Deuteronomy 6 

 

Some connect this (vs. 1-3) with what goes before, and take it as a sort of epilogue to

the preceding discourse; but it is rather to be regarded as introductory to what follows.

Being about to enjoin upon the people the commandments they were to obey in the

 land on which they were about to enter, THE LAND OF CANAAN WAS

SELECTED TO BE A THEATER FOR PRACTICAL RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Moses prefaces this with a general announcement of what he was about to deliver, and

with a statement of the reason for  such deliverance, and of the benefits that would

 flow from the observance of what  should be enjoined.  The worship, fear,

 and service of the one living and true God were the prime duties enjoined

on the people,

 

1  Now these are the commandments,” -  In the Hebrew it is, This is the

commandment, i.e. THE SUM AND SUBSTANCE OF THE DIVINE

ENACTMENT equivalent to “THE LAW” (ch.4:44). “The statutes and

judgments(rights) are in apposition to “the commandment,” and explain

it - “the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded

to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:”

 

2 “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes

and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy

son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.”

The reason for this announcement of the Law was that the people might fear the Lord,

so as to keep all that He enjoined, they and their children, from generation to generation,

and that they might thereby continue long in life, and in the enjoyment of the advantages

accruing from the land of which they were about to take possession.  The nurture and

training of the family are to be emphasized and this family loyalty to God is to be

continuous and unswerving “all the days of thy life.” And in wealth and

variety of diction the Legislator points out that in this loyalty of being Israel

 would find its well-being, our highest interests are ensured by the fulfillment

of the Divine commands.  The forms in which the rewards of loyalty to God will

show themselves are very varied. The individual will find that godliness has

promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy

4:8)  The family will find that “He blesseth the habitation of the just.” (Proverbs

3:33) - The city will find that the keeping of God’s commandments is among the

thingswhich belong unto its peace.” (And “the righteous nation which

keepeth the truth” will find that “salvation doth God appoint for walls and

 bulwarks (see Isaiah 26:1-2; 48:17). It is a remarkable instance of the Divine

condescension to our ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, that our God

should stoop to teach us what is profitable to ourselves, and that He should

deign in mercy to reward with honor and peace those who fear Him (Psalm 62:12).

 

3 “Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee,

and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath

promised thee,” - God had promised from the first to the patriarchs that He would

make of their posterity a great nation (Genesis 12:1; 17:6; 18:18). But the fulfillment

of this promise was conditioned by their  continuing as a people in the fear of

God, and in obedience to His Law.   Everything, then, depended on their hearing

what Moses had been commanded to teach them, and observing to do it (compare

Leviticus 26:9) - “in the land” -  This is to be connected with the clause, “that it may

be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily;” the land was to be the scene

and sphere of their prosperity and increase. Some would render thus: “As the Lord God

of thy fathers hath promised thee a land,” etc., i.e. a place in which thou mayest prosper

and increase; the other, however, is the more natural construction and rendering. There

is, indeed, no preposition before “the land” in the Hebrew; but nothing is more

common in that language than for the accusative of a noun to be used adverbially to

describe the place where anything is done -“that floweth with milk and honey.”  -

an emblem of fruitfulness and sweetness (Song of Solomon 4:11); proverbially

descriptive of Canaan, as rich in pasturage for flocks, and abounding in flowers

whence the bees could extract honey (compare Exodus 3:8, 17).  Robust health,

domestic comfort, national peace, prolific harvests, security, contentment,

honor, these are among the fruits to be anticipated. Obedience is an investment

of moral capital, which brings LARGEST  and SAFEST RESULTS!

 

 

THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT (vs. 4-25)

 

In the fear of Jehovah all true obedience is rooted (vs. 2-3); for this is the first

and most intimate fact in the relation of Israel and Jehovah (ch. 5:26). But where

the supreme fear of Jehovah hinders men from allowing self to preponderate in

opposition to God, there will be no stopping at this renunciation of self-will,

though this comes first as the negative form of the ten commandments also

shows, but there will come to be a coalescence of the human with the Divine

will; and this is love, which is the proper condition of obedience, as the ten

commandments also indicate (Ibid. v.10)”

 

4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”  This is an

affirmation not so much of the moneity as of the unity and simplicity of

Jehovah, the alone God. Though Elohim (plural), He is one. The speaker

does not say, “Jehovah is alone God,” but “Jehovah our Elohim is one

Jehovah” (compare for the force of dj;a,, Exodus 26:6, 11; Ezekiel 37:16-19).

Among the heathen there were many Baals and many Jupiters; and it was

believed that the deity might be divided and communicated to many. But the

God of Israel, Jehovah, is one, indivisible and incommunicable. He is the

Absolute and the Infinite One, who alone is to be worshipped, on whom

all depend, and to whose command all must yield obedience (compare

Zechariah 14:9). Not only to polytheism, but to pantheism, and to the

conception of a localized or national deity, is this declaration of the unity

of Jehovah opposed. With these words the Jews begin their daily liturgy,

morning and evening; the sentence expresses the essence of their religious

belief; and so familiar is it to their thought and speech that, it is said, they

were often, during the persecution in Spain, betrayed to their enemies by the

involuntary utterance of it.

 

5 “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and

with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” To the one indivisible Jehovah

undivided devotion and love are due. Hence the injunction, Thou shalt love

Jehovah thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy

 might. The “heart” is the inner nature of the man, including his intellectual,

emotional, and cognitive futurities; the “soul” is the personality, the entire

self-consciousness; and the “might” is the sum of the energies, bodily and

mental. Not by profession merely is Jehovah to be loved; the whole man,

body, soul, and spirit, is to be yielded to him in holy and devout affection

(compare Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; Romans 12:1). The last

letter of the first word, and the last letter of the last word in this verse are

larger than the ordinary size (majuscula), and as these two form the word for

witness (d[), the Jews say that they are written thus “that every one may know,

when he professes the unity of God, that his heart ought to be intent and

devoid of every other thought, because God is a witness, and knoweth

everything.”

 

6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine

heart:” - Where true love to God exists in the heart, it will manifest itself in a

regard to His will, and in the diligent keeping of His commandments. Hence

His words were to be not only in the memory of the people, but laid upon

their heart (compare ch. 11:18), that they might be ever present to the thought

and will. They were also to be inculcated upon their children, and to be the

subject of conversation on all fitting occasions between them, the members

of their household, and even their casual associates.

 

 7  And thou shalt teach  them diligently unto thy children,” - literally, Thou

shalt sharpen them to thy children, impress them upon them, send them into

them like a sharp weapon “and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine

house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and

when thou risest up.”  Truth and godliness are to be PERPETUATED BY

HOME TRAINING!  The home is here supposed to be a center in which the

conserving forces of truth and godliness are to be themselves conserved.

What a profound principle Moses here indicates, viz. that a nation will be good

or bad according to its home life! Wonderful! that an infant nation should, at

starting, have this truth deep graven in its statutes; — OUR LAND WILL BE

AS OUR HOMES ARE!  And our municipal and political life will be

conducted on the same line of obedience. Legislation, justice, taxation,

commerce, literature, art, (A moral barometer with which to check the

health of the USA would be to contrast the above with Congress’ funding

of the National Endowment of the Arts – the sacrilegious blasphemy

which some so-called artist have exhibited, all the while being

funded by tax dollars of unwitting citizens – CY – 2012) will all be

consecrated to God’s glory. As the flowers of earth send their fragrance

heavenward, so from every act of ours a fragrance of homage should

ASCEND TO GOD!

 

  • In the home, our God looks to the parent to give it its character, tone,

and influence. A child’s religious faith is, in a high and holy sense, to be

chosen for him by anticipation, by those who were “in Christ before” him.

The truths mentioned in this section are to be in the parents’ heart that

they “MAY BE POURED OUT ANEW FROMTHENCE AS RIVERS

OF LIVING WATER” into the child’s heart!

 

  • By a variety of ways, the parent is to see his child’s spirit early saturated

with the truths of God.

 

Ø      By talking of them, in the house and out of it (v. 7).

 

Ø      By exhibiting them, not only in the literal sense (v.8) but in a

higher spiritual one.

 

Ø      By writing them (v. 9)  Thus the child is from the first to be

 regarded as God’s child, to be trained for Him. He is to

receive God’s Word through the avenues of

 

o       eye,

o       ear,

o       intellect,

o       heart.

 

Divine truth is to be ever before him, night and day, indoors and

out.  Those who gave him birth and who love him best, are to

mold his young life for God; he is to grow up as the Lord’s

rightful possession, (as Samuel) with the view of his afterwards

saying, in the spirit of devout surrender, “I AM THE LORD’S” -  

(Isaiah 44:5).

 

Our ambition for our children must be the highest – not that they be richly endowed,

or learned, or placed in earthly rank, BUT THAT THEY BE INTERNALLY

AND THOROUGHLY RIGHTEOUS!  Many a father and mother have

found that “It is much easier to lead their children into Sodom, THAN

IT IS TO LEAD THEM OUT!  

 

Whatever was essential in the days of Moses, in the training of children for God as the

means of guarding a nation, is not less needful now (Ephesians 6:4).

 

8  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall

be as frontlets between thine eyes.”  The words of God were to be bound

for a sign [a memorial or directory] upon thine hand, the instrument of acting,

and to be as frontlets [fillets or bands] between thine eyes, the organs of direction

in walking or moving, and so on the forehead, the chamber of thought and

purpose.  

 

9  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

They were to inscribe them on the posts of their houses, and on their gates.

The purport of this is that they were constantly and everywhere to have these

commandments of the Lord in view and in mind, so as to undeviatingly

observe them. It seems, however, to have been a custom widely prevalent among

the ancient Eastern peoples to carry about their persons slips of parchment or

some other material, on which were written sentences of moral or religious import;

and such sentences they were also wont to inscribe on conspicuous places of their

dwellings; usages still to be found among the Moslems and the latter of which

was not altogether unknown among Western nations, of which traces may still be

seen in Switzerland, Germany, and on old houses in both England and Scotland.

This custom originated, probably, in a desire to have the sentiments inscribed

always in mind; but for the most part these inscriptions came to be regarded as

amulets or charms, the presence of which on the person or the house was a

safeguard against evil influences, especially such as were supernatural. By the

Jews this custom was followed; and they regarded it as authorized by the

injunction of Moses in this passage. Taking his words literally, they had their

tôtâphoth and their mezuzah, the former of which — the phylacteries of the New

Testament — were strips of parchment, on which passages of the Law

(Exodus 13:2-10, 11-18; vs.4-10 here and vs.13-22) were written, and these,

enclosed in a box, were bound on the forehead and left wrist, and worn at prayers

by the worshippers; the latter a slip of parchment, on which were written certain

passages of Scripture (vs. 4-9; ch.11:13-21), and which, enclosed in a reed or

cylinder, was fixed on the right-hand doorpost of every room in the house.

 

10 “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee

into the land which he swear unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and

to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and

wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees,

which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth

out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”  (Exodus 13:3)

As the Israelites were about to enter upon the possession of a rich and fertile

land, where everything for their accommodation and comfort was already

provided for them, there was a danger of their being so engrossed with their

new possessions as to forget the Lord and his gracious dealings with them.

They are, therefore, here warned against the danger to which they would

be thus exposed.

 

 

13 “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God,” - The fear of the Lord

that reverent awe which is akin to love — is the beginning of wisdom

and the foundation of piety; where it is in the heart it will lead to serving of

the Lord in holy obedience; and they in whom it dwells will swear by His

Name, recognizing His presence and omniscience, and not daring to

asseverate anything but what they know to be true -  “and serve Him,

and shalt swear by His name.  14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of

the gods of the people which are round about you;” - Thus, really believing

in God and reverently worshipping Him, the Israelites would be careful not to

go after other gods, or to give to any object that homage which is due unto

Jehovah alone, knowing that this He will not endure or suffer with

impunity; for He is a jealous God, and them that thus dishonor Him He will

destroy (Exodus 20:5; ch.4:24). 15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous

God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against

thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.  16 Ye shall not tempt

the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.”  Thus also they should

be kept from murmuring against God, and thereby tempting Him — putting Him,

as it were, to the proof, and calling in question His presence and His power, as

they had done at Massah  (Exodus 17:1-7). Without this genuine religious

principle there will be no sincere worship, no true reverence, no real obedience,

rendered unto God.  Where this dwells in the heart it will influence the whole  

life, so that the commandments of God shall be diligently kept, and that which

is good and right in his sight shall be done.  17 “Ye shall diligently keep the

commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies, and His statutes,

which He hath commanded thee.  18 And thou shalt do that which is right

and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that

thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD swear unto

thy fathers.”

 

19 “To cast” - rather, to the castling out of,  The infinitive here expresses the

carrying out of the action intimated in the words, “that it may be well with thee”

(compare Exodus 23:27; 34:11) - “out all thine enemies from before thee,

as the LORD hath spoken.”

 

 

“Dangers Ahead! Beware!”

 

The forecast of Moses is here directed to a period when Israel would have

taken possession of the Promised Land (v. 10). There, their deliverance

would be entire and complete. No longer would they be wanderers hither

and thither, but would be occupants of a land that they would call their

own. Neither from the nation to which they were once in bondage, nor

from those which they were called on to supplant, would they fear aught

any longer! And yet there is throughout this paragraph a voice of warning,

as if danger would attend them still! It would be so. But THE DANGER

WOULD BE FROM WITHIN RATHER THAN FROM WITHOUT!

 When thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget

the Lord,” Whence, observe —

 

  • NO AMOUNT OF OUTWARD PROSPERITY CAN DELIVER A

MAN FROM HIMSELF! By the time the state of calm was attained, which

is here indicated, there would cease to be danger from hostile foes, at least

for a while; but there would be perils of another kind, which would attend

them even in the Promised Land. If Israel could have left themselves

behind, it had been otherwise; but alas! go where they might, they must

perforce take themselves with them, with all their liability to err, all the

proneness to sin, and all the temptation to doubt or to pride. And not all

the spears and slings of warriors could put the people in such peril as the

corruptions of their own hearts! And so it is with us now and ever. We

carry ourselves about with us everywhere; we cannot escape. There is

within each one’s heart a “root of bitterness,” “a root that beareth gall and

wormwood;” (Hebrews 12:15) and let earthly circumstances be as fair, as

easy, and as pleasant as they may, yet, unless we heed the danger within,

they can do but very little to ensure our peace. And herein lies the great

mistake of monasticism, as even Augustine reminded his hearers. He told

them that it was vain for them to attempt to flee out of the world in order to

escape corruption, for wherever they might be they would carry the evil

within them. Never let us look to outer circumstances alone to ensure our

entire rest. Not even a perfect world could bring us that, unless we were

first made perfect.

 

  • THERE ARE THREE PERILS SPECIFIED HERE TO WHICH

PROSPERITY MAY EXPOSE US.

 

Ø      The first is that of “forgetting the Lord” (v. 12). When fields and

vineyards and olive yards increase, and our cup is overflowing, then we

are apt to lose sight of Him to whom we owe all; and this not only in the

receiving but in the using thereof (Hosea 10:1). Too apt are we to

say in our pride, “My river is my own; I have made it for myself.” So also

are we apt to let our enjoyments conceal our God from view, and to think

only of the mercies, while we forget to glorify God in the use of them. Nor

is it any uncommon evil for men to be so set upon the enjoyment of this

world’s comforts, as to forget almost or altogether that higher world for

which they are bound to live, and that future life on which all soon must

enter.

 

Ø      Another danger indicated is that of undue tolerance of the idolatries

which were round about them (v. 14). One effect of prosperity is

easygoingness; (Three sins of Sodom were pride, fullness of bread

and abundance of idleness – Ezekiel 16:490 – CY – 2012) and that,

unless checked and guarded, will degenerate into a looseness of

 principle, whereby, under cover of suavity and amiability, respect

for the convictions of others may come to be substituted by our

having no very strong ones of our own. Nothing is more common than

to see worldly aggrandizement attended by deterioration of moral

sensibility.

 

Ø      A third danger specified is that of “tempting the Lord” when

Prosperity meets with a check. This seems to be the danger indicated

in v. 16, by a reference to “Massah” (see Exodus 17:2-7). At this place

of sojourn there was a lack of water. The people murmured. They

tempted the Lord and said, “Is the Lord among us or not?” As if

they ceased to believe in God’s presence with them, the moment

He made them thus feel their dependence upon Him! Strange perversity!

Yet how like ourselves! The course of worldly prosperity scarcely

ever runs with absolute smoothness for many years together. And the

self-will engendered and strengthened in times of ease leads men

 to repine and complain bitterly the moment that ease receives a

check. (Witness the current check that economically is placed upon

the United States today – a check, not doubt, upon us because of

our turning our backs on THE GOD who has blessed us so

much.  The “god of materialism” has reared his ugly head and

when it is chopped off or threatened, “O how the people complain!

In times of prosperity men forget God, and then when adversity

comes they often complain as if God had forgotten them. (We

often hear “God Bless America”.  How about “America Bless

God? – CY – 2012)

 

  • BY WAY OF GUARDING THEM BEFOREHAND AGAINST

THESE PERILS, MOSES SHOWS ISRAEL THE DUTIES WHICH

THEY ARE DILIGENTLY TO OBSERVE.

 

Ø      They are to fear the Lord only (v. 13).

Ø      They are to swear by Him only (Matthew 4:10), i.e. to cherish

a profound reverence for Him as the Author of all mercies, and as

the sole Regulator of their lives. The honor of His Name is to be

supreme.

Ø      They are to give the supreme affection of the heart to God, so that

they may not provoke His jealousy (v. 15).

Ø      They are to serve Him by constant obedience (v. 18). By the constant

recognition of these four duties, they will do much to guard themselves

from yielding to the perils attendant on their growing wealth and ease.

(This may be compared with the apostolic maxim, “Walk in the Spirit,

And ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16)

Evil is most successfully counteracted by the positive and earnest

pursuit of the opposite good.

 

 

  • IF THESE DUTIES WERE LOYALLY DISCHARGED, EARTHLY

PROSPERITY AND SPIRITUAL WEALTH WOULD GO TOGETHER.

V. 18, “That it may be well with thee,” - Whether our earthly

circumstances are helps or hindrances to us will depend much

more on what we bring to them than on what they bring to us. And

however, on the side of this life, things may favor us and circumstances

befriend, it is only as they help us to serve God better that they are really

blessings to us: it is “well” with us only when God is well pleased with us.

So much stress did Moses attach to the maintenance of unswerving loyalty

to God, that he intimates that the possession of the land is secured to them

only so far as they are true to their Great Deliverer (vs. 18-19).

 

  • SINCE THE TIME OF MOSES, THIS PARAGRAPH HAS

BECOME FAR MORE SACRED TO US, BY THE USE WHICH OUR

SAVIOR MADE OF IT IN A TIME OF SORE TEMPTATION. It is

never to be forgotten, that our Lord repelled the tempter by the words, “It

is written,” etc. Of the three passages used as weapons for the discomfiture

of the evil one, two are taken from this very paragraph (see Matthew

4:7, 10). So that we are warranted in using it as our armory from whence

we may fetch the darts which shall make the tempter flee. These precepts

cannot be needed by us less than they were by the Son of man. From Him

let us learn a use of the Divine Word that may serve us in a thousand

assaults of the destroyer. For not until we do this can we discover the

varied uses to which we may put the Word of God in the actual struggle

of life. We, like our Master, have to be made perfect through suffering. Now

we may suffer from want, hunger, and privation; and at another time all the

kingdoms of the world, in a moment of time, may be set before us, to

dazzle by their glare. We need to take to us the whole armor of God, that

we may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand

(Ephesians 6:11-18)  Go wheresoever we may, let our surroundings be

easy and prosperous as they may, dangers will attend us everywhere, till

we cross the pearly gate across whose threshold SIN NEVER COMES!

(II Peter 3:13)   At one time it may be that adversity makes us fretful and

apt to tempt the Lord, and then at another prosperity may make us slothful,

and a sinful indifference may lull us to sleep. Our chief dangers are from

within. But here in this holy Book are promises to cheer us when drooping,

and warnings to quicken us when sluggish. Here is an arsenal from

whence we may fetch our weapons, and a storehouse whence we may draw

our supplies. Yea, in this wondrous quiver there are arrows which will be

sharp in the hearts of the King’s enemies, which shall pierce them to their fall!

 

In the last six verses of this chapter the injunction to teach the words of the Lord

to the children (v. 7) is here more largely explained. When asked by their sons

the meaning and reason of the commandments and institutes which they

observed, they were to show them what the Lord had done for His people

in bringing them out of Egypt and establishing them in Canaan, and how He

had enjoined on them all these statutes that they might fear Jehovah their

God for their good always, and for their preservation and safety.

