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Brought Out to Be Brought In
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 4, 1897.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, AUGUST 6, 1886.
"He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers." Deuteronomy 6:23.
OUR text occurs in the passage where the Israelites are told to personally instruct their children concerning the testimonies and statutes and judgments of the Lord. When they asked the meaning of the various ordinances of God's House, their parents were to tell them—not to refer them to the priest—they were, themselves, to instruct their children in the things of God. In our own case, however much we may love and appreciate the Sunday school system—and we cannot love it too much—I hope we shall never forget that the first duty towards the child belongs to the parent. Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever had such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother—neither can I conceive that to any child there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.
We should especially tell our children our own experience, for so it is enjoined in this passage—"When your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God has commanded you? Then you shall say unto your son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand." Perhaps, my Friend, there is no testimony that you can bear which will be so useful, so interesting and so striking, as the testimony of what you have, yourself, seen and handled of the Word of Life. Tell the Gospel as you find it in the Bible, but set it in the frame of your own experience of its preciousness! Tell your son how you sinned and how the Lord had mercy upon you. Tell him how He met with you, how you were brought to seek His face, how you were born again, how you received a new heart and a right spirit. He will think the more of this great change because it happened to his father, or to his mother, or to some kind friend. And, perhaps, if he is not himself converted as a child, in his later life he may think of what you told him or the remembrance of his mother's God may rise before him when he is far away from the scenes of his youth and has spent many years in foolish vanities—and he may even then turn to God, beckoned back to the great Father's House above by the memory of his godly father and mother here below.
It is my earnest desire, just now, to bear witness on the behalf of many of God's people while I try to explain the meaning of our text, "He brought us out. . .that He might bring us in." We shall have three heads to our discourse. First, we were brought out. As surely as Israel was brought out of Egypt, we who believe in Jesus have been brought out of the house of our bondage! Therefore, secondly, we are out. And thirdly, the Lord who brought us out will bring us into another and a better country—into "Your land, O Immanuel"—into that place of rest and everlasting jubilee which God by Covenant has given over to His people as their perpetual possession.
I. First, dear Friends, let us speak upon the fact that we were BROUGHT OUT. Our text says, "He brought us out from there." That is, Jehovah, the God of Israel, brought His people out from the house of bondage and, in like manner, we bear our testimony that the Lord has delivered us from the bondage of sin and Satan.
Our witness, therefore, is, first of all, that God has had to do with us. Some there are who think that God dwells far away, shut up in eternal seclusion. But we have not found it so, for He has had dealings in mercy with us. They suppose that the things here below are too little and too commonplace for God to consider, but it has not been so with us, for He has dealt well with His servants according to His Word. They suppose that there is a thick veil that shuts us out from the
Invisible, a great gulf that parts us poor mortals from any communication with God. They smile and turn upon their heels when we begin to talk of God—they are "agnostics"—know-nothings. Perhaps they will not say that there is no God, but they dosay that they do not know whether there is a God or not! And, as to any communication between the Holy One of Israel and such poor creatures as we are, they will not believe it to be possible. Well, then, we have to bear our testimony upon this point and it is this—that with some of us a very little while ago, and with others of us so many years ago as to be among the memories of our youth—God had solemn dealings. We were in the land of darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death. We were fond of sin—we were slaves to it and we had no wish nor will to escape from it—but He who is the Father of our spirits, having loved us with an everlasting love, and having made a Covenant with His only-begotten Son on our behalf, tore the heavens and in majesty came down!
