He humbled you, and in your hunger gave you manna to eat, which neither you nor your fathers had known, so that you might understand that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
I. TO SEE GOD IN SECONDARY CAUSES. The Word of God is as truly the creative and nourishing principle in ordinary bread as it was in the extraordinary supply of manna. It is not bread, as something subsisting independently, but bread as the product of Divine power, and as possessing properties which the Word of God imparts to it and upholds in it, which is the staff of life and the object of our prayers (Matthew 6:11).
II. TO BELIEVE IN GOD ACTING ABOVE NATURE AS WELL AS IN IT. If God wills life to be sustained, he can sustain it in other ways than by bread. He is not tied up to one set of means. He can act, if it pleases him, independently of means altogether, the creative word being sufficient to sustain. This is the direct meaning of the text, and a part of the significance of Christ's answer to the tempter (Matthew 4:4).
III. TO RECOGNIZE IN MAN THE EXISTENCE OF A HIGHER LIFE THAN THE PHYSICAL. The physical is not the highest in us. We do not live by bread alone. A higher life is found in depending on God's Word, in obeying it, and in abiding by it, whatever the immediate consequences. The lower life may need to be given up that the higher may be saved (Matthew 16:25). - J.O.
He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna.I. LET US PASS IN REVIEW THE FAVOURS OF THE LORD, taking what He did for Israel as being typical of what He has done for us.
1. The first blessing mentioned is that of humbling: "And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger." Not very highly esteemed among men will this favour be; and at first, perhaps, it may be regarded by ourselves as being rather a judgment, one of the terrible things in righteousness, than a great favour from the Most High. But rightly judged, this is one of the most admirable proofs of the Lord's loving kindness, that He does not leave His people in their natural pride and obstinacy, but by acts of grace brings them to their right minds. Note in the text, that the humbling was produce by hunger. What makes a man so humble as to be thoroughly in want? Oh, happy season when He stripped me of what I thought my glory, but which were filthy rags!
2. Notice, in the second place, the Divine feeding. We shall now see ourselves mirrored in the case of Israel as in a glass. "He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee." How sweetly that follows: "suffered thee to hunger and fed thee"; the light close on the heels of the darkness. "Blessed are ye that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for ye shall be filled." That "and" in the text is like a diamond rivet, none can ever take it out or break it. "He suffered thee to hunger and fed thee." He who suffers thee to hunger will be sure to feed thee .yet upon the bountiful provisions of His grace. Be of good cheer, poor mourning soul.
3. The third favour mentioned is the remarkable raiment. "Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee." Though subject to the ordinary wear and tear incidental to travelling, their garments still continued to be as good at the end of forty years as they were when first they left the land of Egypt. I believe that to be what the text means. Anyhow, spiritually, it is the case with us. You cannot point me to a stale promise in all God's book, neither can you find me a worn-out doctrine. In the way of perseverance we have been maintained and preserved. Personally I admire the grace which has kept me in my course, though assailed by many fierce temptations and exposed to great perils in my position.
4. The next blessing for which we ought to be grateful is that sustained personal strength. Our spiritual vigour has still. Your foot has not swelled in the way of perseverance. Neither have you been lamed in the way of service. Perhaps you have been called to do much work for Christ, yet you have not grown tired of it, though sometimes tired in it; still, you have kept to your labour, and found help in it. So, too, your foot has not swollen in the way of faith. Such little faith you bad at first that you might well have thought it would all die out by now. But it has not been so. God has not quenched the smoking flax, nor broken the bruised reed. In addition to all this, your foot has not swollen in the way of fellowship. You have walked with God, and you have not grown weary of the holy intercourse. Moreover, your foot has not swollen in the way of joy. You were happy young men in Christ Jesus, and you are happy fathers now. The novelty has not worn off, or rather one novelty has been succeeded by another, fresh discoveries have broken out upon you, and Jesus is still to you the dew of youth. He who walks with God shall never weary, though through all eternity he continues the hallowed march. For all this we give to God our thanks yet again.
5. Notice the memorable blessing of chastisement. "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart." That unswollen foot, and that unworn garment, you need not so much value as this, for this you are specially bidden to consider, your deepest thoughts are to be given to it, and, consequently, your highest praises. "Consider in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." I am sure I have derived more real benefit and permanent strength and growth in grace, and every precious thing, from the furnace of affliction, than I have ever derived from prosperity.
II. THE INFERENCE FROM ALL THIS. All this humbling, feeding, clothing, strengthening, chastening, what of it all? Why this — "therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him." Take the model of the text.
1. Let your obedience be universal. Keep the commandments of the Lord, walk in His ways.
2. Let your obedience be entire. In nothing be rebellious.
3. Let that obedience be careful. Doth not the text say, "Keep the commandments," and doth not the first verse say, "Ye shall observe to do"? Keep it as though you kept a treasure, carefully putting your heart as a garrison round it. Observe it as they do who have some difficult art, and who watch each order of the teacher, and trace each different part of the process with observant eye, lest they fail in their art by missing any one little thing. Keep and observe. Be careful in your life. Be scrupulous. You serve a jealous God, be jealous of yourself.
4. Let your obedience be practical. The text says, "Walk in His ways." Carry your service of God into your daily life, into all the minutiae and details of it. Whereas others walk up and down in the name of their God, and boast themselves in the idols wherein they trust, walk you in the name of Jehovah, and glory always to avow that you are a disciple of Jesus.
5. Let your obedience spring from principle, for the text says, "Walk in His ways, and fear Him." Seek to have a sense of His presence, such as holy spirits have in heaven who view Him face to face. Remember He is everywhere; you are never absent from that eye. Tremble, therefore, before Him with that sacred trembling which is consistent with holy faith.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Man doth not live by bread only
I. MAN DOTH NOT LIVE BY BREAD ONLY. Yet multitudes think thus to live — by things outward and earthly, by the accumulation of material, perishable objects of enjoyment, or of wealth, which can represent and command them all. Can wealth sustain or comfort the bereaved husband or father? When the strong ties of natural affection are sundered, is it a solace to know that they had been gilded and jewelled? If they were not strengthened and sanctified by Christian communion, by the fellowship of heaven-seeking souls — if the only common interests have been sordid, then has the prosperity enjoyed together left the survivor only the heavier burden of remembrances not again to be realised, and of joys forever fled.
II. WHAT, THEN, ARE THE ELEMENTS OF THIS HIGHER LIFE? Since man, spiritually speaking, cannot live by bread only, by what is he to live?
1. First by faith — faith in an all-seeing Father, whose sceptre ruleth over all, and who, if our hearts are His, will cause all things outward to work together for our good — faith in a Redeemer, who has loved us and given Himself for us as our Saviour from sin, and our Guide to duty and heaven.
2. Again, man, by the appointment of God, is to live by hope — by the hope of heaven, which alone can anchor the soul amidst the fitful fortunes of our earthly pilgrimage.
3. By God's appointment, we are also to nourish our souls by charity, by sympathy with our brethren, by bearing their burdens and helping their joys. There can be no life worth living without brotherly love — without a ready heart and hand for the needy, the suffering, and the erring.
4. Finally our true life must he connected with, and flow from, the testimony of a good conscience, which, if merited, no outward condition can suppress or pervert.
III. Such are the heaven-appointed means of life and growth within the reach of all of us. IT IS THESE THAT OUR SAVIOUR PROFFERS TO US. They were His peace and joy. They are the fountain still flowing at the foot of His Cross. Other streams there are, sparkling, attractive, rolling over golden sands and beneath a brilliant sky; yet there is a voice in their murmur, ever saying, — "He that drinks of us shall thirst again, and thirst as often as he comes to draw." But from the mountain of the beatitudes, and again from the olive shade of Gethsemane, and from the darkness and agony of Calvary, I hear the voice, — "If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink, and the water that I will give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life."
(A. P. Peabody.)
I. First, we have the "GOSPEL OF EDUCATION." Let us take care that each child learns the elementary principles of knowledge, and we may hope that the coming generation shall have a higher idea of national and of social life. Well, certainly the very last persons in England to depreciate the blessings of secular instruction are the clergy. But let not educational enthusiasts think because they have provided partially against material deterioration that they have discovered a moral cure. It may change the form of crime; it will not touch the root from which it springs.
II. We have then from others the message of the PHILOSOPHERS. "Let us eat of this tree, and live forever." Now, while we gladly acknowledge all the past successes of science and of philosophy, and while we thankfully receive every new discovery as a further revelation of the wisdom and the love of the Creator, we say this is not the bread of life for sorrowing, sinning humanity. This is no gospel for all mankind. Clad in the purple of her pride, and the white linen of her fine-spun theories, philosophy's few cultured friends may fare sumptuously every day in her high hall of state; but humanity, like Lazarus, with hunger in its soul, and its body covered with festering sores of sin, lies helpless at her gate.
III. The more experience I have, the more deeply I am persuaded that the power to accomplish it is THE PREACHING OF A PERSONAL CRUCIFIED CHRIST. That — the incarnate Word of God — is still and ever the bread by which nations and men must live. It was not a new science, it was not an advanced thought, it was not an improved philosophy, it was not a merely exalted morality, it was not the idyllic life of a Galilean peasant, that men preached in the early days, in the purple dawn of Christianity, and by the preaching of it shook the Empire and revolutionised the world. And it is not by any such means, or by anything which appeals exclusively to the intellect; nay, not even by a vague "accommodating theology" with no doctrinal articulation — which, polype-like, floats on the tides of human thought, rising as they rise, falling as they fall — that men and nations can be saved now. It is as of old — by the preaching of the Word, Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. "I am the Bread of Life," said Christ.
(T. T. Shore, M. A.)
II. What OUR DELIVERANCE must be. Deliverance is what we want; not mere respite, lifting the agony from our spirits to lay it over upon our children; deliverance, complete and final. What avails it in a raging fever, rapidly nearing its crisis, that we comfort ourselves with cooling drinks, while the disease is striking boldly at our vitals? It is written in God's Word, and written in all the history of the race: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Such is the Divine regimen for the nations. They live, if they live at all, by no felicity of position, soil, or climate, by no abundance of material good, but by the living word of the living God. Work we must, and shall, and should. And work will bring us wealth. And wealth will bring us power. What then? Need wealth be idolised, or spent upon our lusts? Need power he vaunted and abused? If so, we perish, as Tyre and Sidon perished; perish, as Carthage perished; perish, as, according to the Indian legend, the last of our gigantic mastodons perished, smitten down by the thunderbolt of the Great Spirit. Thank God, it need not be so. Nor is it our task to lay our feeble, ineffectual finger upon this vast revolving wheel, which carries the whole machinery of our earthly life, and bid it pause. It is not our task to slay this giant of our material prosperity, and stretch his huge corpse out across the continent. Ours is the far grander task of teaching the giant wisdom, and subduing his earth-born energies to Him who has told us that "Man shall not live by bread alone." How, then, shall men and nations live? "By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"; so reads our text. The Hebrews in the desert had no need of bread; they were fed with manna from the skies. But our Lord proved that there was no need even of manna. It was enough for Him, as the Son of Man, that He had faith in God. On this He feasted, while He fasted, the forty days. It was God's commandment, which He obeyed in fasting, and this commandment, thus obeyed in faith, was the bread He ate. The commandments of God, then, are the bread of life for the nations. If a Christian people, then we must be loyal to our calling, baptising our unexampled material prosperity into the name of Christ, and dedicating our wealth, with a wise and eager generosity, to Christian uses.
