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This Chapter contains the relation of the boundaries of the land of Canaan according to the LORD'S appointment of it: and the persons whom the LORD commissioned to fix the boundaries.
This is not the least interesting Chapter we meet with, if we read it with a spiritual eye of discernment; for much of the Gospel is contained in it. Let the Reader, in the opening of it, observe, that GOD pointed out the bounds of his people's inheritance upon earth, even before they were called upon to take possession of them. And can the Reader suppose that the heavenly inheritance of his people is not already ascertained and known? And is not JESUS gone before to take possession of it in their name? Sweet thought to a troubled soul, is the assurance that in this life all our bounds are fixed; and a sure mansion is prepared in that which is to come. Compare Deuteronomy 32:8 with John 14:23; John 14:23 .
I have not interrupted the Reader by dividing these verses, because I would have him first read over attentively the whole account of the extent of the promised land; and then look over it again, to remark with me the striking observations which arise out of it, considered altogether. If the Reader considers the extent of it, he will discover that it was not in length above 160 miles; and the breadth of it not more than 50. But this little spot, compared to the whole earth, was what the LORD was pleased peculiarly to mark for his people; and to make it the glory of all lands; and consider that such at this hour is the gospel church of JESUS. It is of small extent, and bounded around, as Canaan was, by the idolatrous and profane world. And is there not a striking memorial arising out of this view of Canaan to the spiritual Reader, from the several boundaries of it? The south quarter, bounded by the wilderness of Zin, that memorable wilderness, where the LORD'S mercies, and Israel's ingratitude and rebellion, had been so often marked. The salt sea eastward, did it not remind the people of GOD'S judgments on Sodom and Gomorrah, when Lot was sent out of the overthrow? And was it possible for Israel to look towards Kadesh-barnea, and Mount Keir, to the river of Egypt, to the river of Jordan, and to the great sea westward, without having all the memorials of the LORD'S mercies in these histories again and again brought fresh unto them? Pause, Reader, while beholding these things as the memorials of Israel, and see whether there are not, in your own life, similar tokens, as so many monuments, all the way along, in which the LORD thy GOD hath brought thee these many years through the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee! Oh! it is sweet and precious thus to look back, and look around, and view the tokens of JESUS' love. Look at Jacob's conduct, and the prophets, in these instances, and see my soul whether thou canst not find grace to follow their examples. Genesis 28:18 ; 1 Samuel 7:12 .
It is worthy remark, that the whole division is of GOD'S appointing. Yes! he appoints now, to the whole tribes, and to the half tribes of his people, their habitations here. And frequently, like Canaan, it is but of small extent, - very scanty and limited. But what saith JESUS! Fear not little flock, it is your FATHER'S good pleasure to give you the kingdom. My poor Brother! if you are to have a kingdom hereafter, do not regard the humbleness of your accommodations now. Luke 12:32 .
Is not Eleazar a type of the priestly office, and Joshua of the kingly office, of JESUS, in this instance?
JESUS is surrounded with his witnesses, and attended by his saints. Revelation 14:1 .
HERE, my soul, pause, and meditate on the love of GOD in CHRIST JESUS! GOD had promised Abraham that his seed should inherit Canaan, and behold the assurance of GOD'S promises. Oh! for the faith of Abraham, to trust GOD in the certainty of an immortal Canaan, and like him, to go forth if needful, through the wilderness of this world, in the sure expectation of it, not knowing whither he went. Blessed JESUS! be thou the Canaan of my soul; and through every journey of the pilgrimage state towards it, do thou fix the bounds of my habitation, that in thee my whole desires may centre. Thou art the Priest, like Eleazar, and the Captain of my salvation, like Joshua, to go on before me to the promised land. LORD! give me grace to eye thee in every step; to live upon thee in every movement; and finally, to dwell with thee where thou art, to behold thy glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 34". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30