The elders of Israel are reminded of the idolatry in Egypt.
(1-9) In the wilderness. (10-26) In Canaan. (27-32) God promises
to pardon and restore them. (33-44) Prophecy against Jerusalem.
1-9. Those hearts are wretchedly hardened which ask God leave
to go on in sin, and that even when suffering for it; see ver.
. God is justly angry with those who are resolved to go on
still in their trespasses. Cause the people to know the evil
deeds of their fathers, that they may see how righteous it was
with God to cut them off.
10-26. The history of Israel in the wilderness is referred to
in the new Testament as well as in the Old, for warning. God did
great things for them. He gave them the law, and revived the
ancient keeping of the sabbath day. Sabbaths are privileges;
they are signs of our being his people. If we do the duty of the
day, we shall find, to our comfort, it is the Lord that makes us
holy, that is, truly happy, here; and prepares us to be happy,
that is, perfectly holy, hereafter. The Israelites rebelled, and
were left to the judgments they brought upon themselves. God
sometimes makes sin to be its own punishment, yet he is not the
Author of sin: there needs no more to make men miserable, than
to give them up to their own evil desires and passions.
The Jews persisted in rebellion after they settled in the
land of Canaan. And these elders seem to have thought of uniting
with the heathen. We make nothing by our profession if it be but
a profession. There is nothing got by sinful compliances; and
the carnal projects of hypocrites will stand them in no stead.
The wicked Israelites, notwithstanding they follow the
sinful ways of other nations, shall not mingle with them in
their prosperity, but shall be separated from them for
destruction. There is no shaking off God's dominion; and those
who will not yield to the power of his grace, shall sink under
the power of his wrath. But not one of God's jewels shall be
lost in the lumber of this world. He will bring the jews to the
land of Israel again; and will give them true repentance. They
will be overcome with his kindness: the more we know of God's
holiness, the more we see the hateful nature of sin. Those who
remain unaffected amidst means of grace, and would live without
Christ, like the world around them, may be sure it is the way to
Judah and Jerusalem had been full of people, as a forest
of trees, but empty of fruit. God's word prophesies against
those who bring not forth the fruits of righteousness. When He
will ruin a nation, who or what can save it? The plainest truths
were as parables to the people. It is common for those who will
not be wrought upon by the word, to blame it.