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"At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood: and I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brokest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made? and there they be, as the Lord commanded me." (Vers. 1-5.)
The beloved and revered servant of God seemed never to weary of rehearsing in the ears of the people, the interesting, momentous and significant sentences of the past. To him they were ever fresh, ever precious. His heart delighted in them. They could never lose their charm in his eyes; he found in them an exhaustless treasury for his own heart, and a mighty moral lever wherewith to move the heart of Israel.
We are constantly reminded, in these powerful and deeply affecting addresses, of the inspired apostle's words to his beloved Philippians, "To write the same things to you, to me is not grievous, but for you it is safe. "The poor restless, fickle, vagrant heart might long for some new theme; but the faithful apostle found his deep and unfailing delight in unfolding and dwelling upon those precious subjects which clustered, in rich luxuriance, around the Person and the cross of his adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He had found in Christ all he needed, for time and eternity. The glory of His Person had completely eclipsed all the glories of earth and of nature. He could say, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." ( Phil. 3: 7 , 8 .)
This is the language of a true Christian, of one who had found a perfectly absorbing and commanding object in Christ. What could the world offer to such an one? What could it do for him? Did he want its riches, its honours, its distinctions, its pleasures? He counted them all as dung. How was this? Because he had found Christ. He had seen an object in Him which so riveted his heart that to win Him, and know more of Him, and be found in Him was the one ruling desire of his soul. If any one had talked to Paul about something new, what would have been his answer? If any one had suggested to him the thought of getting on in the world or of seeking to make money, what would have been his reply? simply this, " I have found my ALL in Christ; I want no more. I have found in Him ' unsearchable riches' - 'durable riches and righteousness.' In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. What do I want of this world's riches, its wisdom or its learning? These things all pass away like the vapours of the morning; and even while they last, are wholly inadequate to satisfy the desires and aspirations of an immortal spirit. Christ is an eternal object, heaven's centre, the delight of the heart of God; He shall satisfy me throughout the countless ages of that bright eternity which is before me; and surely if He can satisfy me for ever, He can satisfy me now. Shall I turn to the wretched rubbish of this world, its pursuits, its pleasures, its amusements, its theatres, its concerts, its riches or its honours to supplement my portion in Christ? God forbid! All such things would be simply an intolerable nuisance to me. Christ is my all, and in all, now and for ever!"
Such, we may well believe, would have been the distinctly pronounced reply of the blessed apostle; such was the distinct reply of his whole life; and such, beloved Christian reader, should be ours also. How truly deplorable, how deeply humbling to find a Christian turning to the world for enjoyment, recreation or pastime! It simply proves that he has not found a satisfying portion in Christ. We may set it down as a fixed principle that the heart which is filled with Christ has no room for ought beside. It is not a question of the right or the wrong of things; the heart does not want them, would not have them; it has found its present and everlasting portion and rest in that blessed One that fills the heart of God, and will fill the vast universe with the beams of His glory, throughout the everlasting ages.
We have been led into the foregoing line of thought in connection with the interesting fact of Moses' unwearied rehearsal of all the grand events in Israel's marvellous history from Egypt to the borders of the promised land. To him they furnished a perpetual feast; and he not only found his own deep personal delight in dwelling upon them, but he also felt the immense importance of unfolding them before the whole congregation. To him, most surely, it was not grievous, but for them it was safe. How delightful for him, and how good and needful for them, to dwell upon the facts connected with the two sets of tables - the first set smashed to atoms, at the foot of the mountain and the second set enclosed in the ark.
What human language could possibly unfold the deep significance and moral weight of such facts as these? Those broken tables! How impressive! How pregnant with wholesome instruction for the people. How powerfully suggestive! Will any one presume to say that we have here a mere barren repetition of the facts recorded in Exodus? Certainly no one who reverently believes in the divine inspiration of the Pentateuch.
No, reader, the tenth of Deuteronomy fills a niche and does a work entirely its own. In it the lawgiver holds up to the hearts of the people past scenes and circumstances in such a way as to rivet them upon the very tablets of the soul. He allows them to hear the conversation between Jehovah and himself; he tells them what took place during those mysterious forty days upon that cloud-capped mountain. He lets them hear Jehovah's reference to the broken tables - the apt and forcible expression of the utter worthlessness of man's covenant. For why were those tables broken? Because they had shamefully failed. Those shattered fragments told the humiliating the of their hopeless ruin on the ground of the law. All was gone. Such was the obvious meaning of the fact. It was striking, impressive, unmistakable. Like a broken pillar over a grave which tells, at a glance, that the prop and stay of the family lies mouldering beneath. There is no need of any inscription, for no human language could speak with such eloquence to the heart as that most expressive emblem. So the broken tables were calculated to convey to the heart of Israel the tremendous fact that, so far as their covenant was concerned, they were utterly ruined, hopelessly undone; they were complete bankrupts on the score of righteousness.
But then, that second set of tables, what of them? Thank God, they told a different tale altogether. They were not broken. God took care of them. "I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me."
Blessed fact! "There they be." Yes, covered up in that ark which spoke of Christ, that blessed One who magnified the law and made it honourable, who established every jot and tittle of it, to the glory of God and the everlasting blessing of His people. Thus, while the broken fragments of the first tables told the sad and humbling tale of Israel's utter failure and ruin, the second tables, shut up intact in the ark set forth the glorious truth that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
We do not, of course, mean to say that Israel understood the deep meaning and far-reaching application of those wonderful facts which Moses rehearsed in their ears. As a nation, they certainly did not then, though, through-the sovereign mercy of God, they will, by-and-by. Individuals may, and doubtless did enter into somewhat of their significance. This is not now the question. It is for us to see and make our own of the precious truth set forth in those two sets of tables, namely, the failure of everything in the hands of man, and the eternal stability of God's covenant of grace, ratified by the blood of Christ, and to be displayed in all its glorious results, in the kingdom, by-and-by, when the Son of David shall reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; when the seed of Abraham shall possess, according to the divine gift, the land of promise; and when all the nations of the earth shall rejoice under the beneficent reign of the Prince of peace.
Bright and glorious prospect for the now desolate land of Israel, and this groaning earth of ours! The King of righteousness and peace will then have it all His own way. All evil will be put down with a powerful hand. There will be no weakness in that government. No rebel tongue will be permitted to prate, in accents of insolent sedition, against the decrees and enactments thereof. No rude and senseless demagogue will be allowed to disturb the peace of the people, or to insult the majesty of the throne. Every abuse will be put down, every disturbing element will be neutralised, every stumbling-block will be removed, and every root of bitterness eradicated. The poor and the needy shall be well looked after; yea, all shall be divinely attended to; toil, sorrow, poverty and desolation shall be unknown; the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. "Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgement. And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Reader, what glorious scenes are yet to be enacted in this poor sin-stricken, Satan-enslaved, sorrowful world of ours! How refreshing to think of them! What a relief to the heart amid all the mental misery, the moral degradation, and physical wretchedness exhibited around us, on every side! Thank God, the day is rapidly approaching when the prince of this world shall be hurled from his throne and consigned to the bottomless pit, and the Prince of heaven, the glorious Emmanuel shall stretch forth His blessed sceptre over the wide universe of God, and heaven and earth shall bask in the sunlight of His royal countenance. Well may we cry out, O Lord, hasten the time!
"And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera; there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead. From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters. At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him."
The reader must not allow his mind to be disturbed by any question of historical sequence in the foregoing passage. It is simply a parenthesis in which the lawgiver groups together, in a very striking and forcible manner, circumstances culled, with holy skill, from the history of the people, illustrative, at once, of the government and grace of God. The death of Aaron exhibits the former; the election and elevation of Levi, presents the latter. Both are placed together not with a view to chronology, but for the grand moral end which was ever present to the mind of the lawgiver - an end which lies far away beyond the range of infidel reason, but which commends itself to the heart and understanding of the devout student of scripture.
How utterly contemptible are the quibbles of the infidel when looked at in the brilliant light of divine inspiration! How miserable the condition of a mind which can occupy itself with chronological hair splittings in order, if possible, to find a flaw in the divine Volume, instead of grasping the real aim and object of the inspired writer!
But why does Moses bring in, in this parenthetical and apparently abrupt manner, those two special events in Israel's history? Simply to move the heart of the people toward the one grand point of obedience. To this end he culls and groups according to the wisdom given unto him. Do we expect to find in this divinely taught servant of God the petty preciseness of a mere copyist? Infidels may affect to do so; but true Christians know better. A mere scribe could copy events in their chronological order; a true prophet will bring those events to bear, in a moral way, upon the heart and conscience. Thus, while the poor deluded infidel is groping amid the shadows of his own creation, the pious student delights himself in the moral glories of that peerless Volume which stands like a rock, against which the waves of infidel thought dash themselves with contemptible impotency.
We do not attempt to dwell upon the circumstances referred to in the above parenthesis; they have been gone into elsewhere, and therefore we only feel it needful, in this place, to point out to the reader what we may venture to call the Deuteronomic bearing of the facts - the use which the lawgiver makes of them to strengthen the foundation of his final appeal to the heart and conscience of the people, to give pungency and power to his exhortation, as he urged upon them the absolute necessity of unqualified obedience to the statutes and judgements of their covenant God. Such was his reason for referring to the solemn fact of the death of Aaron. They were to remember that, notwithstanding Aaron's high position as the high priest of Israel, yet he was stripped of his robes and deprived of his life for disobedience to the word of Jehovah. How important, then, that they should take heed to themselves! The government of God was not to be trifled with, and the very fact of Aaron's elevation only rendered it all the more needful that his sin should be dealt with, in order that others might fear.
And then they were to remember the Lord's dealings with Levi in which grace shines with such marvellous lustre. The fierce, cruel, self-willed Levi was taken up from the depths of his moral ruin and brought nigh to God, "to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name.
But why should this account of Levi be coupled with the death of Aaron? Simply to set forth the blessed consequences of obedience. If the death of Aaron displayed the awful result of disobedience, the elevation of Levi illustrates the precious fruit of obedience. Hear what the prophet Malachi says on this point. "And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity." Mal. 2: 4-6 .
This is a very remarkable passage, and throws much light upon the subject now before us. It tells us distinctly that Jehovah gave His covenant of life and peace to Levi "for the fear wherewith he feared" Him on the terrible occasion of the golden calf which Aaron (himself a Levite of the very highest order) made. Why was Aaron judged? Because of his rebellion at the waters of Meribah. ( Num. 20: 24 .) Why was Levi blessed? Because of his reverent obedience at the foot of mount Horeb. ( Ex. 32 .) Why are both grouped together in Deuteronomy 10 ? In order to impress upon the heart and conscience of the congregation the urgent necessity of implicit obedience to the commandments of their covenant God. How perfect is scripture in all its parts! How beautifully it hangs together! And how plain it is to the devout reader that the lovely book of Deuteronomy has its own divine niche to fill, its own distinctive work to do, its own appointed sphere, scope and object! How manifest it is that the fifth division of the Pentateuch is neither a contradiction nor a repetition, but a divine application of its divinely inspired predecessors! And, finally, we cannot help adding - how convincing the evidence that infidel writers know neither what they say nor whereof they affirm, when they dare to insult the Oracles of God - yea, that they greatly err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God!* At verse 10 of our chapter, Moses returns to the subject of his discourse. "And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee. And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them."
*We have, in human writings, numerous examples of the same thing that infidels object to in Deuteronomy 10: 6-9 . Suppose a man is anxious to call the attention of the English nation to some great principle of political economy, or some matter of national importance; he does not hesitate to select facts however widely separated on the page of history, and group them together in order to illustrate his subject. Do infidels object to this? No; not when found in the writings of men. It is only when it occurs in scripture, because they hate the word of God, and cannot bear the idea that He should give to His creatures a book-revelation of His mind. Blessed be His Name, He has given it notwithstanding, and we have it in all its infinite preciousness, and divine authority, for the comfort of our hearts, and the guidance of our path, amid all the darkness and confusion of this scene through which we are passing home to glory.
Jehovah would accomplish His promise to the fathers, spite of every hindrance. He would put Israel in full possession of the land concerning which He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give it to their seed for an everlasting inheritance.
"And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day, for thy good." It was all for their real good, their deep, full blessing to walk in the way of the divine commandments. The path of whole-hearted obedience is the only path of true happiness; and blessed be God, this path can always be trodden by those who love the Lord.
This is an unspeakable comfort, at all times. God has given us His precious word, the perfect revelation of His mind; and He has given as what Israel had not, even His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts whereby we can understand and appreciate His word. Hence our obligations are vastly higher than were Israel's. We are bound to a life of obedience by every argument that could be brought to bear on the heart and understanding.
And surely it is for our good to be obedient. There is indeed "great reward" in keeping the commandments of our loving Father. Every thought of Him and of His gracious ways, every reference to His marvellous dealings with us - His loving ministry, His tender care, His thoughtful love - all should bind our hearts in affectionate devotion to Him, and quicken our steps in treading the path of loving obedience to Him. Wherever we turn our eyes we are met by the most powerful evidences of His claim upon our heart's affections and upon all the energies of our ransomed being. And, blessed be His Name, the more fully we are enabled by His grace to respond to His most precious claims, the brighter and happier our path must he. There is nothing in all this world more deeply blessed than the path and portion of an obedient soul. "Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." The lowly disciple, who finds his meat and his drink in doing the will of his beloved Lord and Master, possesses a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. True, he may be misunderstood and misinterpreted; he may be dubbed narrow and bigoted, and such-like; but none-of these things move him. One approving smile from his Lord is more than ample recompense for all the reproach that men can heap upon him. He knows how to estimate at their proper worth the thoughts of men; they are to him as the chaff which the wind driveth away. The deep utterance of his heart, as he moves steadily along the sacred path of obedience, is
"Let me my feebleness recline
On that eternal love of Thine,
And human thoughts forget;
Child-like attend what Thou wilt say
Go forth and serve Thee while 'tis day,
Nor leave Thy sweet retreat."
In the closing verses, of our chapter, the lawgiver seems to rise higher and higher in his presentation of moral motives for obedience, and to come closer and closer to the hearts of the people. "Behold," he says, "the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day." What a marvellous privilege to be chosen and loved by the Possessor of heaven and earth! What an honour to be called to serve and obey Him! Surely nothing in all this world could be higher or better. To be identified and associated with the Most High God, to have His Name called upon them, to be His peculiar people, His special possession, the people of His choice, to be set apart from all the nations of the earth to be the servants of Jehovah and His witnesses. What, we may ask, could exceed this, except it be that to which the church of God, and the individual believer are called?
Assuredly, our privileges are higher, inasmuch as we know God in a higher, deeper, nearer, more intimate manner than the nation of Israel ever did. We know Him as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as our God and Father. We have the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts, and leading us to cry, Abba, Father. All this is far beyond anything that God's earthly people ever knew or could know; and, inasmuch as our privileges are higher, His claims upon our hearty and unreserved obedience are also higher. Every appeal to the heart of Israel should come home, with augmented force to our hearts, beloved Christian reader; every exhortation addressed to them should speak, far more powerfully to us. We occupy the very highest ground on which any creature could stand. Neither the seed of Abraham on earth, nor the angels of God in heaven could say what we can say, or know what we know. We are linked and eternally associated with the risen and glorified Son of God. We can adopt as our own the wondrous language of? John 4.17 , and say, "As he is so are we in this world." What can exceed this, as to privilege and dignity? Surely nothing save to be, in body, soul and spirit, conformed to His adorable image, as we shall be, ere long, through the abounding grace of God.
Well then let us ever bear in mind - yea, let us have it deep, deep, down in our hearts, that according to our privileges are our obligations. Let us not refuse the wholesome word " obligation" as though it had a legal ring about it. Far from it; it would be utterly impossible to conceive anything further removed from all thought of legality than the obligations which flow out of the Christian's position. It is a very serious mistake to be continually raising the cry of "Legal! Legal!" whenever the holy responsibilities of our position are pressed upon us. We believe that every truly pious Christian will delight in all the appeals and exhortations which the Holy Ghost addresses to us as to our obligations, seeing they are all grounded upon privileges conferred upon us by the sovereign grace of God, through the precious blood of Christ, and made good to us by the mighty ministry of the Holy Ghost.
But let us hearken still further to the stirring appeals of Moses. They are truly profitable for us, with all our higher light, knowledge and privilege.
"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff-necked. For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He doth execute the judgement of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment."
Here Moses speaks not merely of God's doings and dealings and ways, but of Himself, of what He is. He is high over all, the great, the mighty and the terrible. But He has a heart for the widow and the fatherless - those helpless objects deprived of all earthly and natural props, the poor bereaved and broken-hearted widow, and the desolate orphan. God thinks of, and cares for such, in a very special way; they have a claim upon His loving heart and mighty hand. " A Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widow is God in his holy habitation." "She that is a widow indeed and desolate trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day." "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me."
What a rich provision is here for widows and orphans! How wondrous God's care of such! How many widows are much better off than when they had their husbands! How many orphans are better cared and provided for than when they had their parents! God looks after them! This is enough. Thousands of husbands and thousands of parents are worse by far than none; but God never fails those who are cast upon Him. He is ever true to His own Name, whatever relationship He takes. Let all widows and orphans remember this for their comfort and encouragement.
And then the poor stranger! He is not forgotten. "He loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment." How precious is this! Our God cares for all those who are bereft of earthly props, human hopes, and creature confidences. All such have a special claim upon Him to which He will, most surely, respond according to all the love of His heart. The widow, the fatherless and the stranger are the special objects of His tender care, and as such have but to look to Him, and draw upon His exhaustless resources in all their varied need.
