For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water…
The support of the wilderness was manifestly miraculous. They could not doubt their dependence there upon God. They might murmur even amid daily miracle, but they could not doubt it. It would be different in Canaan, and it is in view of this Moses warns them. There they would get sustenance in ordinary ways; and they might say that their own power, and not God's blessing, made them wealthy.
I. THERE IS A VERY GREAT TENDENCY TO FORGET GOD AMID THE ORDER OF NATURE. It is supposed God has nothing to do, because we get our supplies through steady "second causes." But God claims recognition when he blesses us through ordinary channels as well as when he blesses us through extraordinary. The natural order is either due to God or arranged itself. We have not credulity sufficient for the latter hypothesis, and must accept the former.
II. WHEN GOD ASKS US TO BE FELLOW-WORKERS WITH HIM, IT IS NOT TO BE ENGROSSED WITH OUR WORK AND TO IGNORE HIS. In the wilderness God fed them out of his own hand, so to speak. But in Canaan he directed them to work for their daily bread. They were raised from being "spoon-fed" to be "fellow-workers." The temptation in Canaan gas to think that their own hand and power had produced the wealth. It is the same still. From being fellow-workers with God, men, by mere forget fullness, pass into the delusion of being sole workers. Life is workable, they think, without God. Atheism is the principle underlying such a life.
III. THIS UNHOLY INDEPENDENCE OF SPIRIT IS THE SURE PRELUDE OF NATIONAL DECAY. It is not national "self-reliance" which serves a state, but national reliance upon God in the use of the means he has appointed. Nations that think they can get on alone are left at length to do so, and God-deserted they perish. The Canaanites were illustrating this in their own case. They should be a warning to Israel. Living without God in the world, depending on themselves, they were about to be removed violently from their ancestral scats. It was so afterwards with Israel. They were as a nation effaced from the land where they had been placed in probation. The captivity of the ten tribes was terrible, and so was that of Judah and Benjamin. It is this which nations must still guard against. God will not be ignored. If nations attempt it, they only efface themselves. Dying dynasties and scattered nations proclaim the existence and retribution of God.
IV. HOW NEEDFUL, THEN, TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S HAND IN ALL THINGS! The procession of nature - all that is beautiful in second causes, has come from him. The "First Cause" may surely be allowed to work through "second causes" without forfeiting his right to recognition and thanksgiving. Our times are largely atheistic, because our little knowledge of second causes affords such fussy occupation to us, that we have not taste or time to see the First Cause behind all and using all for his glory. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;