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Moses's Excouraging Address to Israel.

Moses's Excouraging Address to Israel.

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Deut. xxxi. 6. Be strong and of a good courage ; fear not, nor
be afraid of them : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth
go with thee ; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Deut. xxxi. 6. Be strong and of a good courage ; fear not, nor
be afraid of them : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth
go with thee ; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 16, 2014
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Deut. xxxi. 6. Be strong and of a good courage ; fear not, nor
be afraid of them : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth
go with thee ; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
THE application of passages in the Old Testament
to the Church at this time is thought by many to be
an unwarrantable liberty, especially if those pas-
sages referred to any particular occasion, and
still more if they primarily related to any parti-
cular individual. We are far from saying that
great caution is liot requisite on this head ; but
we feel no hesitation in affirming, that passages
in the Old Testament, whether general or parti-
Y 2 cular
324 DEUTEROOMY, XXXI. 6. [154.
ciilar in their primary import, are applicable to the
Church of God in all ages, as far as the situations
and circumstances of the Church resemble that in
former times : nay, we ^o further s,till, and affirm,
that passages, which in their primary sense re-
lated only to temporal concerns, may fitly be ap-
plied at this time in a spiritual sense, as far as
there exists a just analogy between the cases. We
cannot have a stronger proof of this than in the words
before us. They were first addressed by Moses gene-
rally to all Israel, when they were about to invade the
land of Canaan. They were then addressed parti-
cularly to Joshua in the sight of all Israel^: and they
were afterwards again addressed to Joshua by God
himself''. ow it might be asked. Have we any right
to apply these words to the Church at this time ?
and may any individual in the Church consider them
as addressed personally and particularly to himself?
We answer, Yes ; he may ; and moreover may found
upon them precisely the same conclusions as Israel
of old did> For this we have the authority of an
inspired Apostle ; who, having quoted the words in
reference to the whole Christian Church, adds,
*' So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper ;
and I will not fear what man shall do unto me^"
Thus then are we warranted to address the words
to you in relation to that warfare which you are to
maintain aj^ainst all the enemies of your salvation :
and this we will proceed to do.
Brethren, we suppose you now in the state of
Israel when addressed by Moses. And if, like
Moses, we knew that the superintendence of your
spiritual concerns was speedily to be devolved to
another, and that this was the last time that we
should ever address you, we could not do better
than amplify and expand his ideas, contained in the
words before us.
You, Brethren, are about to engage in a most
arduous warfare —
[The enemies of Israel were numerous and very powerful :
they were men of gigantic stature, and they '* dwelt in citiea
.''ver. 8, 23. '' Josh. i. 5, p. « Heb. xiii. 5, 6.
walled up to heaven." There were no less than " seven nations
greater and mightier than Israel," and all these were confederate
together for the defence of Canaan. But these were weak, in
comparison of the Christian's enemies. You, Brethren, have to
conflict with the world and all its vanities, the flesh and all its
corruptions, the devil and all his wiles. There is not any thing
you see around you, which is not armed for your destruction :
nor is there any thing within you which does not watch for an op-
portunity to betray your soul, and to inflict on it the most deadly
wounds. Yet these enemies, notwithstanding their number and
power, are quite overlooked by St. Paul, and counted as nothing,
in comparison of those mighty adversaries, the principalities and
powers of hell''. Their inconceivable subtlety, their invisible
combination, their pre-eminent strength, their inveterate ma-
lignity, together with the easiness of their access to us at all
times, render them formidable beyond measure ; insomuch that
if you had not an Almighty Friend to espouse your cause, you
might well sit down in despair.]
In the prospect of this contest you are apt to
indulge desponding thoughts —
[Forty years before, the Israelites had refused to encounter
their enemies, from an apprehension that they were invincible :
and it is probable that they were not without their fears at this
time. And what is it that at the present day deters multitudes
from engaging in the spiritual warfare ? is it not a fear that they
shall not succeed ? When we tell them that they must overcome
the world, and mortify the flesh, and resist the devil, they reply,
that these things are impossible ; and that it is in vain to make
such an impracticable attempt*. Even those who have fought
well on particular occasions, are apt to faint, when their trials
press upon them with more than usual weight : David himself
yielded to unbelieving fears ^, and exclaimed in his haste, " All
men are liars ^." Perhaps there is not one amongst us whose
" hands have not sometimes hanged down, and his knees been
weary, and his heart faint ;" not one who has not needed, like
St. Paul himself, some peculiar manifestations of God for his
support ''.]
But there is no real cause for discouragement to
any of you —
[It is alleged perhaps, that your enemies are mighty ; but
" your Redeemer also is mighty ;" and " if he be for you, who
can be against vou ?" If it be your own weakness that depresses
you, only view it in a right light, and the most consolatory con-
siderations will spring from it : for " when you are weak, then
* Eph. vi, 12. * Jer. xviii. 12. ' Ps. Ixxvii. 7 — 10.
• Ps. cxvi. 11. with Ixxiii. 13. ^ Acts xxiii. 1 1.
326 DEUTEROOMY, XXXI. 6. [154.
are you strong ;" and the more sensible you are of your own
insufficiency for any good thing, the more will God magnify his
own power towards you, and " perfect his own strength in your
weakness." The peculiar appositeness of our text to all such
cases is evident from the repeated application of it to persons
under discouragement, and the blessed effects produced by it.
We have already supposed the discouragement to arise from a
view of duties impracticable, or of difficulties insurmountable :
but, in the former case, David consoled Solomon', and, in the
latter case, Hezekiah comforted the Jews'', with the very address
which we are now considering : a sure proof, that it contains a
sufficient antidote against all disquieting fears, of whatever kind
they be, and to whatever extent they may prevail.]
God promises to his people his presence and aid —
[If he refused to go forth with you, you might well say
with Moses, " If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up
hence'." Even if he offered to send an angel with you, it
would not be sufficient'". But he has promised to be with you
himself, and to exercise all his glorious perfections in your behalf.
As in the days of Joshua he sent his Sou to be " the Captain of
the Lord's host"," so has he given him to be " a Leader and Com-
mander unto" yoii°: by whom he says to you at this hour,
" Lo ! I am with you alvvay, even to the end of the world."
Having then his wisdom to guide you, his arm to strengthen you,
his power to protect you, what ground can you have for discou-
ragement? " If he be for you, who can be against youP."]
or will he ever fail you or forsake you —
[There may be times and seasons when he may suffer you
to be assaulted with more than usual violence ; but he will never
give you up into the hands of your enemy, or " sufter you to be
tempted above your strength :" or if for gracious purposes he see
fit to withdraw himself, it shall only be " for a little moment,"
that he may afterwards the more visibly shew himself in your deli-
verance. Respecting this he engages in the strongest manner ;
and refers us to the rainbow in the heavens as an infallible pledge
of his faithfulness and truth''. Created helps may fail us; but
our God never will""; and you may " be confident that, having
begun a good work in you, he will perform it until the day of
Jesus Christ\" The manner in which the Apostle (juotes the words
of our text, al)undantly shews how assured he was that it should
be fulfilled ; for he uses no less than five negatives to e?:press the
idea with the utmost possible force, and then '¦'¦boldly" draws the
' 1 Chron. xxviii. 20. '' 2 Chron. xxxii. 6 — 8.
' Exod. xxxiii. 15. " ib. ver. 2. " Josh. v. 13, 14.
" Isai. iV. 4. *¦ Rom. viii. 31. "^ Isai. liv. / — JO.
"iTim. iv. iO, \7. • Phil. 1.6.
inference for us, that we have nothing to fear from our most
inveterate enemies'."]
Let these considerations then inspire you with
confidence and joy —
[Hear the animated exhortation which God himself gives
you by the prophet Isaiah; " Fear thou not, for I am with thee ;
be not dismayed, for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee ; yea,
I will help thee ; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of
my righteousness"." If you reply, that there are mountains of dif-
ficulty before you, and you but as a worm to contend with them ;
then says God, " Fear not, thou vjorm Jacob; behold, I will
make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth ; thou
shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make
the hills as chaff; thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry
them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them : and thou
shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of
Israel"." " Who then art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of
a man that shall die, and the son of man that shall be as grass,
and forgettest the Lord thy Maker ^'?" Ail that you have to do is,
to wait upon your God ; and then, in spite of ail your apprehen-
sions of failure, or even of occasional defeats, you shall rise
superior to your enemies, and be triumphant over them at last^.
I say then to you in the words of our great Captain, " Fear not,
little flock ; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the
Let the captives of Satan arise and assert their
liberty —
[Behold the kingdom of heaven is before you, '^ that good
land flowing with milk and honey:" will ye be content that your
great Adversary shall rob you of it without a struggle ? Know that
there is armour provided for you ; and that if you go forth against
him clad with it, you cannot but conquer. O enlist under the
banners of the Lord Jesus, and go forth in his strength ! fight
a good fight ; quit yourselves like men ; be strong ; and be
assured, your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."]
Let the timid take courage, and return to the
charge —
[Think not of your own weakness, but of the Lord's
strength. Remember what he has done for his people in old
time. Did not the walls of Jericho fall at the sound of rams'
horns? Was not Midian vanquished by a few lamps and broken
pitchers ? Did not Goliath fall by a sling and ^ stone ? Ah !
know that your enemies shall be like them, if only you will
take courage. " Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you/
* Heb. xiii. 5, 6. " Isai. xli. 10. * ib. 14—10.
» Isai. li. 12, 13. ' Isai. xl. 27—31. * Luke xii. 32.
See what Joshua did to the five confederate kings ^ : thus shall
you also do in due season ; for the true Joshua has promised
that ** he will bruise Satan under your feet shortly*^."]
Let the strong remember in whom their streno'th
[Let not any think themselves so strong, but that they
still need, even as Joshua himself did, a word of exhortation
and encouragement. Be not self-confident even for a moment,
lest God leave you to yourselves, and you " be crushed before a
moth." Peter will remind you how weak you are, if not up-
held by God ; and what Satan can accomplisli, if permitted to
sift you as wheat. " Be not high-minded then, but fear:" yet
fear not others, but yourselves only. Be weak in yourselves, and
strong in the Lord ; and then you may dismiss every other fear,
and already begin the shout of victory.]
'' Josh. X. 24, 25. «= Rom. xvi. 20.

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