Deuteronomy 26-34

HERE is one thing we must remember in God's dealings with His people, that is, that we have reached God. We are far gone, and upon the ground of this the gospel comes in to tell us what God is, beloved; and on our part, the thing to be proved by us is, that we have reached God. We find that, having God, we have everything, a fullness to supply every emergency. What thought had a Sadducee of God? No right thought at all, beloved. So the Grecians at Corinth (1 Cor. 15.), "Some have not the knowledge of God, I speak this to your shame." When the Apostle was expressing the state of the Gentiles in Ephesus, it was
"without God and without hope in the world;" and in 2 Thess. 1, " them that know not God." There, again,
he charges them with simple abstract atheism; and why so? Because the gospel is such a provision for all man's necessities, that it brings in God; and where does His glory shine, but in the face of Jesus Christ? so that whosoever does not believe the gospel, rejects God. And these two are so intimately connected, that He cannot reveal Himself without revealing the ground of our hope. God is love, and it must be so. The gospel comes, not to bring ourselves to our view, but to bring God; and faith, whether it be weak or strong, gets this blessing. God forbid that anything should be said that could check the poorest and weakest saint! What does faith do? Why, it just presents God to Himself, just presents to God His own remedy, nothing of ours. Christ crucified and Christ risen was preached to Adam, and Abel believed it; and all religion in the family of God has been the same from that day to this; and God will own no principle of religion but this, from that day to the endless ages of eternity. But Cain would not take God's remedy, but chose his own; Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness; and when Abraham in Gen. 16 had fallen into Cain's state, the Lord reveals Himself to him in chapter 18, " Walk before Me, and be thou perfect." And what do we find? He falls upon his face and worships God. And what can we do, beloved, but fall down before God, and tell Him what He is Himself; and nothing will give the soul a graceful ease in its movements towards God, but this simplicity of faith. In delivering Israel, the Lord only knew Himself, and in His own grace delivered them; but at Mount Sinai we find Cain-work again, but still God rises above it; and however the people throw themselves into the fires of Sinai, He cannot but act in grace. In connection with these things, in Deut. 26:1-111And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there. 3And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us. 4And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. 5And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: 6And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: 7And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression: 8And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: 9And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: 11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. (Deuteronomy 26:1‑11), we see the covenant that put God and the people together. Now, beloved, nothing can exceed the blessedness of that; there is not a religion of grace under the sun but this. The principle of every religion of human nature is, " Thou art a hard and austere master;" but here are the people worshipping God, by bringing the full basket to present to Him of what He had given them. And on the same principle, beloved, we come presenting Jesus to God; it is not the first-fruits of the land, it is only to come acknowledging "a Syrian, ready to perish, was my father," in the simple consciousness of His love, and that is worship. Beloved, I know no other principle of worship than this, to bring the full basket, to say "a Syrian, ready to perish, was my father;" but Thou hast brought me to Jesus, Thou hast brought me to a land flowing with milk and honey, Thou host given me Jesus. And now as to the verses following this,- 12-15,—we must come, as Israel did, with clean hands to compass His altar, we must not regard iniquity in our hearts—(Pilate washed his hands, but there was iniquity in his heart); we must be able to say, as Israel did then, " Look down from Thy holy habitation," chap. 27. From henceforth to the close of the book, we have a beautiful exhibition of what God is; and oh! beloved, how blessed it is to know that we have reached God, and done with ourselves. Well now, we have the ten words inscribed upon the tables of stone; but where are they put, beloved? They are put at once, without trial, upon the mount of curse, and it comes as a warning that the result of the trial must be a curse; as the Apostle says, " All that are under the law are under the curse." But the Lord has taken His stand (in principle, I mean, of course) upon Mount Gerizim. He speaks of nothing but grace, of nothing but blessing. In Heb. 2, while the law was the thing ministered, let the angels take it, let Moses take it; but when it is grace, the Son takes it, the Spirit bears witness to it Where does the law come from? from His hand; but the gospel comes from the depth of the heart of God. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared it; and while my conscience stanch in company with the throne of God, my heart, in) affections, stand in company with the bosom of the Father. Chapter 28 was just Gerizim and Ebal it another style. In chapter 29, and onward to 32, then is a great transition. It is the thoughts of God, as it were passing from the law unto grace, and it gleams forth her and there, but not distinctly. It was an awkward think to get grace into the hands of the Legislator, but we do here and there get faint traces of it. The pillar of the cloud was one of the expressions of the grace of Him who was carrying them through the desert; it stood in company with the manna, the ark of the testimony, and all that was the expression of grace. In the song of Moses, mercy rejoices against judgment; but there is another note to be heard, beloved. In verses 42 and 43, the Lord shows what His plan is. Let Moses and the law go to Mount Ebal, He takes His place upon Mount Gerizim with the pillar of cloud for His companion. The gospel, beloved, is God dispensing Himself, giving Himself. In chapter 33, the earthly people are 'brought into the inheritance and blessed. If you travel through this 33rd of Deuteronomy, it is all blessing. Compare this with Gen. 49; Daniel has recovered his place, so to speak, he has leaped back from Mount Ebal to Mount Gerizim the fruit of this song, mercy rejoicing, against judgment. Did you ever mark in that lovely song of Hannah, beloved, it is the Lord that is the theme of her song? So here, so Samuel, it is Ebenezer, it is a witness to the Lord; and so it will be to eternity, beloved. You may enjoy the glory you are brought into, but you will celebrate nothing but the blood that brings you there. In the last chapter, we get Moses, who lost the land, who died on the other side Jordan, brought up to an elevation beyond all that passed the banks of Jordan. He is taken. up as the representative of the heavenly calling of the Church. It was his own want of faith that kept him back, but out of the eater we find meat brought forth. He lost the earth, it is true, but he got the heavenly glory. May the breathing of our hearts be, " Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee." Then, though flesh and heart fail, we may still say, "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."