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Deuteronomy 2:1-7

"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough"

(Deuteronomy 2:1-7).
"I will trust, and not be afraid,
Be it in light, or be it in shade;
The enemy visible and strong,
Or creeping stealthily along;
O! by Thy grace I shall be bold,
If that Thy grace doth me enfold."

As pilgrims and strangers on the earth there are two dangers to which we are ever exposed, that of sitting at ease in our present comfortable condition, or of rushing impatiently into new spheres and circumstances. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and He shall direct thy paths. Consider-

I. The Arrest. "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough. " The mountain they had been compassing was not for them, "no, riot a foot breadth" (Deuteronomy 2:5). There were other possessions waiting on them.

It is a blessed thing to be saved from the wrath to come, but it is a miserable thing never to get beyond that. Are there not many of the Lord's people to whom it might be said with regard to their spiritual experience, "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough?" Press on toward the mark of your high calling in Christ Jesus.

II. The Command. "Turn you northward. " The good land of promise lay stretched away northward. They were to set their faces toward all that had been freely given them by God. Christian pilgrim, remember the man with the muck rake in Bunyan's allegory. See that your neck is not allowed to stiffen looking only at the things of earth and sense. "Turn you northward. " Look up and expect the fulfilment of His exceeding great and precious promises in your daily experience. Instead of the muck of earth look for the crown of glory.

III. The Warning. "Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren, the children of Esau; meddle not with them" (Deuteronomy 2:4-5). Mount Seir had been given to Esau to possess it (Jos 24:4). When God blesses His people He does it righteously, even in the presence of the ungodly. We have a just God and a Saviour. In the face of an assembled universe this will be manifestly so. It was not the Lord, but one of Job's miserable comforters who declared that "The heavens are not clean in His sight. "

IV. The Reminder. Just as we are the Lord's remembrancers so He is ours. In verse seven they are reminded of His-

1. Favour. "The Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand. " His favour always means blessing. The grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared. His favour is better than the best of a mere earthly life.

2. Wisdom. "He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness. " He is mindful of us. He knoweth the way that we take. Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all points like as we are, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Yes, He knows thy walking, whither it is through great shadows of trial and suffering, or along the sunny path of painless prosperity. So that you may fearlessly say-

"Where He may lead I'll follow,
My trust in Him repose,
And every hour in perfect peace,
I'll sing, He knows, He knows. "

3. Presence. "The Lord thy God hath been with thee." Have we no evidence in the past that the Lord our God hath been with us? Will His faithfulness fail toward us in the future? Be encouraged, O soul, if thy heart seeks His honour and His Name's glory. He cannot deny Himself. He would be denying Himself and robbing His Word of its power and glory if His presence failed the humble, childlike, believing spirit. He hath been with thee; He will bless thee still.

4. Sufficiency. "Thou hast lacked nothing. " "When I sent you, lacked ye anything?" And they answered, "Nothing" (Luk 22:35). Out of Heaven and from the flinty rock the God of all grace satisfied their needs. There may be many things we want, but we shall lack no good thing when He is with us. My God shall supply all your need. Many a time they murmured in the wilderness, but the Lord their God declares that they lacked nothing. We are rich indeed when we have what He wishes us to have, whatever that may be. "Be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Heb 13:5).


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