Numbers 33* Encampments of the Israelites. (1-49) The Canaanites to bedestroyed. (50-56)1-49 This is a brief review of the travels of the children ofIsrael through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. Intheir travels towards Canaan they were continually on theremove. Such is our state in this world; we have here nocontinuing city, and all our removes in this world are but fromone part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forwardand backward, yet were all the while under the direction of thepillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them theright way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himselfis always the best way, though it does not always seem to us thenearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keepin mind the providences of God concerning us and families, usand our land, and the many instances of that Divine care whichhas led us, and fed us, and kept us all our days hitherto. Fewperiods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding usof the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude anddisobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for oursins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we havepassed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun thesins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities ofdoing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end,and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important thenis the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guideswith his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. Tothis happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the acceptedtime, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize theopportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them.Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation;and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom. 50-56 Now that they were to pass over Jordan, they wereentering again into temptation to follow idols; and they arethreatened that, if they spared either the idols or theidolaters, their sin would certainly be their punishment. Theywould foster vipers in their own bosoms. The remnant of theCanaanites, if they made any peace with them, though but for atime, would be pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides.We must expect trouble and affliction from whatever sin weindulge; that which we are willing should tempt us, will vex us.It was intended that the Canaanites should be put out of theland; but if the Israelites learned their wicked ways, they alsowould be put out. Let us hear this and fear. If we do not driveout sin, sin will drive us out. If we are not the death of ourlusts, our lusts will be the death of our souls.
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