Sermon 2511. 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 testimoniesand statutes and judgments of the Lord. When they asked the meaning of the various ordinances of God's House, their parentswere 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 weshall never forget that the first duty towards the child belongs to the parent. Fathers and mothers are the most natural agentsfor God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever had such an impressionupon my mind as the instruction of my mother-neither can I conceive that to any child there can be one who will have suchinfluence 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 intime to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God has commandedyou? Then you shall say unto your son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mightyhand." 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 mercyupon you. Tell him how He met with you, how you were brought to seek His face, how you were born again, how you received anew 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 youtold 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 hasspent many years in foolish vanities-and he may even then turn to God, beckoned back to the great Father's House above bythe 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 meaningof our text, "He brought us out. . .that He might bring us in." We shall have three heads to our discourse. First, we werebrought out. As surely as Israel was brought out of Egypt, we who believe in Jesus have been brought out of the house of ourbondage! Therefore, secondly, we are out. And thirdly, the Lord who brought us out will bring us into another and a bettercountry-into "Your land, O Immanuel"-into that place of rest and everlasting jubilee which God by Covenant has given overto 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 testimonythat 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 thethings here below are too little and too commonplace for God to consider, but it has not been so with us, for He has dealtwell 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 whenwe begin to talk of God-they are "agnostics"-know-nothings. Perhaps they will not say that there is no God, but they dosaythat they do not know whether there is a God or not! And, as to any communication between the Holy One of Israel and suchpoor creatures as we are, they will not believe it to be possible. Well, then, we have to bear our testimony upon this pointand 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 memoriesof our youth-God had solemn dealings. We were in the land of darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death. We were fondof 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, havingloved us with an everlasting love, and having made a Covenant with His only-begotten Son on our behalf, tore the heavens andin 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 ourselvessaw Him not and beheld no similitude-neither heard we any voice with our outward ear. But, though it was spiritual, God'scoming 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 pastmemory, that we must be, indeed, besotted beyond all conception! But it has not been a dream to us, for it has changed ourwhole 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-thoughit 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! Itis 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 bestand highest and most practical of facts! It is not a dream that God has dealt with us and, though we cannot expect men tobelieve us, we feel sure that, had they known what we know, they would have been as little doubtful about it as we are. Hadthey passed through the experience we have had, they would have been as dogmatic in their assertion about it as we take leaveto be.
Though we may be thought fools for this confidence, we think we are not fools. In other matters we are at least the equalsof 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 havetwo 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 anykind of fear or shame, or any alarm about being thought fools for it, and we say that God has dealt with our spirits. Ourspirit has spoken to His Spirit, and His Spirit has spoken to our spirit, and there have been Divine communications to usfrom the great God who made us, who, we assert, has new-made us and brought us out of our former condition into another anda 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 landbrought forth plentifully, Israel was like sheep in clover and, like a bullock that loves deep pasture, had no desire to comeout from the fat Delta of the Nile. Israel prospered, Israel was great. Was not Joseph at the head of the State? And evenafter 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 thefirst thing to be done, in preparation for the people's emancipation, was to make them loathe Egypt. So there arises a newking that knows not Joseph, a king who considers that the existence of a foreign people in the midst of his nation is a sourceof 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 ofthis, 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?" hewould have answered," Certainly! Everything prospers with us-we cannot do better than be here." But afterwards, if you hadmet him and put to him the same question, he would have said, "Wish to stay in Egypt? Not I! Would God I could escape fromthe taskmaster! It is cruelty from morning to night and a toil that is terrible. And I have heard"-and the strong man wouldstand and weep as he told the story-"I have heard that now there is an edict issued that our male children shall be cast intothe river, so that, if we have a son born into our house, it will be, indeed, an unbearable sorrow, for our children mustbe destroyed by the tyrant." It was a great step towards the accomplishment of God's eternal purpose when He made Israel tofeel 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, sinfulstate-is a state of bondage. Look at the multitude of our fellow men-they have no wish to enter into any other state, theyare 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 thatmock 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 thanabout the Last Dread Assize when the Judge of All shall sit upon the Great White Throne! No, if they do not believe themselvesto 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 isso 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 ourchoice, 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 weremore 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 andto 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 bethe 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 uponthe Egyptians as being a very happy people, like themselves. They were, for a time, birds of a feather. But now they see allEgypt made the target for Jehovah's thunderbolts! At one time, all is darkness. At another time, the very air is filled withlice and flies. One day the frogs come up everywhere, even into the king's chambers. At another hour, boils and sores areon man and beast and, at the appointed period, there comes a shower of fire and the fire is mingled with hail! And the fireruns along the ground and terrific claps of thunder come, peal upon peal, one after the other, and Israel thinks, "This isa 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 beEgyptians! 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 haveseen men as others do not see them-with the leprosy of sin white upon their brow! We have seen them with the fever of lustwhich nothing could abate. We have seen them droop and die and, with our eyes open, we have seen them pass into that regionwhich is divided forever from all hope by a great gulf, so that they that would pass from us to them cannot, neither can theycome 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 thiscity 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 anyrate, they are such dreams as I have had when I am most awake-such dreams as some here present have had, and such dreams ashave made us anxious to get away from this present evil world which lies in the Wicked One, that we may not be destroyed withit 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 theywished to get away from Pharaoh, they could not, for he held them as his slaves. But in due time God began to deal with Pharaohand, at last, when He had killed the first-born in all the land, and the chief of all the strength of Egypt, they could nothold in captivity a single Israelite, no, not even a cow or a sheep or a goat that belonged to Israel! The power of Egyptwas 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 weepingand wondering, and all of a sudden, as we believed in Jesus, we learned the meaning of the angel's message to Joseph, "Youshall call His name, JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins." And then and there He saved us from our sins! Theguilt of sin was gone but, what was stranger, still, the power of sin was gone, too. We had proven the truth of the Apostle'swords, "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 waterwith the blood delivered us from the guilt and power of sin and we were free, strangely free! We wondered how it was thatwe had not the desires and passions and inclinations that we used to have, or, if they came, we had a new life and power withwhich we fought with them hand to hand. We welcomed them no more as friends, but we spurned them as our worst foes, for Godhad delivered us from the great bondage we were under! Sin is a thing abhorred and detested by us and our spirit has comeclean 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 thatHe did it. That was the final blow that fell when the Israelites had slain the paschal lamb and sprinkled its blood upon thelintel and the two side posts of their houses. When Jehovah saw the blood, then He passed over them in such a wondrous waythat they, also, passed over the Egyptians and marched out of the land more than conquerors through Him that had bled forthem 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 ofhis deliverance, but, as I told you the other morning, of Richard Knill, who said, "At such a time of the day, clang wentevery 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 Godfor 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 ourold sins. The Israelites went up harnessed, marching in their ranks and, I doubt not, singing as they went because they weredelivered from the daily task and from the cruel bondage. But suddenly they turned their heads while they were marching, forthey heard a dreadful noise behind them, a noise of chariots and of men shouting for battle! And, at last, when they couldreally see the Egyptians and the thick cloud of dust rising behind them, then they feared that they would be destroyed, theyshould 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 lustshall be satisfied upon them! I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them." So Satan, loath to leave a soul, pursuesit quickly. He will have it back if he can. And often, soon after conversion, there comes a time of dreadful conflict-whenthe soul seems as if it could not live. "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that the Lord brought us into this conditionof 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 wentforth with the women, and answered them in the jubilant song, "Sing you to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; thehorse 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 depthshave covered them." "There remained not so much as one of them." What gladness must have been in the hearts of the childrenof Israel when they knew that their enemies were all gone! I am sure it was so with me, for after my conversion, being againattacked by sin, I saw the mighty stream of redeeming love roll over all my sins and this was my song, "The depths have coveredthem!" "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christthat 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 oursecond 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 backagain of our own free will. ' 'Oh," says one, "that is strong teaching." I do not care whether it is strong or weak, it isBible teaching! Our Lord Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternallife; 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 HolySpirit is no temporary regeneration, but one that really makes the man new forever-and the devil, himself, cannot undo thework! 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. Shesaid she had been regenerated six times! Now, I have heard and read in the Bible of people being born again, but to be bornagain, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again is not what I have read anywhere in the Scriptures, or, if sucha 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. "Forthe earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receivesblessing 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 fitfor the land nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out." You cannot imagine that a person can be regenerated twice! Ifthe work of regeneration is accomplished once, and it does not save the soul, then there is no salvation for it! That is allGod ever will do and, therefore, do I bless and glorify His name that there never was and never shall be an instance in whichHe has made a man a new creature in Christ Jesus-and then the work of Grace has failed! There are plenty who come near tothis point and who seem, sometimes, to have really reached it-but rest assured of this, Beloved, if the Lord has brought youforth out of this captivity, none shall ever undo what God has done! We are out. We are out.''He that believes and is baptizedshall 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 thefullest sense, to any country or to any people, but we belong to God-we are separate from all people upon the face of theearth! 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 youcannot make anything of a Christian but a Christian. Put him where you may, he is still a Christian. Whatever sphere of sociallife he occupies, or in whatever country he dwells, he is always a Christian. I was never ashamed of being an Englishman exceptwhen I have seen an Englishman behaving wrongly towards other people. Then I have felt as if I would be a Frenchman, or anythingelse! But I would be a Christian, first of all, and above all! When I am a Christian, I know no nationality. We are cosmopolites-inhabitantsof every place, wherever we may be-if we are inhabitants of the holy city which is above. Our citizenship is in Heaven. Thereforewe are separated from all the rest of mankind. The world knows us not because it knew not our Lord. May God separate us moreand 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 Christiansought to live. You are not to depend, now, upon the world-you are to depend upon God for everything- for your bread and foryour water, and for all your needs. The whole of your life is to be in Him-not only that which is spiritual, but even thatwhich 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 yourlife is hid with Christ in God. The Lord said, even by the mouth of Balaam, "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not bereckoned 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 broughtus out of Egypt will bring us into Canaan. Our home is not here. Our feet are not fixed upon this narrow plot of earth-theyare 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 thismuch 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 alsofor what we are yet to be. If Israel had only been what she ought to have been, she would have been into Canaan almost assoon 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 thereis 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 thewilderness before the nation entered upon its heritage in the land of Canaan. And it is because you and I are so carnal andthere is so much of unbelief about us, that we go up and down, backwards and forwards, and do not fully enter into the possessionof the glorious privileges which are ours by Covenant right. Yet, even here, we who have believed enter into rest! We havea foretaste of Heaven, we have the first-fruits of the Spirit. We have tasted the grapes of Eshcol and we are longing to crossthe 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 betweenhere and Heaven as there lies behindus-between here and our fallen condition. Atonement has been made and that is the greatestwork of all! Sin has been put away, eternal life has come into these dead souls and merely to keep that flame alive, albeitit needs Divine Power, yet is a small thing compared with the putting of the Light of God within us and the redeeming us fromsin, 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 intoGlory, then the precious blood of Christ has been shed in vain and the Holy Spirit has operated upon our hearts in vain. IfGod 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-andthat 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 Jordanwe shall go with our Joshua, Jehovah-Jesus, at our head and we shall take our possession, everyone of us, in that gloriousland 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 Lordmake you to feel your bondage! The Lord make you to cry out in the bitterness of your soul! That is half-way towards gettingout-that feeling of loathing for your present state is half the battle of your coming out of Egypt! The Lord make you to cryand 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'sgarments, 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! Ifyou have but touched Him with the finger of faith, He has laid His eternal power under bond to save you and He must and willaccomplish the work, great as it is! God has laid help upon One who is mighty, and that mighty One shall never fail. Oh, thebliss 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 bepracticed-"which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them." And it is this doing of them that is thehard 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-butpractice 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 practicalpower in our lives-"that you might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments." And that practicalfear should lead us into obedience in detail. We ought so to study God's Word that we endeavor "to keep allHis statutes andHis commandments." A slipshod obedience is disobedience. We must be careful and watchful to know the Divine will and in allrespects to carry it out. You who are His children, dwelling in such a household, and with such a Father, it well becomesyou 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 therest of the verse also comes true-"you, and your son, and your son's son," our children and our children's children. I amsure that if we love God, we shall long that our children and our children's children may love Him, too. If your trade hassupported 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 DivineMaster 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 sparedin times of pestilence, or who are delivered by an act of faith out of great dangers. That ancient declaration of God oftencomes true in these later times, "As the days of a tree are the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the workof their hands." At any rate, you who love the Lord shall live out your days, whereas the wicked shall not live out half theirdays. You shall complete the circle of life, whether it is a great circle or a little one-with long life will God satisfyyou, and show you His salvation. The passage which now follows is held in very great esteem by the Jewish people even to thisday. 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, asthe LORD God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our Godisone LORD. There is but one God. This is the very basis of our faith-we know nothing of "gods many and lords many." Yet itis 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 thisshow what is the very Nature of God? God is Love, for He commands us to love Him!! There was never an earthly prince or kingwhom I have heard of in whose statute book it was written, "You shall love the king." No. It is only in the Statute Book ofHim 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 forus 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 ratheras 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 everyfaculty, 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 heartby the Holy Spirit! We can never get them there except He who made the heart anew shall engrave upon these fleshy tabletsthe Divine Precepts.
7. And you shall teach them diligently unto your children. Christian parent, have you done this? "You shall" not only teachthem, 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 riseup. Our common talk should be much more spiritual than it often is. There is no fear of degrading sacred subjects by the frequentuse of them-the fear lies much the other way-lest by a disuse of them we come to forget them. This blessed Book, the HolyWord of God, is a fit companion for your leisure as well as for your labor, for the time of your sleeping and the time ofyour waking. It will bless you in your private meditations and equally cheer the social hearth and comfort you when, in mutualfriendship, 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 throughthem.
9. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house and on your gates. I could almost wish that this were literally fulfilledmuch more often than it is. I was charmed, in many a Swiss village, to see a text of Scripture carved on the doorpost. A texthung up in your houses may often speak when you are silent. We cannot do anything that shall be superfluous in the way ofmaking 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, whichyou filled not, and wells dug, which you dug not, vineyards and olive trees, which you planted not; when you shall have eatenand 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 handthat gave them! It should not be so with us. All our spiritual mercies and many of our temporal ones are very much like theinheritance of Israel in the land of Canaan-wells that they did not dig, and vineyards which they did not plant. Our blessingscome from sources that are beyond our own industry and skill. They are the fruits of the holy inventiveness of God and thesplendor and fullness of His thoughtfulness towards His poor children. Let us not forget Him, since evidently He never forgetsus!
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, ofthegods ofthepeople which are round about you, (for the LORDyour Godis ajealous God among you), lest the anger ofthe Lord yourGod 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 togrieve 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 oftheLORD your God, andHis testimonies, andHis statutes, which He has commanded you. Andyou shall do that which is right and goodin 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 sworeunto your fathers, to cast out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken. And when your son asks you in timeto 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 theLORD 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 givesuch answers! The great lack of the age in which we live is obedience to God. "Modern thought" has flung off obedience toDivine Revelation-and even in matters relating to social morality, many men reject all idea of anything being commanded ofGod-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 todo 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 "preserveus 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 commandedus. That would have been Israel's righteousness if the people had observed to do all these commandments before the Lord. Butit was marred and spoiled by disobedience. We rejoice to know that we who believe in Jesus have a righteousness unto whichIsrael did not attain, for the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, is our righteousness!