Moses' Love for Israel.

It is very interesting to see how deeply attached Moses was to God's earthly people. As their chosen leader, it was given to him to lead them out of Egypt towards the land that God had promised to their fathers. Spite of Israel's rebellious ways and ingratitude, his love for them remained the same: he had the marks of a true servant of God. In the Epistle to the Corinthians we find the Apostle Paul tested in the same way; yet his love remained unchanged towards the saints of God, even as he said, "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." During the time Moses was on the mount with God, receiving the commandments for the people, poor Israel was speaking against God's chosen leader, saying, "As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." Instead of tracing all the way that God in mercy had led them, and recalling the divine power that had delivered them from Egypt and Pharaoh's bondage, and thinking of all God's care and provision during their journey; they forget God, speak against His servant, turn to idolatry, and give themselves up to the gratification of the flesh. How little had they entered into God's purpose for them, or appreciated all He had done for them! How grievous was Aaron's failure, in stripping the people of their ornaments, to make a calf for the people to worship, as turning their backs on God! Had Aaron been in the full light of God's purpose, he would have maintained the people for God during the absence of Moses. Is not this where many have made shipwreck? God's purpose must be kept ever before us, maintained in spiritual energy and divine affections, in communion with God, Christ dwelling in the heart by faith.

God communicated to Moses Israel's departure from Him, even before he left His presence on the mount; and spoke of His intention of consuming the people. This was a great trial for Moses, yet he manifested his great love for Israel in speaking to God of His purpose respecting them; and how He had brought them forth from Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand; and recalls the promise God had made to their fathers. God delights in intercession, and repents of the evil He thought to do unto the people.

Descending from the mount with the two tables of stone in his hands, containing God's commandments, Moses hears the noise of singing; and drawing near to the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing. His holy, righteous anger waxed hot; and with divinely given wisdom he cast the tables out of his hands and brake them beneath the mount. It was indeed great wisdom, and mercy, too; but for that act, the whole of the people must have perished there in the righteous judgment of God. Although God's thought for His people is blessing, He cannot overlook their failure. There must needs be great heart-searching and self-judgment. Israel's fleshly merriment soon brings their greatest sorrow. The calf is ground to powder, and they must needs drink the fruit of their sin; and shorn of their adornment they must stand exposed before their God. These things have been written for our learning, and it behoves each one of us to walk softly and in humility of mind before our God. Here lies our true safety, for only as we walk before God in self-judgment, and with chastened spirit, can we be maintained in the light of His purpose.

Moses, dear man of God, bows in contrition of spirit before Him, pleading that Israel belonged to God, and that He alone is capable of bringing them into the land of promise. There are many lessons to be learnt from Moses, to encourage us in this evil day. May we therefore endeavour to maintain that which God has so graciously given to us with the same fidelity and affection manifested in Moses! R. Duncanson.

What is Heaven?

This is not the place for rest, but for watchfulness — watchfulness over every thought. But what is heaven? It is where I can let my heart flow out. That is an immense comfort! But here I must have my loins girded — my heart and every affection kept in order by the word of God. J. N. Darby.