Deuteronomy 6:23
but He brought us from there to lead us in and give us the land that He had sworn to our fathers.
Coming Back AgainJ. Parker, D. D.Deuteronomy 6:23
Profit and LossW. L. Watkinson.Deuteronomy 6:23
The Eternal PurposeThomas Spurgeon.Deuteronomy 6:23
The Outbringing and the Inbringing of IsraelJ. K. Campbell, D. D.Deuteronomy 6:23
Family Training is to Propagate the LawR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 6:6-25
The Religious Education of ChildrenJ. Orr Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 20-25
The Parental OfficeD. Davies Deuteronomy 6:20-25

In the Mosaic economy, the parental office is made prominent, and parental influence is pressed into service. All God's arrangements for training mankind dovetail into one another.

I. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROVOKE RELIGIOUS INQUIRY. No greater folly can be perpetrated than the attempt to repress inquiry. Inquiry is the king's highway to wisdom, and who dare block it up? God loves to hear honest inquiry. To afford instruction is the delight of the Divine Spirit, but what instruction will be valued if no spirit of inquiry is awake? Some questions which we ask can never be solved; they are beyond the range of the human mind. Some questions God will not answer, because they are vain and useless. But honest questions, with a view to practical obedience, God delights to hear. You can do the young no better service than encourage their minds to inquire after religious facts. "What mean these things?"

II. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO ANSWER FULLY CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS. It is childish folly to attempt to conceal our lowly origin. There is no real disgrace in an obscure parentage. To have been formerly enslaved, or imprisoned, or oppressed, through man's injustice, is an honor, not a stigma of reproach. There is no real shame, except such as proceeds from wrong-doing. It will do us good, it will do our children good, to see the "rock whence we were hewn, the hole of the pit from which we were digged." It will foster humility, gratitude, contentment, trust. It will lead us afresh to adore the Divine goodness, and to count ourselves and our children the servants of this mighty God. Never let true Israelites forget that all they have they owe to God! Unto this state of happy privilege a Divine hand has brought us.

III. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO OPEN UP GOD'S BENEFICENT INTENTION. If any man is too indolent to investigate truth for his own sake, he may be provoked to do it for his children's sake. We should have such a firm conviction that every arrangement and command of God was "for our good always," that we can demonstrate it to our children. Our knowledge of God and of his practical dealings should be so broad and clear that we might see and feel that his care for our good was paramount. This is the first and loftiest end he seeks - not our enjoyment, but our good. Not to demonstrate his power, or his consistency, or his determination to conquer, - these are not his foremost aims, but "our good always." His costliest deed of condescension was the yielding of his Son to death. And where shall we seek the moving principle? In his own future glory merely? No! In his love for the world! Yet his glory, and man's real good, are but the separate threads that make one cord.

IV. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROMOTE HIS CHILDREN'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. "It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments." No more conclusive argument can parents use; no loftier end can they contemplate. To become righteous - this is to be the lofty ideal we set before our children. But commensurate with the grand acquisition must be the care that we promote it by proper and practicable methods. It is impossible for guilty men to regain righteousness by their own efforts or merits. But real righteousness is provided for us by the bounty of God, and is offered to us in Christ as a free gift. "He hath brought in everlasting righteousness, which is for all and upon all that believe." Our ambition for our children must be the highest - not that they be richly dowered, or learned, or placed in earthly rank, but that they may be internally and thoroughly righteous. - D.

He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in.
There were many things in the history of ancient Israel which repeat themselves in the history or experience of the Christian Church. Our text may be regarded as —

1. God's answer to man's question: What is the meaning of human life? Everywhere we see beginnings and advances, but where are the issues or ends? Human life in general has its beginnings or outgoings, but who can foresee its incomings? We may regard human life as a promise or as a prophecy, but to many it is also an insoluble problem. Throughout the kingdom of nature we find everything comparatively plain. We find nothing of the nature of chance or caprice. Certain causes are invariably followed by certain definite effects. "From the greatest planets to the tiniest plants, all things are under the operation of fixed laws. Everything comes to pass in its time, and with all the beauty of that "order which is heaven's first law." Things in the natural world are thus ordered in all things and sure. Are they not equally so before God in the moral and spiritual worlds? Verily He knows all our outgoings and incomings, our sittings down and risings up; He is entirely acquainted with us in all our ways. He knows the end from the beginning in every case. There are no accidents with Him, and He is never taken by surprise. God has no new thoughts, and He makes no new discoveries; the darkness and the light are both alike to Him always.

2. This reveals God's purpose. God's purposes may be far beyond the scope of human vision, but they are fixed as the laws of the material universe; they may lie far beyond the hills and mountains of man's higher thoughts and best conceptions, but they are realities and pregnant with good, and they are always being fulfilled in the experience of His own people. God has done something that man might do something else, and that something else man must either do or perish. What has God done?

3. God's work. "He brought us out from thence." It was not Moses that brought them out. Moses himself was only a weak instrument. In wisdom he might be greater than Lycurgus, in skill greater than Alfred, in efficiency more powerful than Cromwell, in patriotism greater than Washington; but the work to be done required Divine wisdom and power. Moses was an efficient agent because God's Spirit was in him to will and to do as God required.

4. Man's work. Man must ever be regarded as left to the freedom of his own will, for he was so created. When God completed the work of creation, He said in effect, "It is finished. Take the earth, Adam, as I have made it; till it, and live on it; make the best of it; have dominion over it." When God completed the work of man's redemption on the Cross, He said, "It is finished. Take it, ye children of men, and work out your own salvation." When God took the Hebrews out of Egypt, He said in effect, "Follow My servant Moses through good and evil report, and I'll take you into the land which I sware unto your fathers." In other words, God promised to save them only if they were willing and obedient. But alas l they were neither willing nor obedient, and hence we read, "they entered not in, because of unbelief." They were willing to go out, because of their bitter bondage, but they were not willing to go on because of the trials and sorrows of the wilderness. They were discouraged because of the way.

5. The Hebrews were a typical people —(1) Of true believers. Those who went out and went on and went into the land were typical of those who with the heart believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are willing to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. They have tested His promises and His character in the alembic of their own Christian experience; they have weighed His claims in the balances of Christian thought and meditation until the fire burned within them, and they felt "unspeakably obliged" to go after Him; and so they "press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Their faith and love and religion being alike practical they work towards purity, progress, and perfection.(2) Of unbelievers. Those of the Hebrews who entered not in because of unbelief, typify those who in every age confound their life with their limbs and their souls with their senses. These sceptics must ever be as "hewers of wood and drawers of water," even in this world. Success, even in this world, implies a high ideal — faith, indomitable energy, and perseverance. With these, men even of average mental powers will succeed, and without them they must abide in the wilderness of circumstances. While holding by the Bible doctrine of Divine sovereignty, we also hold by the fact that God helps those who help themselves. Only hardships can make hardy men. Brave soldiers and good sailors are manufactured by forced marches, wars, and through storms. The best and bravest men become perfect through suffering.

(J. K. Campbell, D. D.)

Israel, brought out of Egypt, for awhile wandered in the wilderness. But they were not left in the wilderness; it was no part of God's purpose to leave them there; He brought them out from the house of bondage that He might give them the land large and good.

I. The text has direct teaching for us WHEN THE DIVINE SPIRIT LEADS US OUT OF THE CARNAL LIFE. "He brought us out from thence." The redeeming God finds us in the Egypt of the fleshly, mind and the worldly life; finds us under a harsh, debasing rule; finds us full of bitterness; and by His good Spirit He moves us to go forth to a freer, brighter life. Let us be sure that we permit Him to bring us thoroughly out of the sordid, sensual past. To a large extent it was the ruinous mistake of Israel that they never truly and fully got out of Egypt. They remembered it too frequently, they talked about it too much, they recalled far too often and too vividly its coarse pleasures. Conversion, regarded etymologically or Scripturally, means a total change, an emphatic turning of the back on the far country, the steadfast setting of the face to Jerusalem. See to it that you cast no lingering look behind; drop the entangling friendships, the compromising habits, the unseemly tempers of the old guilty, godless life. But be absolutely sure that if you heartily renounce the carnal life God will bring you into a rich inheritance. The first experiences of the wilderness were very strange to the Israelites. All their habits of life had been suddenly changed: they had lost the leeks without getting the pomegranates; and in those days of transition they became impatient and disobedient. Had they persevered a little all would have come gloriously right. It is often thus with newly-converted men and women; there is an intermediate state in which the old world has been renounced, and in which the new world has not been realised, and this intermediate state is full of peril to the pilgrim soul. Wait, trust, hope, persevere, and the inheritance shall grow upon you. It is grand enough to be worth a little waiting for. We are all familiar with a certain class of emigrants who go forth with rosy expectations to distant lands, and who soon return utterly disappointed. In starting the higher life we have need of patience, patience that will not make us ashamed. Following on to know the Lord, new interests will spring up, new friendships will inspire, new hopes will dawn, new activities absorb and delight, new charms will disclose themselves in work and worship, new and richer meanings will shine through all things.

