And the LORD said to Moses, Why cry you to me? speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward:
I. Let us consider THIS COMMAND IN REFERENCE TO THE JOURNEY OF THE ISRAELITES. It became them, and it becomes us, to obey whenever God commands; and to do whatever He enjoins us, and that for four reasons.
1. Because He has a right to command. He is the Sovereign, we are the subjects. He is the Master, we are the servants.
2. Because none of His commands are arbitrary. We may not be able to perceive the reasons upon which they are founded; but there are reasons.
3. Because all His commands are beneficial. They all regard our welfare, as well as His own glory.
4. Because they are all practicable. They all imply a power to obey. If not possessed, yet attainable — if not in nature, yet in grace. Now, men may enjoin what is really impossible; but God never does.
II. THE ADVANCEMENT OF CHRISTIANS IN THE DIVINE LIFE. For Christians are now on their way from Egypt to Canaan. An old writer says, "A Christian should never pitch his tent twice in the same place," but with every fresh rising sun there should be some fresh advancement.
1. In order to see the possibility, the propriety, the importance, of thus advancing in the Divine life, turn to the commands of the Scriptures, "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." "Add to your faith virtue," etc.
2. Then turn to the advantages of progression in your Christian course; for, as you advance, you will improve, and will rise higher in Divine attainments. As you advance, you are "changing from glory to glory." Every step you take adds to your dignity; every step adds to your usefulness, and enables you more to adorn the "doctrine of God your Saviour in all things," and to recommend His service to those around you. Every step you take adds to your comfort; it adds to the evidences of your state, and to your character; and so far exemplifies the words of the Saviour, "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples"; appear as such, and exemplify yourselves as such.
III. Let us consider this command in reference to THE PROGRESS OF TIME. Time is always advancing; the hour-glass, the day, the week, the year — all go forward. And do they leave you behind? No; you advance with as much speed as the vessel which bears you along. You are not, therefore, to consider us here as exhorting you to go forward with time, but how to go forward, and in what way you ought to advance.
1. "Go forward" with humbleness of mind, not strutting into the new year, as if you had been acting wisely, worthily and meritoriously, throughout the year that is past; but "clothed with humility," and "walking humbly with your God."
2. "Go forward with gratitude in the remembrance of His mercies." Have they not been "new every morning"?
3. "Go forward" under a sense of present aid, in opposition to complainings and murmurings.
4. "Go forward" also with a firm confidence as to what may befall you in the future.
5. "Go forward" with earnest and constant prayer.
6. "Go forward" with frequent thoughts of your journey's end: for it will have an end, and you are brought one year nearer to it.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: