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The gain of resting on the sabbath day. Moses had directed the children of Israel, to gather manna for their eating, at the rate of an omer for every member of each family, for those who went out to gather, and for those who stayed behind in the tents. "Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah," an ephah being somewhat less than our bushel. This being the quantity allowed to each person, that which every one gathered was measured, and what one wanted of his omer was supplied out of the abundance of those who gathered more. A profitable hint to us, as St. Paul has signified, that those Christians, who have more than enough for themselves, should supply the wants of the poor. See 2 Cor. 8. 14, 15. "And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning :"assigning no reason for the commandment. But they which disobeyed, soon found that there was a good reason; "it bred worms, and stank." Every law of God, whether we know why or not, is holy, and just, and good. And so we shall experience, in our happiness, if we obey; but if we disobey, in our punishment. On the sixth day there seems to have been a double quantity of manna spread upon the ground, so that the people gathered twice as much as usual. And this was thus explained by Moses to "the rulers of the congregation," who probably superintended the measurement of what was brought in, "Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord." On the sabbath they would find none on the ground. And that which was to be kept over for the food of the sabbath, would not be spoiled by keeping. What wondrous food is this, that teaches whilst it feeds! Nay, do not we experience something like it ? and might we not find a lesson on hallowing the sabbath day, in the fact, that our labour of six days in the week provides us food and raiment for the seven? Oh folly of the worldly wise, to lose the rest which God allows! How long, ye sinners against your own souls, how long refuse ye to keep his commandments? But behold, this food not only can be kept one day over for the sabbath, it can be laid up before the Lord for many generations; that they may see the bread wherewith God fed their fathers in the wilderness. When all the manna that fell for forty years as well as they-who fed on it, had decayed, there was an omer in a golden pot " before the Testimony," fresh, and pure, as on the day it fell. When all flesh had corrupted itself before God, there was one out of all mankind, whose family was preserved, and has continued to flourish till this hour. When both body and soul of the wicked shall be given up to the worm that never dieth, there shall be a remnant for ever sacred, as " an omer full of manna," a small measure, but that well filled, pressed down, and running over; to manifest throughout all the ages of eternity, what a blessed thing it is to feed on bread, that "giveth life unto the world." John 6. 33.
O. T. VOL. I. PART I. T
Water from the rock in Horeb. Amalek defeated. 1 And all the congregation of dren of Israel, and because they the children of Israel journeyed tempted the Lord, saying, Is
from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said,
the Lord among us, or not?
8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down
Wherefore is this that thou hast his hand, Amalek prevailed brought us up out of Egypt, to 12 But Moses' hands were heavy;
kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and
6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come wa
and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
15 And Moses built an altar,
ter out of it, that the people may and called the name of it JEdrink. And Moses did so in the HOVAH-nissi:
sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the chil
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. LECTURE 137. War the scourge of wickedness in the nations. The different stages, of the journeys of the Israelites in the wilderness, are mentioned more fully in the book of Numbers; those only being here set down at which some important event took place. Such an event was the murmuring of the people for want of water at Rephidim, another painful proof of the hardness of man's heart. And such was God's giving them water out of "the rock in Horeb;" another signal instance of his undeserved bounty. The people had made now only three stages, since their departure from the wilderness of Sin; see Num. M. 12—14; where they had been fed both with quails and manna. And the manna still continued each day to fall round about their habitation, and to yield them abundance of food. Yet they no sooner wanted water than instead of praying to God, and waiting to see how He would provide for them, they began to murmur against Moses, and were almost ready to stone him. Who but the Lord of heaven and earth could have put up kindly with, such perversity as this? who but He could give them water out of the stony rock? or would have deigned to prove that He was indeed amongst them, by any such act of unexpected kindness? Oh that He may bring to pass abundantly amongst them that are disobedient, his more frequent but not less marvellous work, that there may come rivers of repentant tears out of the stony heart of unbelief!
