4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
When difficulty succeeds difficulty apparently without end, human strength and patience are likely to give way...Israels journey was long and trying; but under divine leadership, they persevered, and the end came at last. They found themselves at the end of the forty years, (and after a few years fighting), settled in peace and safety in the land of promise.
These things were types and examples. They serve their purpose if we learn from them to be patient under all the toils of the journey we are making through the present evil world. The journey will not last for ever.
But while we are here in conflict with the evil we need to be fortified < fortified to endure. To fortify the mind is to make it strong, and to make it strong is to fill it with ideas that give a joyful reason for action. There are ideas that have no power to influence the mind in this way, but contrariwise. This is why some books are profitable, and some not; some men helpful and some not. The ideas that inspire us to endure tribulation, and to deny ourselves are those that are connected with God. As David says, 'I saw the Lord always before me, therefore I shall not be moved'. In proportion as God is a vision before the mind, will we feel strong to sustain the part of waiting for Him.
We cannot in our day get this vision apart from the Bible. We cannot see God with the natural eye. We could even do this, if God permitted. We may hope to see and feel Him in the glorious ages, if we are permitted to have a place therein. But, meanwhile, our privilege is limited to knowledge and faith, and these we do not get as students of nature, but as students of the Scriptures. God has put it in our power to know Him by the abundant revelation He has made. Oh, how privileged we are to have this revelation.
It is communicated to us in a form so full of interest and so able to thoroughly furnish the man of God unto all good works. Those discover this who read methodically and daily. By this habit they open for themselves treasures of acquaintance and conviction that cannot be reached by the casual, desultory, or indifferent reader.
Bro Roberts - Fortified to endure.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
The New Testament writers expressed themselves on the subject of disease in the language of the people, without undertaking to reveal to them more precise knowledge concerning it than they already possessed. The Jewish nation, however, admitted one truth, practically ignored by all others to this day-that all diseases are laid upon mankind by the hand of God as corrections for their transgressions of his law.
As it is written in their law,
"If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of those diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee."
From this, it is clear, that it is not disembodied ghosts of wicked men, or devils from hell, or the Devil, that cause lunacy, dumbness, madness, and so forth, which are referred to "demons," but Yahweh that puts diseases both on Jews and Gentiles.
"If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, O Israel, then the Lord," says Moses, "will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses of long continuance. Moreover, he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which are not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord cause to ascend upon thee, until thou be destroyed."
Physical or natural evil is chastisement and punishment for sin; and because the Serpent was the cause of its introduction into the world, he stands as the symbol of what is inimical or adverse to human happiness. Hence, that system of evil within the flesh and in the world, which he originated, adverse to God, to righteousness, and to health, is surnamed "Satan," or Adversary, "that old Serpent." This is Sin's symbol: so that the Israelites dying from serpent bites, because of transgression, looked to the Serpent lifted up by Moses for their cure.
The serpent there exalted, represented sin to be condemned in the flesh of a crucified Messiah, for the cure of all believers of the gospel who looked to him. Hence, Serpent-sin, or Satan, and disease, are as cause and effect. Thus, the woman incurably diseased is said to have been bound of Satan for eighteen years. This is the case with Israel and the rest of the world to this day.
They are bound of Satan-a bondage from which none can free them, but
"the Son of Man at Yahweh's right hand, whom he hath made strong for himself:"
for "it is He that healeth thee," O World, as the Lord hath said. It was natural, then, that diseases being generally referred to Satan, particular affections should be designated by the word demon taken in an evil sense, instead of a good one, in which also it is sometimes used.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1854.