But then He must be known in order to be trusted. "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." Those who do not know God would vastly prefer an insurance policy or a government annuity to His promise. But the true believer finds in that promise the unfailing stay of his heart, because he knows, and trusts, and loves the Promiser. He delights in the thought of being absolutely shut up to God, wholly dependent upon Him. He would not, for worlds, be in any other position. The very thing which would almost drive an unbeliever out of his senses is to the Christian - the man of faith, the very deepest joy of his heart. The language of such an one will ever be, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock." Blessed position! Precious portion! May the reader know it as a divine reality, a living power, in his heart, by the mighty ministry of the Holy Ghost! Then will he be able to sit loose to earthly things. He will be able to tell the world that he is independent of it, having found all he wants, for time and eternity, in the living God and His Christ.
"Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find."
But let us specially note the provision which God makes for the stranger. It is very simple - "food and raiment." This is enough for a true stranger, as the blessed apostle says to his son Timothy, "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content."
Christian reader, let as ponder this. What a cure for restless ambition is here! What an antidote against covetousness! What a blessed deliverance from the feverish excitement of commercial life, the grasping spirit of the age in which our lot is cast! If we were only content with the divinely appointed provision for the stranger, what a different tale we should have to tell! How calm and even would be the current of our daily life! How simple our habits and tastes! How unworldly our spirit and style! What moral elevation above the self-indulgence and luxury so prevalent amongst professing Christians! We should simply eat and drink to the glory of God, and to keep the body in proper working order. To go beyond this, either in eating or drinking, is to indulge in "fleshly lusts which war against the soul."
Alas! alas! how much of this there is, specially in reference to drink! It is perfectly appalling to think of the consumption of intoxicating drink amongst professing Christians. It is our thorough conviction that the devil has succeeded in ruining the testimony of hundreds, and in causing them to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, by the use of stimulants. Thousands ruin their fortunes, ruin their families, ruin their health, ruin their souls through the senseless, vile and cursed desire for stimulants.
We are not going to preach a crusade against stimulants or narcotics. The wrong is not in the things themselves but in our inordinate and sinful use of them. It not infrequently happens that persons who fall under the horrible dominion of drink seek to lay the blame on their medical adviser; but surely no proper medical man would ever advise his patient to indulge in the use of stimulants. He may prescribe the use of "a little wine, for the stomach's sake and frequent infirmities," and he has the very highest authority for so doing; but why should this lead any one to become a drunkard? Each one is responsible to walk in the fear of God in reference to both eating and drinking. If a doctor prescribes a little nourishing food for his patient, is he to be blamed if that patient becomes a glutton? Surely not; the evil is not in the doctor's prescription, or in the stimulant, or in the nourishment, but in the wretched lust of the heart.
Here, we are persuaded, lies the root of the evil; and the remedy is found in that precious grace of God which while it bringeth salvation unto all men, teacheth those who are saved "to live soberly , righteously and godly in this present world." And be it remembered that " to live soberly" means a great deal more than temperance in eating and drinking; it means this most surely, but it takes in also the whole range of inward self-government - the government of the thoughts, the government of the temper, the government of the tongue. The grace that saves us not only tells us how to live, but teaches how to do it, and if we follow its teachings we shall be well content with God's provision for the stranger.
It is, at once, interesting and edifying to notice the way in which Moses sets the divine example before the people as their model. Jehovah "loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." This is very touching. They were not only to keep before their eyes the divine model, but also to remember their own past history and experience, in order that their hearts might be drawn out in sympathy and compassion toward the poor homeless stranger. It was the bounden duty and high privilege of the Israel of God to place themselves in the circumstances and enter into the feelings of others. They were to be the moral representatives of that blessed One whose people they were, and whose Name was called upon them. They were to imitate Him in meeting the wants and gladdening the hearts of the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger. And if God's earthly people were called to this lovely course of action, how much more are we who are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus." May we abide more in His presence, and drink more into His Spirit, that so we may more faithfully reflect His moral glories upon all with whom we come in contact!
The closing lines of our chapter give us a very fine summing up of the practical teaching which has been engaging our attention. "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the Lord hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude." Vers. 20-22.
How thoroughly bracing is all this to the moral being! This binding of the heart to the Lord Himself by means of all that He is and all His wondrous actings and gracious ways, is unspeakably precious. It is, we may truly say, the secret spring of all true devotedness. God grant that the writer and the reader may abidingly realise its motive power!
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Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10". Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19