Numbers 9* Of the Passover. (1-14) The removals of the Israelites.(15-23)1-14 God gave particular orders for the keeping of thispassover, and, for aught that appears, after this, they kept nopassover till they came to Canaan, #Jos 5:10|. It early showedthat the ceremonial institutions were not to continue always, asso soon after they were appointed, some were suffered to sleepfor many years. But the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was notthus set aside in the first days of the Christian church,although those were days of greater difficulty and distress thanIsrael knew in the wilderness; nay, in the times of persecution,the Lord's Supper was celebrated more frequently than afterward.Israelites in the wilderness could not forget the deliveranceout of Egypt. There was danger of this when they came to Canaan.Instructions were given concerning those who were ceremoniallyunclean, when they were to eat the passover. Those whose mindsand consciences are defiled by sin, are unfit for communion withGod, and cannot partake with comfort of the gospel passover,till they are cleansed by true repentance and faith. Observewith what trouble and concern these men complained that theywere kept back from offering to the Lord. It should be a troubleto us, when by any occasion we are kept back from thesolemnities of a sabbath or a sacrament. Observe thedeliberation of Moses in resolving this case. Ministers must askcounsel of God's mouth, not determine according to their ownfancy or affection, but according to the word of God to the bestof their knowledge. And if, in difficult cases, time is taken tospread the matter before God by humble, believing prayer, theHoly Spirit assuredly will direct in the good and right way. Godgave directions in this case, and in other similar cases,explanatory of the law of the passover. As those who, againsttheir minds, are forced to absent themselves from God'sordinances, may expect the favours of God's grace under theiraffliction, so those who, of choice, absent themselves, mayexpect God's wrath for their sin. Be not deceived: God is notmocked. 15-23 This cloud was appointed to be the visible sign andsymbol of God's presence with Israel. Thus we are taught to seeGod always near us, both night and day. As long as the cloudrested on the tabernacle, so long they continued in the sameplace. There is no time lost, while we are waiting God's time.When the cloud was taken up, they removed, however comfortablythey were encamped. We are kept at uncertainty concerning thetime of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle,that we may be always ready to remove at the command of theLord. It is very safe and pleasant going when we see God beforeus, and resting where he appoints us to rest. The leading ofthis cloud is spoken of as signifying the guidance of theblessed Spirit. We are not now to expect such tokens of theDivine presence and guidance; but the promise is sure to allGod's spiritual Israel, that he will guide them by his counsel.#Ps 73:24|, even unto death, #Ps 48:14|. All the children of Godshall be led by the Spirit of God, #Ro 8:14|. He will direct thepaths of those who in all their ways acknowledge him, #Pr 3:6|.At the commandment of the Lord, our hearts should always moveand rest, saying, Father, thy will be done; dispose of me andmine as thou pleasest. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt; onlylet me be thine, and always in the way of my duty. In applyinggeneral precepts to particular circumstances, there should begood counsel and fervent prayer. When any undertaking isevidently wrong, or doubtfully right, and yet the mind leansthat way, in such a case "the moving of the cloud," as mensometimes miscall it, is generally no more than a temptationSatan is permitted to propose; and men fancy they are followingthe Lord, when they are following their own waywardinclinations. The record of his mercy will conduct us withunerring truth, through Christ, to everlasting peace. Follow thepillar of the cloud and of fire. Lay the BIBLE to heart, andreceive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to saveyour souls.
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