II. The text is a message for us WHEN THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE SUDDENLY AND RADICALLY CHANGES OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. Life is continually changing, but in some periods its whole aspect is changed by some unexpected event, and we go out as Israel went out of Egypt, as their father went out not knowing whither he went. Some event occurs breaking up the business which seemed so well established, and the merchant driven from his old anchorage is in fear of quicksands amid strange waters. The working man with the least ceremony is discharged from the berth in which he has been able to secure for himself and others daily bread, and in the crowded labour market must find himself a fresh job as best he may. We are familiar with facts like these in this world of vicissitude, but who can express all the uncertainty and solicitude and sorrow they imply? It is a time of peculiar exposure, suffering, and peril to the creatures of the sea who have shed their old shell, and not yet got a new one; and birds of passage often perish in multitudes on their journey from one land to another. So the Christian, turned out of his nest, stripped of his shell, experiences a phase of life full of peril to faith and temper and character. The disruption of our circumstances is frequently followed by serious and even fatal moral and religious consequences. But be sure that if you fear God and follow His leading He has brought you out of the familiar life that He may give you a richer inheritance. "When one door shuts another opens." But you say, "Will the door that opens, open upon a situation as pleasant as the old?" It may open upon one a great deal better. Most men who have found their way to fortune owed their success to the fact that some door or other was once slammed in their face; but even should the opening door open on a more sombre situation, be sure that it opens up to you possibilities of far grander character and experience. I say, then, if God is leading you out of the old set of associations, do not be afraid; He is preparing you for something better, preparing something better for you. When God brought the Pilgrim Fathers out of this country they tasted to the full the bitter sorrows of dispossession; for dreary months they were tossed in the Mayflower, and then found it hard work to get foothold upon the strange coast. But in due time God brought them into the good land, giving them liberty of conscience and all else that makes life worth living. Whatever else may come to pass you shall finally acknowledge that disinheriting you, transporting you, God has brought you into a deeper faith, a stronger character, and set your feet in a large place of moral wealth and spiritual blessing.

III. The text is full of encouragement AS THOUGH THE DIVINE GRACE WE PASS INTO A NEW YEAR. Time is even a greater leader than Moses, conducting us out of the familiar into the unknown. "We attempt to settle ourselves in what we conclude to be a fairly happy condition of things, to adjust our ideas, interests, and hopes to a fixed and permanent environment, but it is all in vain. But let us not repine. He brings us out from thence that He may bring us in to give us the land. Dispossessed so many times, it is that we may be made meet for an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Sir Samuel Baker writes in his diary as he penetrates the great unknown land, "It is curious in African travel to mark the degrees of luxury and misery; how one by one the wine, spirits, bread, sugar, tea, etc., are dropped like the feathers of a moulting bird, and nevertheless we go ahead contented." And despite the fact of their constantly dropping the conveniences of civilised life they might well go ahead contented, for were not their eyes every day looking upon the wonders of a new land of surpassing wealth and splendour? Our earthly losses are richly compensated in the growing wealth of our spirit. Let us take care that by our discontent and unbelief and disobedience we do not permit some painful and perilous hiatus to come between the losses of the material life and the accessions of the grace and glory of the higher life; let us grow into the diviner as we grow out of the coarser.

