Comfort for Christians
by Arthur W. Pink, 1952
GOD SECURING HIS INHERITANCE
"He found him in a desert land and in the waste howling
wilderness. He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of
his eye." (Deuteronomy 32:10)
In the previous verse we have the amazing statement that
the Lord's "portion" is His people, and that there may be no
misunderstanding, the same truth is expressed in another form: "Jacob is the
lot of his inheritance." Here in our text we learn something of the pains
which God takes to secure His heritage. There are four things to be noted
and feasted upon.
1. Jehovah FINDING His people. "He found him
in a desert land." It needs hardly to be said that the word "found"
necessarily implies a "search." Here then we have presented to our view the
amazing spectacle of a seeking God! Sin came in between the creature
and the Creator, causing alienation and separation. Not only so, but, as the
result of the Fall, every human being enters this world with a mind that is
"enmity against God." Consequently, there is none who seeks after God.
Therefore, God, in His marvelous condescension and grace, becomes the
The word "found" not only implies a search but, when we
consider the sinful character and unworthiness of the objects of His search,
it also tells of the love of the Seeker. The great God becomes the Seeker
because He set His heart upon those whom He marked out to be the recipients
of His sovereign favors. God had set His heart upon Abraham, and therefore
did He seek and find him amid the heathen idolaters in Ur of Chaldea. God
set His heart upon Jacob, and therefore did He seek out and find him as a
fugitive from his brother's vengeance, when he lay asleep on the bare earth.
So too it was because He had loved Moses with an everlasting love that the
Lord sought out and found him in Midian, at "the backside of the desert."
Equally true is this with every real Christian living in the world today: "I
was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did
not ask for me" (Romans 10:20).
Has God "found" you? To help you answer this question,
ponder the remainder of the first clause of our text: "He found him in a
desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness." Is that how this world
appears unto you? Do you find everything under the sun only "vanity and
vexation of spirit?" Are you made to groan daily at what you witness on
every hand? Do you find that the world furnishes nothing to satisfy the
heart, yes nothing to even minister to it? Is the world, really, a "waste
howling wilderness" to you?
Let a second test be applied: when God truly "finds" one
of His own He reveals Himself. He imparts to the soul a realization of His
sovereign majesty, His awesome power, His ineffable holiness, His wondrous
mercy. Has He thus made Himself known unto you? Has He given you, in any
measure, a vision of His Divine glory, His sovereign grace, His wondrous
love? Has He? "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the One true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent" (John 17:3).
Here is a third test: If God has revealed Himself, He has
given you a sight of yourself, for in His light we "see light." A most
humbling, painful, and never to be forgotten experience this is. When God
was revealed to Abraham, he said, "I am but dust and ashes" (Gen. 18:27).
When He was revealed to Isaiah, the prophet said, "Woe is me for I am
undone, because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). When God revealed
Himself to Job, he said, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job
42:6)—note, not merely I abhor my wicked ways, but my vile self. Is this
your experience, my reader? Have you discovered your depravity and lost
condition? Have you found there is not a single good thing in you? Have you
seen yourself to be fit for and deserving only of hell? Have you, truly?
Then that is good evidence, yes, it is proof positive that the Lord God has
2. Jehovah LEADING His People. "He led him
about." The "finding" is not the end, but only the beginning of God's
dealings with His own. Having found him, He remains never more to leave him.
Now that He has found His wandering child He teaches him to walk in the
Narrow Way. There is a beautiful word on God "leading" in Hosea 11:3: "I
taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms." Just as a fond mother
takes her little one, whose feet are yet too weak and untrained to walk
alone, so the Lord takes His people by their arms and leads them in the
paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Such is His promise: "He will
keep the feet of His saints" (1 Sam. 2:9). There is a threefold "leading" of
EVANGELICAL. The Lord Jesus declared, "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).
But again He said, 'No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me
draws him" (John 6:44). Here then is how God leads: He leads the poor sinner
to Christ. Have you, my reader, been brought to the Savior? Is Christ your
only hope? Are you trusting in the sufficiency of His precious blood? If so,
what cause have you to praise God for having led you to His blessed Son!
DOCTRINAL. The Lord Jesus declared, "When He the Spirit
of truth has come, He will guide you into all the truth" John 16:13). We are
not capable of discovering or entering into the Truth of ourselves,
therefore do we have to be guided into it. "As many as are led by the Spirit
of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14). It is He who makes us to
lie down in the "green pastures of Scripture and who leads us beside the
"still waters" of His promises. How thankful we ought to be for every ray of
light which has been granted us from the lamp of God's Word.
PROVIDENTIAL. "Because of your great compassion you did
not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to
guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the
way they were to take" (Neh. 9:19). Just as Jehovah led Israel of old, so
today He leads us step by step through this wilderness-world. What a mercy
this is. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in
his way" (Psalm 37:23). Yes, every detail of our lives is regulated by the
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command,
All must come and last and end,
As does please our Heavenly Friend.
3. God INSTRUCTING His People.
"He instructed him." So He does us. It was to instruct us
that God, in His great mercy, gave us the Scriptures. He has not left us to
grope our way in darkness, but has provided us with a lamp unto our feet and
a light unto our path. Nor are we left to our own unaided powers in the
study of the Word. We are supplied with an infallible Instructor. The Holy
Spirit is our teacher, "You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you
know all things . . . the anointing you have received of Him abides in you,
and you need not that any man teach you" (I John 2:20, 27).
Right views of God's truth are not an intellectual
attainment, but a blessing bestowed upon us by God. It is written, "a man
can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). No
matter how legibly a letter may be written, if the recipient be blind he
cannot read it. So we are told, "the natural man receives not the things of
the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14). And spiritual
discernment is imparted only by the Holy Spirit.
"He instructed him." How patiently God bears with our
dullness! How graciously He repeats "line upon line and precept upon
precept!" Yet slow as we are, He perseveres with us, for He has promised to
perfect that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8). Has He "instructed" you, my
reader? Has He taught you the total depravity of man and the utter inability
of the sinner to deliver himself? Has He taught you the humbling truth "You
must be born again," and that regeneration is the sole work of God—man
having no part or hand in it (John 1:13). Has He revealed to you the
infinite value and sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, that His
blood cleanses "from all sin"? Then what cause you have to be thankful for
such Divine instruction.
4. God PRESERVING His People. "He kept him as
the apple of his eye." A religion of conditions, contingencies, and
uncertainties is not Christianity—its technical name is Arminianism, and
Arminianism is a daughter of Rome. It is that God dishonoring,
Scripture-repudiating, soul-destroying system of Popery—whose father is the
Devil—which prates about human merit, creature-ability, and a lot more
blasphemous rubbish, and leaves its blinded dupes in the fogs and bogs of
uncertainty. Christianity deals with certainties which originated in the
purpose and love of an unchanging God, who when He begins a good work always
"For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon
the godly. He will keep them safe forever" (Psalm 37:28). How blessed is
this! Did Jehovah "forsake" Noah when he got drunk? No, indeed. Did He
"forsake" Abraham when he lied to Abimelech? No, indeed. Did He "forsake"
Moses for smiting the rock in anger? No, indeed, as His appearance on the
Mount of Transfiguration abundantly proves. Did He "forsake" David when he
committed those sins which ever since have given occasion for the enemies of
the Lord to blaspheme? No, indeed. He led him to repentance, caused him to
confess his awful wickedness, and then sent one of His servants to say, "The
Lord has put away your sin."
"The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands
beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor
the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever."
(Psalm 121:5-8). Here are the covenant verities of our faithful God: here
are the sure promises of Him who cannot lie. Note there were no "if's" or
perhap's, but the unconditional and unqualified declarations of the Most
High God. No circumstances can ever place the true believer beyond the reach
of Divine preservation. No change can alter or affect this Divine certainty.
Wealth may ensnare, poverty may strip, Satan may tempt, inward corruptions
may annoy, but nothing can ever destroy or lead to the destruction of a
single sheep of Christ; nay, all these things only serve to display more
manifestly and more gloriously the preserving hand of our God.
We "are kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). The rage of
heathen monarchs, with their den of lions and fiery furnace, may be employed
to try the faith of God's elect; but destroy them, harm them, they cannot.
Oh brethren in Christ, what cause we have to praise the finding,
instructing, and preserving, Triune Jehovah!