 

20 “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean

the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our

God hath commanded you?  21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were

Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with

a mighty hand:  22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders,” - (compare

ch.4:34) - “great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his

household, before our eyes:  23 And He brought us out from thence,

that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swear unto our

fathers.  24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to

fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us

alive, as it is at this day.  25 And it shall be our righteousness,” -  literally,

And righteousness shall be to us, i.e. we shall be held righteous by God if we

observe to do all that He has enjoined (compare Romans 10:5; Philippians 3:6) –

if we observe to do all these commandments before the

LORD our God, as He hath commanded.”  - i.e. not only in his sight, but

according to His judgment, so as to be approved of Him (compare Psalm 56:13;

116:9)

 

 

              The Value of History in Parental Teaching (vs. 20-25)

 

The Bible is preeminently a family Book. Israel’s national life was supposed to find its

centers of strength and permanence in godly homes. It would not be easy to find

words which should overrate the importance of such a principle as this. That a young

nation should at the outset of its existence have this laid down as a first law of its life:

“The land will be as its homes are;” is an indication of the Divine guidance which

Was vouchsafed to him on whom, under God, the foundation of its national life

depended. In the paragraph before us there are seven lines of thought suggested.

 

  • AS YOUNG LIFE COMES NEWLY INTO BEING, IT FINDS

ARRANGEMENTS IN LAW AND PRECEPT READY TO HAND.

Parental life holds a great trust in charge, to be committed to those who

shall come after; that though one generation passeth away and another

cometh, there may be NO BREAK IN THE CONTINUTIY OF

HOLY LIVING AND THINKING FROM AGE TO AGE!

“That the generation to come might know them, even the

children which should be born; who should arise and declare

them to their children:  That they might set their hope in God,

and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”

(Psalm 78:6-7; 22:31)  The Hebrews had their Law, which, as a revelation

From God, was in advance of aught possessed by the rest of the world, and

in which was couched the germ of larger truth that was to follow. There

might be more light thrown upon it; there was never to be a forfeiture of it.

Hence there were special reasons why parents should guard it intact

 for all the ages that were to follow.

 

  • YOUNG LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INQUIRING LIFE. (v.20.)

It is not supposed that the children will lend themselves to either of

two extremes: they will neither wildly tear up and obliterate “the old

paths (Jeremiah 6:16), nor will they walk in them heedlessly and

without inquiry. The course here indicated is that which any sensible,

well-disposed youth would naturally follow. He would ask, “What mean

these testimonies?” (v.20) -  However a spurious priesthood may demand

a blind and uninquiring faith, the Word of God never does anything of the kind.

Reason is made for reverent inquiry, but it may be neither deified nor stultified.

And what can be more charming than the honest, eager inquisitiveness of the

young, asking for the reasons which govern the faith and worship that they

 find at work before their eyes? Specially delightful is such inquiry, when the

 parent is well able to give his answer.

 

  • THERE IS AWAITING THE YOUNG INQUIRER THE STORY

OF A GREAT DELIVERANCE. (vs. 21-22.) The rescue from Egypt

always formed the grand historic background of Israel’s life (see Psalms 78.;

99.; 105.; 106.; 103:7). Here was a disclosure of Divine love and care, the

like of which had never been known. The great institution of sacrifice

revealed provision for pardoning love. The precepts for the individual, the

family, the nation, told what sort of a people God would have them be;

while the oft-recurring strains, “I gave Egypt for thy ransom,” “I brought

thee up out of the land of bondage,” would evoke all their national ardor,

and create and foster an historic pride. The life-histories, too, of their

fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, would tell of the blessedness of having

God as their God: and these, instilled into the heart with all the sweetness

of fond parental love, would lead the young Israelite, when the teaching

was sanctified by God’s grace, to say right joyously, “THIS GOD SHALL

BE MY GOD FOR EVER AND EVER!  (Psalm 48:14)  Yes! the young life

ever coming on earth is not to be left to grope its way. The light from the past

is to be handed down for the ages to come, that sire and son and son’s son

MAY REJOICE IN THE SAME GOD and ensure a blessed continuity of

holy faith and consecrated life.

 

  • THE GREAT DELIVERANCE WAS EFFECTED THAT THE RESCUED

PEOPLE MIGHT RE A NEW NATION WORTHY OF GOD (v..23).  

“That He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our

fathers.” And in this new relation they were to be witnesses for God (Isaiah

43:10). They were to be a distinct, compact people, with faith, laws, and polity,

higher than the rest of the world, holding in trust for mankind, till the fullness of

times, much precious truth which was to find its outcome in a great, world-wide

 deliverance which should overshadow all; while the Israel of God was to

merge into a spiritual Israel, made up of all who are Christ’s, known as a

peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  (Titus 2:14)

 

  • IN THIS CONTINUED LIFE, WORTHY OF GOD, WOULD THE

JUSTIFICATION OF ISRAEL’S FAITH AND OBSERVANCES BE

FOUND. “It shall be our righteousness,” (v. 25). It is scarcely

possible to regard these words as having reference to any doctrine of

justification by faith; for though, even as far back as Abraham’s days, that

was a doctrine, yet it was not formulated till the times of the gospel, by

Paul. The meaning of the phrase seems to be: “This will be our justification

of our position and claims; we claim to be a people of God, above all the

nations that are on the face of the earth, and we shall vindicate that claim,

not by words only, but by being what we profess to be.” Thus would the

parent quicken his child, and stimulate and inspire him to be all that his

glorious faith bade him be “holy unto the Lord his God!” (ch.7:6)

 

  • IN THIS ARRANGEMENT, THE DIVINE BENEVOLENCE WAS

AS MANIFEST AS GOD’S REGARD FOR HIS OWN HONOR. (v.24)

“To fear the Lord our God, for our good always.” THE GLORY OF

GOD AND THE GOOD OF MAN ARE IN HARMONY!  So has God

constructed the universe, so Doth He carry on His government, as to ensure

that “they that honor Him, He will honor.” (I Samuel 2:30).  “All things

work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28)

“Great peace have they which love God’s Law; and nothing shall

offend them” (Psalm 119:165), Godliness is profitable unto all things”

(I Timothy 4:8), “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;

 and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

 

  • NOT ONLY WOULD ISRAEL, BY OBEDIENCE, ENSURE ITS OWN

GOOD, BUT ALSO ITS CONTINUANCE IN THE LAND. (v. 24)

“That He might preserve us alive.” Repeatedly do we read that the

prolongation of Israel’s days in the land depended on their loyalty to God.

The land was given them, not for their own sakes merely, but for God’s. If

they continued there, faithfully witnessing for Him, the land would be

continued to them; if not, they would have to quit, and give up the

possession thereof to strangers. THIS IS PRECISELY THE

PRINCIPLE ON WHICH GOD GOVERNS THE NATIONS

NOW!  No nation can preserve itself in being by any other policy than that

of OBEDIENCE TO GOD!   Disloyalty to God and the right is the

SUREST POSSIBLE POLICY OF DECOMPOSTION!   Even attempts

at self-preservation which violate God’s laws will fail of their end. And is it

not of vast significance that these are the principles by which the young life of a

nation is to be molded? Whatever allowance must be made for changing

circumstances, however true it may be that no nation now holds exactly the

same place in the world that Israel did, (How can it be denied that under

the New Covenant, the United States of America, under the influence

of Christianity, rose to be “a city set on a hill” [Matthew 5:14] – a true

LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, if there ever was one? – CY – 2012)

yet it is also true that all the more substantial part of the seven lines of thought

here indicated is unchanged and unchangeable. Christian parents are

inheritors of the truth of God: they hold it in trust for their children: they,

as they grow up, will inquire concerning it: its historic basis is the great

deliverance effected by the Lord Jesus: Christians are now God’s peculiar

people: they are redeemed that they may be holy, and that in holiness they

may train succeeding generations: and just in proportion as through them

loyalty to the truth and to God is leavening their posterity, are they bringing

honor to the cause they espouse. Hebrews were to be conservative. Christians

are to be also aggressive. We are to be the light of the world,” and “the

salt of the earth”  (Ibid. vs. 13-14).   By the light of God’s love we are to

scatter men’s darkness, and by the salt of God’s truth are we to stay its

corruption. And just so far as our nation is imbued with righteousness

and truth, will it have within it the guarantee of its own perpetuation.

The best defense is the armor of light. WITHOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS

AND THE FEAR OF GOD not all the pretence and brag — not all the fleets

or armies at command, can ever GUARD A NATION FROM DECAY!

 “If the salt have lost his savor... it is thenceforth good for nothing

but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Ibid. v.13)

 

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