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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Exodus 23

Verse 13

DISCOURSE: 93
ON CIRCUMSPECTION

Exodus 23:13. In all things that I have said unto you, be circumspect.

IF we were about to prosecute a journey through an extensive forest, where the path was exceeding intricate, where we were in hourly danger of treading upon serpents and scorpions, and where there were declivities so steep and slippery that it was almost impossible but that we must fall down some tremendous precipice, we should feel it necessary to get the best information, and to use the utmost caution in all our way. Such is really our state: in our journey towards heaven we may easily mistake the road; and, even when we are walking in it, we are encompassed with so many dangers, and obstructed by so many difficulties, that we need to exercise continual vigilance and circumspection. Hence, in tender love to us, our heavenly Guide puts us on our guard, and says, “In all things that I have said unto you, be circumspect.”
In discoursing on these words we shall consider,

I.

The injunction—

It is our duty and our happiness to have all our actions conformed to the mind and will of God: but, in order to this, we must attend diligently to the matter, the manner, and the end of them:—

1.

The matter—

[Notwithstanding we have the written word, which, when duly followed, will suffice to direct our conduct; yet we must have a very considerable knowledge of the Scriptures, and a well-regulated mind, in order to ascertain clearly the will of God. It not unfrequently happens that one duty seems to interfere with another; as when a work of mercy calls for a violation of the Sabbath, or a command of an earthly parent militates against the command of God. In the former case we are to “prefer mercy before sacrifice:” in the latter, we must “obey God rather than man:” but how to discriminate aright at all times, is very difficult: and a well-intentioned person may grievously err, if he do not bring his actions to the touch-stone of God’s word, and determine, through grace, to regulate them according to that standard [Note: Acts 26:9-44.26.11; Gal 2:13 and John 16:2.].]

2.

The manner—

[It is by no means sufficient that the matter of our actions be right, for they may be so debased by the manner of performing them, as to be rendered hateful in the sight of God. Prayer is a duty plainly enjoined: but if it be cold and formal, or offered with an unbelieving heart, it will find no acceptance with God: in vain do persons worship God in such a manner [Note: Matthew 15:7-40.15.9.] ; they shall receive nothing at his hands [Note: James 1:6-59.1.7.]. Nothing could, have been more pleasing to God than David’s attempt to bring up the ark to Mount Zion, after it had been at least fifty years in a state of obscurity: but David was inattentive to the manner in which God had appointed the ark to be carried; he put it on a new cart, instead of ordering it to be borne upon the shoulders of the Levites; and therefore God manifested his displeasure against him, and against all the people, by striking Uzza dead upon the spot for presuming to touch the ark [Note: 1 Chronicles 15:13.]. We ourselves are not satisfied to have our commands obeyed, unless a due attention be paid also to the manner of executing our will; much less therefore will God be pleased, if we be not as studious to “serve him acceptably,” as to serve him at all.]

3.

The end—

[Our end or motive in acting determines more than any thing the quality of our actions. Not that a good end will sanctify a bad action; but a bad end will vitiate every action connected with it. If, for instance, in our religious services we seek the applause of men, we must expect no reward from God: the gratification of our pride and vanity is all the reward that such polluted services can obtain [Note: Matthew 6:1-40.6.5; Matthew 6:16.]. In the account which is given us of Jehu, we find that the very same action, which was rewarded on account of its outward conformity with God’s command, was punished on account of the base principle by which he was influenced in performing it. He did well in extirpating the seed of Ahab, and was rewarded for it to the fourth generation [Note: 2 Kings 10:30.]: but forasmuch as he was actuated by vanity and ambition, the blood which he shed was imputed to him as murder [Note: 2Ki 10:16 with Hosea 1:4.]. Nor is there any thing more common than for even religious persons to mistake the path of duty through an inattention to their own spirit. The disciples doubtless thought themselves under the influence of a commendable zeal, when they would have called fire from heaven to consume a Samaritan village; as did Peter also, when he cut off the ear of Malchus. We should therefore be peculiarly cautious with respect to this, lest by the mixture of any selfish motive or base affection we offend Him, whom it is our desire and endeavour to please.

God having prescribed rules for a just ordering of our whole spirit and conduct, we must, “in all things that he has said unto us, be circumspect.”]

The importance of this injunction will appear, while we consider,

II.

The reasons of it—

Surely it is a necessary injunction, and no less reasonable than necessary: for,

1.

The same authority exists in every commandment—

[It is God who issued a prohibition of adultery and murder: and it is the same Almighty Being who forbids us to entertain a selfish wish or covetous desire [Note: James 2:10-59.2.11.]. Shall we then acknowledge his authority in our actions, and disregard it in our principles? Shall we think ourselves at liberty to deviate from any part of his revealed will? If so, we cease to act as his creatures, and become a God unto ourselves.]

2.

Without circumspection we cannot perform any duty aright—

[We cannot find out the real motives of our actions without daily self-examination, and earnest prayer to God for the teachings of his Spirit. However simple the path of duty may appear, there are ten thousand ways in which we may depart from it. And, as long as our hearts are so deceitful, and we have such a subtle adversary striving to mislead us, we shall be in perpetual danger of mistaking our way. If therefore we would serve God aright in any thing, we must be circumspect on every thing.]

3.

An inattention to smaller duties will lead to a violation of the greatest—

[Who shall say, where we shall stop, if once we begin to trifle with God? Eve little thought to what she should be brought by only listening to the suggestions of the tempter: nor did David foresee what would result from the wanton look which he cast on Bathsheba. It was on account of the danger arising from the smallest approach to sin, that God, in the words following our text, forbade his people even to “mention the name” of a heathen deity: and on the same account he requires us to “abstain from the very appearance of evil.” And if we will not “watch in all things,” we shall soon have to eat the bitter fruit of our negligence: yea, it will be well, if from walking in the counsel of the ungodly, we do not soon stand in the way of sinners, and at last sit in the seat of the scornful [Note: Psalms 1:1. Every word in this verse rises in a climax: “walk, stand. sit;” “counsel, way, scat;” “ungodly, sinners, scornful.”].]

4.

The greater our circumspection, the more shall we adorn our holy profession—

[There are multitudes on the watch to find out the smallest faults in those who profess religion; and to condemn religion itself on account of them. But a circumspect walk “cuts off occasion from those who seek occasion;” and “by well-doing we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” It can scarcely be conceived what an effect the conduct of religious people has upon the world, either to recommend religion to them, or to harden them against it. Should not this then make us circumspect? Should we not be careful that we “give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully?” Should we not endeavour to “be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves?” Let us then “so make our light to shine before men, that they may be constrained to glorify our Father that is in heaven.”]

5.

The whole of our conduct will be reviewed in the day of judgment—

[The most secret springs of action will be brought to light in that awful day, and “the counsels of the heart be made manifest [Note: 1 Corinthians 4:5; Ecclesiastes 12:14.]:” God will weigh, not our actions only, but our spirits [Note: Proverbs 16:2.]. “Men judge according to appearance; but He will judge righteous judgment.” If this consideration will not make us circumspect, what can we hope to prove effectual? O that we could bear in mind the strictness of that scrutiny, and the awfulness of that decision!]

Address,
1.

Those who ridicule the circumspection of others—

[To what end has God commanded us to be circumspect, if we are not to regard the injunction? Do you suppose that you are to annul his commands, and to establish rules of conduct that are contrary to his? Or, if you are presumptuous enough to do so in reference to yourselves, do you think that you are to prescribe for others also? You affect to pity the Lord’s people as weak enthusiasts: but know that you are the true objects of pity, who can rush blindfold in such a manner to your own destruction. Yes; over such as you the Saviour wept: and if you knew your guilt and danger, you would weep for yourselves. Repent, ere it be too late: for, however wise you may imagine yourselves to be, the time is coming when you will change your voice, and say, “We fools counted their life madness [Note: Wisd. 5:4.].” Take care that you yourselves be righteous enough, before you ridicule others as “righteous over-much.”]

2.

Those who, in spite of scoffers, are endeavouring to please their God—

[Blessed be God, who enables you to stem the torrent, and to serve him in the midst of a wicked world! But, be on your guard against that scrupulosity, which makes those things to be sins which are no sins; and that superstition, which makes things to be duties which are no duties. Be as careful of adding to the word of God as of detracting from it. Let the different parts of Scripture be compared with each other: and learn your duty not so much from any detached passage, as from a collective view of all those passages which may reflect light upon it. Nevertheless in doubtful matters, you will do well to lean to the safer side.
Yet while you are thus circumspect yourselves, do not presume to judge others. Things may be right in others, which would be wrong in you; and right in you under some circumstances, which under different circumstances would be highly improper. Do not then bring others to your standard, or try them at your bar: “it is to their own Master that they must stand or fall.”
Lastly, let not your circumspection fill you with self-preference and self-esteem. However accurately you may walk, there will be still enough to humble you in the dust. You must to your latest hour go to Jesus as the chief of sinners, and seek acceptance with God through his blood and righteousness.]


Verses 20-22

DISCOURSE: 94
THE DANGER OF WILFUL AND OBSTINATE DISOBEDIENCE

Exodus 23:20-2.23.22. Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not: for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But, if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.

IT is but too common for men to cast the blame of their own negligence on God. But they who labour so much to exculpate themselves now, will one day be silent; and God will finally be justified in every sentence that he shall pass. His kindness to the church of old may shew us what his conduct is towards us. And they who are thus guided, warned, and encouraged, must, if they perish, ascribe their condemnation to themselves alone. The words before us contain,

I.

The work and office of Christ—

Christ is here called an angel or messenger—
[He is often called by this name in the Holy Scriptures [Note: He is the angel that was in the pillar and the cloud, Exodus 14:19. That angel was Jehovah, Exodus 13:21. That Jehovah was Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:9. See also Malachi 3:1.]. Nor does he disdain to assume it himself [Note: John 12:49.]. In his essential nature indeed he is equal with the Father. But in his mediatorial capacity he sustains the office of a servant.]

As the angel of the covenant, he leads and keeps his people—
[He is represented as a leader and commander, like Joshua, his type [Note: Isaiah 55:4.]. He went before them in the wilderness in the pillar and the cloud. And still, though invisibly, guides them in their way to heaven [Note: Psalms 25:9; Psalms 32:8.].]

Nor does he leave them till he brings them safely to glory—
[He did not forsake the Israelites, till he had accomplished all his promises [Note: Joshua 23:14.]. Having “prepared the land for them,” he preserved them for it. Thus has he “prepared mansions for us” also [Note: John 14:2.] ; and will surely bring us to the full possession of them [Note: 1 Peter 1:4-60.1.5.].]

But as this office of Christ implies a correspondent duty in us, God suggests,

II.

A caution against neglecting him—

We are much in danger of displeasing him—
[As our guide, he expects implicit obedience. Nor can we rebel against him without “provoking” his indignation [Note: Isaiah 63:10.]. Hence we need continual circumspection [Note: 3.].]

The consequence of displeasing him will be very terrible—
[Doubtless to penitents he is full of mercy and compassion. But to impenitent offenders he will manifest his wrath [Note: Psalms 7:11-19.7.13.]. Nor will he suffer any to continue in their sins with impunity [Note: Ezekiel 24:13-26.24.14.].]

His power and dignity are a certain pledge to us that he will avenge the insults that are offered him—
[By “the name of God” we understand not his authority only, but his very nature [Note: John 14:10-43.14.11; John 10:30.]. And this union with the Father is a pledge to us, that he will act as becomes the divine character. Nor will any consideration of mercy ever tempt him again to sacrifice the honour of the Deity to the interests of man.]

It is not however by terror only that God would persuade us; for he adds,

III.

An encouragement to obey him—

Obedience is in some sense the condition of God’s favour—
[We know that there is nothing meritorious in man’s obedience. Yet is there an inseparable connexion between that and the divine favour. Nor is it a partial obedience only that he requires at our hands. It must be earnest, unwearied, uniform, and unreserved.]
And to those who yield him this obedience he will shew himself an active friend, and an almighty protector—
[His favour consists not in a mere inactive complacency. It will manifest itself in a constant and powerful interposition on their behalf [Note: 2 Chronicles 32:8; Isaiah 49:25.]. He will not fail to secure them the victory over all their enemies.]

Address,
1.

Those who disregard the voice of this divine Messenger—

[From what is spoken of his mercy you are ready to think him destitute of justice. And from the depth of his condescension you conclude he will not vindicate his own honour. But where God most fully proclaims his mercy he declares his justice also [Note: Exodus 34:7.]. Make not him then your enemy who came from heaven to save you. Consider what means he has used to guide you to the promised land. Consider what great things he would do for you, if you would obey his voice. Consider what certain and terrible destruction your rejection of his mercy will bring upon you [Note: Hebrews 12:25.]. And instantly surrender up yourselves to his direction and government.]

2.

Those who, though they submit to his government, are doubtful of success—

[The Israelites, notwithstanding all the miracles they had seen, were afraid they should not finally attain the object of their desires. Thus amongst ourselves, many tremble lest their expectations should never be realized. But is not God able to beat down your enemies before you? Or will he forget the promise he has so often renewed? If he be incensed against you, it is not owing to unfaithfulness in him, but to instability in you [Note: Jeremiah 2:17.]. Only be vigilant to obey his will, and to follow him fully: and you need not doubt but that he will preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom [Note: 2 Timothy 4:18.].]

3.

Those who are following him with cheerfulness to the heavenly land—

[Blessed be God, there are some of you like-minded with Joshua and Caleb [Note: Numbers 14:24; Numbers 32:12.]. And are not you living monuments of the power and grace of God? Have you not on many occasions proved his readiness to pardon sin? And do you not daily experience his paternal care and protection? Go on then with increasing vigilance and an assured hope. Know that all the power and perfections of God are engaged for you: and that “having guided you by his counsel, he will finally bring you to glory.”]


Verses 29-30

DISCOURSE: 95
THE VICTORIES OF ISRAEL GRADUAL AND PROGRESSIVE

Exodus 23:29-2.23.30. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little will I drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land.

THE more we investigate the dispensations of Providence, the more we shall see, that “God’s ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts.” If we had been left to form conjectures respecting man in his first creation, who would have conceived that God should suffer the work of his hands to be so marred as Adam was by the fall, and so large a portion of his creatures to perish in everlasting misery? Nor, if we were told that God would take to himself, from amongst the fallen sons of Adam, a peculiar people, and rescue them by so many signs and wonders from their bondage in Egypt, should we have imagined that he would, after all, keep them in the wilderness for the space of forty years, till the whole generation were swept away; and suffer two individuals only, of the whole nation, to enter the promised land. But “his ways are in the great deep; and his footsteps are not known.” When, at last, he had brought his people into Canaan, we should then at least suppose that he would give them a speedy and quiet possession of the land. Yet, behold, he tells them, beforehand, that he will “not drive out the inhabitants at once, but only by little and little.”
We propose to inquire into,

I.

The design of God in the dispensation here referred to—

It was intended,

1.

As an act of mercy, to preserve his people—

[The people altogether amounted to about two millions; and the country which they were to occupy extended from the Red Sea to the Euphrates [Note: 1 with Genesis 15:18.]. But, if so small a population were spread over so wide a space, the wild beasts would quickly multiply, and speedily desolate the whole land. True, indeed, God could, if it should so please him, interpose by miracle to change the ferocity of the most savage animals: but that was no part of his plan. He permitted, therefore, vast multitudes of the devoted nations yet to live, that so they might, for their own sake, prevent the increase and incursions of the wild beasts, till Israel should have multiplied so as to be able, in every part, to protect themselves.]

2.

As an act of righteousness, to try them—

[All the trials with which God’s people were visited in the wilderness were sent “to prove them,” whether they would serve the Lord or not. Not that God needed any such information, as the result of experiment; because “he knew what was in man,” whose heart and reins were open to him from the foundation of the world: but it was desirable, for their own sakes, that they should have an insight into their own hearts, and be able to appreciate the whole of God’s dealings with them. By the continuance of the devoted nations amongst them, they would see how prone they were to seek their own carnal ease and interests, by mingling themselves among them, when they should have been labouring with all their might to effect their utter extirpation. By observing also the success or failure of their efforts against these enemies, they would be able to judge, with accuracy, how far they were in favour with God, or under his displeasure; and would consequently be led to approach him with suitable emotions of gratitude or contrition. This is the view which the Scripture itself gives us of this very dispensation: “These were the nations which the Lord left to prove Israel by them — the Philistines, Canaanites, Sidenians, and the Hivites; it was to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken to the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses [Note: Judges 3:1-7.3.4.].”]

3.

As an act of judgment, to punish them—

[Though there were good ends to be answered, by a gradual execution of the judgments denounced against the seven nations of Canaan, it was the fault of the Israelites themselves that the extirpation of them was not more rapid and complete. They gave way to sloth, when they should have been in full activity; and yielded to fear, when they should have gone forth in assured dependence on their Lord. By this, they greatly increased their own trials, and multiplied their own afflictions. God had told them by Moses, saying, “If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come to pass, that those whom ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover, it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them [Note: Numbers 33:55.].” Joshua also, at the close of his life, reminded them, that “no man had been able to stand before them:” and then assured them, that “one man of them should be able to chase a thousand, if only they would take heed to themselves to love the Lord their God: but that, if they did in any wise go back, and cleave unto the nations which remained among them, and make marriages with them; then know for a certainty,” says he, “that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you [Note: Joshua 23:9-6.23.13.].” Accordingly, this prediction was soon verified; and God punished them, as he had said: for, on their “making leagues with the inhabitants of the land,” they were induced at last to “forsake the Lord, and worship Baal and Ashteroth:” and “the Lord’s anger was kindled against them; and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies: and they were greatly distressed. Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua [Note: Judges 2:2; Judges 2:12-7.2.15; Judges 2:23.].”

Thus in this dispensation there was a mixture of mercy and of judgment: of mercy primarily; of judgment through their own fault.]
This view of God’s dealings with his people of old affords us a fit occasion to inquire into,

II.

His design in a corresponding dispensation towards his people at this day—

The redemption which he has vouchsafed to us through the blood of his only dear Son might justly lead us to expect, that when once we are truly brought out from the dominion of sin and Satan, our triumphs over them would be complete. But it is not so: for though the yoke with which we were oppressed is loosened, a measure of our bondage still remains: there is yet “the flesh lusting against the spirit, so that we cannot do the things that we would [Note: Galatians 5:17.] ;” yea more, “there is yet a law in our members warring against the law in our minds, and too often bringing us into captivity to the law of sin which is in our members [Note: Romans 7:23.].” Now whence is it, that God suffers his people to be yet harassed with the remains of sin? He suffers it,

1.

For our deeper humiliation—

[The sins of our unconverted state may well humble us in the dust, and cause us to “go softly,” in the remembrance of them, to our dying hour. But the views of our depravity, which we derive from them, are as nothing in comparison of those which we gain from the workings of corruption in our converted state. These are the views which cause us to cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me [Note: Romans 7:24.] ?” These were the views which constrained Job to exclaim, “Behold, I am vile:” “I repent, and abhor myself in dust and ashes [Note: Job 40:4; Job 42:6.].” And, in proportion as they are discovered to us, they will constrain every living man to “lothe himself for hi, iniquities and abominations [Note: Ezekiel 36:31.].” Now this is a feeling that well becomes our sinful race: and though the acquisition of it is obtained through much painful experience, yet does it, in the issue, well repay all that we have suffered in the attainment of it.]

2.

For our ultimate advancement—

[A child has all the members of a perfect man; yet are they in a very feeble and imperfect state: and it is by the exercise of his powers that he has those powers strengthened and enlarged. And thus it is with every child of God. He is born a babe: and, though every gracious principle exists within him, he is so feeble as scarcely to be able to withstand temptation, or to exercise his powers to any great extent. But, through the remains of sin within him he is led to frequent conflicts with it: by exercise, his powers are increased; and by progressive increase, they are perfected. Thus, from “a babe,” he grows up to maturer age and stature, and becomes “a young man;” and from “a young man,” “a father.” Nor is it in this world only that the believer is benefited by his conflicts; for in proportion as he grows in the knowledge of the Saviour and in a conformity to his image, will be the weight of glory bestowed on him in the realms of bliss. The improvement of the talents committed to him will bring a corresponding recompence, at the time that he shall give up his account to God. If no corruption had remained in his heart “to prove him,” he would have had scarcely any opportunity of shewing his fidelity, his zeal, his love, his gratitude: but being called “to fight a good fight,” and having approved himself “a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” he shall receive, together with the approbation of his Lord, a brighter crown, and a more glorious inheritance, than could have been awarded to him at the period of his first conversion.]

3.

For his own eternal glory—

[Doubtless the first exercise of mercy towards a repenting sinner brings much glory to God: and if at the first moment of his conversion every saint were translated to glory, he would have abundant reason to adore and magnify the grace to which he was so greatly indebted. But of the patience, the forbearance, the long-suffering, the compassion, and the faithfulness of God, he would have a very indistinct and inadequate conception. It is by his inward trials and conflicts that he acquires the fuller discovery of these perfections, and is prepared to give God the glory of them in a better world. The shouts of one who is but a babe in Christ will, on his introduction to the divine presence, no doubt be ardent: but what will be the acclamations of a soul that has passed through all the eventful scenes of arduous and long-protracted warfare! Of what wonders will he have to speak! or rather, how may we conceive of him as prostrating himself in silent adoration through his overwhelming sense of the divine goodness, whilst the less-instructed and less-indebted novice rends the air with acclamations and hosannahs! Yes verily: if the angels stand round about the saints, as not having so near an access to God as they, so we may conceive of the less-privileged saints as standing round about the elders, in whom “God will be more admired,” and by whom he will be more “glorified [Note: 2Th 1:10 with Revelation 7:9-66.7.12.].”]

We must not however dismiss this subject without adding a few words,
1.

Of caution:—

[It is, as we have said, the fate of man in this world still to carry about with him a corrupt nature, which proves a source of much trouble and distress: nor can any man hope to get rid of it, till he shall be liberated by death itself. Nevertheless, it is our own fault that the corruptions which remain within us are not more weakened and subdued. Let any one read the account given of the different tribes, in the first chapter of the book of Judges, and say whether he does not impute blame to the Israelites themselves, for suffering the nations, whom they were ordered to extirpate, to retain so formidable a power in the midst of them [Note: Judges 1:21; Judges 1:27; Judges 1:29-7.1.35.] ? Had they persevered with the same zeal and diligence as they exercised on their first entrance into Canaan, and pursued with unrelenting energy those whom they had been commanded to destroy, their occupation of the land had been far more peaceful and entire. And so, if we, from our first conversion to God, had maintained with unremitting zeal our warfare with sin and Satan, as it became us to do, we should have had all the corruptions of our nature in more complete subjection, and should have enjoyed a far greater measure of tranquillity in our own souls. Let not any one, then, delude himself with the thought that the strength of his corruptions is a subject rather of pity than of blame: but let all know, that they are called to maintain a warfare; that armour, even “the whole armour of God,” is provided for them, in order that they may prosecute it with success; and that, if only they will “quit themselves like men,” the Captain of their salvation has assured to them a complete victory. Gird on your armour then, my Brethren; and, if your enemy has gained any advantage over you, return to the charge; and never cease to fight, till Satan, and all his hosts, are “bruised under your feet.”]

2.

Of encouragement—

[The doom of your enemies is sealed [Note: Deuteronomy 7:22-5.7.23.] ; and, if you “go forth in the strength of your Lord,” “you shall be more than conquerors through him that loveth you [Note: Romans 8:37.].” Let it not be grievous to you that such a necessity is imposed upon you. Did your Saviour himself enter the lists, and fight against all the powers of darkness till he had triumphed over them and despoiled them all; and will not you, at his command, go forth, to follow up, and complete, his victory [Note: Col 2:15 with John 16:11.] ? Fear not on account of the strength or number of your enemies: for “they shall be bread for you;” and your every victory over them shall nourish and strengthen your own souls. And let all animate one another to the contest. See the happy effect of this amongst God’s people of old. We are told, “Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him. And Judah went up: and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand [Note: Jdg 1:3-4].”ls True it is, indeed, that we cannot aid each other precisely in the same way that they did: but we may encourage one another, and strengthen one another, and by our example animate one another to the combat; and may thus contribute, each of us, to the success of those around us. And it is but a little time that we have to fight: for soon we shall come to that better land, where “there shall no more be the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts.” Even in this world we are taught that such a period shall arrive [Note: Zechariah 14:21.]: but, if not permitted to behold it here, we shall assuredly behold it in the world above, where “former things shall have passed away, and sin and sorrow shall be found no more [Note: Revelation 21:4.].” “Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.”]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Exodus 23". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/exodus-23.html. 1832.