Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert…
It has been said that God is everywhere present, and therefore should everywhere be honoured alike; it has been said, that the mind and the heart are everything, and that the posture of the body is nothing. In opposition to these refined speculations of modern days, it were sufficient to hold up the authority and command of the Word of God. But we may properly remark, in addition to this, that though the Almighty is everywhere present, He may be present at some times and in some places, in a peculiar manner. Our blessed Lord Himself has declared, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." It is again contended, that the mind and the affections may be equally lifted up to God in any posture; sitting or lying down, as well as kneeling: and to a certain extent this remark may be perfectly true. If the mind and affections be equally interested in the two cases; if the devotion be equally pure and the obedience equally sincere, then the acceptance of the service may be equal. But how can the obedience in these two cases be equally complete and sincere, when we know that God has enjoined, in His holy Word, a reverent posture of devotion — a posture, which we find all good men, in all ages, scrupulously observing? A carelessness of posture is an act of positive disobedience. Nor is it easy to believe, that the feelings of devotion are equally pious and sincere. Does not nature herself, when the soul is overwhelmed, teach us to humble and prostrate the body? There may be, in many instances, sufficient reasons for declining this bodily service; there may be infirmity, there may be other reasons; but where there are not, such service would seem to be indispensable to the devout and accepted worshipper. Let me not appear to be countenancing the practices of those, whose religion chiefly consists in outward form: let it not be supposed, that any corporeal homage is of the smallest avail, unless it proceed from an earnest and a pious heart: so far otherwise, that to bow down unmeaningly in the presence of the Lord, is an act of insufferable hypocrisy. Yet we must not, from such abuses as these, draw arguments against a positive duty; we must not conclude, as some are perverse enough to do, that every outward appearance and form are hypocritical. Such a conclusion is not only weak, but wicked. "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God": be jealous of thy ways; be narrowly attentive to thy demeanour; be watchful of the affections and imaginations of thy heart: thou goest for a holy and mighty purpose, see that it be answered; see that thou be accepted in thy deed; see that thou return with a blessing on thy head.
(J. Slade, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.