Deuteronomy 29

 

 

       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.

 

2 “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen

all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh,

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 Bashan,

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;

 

Observe:

 

  • THERE IS A MEANING, RICH AND FULL, IN THE INCIDENTS

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

and destiny.

 

  • THIS DIVINE MEANING IN THE MERCIES OF LIFE IS OFTEN

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

several causes.

 

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.

 

  • THERE IS NO ADEQUATE REASON WHICH CAN JUSTIFY

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;

Psalm 25:8-9,14).

 

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

abundant.

 

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:

 

  • THAT TO BE AND TO REMAIN WITHOUT SPIRITUAL

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.

 

  • SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT IS FROM GOD.  Yet not arbitrarily

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

upon them.

 

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

men of Israel,” - The heads or chiefs are the elders and officers, the tribes are

all Israel. 

 

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,

but the little ones, the strangers resident in Israel, the lowest menial servants,

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

of idolatry in Egypt, and among the nations with whom they had come in

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

 (μyliWlgi, from ll"g;, 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

 ˆpe, 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 (vaOr) 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, (tWryriv],

from rr"v;, 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 (twOps]) cannot be taken here in

the sense of “add,” but has its proper sense of pouring out, pouring away,

destroying. The word rendered “drunkenness” (tw,r;, from hw;r;, to be sated

with moisture, to be drenched) means rather “sated, drenched, well-watered;”

and the word rendered “thirst” (ha;mex], from amex;, 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 vp,n,, soul or person; others,

˜r,a,, 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 Israel,” –  so that, excluded from  the covenant  nation, and

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

WORMWOOD.

 

  • THE CHRISTIAN, LIKE ISRAEL OF OLD, IS SURROUNDED

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

incomparable.  Hence:

 

  • THERE IS A DANGER OF APOSTASY OF HEART FROM THE

LORD JESUS CHRIST, ANALOGOUS TO THE PERIL WHICH

BESET ISRAEL OF OLD. The peril to which Christians are now

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

Father.

 

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.

 

  • SUCH APOSTASY WOULD BE A ROOT OF BITTERNESS.

 

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)

 

  • HENCE AGAINST SUCH A GRIEVOUS RESULT GOD’S PEOPLE

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

threaten them.

 

Ø      They should seek so to quicken the zeal and inflame the fervor of

piety around them, that temptations to apostatize may have no

power.

 

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

momentary home!

 

 

The Lying Hope (vs. 16-21)

 

  • INEXCUSABLE UNBELIEF. (vs. 16-18.) The man who, turning

 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 Egypt and in the desert,

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.

 

  • GROSS SELF-DECEIT. (v. 19.) The act of this wicked man is very

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

self-deceit:

 

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.

(Romans 1:28)

o       Unwelcome subjects have been banished from his mind.

(Amos 6:3)

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.

 

  • UNUTTERABLE FOLLY. (vs. 20-21) Unbelief, unhappily for the

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 Dead Sea, to

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 land of Israel when the plagues and

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 (μkeliv]y")

has one of its letters, the l, larger than the rest, and another letter, y which

should be after the l, 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 lolam, forever, and the yod, the numeral 10, represents the ten

tribes, whose PERPETUAL OMMISSION FROM THE NATION OF

ISRAEL  is thus indicated.

 

 

    Historical Witnesses to the Wrath of God (vs. 22-28)

 

The chapter preceding this is shaded, yea, dark indeed. Nevertheless, it is

an exact forecast of the state of Israel at this very day. In fact, the comparison

between the state of the land of Palestine and the words of the Book, suggests:

 

  • HOW MANIFESTLY, IN THE DESOLATION OF THE HOLY

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)

 

  • HOW IS THE ACCURACY OF THIS PART OF THE OLD BOOK

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 Israel’s

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 (d[O" wOnOyOnOebO;

[OwO wOnO [O), 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.

 

  • WITHIN THE WORD OF GOD WE HAVE THE REVEALED MIND

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)

 

  • THE MANIFEST OBJECT OF THIS REVELATION OF AND

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

Christ.”

 

  • IN THIS RESPECT THE WORD OF GOD IS, EMPHATICALLY,

“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

(Romans 2:1-16).

 

 

 

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