhile CY – 2012)
24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus
unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?” (The reply
to the question comes in vs. 25-28) Future generations and foreign visitants,
seeing the calamities with which the rebels had been visited, nay, all nations,
should ask, in astonishment and horror, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus
unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? It is evident from
this that Moses contemplates, and in fact here predicts, A DEFECTION not of
individuals or families merely, but of THE NATION AS A WHOLE from the
Lord, and the punishment which came in consequence upon the nation. The words
from “when they see” (v. 22) to “wrath” (v. 23) are a parenthesis, in which
a reason for the main thought is given in a circumstantial clause; and the
“say” of v. 22 is resumed by the “say” of v. 24.
25 “Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of
the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He
brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26 For they went and served
other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom
He had not given unto them:” (compare ch. 4:19) 27 And the anger of the
LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses” –
literally, every curse, or the whole curse (compare Daniel 9:11) - “that are
written in this book: 28 And the LORD rooted them out of their land in
anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another
land, as it is this day.” In the Hebrew the word cast them (יַשְׁלִכֵם)
has one of its letters, the ל, larger than the rest, and another letter, י which
should be after the ל, is omitted; on which “Baal Hatturim notes, There is
a great lamed and a want of yod, to teach that there is no casting away like
that of the ten tribes.” According to Baxtorf, the large lamed represents the
first letter of l’olam, forever, and the yod, the numeral 10, represents the ten
tribes, whose PERPETUAL OMMISSION FROM THE NATION OF
Historical Witnesses to the Wrath of God (vs. 22-28)
The chapter preceding this is shaded, yea, dark indeed. Nevertheless, it is
exact forecast of the state of
between the state of the
LAND, IS SEEN THE EFFECT OF THE WRATH OF GOD!
(This homily was written prior to 1948. While the land of Israel has
been adversely affected because of God’s judgments, the Bible
promises that someday it will “blossom as a rose!” - Isaiah 35:1-2 –
CY – 2012)
THEREBY CONFIRMED! It is now a favorite canon of scientific men,
that whatever cannot be verified must be relegated to the past and
forgotten. To this there can be no objection, if those who insist on this
negative will insist equally on the reciprocal positive, and say that
whatever can be verified must be accepted. For it would be simply a
proof, either of discreditable ignorance or of perversity, if men were
to deny or to spurn the repeated verifications of the words of Moses
in the subsequent course of history.
And it is of no use for men to declaim against the possibility of miracles,
when there is the standing miracle before our eye, of some superhuman
knowledge having forecast, three thousand years ago, precisely the line
along which Hebrew history would move, down till the present day.
And as long as our present historical records stand, so long will
there remain the confirmation
of the precision with which
awgiver, speaking in the name of Jehovah, laid down beforehand
the lines along which the Jewish nation should move for thousands
of years. When we put together:
o the land and
o the Book,
o the work and
o the Word,
and see the correspondence between them, we cannot but say,
“THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD!”
29 “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God:” - By secret things, here,
is meant the things in God’s purpose known only to Himself: these things, it is
affirmed, belong to Him, are His affair, and may be left with Him – “but those
things which are revealed” - On the other hand, the things revealed are the
things made known by God to man in His Word, viz. His injunctions, threatenings,
and promises; and with these men have to do. This verse is by some regarded as
part of the answer given to the question of v. 24; but others regard it as a general
reflection added by Moses by way of admonition to his previous discourse.
This latter view is the more probable, and the scribes may have had this in
their mind when they distinguished the words, “belong unto us and to our
children” – by placing over them extraordinary points (in Hebrew), in order
to emphasize them, though by many this is regarded as a mere critical notation,
indicating a various reading - “for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Revealed Things (v. 29)
This verse is so full of meaning that it is not easy to do even approximate
justice to it in one discourse. Hence we have reserved the latter part thereof for a
suggested outline of a distinct homily: “Those things which are revealed belong
unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Law.”
The statement here made concerning the Law of God in particular, is true of the
entire Word of God as the regulator of faith and life.
AND WILL OF GOD. He made known His ways unto Moses. And now
He hath spoken to us in his Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). The sum and substance
of the Divine message is, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more
abound.” (Romans 5:20)
FROM GOD IS THAT WE MAY THEREBY HAVE AN
ADEQUATE GUIDE FOR FAITH AND LIFE. “That we may
do all the words of this Law” is the Old Testament form of setting this.
The New Testament form
is, “Preaching... repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus
“OURS.” “Those things which are revealed belong unto us!”
Ø They belong to us — our treasury of wealth.
Ø They belong to us — our measure of responsibility.
Ø They belong to us — our rule by which we shall be finally tried
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