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There is a great solemnity in this chapter. Israel is presented as a body, by way of proof, that the LORD'S covenant meets their most hearty and cordial consent. Here is a general recital of some of the leading objects of the covenant; and the chapter concludes with pointing out the striking distinction between the things which are secret, which belong unto the LORD, and those which are revealed, which belong unto his people.
It must have been a very interesting moment this, when Moses, acting as the minister of JEHOVAH, made this appeal to the people. There is nothing we need more, than to be reminded of past mercies. And hence, one of the most precious offices of the HOLY GHOST is, when he mercifully acts as our Remembrancer, to bring to our recollection the tender manifestations of JESUS'S love. John 14:26 . Reader! hath the HOLY SPIRIT indeed brought to your remembrance, all that the LORD your GOD hath done for you in Egypt? Do you call to mind the great temptations, and signs, and miracles of grace Oh! how delightful the subject, thus to look back, and behold the way the LORD our GOD hath been bringing his people out of this wilderness. Deuteronomy 8:2-5 .
We shall do well, Reader, to ask our hearts whether this be our case. Oh! gracious GOD, above all blessings give me JESUS and his HOLY SPIRIT, that I may perceive what my mercies are, and enjoy hits, and all things in him. "From all blindness, hardness of heart, and ignorance of thy word and commandment, good LORD deliver me!"
What less than a standing miracle was this, that Israel was fed, clothed, and strengthened, through forty years, when their garments waxed not old, and the very sandals, with which they came out of Egypt, did not wear out amidst the rugged road of the wilderness. And what is it now, but the continuation of the same miraculous power, which is displayed in sustaining the spiritual Israel through all their wilderness state, by which their souls are fed with the bread of life, and the garments of salvation by JESUS remain unsullied, through a world of sin and corruption both within and without them.
Israel is reminded of what hath been already done on this side Jordan, by way of confirming the faith of the people, in what the LORD will do on the other side. Reader! depend upon it, the earnest of the SPIRIT in the heart, is a sure pledge of salvation. If my GOD accepts me in JESUS now; he will not condemn me then, when, rising from the bed of death, I shall stand before his throne. 2 Corinthians 5:1 ; Romans 8:1 .
It was the same feature of the old church as it is of the new, (for they are both one and the same church in JESUS) that there was no distinction of person, age, or character. None too great not to need salvation; none too humble to be excluded from it. Paul sweetly includes all when he saith, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, but CHRIST is all and in all. Colossians 3:11 .
It is a delightful thought, that in the gospel church, as in the Jewish, the absent soul is as much included as the one that is present. If absent in body, yet present in spirit. JESUS, the great head of his people, with whom the covenant is made, is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hence he saith himself, "that I should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given me." All are beheld in him from the beginning. See those precious scriptures, John 6:37; John 6:37 ; Isaiah 8:18 .
What a very awful scripture is contained in these verses! Observe how the sinner is described: he turns away from GOD: he grows confident in sin: he bids defiance to danger: and is ripe for ruin. Observe the awfulness of the divine judgments upon him. As he turns from the LORD, and doth not like to retain GOD in his knowledge, GOD gives him up to a reprobate mind, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Romans 1:28 . Reader! if the LORD gives up the sinner it is all over. "Let Ephraim alone, he is joined to his idols, " is one of the most awful sentences in scripture. If GOD ceases to correct, depend upon it judgment is at hand. Hosea 4:17 ; Ezekiel 16:42 .
The judgments upon Israel, must excite the astonishment and enquiry of all nations; Wherefore hath the LORD dealt so by his people? How is it that the glory of all lands, and the distinguished people of all nations, are thus dealt with? See GOD'S tender expostulation: Hosea 11:8 . Reader! do not overlook the spiritual instruction in this chapter. The horrible consequences of GOD'S broken law are set forth in this striking manner, to demonstrate our ruin by sin, in order to demonstrate as fully the riches of that grace which brings salvation by CHRIST: and, all leads to this conclusion, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by JESUS CHRIST our LORD. Romans 5:21 . Well may every believer, in the review of this subject, cry out with the apostle, "Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of GOD!" Romans 11:33 .
This seems to be the opening of a new subject in these words, unless we explain them as in answer to the further enquiry of the inquisitive mind, who from beholding the desolations of Israel stands amazed, that after such a profusion of miracles as the LORD had manifested towards Israel, on bringing them out of Egypt, he should now cast them off, and cause them to be wanderers through the earth. If thoughts such as these should arise in any mind, the HOLY GHOST hath given a most satisfactory answer to it, not only in this last verse of this chapter, but also in his servant the apostle's writings, to which I refer the Reader, Romans 9:0 . throughout.
DEAREST JESUS! it is thou that art the covenant of thy people, for with thee, as their great head, the covenant is made; in thee it is fulfilled; by thee it is completed; and from thee, the full assurance of the blessings of it must come. Thou art given as a covenant to the people by the FATHER: and thou art the everything belonging to it . Oh! may I behold in thee, how all thy people stand complete in thy righteousness. For it is not confined to the captains of the tribes, nor the elders, nor the officers: but our little ones and our wives, the stranger that is in our camp, and the hewer of wood, and the drawer of water, are all equally interested in the fulness and preciousness of thy salvation.
Endue my soul with suited strength, that I may never forsake the covenant of my GOD, nor turn my back upon the LORD of my mercies. LORD! grant, I pray thee, that there may never be in me an evil heart of unbelief; in departing from the living GOD; but daily, while it is called today, may my soul be strengthened with thy SPIRIT'S might, lest I should be hardened with the deceitfulness of sin. And Oh! do thou, blessed GOD, confirm me in all the privileges of thy covenant, that those things which are so graciously revealed, may belong to me and to my children forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 29". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19