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Biblical Illustrator Deut 32

Biblical Illustrator Deut 32

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 15, 2011
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BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR DEUT 32CHAPTER XXXII.Vees. 1, 2. Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak.— ifosw* adj'uration.'^ls&i&hmakes a similar sublime commencement to his prophecies, apostrophising heavenand earth in nearly identical language. Moses had already used the same senti-ment in simple didactic form when he said, "I call heaven and earth to witnessthis day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse, ' andthereby he explains the meaning of this more highly poetic style of adjuration.Such an adjuration indicates great intensity, elevation, and sincerity of feeUn^,while calling attention to the solemn importance of what is about to be said. It islike a herald's cry, the sound of the tocsin, or the summoning of an assize. Forheaven and earth had both of them been witnesses of the covenant and giving of the law. By a sudden but suggestive transition we are introduced to the style andtheme of the song. The change is from the awe-inspiring to the tenderest of moods ;but it is made without derogating from the loftiness of the thought The imageryof the gentle rain and the softly distilling dew is a fit sequel to the opening appealto heaven and earth, and bespeaks attention to the source, the quality, and thedesign of the song. 1. Its source. The reference to dew and rain implies, first of all, that the whole subject, suggestion, and origin of the song is from above. othingbut a voice Divine will ever avail to soften human nature, come home to the con^acience, subjugate the will and reign in the affections. "Ascribe ye greatness,"498 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap, xxxir.therefore, that is, authoritativeness, " nnto our God." 2. Its quality, ** My doctrineshall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew." The song is just thepith and substance of the Book of Deuteronomy ; the distilled quintessence of theDeuteronomic law and covenant. It is a protestation that no community can everthrive, surmount their dangers and slough off their corruptions, by simply con-fining their attention to earthly relations and requisitions. They need a highermotive and spirit of life as a sustaining and self-cleansing principle — in one word,a Gospel of God. 3. Its design. "As the small rain upon the tender grass, and asthe showers upon the herb " ; gentle, yet copious and penetrative ; soft, seasonable
and saturating ; not like a sudden but soon spent thunderstorm, nor the beating of hail that dashes where it alights ; rather like small rain, the softer it falls thedeeper it sinks ; or like the dew, the more insinuating it is, the more fertilising andlastingly effective. {A. H. Drysdale, M.A.) My speech shall distil as the dew. — Qod's doctrine as the dew : — What a representation of gentleness ! Thedoctrineshall not fall in toiTcnts, but it shall drop ; the speech shall not even be felt in itsdescent, for it shall distil. Yet who is it employs this gentlest of all gentle imagery ?It is Moses : the self-same man who had pronounced the terrific judgments onEgypt. He had promulgated a system which was given forth in thunder, andlightning, and thick darkness, and a terrible tempest ; the publication of this law-was attended with the severest penalties. otwithstanding every appearance tothe contrary, it was true of every word which God spake by Moses, as well as of every word which Jesus spoke, that His doctrine dropped like the rain, and distilledlike the dew. "We need scarcely tell you that the term "doctrine " includes allGod'steaching in every portion of His revelation to man. It matters not whether truthbe found in direct assertions of great principles, or whether it be wrapped up in theimagery of poetry, the shadows of the types, the facts of history, or the allegories of parables ; it is all the same truth. Thws not only is every form of God's Word"doctrine," but in its fertilising effects on the soul may most appropriately be com-pared to the dropping rain and distilling dew. But in order to understand thisgentle character ascribed by Moses to God's doctrine, you must take heed that youdo not fall into several errors which will perplex your belief in the dew-like influ-ence of Divine truth. The first of these errors is to confound the effect of doctrineitself with that outward teaching by which it may often be set forth. The meremanner of teaching is no just criterion of the matter of teaching. There are differ-ences of character which even demand differences of outward instruction. But,secondly, we must warn you against supposing that God does not sometimes adoptan internal as well as an external mode of teaching, which may appear to conflictwith the statements of our text. How often do the threatenings of Divine wrathseem to lay hold on the spirit, and for a time keep it shrinking beneath the pro-spect of inevitable destruction ! But notwithstanding these modes of teachingwhich God may often employ, yet we maintain that the substance of that teachingis what Moses describes it — gentle as the dropping rain, the distilling dew, thesmall rain, the soft shower. You will remark that the sacred writer declares thathis doctrine is to be like "small rain on the tender herb " ; and this sentence it iswhich explains the entire seeming anomaly we have noticed. God's truth does notfall like small rain on the hardy, tough, strong herb, but like small rain on thetender herb. There must be a preparation — a softening of the soul to receive thegentle influences of the Gospel. And not only at our first conversion to God, buteven afterwards, the herb may become hardened, and require occasional softening,
before the small rain is given. The advanced Christian sometimes complains of waves and billows ; he hears deep calling to deep at the noise of God's waterspouts.But the sole reason of this is that there is some deficiency in the tenderness of theherb — some setting up of the head which needs the blast of the storm to bring itlow. God loves not to see a proud look ; He loves not a stiff-necked obedience ; Heloves not to find His servant chafing against the bit ; He must have the herb tender.The ground being thus prepared, the doctrine of the Lord always drops as the rainand distils as the dew. But let us glance at a few brief practical truths which theimagery of our text suggests. 1. If you are watered by this heavenly dew, it mustbe all-pervading. Look at the gi-ass after the dew has fallen ; it is thoroughlycovered with moisture ; nothing saturates it so completely ; a storm would not wetit half so effectually ; the plant is all over the same ; no leaf but it sparkles withdewdrops ; no blade escapes ; all are steeped in dew. ow, is it the same withyou ? The operation of the Spirit is always total and entire. All things becomenew where He works. 2. Then, secondly, recollect that another of the character-CKA^. XXXII.] LEUTEROOMY. 499istics of this dew is its diffusiveness. ot only is the dew the most equal and generalgiver of moisture, but the plants which receive it pass it on to others. From leaf to leaf, and from blade to blade it falls, so that if you pass through a forest on adewy morning it is one constant dropping. So must it be with the Christian.He is not only to be influenced by the Spirit himself, but by the aid of the sameSpirit he must pass on that influence to others. 3. Thirdly, still another featureof this dew is its fertilising eff'ects. It often falls most heavily at times of the yearwhen drought prevails, and when the plants would otherwise be scorched andwithered. Its final efl*ect is not superficial ; it does not merely wet the leaves andflowers, but it percolates to the very root. The dew thus develops itself in fruits :it waters the plant, and makes it bring forth abundantly. And so with our dew."Whenever the influences of the Spirit are felt, the fruits of the Spirit are seen.4. But, lastly, another feature of this dew is that it will prove specially andabundantlyoperative in the time of trial. It is not when the sun shines that the dew falls ; itprincipally descends when the day is wrapped in evening shades or when the morn-ing is still hidden in twilight, or when dark night has already set in : so likewiseis sorrow a time of special dew falling. "When have the promises and love of Godso gentle and yet powerful an influence as in affliction's sad hour ? "When are Hischeering truths so sweet as when trouble embitters the soul 1 {D. F. Jarman, M.A.)The dew of the ^Torc?.—" Distil as the dew." Who hears the dew fall? Whatmicrophone could reveal that music to our "gross un purged ears"? 1. The dew

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