He that saved from drought, could, if He had pleased, have also protected his people from the assault of the Amalekites. But He suffered these descendants of Esau, as we learn more fully from the book of Deuteronomy, to attack the Israelites in a crafty and cruel manner; by smiting the hindmost and the feeble, when they were faint and weary. See Deut. 25.18. And in the same passage we are told of them, that they feared not God. In them therefore God was pleased to shew that He can bring to nought the craft of the cunning, and the strength of the mighty. i or that this victory which Israel gained over Amalek was not gotten by their own force, but only by the interference of Jehovah, was made manifest by its being seen to depend on Moses holding up "the rod of God" in his hand. And lest there should be any doubt, Moses was commanded to write a memorial of what had happened, and he also built an altar which he named Jehovahnissi; "the Lord my banner;" (margin;) to impress upon the people that God would surely by their means "put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." Oh what a dreadful scourge is war, that God should use it to exterminate the chiefest of his enemies! Who could have thought that his own chosen people would ever have turned their swords against each other? Who would have expected that Christian nations, elected as they have been unto sanctification, and invested with all the privileges of the Israel of God, would have spent, as they often have, the chief of their strength, and skill, and riches, in warring one with another? Oh that God may be our banner, and teach our hands to war, not with our brethren, but with Satan, and with sin! Oh that He may always cause us to triumph, not in ourselves, but in our Saviour! See 2 Cor. 2. U.
s Jethro bringeth to Moses his wife and sons.
1 When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt;
2 Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,
3 And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
5 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
6 And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their
welfare; and they came into the tent.
8 And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and allthe travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them.
9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
io And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
n Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
12 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God.
The children of Israel were now nigh to mount Horeb, where God had appeared to Moses, whilst he was keeping the flock of his wife's father. Jethro therefore having "heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people," took this opportunity of bringing back to him his wife and two sons; whom it seems he had sent to Midian, to the care of Jethro, after they had journeyed with him part of the way towards Egypt. This he may have done, with a view to be more free to serve the Lord, in the singular and difficult and dangerous undertaking, to which he had been called. How great must now have been his joy, upon meeting with them again! How well was he rewarded for the loss of their society, by the pleasure of telling them how highly he had been honoured, as an instrument in the hand of God, for accomplishing the deliverance of his brethren! Oh let us never refuse, if called upon by God, to be separated for a while, even from those, with whom usually it is our duty to dwell! Oh let us never doubt, that whatever we here sacrifice for Christ's sake, He will hereafter repay, "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." Eph. 3. 20.
The names which Moses had given to his two sons were expressive of thankfulness for the mercy of God, in saving his life, when at first he fled from Egypt, and sojourned in a strange land. Both of them must now have been grown nigh to man's estate. But it is remarkable that no mention is here made, of what Moses said, either to his sons or to his wife, on meeting them. But we are told what he said to his father in law, how he went out to meet him, and the manner of their salutation, and the subjects on which they conversed. This omission is easily accounted for, when we remember that this book was written by Moses himself. For we must suppose that he was therefore guided, not to dwell on any thing that might seem to relate to his own feelings, his own credit, his own family, rather than to the dealings of God with his people. And we shall find afterwards in this history, that no further mention is made at all of the wife of Moses, and no provision is made for his sons, beyond the lot of any ordinary Levite. So well did this eminent ruler answer to the character of men fit to rule, set forth in this chapter by Jethro; "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness." Ver. 21. So well does Moses teach us not only to hate covetousness, but also to avoid that offensive form of selfishness, the obtruding upon others unseasonably our own personal concerns.
And see now how profitably Jethro and his son in law communed on the mighty works of the Lord, done in behalf of Israel, both in Egypt and in the wilderness. And learn from the aged priest of Midian to rejoice for all the goodness which the Lord did to Israel, whom He "delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians." Let the whole history of this deliverance not only convince you, "that the Lord is greater than all gods," inasmuch as He put to shame the false gods of the Egyptians, in miracles of the very kind to which they pretended; but let it also fill you with joy in behalf of them that then rejoiced, and with thankfulness towards God who fulfilled their joy. Offer with the father in law of Moses, and with Aaron, and all the elders of Israel, offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving; "the calves of the lips" according to Hosea; 14. 2; or as St. Paul describes the same kind of sacrifice to God, "the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name." Heb. 13. 15.
God be praised for all his goodness unto Israel his people! God be praised for his grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ, unto all the children of men! See John 1. 17.