World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
12. Lest when thou hast eaten and art full. He more fully explains what we have already observed, viz., that it might happen, in the gradual course of time, that they should fail in their fear of God and honor for His Law, and therefore should take the greater care lest continual peace and joy should bring this callousness upon them. We should diligently remark the cause of departure which he points out, viz., the pride whereby riches and abundance ordinarily puff up men’s minds. The examples of moderation in prosperity are rare; rather, as soon as men perceive themselves to be in a flourishing estate, they begin to swell with arrogance, and so admire their exaltation that they despise even God Himself. On this ground Paul charges
“the rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches.” (1 Timothy 6:17.)
We ought., indeed, the more kindly we are dealt with by God, to submit ourselves the more meekly to His rule; but, as I have said, the depravity of our nature hurries us quite the other way, so that we grow insolent under God’s indulgence, which should bend us to submission. And if this does not happen immediately, yet whenever prosperity flows on uninterruptedly, its delights gradually corrupt even the best of us, so that they at last degenerate from themselves. If, then, we desire to steer a straight course, we ought to strive after the healing of this most deadly disease of pride. Again, since by the wiles of Satan continued prosperity softens and ensnares us, let us learn to beware not only for a day, but to keep watch through the whole course of our lives. Moses wisely anticipates their pride by recalling to the Israelites’ recollection what was their original condition. For whence does it arise that those who seem to themselves and others to be happy in the world are puffed up with self-confidence and pride, except because they reflect not on their origin, but despise all but themselves, just as if they had come down from the clouds? For there are few like Codrus, who, after gaining a kingdom, always ingenuously confessed that his father had been a potter. God here presents a remedy to this vice, (which reigns too extensively,) by representing to the Israelites their former state, and commanding them to reflect that they were rescued from it by His especial blessing. Nothing but the recollection of their deliverance could tame their arrogance; for what could be more unreasonable than that they should be insolent who were formerly the slaves of a most haughty nation, and who had not acquired their liberty by their own efforts, but contrary to their hope and deserts had obtained it by God’s mere favor, who then had wandered in exile through the wilderness, and at length, under God’s guidance, had entered the land promised them? In a word, God deals with them just as if one should reproach a man (who, having become suddenly rich, bore himself intemperately) with his former beggary and want. Moreover, since they were too slow of heart to receive this admonition promptly and cheerfully, Moses enlarges on the Divine benefits which they had experienced in the wilderness. For this was incredible, that this mixed multitude of men, and women, and children, and slaves should have lived so many years, not only amongst wild beasts, but amongst scorpions and vipers, and all that is most venomous in the serpent tribe. God’s goodness shone forth, too, still more brightly in that sudden miracle whereby He supplied water to them in their thirst from what was before an and rock.265265 The following sentence is omitted in the French. But since he reminds them in the next verse how they had manna for their bread or food, I will join these two things together.