Page images

mediator. Moses having taken his place outside the camp, God reveals Himself to him as He never had done before. The people see God standing at the door of the tabernacle which Moses had pitched; and they worship, every man at his tent door. The Lord speaks unto Moses face to face as a man speaks unto his friend. We shall see that it is to these communications that God alludes when He speaks of the glory of Moses (Numb.xii.8), and not to those on Mount Sinai. Moses, as mediator in the way of testimony, goes into the camp, but Joshua, the Spiritual chief of the people (Christ in Spirit) does not depart out of the tabernacle. Moses now recognises what God had told him, to bring up the people; he is there as the mediator on whom everything depends. But he dares not entertain the thought of going up alone, of going up without knowing who would be with him. God has acknowledged him in grace, and he desires to know who will go before him. He therefore asks, since he has found grace, that he may know His way, the way of God, not only to have a way for him (Moses) to get to Canaan, buť" thy way,” thus will he know God, and in the way will find grace in His sight. God replies that His presence shall go, and that He will give rest to Moses : the two things he perfectly needed as crossing the wilderness. Moses then brings in the people, and says, “ Carry us not up hence,” and that “we have found grace, I and thy people.” This also is granted of the Lord; and now he desires for himself to see the glory of the Lord ; but that

1 face which is to go and lead Moses and the people, God cannot shew unto Moses. He will hide him while He passes by, and Moses shall see His back parts. We cannot meet God on His way as independent of Him. After He has passed by, one sees all the beauty of His could have been before-hand in proposing such a thing as the Cross ? After God of Himself has done it, then all the perfectness of God in it overflows the heart. God then lays down two principles: His sovereignty, which allows Him to act in goodness towards the wicked, for in justice He would have cut off the whole peopleand the conditions of His government under which He VOL.II. PT.I.




ways. Who

was putting the people, His character such as it is manifested in His ways towards them. Hid whilst He passes by, Moses bows down at the voice of God who proclaims His name and reveals what He is as JEHOVAH. These words give the principles contained in the character of God Himself in connection with the Jewish people — principles which form the basis of His government. It is not at all the name of His relationship with the sinner for his justification, but with Israel for His government. Mercy, holiness, and patience mark His ways with them. Moses, ever bearing the people of God on his heart, beseeches God, according to the favour in which he stands as mediator, that the Lord, thus revealed, may go up in their midst; and that because they were a stiffnecked people. The relationship between Moses personally and God was fully established, so that he could present the people, such as they were, because of his (Moses' own) position, and consequently make of the difficulty and sin of the people a reason for the presence of God, according to the character He had revealed. It is the proper effect of mediation; but it is beautiful to see, grace having thus come in, the reason God had given for the destruction of the people, or at least for His absence, becoming a motive for His presence. It no doubt supposed forgiveness as well. This Moses asks for, and adds, in the consciousness of the blessing of the name and being of God, " Take us for thine inheritance.”

In answer to this prayer, God establishes a new covenant with the people. The basis of it is complete separation from the nations which God was going to drive out from before the people. It supposes the entrance of the people into Canaan in virtue of the mediation of Moses, and the presence of God with the people consequent upon his intercession.

He is commanded to maintain their relationship with Him in the solemn feasts under the blessing and safeguard of God. I have rather enlarged upon these conversations of Moses with the people, because (and it is very important to remark it) Israel never entered the land under the Sinai covenant, it had been immediately broken: it is under


the mediation of Moses that they were able to find again the way of entering it. However they are placed again under the law, but the government of patience and grace

is added to it. In Deut. x. 1, we see there is no longer question of introducing the law openly into the camp where God had been dishonoured. It was to be put into the ark according to the pre-determined plans of God,' arranged to enable the people, miserable as they were, to draw near unto Him. Moses abides there with the Lord. There was enough in the contemplation of what God was, as He had revealed Himself, to occupy him; he had not now to be occupied with the instructions God was giving him on the details of the tabernacle, but with God according to the revelation He had made of Himself, he neither eat nor drank ; he was in a state above nature, where the flesh could not intermeddle, in some sort apart from humanity." The Lord writes His law anew on the tables which Moses had prepared. But the effect of this communion with God was manifest; the skin of his face shone when he came down.

However, here it was a glory, as it were external and legal, not like that of the Lord Himself in the person of Jesus. Thus Israel could not behold it. We are in quite a different position; for us, there is no longer a veil; and we behold with open face the glory of the Lord. We are rather in this point of view) in the position of Moses when he entered into the most holy place. Besides the separation of Israel from the inhabitants of the land wherein they

| Thus Christ was in reserve, though at the same time foreordained, even from eternity: he was only manifested as the true propitiation when the law had been presented, and man had failed under it; its only existence now is as giving great recognised principles of justice, but hidden and buried in Him who gives His character to the throne of God. But it was necessary to break or hide those tables (terrible to man) of the perfect, but inflexible law of God.

m Here, however, is seen the excellency of the Lord Jesus, who, in all things, must have the pre-eminence. Moses, naturally far off, is separated from his natural state, in order to draw near unto God. Christ was naturally near there, and more than near ; He separates Himself from nature, to meet the adversary on the behalf ef man.


were to dwell, which is found chap. xxxiv. there is in chap. xxxv. another part of the instructions of Moses, which he gave when he came down. It is not now the certainty of entering, and the conduct suited to those who have found grace, to abstain from all that might tend to bring sin back when they were enjoying the privileges of

grace; Moses speaks to them of the portion of the people under the influence of that communication which the Mediator, as Head of grace, had established. The Sabbath" is appointed; and moreover, His people (grace thus manifested) are encouraged to show their good-will and their liberality in everything that concerned the service of God. Consequently, we find the manifestation of the spirit of wisdom and of gift in service. God calling specially by name those He designed more particularly for the work. This was done liberally; they brought more than was sufficient, and every wise-hearted man worked, each the things for which he was gifted; and Moses blessed them. Thus was the tabernacle set


every thing put into its place, according to the commandment of God. Therefore (what we might have remarked before) the whole is anointed with oil. Christ was thus consecrated, anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power; and moreover, Christ must, after having made peace by His blood, having all things to reconcile (being the one who first descended, and afterwards ascended, to fill all things with His presence, according to the power of redemption in righteousness and love divine); I say that the unction of the Holy Ghost must carry the efficacy of this power in redemption everywhere. Therefore had the tabernacle been sprinkled with blood. It is the power of the presence of the Holy Ghost, not regeneration. God takes possession of the tabernacle by His glory, and the cloud of His presence and of His protection, becomes the guide of the people (now forgiven), happy and so greatly blessed in being under the government and guidance of God, and at the same time His habitation and His inheritance.

" 'The Sabbath is again found whenever there is any principle whatever of relationship established between the people and God; it is the result of every relation between God and His people ;they enter into His rest.

No. II.


1 KINGS, XIII. 1-32.

The effect of sin was to separate the heart from God; so the conduct of sinners (Rom. ii. 18.); “ There is none that seeketh after God." The natural heart is opposed to God; and the enmity already there, is increased by the subtlety of Satan, in order that he may keep it from Him, whom to know is life and peace. When, in His grace, the soul is quickened and brought nigh by the blood of Christ, the hostility of Satan ceases not. A present God,

. is present power. The enemy of souls seeks to undermine our dependence upon God, and thus separate us from Him. In the former case, security is pledged; in the latter, endangered. And if life (" because he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself") is certain, yet fruit-bearing ceases, and the Lord is not honoured. Whilst rejoicing in the salvation provided for us in the gospel, we must remember the object of it, in that God may be glorified in us. And to this object Satan is opposed. Many are the ways by which he succeeds. Oftentimes by exciting to evil, for the chaff is still in us, and needs but the fuel to ignite. But the believer escapes to his hiding-place (Psalm xxxii. 7). He knows the enemy in this form and avoids him. Or if taken unawares, yet the source of the evil is detected, confessed and forgiven (1 John, 1.9). But the enemy is not put down or turned from his

purpose. If he cannot work to our injury by things which are evil, he will strive to do it by that which is good. The good which flows from God shall be presented as food for the soul, instead of the God who supplied it. The fruits of faith in God, instead of the God of the fruits. And it is just here where his success has been most eminent. If the bait, in the form of gross evil, is not taken, and his presence detected, yet, transformed

« PreviousContinue »