And Moses said to Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying to the place of which the LORD said…
These words afford us more than one glimpse into Moses's state of mind. More than forty years had now elapsed since he had "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." What enabled him to make this difficult choice? The apostle tells us, "faith." But faith is a grace that does not stand alone. It soon becomes the parent of other graces. God has told us what He is; and it is the characteristic of faith to rest in Him as a present God — to enjoy Him as an all-sufficient and present portion. But God has spoken about His people s future — told them not only what He is, but what He will be to them. He hath spoken "good concerning Israel." These promises kindle and sustain "hope." The heart is enlarged with the joyful anticipation of things to come. Moses's invitation to Hobab shows that "hope" was one, it may be the prevailing, characteristic of his state of mind at this time. There was something, too, in his outward circumstances which might give an impulse to this expansive feeling. Hitherto they had been marching almost away from the land of promise; now their steps were turned, and they were about to move in a direct line for it. This had no effect whatever on the minds of the carnal and discontented Israel; present inconveniences and trials completely thrust all the promises out of their minds. But Moses pondered the promise; he anticipated the "good which God had spoken concerning Israel." Hope rose high in his expecting heart, rendering more bearable the heavy burden which he had to carry — a disobedient and gainsaying people. Why is it that our hearts do not abound more in hope? Is it not that they are not occupied enough with God's promises? That they do not realise, as Moses did, the good which God hath spoken concerning Israel? We live too much in the present or the past, and not enough in the future. Hope, then, was a feature of Moses's spirit. But another is very apparent in this invitation to Hobab — his holy benevolence. He was anxious that one related to him, though not of Israel, should share in the "good" promised to Israel. And this is the more beautiful, when we bear in mind that Israel of old was not called to impart to others the truths which they had been taught. The Church of the Old Testament was not in any sense, to use a common expression, a "missionary Church." Its duty was to keep the oracles of God, and to live in complete separation from all the other nations of the earth: so that Moses went beyond the spirit and requirements of the law when he gave utterance to the benevolent desire of his heart, "Come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for God bath spoken good concerning Israel." But we who live in the latter times, when the fulness of Divine love has burst through the barriers which for a time confined it, when the gracious command has been given, "Preach the gospel to every creature," we ought to say, by the holiness of our lives, by the sympathy of our hearts, by the words of our lips, to those around us, "Come with us, and we will do thee good." We see this compassionate love in Paul (Romans 10:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:8). We see it in the beloved John (3 John 1:4). But, most of all, we see it in Jesus, the fountain of all grace — "For when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." And how full of love are His repeated invitations-" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden." "Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out." Oh, we ought to be more like-minded with Jesus; and if we realised more the good which God has spoken concerning Israel, we should surely desire that relations and friends might "come with us"; that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same He might do to them.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
WEB: Moses said to Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are journeying to the place of which Yahweh said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us, and we will treat you well; for Yahweh has spoken good concerning Israel."