This was done spiritually, for God is a Spirit and, therefore, they who were round about us knew it not. And we ourselves saw Him not and beheld no similitude—neither heard we any voice with our outward ear. But, though it was spiritual, God's coming to us was very real, for spirit is as real as matter and God is as real as the things that we touch, or see, or feel. We are not deceived in this matter, or, if we are, it has become so much a matter of daily consciousness, as well as of past memory, that we must be, indeed, besotted beyond all conception! But it has not been a dream to us, for it has changed our whole lives and it does, today, affect and move us most powerfully. We can imagine that it is a dream that we eat and drink, but it is no dream that God lives in us and we live in Him! It may be a dream that we have grown up from childhood into manhood—though it would take a great deal of argument to prove that to us—but it is no dream that, whereas we were blind, now we see! It is no dream that, whereas we were dead, now we live! It is no dream that things we did not believe in are now to us the best and highest and most practical of facts! It is not a dream that God has dealt with us and, though we cannot expect men to believe us, we feel sure that, had they known what we know, they would have been as little doubtful about it as we are. Had they passed through the experience we have had, they would have been as dogmatic in their assertion about it as we take leave to be.
Though we may be thought fools for this confidence, we think we are not fools. In other matters we are at least the equals of the men who think us fools as to our religion—and we can reason as well as they. If they have understanding, we have understanding, also. And, at any rate, we are quite willing to leave the matter to the test of the next world. You see, Beloved, we have two strings to our bow—if we should turn out to have been wrong and should die like dogs, we shall be none the worse—whereas, if our beliefs turn out to be well-founded, the ungodly will be in a sorry case, indeed! So we bear our witness without any kind of fear or shame, or any alarm about being thought fools for it, and we say that God has dealt with our spirits. Our spirit has spoken to His Spirit, and His Spirit has spoken to our spirit, and there have been Divine communications to us from the great God who made us, who, we assert, has new-made us and brought us out of our former condition into another and a better state. So, with the Israelites, we can say, "He brought us out."
In describing this bringing out, I have to remind you that the Christian's life runs parallel with the life of Israel in Egypt.
In order to get Israel out of Egypt, the first thing was to make Israel loathe Egypt. When Israel was in Goshen and the land brought forth plentifully, Israel was like sheep in clover and, like a bullock that loves deep pasture, had no desire to come out from the fat Delta of the Nile. Israel prospered, Israel was great. Was not Joseph at the head of the State? And even after his death, did not the memory of Joseph still make every Egyptian respect the Israelites? They would have lived there, still—there would have been no coming out of Egypt, for Israel, if all had gone well with them there. The Lord saw that the first thing to be done, in preparation for the people's emancipation, was to make them loathe Egypt. So there arises a new king that knows not Joseph, a king who considers that the existence of a foreign people in the midst of his nation is a source of danger. He must begin, if possible, to reduce their numbers. They shall work for him and render the unpaid labor of slaves. When they do this and still multiply, they shall find their own straw with which to make the bricks. When they complain of this, they shall have the tale of the bricks doubled until they begin to sigh and cry and groan by reason of their taskmasters.
If you had met an Israelite ten years before the period of slavery and had said to him, "Do you feel at home in Egypt?" he would have answered," Certainly! Everything prospers with us—we cannot do better than be here." But afterwards, if you had met him and put to him the same question, he would have said, "Wish to stay in Egypt? Not I! Would God I could escape from the taskmaster! It is cruelty from morning to night and a toil that is terrible. And I have heard"—and the strong man would stand and weep as he told the story—"I have heard that now there is an edict issued that our male children shall be cast into the river, so that, if we have a son born into our house, it will be, indeed, an unbearable sorrow, for our children must be destroyed by the tyrant." It was a great step towards the accomplishment of God's eternal purpose when He made Israel to feel that Egypt was a house of bondage.
