And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt…
If this hour we could realise God's goodness toward us, and our conduct toward Him, a great grief would seize upon us, and repentance would meet remorse, and remorse would meet ingratitude, and memories of the past would jostle the fears of the future, and silence would be broken by sobs and shrieks.
1. I have first to remark that many Christian people have reason for a good deal of mourning. What have you been doing these ten, twenty, thirty, forty years? Did not God lead you out of Egypt? Did He not part for you the Red Sea of trouble, and has He not rained manna all around about your camp? Did He not divide the Jordan of death for your loved ones, until they went through dry-shod, not wetting even the soles of their feet? Has He not put clusters of blessings upon your table, and fed you with the finest of the wheat? And yet, we must confess, we have, like the Israelites, made a league with the world. Three-fourths of our Christian life has been wasted. Oh, weep for our derelictions! weep for our wanderings! weep for our lost opportunities that will never return! There is great reason for sadness on the part of some parents when they look over their families. You know that there must be a mighty change in your household before you can all live together in eternity. Can you placidly contemplate an eternal separation from any of your loved ones? Things are looking that way. Their opportunities of salvation less and less; your opportunities of plying them with religious motives less and less. The prospect that God's invitation will continue to them, less and less. The day of their mercy almost gone, yet they have not put up one earnest prayer, or repented of one sin, and not given one hopeful sign, and death coming to snap the conjugal bond, and break up the fraternal and the filial tie. An aged woman came to me. I said, "Are you seeking the salvation of your soul?" She said, "No, I have sought and found. I came in to ask your prayers for my sons. They are on the wrong road." O Lord Jesus, are we to be parted from any we have loved? Will some of us be saved and some of us be lost? Which one will it be missing, missing, missing, for eternity? I say farther: there are impenitent souls who ought to be sad from the fact that there are sins they have committed that cannot be corrected either in this world or the world to come. Suppose a man at fifty years of age becomes a Christian, but he has been all his life on the other side. He is a father. He comes to Christ now; but can he arrest the fact that for twenty or thirty years over his children he was wielding a wrong influence, and they have started in the wrong direction? And if you come to God in the latter part of your life, when you have given your children an impulse in the wrong direction, those ten, or fifteen, or twenty years of example in the wrong direction will be mightier than the few words you can utter now in the right direction. So it is with the influence you have had anywhere in community. If you have all these years given countenance to those who are neglecting religion, can you correct that? Your common sense says "No." Here is an engineer on a locomotive. He is taking a long train of cars loaded with passengers. He comes on and sees a red flag. He says, "What do I care for the red flag?" He pushes on the train, and comes to another red flag. He says, "I don't care for the red flag." After a while he sees that the bridge is down; but he is by a marsh, and he leaps and is not damaged. Does that stop the train? No! It goes on crash! crash! crash! That is the history of some men who have been converted. I congratulate them, but I cannot hide the fact that they started a train of influences in the wrong direction; and though, in the afternoon of their life, they may leap off the train, the train goes on, So, also, there is occasion for sadness in the peril that surrounds every unforgiven soul. And so you may go on placidly, smoothly, gaily for a while in your sin, but the hurricane will swoop upon your souls. Without God, without hope! Oh, what an orphanage, what an exile, what a desolation! Moan! moan! for thy lost estate. Have you not had a chance for heaven? "Ah," you say, "that is the worst of it. That is what makes me weep." Was your father bad? Was your mother wicked? "No," you say. "Say nothing against my mother. If there was ever a good woman, she was one; and I remember how, in her old days, and when bent with years, and in her plain frock she knelt down and prayed for my soul, and with her apron wiped away the tears. Oh, I have trampled on her broken heart. I am a wretch undone. Who will pray for me? I am so sick of sin. I am so weary of the world! "No wonder you weep, for the greatest condemnation of the last day will be for those who had pious parents and who resisted their admonition. But what is a sadder thought is, that some of these people not only stay out of the kingdom of God themselves, but they will not let their children come in. "You never invited me to Christ. You stood in my way. You gave a wrong example. Father, mother, you ruined my soul!"
2. But I remember that there are tears of joy as well as tears of sorrow, and how the foundations of the deep would break up if one hundred or one thousand souls would march up and take the kingdom of heaven! But there are some who have not come. They will not come. They will not repent.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
WEB: The angel of Yahweh came up from Gilgal to Bochim. He said, "I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you to the land which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you: