Moses calls Israel's mercies to remembrance. (1-9) The Divine
wrath on those who flatter themselves in their wickedness.
(10-21) The ruin of the Jewish nation. (22-28) Secret things
belong unto God. (29)
Both former mercies, and fresh mercies, should be thought
on by us as motives to obedience. The hearing ear, and seeing
eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that
have them, have them from him. God gives not only food and
raiment, but wealth and large possessions, to many to whom he
does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts, who have not hearts
to perceive the Giver, nor the true design and use of the gifts.
We are bound, in gratitude and interest, as well as in duty and
faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.
The national covenant made with Israel, not only typified
the covenant of grace made with true believers, but also
represented the outward dispensation of the gospel. Those who
have been enabled to consent to the Lord's new covenant of mercy
and grace in Jesus Christ, and to give up themselves to be his
people, should embrace every opportunity of renewing their open
profession of relation to him, and their obligation to him, as
the God of salvation, walking according thereto. The sinner is
described as one whose heart turns away from his God; there the
mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines
men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this
sin men are now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and
fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They
are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan
may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt
not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not
before, the true taste shall be discerned. Notice the sinner's
security in sin. Though he hears the words of the curse, yet
even then he thinks himself safe from the wrath of God. There is
scarcely a threatening in all the book of God more dreadful than
this. Oh that presumptuous sinners would read it, and tremble!
for it is a real declaration of the wrath of God, against
ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.
Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation. It is no new
thing for God to bring desolating judgments on a people near to
him in profession. He never does this without good reason. It
concerns us to seek for the reason, that we may give glory to
God, and take warning to ourselves. Thus the law of Moses leaves
sinners under the curse, and rooted out of the Lord's land; but
the grace of Christ toward penitent, believing sinners, plants
them again in their land; and they shall no more be pulled up,
being kept by the power of God.
Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews' rejection, just as St.
Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be
. We are forbidden curiously to inquire
into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning
them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek
into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing
that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for
us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to
furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that
we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.
This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot
profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably,
and be happy for ever.