Charles Simeon Commentary - Deuteronomy 7:6 - 7:10

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Deuteronomy 7:6 - 7:10

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Deu_7:6-10. Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people (for ye were the fewest of all people) but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him, to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.

THERE is in man a strange reluctance to contemplate the sovereignty of God: but, if duly improved, there is no subject more comforting to the soul, or more calculated to promote practical religion. It is this on which Moses insists, in order to deter the Israelites from connexions with the heathen, and to induce them to maintain inviolable the commandments of their God.

With similar views we would draw your attention to,

I.       The privilege of God’s people—

The Jews were “a special people unto the Lord their God”—

[They had been redeemed from a most oppressive bondage, instructed by the voice of revelation, supported by bread from heaven, brought into the nearest relation to the Deity, and honoured with access to him in ordinances of divine appointment. In these, and many other respects, they were distinguished above all other people upon earth [Note: Deu_4:7-8; Deu_33:29.].]

Such is also the privilege of all true believers—

[They have been rescued from the tyranny of sin and Satan [Note: 2Ti_2:25-26.], taught by the word and Spirit of God [Note: Joh_6:45.], furnished with daily supplies of grace [Note: Joh_1:16.], made sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty [Note: 2Co_6:18.], and admitted into the most intimate communion with their God [Note: 1Jn_1:3.]. Nor were the Jews so much exalted above the heathen world, as true believers are above all others, even the professed followers of Christ [Note: Mar_3:34-35; Mat_19:28.].]

It will be no unprofitable subject of meditation, if we inquire into,

II.      The source of that privilege—

The Jews owed all their blessings to the distinguishing grace of God—

[They were not chosen for their numbers, or for their goodness; for “they were the fewest” and most stiff-necked “of all people.” God’s love to them had its origin within his own bosom; “he loved them because he would love them:” and in due season he testified that love to them, because he had voluntarily engaged to do so.]

Nor can our blessings be traced to any other source—

[God, in choosing us to salvation, has not respect to any goodness in us, whether past, present, or future: not to past; for all of us, not excepting even the Apostles themselves, have been inconceivably vile [Note: Tit_3:3; Eph_2:3.]: not to present; for many of us, like Paul and the three thousand, were in the very midst of our sinful career, when God plucked us as brands from the burning [Note: Act_2:13; Act_9:1.]: not future; for we never should have had any thing good in us, if it had not been given us of God [Note: 1Co_4:7.]; and it is evident that the grace he has given us, can never be the ground and reason of his bestowing that grace upon us. He has “chosen us that we might be holy;” but not because we were so, or because he foresaw we should become so [Note: Eph_1:4; Joh_15:16.]. No reason can be assigned for his choosing us rather than others, except that assigned by our Lord himself, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight [Note: Mat_11:26.].” Nor has he kept us on account of our own stability (for we are all bent to backslide from him [Note: Hos_11:7.]), but on account of the covenant he has made with us in Christ [Note: Psa_89:29-35.], wherein he has engaged to preserve us unto his heavenly kingdom. In the whole of his conduct towards us he has acted according to “his eternal purpose and grace [Note: Rom_11:5; 2Ti_1:9.].”]

That we may not abuse so great a privilege, let us consider,

III.     The improvement to be made of it—

We should attentively consider the character of God, who is,

1.       Sovereign in the exercise of his mercy—

[His grace is his own, and he may dispose of it as he will [Note: Mat_20:15.]. If he had consigned us all over to perdition as he did the fallen angels, he had been just. We therefore can have no claim upon him for any share in his mercy. Whether he make us vessels of honour or of dishonour, we have no more ground of pride or murmuring, than the clay has, which is fashioned according to the potter’s will [Note: Rom_9:18-21.]. Whether we will receive it or not, he is a Sovereign, that dispenses mercy according to his own will [Note: Eph_1:11.]; and, if there be any difference between one and another, that difference results, not from any power or goodness in us, but from God’s free and sovereign grace [Note: Rom_9:16; Rom_9:18.].]

2.       Faithful in the observance of his promises—

[They who have really an interest in the promises, are universally distinguished by this mark, “They love God, and keep his commandments.” To these God will most assuredly approve himself “faithful.” His “covenant” is ordered in all things, and he will inviolably “keep” it. What Joshua said to the whole Jewish nation, may be yet more extensively applied to all true believers, “No promise ever has failed them, or ever shall [Note: Jos_23:14.].”]

3.       Terrible in the execution of his threatenings—

[Those who do not love him, and keep his commandments, he considers as “hating him;” and he will surely “repay them to their face.” Their proud rebellious conduct shall be recompensed on their own heads [Note: Deu_32:35; Deu_29:20 and Eze_24:14.]. And, though now they seem as if they defied his majesty, they shall find to their cost that his patience has an end, and that, however merciful he is, he will by no means clear the guilty [Note: Exo_34:7.].]

Having fully considered this character of God, we should have a deep and an abiding persuasion of it wrought in our hearts.

We should know it,

1.       For the quickening of our diligence—

[Nothing will ever more strongly operate on our minds than the consideration of our obligations to God as the sovereign author of all our good desires, and the faithful preserver of them in our souls. This is the very improvement which Moses himself makes of the truths contained in the text [Note: ver. 11.]: and an inspired Apostle declares, that the dedication of ourselves to God is the very end, for which God himself has distinguished us by his sovereign grace [Note: 1Pe_2:9.]. Let us then be ever saying, “What shall I render unto the Lord?” and let us devote ourselves to him in body, soul, and spirit.]

2.       For the quieting of our fears—

[The two principal sources of disquietude to the soul are, a sense of our unworthiness to receive God’s mercies, and of our insufficiency to do his will. Now both of these are entirely removed by a view of God’s character as exhibited in the text. As he is a sovereign, he may bestow his grace, as he often has done, on the most unworthy; he is most glorified by bestowing it on these very persons. And, as he is faithful, he may be safely trusted to accomplish his own promises, in his own time and way. Our weakness is no obstacle to him; it shall rather be an occasion of manifesting the perfection of his strength. Let us then commit ourselves into his hands; and every perfection he possesses shall be glorified in our salvation.]