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1 Therefore thou shalt love Yahweh thy Elohim, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of Yahweh your Elohim, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,
3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how Yahweh hath destroyed them unto this day;
5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of Yahweh which he did.
8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which Yahweh sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
12 A land [eretz] which Yahweh thy Elohim careth for: the eyes of Yahweh thy Elohim are always upon it, from the beginning of the year [reshit hashanah] even unto the end of the year [acharit shanah].
THE PLEASANT LAND.
These words form part of an appeal which the God of Israel made to his people, wherein He calls for their allegiance and affection, on the ground of his great and gracious intentions. The Lord recounts what he had done in bringing them out of Egypt, in destroying Pharaoh and his hosts, and in judging the rebels who had risen up among them. "Your eyes (says Moses) have seen all the great things which the Lord did." - Obedience is required of them as a condition of their peaceable and protracted possession of the promised inheritance.
That heritage - "the land which God had espied for them" - is next described with much minuteness and beauty. It is contrasted with Egypt, and shown to be a more beautiful and fertile land than that far-famed country; and God engages that if they will love and serve him, the land shall continue to be a "delightsome land." But the testimony most worthy of notice is, that Canaan is a land especially cared for by God, and that his eyes are continually upon it.
We are bound to believe this testimony, and should not let any thoughts or views unbecoming God's greatness, and independence of places and localities, interfere with a full and ample reception of this declaration. The fact that the Most High, who filleth all space with his presence, cares more for this one little spot on our small world, is in agreement with many other parts of God's Word; and it is his clearly revealed purpose, that in abolishing the times of the Gentiles, He will make the fact abundantly manifest.
How frequently did God speak with Abraham about this land - Genesis 12: 7; 13: 4-11; 15: 18-21, &c. &c. -and He did the same with Isaac and Jacob, and afterwards to Moses. Those who think that belief in the future glories of Canaan is puerile and wrong, have little sympathy with the Psalmist (105: 6-11), where the covenant with Abraham, the oath to Isaac, and its confirmation to Jacob, and "to Israel for an everlasting covenant," are all shown to centre in this: "Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan; the lot of your inheritance." This "covenant and word is said to be commanded to a thousand generations," which has never yet been fulfilled.
Who that considers the past history, the present condition, and the future destiny of Canaan, but must see reason for all that God hath said about it? In that land he has displayed Himself, exhibited his character, and revealed his grace. It hath been the home of his tabernacle and temple, with its splendid rites and mystic glories. Its hills have resounded with the lyre of his prophets, and from its lovely valleys the prayers of his faithful ones have gone up from age to age. Thus he made it a beacon of light in a dark world, sustaining there a witness (though, alas! sometimes feeble), for his own unity and holiness, in opposition to the many and filthy deities of the heathen.
In the fulness of time it became the chosen theatre for redemption work; over its surface and on its waters walked the feet of "Immanuel, God with us." The Son of God, the Son of man, breathed its balmy air, plucked its clustering fruit, and gazed with pleasure on its lovely landscapes. But of one of its trees a cross was made, and he was hung upon it. From one of its mines iron was brought and fashioned into nails to pierce his blessed hands and feet. In one of its caves his breathless body was laid for a while, and after he left those gloomy shades, he still lingered forty days amidst the valleys, rocks and hills "of the land which God careth for."
Well may we wonder at all this; but we shall not stagger at the same, when we remember that he first took dust of our earth into indissoluble union with his divine nature. In our nature he ascended to heaven, still casting loving looks on the land of his birth and pilgrimage, and pronouncing, as he gave his last commission, the name of Jerusalem in tones of richest tenderness, ascended to glory, to make "the land that He cared for" the fountain of light, -living waters flowed from it, and made glad and beautiful many a barren Gentile wilderness.
Thus his dying prayer was answered, and his parting command fulfilled. Jerusalem became vocal with his name, and many Jerusalem sinners were forgiven. But ere he died, his tears had been mingled with the dust of Judah; and wherefore felt he such bitter sorrow? He saw that the glory would depart - that the temple would fall - the people be scattered, and Jerusalem be trodden down. All was accomplished. He put not forth his almighty hand to hinder it, for he intended to make this long-favoured, guilty land, a monument of divine wrath, on which justice should write in broad, legible, characters, God's hatred of sin, especially the sin of unbelief. There it stands, like a burnt mountain, still smoking with the heat of God's anger. It reads the whole world a grand moral lesson, and bids the possessors of privileges "not to be high-minded, but fear."
But its destinies are more glorious than its past history is wonderful. God will "heal the land." "He will be merciful to his land and to his people." (Deuteronomy 27: 43.) He whose purpose is steadfast as the ordinances of heaven, says: "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isaiah 62: 5.) Then, when "God's sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ezekiel 37: 28), shall God's great idea be wrought out, "Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, to which the nations shall be gathered." (Jeremiah 3: 17.) The land shall become "Immanuel's land;" it shall be filled with holiness, and the divine complacency shall ever rest upon it. "His eyes and his heart shall be there perpetually."
For thus regarding the land of Canaan, we indulge in no superstitious feelings; such respect for God's inheritance is far removed from mere sentimentality. Such thoughts are sober and spiritual, and those who indulge in them are brought into sympathy with God. To "despise this pleasant land," as regards that bright destiny which all the prophets unite in foretelling, argues, in this respect at least, a lack of sympathy with God in his thoughts and purposes.
But where does God's eye and his heart abide now? Who are his covenant people, in whom he takes pleasure? "Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy!" "To this man will I look, who is of a poor and contrite spirit." Such are related to him. He is "the Lord their God." They choose him, confide in him, and feel complacency in character, and that because he hath loved them with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness hath drawn them. As the God of their salvation, he will supply their need, succour them in sorrow, and save them with an everlasting salvation.
Because He was their Lord God of Israel, He provided Canaan for their home, brought them into it, preserved it for their use, for in it they had safety, supply, and satisfaction. He took pleasure in seeing them happy, because He got glory to his name by their prosperity. And thus he deals with his chosen people now. He provides spiritual blessings; enables them to claim and enjoy them; guards both them and their inheritance; and all "to the praise and glory of his grace, wherein he hath made them accepted in the Beloved;" "that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us by Christ Jesus."
Oh, ye spiritual Israel of God! look up and catch the beamings of your heavenly Father's eye. "Cast all your care on him, for he careth for you." Ever abide where God's eye of delight ever rests, even in his beloved Son. Let that [ecclesia], as dear to him, be much cared for by you, and forget not to care for Israel and her down-trodden land; and then, when Israel shall "feed on Bashan and Gilead as in days of old," and the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, you shall dwell in that heavenly city, composed of living stones gathered out of all nations; and which shall evermore possess the presence of God and the Lamb, to be its light and its glory. -Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, p. 191.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1853.
13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love Yahweh your Elohim, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then Yahweh's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which Yahweh giveth you.
18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which Yahweh sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will Yahweh drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for Yahweh your Elohim shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other Elohims, which ye have not known.
29 And it shall come to pass, when Yahweh thy Elohim hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which Yahweh your Elohim giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.