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Or again, the second line completes or supplements the thought of the first, as vs. 19.
"And the Lord saw it, and abhorred them, Because of the provocation of His sons and his daughters."
Of the peculiar character of Hebrew poetry we hope to speak more fully elsewhere. Here we are concerned rather with the matter than the form.
The song as a whole is a condensed and poetic summary of the great thoughts expressed in the discourses which compose the book. No new thought is introduced, and none of prime importance is omitted. It stands in relation to the whole book as the final movement of an elaborate symphony stands to the musical composition. It gathers up the motifs and the various threads of harmony and weaves them into a miniature presentment of the whole.
It opens with a bold exhordium, calling upon heaven and earth to hear.
"Give ear ye heavens and I will speak,
Thus claiming for his subject a high and catholic interest.
“My doctrine shall drop as the rain,
And as showers upon the herb."
"For I will proclaim the name of the Lord,"
Just and right is He,"
But it is not to be an abstract eulogy, but a most practical and searching sermon, teaching what we are to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of us.
In the elaboration of this theme he follows the method of the whole book. First he reviews their history, and on the basis of God's goodness, appeals to Israel to respond with loving obedience. He chides them for their ingratitude, their waywardness, and their disloyalty, warns them of the direful penalties that righteous judgment will inflict, and closes with the comforting assurance of God's gracious purpose for Israel and all the world.
The development of this theme, the goodness of God, very naturally, calls forth the highest and sweetest strains of his song.
“As an eagle that stirreth up her nest,
So he reviews the glorious works of God on their behalf. Then suddenly turns to picture the shameful failure of Israel to show themselves worthy of such kindness, contrasting their beast-like stupidity and frowardness with God's gracious love.
"Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked"
The righteous indignation, the threat of casting them off as they deserve, a fearsome picture of the evils that their sins deserve, the relenting of his righteous judgment and the renewal of his tender mercy; all this is pictured with the finest poetic art, and made impressive by its appeal to their own knowledge of the facts and to the judgment of their conscience.
The closing verses are an appeal to Israel—to their reason and their better sense, their conscience and their aspirations.
"Oh! that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!"
The everlasting covenant, the promise that cannot be broken, the seal of the rainbow, the oath of Jehovah are the ground of hope. These are appealed to as the basis of confidence that “the eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” And so the last strain of the song is the glad note of victory, of victory that should bring gladness to the whole wide world, fulfilling the promise which He spake to Abraham and to his seed, that in them should all nations of the world be blessed.
"Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people,
Many centuries after Moses wrote these words—dolorous
and difficult ages, for the most part-Zacharias, filled with the Holy Ghost, prophesied in celebration of a further revelation of this everlasting gospel, but his words are very like an immediate response to this sweet song of hope, in the words
"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, For He hath visited and wrought redemption for his people, And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us, In the house of his servant David (As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets Which have been since the world began.) Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that
To show mercy toward our fathers,
THE RITUAL OF THE TABERNACLE
A DRAMATIC GOSPEL
"Now even the first covenant, had ordinances of divine service and its sanctuary.”
HE giving of the Ten Commandments was the great event of the assembly of the Priest Nation at Mt. Sinai, for these commandments are the foun
dation of all righteousness. They are the magnetic needle by which we find the true meridian and lay our course of life. They are as unchanging as the pole star. They publish truth that had its origin in that beginning when God made the heavens and the earth and which shall endure till the earth shall perish, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and as a wornout garment folded up and put away.
But God deals very bountifully with us. He gives not grudgingly the meagre index of the way of life, but by “precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little” He teaches us the order of aproach to holiness, and provides the means of grace.
Upon the Ten Commandments He framed the order of worship and the statutes of civil and social life.
The attainment of moral perfection is the purpose of all religious service. The ritual of worship is the means to this end. In order that we may be brought to holiness we must somehow be taught and exercised in righteousness. The goal is far away but the path is at our feet. We must begin just where we are, and step by step pursue the way to that state of harmony