Psalm 137:4; 1 Peter 4:4). Reminds us of the attitude of many worldly persons towards Christians. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." Yet worldly men may have sincere regard for Christian men; bear unconscious testimony to excellence of Christianity. And here a danger to Christians. Let us journey together. I like you; you are unselfish, trustworthy. And why not? Because in journeying with Esau he must be leader, or he would cease to be Esau. The world's good-will does not mean a changed heart. Without any pronounced dislike to higher aims, it shares them not, and knows not anything more real than earth. There is a journey we all take in company: in the thousand ways in which men are dependent on each other; in the courtesies and good offices of life; in what belongs to our position as citizens or family men. But in what constitutes the road of life - its stamp and direction, its motives and aims - no union. We have another Leader (Hebrews 12:2). The pillar of fire led Israelites not according to Roman judgment.
I. THIS DOES NOT IMPLY KEEPING ALOOF FROM MEN, OR FROM HUMAN INTERESTS. We are called to be the salt of the earth. It is an error to shrink from contact with the world as dangerous to us. This of old led to monasticism. But there may be a spiritual solitude even when living in the throng of a city. In secular matters refusing to take an interest in what occupies others (cf. Luke 6:31), as if God had nothing to do with these; or in spiritual things avoiding Christian intercourse with those who do not in all points agree with us; or being engrossed with our own spiritual welfare, and turning away from all concern for the welfare of others (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
II. IT DOES IMPLY A REAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING REDEEMED, set free, bought with a price; OF HAYING A DEFINITE WORK TO DO FOR GOD, WITH WHICH NOTHING MUST INTERFERE; a real way to walk in, from which nothing must make us turn aside. And in order to this, watchfulness over self, that in seeking to help others we ourselves are not ensnared.
III. SOME WAYS IN WHICH THE WORLD IN ITS FRIENDSHIP TEMPTS CHRISTIANS.
1. By the plea, there is no harm in this or that. We must not think that all actions can be brought to an absolute standard of fight and wrong. This is the spirit of legality, the spirit of bondage, and leads to partial service instead of entire dedication (cf. Luke 15:29). Loyalty to Christ must direct the Christian's life; desire not merely to avoid direct disobedience, but to use our time and powers for him who loved us and gave himself for us.
2. By the display of good feelings as the equivalent of Christian graces. Esau's kindliness and frankness are very attractive. Yet he was a "profane person;" not because of his anger or any sinful act, but because he thought little of God's blessing.
3. By making Christians familiar with worldly aims and maxims, and thus insensibly blunting their spiritual aspirations. The way of safety is through prayer for the Holy Spirit's help, to maintain the consciousness of Christ's presence. - M.
Jacob journeyed to Succoth.1. Providence in love carrieth on his own after removing of blocks from their way.
2. The movings and journeyings of his own, providence guides, as of the wicked, but with distinction.
3. Esau under providence may be carried to Seir, strong mountains, but Jacob to Succoth, a poor cottage and a booth..
4. Under providence it concerns good householders to build shelters, for themselves, families, and cattle.
5. Such common works of saints are recorded as pleasing unto God.
6. Jacob's seed are careful to keep booth-providences in remembrance, Name of place showeth this.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
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