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I. Although God be not far from every one of us, yet many of us have no consciousness of His presence; for a large portion of our lives we do not think of Him, and when we do it is rather an uncertain feeling after Him amidst thick darkness than the seeing Him in the clear light revealed in and by His Son Jesus Christ. And these two states, the seeing God constantly in Christ and the not so seeing Him, are the great and eternal differences which will divide all of us from one another, the differences which will make and do make our lives holy or unholy, which will make our deaths blessed or cursed.
II. It is quite true that many who live without thinking of God do yet intend to keep, and do keep actually, many of God's laws. It is precisely because there can be, and is up to a certain point, good without God, because men feel that even without a lively sense of God Himself they can love His moral works, as they can love His natural works, that therefore they are blind themselves, and we too often are blind for them, to their infinite danger; they speak peace to themselves, and we echo the word till the true peace is hidden from them for ever.
III. What strength amidst weakness, what decision amidst endless wavering, what joy in life, what hope in death, are to be found in this consciousness of God in Christ! It is the life of Christ's people, the life of the children of God.
T. Arnold, Christian Life: Sermons, vol. v., p. 305.
References: Deuteronomy 9:1 . Parker, vol. v., p. 7. Deuteronomy 9:4 , Deuteronomy 9:5 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. viii., p. 222.
I. The address of Moses is very different from the addresses of most captains of armies under similar circumstances. (1) He makes no attempt to underrate the power of the enemies with whom the Israelites had to contend. He begins his address by telling the people that they are that day to pass over Jordan, to go in and possess nations greater and mightier than themselves. The reason for his giving such information was that the design of God was not merely to conquer the Canaanites, but to educate Israel, to teach them that by God's power weakness may be made strength and the mighty vanquished by the feeble. (2) Moses assures the people in plain language that no righteousness of theirs had gained them the land. They might be ready enough to admit that it was not their own courage or their own bodily strength, but they might still be disposed to think that they had deserved God's favour, that if they had not been deserving of the victory, God would not have given it to them. Self-flattery is easy, and therefore Moses very wisely and decidedly protested once for all against such a view of God's doings.
II. The principle of spiritual life with ourselves is precisely that which Moses laid down as the principle of national life for the Israelites. God gives us the land of promise for no righteousness of our own. Everything depends on God's mercy, God's will, God's purpose; the certainty of victory depends, not upon any feelings, or experiences, or conflicts of ours, but upon the ever-present help of the almighty God.
Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 5th series, p. 78.
References: Deuteronomy 9:18 , Deuteronomy 9:19 . J. D. Coleridge, Sermons for Sundays: Festivals and Fasts, edited by A. Watson, 1st Series, p. 40; Parker, vol. v., p. 8.
This prayer brings out in its greatest strength a contrast which goes through the Book of Deuteronomy, and through the whole Bible. The Israelites are the people of God, His inheritance redeemed by His mighty hand. They are stubborn, stiff-necked, wicked. We become so familiar with passages which contain both these descriptions of them, that we attach little meaning to either.
In seeking for a resolution of this difficulty we notice:
I. That the Scriptures do not set forth the history of a man seeking for God, but of God seeking for men. To separate Moses the righteous man from Moses the deliverer of the Israelites is impossible. He could not have been righteous if he had not fulfilled that task; he could not have been righteous if he had not testified in all his acts and words that God, not he, was the Deliverer. If we once see upon what ground the holiness of Moses stood, we must admit that the nation of which he was a member was holy in precisely the same sense and for precisely the same reason as he was; nay, that it had a title prior to his, a title from which his own was derived. It was a holy nation because God had called it out, had chosen it to be His; He had put His name upon it.
II. See then how reasonable was the prayer of the text. Because Moses regarded the Israelites as a holy and chosen people, redeemed by God's own hand, because he believed that this description belonged to the whole covenant people at all time, therefore he felt with intense anguish their stubbornness, their wickedness, and their sin. It was the forgetfulness of their holy state which he confessed with such shame and sorrow before God; it was because they had gone out of the right way, each man preferring a selfish way of his own, that they needed his intercession and God's renewing and restoring mercy.
F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. ii., p. 53.
References: Deuteronomy 9:29 . Bishop Lightfoot, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 63.Deuteronomy 9:0 Parker, vol. iv., p. 195.Deuteronomy 10:14-16 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi., No. 303.Deuteronomy 10:16 . Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times" vol. v., p. 9 (see also Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Christmas and Epiphany, p. 193); Clergyman's Magazine, vol. viii., p. 12; Parker, vol. v., p. 8. Deuteronomy 10:0 , Deuteronomy 11:0 Parker, vol. iv., p. 204.Deuteronomy 11:10-12 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., p. 58.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 9". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany