and also Mizpah, because he said, "May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are absent from one another.
I. THE EVIL OF DISSIMULATION. Hatred and wrong the fruits of crafty ways. Family dissensions where the things of this world uppermost. Separations which are made in the spirit of dependence on God rend no true bond, but rather strengthen affection.
II. THE FORBEARANCE OF GOD. No justification of Laban, much imperfection in Jacob; yet the shield of Divine patience and mercy thrown over the man who vowed the vow of service, in whom his grace would yet be abundantly revealed. Laban's action controlled by God. He forbad the evil design. He stilleth the enemy and the avenger. "Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (ver. 29). "Touch not mine anointed," &c. When we are doing God's work and walking towards his chosen end we may leave it with him to speak with those who would hinder or harm us. - R.
1. An oath of God is a just means of confirmation to a lawful covenant for setting things out of doubt.
1. Treacherous, deceitful men are most fearful of hurt pursuing them. So Laban.
The Lord watch between me and thee.1. Injurious persons are most apt to suspect the innocent for doing wrong.
2. Wicked men would not have others wrong their children though they do it themselves.
3. Nature denieth polygamy though men's lusts design and plead for it.
4. Want of human witness to require fealty is no ground of breaking covenant security.
5. God Himself is witness to the covenants of men, and will see right to be done by them or judge for it.
6. The most fraudulent men may be strict upon others to press on them the testimony of God (ver. 50).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Guilty fear makes men solicitous and intent to save themselves.
3. Sinful solicitousness for safety is full of words to little purpose (ver. 51).
4. Jealousy groundless contents not itself with God's witness, but will have visible assurance.
5. Wickedness may sometimes be content not to do harm to others when it is afraid itself.
6. The most injurious are most solicitous to secure themselves from the innocent, who think no harm unto them (ver. 52).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Superstitious men, though convinced of the true way of God, yet worship and swear in old corrupt ways.
3. Oaths taken by false gods, or the true in false ways, are yet binding.
4. in making peace with idolaters it is lawful to take their corrupt swearing, but net to follow it.
5. True saints, when called to swear, must do it in the true fear of the true God.
6. It is just for saints to glorify God by swearing in just cases and making Him Judge (ver. 53).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. The spirits of good men are free and ingenious even to such as have been adversaries to them.
3. Friendly invitations and communion are the best issue of hot debates.
4. The power of God so overrules as to make persecutors sleep under the shelter of such whom they have oppressed (ver. 54).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. The purposes of wicked men are not in their own hands to effect them. Laban goeth changed home.
2. Furious pursuits of the innocent God turneth to early departures of their enemies.
3. Overruling Providence can make unnatural men show natural affection.
4. Wicked men are convinced there cometh good to men only from the blessing of God.
5. Ungodly ones may use forms of blessing when yet they can procure none from God.
6. God turns oppressors to their own with rebukes who thirsted after the possessions of the innocent (ver. 55). So God delivereth His out of temptations.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)I. The ordinary use of this word is not quite the same as its original use. It is generally used as a kind of bond or link between parted friends; whereas it was first used as a SAFEGUARD AND WARNING between two men who were in some sort enemies, or, at least, but doubtful friends, and one of them very suspicious of the other.
1. When two men part, as Laban and Jacob parted, and their circumstances are such that, while absent from one another, one of them, or perhaps each of them, will have it in his power to injure the other in any way, in such a case let this word act as a wholesome warning: "Mizpah," a beacon or watch-tower. The Lord Himself is such. He overlooks all.
2. A servant must often be free from the ken of master or mistress. But there is an eye on that servant always — the all-seeing eye of God. He stands as a watch-tower between servant and master or mistress, marking and judging how each fulfils his part. Is the master or mistress kind, just, considerate? Is the servant faithful and true, honest, upright, diligent?
3. Men have many dealings with one another in business. The Lord stands and overlooks each bargain.
II. But though the original application of the word was such, yet it may very well be applied also in that other way in which it is so often used. When those who love one another are called to part — when friends, for instance, go from each other, when brothers and sisters separate, when children leave home, when even a husband is called to a distance, perhaps to a foreign land, and that for a long time — it is A GREAT COMFORT to remember that the Lord is as a watch-tower between those thus parted. The closest and dearest of all bonds is that of having one Father, one Saviour, one Spirit, one hope now, one eternal home hereafter. Those thus united are hardly absent, even when parted in the body.
(F. Bourdillon, M. A.)
(F. Bourdillon, M. A.).
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