It is in some such way as this that God makes His own elect to feel that the state of nature—the worldly, natural, sinful state—is a state of bondage. Look at the multitude of our fellow men—they have no wish to enter into any other state, they are quite satisfied with the condition in which they now are. Provided that they can earn good wages, that they can make money, that they can enjoy themselves in the pleasures of this life, they do not want anything more. You seem to be as those that mock when you talk to them about another world—they have enough difficulty to make both ends meet in this world, they say! You speak about a judgment to come—they would be a deal more impressed with some information about the police courts than about the Last Dread Assize when the Judge of All shall sit upon the Great White Throne! No, if they do not believe themselves to be mere beasts, to live and die, and then that will be an end of them, yet they act as if that were their belief. It is so with the most of our fellow men and it was so with you and with me in our unregenerate state. If we could have had our choice, we would have had a good time of it here, perhaps taking as our motto, "A short life and a merry one." Or, if we were more prudent, we would have wished to have a well-ordered, moral, upright life in which we could be respectable and respected, and that would have satisfied us. O Sirs, it is a miracle of Grace that God has made us to loathe that old land of Egypt and to count it to be a house of bondage! And now, to live unto ourselves is slavery! To live for this world seems to us to be the meanest and most beggarly thing that can be!
That was the first thing, then, that God did towards bringing out His people—He made them to loathe Egypt.
The next thing He did was, to make them see His wrath upon Egypt—the plagues that He sent. They had, no doubt, looked upon the Egyptians as being a very happy people, like themselves. They were, for a time, birds of a feather. But now they see all Egypt made the target for Jehovah's thunderbolts! At one time, all is darkness. At another time, the very air is filled with lice and flies. One day the frogs come up everywhere, even into the king's chambers. At another hour, boils and sores are on man and beast and, at the appointed period, there comes a shower of fire and the fire is mingled with hail! And the fire runs along the ground and terrific claps of thunder come, peal upon peal, one after the other, and Israel thinks, "This is a poor country to live in. We must rise up and be gone! If God deals thus with the Egyptians, God grant that we may not be Egyptians! Let us clear out of this land as soon as we can."
So has God made some of us see His judgments upon guilty men. We have walked through the world with our eyes open and we have seen men as others do not see them—with the leprosy of sin white upon their brow! We have seen them with the fever of lust which nothing could abate. We have seen them droop and die and, with our eyes open, we have seen them pass into that region which is divided forever from all hope by a great gulf, so that they that would pass from us to them cannot, neither can they come to us that would pass from there! Yes, and our spirits have listened till we have heard in dread and fear the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth of souls that passed away unforgiven, without God and without hope! We have heard that this city is to be burned up, for it is the City of Destruction and, burdened as we were, we began to run from it that we might, perhaps, escape before God should pour out the full vials of His vengeance upon men. I am talking no dreams now, or, at any rate, they are such dreams as I have had when I am most awake—such dreams as some here present have had, and such dreams as have made us anxious to get away from this present evil world which lies in the Wicked One, that we may not be destroyed with it in the day of God's righteous wrath!
Furthermore, dear Friends, God brought His people out of Egypt by breaking the power which held them in bondage. When they wished to get away from Pharaoh, they could not, for he held them as his slaves. But in due time God began to deal with Pharaoh and, at last, when He had killed the first-born in all the land, and the chief of all the strength of Egypt, they could not hold in captivity a single Israelite, no, not even a cow or a sheep or a goat that belonged to Israel! The power of Egypt was so completely broken that not a hoof was left behind!
And there came a day with us when the power of sin was finally broken. We sat at the foot of the Cross looking up weeping and wondering, and all of a sudden, as we believed in Jesus, we learned the meaning of the angel's message to Joseph, "You shall call His name, JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins." And then and there He saved us from our sins! The guilt of sin was gone but, what was stranger, still, the power of sin was gone, too. We had proven the truth of the Apostle's words, "Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the Law, but under Grace."
With the crimson blood that bought our pardon, there fell the white and sparkling drops that cleansed our nature! The water with the blood delivered us from the guilt and power of sin and we were free, strangely free! We wondered how it was that we had not the desires and passions and inclinations that we used to have, or, if they came, we had a new life and power with which we fought with them hand to hand. We welcomed them no more as friends, but we spurned them as our worst foes, for God had delivered us from the great bondage we were under! Sin is a thing abhorred and detested by us and our spirit has come clean out from under its power as a reigning force!
Remember also, Beloved, that when the Lord broke the power of Egypt over Israel, it was on the night of the Passover that He did it. That was the final blow that fell when the Israelites had slain the paschal lamb and sprinkled its blood upon the lintel and the two side posts of their houses. When Jehovah saw the blood, then He passed over them in such a wondrous way that they, also, passed over the Egyptians and marched out of the land more than conquerors through Him that had bled for them under the emblem of the paschal lamb!
Beloved, that redemption has been accomplished for us, also! It is not everyone who can remember the very day and hour of his deliverance, but, as I told you the other morning, of Richard Knill, who said, "At such a time of the day, clang went every harp in Heaven, for Richard Knill was born again," it was even so with me! I looked to Jesus and as I looked, I lived, and then and there I came clean out from that old slavery in which I had dwelt up to that hour! Blessed be the name of God for that glorious emancipation!
Yet once more upon this part of our text, "He brought us out" when, after being set free, we were violently pursued by our old sins. The Israelites went up harnessed, marching in their ranks and, I doubt not, singing as they went because they were delivered from the daily task and from the cruel bondage. But suddenly they turned their heads while they were marching, for they heard a dreadful noise behind them, a noise of chariots and of men shouting for battle! And, at last, when they could really see the Egyptians and the thick cloud of dust rising behind them, then they feared that they would be destroyed, they should now fall by the hand of the enemy. You remember, Beloved, after your conversion (it may not have happened to you all, but it did to me), there came a time when the enemy said, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil! My lust shall be satisfied upon them! I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them." So Satan, loath to leave a soul, pursues it quickly. He will have it back if he can. And often, soon after conversion, there comes a time of dreadful conflict—when the soul seems as if it could not live. "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that the Lord brought us into this condition of temporary freedom, that we might be all the more distressed by our adversaries?" So said Unbelief!
But you recollect how God brought His people right out by one final stroke. Miriam knew it when she took her timbrel and went forth with the women, and answered them in the jubilant song, "Sing you to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea!" I love best of all that note in the song of Moses where he says, "The depths have covered them." "There remained not so much as one of them." What gladness must have been in the hearts of the children of Israel when they knew that their enemies were all gone! I am sure it was so with me, for after my conversion, being again attacked by sin, I saw the mighty stream of redeeming love roll over all my sins and this was my song, "The depths have covered them!" "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us!"
II. There has been so much in the first part of our subject—"He brought us out"—that I must speak only very briefly upon our second division which is, WE ARE OUT.
That is to say, dear Friends, we are out of the bondage of sin and death, never to be captured again, and never to go back again of our own free will. ' 'Oh," says one, "that is strong teaching." I do not care whether it is strong or weak, it is Bible teaching! Our Lord Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." To the woman at the well our Savior said, "Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The work of the Holy Spirit is no temporary regeneration, but one that really makes the man new forever—and the devil, himself, cannot undo the work! No, dear Friend, if God brings you up out of Egypt, you shall never go back again into the house of bondage!
I heard, the other day, of a woman who came, at the end of a certain revival meeting, to make a confession of her faith. She said she had been regenerated six times! Now, I have heard and read in the Bible of people being born again, but to be born again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again is not what I have read anywhere in the Scriptures, or, if such a thing is possible—if being born again does not finally save men, remember that awful warning of the Apostle, "It is impossible. . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance." The Word of God is very explicit about that matter. "For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."
Our Savior also said, "Salt is good: but if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out." You cannot imagine that a person can be regenerated twice! If the work of regeneration is accomplished once, and it does not save the soul, then there is no salvation for it! That is all God ever will do and, therefore, do I bless and glorify His name that there never was and never shall be an instance in which He has made a man a new creature in Christ Jesus—and then the work of Grace has failed! There are plenty who come near to this point and who seem, sometimes, to have really reached it—but rest assured of this, Beloved, if the Lord has brought you forth out of this captivity, none shall ever undo what God has done! We are out. We are out.''He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." We hold to that plain and blessed Truth of God! Of old, the Lord said, "I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." Nothing can be more definite and explicit than that. We are bound for the land of Canaan, and into Canaan we shall go!
We are out. That is, we are now separated unto the Lord. If we are, indeed, what I have described, we do not belong, in the fullest sense, to any country or to any people, but we belong to God—we are separate from all people upon the face of the earth! You cannot make anything but a Jew of a Jew. You may do what you like with him, but he always remains a Jew. And you cannot make anything of a Christian but a Christian. Put him where you may, he is still a Christian. Whatever sphere of social life he occupies, or in whatever country he dwells, he is always a Christian. I was never ashamed of being an Englishman except when I have seen an Englishman behaving wrongly towards other people. Then I have felt as if I would be a Frenchman, or anything else! But I would be a Christian, first of all, and above all! When I am a Christian, I know no nationality. We are cosmopolites—inhabitants of every place, wherever we may be—if we are inhabitants of the holy city which is above. Our citizenship is in Heaven. Therefore we are separated from all the rest of mankind. The world knows us not because it knew not our Lord. May God separate us more and more unto Himself!
But we are separated that we may be preserved by the Lord and blessed by the Lord, for Israel, when brought out of Egypt, had to live by manna that dropped daily from Heaven, and by water that gushed out of the Rock. That is how all Christians ought to live. You are not to depend, now, upon the world—you are to depend upon God for everything— for your bread and for your water, and for all your needs. The whole of your life is to be in Him—not only that which is spiritual, but even that which is outward and visible is still to be a life in Christ, and a life for Christ—for you are dead to the world and your life is hid with Christ in God. The Lord said, even by the mouth of Balaam, "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." Oh, what a mercy it is to be out of Egypt in that respect!
Dear Brothers and Sisters, whatever our condition may be, here, we are out of Egypt en route for the Glory land. He who brought us out of Egypt will bring us into Canaan. Our home is not here. Our feet are not fixed upon this narrow plot of earth—they are moving towards another country, that is, a heavenly one.
III. I can only just touch upon the last part of our text—HE WILL BRING US— for our time has gone. But I want to say this much about it.
The Lord brought us out on purpose that He might bring us in. He did not bring us out merely for what we are now, but also for what we are yet to be. If Israel had only been what she ought to have been, she would have been into Canaan almost as soon as she was out of Egypt! And if you and I were all we ought to be, we would, even here, enjoy full happiness, for there is a Heaven below, and there is a rest for the people of God which we find in Christ even now.
So, next, the delay is caused by our unfitness. The Israelites were unbelieving, so they had to wander for 40 years in the wilderness before the nation entered upon its heritage in the land of Canaan. And it is because you and I are so carnal and there is so much of unbelief about us, that we go up and down, backwards and forwards, and do not fully enter into the possession of the glorious privileges which are ours by Covenant right. Yet, even here, we who have believed enter into rest! We have a foretaste of Heaven, we have the first-fruits of the Spirit. We have tasted the grapes of Eshcol and we are longing to cross the Jordan and to be—
"Where our dear Lord His vineyard keeps, And all the clusters grow."
The Lord brought us out with this design, that He might bring us in. It is clear that He who brought us out can bring us in. That which remains to be done is not as much as that which has already been done. There is not half as much difficulty between here and Heaven as there lies behindus—between here and our fallen condition. Atonement has been made and that is the greatest work of all! Sin has been put away, eternal life has come into these dead souls and merely to keep that flame alive, albeit it needs Divine Power, yet is a small thing compared with the putting of the Light of God within us and the redeeming us from sin, death and Hell!
He brought us out and He will bring us in, otherwise He would lose all that He has done. If the Lord does not bring us into Glory, then the precious blood of Christ has been shed in vain and the Holy Spirit has operated upon our hearts in vain. If God does not finish His work upon us and in us, then men and devils will say that He began to build, but He could not finish. A soul in whom the Lord does not finish His work would be a monument for the eternal derision of Satan and all his hosts—and that shall never be! God's eternal purpose would fail if He did not bring us in. Let us, therefore, trust in Him, and say, "He will bring us in." Despite the Girgashites, the Hittites and all the other "ites," He will bring us in! Across the Jordan we shall go with our Joshua, Jehovah-Jesus, at our head and we shall take our possession, everyone of us, in that glorious land and stand in our lot in that day, as surely as He has brought us out.
The important point for us to settle is—Has the Lord, indeed, brought us out? If any of you are still in bondage, the Lord make you to feel your bondage! The Lord make you to cry out in the bitterness of your soul! That is half-way towards getting out—that feeling of loathing for your present state is half the battle of your coming out of Egypt! The Lord make you to cry and groan, and look right out of yourselves wholly to the Lord Jesus and if, by the grip of faith, you get hold of my Master's garments, there is none that shall make you lose your hold, for, if you have a hold on Him, He has a firmer hold on you! If you have but touched Him with the finger of faith, He has laid His eternal power under bond to save you and He must and will accomplish the work, great as it is! God has laid help upon One who is mighty, and that mighty One shall never fail. Oh, the bliss of being in Christ! It is to be out of Egypt and it is to have the certain prospect of being, by-and-by, in Heaven!
God bless you all, dear Friends, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: DEUTERONOMYY 6.
Verse 1. Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go to possess it God's commandments are to be taught, but they are also to be practiced—"which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them." And it is this doing of them that is the hard part of the work. It is not always easy to teach them—a man needs the Spirit of God if he is to teach them aright—but practice is harder than preaching. May God grant us Grace, whenever we hear His Word, to do it!
2. Thatyou might fear the LORDyour God, to keep allHis statutes andHis commandments, which Icommandyou, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. The fear of God must always be a practical power in our lives—"that you might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments." And that practical fear should lead us into obedience in detail. We ought so to study God's Word that we endeavor "to keep allHis statutes and His commandments." A slipshod obedience is disobedience. We must be careful and watchful to know the Divine will and in all respects to carry it out. You who are His children, dwelling in such a household, and with such a Father, it well becomes you to be obedient children. No, it is not only for us to obey the command of the Lord our God, but we should pray till the rest of the verse also comes true—"you, and your son, and your son's son," our children and our children's children. I am sure that if we love God, we shall long that our children and our children's children may love Him, too. If your trade has supported you and brought you in a competence, you will naturally wish to bring your son up to it. But, on a far higher platform, if God has been a good God to you, your deepest desire will be that your son and your son's son should serve the same Divine Master through all the days of their life! "That your days may be prolonged." God does not give long life to all His people, yet in obedience to God is the most probable way of securing long life. There are also many of God's saints who are spared in times of pestilence, or who are delivered by an act of faith out of great dangers. That ancient declaration of God often comes true in these later times, "As the days of a tree are the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." At any rate, you who love the Lord shall live out your days, whereas the wicked shall not live out half their days. You shall complete the circle of life, whether it is a great circle or a little one—with long life will God satisfy you, and show you His salvation. The passage which now follows is held in very great esteem by the Jewish people even to this day. They repeat it frequently, for it forms part of their morning and evening services.
3, 4. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our Godis one LORD. There is but one God. This is the very basis of our faith—we know nothing of "gods many and lords many." Yet it is the Triune Godwhom we worship. We are not less Unitarians, in the highest meaning of that word, because we are Trinitarians! We are not less Believers in the one living and true God because we worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
5. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might Does not this show what is the very Nature of God? God is Love, for He commands us to love Him!! There was never an earthly prince or king whom I have heard of in whose statute book it was written, "You shall love the king." No. It is only in the Statute Book of Him who is the Lord of Life and Love that we read such a command as this! To my mind it seems a very blessed privilege for us to be permitted to love One so great as God is. Here it is we find our Heaven! It is a command, but we regard it rather as a loving, tender invitation to the highest bliss—"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart"—that is, intensely. "And with all your soul"—that is, most sincerely, most lovingly. "And with all your might." With all your energy, with every faculty, with every possibility of your nature.
6. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart Oh, how blessed to have them written on the heart by the Holy Spirit! We can never get them there except He who made the heart anew shall engrave upon these fleshy tablets the Divine Precepts.
7. And you shall teach them diligently unto your children. Christian parent, have you done this? "You shall" not only teach them, but, "teach them diligently unto your children."
7. And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. Our common talk should be much more spiritual than it often is. There is no fear of degrading sacred subjects by the frequent use of them—the fear lies much the other way—lest by a disuse of them we come to forget them. This blessed Book, the Holy Word of God, is a fit companion for your leisure as well as for your labor, for the time of your sleeping and the time of your waking. It will bless you in your private meditations and equally cheer the social hearth and comfort you when, in mutual friendship, you speak, the one with the other. Those who truly love God greatly love His holy Word.
8. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand. They shall be your practical guide, at your fingertips, as it were.
8. And they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall see by them, you shall see with them, you shall see through them.
9. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house and on your gates. I could almost wish that this were literally fulfilled much more often than it is. I was charmed, in many a Swiss village, to see a text of Scripture carved on the doorpost. A text hung up in your houses may often speak when you are silent. We cannot do anything that shall be superfluous in the way of making known the Word of God.
10-12. Andit shall be, when the LORD your Godshallhave brought you into the land which He swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you great and goodly cities, which you built not, and houses full of all good things, which you filled not, and wells dug, which you dug not, vineyards and olive trees, which you planted not; when you shall have eaten and are full; then beware lest you forget the LORD, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Bread eaten is soon forgotten. How often we act like dogs that will take the bones from our hand and then forget the hand that gave them! It should not be so with us. All our spiritual mercies and many of our temporal ones are very much like the inheritance of Israel in the land of Canaan—wells that they did not dig, and vineyards which they did not plant. Our blessings come from sources that are beyond our own industry and skill. They are the fruits of the holy inventiveness of God and the splendor and fullness of His thoughtfulness towards His poor children. Let us not forget Him, since evidently He never forgets us!
13-15. You shall fear the LORD your God, and serve Him, and shall swear by His name. You shall not go after other gods, ofthe gods ofthepeople which are round about you, (for the LORDyour Godis ajealous God among you), lest the anger ofthe Lord your God be kindled against you, and destroy you from off the face ofthe earth. Our God is a jealous God. One said to a Puritan, "Why be so precise?" and he replied, "Because I serve a precise God." God has done so much for us, in order to win our hearts, that He ought to have them altogether for Himself. When He has them all, it is all too little—but to divide our heart is to grieve His Spirit and sorely to vex Him.
16-24. You shall not tempt the LORD your God, as you tempted Him in Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments ofthe LORD your God, andHis testimonies, andHis statutes, which He has commanded you. Andyou shall do that which is right and good in the sight ofthe LORD: that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore unto your fathers, to cast out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken. And when your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God has commanded you? Then you shall say unto your son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: and the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: and He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as itis at this day. Oh, Friends, it will be well when our boys and girls ask us questions like this and when we can give such answers! The great lack of the age in which we live is obedience to God. "Modern thought" has flung off obedience to Divine Revelation—and even in matters relating to social morality, many men reject all idea of anything being commanded of God—they only judge by what appears to them to be either pleasurable or profitable. What is most needed just now is that we, ourselves, and those about us become really conscious of the greatness and Sovereignty of God—and yield ourselves to Him to do as He bids us, when He bids us, where He bids us—and in all things to seek to follow His commandments that He may "preserve us alive, as it is at this day."
25. Andit shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us. That would have been Israel's righteousness if the people had observed to do all these commandments before the Lord. But it was marred and spoiled by disobedience. We rejoice to know that we who believe in Jesus have a righteousness unto which Israel did not attain, for the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, is our righteousness!
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