(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)I. Let us, that we may get the meaning of this text with regard to PROVIDENCE, reflect upon the children of Israel in the wilderness. God has proved by miracle, that although He chooses to act usually according to certain rules, and nourish the body with bread and with meat, yet He is not tied to rules, but is absolute King and Master, and can do as He wills; and even in the subtle processes by which food is digested and assimilated to the flesh and blood, and bone and sinew, He can work without the means of ordinary chemistries. He can dissolve without alembics, and fuse without crucibles. But you say, "Ah! but that cannot concern us, for He never works miracles now." Ay, but I reply, it is most marvellous for God to be able to do a miraculous thing without a miracle. I have seen many miracles, which were not miracles, but yet all the more miraculous. The poor have lacked bread; stones were not turned into bread for them, but they had their bread as much by miracle as if rocks had crumbled into food. We have seen the poor merchant reduced to distress, and he said, "Now I cannot see any hope for me. God must rend His heavens, and put His hand through the very windows to deliver me." No heavens were rent, but the deliverance came. Now, the Lord can this day without a miracle work such a miracle that we shall have all our wants supplied, for "man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." You have heard the story of the martyr who was condemned to die. The judge said railingly: "You will be in prison. I shall make you no allowance for food, and what can your God do for you? How can He feed you?" "Why," said the poor prisoner, "if He wills it, He can feed me from your table": and it was so, though unknown to his cruel judge; for until his day of burning came, the wife of the judge, touched with sympathy, always secreted food and fed him abundantly even from the persecutor's board.
II. THE SPIRITUAL BEARING of the text. Man shall not live by bread alone; that does but nourish the mere coarse fabric of clay; he lives by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God — that nourishes the immortal spirit; that sustains the heavenly flame which God has put there by the work of regeneration and conversion.
1. The text speaks of a hunger and of its consequences. Very many of you understand what this hunger means. There was a time when the world suited us well enough. But suddenly God put a new life into us; we knew not how. The first evidence we had of that life was that we began to hunger; we were not satisfied; we were unhappy. The soul was conscious of sin, and hungered for pardon; conscious of guilt, and hungered for purity; conscious of absence from God, and hungered and thirsted after His presence.(1) Now, speaking of that hunger, you know that it was a most painful thing when first we knew it. It was so painful to some of us that we could not rest. We wanted Christ.(2) Then that hunger, moreover, was utterly insatiable — nothing could stop it. Friends said, "You must take worldly amusement." The legalist said, "You must perform such and such duties"; it was like attempting to fill a soul with bubbles. Still our hunger cried, "Give, give, give us something more substantial, more Divine than this."(3) Next, this hunger is impetuous. Sometimes it will come at inconvenient seasons. Henry Smith — an old preacher at St. Paul's Cross, preaching upon the text: "As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby" — observes, "When hunger assails infants, they neither regard leisure, nor necessity, nor willingness of their mothers, but all excuses and business set apart, so soon as they cry for food they must be fed." So it is with a man who has begun to feel the need of Christ.
2. Notice, the heavenly bread and its surprising excellency. This bread, you see, is the Word of God. Now, the Word is given to us first here in the Bible, as it is written; it is given to us, secondly, from the lips of God's own chosen and appointed ambassadors. He that despises either of these two, will soon find himself growing lean in spirit. But now, why is it that we need this food at all? I answer first, we need it to sustain the life which we have received. As life spiritual depends upon God to give it, so upon God to sustain it. Only He who makes us Christians can keep us so. We need this Divine food not only to keep us barely alive, but to make us grow. Besides, this food is necessary to strengthen us when we have grown up. How can we wonder that a man is weak if he does not eat? It is no wonder if Christians find themselves weak in prayer, weak in suffering, weak in action, weak in faith, and weak in love, if they neglect to feed upon the Word of God. Moreover, we need to have spiritual food also for our joy as well as for our strength. How often do you see a man sad and troubled, who, if he had sufficient sustenance, would soon have sparkling eyes and a shining face! Many Christians, I do not doubt, are very low and miserable because they do not feed upon the Word. Are you starving your souls? If so, there is no wonder that your joys are dead, and hang their heads like withered things. I trust many of us know what it is to feed to the full upon the Word of God. And do you not bear me witness that it is rich food?
