"One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of
Reuel the Midianite, We are journeying unto the place, of which the Lord
said, I will give it to you--come with us, and we will do you good--for the
Lord has spoken good concerning Israel." Numb. 10:29.
Israel's sojourn round the mount is over. The pillar is
about to wave its beckoning hand. The silver trumpets are prepared to sound.
The happy tribes are ready for the march. Soon all will be an onward
progress toward the promised land.
The sight strongly arrests a Christian heart. Who can
survey it, and not cry–'Blessed are those who follow a preceding God!
Father, lead me, guide me, keep me to the end!'
At this moment the eye of Moses turns with tender
yearning to his kinsman Hobab. He for a while had been the comrade of these
tribes. Thus he had learned, that they were God's peculiar care. The mighty
proofs of present Deity were all familiar to his mind. But outward evidence
alone conveys not inward grace. He is not fixed. His feelings fluctuate. He
hesitates. He casts a lingering look towards the attractions of an early
home. The former ties retain their hold. The well-known scenes allure him
back. Like Lot's wife, his eyes look back. While Israel girds the
pilgrim-garb, he deliberates on going back.
Moses well knew, that to return was wreck of soul. It is
no gain to move from God. There is no profit in forbidden paths. Happiness
departs, when God is left. All earth is but a barren waste, without the dew
of grace. All is a void, unless God smiles and fills.
Moses had the experience of the better choice. He scorned
the courtly pomp. He had trampled on all Egypt's treasures. He had embraced
affliction with God's people. And he had found God's favor to be wealth of
wealth--the joy of joys.
Reader, make God your own, and you have all. To barter
Him for lower things, is to clasp a shadow--snatch a husk--pursue a mocking
candle--lean on a broken reed. There is no poverty like a worldling's lot.
What is a crown upon a godless head? What is a scepter in a graceless hand?
What is all gold to an impoverished soul? What were the plains of Sodom to
ease-seeking Lot? Had Lazarus or Dives the happier heart?
Moses beholds the doubting Hobab. He pities--and he
sincerely would win him to a wiser choice. Therefore he thus tenderly
expostulates. "We are journeying to the Promised Land. Come with us and
we will do you good, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel!"
He states the fact. We are indeed a moving camp. Our rest
is yet far off. But we advance not as uncertainly. We follow no deceiving
guide. There is a home conspicuously bright in view. It glitters in the rays
of heavenly pledge. God's love, and word, and power, secure it.
And then he pressingly invites, "Come with us."
Turn not away. Recede not to a heathen land. Join not again the people,
whose home is darkness--whose walk is misery--whose end is woe. But cleave
to us. All good is then your portion. We move not blindly. God's voice is
gone forth, strewing blessings round us. Goodness and mercy from His courts
walk, as companions, by our side. He dwells in us. We dwell in Him. Come
then, come then with us.
So Moses reasoned--so he called.
1. His invitation shows FAITH'S HAPPY STATE. It is
a mirror reflecting the features of calm trust. Full faith has eagle-eye. It
penetrates all earthly mists. It gazes steadily on Zion's highest light. It
is content to live a stranger-life on earth. It would not settle in this
thorny nest. It would not lie down beside such poison-streams. This climate
is too cheerless. It looks aloft. Its true affections center round a purer
scene. So daily it moves forward. And nightly realizes, that an upward step
is made. We are journeying unto the promised place.
What is this place? Faith gazes--it ever gazes with
increasing rapture--but it fails fully to describe.
It is rest. The happy inhabitants go no more put.
No further step is needed. No loftier summit can be scaled. The pilgrim lays
aside his staff, and sits down in undisturbed delight. The warrior's wounds
are healed. His struggles and his conflicts cease. The watch-tower is
exchanged for sure repose. The sword has found its sheath. The shield
wearies the arm no more. No foe can enter into victory's domain. Reader, do
you not long to reach it?
It is perfect purity. Earth's misery is sin.
Saints groan, because they so often stumble. The constant struggle and the
frequent fall cause anguish. The flesh is weak. Temptations fiercely and
most craftily assail. The garments contract stains. But in this place sin
cannot come. The tempter is barred out. No step again can be unclean. No
thought again can go astray. Heaven would not be welcome to a new-born man,
unless it were one flood of godlike purity. Reader, do you not long to reach
It is joy. Where sin is absent, peace must reign.
Where God is present, happiness must overflow. Heaven is a boundless ocean,
in which each swelling wave is pleasure in the highest. It is a prospect
ever widening, in which each scene is rapturous delight. It is skies,
forever brightening, in which each orb is sparkling ecstacy. It must be
so--for love is the one pulse in every heart--praise is the endless sound
from every lip--hallelujah the one ceaseless echo. The blessed cannot cease
to sing, because fresh views of their thrice-blessed state continually
arise. It must be so--for they behold the glories of their Lord--not in dim
distance--not through the varying medium of faith--but near, and never to
depart--but clear, and ever clearer. Transporting joy! daily to read new
glories in the face of Christ--daily to dive into the deep wonders of the
love of God. Reader, do not you long to be there?
Faith holds the title-deeds of this celestial mansion.
The word is spoken. "I will give it to you." It is a gift--and a gift worthy
of the God, who gives--worthy of the blood, which bought--worthy of the
Spirit, who calls to it. No human merit pays the price. No human strength
can scale the steps. No human hand opens the gate. Some proudly hope for
heaven, as if they had some claim. But none go proudly in. They all fall low
before the throne, shouting glory to free grace--Salvation to the
Lamb--"Christ is All."
But it is sure. "I will give it to you." Who
utters this wondrous promise? Even the Lord, whose might is
almightiness--before whom all men, and all the hosts of hell, are nothing,
and far less. Let every foe swell into millions of ten millions--let all
their power be thousand-fold increased--His arm can shiver them to dust--His
breath can drive them, as a feather on the hurricane's wing. The Lord, whose
word is truth--whose counsels are immutability--whose purpose ever
stands--says, "I will give it to you." Faith hears and knows, that every
wave and every gale convey it prosperously to the assured haven. "We are
journeying unto a place, of which the Lord said, I will give it to you--come
with us." Such is faith's happy state. Reader, have you this faith?
2. This invitation shows, that FAITH IS AGGRESSIVE.
"Come with us." Each heaven-set plant strives for expanse. True grace has
one sure sign--it longs and labors to communicate its wealth. A saving view
of Christ slays self--relaxes every icy band--widely extends embracing arms,
and yearns to multiply delights. When the heart burns, the life must labor.
Where is the fire, which emits no warmth? Where is the sun, which darts
forth no rays? Thus the history of faith is a chart of plans and toils
It looks around. It first marks the Hobabs of the
home-circle. It stops not here. It takes a wider prospect. It surveys the
neighboring abodes. It then mounts higher ground, and flies around the
circumference of the native land. It still ascends, and in the telescopic
gaze of love, it comprehends the world, with its broad circuit, and all its
mass of people--kindred--tongues.
While it thus muses, what is the deep desire? Oh! that
these souls might be the heirs of heavenly life! Their nature-state dooms
them indeed to wrath. Their steps unturned must bear them down to hell.
Their hearts unchanged must link them to the lost. But Jesus died, and in
that death there is redemption. But Jesus lives, and while He lives, who can
despair? If only they can hear of Him--if the sweet mercies of the Spirit
help--if faith convey them to the cross--then soul-graves open--then endless
misery flees, as night before the orb of day--then hell is robbed, and
While faith thus pants with longing hopes, it asks, 'How
shall this be?' The answer is at hand. God tells what aid must be employed.
The means are the clear proclamation of the Gospel-truth. And this
proclamation is from preachers' lips. Then preachers must be sent forth. The
men of God, with Christ on their lips--the Bible in their hands--must take
their stand between the living and the dead. They must lift high the
Gospel-beacon amid a lost world's night. Rejoicing in their known salvation,
they must importunately urge, "We are journeying unto the place, of which
the Lord said, I will give it to you--come with us, land we will do you
Faith then will hasten to give far-flying wings to these
appointed means. This holy zeal became the parent of missions to
home-destitute, and distant heathen. Hence arose that precious brotherhood
of combined believers, who send salvation's tidings far and near. But how
scanty are their efforts before a world's need! How crippled are the sinews
of their strength! How poor their coffers! How few their laborers!
Reader, are you the called of Christ? Are you a traveler
to the promised place? Then show it by your self-denying support to these
enlisting laborers. Help them, for they need it. Help them, for the time is
short. Help them, for the Lord requires it. Help them, as you would have
sure token in the day of Christ, that you obeyed His mandate, and that your
faith was not a barren stock.
But perhaps some Hobab reads these lines, who is not
pressing on to Zion's joys. Sir, pause and reflect. This tract, with
Moses-like entreaty, grasps your hand, and looks you tenderly in the face,
and knocks imploringly at your heart's door. It asks with loving zeal, Where
do your footsteps tend? It prays you to turn and join yourself in heavenly
fellowship to heaven-bound travelers. "Come with us."
Your present path is misery--briers--thorns--rough
places--pitfalls--disappointments, all sloping towards hell. Before us there
is peace, and an eternity of light. Turn, "come with us." The world, and
sin, and Satan, pierce with death-wounds. But "we will do you good." Behold
the Savior, whom we love, and trust, and serve. Can you depart from Him? Oh!
mark His tender grace--His zeal for souls--His surety-sufferings--His
guilt-expiating agony. Can you leave Him? Think of His patience--His
frequent calls--His precious promises--His outstretched arms. Think of the
rapture of His seen smile--the comfort of His felt presence--the calm
delights of converse with Him, and the full glories of His near kingdom.
Think of the dying Lamb--the risen Lord--the reigning and triumphant King.
"Come with us." Jesus has spoken good concerning Israel.
May the mighty Spirit prompt the quick reply, 'Grace
conquers, and I come!' May hesitation hide its face in shame! May wise
decision make you Christ's forever.