« PreviousContinue »
3. Let us stand in awe, and sin not ; for the whole chapter as. sures us, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Mr. HENRY relates an account of a wicked man, who, upon reading the threatenings in this chapter, was so enraged, that he tore the leaf out of his bible. But to what purpose is it to deface the copy, while the original remains upon record in the divine council ? By that it is unalterably determined, that the wages of sin is death, whether we hear, or whether we forbear. When we hear these words, justly may our flesh tremble for fear of God's righteous judgments. May we be thankful that the miseries here threatened have not fallen to the lot of our own country. May we also dread the curse of God, that follows wicked men wherever they go, that mixes with all their enjoyments, imbitters all their comforts, and obscures all their hopes. What various terrible judgments has God in store for the wicked ! Divers arrows are in his quiver ; but the worst of all is, that astonishment, that sorrow of mind, a guilty conscience, a trembling heart, which he here declares will reach the sinner every where, Alas! whose heart can endure, whose hand be strong, in that day ? May we be careful then, not to provoke the Lord to anger. Oh that we might this day, kiss the Son, lest he be angry! Oh that these curses of the law may now be as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ ! that being justified by him, we may be delivered from the curses of the law, have peace and security, and maintain his friendship ; for happy is the man that is in such a case, yea, happy the people whose God is the Lord.
We have here the renewal of the covenant between God and Israel ;
the persons who were to enter into it ; and the terrible consequena ces of breaking it.
HESE [are] the words of the covenant, which the
LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. Moses was just about to die, and Israel to enter into Canaan ; therefore, to secure their obedience, he enters them into another covenant, of the same nature, but something different from the former. The greater part of
them were a new generation, and therefore it was fit the cover 2 nant should be renewed. And Moses called unto all Israel,
and said unto them, Ye have seen all the wonderful works that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto
Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land, 3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the triata
God had made whether Israel would serve him or not, the signs, 4 and those great miracles : Yet the LORD hath not given you
an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear unto this day ; though you have seen those things, yet you have not duly considered and improved them. God would have given you
grace to do this but you were not disposed to observe and learn : 5 it is a just punishment for your sin. And I have led you forty
years in the wilderness : your clothes are not waxen old upon
you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot, they are the 6 same you put on when ye came out of Egypt. Ye have not
eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink, but have had manna from heaven, and water from the rock, without
your own care and labour : that ye might know that I [am] y the LORD your God. And when ye came unto this place,
Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came 8 out against us unto battle, and we smote them : And we took
their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites,
and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. In this 9 you see the power, faithfulness, and goodness of God ; Keep
therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye
may prosper in all that ye do. 10 Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God, to enter into covenant with him, your captains of your
tribes, your 11 elders, and your officers, [with] all the men of Israel, Your
little ones,* your wives, and thy stranger that [is] in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood, unto the drawer of thy water ; all that came out of Egypt with thee, ( Exodus xii. 38.)
and such as have since joined themselves to the congregation, 12 (Josh. ix. 21. 27.) That thou shouldst enter into covenant
with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, the covenant con
formed with an oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee 13 this day : That he may establish thee today for a people unto
himself, and [that] he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob ; that he may confirm thy 14 privileges, and abundantly bless thee. Neither with you only 15 do I make this covenant and this oath ; But with [him) that
standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with [him] that [is] not here with us this day, with all
who are necessarily absent, with all your posterity, and with 16 all who may hereafter join themselves to you : (For ye
how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt ; and how we came
through the nations which ye passed by, what difficulties we 17 encountered there ; And ye have seen their abominations and
their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which (were] among them; ye have seen how unable these were to help them,
These were capable of being taken into the covenant, and admitted with their par rents ; so it is under the New Testament, as well as the Qld.
and how some of us have been remarkably punished for being led
away by them ; we have need therefore to be cautious, and bind 18 ourselves firmly to Jehovah :) Lest there should be among
you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go [and] serve
the gods of these nations ; lest there should be among you a 19 root that beareth gall and wormwood ;* And it come to
pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, I shall be prosperous, let me worship what god I will, though I walk in the imagination, or stubbornness, of mine heart, to
add drunkenness to thirst, that is, one sin to another. Yet, 20 whatever he may think or say, The LORD will not spare him :
but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, the highest degree of anger, the just displeasure of incensed majesty, shall break forth with fury and terror against him, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, not only fall, but continue upon him ; and
the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven, neither 21 he nor his children shall be known any more.