3. A great privilege involving a consequent duty. We have been made to eat manna, as angels' food which we did not know. It was far above our carnal judgments, yet they who feared the Lord said it was like wafers made with honey. Israel found it to be very sweet, and indeed it is said by the Rabbis that the manna had such a peculiarity about it, that it was always the flavour that a man wished it to be, and I think it is very much so with Gospel preaching; if a man chooses it to be disagreeable to him, it will be; but if he desires it to be sweet to him, it will be; he will be sure to be fed if he wants to be fed. For so is it with the precious Book; very much of its flavour is in our own mouths, and when our mouths are out of taste, we think the Bible has lost its savour. It is often your ears that are to blame, not the preacher; do not be so quick to blame him, but be a little more rapid in examining yourself. "Neither did our fathers know." By nature, however much we may respect them, they are no better than ourselves, and they knew nothing about this subtle, mysterious, munificent way by which God supplies the needs of the souls of His people. Well now, if God has given us such food as this, I think the least thing we can do is to go and gather it.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)i.e. by following the higher law of our being, by seeking for and finding all possible truth, by acting in harmony with the known laws of Nature and with the known laws of human nature which are moral and spiritual as well as physical. If we but endeavour to have God in all our thoughts, to set God always before us, then our life will be a human life, and not the life of the vegetable or the life of the beast that perisheth. Why, even for the perfection of our lower life — the purely physical — we must attain to the knowledge of God's good laws, and follow them faithfully, or else the bread of life will fail to nourish us; all its thousand embellishments will destroy and not promote our happiness. How much more, then, must we seek, in active obedience to His good laws, that perfection of moral and spiritual health in which alone the highest life of man consists! It still holds good that "he that seeketh his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life the same shall find it." Paradoxical as it may sound, the law of self-denial for the well-being and comfort of others is the only condition in which our own well-being and comfort are attainable, or when attained can be made enduring.
(C. Voysey, M. A.)
(R. Davison.)savants who deal only in science, searching unceasingly into the truth of facts, and forgetting the voice which said: "I am the truth"; and those artists who pursue the beautiful whilst forgetting the supreme beauty; and those literary men, who seek the sublime, whilst forgetting that religion is the chief sublime; and those magistrates, who only judge or administer; and those potentates of the earth, who only skim and rule...All those men are, perhaps, good and honourable, incapable of staining their reputation, of dishonouring themselves...But they live by bread only; the earthly life rules them, carries them away, preoccupies them, to the point of leading them to egotism and indifference; they are so mindful of themselves that they forget God; of the world, that they forget heaven; of life, that they forget death and immortality; they take so much care of themselves that they take none of their neighbour; and as to their family, they dream of its advancement. They live in a manner most honourable, doubtless; but they live by bread only...only, and this is their folly and transgression.
As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth theeI. THE AFFLICTIONS OF GOD'S PEOPLE — however complicated, however prolonged, of whatever materials they may be made — PROCEED FROM THE PUREST BENIGNITY OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. Suffering does not come from God at all. I know that He overrules it, and that He makes up, if I may so speak, of the briars and thorns which so plentifully grow in this wilderness a hedge by which His children are kept in and restrained. But He did not cause your sufferings. If man had continued in his primeval state of innocence, there would have been no aching heart. But suffering is to be considered as destructive or as corrective. Now, where it is destructive, it is an expression of displeasure. We know that punishment ultimately inflicted will be destructive; but, remember, afflictions may be considered also as corrective. Then they issue from love. Following up the beautiful idea of the text — that of parental discipline — I say they proceed from a solicitude to improve the child, to correct many vices, to form the character of the child as perfectly as it can be formed. Now, remember, that the love of your Heavenly Father regulates all this.
II. YOUR AFFLICTIONS ARE BROUGHT ABOUT BY DIVINE WISDOM — no chance, no accident. God cannot explain Himself to you, but before Him everything is arranged in the most exquisite order, in the most luminous combination. Not an atom floats without His permission; the hairs of your head are all numbered.
