And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments…
I. LET US ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY AND ELUCIDATE THIS SACRED EXCLAMATION. The language is proper.
1. On account of the author of their construction.
2. The beneficial effect of their institution.
3. The pleasantness of their unity.
4. The joys of their fellowships.
5. Their perpetuity, and the certainty of their increase.
II. WHAT OUGHT TO BE THE EFFECTS PRODUCED UPON US BY SUCH A SURVEY OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. We should —
1. Cherish a spirit of gratitude for the establishment and increase of these tents of God.
2. Shun all that would impair, and diligently maintain all that would secure the blessing.
(1) Guard against lukewarmness, as that which would deface the beauty of ordinances, and rob us of the advantages we might receive from their celebration.
(2) Take care of holding the truth in unrighteousness.
(3) Be cautious not to violate the true spirit of love.
(4) Preserve the vigour of wholesome, salutary discipline; so that the testimony may be borne you from on high, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience," &c.
(5) Follow up all with importunate prayer. "Peace be within thy walls, &c. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," &c.
3. Endeavour to increase the number of those who frequent the tabernacles, and dwell in the tents of Jacob. Imitate the tribes when ambulating in the wilderness. Remember that you are surrounded by those who have no hope. Tell them plainly that you are pilgrims and strangers. Inform them of the privileges you enjoy by the way; of the manna which drops by your door; of the streams which flow from the rock Christ; of the light which guides your feet; of the cloud which screens you from temptation; of the victories you obtain over your foes; of the prospect you have of passing through Jordan safely; and of the rich land of promise which you are shortly about to enter. Press on them not to linger.
4. Anticipate the time when your tents will be struck, and all the ransomed tribes assemble in the tabernacle above. These tents of the Israelites were valuable as they traversed the sands of Arabia; but they left them when they entered on the rest which their prophets had predicted, and their poets sung. And what are our temples? They are only preparatory for the enjoyments of the Canaan above. May it be your privilege to join the tribes of the redeemed as they go up to Zion with everlasting joy upon their heads!
(J. Clayton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.