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Moses is still discoursing to the Israelites: and the leading point in the Sermon of this Chapter, is to impress upon the minds of the people, what the LORD'S people in all ages need to be perpetually reminded of, that the distinguishing mercy of GOD not for any merit in them, but purely from the free grace and pleasure of GOD. Moses particularities certain instances of Israel's transgression in proof.
Whether this chapter is the beginning of a new sermon is not so clear. Our dear LORD, in the course of his preaching, sometimes did, as Moses in this place, call up the renewed attention of the audience in a similar manner. He that hath ears to hear, let him ear. And we find similar attention demanded concerning the HOLY GHOST speaking to the church. See Matthew 11:15 ; Revelation 2:29 .
It is worthy observation, that Moses follows up the report of what the spies had said, concerning the Anakims, when they went up to the promised land: but with very different views. They did it through fear, and to discourage the people. Moses did it through faith, and to animate Israel. Great, and mighty, and formidable, as Israel's enemies might be, the LORD of Hosts was mightier. And the more powerful their foes, the more evident would be their victory, in proof that the LORD was their GOD.
Sweet thought! Reader, if you are truly spiritual do not lose sight of it. He that is a consuming fire to thine enemies to destroy them, is a wall of fire to thy soul to preserve thee. And observe, the sacred historian doth not say, the LORD thy GOD will enable thee to consume them; but the LORD himself will destroy them, and bring them down before thee. Yes, blessed JESUS! It is thine own arm which bringeth salvation. Oh! may I never lose sight of this, but be ever ready to say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength. Isaiah 45:24 .
It is a precious consideration, in the view of distinguishing grace, that it originates in covenant mercy in JESUS. No one cause but the real cause, the sovereign will and pleasure of GOD, can be assigned. JESUS sweetly expresses the whole of it when he saith, Even so, FATHER, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Matthew 11:26 .
This is one of the most precious offices of the HOLY GHOST, when he graciously brings to our remembrance the things of JESUS, in reminding us of our need of him, by reason of our sin. And I would very earnestly desire the Reader to remark with me, how Israel of old carried with him the same feature of character as Israel now. Israel was rebellious from the hour of his deliverance from Egypt. Reader! it is not merely from a state of nature, that your rebellion and my rebellion hath been shown; but, after the LORD has brought us out of spiritual Egypt. It is an humbling, but truly profitable thought, because it tends to endear JESUS to the heart, that after the work of regeneration is wrought sin still works, and frequently manifests how much it reigns in the affections. "I knew (saith GOD) that thou wouldst be a transgressor from the womb." Isaiah 48:8 .
Here the man of GOD particulariseth the instances of Israel's rebellion. Horeb, of all places, should have called forth obedience. For there the LORD confirmed the authority of his holy law, by the awful demonstration of the mount burning with fire. But alas!, neither the mount burning with fire, nor all the threatenings of everlasting burning, can deter from the commission of sin, unless Almighty grace restrain. Reader! do you know this? do you really believe, it? If not, may He who alone can convince of sin, be your teacher. John 16:8 .
These are so many beautiful repetitions of what was mentioned before, Exodus 19:16-2.19.21 .
Observe, how the LORD, as if to call forth the tenderness of Moses, denominates the people as Moses' people. Was not this typical of JESUS? Are we not his people, and the sheep of his pasture? Psalms 115:7 .
Moses seems to dwell upon this most interesting passage in Israel's history, as if to remind the people of sovereign grace. And is it not a very striking feature, typically considered, of JESUS'S intercession for his people?
It is not so clearly proved as to leave the point unquestionable, whether Moses means a second continuance and abstinence of forty days and nights in the mount as before. The particular manner of wording the expression, that he fell down before the LORD, in the same way as he did when he was forty days and forty nights in the mount with the LORD; this seems as if he meant to say, that his intercession was similar in manner not in time. Moreover, if Moses really was a second time forty days and forty nights in the mount, there is no mention made of his employment the second time like the first. See Exodus 24:18 . And as Moses was eminently a type of the ever-blessed JESUS, we see a manifest propriety in the first forty days; but, considered as a type of JESUS in his fasting, the second would lessen its effect on this account. I do not, however, venture to speak decidedly upon the subject; but leave the Reader to his own judgment under the SPIRIT's teaching. See Matthew 4:2 .
See Commentary on Exodus 32:7-2.32.35 .
Taberah, means burning. Massah, the temptation. Kibrothhataavah, the graves of lust.
I would again remind the Reader, in this place, of that sweet office of the HOLY GHOST as the LORD'S Remembrancer. Moses was acting in this instance as his instrument. And when at any time our sins and rebellions are brought to our remembrance, whatever is the instrument, may we have grace to consider in it the HOLY SPIRIT's work. This will open a blessed source of improvement.
What a beautiful strain of earnestness in prayer is here read to us, of Moses' pleading with GOD in his covenant relation and character. Would the Reader see another yet more beautiful example of the same kind, let him turn to John 17:0 .
LEARN, my soul, from the view of Israel's rebellion, all the way through their eventful history, what nature is in its highest attainment. And may the blessed SPIRIT convince me yet more and more, that it is not in the days of my unregeneracy only, that I am to look back for evidences of the sin of my nature, but since the LORD brought me out of spiritual Egypt I have had many Horebs, many Taberahs, and many Massahs, as well as Israel.
Blessed JESUS! let those views of the sin of my nature tend yet more to endear thee, who art the LORD my righteousness, to my heart. And while I beseech thee to drive out all my enemies before me, keep me, by such tokens of sin in my nature as every day's experience affords, humble in my own sight; and most gladly to refer all the victory, all the glory, and all the praise, to thine arm, which alone bringeth salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany