Sermon 3335. The Divine Discipline
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 9, 1867.
"As am eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: sothe Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him." Deuteronomy 32:11,12.
MOSES in this Chapter is speaking concerning Israel in the wilderness. When the great host came out of Egypt, they were, throughthe debasing influences of slavery-which are not easily or quickly shaken off-not much better than a mere mob. They were notat all fitted to march at once to take possession of Canaan, nor to take part in the compacts of organized social life. ThereforeGod, instead of taking them by the short way along which they might have passed in a very few days, ordained it so in HisProvidence that they should wander about for 40 years in the wilderness-partly, it is true, as a punishment for their unbelief,but also in order that the nation might be trained and educated for its future destiny-made as fit as it could be, to be thecustodian of the oracles of the Truths of God and to be the receiver of the Revelation which God intended to give to men.
If you will read carefully over the history of the children of Israel in the wilderness, I think you will see that the practicaltraining which God adopted was-if they had been right-minded men-splendidly adapted to bring them to the very highest stateof spiritual life. In some respects it was weak through their flesh, but the method, itself, was superlatively excellent.Here was a people taken away from the multitude of gods which they had been known to see on every hand in Egypt and they weretaught to reverence an unseen God for whom they had no symbol whatever for some time. And afterwards, when symbolical worshipin some form was ordained, yet there was still so little of symbol that Moses could say, "They saw no similitude." They weretrained to worship a spiritualGod-in spirit and in truth. They never saw Him, but every morning they had the best testimoniesof His existence, for round about the camp lay the manna like hoarfrost, or dew, upon the ground! Their feet grew not weary,neither did their garments become old all those years, and thus about their very clothes on their bodies and before them ontheir tables, they had constant proofs of the great God existing and caring for the sons of men. The whole of their training,while it educated and developed their patience and their faith, had also the high purpose of teaching them gratitude and tobind them by the cords of love and the bands of a man to the service of God. It was not because the training was not wisein the highest degree, but because they were children that were corrupters and, like ourselves, an evil and stiff-necked generation,that they did not learn even when God, Himself, became their Teacher.
Now in drawing a parallel between the children of Israel and ourselves, we shall invite you to notice, first, in the text-theDivine Instructor,' 'the Lord alone did lead them." And then the method of instruction illustrated-they were trained as aneagle trains the eaglet for their flight. First, then, we have-
I. A DIVINE INSTRUCTOR.
The Israelites had for their Guide, Instructor and Tutor, in order to prepare them for Canaan, none other than Jehovah, Himself!He might employ Moses and Aaron and He did also make use of those marvelous picture books, if I may so call them, of sacrifice,type and metaphor, but still, God, Himself, was their Guide and their Instructor. And it is so with us. The Holy Spirit isthe teacher of the Christian Church. Although He uses this Book, of which we can never speak too highly. Although He stilluses the ministry of the Word, for which we are thankful as for a candlestick which we trust may never be taken out of itsplace, still, our true Teacher is God the Holy Spirit. He instructs us in the Truths of God and, meanwhile, it is also God,who, in the rulings and guiding of Providence, is our Instructor if we will but learn. He is
teaching us, sometimes by sweet mercies and at other times by bitter afflictions, instructing us from our cradles to our gravesif we will but open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the lessons which He writes and speaks. We, alas, are often as thehorse and as the mule which have no understanding-and will not be taught by the Providential teachings, but still we haveGod to be our Teacher-and it is none other than our heavenly Father who is daily training us for the skies. If we are, indeed,His children and can say, "Our Father, which are in Heaven," we may also go to Him as our Teacher, believing He will, notwithstandingall our folly, make us "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
The text speaks of "the Lord alone." Brothers and Sisters, it is well for us that in Providence we are led by "the Lord alone."There is an over-ruling hand after all, notwithstanding our follies and our willfulness, so that God's purposes are ultimatelyfulfilled. But I wish this were more true to our consciousness-that we are led by "the Lord alone." I mean that we waitedupon Him at every step of life. I am persuaded that the holiest of characters take more matters to God than you and I areaccustomed to do. I mean they not only consult Him, as we do, upon certain great and critical occasions, but those saintswho live nearest to Christ, go to Him about little matters, thinking nothing to be too trifling to speak into the ear of Christ.
Some things about which they will not even consult their kindest and wisest human friends will be matters of consultationbetween them and their Savior. Oh, what mistakes we would escape, what disasters we would avoid, if "the Lord alone" did guideus! And if we watched the signs of His hands in guiding us, if our eyes were to Him as the eyes of the handmaidens are totheir mistress, anxious to know the Lord's will and always saying to our own self-love, "Down, down, busy will! Down proudspirit! What would You have me do, my Master, for Your will shall be my will and my heart shall always give up its fondestwish when once I understand what Your will is concerning me." Beloved, I am afraid that some strange god is often with us,even with us who are the people of God! We are united to God and He will gladly teach us-and from Him, alone, should we learn!But oftentimes we harbor idolatrous thoughts in our heart. All selfishness is idolatry! All repining against the Providenceof God has in it the element of rebellion against the Most High! If I love my own will and if I desire my own way in preferenceto God's way, I have made a god of my own wisdom, or my own affection-and I have not been true in my loyalty to the only livingand true God, even Jehovah! Let us search, look and see if there is not some strange god with us. It may be hidden away, perhaps,and we may scarcely know it. It may be hidden, too, in that very part of us where our dearest affections dwell. Some Rachelmay be sitting in the tent on the camel furniture under which the false gods are concealed! Let us, therefore, make a thoroughsearch and then invite the Great King, Himself, to aid us. "Search me, O God, try me, and know my ways, and see if there isany wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
The great Truth of God which I want to bring forward, if I can, is this-that God in His Providence and in Grace, as far aswe have been made willing to learn of Him, is educating us for something higher than this world! This world is the naturein which we dwell. Sometimes we who love the Lord mount up from it with wings as eagles, but we do not stay on the wing. Wedrop again-we cleave to earth. 'Tis our mother and it seems as though we can never rise permanently above our kinship to it.Very powerful is it in its attraction over us. Down we go again. We have not yet learned to keep up yonder where the atmosphereis clear and where the smoke of the world's cares will not reach us. But God is educating us for the skies! The meaning ofthese trials of ours, the interpretation of our sorrows is this-God is preparing us for another state, making us fit to dwellwith angels and archangels and the spirits of the just made perfect! If this earth were all, then, your teachers at school,or your tutors when you passed through college, might have sufficed. But this world is but the vestibule to the next and ifyou know, as well as man can teach you, how to play your part here with a view only to secular advancement, you are not yeteducated at all in the highest sense! God Himself must teach and train you, that you may be fit to sit among the princes ofthe royal blood before His Throne and to have communion with those celestial spirits who-
" With songs and choral symphonies Day without night circle His throne rejoicing."
God is teaching you! God alone can do it and He will do it-but take care that you put away all strange gods and give yourselvesup wholly to His guidance, submitting your will and your affections and all parts of your spirit and nature to His teachingso that you may be found fully ready when He shall say, "Come up here to dwell with Me forever." Now, passing from that, weshall notice very briefly, indeed-
II. THE METHODS OF THE DIVINE INSTRUCTION.
These methods of Divine instruction are given to us under the very poetical picture of the eagle training its young ones forflight. God, to accommodate Himself to our poor understandings, sometimes compares Himself to a father with children. At othertimes to a mother with her little ones. Sometimes even to an animal. In this case, even to a bird of prey, so that we maybut learn no depths of condescension are too great for the Great Teacher! He compares Himself here, then, to the eagle. Isuppose that Moses was well acquainted with the eagle's natural habits. He describes it, first of all, as stirring up itsnest, as though the young birds were unwilling to stir from their pleasant home. Having from the time of their birth beenquiet and happy there, they had no anxiety whatever to try the blue unfathomable oceans of the air! They had no wish to leavethe rocky refuge where they had been reared. They feared, perhaps, lest they might fall over the precipices and be dashedin pieces. Therefore is it said, "The eagle stirs up her nest." She makes it uncomfortable for the little ones so that theymay be willing to leave it. And that which would have been obnoxious and burdensome to them, they may come even to desire,namely, to be out of the nest! Someone has quaintly said that the eagle puts thorns into the nest which prick the fledglingsso that they are anxious to get away!
Certain it is that God does thus with those He would train for the skies. He stirs up their nest. Cannot some of you recollecttimes when your nests were stirred by Providential dealings while you were in sin? All things went well with you for a season,but you forgot God. And His Son, Jesus, had no attractions for you. But suddenly the child sickened or the wife was smittenwith death, or trade separated from you, or you, yourselves, were ill, or there was a famine in the land. Then it was, whenyou were in need, your nest being thoroughly stirred up, that you said, "I will arise and go unto my Father." The land ofGoshen was like a nest to the Israelites. They had no desire to come out of it, but God stirred them up by means of Pharaoh,who kept them in heavy bondage, put them to making bricks and then to making bricks without straw. And then he slew theirmale children. In all sorts of ways they were made to cry out under the bitter yoke. We know that they loved that nest, forthey often longed to be back in it. They talked of the leeks, the garlic, the onions and the cucumbers which they did eatwhen they were in Egypt, so that the nest seems to have been a tolerably downy one to them at one time! But God so stirredit up that they longed to be away-and even the howling wilderness seemed a paradise compared with the house of bondage. Sowas it with you! You found that the world was not what it seemed to be. Troubles increased, Providential afflictions trodon each other's heels and then you turned to your God and remembered your sins. And so He stirred up your nest by inward troubleunder conviction of sin. I know my soul's nest was once very soft. I thought I had done no great evil, that I had kept God'sCommandments from my youth up. But when conviction of sin came, then I discovered my heart to be deceitful above all thingsand desperately wicked! Then my sins, like so many daggers, were at my heart, My soul was torn in two-I could say with graciousGeorge Herbert-
"My thoughts are all a case of knives, Wounding my heart"
There was no rest, no peace, no joy, no comfort to be found. Well, that was God stirring up the nest! If there are any ofyou in that condition now-uneasy and troubled about sin, I am glad of it! Your nest is being stirred and God grant that youmay fly from it and never come back to that nest again!
If all had gone smoothly with you. If sin had always been a sweet morsel to your tongue, we might despair of your ever beingsaved. But now you feel the smart of it, I trust it is, in order that you may be delivered from the guilt of it and led tofind a Savior! Well, since that, dear Friends, how many times we have had our nests stirred up! I do not know your history,but you do, and I ask you now to look it over. Oh, you planned, and planned, and planned, and said, "Now I shall live in thishouse for the next 20 or 30 years, I shall live here, certainly, as long as I live anywhere." And now you find yourselves,perhaps, 50 or a 100 miles from it. You were in the service of a certain kind man and you felt very happy in it, but the firmhas broken up and where are you now? There is that dear child you have set your heart upon. You have said, "What a mercy itwill be to see him growing up! What a comfort he will be to me!" He is not a comfort to you, but just the very reverse, forhe is your greatest sorrow! It is God stirring up your nest. Whereas a fear years ago you were in good, sound health, nowthe eyes begin to fail, or the ears are giving way, or there is some internal complaint, or some constant pain. Whereas yearsago you were a master, you are now a servant-whereas years ago everybody looked up to you, now everybody looks down upon you!It is all the stirring up of the nest because you have no abiding city here- because you were too prone to say, "My mountainstands firm. I shall never be moved!" Therefore God has stirred up your nest and He will do it yet again and again! Betweennow and Heaven how many times will the nest of ours be stirred? Oh, blessed be God for it! "Moab is settled upon his lees:he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel"-and then comes a curse upon him! Sometimes these long periods of prosperity,rest and ease are very unhealthy for us poor unworthy and sinful beings. If we were more like Jesus. If we were more pureand heavenly, we could bear prosperity, but because we are so sinful, I question if any of us can bear it long. If the Mastershall give some of us outward prosperity, He will have to whip us behind the door in private to keep us right! We must havesome thorn in the flesh, some secret grief-there must be some skeleton in the cupboard, some specter in some chamber of thehouse, or else we shall say, "Soul, take your ease, you have much goods laid up for many years"-and when we do this, we shallbe modern fools like the great fool of old! But the gracious Lord will not let His people get into that state. Again and again,and yet again, against their wishes, and contrary to their expectations, He will stir their nest and they shall cry out againstit. But if they did but only know the meaning of it, or could read the whole of it in the light of eternity, they would blessthe hand which tears away their comforts, seeing Divine Wisdom and Infinite Affection in it all! That, then, is the firstthing- God instructs His people to mount aloft by stirring up their nests.
The next picture is the eagle fluttering over her young. What is that for? She wants them to mount, my Brothers and Sisters!Well, then, in order to teach them to mount, she first mounts, herself-"she flutters over her young." She moves her wingsto teach them that thus they must move their wings, that thus they must mount! There is no teaching like teaching by example.We always learn a great deal more through our eyes and ears than we do merely through our ears. Those of us who cannot preachwith our mouths would do well to preach with our lives-which is the very best kind of preaching. So God preaches to us. IfHe would have us holy, how holy He is Himself! "Be you holy for I am holy." Would He have us generous? How generous is He!"He spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all." Would He have us forgive our enemies? How He delightsin mercy, Himself! If we need a picture of perfection, where can we get it but in God? "Be you perfect even as your Fatherwhich is in Heaven is perfect." God shows us His law in His holy actions, He being, Himself, the very mirror and paragon ofeverything that is absolutely pure and right. Above all, the Lord has been pleased to set us an example of mounting abovethe world in the Person and life of His own dear Son! Oh, how the eagle flutters when I look upon the Savior!-
"Such was Your truth and such Your zeal, Such deference to Your Father's will, Such love and meekness so Divine I would transcribeand make them mine! Cold mountains and the midnight air Witnessed the fervor of Your prayer- The desert Your temptations knew,Your conflict and Your victory, too. Be You my Pattern-make me bear-More of Your gracious Image here! Then God the Judge shallown my name Among the followers of the Lamb." Beloved, see how our Lord Jesus this day mounts to Heaven! There He is-He hasgone there that our hearts may follow Him! He fluttered to the skies that we might also follow and might rise above the world,setting our affections no longer upon the things of earth, but upon things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God!What way could there be of teaching us tenderness like the tenderness of the Savior? What method of teaching us love likethe display of the love of God in Christ Jesus? Brothers and Sisters, I commend you to the picture of the eagle flutteringand thus setting an example to its little ones. You may also see before your eyes the great Incarnate God teaching you howto mount above the trials and temptations of this mortal life and living, even on earth, a celestial life!
This, however, is not all the eagle does. We read in our text that she then spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears themon her wings. I suppose this means just this, that spreading her wings she entices her young ones to get between her wingsupon her back and then she mounts and flies towards the sun. It may be fable or not, I do not know, that she flies towardsthe sun to teach her eaglets to bear its blaze. Then, when she has mounted to a good height, she suddenly shifts her wingsand throws the young eaglets off-and there they are on their own wings! They begin to descend to
earth, not able to keep themselves up, but compelled to fly-but before they fall on the rocks, she makes a swoop and comesunder them and catches them on her wings again, gives them a little rest, bears them up once more, and then throws them offagain, so that they must fly. But she takes care that these early trials, for which they are scarcely able, shall not endin their destruction, for again she makes another swoop and catches them between her wings once again.
This is the picture of what God does to us again. We must speak of Him after the metaphor which He, Himself, uses-He takesus up between those mighty wings and bears us as high as we dare go-and only pauses because He knows we cannot now bear more.Then, when we have had full fellowship and looked the sun in the face, and have had bright enjoyment of Heaven, as far aswe could bear, He suddenly throws us off and makes us try our own wings, and alas, they are very feeble and weak, indeed.We then discover our own impotence and we think we shall fall like stars and be dashed in pieces! But lo, He comes and underneathus are the everlasting wings-and just when we thought we should surely come to destruction, we find ourselves safely shelteredbetween the mighty pinions of the Eternal God! Up, again, we mount, and before long we are thrown off again-cast away, asit were, for a time. His face is hidden from us, or else by some outward trial of Providence we are made to try our wingsagain to see whether our faith will keep us up! And by degrees it comes to pass that we learn to fly till we love flying andare not satisfied to come back to earth anymore! We are loving to fly and often sighing and longing for the day when we shallbe permitted to-
"Stretch our wings and fly Straight to yonder worlds ofjoy! Do you not sometimes feel as if your wing feathers were come,my Brothers and Sisters? Surely you must sometimes feel as though your faith were growing stronger and your communion withChrist getting clearer-as though you anticipated and felt that the time must be drawing near when you could mount to dwellwhere Jesus is! I am thankful if such is your experience, but I should not wonder if you find that all the wing feathers whichyou have got will be all too few for you, for you may yet be made to have another descent from between the almighty wingsand be made once again to see how great your weakness is. One other thought, however, occurs to us. There is no doubt thatthe idea of security as well as of teaching is here because when the eagle bears her young ones on her wings, if the archer,or in these modern days the hunter with his rifle should seek to destroy the eaglets, it is plain there is no reaching themwithout first killing the mother bird. So there is no destroying possible to the true people of God. "Greater is He that isfor us, than all that can be against us." God puts Himself between His people and the danger which threatens them-and unlessthe foe should be mightier than God, Himself-which is inconceivable, there is no soul that trusts in Him which shall knoweternal hurt!
Oh, how glorious a thing it is to feel, when the light air is all around me and I know that if I fall I would perish, thatyet I cannot fall, for God' s wings bear me up! And to feel that though there are hosts of enemies able to destroy me if theycan get at me, yet they cannot, for they must first get through God, Himself, before they can get to the weak soul who hangsupon Jesus and rests alone in Him! Well did David say, "In the time of trouble He will hide me in His pavilion: in the secretof His tabernacle shall He hide me: He shall set me up upon a rock." You know the threefold figure. The "pavilion" stood inthe middle of the camp and all the armed men kept watch around the royal tent. There was no slaying the man who was hiddenin the royal pavilion unless the king, himself, were destroyed! And unless Divine Sovereignty is overthrown, not one of theelect can perish! Then, again, there was "the secret of the tabernacle." That was the Most Holy Place into which no one enteredbut the high priest once a year! And there God said He would put His child, so that they must first break through and darethe very Shekinah and come before the brightness, the destroying brightness, of Jehovah' s face, before they can reach thesoul that trusts in the Mercy Seat on which the blood was sprinkled! Then there is the third figure-"He shall set me up upona rock"-so that the rock, itself, must shake-the Immutability of God, itself, must cease to be and God's everlastingness mustdie before it shall be possible for a soul to perish that rests in Him! The eagle takes up the eaglets on her wings and bearsthem-and so in this way does God lead, train and guide us for the skies!
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I shall not detain you longer, except to say that if God is training you for the skies-oh, letyour hearts go up. Grovel not below-
"Go up, go up, my Heart, Dwell with your God above! For here you cannot rest,
Nor here give out your love Go up, go up, my Heart, Be not a trifler here- Ascend above these clouds, Dwell in a higher sphere!Let not your love flow out To things so soiled and dim- Go up to Heaven and God, Take up your love to Him! Waste not yourprecious stores On creature love below- To God that wealth belongs, On Him that wealth bestow."
You are a stranger here. If you are God's child, then you are a citizen of another country! Are there any bands to bind youhere? I thought He had broken them. Have you never said-
"The bands that bind my soul to earth
Are broken by His hand-
Before His Cross I find myself
A stranger in the land." Are there loved ones to bind you here?-
"Your Best-Beloved keeps His Throne
On hills of light in worlds unknown." All the love you dare to give to all below, if you are true to Christ, can be as nothingcompared with the love which you give to Him! Do you not feel your soul now drawn towards Him? At least if you cannot flyon the wings of confidence, fly on the wings of desire! A sigh will mount to Him, or He will come down to it! Only be notfond of this world. Do not let this thick clay cleave to you. You are not earth-born now-you are born from above! This corruptibleworld must not claim you, for you are born-again of incorruptible seed! You are not this world's property. You are boughtwith a price by Him who prays for you that you may be with Him where He is and behold His Glory. I am ashamed of myself thatI who talk thus with you should so often grovel here. But this one thing I must say-I am never happy except when my soul isup with my Lord. I know enough of this to acknowledge that it is my misery to feed upon the ashes of this world, to lie amongthe pots, to serve the brick-kilns of this Egypt! There can be no peace between my soul and this world. Oh, I know this, forthis painted Jezebel has mocked me too often and she has become so ugly in my esteem that I cannot endure her! But yet-whatshall we say of our nature?-We go back again to the Marah, which was bitter for us to drink and try to drink from it again!And the broken cisterns which held no water before, we fly to again and again! Oh, for more wisdom! The Master has taughtus and He has been so long a time with us, but we have not known Him. Yet may He have patience with us until He has taughtus to mount above the world and dwell where He is!
Ah, dear Friends, there are some of you to whom I cannot talk in this fashion because you cannot mount. You have nowhere tomount to! Oh, may the Master stir up your nests! I pray that He may put the thorns of conscience into your pillows tonight.May you recollect those sins which God hates and which God will punish-and if you do remember them and feel bowed down undertheir weight-then remember that there is one who can help you and who willhelp you, even the Lord Jesus Christ! Look to Himin the hour of trouble and He will be your Deliverer! May the Lord bless these thoughts to all our souls for Jesus' sake.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: DEUTERONOMY 29:1-21.
Verse 1. These are the words of the Covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the landof Moab, besides the Covenant which He made with them in Horeb. That is the preamble, just as in legal documents there isusually some statement of the purport and intent of the indenture before the matter is proceeded
with. These Covenants with God are solemn things and, therefore, they are given in a formal manner to strike attention andcommand our serious thoughts.
2-4. And Moses called unto all Israel and said unto them, You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the landof Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs,and those great miracles: yet the LORD has not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto thisday.You saw all that and yet did not see it-you saw the external work, but the internal lesson you did not perceive. A verymournful statement to make, but God's servants are not sent to flatter man but to speak the truth- however painful the speakingof it may be.
5, 6. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes have not worn out upon you, and your shoe did not wearout upon your foot You have not eaten bread, neither have you drunk wine or strong drink: that you might know that I am theLORD your God. Either there had been means of frequent renewal of their garments, or else by a miracle these garments hadnever worn out! And the very shoes that they put upon their feet on the Passover night were still on their feet-if not thesame, yet still they were shod, though they trod the weary wilderness which well might have worn them till they were bare."You have not eaten bread, neither have you drunk wine or strong drink"-a nation of total abstainers for forty years! Therewas no bread in the wilderness for them and there was no wine. It may have been obtained as a great luxury, as it probablywas, for we have reason to believe that Nadab and Abihu were slain by fire before the Lord because they were drunk when theyoffered strange fire-but taking the whole people around, anything like wine had not crossed their lips for forty years, yetthere they were, strong and healthy! "That you may know that I am Jehovah your God."
7. And when you came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle,and we smote them.People not used to war, either, and feeble folk! Yet they smote the great kings and slew mighty kings, forthe Lord was with them!
8, 9. And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribeof Manasseh. Keep therefore the words of this Covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. This, then,was the Covenant made with the nation-that God would be their God and He would prosper them. As He had done, so would He do-Hewould be their protector, defender, strength and crown and joy.
10, 11. You stand this day, all of you, before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers,with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and your stranger that is in your camp, from the hewer of your woodunto the drawer of your water.This National Covenant embraced all the great men, the captains, the wise men, all that werein authority, "your elders, and your officers." It took in all their children, for it was a Covenant according to the flesh-andtheir children according to the flesh are included. "Your wives," too, for in this matter there was no sex. "The strangeralso." Here we poor Gentiles get a glimpse of comfort, even though from that old Covenant we seem to be shut out. "Your strangerthat is in your camp" is included. And the poorest and those that performed the most menial service were all to be made partakersof this Covenant, "from the hewer of your wood unto the drawer of your water."
12-15. That you should enter into Covenant with the LORD your God, and into His oath, which the LORD your God makes with youthis day: that He may establish you today for a people unto Himself, and that He may be unto you a God, as He has said untoyou, and as He has sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. Neither with you only do I make this Covenantand this oath; but with him that stands here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not herewith us this day. With the sick that were at home, with the generations that were not yet born, for this was intended to bea National Covenant in perpetuity to their children and their children's children to the end of time. Had they kept it sowould it have stood!
16, 17. (For you know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt and how we came through the nations which you passed by, andyou have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them). Now you have seenhow they worshipped idols. You have seen what you must avoid-you have beheld their folly that you may escape from it.
18. Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the LORD our God,to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood. For the worshipof false gods is the cause of untold mischief and evil-wherever it is found it is a root that bears gall and wormwood-andGod would not have it in a single individual, man nor woman, no, not in a single family or tribe!
19. And so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, I shallhave peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. For there were some who so hardenedthemselves against God that they said, "We shall have peace! Let us do what we like-let us worship these idol gods more andmore and more-let us add drunkenness and idolatry to our thirst."
20. The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all thecurses that are written in this book shall lie upon him. Not light upon him, but lie upon him-rest there and stay there!
20, 21. And the LORD shall blot out his name from under Heaven. And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribesof Israel. As a huntsman separates a stag from the herd that he may hunt it all day, so shall God with any idolater that shouldcome among His people with whom He made a Covenant that day. Oh, how God hates that anything should be worshipped by us butHimself! How indignant is He if anywhere, anything takes the supreme place in the human heart which ought to be occupied byGod alone!