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This chapter differs in some degree from what went before. It is certainly the continuation of Moses' Sermon, but is not so much in a way of exhortation as in precept. He here directs to the observance of certain duties which the LORD had appointed to be regarded in Canaan; such as the throwing down all the idolatrous monuments the people should find in the land; appointing a certain spot to be peculiarly dedicated to the service of the LORD; cautiously abstaining from the use of blood in their sacrifices; and eating them, holy things in the precise place which the LORD had commanded; together with observing due attention to the person of the Levite; and being so exceedingly tenacious of their attachment to the GOD of their Fathers, as not even to enquire after the mode of worship which the idolaters of Canaan followed.
Sweet thought arising out of this verse, that our religion founded in JESUS the chief corner stone, is of daily obligation and of never ceasing importance. If JESUS be the statute of my soul this day, so is he tomorrow, and so will he be forever. Hebrews 13:8 .
He that is at peace with GOD in CHRIST, is at war with all the enemies of GOD and CHRIST. Reader! if your body be really a temple of the HOLY GHOST, all idol worship is your abhorrence. See 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 .
Nothing can be truly reared to GOD'S honor but what hath GOD'S glory in view. Sweet was that precept given with this view. An altar to GOD must he of GOD. If man lifts anything of his own upon it he hath polluted it. Exodus 20:24 ; John 4:24 .
Was not this precept of being expressly particular to have but one spot to serve GOD in, intended to show the unity of the GODHEAD in the Trinity of the persons; and at the same time to indicate that there is but one way to GOD in the righteousness of the Saviour? John 14:6 .
It is to JESUS the believer must bring all his offerings. He alone sanctifies both the gift and the giver. In his name he rejoiceth all the day. Matthew 23:19 ; Psalms 89:16 .
Is not this typical of the striking distinction between a state of nature and a state of grace? Before a sinner hath found rest to his soul, he is doing after the things which appear right in his own eyes. But when he hath found him who is the Rest, wherewith he causeth the weary to rest, then he is freed from the apprehension of his enemies triumphing over him, and all his views of strength and rest in JESUS, are found in him and presented in him. Isaiah 28:12 ; Matthew 11:28-29 .
They that can rejoice in CHRIST, will always find cause to rejoice before CHRIST. 2 Corinthians 2:14 .
So important a thing was it to have an eye to this one spot for offerings, that it is here repeated again. And what could this refer to but JESUS? Reader! do not overlook this, unless JESUS be in every presentation of our persons or services, our offering is too polluted and our nature too defiled to find acceptance before GOD. Dear LORD! be thou the all in all, in every prayer of mine, whether morning, noon, mid-day, or evening oblation! Colossians 3:11 .
Was not this prohibition of blood evidently intended to point to the infinitely preciousness of the blood of JESUS? All along from the very first of creation, had the HOLY GHOST an eye to this, in his sacred word! Genesis 9:4 .
It is worthy observation, what attention is shown, in the appointment of every religious rite, to the place of offering. And the reason is plain. It is JESUS, as the sum and substance of all which is referred to. In him every service had its fulfillment, to him all pointed, and from him the whole efficacy was derived. Blessed Redeemer! may I never lose sight of thee in all places, in all thy churches, in all thine ordinances, in all thy ways and works! And do thou dearest LORD be in my heart and the heart of all thy people, the hope and only hope of glory! Colossians 1:27 .
I admire the tenderness of our GOD to his Levites. Was not JESUS the first of the order of Levites? Was not he indeed a stranger, when he came to seek and save that which was lost? Oh! LORD, give me grace to recognize thee in every stranger, and for thy sake to forget not the stranger, conscious that as thyself, so thy people, they are all strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19 .
The same observation meets us here as before, only with this addition, that as from its importance it is again repeated, our attention and regard to it should be but the more increased. If from the renewal of it the LORD JESUS becomes more dear, sweet is the exhortation how often soever repeated, which under GOD'S grace induceth this effect.
I take occasion from this precept to remark, how needful it must be for the heart to be established in grace, that we may not be carried about with diverse and strange doctrines. Alas! if our religion be not of the heart, there can be no stability, no dependence in our faith. But if I love the LORD JESUS because I really and truly know him: this is life eternal. LORD! confirm me in this faith. John 17:3 .
HOLY and Eternal SPIRIT! be graciously pleased of thine infinite mercy so to write thy statutes and judgments upon my mind and in my heart, that I may live to JESUS in the enjoyment of them all the days of my pilgrimage upon the earth. Thou, dearest LORD, art both the lawgiver and the law-fulfiller of thine own sacred will. Oh! may I behold thee as the end of the law for righteousness to me, and to everyone that believeth; and while, through the influences of the blessed SPIRIT, I live a life of faith to GOD and upon GOD, may I feel an holy jealousy to throw down all the idols of the heart wherever I find them.
Dearest LORD! make that place peculiarly sacred to my soul, which hath JESUS for its object. Here would I dwell, forever dwell, under the shining of thy divine countenance! Here would I bring my poor offerings, and here alone present my sacrifices, seeking the acceptance both of my person and offering in him and his precious righteousness, who is the altar, the offering, and the high priest of all His people. And as I am not yet come to that rest which is thyself, blessed JESUS, in glory, and only behold thee now by faith; LORD, help me until the vail be removed, to walk more by faith and less by sight, that I may not do according to what the world is doing, whatsoever seemeth right in a man's own eyes; but that forgetting things that are behind, and reaching forth to those which are before, I may press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of GOD in CHRIST JESUS. Return to thy rest, to thy JESUS, O my soul, for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany