And God spoke all these words, saying,…
I. I begin with the first, THE PREFACE TO THE PREFACE: "God spake all these words, saying," etc. This is like the sounding of a trumpet before a solemn proclamation, "God spake"; other parts of the Bible are said to be uttered by the mouth of the holy prophets, but here God spake in His own Person.
1. The Lawgiver: "God spake." There are two things requisite in a lawgiver.
(1) Wisdom. Laws are founded upon reason; and he must be wise that makes laws. God, in this respect, is most fit to be a lawgiver: "He is wise in heart"; He hath a monopoly of wisdom: "the only wise God."(2) Authority. God hath the supreme power in His hand; and He who gives men their lives hath most right to give them their laws.
2. The Law itself: "all these words"; that is, all the words of the moral Law, which is usually styled the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. It is called the moral Law, because it is the rule of life and manners. St. compares the Scripture to a garden, the moral Law is a chief flower in it; the Scripture is a banquet, the moral Law the chief dish in it.
(1) The moral Law is perfect: "The Law of the Lord is perfect." It is an exact model and platform of religion; it is the standard of truth, the judge of controversies, the polestar to direct us to heaven.
(2) The moral Law is unalterable; it remains still in force.
(3) The moral Law is very illustrious and full of glory. See Exodus 19:10, 12; Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 32:1.Use 1. Here we may take notice of God's goodness who hath not left us without a Law: therefore the Lord doth often set it down as a demonstration of His love in giving His Commandments. See Psalm 147:20; Nehemiah 9:13; Romans 7:14. The Law of God is a hedge to keep us within the bounds of sobriety and piety.Use 2. If God spake all these words, viz., of the moral Law, then this presseth upon us several duties:(1) If God spake all these words, then we must hear all these words. The words which God speaks are too precious to be lost.
(2) If God spake all these words, then we must attend to them with reverence.
(3) If God spake all these words of the moral Law, then we must remember them. Those words are weighty which concern salvation.
(4) If God spake all these words, then we must believe them. Shall we not give credit to the God of heaven?
(5) If God spake all these words, then love the Commandments: "Oh, how love I Thy Law! it is my meditation all the day."(6) If God spake all these words, then teach your children the Law of God: "These words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children." He who is godly, is both a diamond and a loadstone; a diamond for the sparkling of his grace, and a loadstone for his attractive virtue in drawing others to the love of God's precepts; a good man doth more good to his neighbours than to himself.
(7) If God spake all these words, then the moral Law must be obeyed.
II. THE PREFACE ITSELF.
1. "I am the Lord thy God." Here we have a description of God —
(1) By His essential greatness: "I am the Lord" — Jehovah. Let us fear Him (Deuteronomy 28:58).
(2) By His relative goodness: "Thy God." How? Through Jesus Christ — Emmanuel.
(3) How may we come to know this covenant union, that God is our God?
(a) By having His grace planted in us. Kings' children are known by their costly jewels: it is not having common gifts which shows we belong to God, many have the gifts of God without God, but it is grace gives us a true genuine title to God. In particular, faith is the grace of union; by this we may spell out our interest in God.
(b) We may know God is our God, by having the earnest of His Spirit in our hearts. God often gives the purse to the wicked, but the Spirit only to such as He intends to make His heirs. Have we had the consecration of the Spirit?
(c) We may know God is our God, if He hath given us the hearts of children. Have we obediential hearts? do we subscribe to God's commands, when His commands cross our will? A true saint is like the flower of the sun: it opens and shuts with the sun, he opens to God and shuts to sin. If we have the hearts of children, then God is our Father.
(d) We may know God is ours, and we have an interest in Him, by our standing up for His interest.
(e) We may know God is ours, and we have an interest in Him, by His having an interest in us: "My beloved is Mine, and I am His."
Use 1. Above all things, let us get this great charter Confirmed, that God is our God. Deity is not comfortable without propriety. Use
Use 2. To all such as can make out this covenant union, it exhorts to several things.
(1) If God be our God, let us improve our interest in Him, cast all our burdens upon Him, the burden of our fears, wants, sins.
(2) If God be our God, let us learn to be contented, though we have the less of other things. Contentment is a rare jewel; it is the cure of care. If we have God to be our God, well may we be contented.
(a) God is a sufficient good. Not only full as a vessel, but as a spring. The heart is a triangle, which only the Trinity can fill.
(b) God is a sanctifying good. He sanctifies all our comforts, and turns them into blessings. He sanctifies all our crosses; they shall polish and refine our grace. The more the diamond is cut it sparkles the more. God's stretching the strings of His viol, is to make the music the better.
(c) God is a choice good. All things under the sun are but the blessings of the footstool; but to have God Himself to be ours is the blessing of the throne.
(d) God is the chief good. In the chief good there must be, first, delectability. "At God's righthand are pleasures." Secondly, in the chief good there must be transcendency, it must have a surpassing excellency. Thus God is infinitely better than all other things; it is below the Deity to compare other things with It. Who would go to weigh a feather with a mountain of gold? Thirdly, in the chief good there must be not only fulness, but variety; where variety is wanting we are apt to nauseate; to feed only on honey would breed loathing; but in God is all variety of fulness.
(3) If we can clear up this covenant union that God is our God, let this cheer and revive us in all conditions. To be content with God is not enough, but to be cheerful. What greater cordial can you have than union with Deity?
(4) If God be our God, then let us break forth into doxology and praise (Psalm 118:28).
(5) Let us carry ourselves as those who have God to be their God. Live holily.
2. The second part of the preface: "which have brought," etc. God mentions this deliverance, because of
(1) Its strangeness.
3. The third part of the preface: "out of the house of bondage."(1) God's children may sometimes be under sore afflictions.
(a) For probation, or trial. Affliction is the touchstone of sincerity.
(b) For purgation; to purge our corruption. "God's fire is in Zion." This is not to consume, but to refine; what if we have more affliction, if by this means we have less sin.
(c) For augmentation; to increase the graces of the Spirit. Grace thrives most in the iron furnace; sharp frosts nourish the corn, so do sharp afflictions grace: grace in the saints is often as fire hid in the embers, affliction is the bellows to blow it up into a flame.
(d) For preparation: to fit and prepare us for glory.
(2) God will in His due time bring His people out of their afflicted state. The tree which in the winter seems dead, in the spring revives: after darkness cometh sunshine. Affliction may leap on us as the viper did on Paul, but at last this viper shall be shaken off.
( T. Watson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And God spake all these words, saying,