And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, ac, cording to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law ; if there is but one such sinner in a tribe, God will find him out, separate him and make him a public exam. ple ; he shall be marked out for misery, according to all the dread, ful curses of this book ; and if this root of bitterness spreads
through the nation, it will bring destruction upon them all. 32 So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise
after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the 23 sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it ; [And that]
the whole land thereof [is] brimstone and salt, [and] burning, become barren and desolate, like Sodom of old, [that] it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim,
which the LORD overthrew in his anger and in his wrath : 1 24 Even all nations shall say, neighbours, travellers, succeeding
generations, shall inquire, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus
unto this good, this fruitful, populous, and holy land ? what 25 (meaneth) the heat of this great anger ? Then men shall say,
the pious Jews who remain, and others, shall reply, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their
These words have a reference to v.15. The covenant was made with all persons, lest there should be any, who, concealing themselves like a rqot under ground, should spring up and poison others, like some baneful herb among corn, and thus draw them to idolatry, which is displeasing to God, and will prove bitterness in the end.
† Some refer these words to the revellings and debauchery that attended their idol feasts.
# This was true of Judea, when laid waste by Titus and Adrian.
fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth 26 out of the land of Egypt : For they went and served other
gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and
(whom] he had not given unto them, or, who had not given to 27 them any portion, could not help, save, nor prosper them : And
the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring 28 upon it all the curses that are written in this book And the
LORD rooted them out of their land in anger and in wrath and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as [it is] this day.* It would be natural for men to ask, when these curses should be executed, Why the Jews should be punished worse than other nations, and what shall become of them after
ward ? And Moses, to silence all vain curiosity, and check every 29 impertinent inquiry, adds, The secret [things belong] unto the
LORD our God : but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that (we) may do all the words of this law : God will not give account of these matters ; our duty is clearly revealed ; let us attend to that ; mind the word of the Lord, and not trouble ourselves about times and seasons, which God hath reserved in his own power.
1. E learn hence, that it is the duty of all to enter into.
God's covenant, to keep the words of it, and do them, if they desire prosperity and a blessing. All Israel is required to do so, judges, officers, particular families, with their wives and children. The christian dispensation is a covenant of grace and mercy ; Jehovah, our God, proposes certain terms, and requires that we consent to them, and that we do it reverently and fervently. And since God condescends to admit his children into cove. nant, it behoves them to be faithful to it. Our general profession of christianity is an obligation upon us; more especially the Lord's supper. We are obliged in gratitude, considering what God hath done for us. Our interest also depends upon it, and faithfulness requires it. Let us then duly consider the honourable relation in which we stand, and the innumerable obligations laid upon us, as the strongest reasons why we should be faithful in God's covenant. May we frequently recognize it, review our engagements, and refresh our minds with the memory of them.
2. Those who expect peace and security in a wicked way, sadly deceive themselves. There is not a more awful threatene ing against presumptuous sinners in the whole book of God, than that in v:20, 21. The Lord will not share him : but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law. Too many are ready to promise themselves peace ; they think God is such an one as themselves ; that he is too merciful to punish ; but they will find themselves mistaken. They will flatter themselves in their own eyes, but God will reprove them. He has peculiar punishments for those who live in iniquity, or neglect their known duty, while they satisfy themselves with such excuses. God can distinguish such presumptuous sinners as they are ; though there should be but one in a nation, he will find him out, and make his punishment remarkable. Let drunkards, especially, take warning ; if they think to escape divine wrath, they deceive themselves. Let us, therefore, stand in awe, and sin not ; be careful to guard against the snares of evil company, lest others seduce us, corrupt our morals, or poison our minds. So the
* This was remarkably accomplished, Jews themselves owned that God fought against them : Titus himself also owned this, and acknowledged, that without it he never could have taken Jerusalem. The chapter concludes with a very remarkable passage.
apostle exhorts, Heb. xii. 15. where there is an evident allusion to this passage ; looking diligently lest any one fail of the grace of God ; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
3. Let us attend to the plain intimations of the divine will, and not be solicitous about secret things, by inquiring into futurity, or what shall hereafter happen ; to know our fortune as it is called ; which is very foolish and ridiculous, as well as affronting to God. It is unprofitable for us to spend our zeal about those things which are above our comprehension, even in the word of God. But too many talk of mysteries, and contend for them, while they acknowledge they are above their comprehension, who yet neglect the plain rules of duty. God hath given us a law to walk by ; every thing in it is of great importance, is plain and clear. Let us then take heed to them; and instead of busying ourselves about those things in which we can never gain an absolute certainty, let us mind the words of the Lord, and do them ; and thus, as it is said, v. 9. we shall prosper in all that we do.
Terrible threatenings are recorded in the last chapter ; in this, mer
cy is promised to the penitent ; death and life are set before the people. .1 ND it shall come to pass, when all these things are
have set before thee, and thou shalt call [them] to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driv