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Deuteronomy 7:9-10 -

Lessons from history.

I. A LESSON IN GOD 'S GOODNESS . In putting Israel into possession of the land of promise after so long a period of waiting, and at the cost of so much miracle, God gave the nation an irrefragable proof of his covenant-keeping faithfulness. How many difficulties, to the human eye, stood in the way of the fulfillment of that promise! And by what nice adjustments of providence, and what a subtly linked succession of events, was the fulfillment at length brought about! Israel had to be taken down to Egypt, there preserved till it grew and multiplied, passed through the iron furnace of affliction, brought up again with a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm, conducted and provided for in the wilderness, legislated for and organized, strengthened to overcome its enemies. At what an expenditure of wisdom and power was all this accomplished! And how much forbearance and tenderness had to be shown to the people themselves in the course of their rebellious history! Faithfulness was thus emblazoned on every part of God's dealings with them. Another and greater promise, which hung still longer in suspension, has been fulfilled in the coming of that "Seed" in whom already all families of the earth are beginning to be blessed ( Genesis 22:18 ; Galatians 3:16 ). This fulfillment, above all, demonstrates that Jehovah, he is God, the faithful God, keeping covenant with them that love him.

II. A LESSON IN GOD 'S SEVERITY . ( Deuteronomy 7:10 .) That had been taught to Israel by many passages in their own history. They had seen God's judgments upon Pharaoh. They had experienced his severity in the plagues, etc; which had swept their own camp in punishment of disobedience. They had witnessed a whole generation turned back to perish in the wilderness. The lesson was now to be taught them by the destruction of these wicked nations. And as if to burn it more deeply, and forever, into their minds and consciences, the sword of execution was put into their own hands. The two lessons need to be read together. God's severity, divorced from the discoveries of his grace, might appear to the on-looker harsh and cruel, whereas, as Bible history shows, judgment is "his strange work" ( Isaiah 28:21 ). On the other hand, the remembrance of his severity is needed to prevent the abuse of his goodness ( Romans 11:22 ).—J.O.

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