And the LORD said to Moses, Why cry you to me? speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward:
The Hebrew life was a camp-life, and as such is the picture of ours. For a while we rest beneath the shadow of Elim's palm-trees, or lie down beside the green pastures; but ere long the bugle-note of our great Leader's voice is heard, calling us to the onward march.
I. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD SHOWS THAT THERE ARE SEASONS FOR SWIFT OBEDIENCE, AS WELL AS EARNEST PRAYER. "Wherefore criest thou unto Me?" says God. Strange language from the lips of Him who has taught us to be instant in prayer. Even prayer must not be a medium for distrust to unveil itself. Prayer must bespeak faith, not doubt. We want brave hearts, as well as suppliant knees. We must fight against distrust. Doubt is defeat.
II. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD WAS ACCOMPANIED BY EXAMPLE. Men crave leaders — in the State, in the senate, in the field, and in the Church. Fix your eye on the unfaltering Moses. "Forward!" says a voice from the better land.
III. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TEACHES US THAT GOD HIDES DIFFICULTIES TILL THEY COME. They had no forewarning of this event. But God keeps the veil down before each life's future hour. We never know what shall be on the morrow: save that grace will be there if we live, and glory if we die. To-morrow, the fairest lamb in the fold may wander, the most loved friend be gone; the thorn may spring from the pillow, and the garden contain a grave.
IV. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TELLS US THAT WE ARE NOT TO LIVE IN THE PAST. Neither in its successes nor in its sorrows. "Let the dead past bury its dead." Piety should be no fossil relic of past experience. Yesterday's religion will not save us!
V. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD ANSWERS TO THE SPIRITUAL INSTINCTS OF THE SOUL. Forward! Not to the grave, but through the grave. The Christian revelation gives us the principles of progress, and opens up the sphere for their exercise, by its unveiling of the immortal state.
VI. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TELLS US THAT WE HAVE SUPERNATURAL ASSISTANCE TO GO FORWARD. When in our earthly life, God calls us to human progress, what aids He gives us in fellowship, friendship, and love! And when in a spiritual sense God says, Go forward, He does not leave us to ourselves. Go back to your first Communion — to brotherly sympathy and prayer — to tender help from hearts that now rest. What a way it has been!
(W. M. Statham, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: