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Deuteronomy 2:1-23 -

(specially Deuteronomy 2:7 ).

God's knowledge of our pilgrimage.

(For the historical and geographical details connected with this section, see the Exposition.) Moses here reviews the career of Israel during the wanderings, with reference to their treatment of the nations through whose territory they required to pass on their way. They, though the favored people of Jehovah, were not allowed to transgress the common laws of righteousness, by levying any demands on the nations through whose country they passed, nor to "distress" in any way those peoples whom the Lord had not delivered into their hands. They were to labor for their own sustenance, and to purchase, at a fair rate, meat or drink. And so far as this precept was concerned, they seem to have been (notwithstanding their waywardness in other respects) loyal to the Lord their God. These directions against transgressing the rules of right in national intercourse, were a most important part of the education of a people, where God was forming a commonwealth with this (then) unique feature, that its corner-stone was righteousness . (For an admirable survey of the fundamental principles of the Hebrew polity, home and foreign, see Wines's 'Commentaries on the Laws of Moses.') And as Moses is now reviewing the stages in their experience when they passed through an alien's land, he reminds them how faithful God had been to them; that they bad had no need to depart from the Divine injunctions, for their good and gracious God had taken all their need into account. " He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness ." This clause contains a world of meaning in itself, and opens up a most fruitful theme for the Christian's meditation and for pulpit exposition, viz. God ' s knowledge of our pilgrimage in life . Three inquiries invite our notice—

I. WHAT IS IT THAT GOD IS HERE SAID TO KNOW ? "Thy walking." We understand Moses as here referring to the walking, viewed objectively, not subjectively. The sentence would be true in both respects; but, nevertheless, the reference does not seem to be to the manner of Israel's walking, but to the pilgrimage itself. What was true of them is also true of us. He knoweth our walking, etc.

1. The meaning of our pilgrimage is known to him—as being that of moral and responsible beings, made in the image of God, and as having for its purpose the education of character for eternity.

2. He knows the difficulties of the pilgrimage—the obstructions with which we are continually meeting, thwarting, perhaps, our fondest plans and wishes.

3. He knows the trials of the way. Not only the trials which are "common to man" in general, but also those indefinable , felt peculiarities, which are ours and ours only, which we cannot unfold to a single soul on earth.

4. He knows the enemies which beset us: their strength, number, malice, and craft.

5. He knows the appointed goal at the end of the pilgrimage, and all the glorious possibilities which may be unfolded in the realization of our destiny.

6. He knows the wants of each and of all, temporal and spiritual; that we are helpless to the attainment of life's end, without constant supplies from him.


1. Obviously, his perfect, full, entire acquaintance , not only with the pilgrimage in general, not only with such particulars of it as those we have just named, but also with every detail of each particular. He seeth the whole of everything.

2. But it is not a bare seeing; the knowledge is attended with a fatherly interest in all that concerns the welfare of his children. He "taketh pleasure in them that fear him." "He careth for" us. The training of his children for a home by means of a pilgrimage thither, is one of the most kind and loving designs of the heart of infinite love!

3. The knowing includes the actually taking into account all the need of our pilgrimage, in his words, works, and ways.

III. WHAT IS THE PRACTICAL VALUE TO US OF SUCH KNOWLEDGE ? The value of it is infinite . On three main points, however, the preacher may dwell, and revel in the luxury they afford.

1. If life's pilgrimage is just beginning, this Divine knowledge, so applied, may yield us guidance in treading the way. For it, God has so mercifully taken all things into account in promise and precept, then we never need to depart a hair's breadth from the right path, for the sake of securing any apparent advantage whatever. This is specially suggested by the way in which Moses uses the words.

2. If we are just in the mid part of the pilgrimage, we may find immeasurable comfort under the difficulties of the way. All our responsibilities are accurately estimated, all wants perfectly considered, all supplies certainly ensured. What more could we desire?

3. If we make use of the Divine knowledge in the ways we have specified, we shall find that it will also give us a soul of thankfulness when near the end of the way. At the point of time referred to in the text, Israel was near the verge of Canaan. And the words are retrospective. They are a testimony to Divine faithfulness and care; "These forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing." So may the believer say and sing as he closes stage after stage of life; so will he sing when he closes the last stage of all:—"Not one thing hath failed of all that the Lord hath spoken." The more life unfolds to him of his own weakness, the louder and sweeter will be his song over Divine care; yea, he will go singing to the heavenly rest!


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