III. ALL AFFLICTIONS WILL ISSUE IN YOUR HIGHEST GOOD. Yon must take God's word; "All things work together for good to them that love God." This is the secret — "to them that love God." God loves you — you love God; what is the consequence? God is employing His attributes for you; God is taking care that there shall be nothing hostile, however inexplicable may be the circumstances of your life. They shall work for your good — perhaps not for your gratification. The physician's prescriptions do not work for the pleasure of the party; the probing instrument of the surgeon gives the patient pain, but it is all for good. God is not absent from you; He is present. This is a consolatory thought: your Father never leaves you for a moment; He is educating you for Himself.
(T. Lessey.)I. The way in which God tried the Israelites in the wilderness was this: HE WAS PERPETUALLY EXPOSING THEM TO DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS, WHICH WERE CALCULATED TO TRY THE STRENGTH OF THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM.
II. WHAT, THEN, WERE THE DESIGNS WHICH GOD HAD IN VIEW IN THUS BRINGING THE ISRAELITES INTO THESE DIFFICULTIES, AND IN THUS CORRECTING THEM?
1. The first was that they might know themselves, to know their hearts, whether they would keep His commandments or no.
2. But the second point, in which it was the intention of God to instruct the Israelites, and in them all mankind, was their absolute dependence upon Himself. He fed them with manna, which neither they nor their fathers had known, in order that He might make them know that men do not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord do men live. More important knowledge than this of the providence of God cannot be learned by men. While we thus practically know the power and presence of God, we shall feel the dispositions which that knowledge ought to inspire; we shall watch over our conduct with a filial dread of offending Him; we shall place an unbounded confidence in His wisdom to direct, His power to strengthen, His providence to defend, His goodness to bless us.
III. Having thus taken a view of the purposes of God toward the Israelites in the desert, it remains THAT WE CONSIDER FOR WHOSE INSTRUCTION THESE DESIGNS WERE ACCOMPLISHED.
1. In the first place, He makes use of afflictions and trials to prove you, as He did the Israelites of old. These trials you have doubtless felt, but have you seen the hand of God in them?
2. What, then, is His aim? It is to teach thee to know thyself and Him. To know thyself. You will tell me, perhaps, you do not know yourself sufficiently; you will acknowledge you are a weak, sinful Creature. To say this from theory only is a very different thing from saying it from experience. Self-knowledge is not soon taught. You cannot acquire it merely by reading books, or by meditating on it in your study; it must be the result of long and painful observation of your own heart.
3. But God designs also to teach you to know Him. You are amazed at the stupidity of the Israelites; they had so many proofs of the presence of God! And have not you as many?
(J. Venn, M. A.)
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.Divine correction may be considered —
I. AS THE MEANS OF RELIGIOUS IMPROVEMENT.
1. Affliction is a restraint from evil, without which we should frequently fall the victim of our folly and impetuosity.
2. Affliction is an excitement to duty.
3. Affliction is a needful ordeal.
4. Affliction is a seasonable monitor.
II. AS THE DISCIPLINE OF PATERNAL REGARD. A father corrects his children —
1. With reluctance. Tries everything else first.
2. With wisdom.
3. With tenderness.
4. With design. For our good.
III. AS THE SUBJECT OF FILIAL ATTENTION. How awful is it when affliction is useless, when correction hardens, when medicine poisons! Beware of this — "Consider in thine heart," etc.
1. Acknowledge His hand. Trace your afflictions to their proper cause.
2. Submit to His authority. Submission is the perfection of Christianity — the submission not of apathy, but sensibility. Shall a scholar murmur against the discipline of wisdom and goodness?
3. Improve His design. This must be known to be improved. You cannot know each particular design, but you may the grand and ultimate one.
(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)
(H. W. Beecher.)Luther wrote to Melanchthon when he was so exceedingly troubled at the providence of God in this world: "Our brother Philip is to be admonished that he would forbear governing the world." We can hardly let God alone to rule that world which Himself alone hath made.
Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy GodIvanhoe and the historical notes appended to that work, will give a clear conception of their miserable condition. The passage teaches us that when men have received blessing from God it is fitting for them to render Him a willing service, and that ingratitude here means destruction.
I. THE REASONABLENESS OF RENDERING A GRATEFUL SERVICE TO GOD.
1. This was clearly evident in the case of Israel. God rightly demands as the Creator obedience and service from all men. Surely, then, from a people so highly favoured as Israel! Delivered from slavery; given a noble system of laws; brought under the direct rule of Jehovah in the theocracy; and given in promise "a land flowing with milk and honey." They were highly favoured, and in gratitude should have consecrated themselves to the Divine service.
2. If they had reasons for thankfulness, etc., we have greater reasons. Contrast the state of our native land since the time when Columba, Cuthbert, Austin of Canterbury, etc., began their apostolic labours among its tribes with our present preeminence among the nations.
3. As individual subjects of this empire we have great reason to offer to God a grateful service. How blessed our lot compared with that of many peoples whose manner of life and customs have been portrayed by a Livingstone, Stanley, J.G. Paten, and others! Contrast the state of less highly favoured peoples with our own individual lives," under righteous government, religious liberty, even-handed justice, etc. There are many reasons why we should render to God gratitude, praise, and willing, joyful service.
II. THE FOLLY OF THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE TOWARD GOD.
1. What we are to beware of is the danger that whilst we enjoy the gifts, the gracious Giver should be forgotten — of spending all our time and energy on the acquisition of God's gifts to be used for our own pleasure rather than in seeking the Divine glory.
2. Into this sin the Israelites fell once and again in the course of their history. Even after the stern lesson of the Babylonian exile they fell into this sin (Haggai 1, etc.). In our Lord's time this sin was aggravated by hypocrisy. The formal religionists drew near to God with outward devotion, but their hearts were far from Him. The self-pleasing, worldly agriculturist of the parable was, it may be surmised, a typical figure (Luke 12:15-21).
3. There is too much of this spirit in our own time. Among all classes there is a feverish grasping after riches and pleasure; there is a striving after wealth, not that those who strive may become better men and women, and be better enabled to serve God, but that they may have more of ease, of passing pleasures. Possessions gained and received without thankful gratitude to God and more earnest effort in His service turn to dust and ashes in the using.
4. This results from the failure of men to desire first and receive God's best gifts in Jesus Christ.
III. THE EFFECT OF EITHER SPIRIT ON NATIONAL AND INDIVIDUAL LIFE.
1. When a nation rests on God in its government and institutions, and shows grateful loyalty to Him, that nation will grow in righteousness and strengths, and become a power for good in the world.
2. To the individual who serves Him in grateful love He will give His richest blessings. Material gifts may sometimes be withheld as not for their good; but joyful assurance of His presence will be given to them, and of the certainty of His promises.
3. Far otherwise will it be with those who forget God. Israel's history tells how the curse has fallen (Isaiah 1:8). God-forgetfulness led to hardness of heart, spiritual pride, and the invocation on themselves of the awful sentence, "His blood be on us and on our children."
4. Are there not many among us who fall into the same error — who reap luxuriant fields, who amass enormous gains without any thought of gratitude to God, or any effort in His service? Such love of money — of the possessions of this life — "is a root of all evil," leading to the hardening of the heart and the materialising of the life.
5. The Divine rule is the only safe one: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, etc. "Through Israel's failure to render God a grateful service they failed to carry out the Divine commission confided to them as a nation, i.e. to make God's name, etc., known (Psalm 67.). Does our thankful gratitude to God lead us to do so?
(Wm. Frank Scott.)
LinksDeuteronomy 8:3 NIV
Deuteronomy 8:3 NLT
Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV
Deuteronomy 8:3 NASB
Deuteronomy 8:3 KJV
Deuteronomy 8:3 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 8:3 Parallel
Deuteronomy 8:3 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 8:3 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 8:3 French Bible
Deuteronomy 8:3 German Bible
Deuteronomy 8:3 Commentaries