IV. The text has gracious consolation for us WHEN THE DIVINE WILL ENDS THIS MORTAL LIFE. We do not take kindly to that last dispossession. "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out." We cannot take out as much as Israel took out of Egypt. But let not our faith fail us. He brings us out from this terrestrial life that He may bring us into the celestial. Cicero tells of a prisoner who had always lived in prison; he had never once seen the outer world. And so when he had become an old man, and they began for some reason or other to pull down the walls of his prison, he broke into bitter lamentings because they would destroy the little window through whose bars he had got the only bit of light that had ever gladdened his eyes. He did not understand that the falling of the walls would let him into a broad, bright world, would open to him the wide glories of sun and sky and summer. And so when we see the body sinking ruinous in decay it seems as if we were about to lose everything, forgetting that the senses are but the dim windows of the soul, and that when the body of our humiliation is gone the walls of our prison-house are gone, and a new world of infinite light and beauty and liberty bursts upon us.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

We are face to face with a great providential plan. Men do not go out and in by haphazard if they be wise men, true in heart, obedient in will. There are no outlying provinces and colonies on which the Sovereign's eye does not rest. We must not bring ourselves out. How prone man is to do this! He will handle himself. It is comforting, it is self-elevating, it has a look of business and energy about it; as who should say, I am awake, I will do this with mine own hand. Why bring yourselves out? You cannot take yourselves back again. A continual restraint of the appeals and voices and seductions that would carry us from the providential way is part of the discipline of life. Do not take yourselves out of anything; for God's sake and your own, let your lives alone. If you are always taking up the tree to see whether it is growing you will make growth impossible. Only when God brings us out will God bring us in. We are too much given to tempting God, saying, We will make a bad bargain, and ask God to complete it and make it up to us as if we had done nothing foolish; we will adventure ourselves down this unfamiliar road ten miles, and when we find we are on the wrong path we can begin to pray. Why will not men look at both ends of a covenant, an arrangement, or action? Give your whole life every day, and every hour, and every moment, to God, saying, "Jesus, still lead on"; saying, Except Thy presence, Thou covenant God, go with me, take me not up hence: I weary for something else, I pant for some new opportunity; but if it be Thy will that I should not go, then make me glad, if not with rapture, yet with quiet content of soul. God brought His people out of bondage that He might bring them into liberty. Bondage is a large word, signifying a large experience, and signifying also an experience that is necessary — that is to say, an essential part of any true solid and perpetual growth. We are all in the bondage of littleness. God is continually leading us out of littleness that He may bring us into largeness. We shall know whether God brought us out of our littleness by the largeness into which we have entered. If our charity is larger, if our impulses are nobler, if our prayers take upon themselves a new grandeur of desire, then know that it was God, whose key turned the lock, it was God whose voice called us out of our dwarfed estate into largeness of manhood. There is a bondage of darkness, a bondage of bigotry, a bondage of thinking that we are the people, and the temple of the Lord are we; and all people who do not go with us are wrong, benighted, and foolish. God will lead us out of these misconstructions of others that He may lead us into a true appreciation of our brethren. Sometimes God leads us out of wealth that He may lead us into it. If God takes away our wealth He means to give us more and more; if God is at the beginning of Job's distresses He will be at the completion of Job's fortunes; if Job shall take the case into his own hands he shall fight it with his own hand, but if God begin to strip him and to bruise him we must wait until the latter end comes and then interpret the purpose and the scheme of heaven. Things must not be judged in their fermenting processes; they must be judged when God says concerning each of them, It is finished. God brings us out of youth that He may bring us into manhood. That is His purpose. Youth itself is good and beautiful, excellent, but not enough. God leads us out of the letter that He may bring us into the spirit. Most of us are prisoners of the letter. At the first it is necessary that literal bondage should test us; but we are not under God's guidance fully and consentingly unless we are daily growing away from the letter — not to make the letter a stranger or to isolate ourselves from it, but growing away from the letter as the edifice grows away from the foundation, and as the tree grows away from the root; not leaving it, but carrying it up to higher significance, into blossom and fruitfulness. We have a familiar saying amongst us which is not true; we say of certain things, "As easy as A B C!" Now there is nothing in all literature so hard as these letters; there is no reading in all the world so hard as the alphabet. It is in the alphabet that we find the difficulty; the years will come and go, and then the mechanical will be forgotten, because we have entered into a spiritual consciousness, and now everything that is mechanical and arbitrary is under our feet; we are masters of that department of the situation. It is even so with God's Book; it is even so with God's own Son. The Apostle Paul says, "Henceforth we know no man after the flesh, yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no more." The reader does not know the alphabet in the sense of that alphabet being an irritation or an exasperation to him. He knows it so well that he is not conscious of knowing it. Thus the letter may be translated into the spirit; thus the creating Hand and the redeeming blood may be carried up into what is called the Holy Ghost — the final, the eternal Personality. Have ye received the Holy Ghost? God thus leads us out of law that He may bring us into grace. The law is hard, the law is graven on stone or written in iron. We must pass through that school of the law, we must obey; but obedience makes law easy and gracious. "Practice," we say, "makes perfect." That little maxim has its application to things spiritual; doing the will, we learn the doctrine; obeying the law, we come into the grace. We shall know how far we have grown in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by the ease and the delight which we realise in obedience and service and sacrifice. God has led some of you out, and you do not know where to. There is no need for you to know. Let God alone. Did He place you where you are? Have you reason to believe that you are in your providential position? Then stop there. But by taking one step across the road I could do wonders! So you may: how long will the wonders last? What are these yellow wonders, these rocket blazes of earth? Better have a crust with God than try to banquet on the wind. How sweet it is to realise the providence of life; how comforting to know that everything we say, think, or do, is of consequence to God!

(J. Parker, D. D.)

A glance at the text will suffice to show that the honour of Israel's redemption, from beginning to end, is due to Israel's God. No mention is made of any other power; God and God alone is responsible for Israel. 'Twas He that brought His people out, 'twas He also that led them in. So may it be with us, for our salvation, too, is of the Lord. The other thought is almost as manifest, namely, that God's redemptive work, from its initial stage to its glorious consummation, is a scheme or plan which He conceived in His loving heart, and wrought out by His mighty hand. It is not the result of haphazard, nor of casual thought. It is no experiment, no afterthought, but the outcome of a settled and unalterable purpose. "He brought us out, that He might bring us in."

I. SALVATION IS OF GOD. Israel's redemption, from first to last, was Jehovah's doing. Notice this, will you, that the Lord our God in the matter of our salvation both brings us out and brings us in. From Him we received our first convictions; 'tis He that wakes within the slumbering soul the earliest desire for better things. And just as certainly as that God works in us those earliest aspirations and desires, so certainly does He crown the work at last.

1. Note, first, that He brings us out. How was it with these people in the early days? We have here a short record of their wonderful experience. "We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt." "The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand." They would have tarried still among the brick kilns if the Lord had not interposed on their behalf. He heard their cry. The things that accompany our salvation are not less remarkable than the wonders God wrought in the land of Ham. He has had pity, and shown His mighty power to us-ward. His compassions have not failed in our case, and He has wrought miracles that eclipse altogether the wonders that Zoan saw.

2. Equally true is it that He brings us in. Canaan was a long way from Egypt, but the Lord had determined to do the work thoroughly. It was not enough to cross the Red Sea, nor even to pass the desert; the chosen people must ford the Jordan, and enter the promised land. Oh, believe me, the Lord is prepared to do just this in the realm of spirituals for all His believing people. Whom He justifies them He also sanctifies, and whom He sanctifies them He also glorifies. He is all our salvation and all our desire. At the first He gives us by His Spirit all needed grace that we may come repentingly, look believingly, and go on our way rejoicingly. 'Tis He produces joy, and peace, and hope, and love.

II. AND THIS SALVATION IS THE RESULT OF PLANNING. God's purpose and God's power go together. As I have told you already, there was a scheme at the back of this. They did not happen or come to pass by chance; they were all devised and designed by the loving Father. I do not think that we should marvel particularly at this. We ourselves have plans and purposes. They do not always come off, it is true; too often we fail to see what we have hoped to view, and our best laid plans deceive and disappoint us. Not so with God; all that He arranges for surely comes to pass, for His power and His purpose go hand in hand. Now apply this to our case and to spiritual things.

1. Thank God there was a loving thought in His dear heart. I know not when it first sprang up. God has never been aught but love, and I cannot conceive that there could ever have been a time when He had not set His heart upon the salvation of men whom He would yet create, and who He knew would sin. You do not wonder either, that, having such a thought in His heart toward us, it found expression in words.

2. The gracious promise proclaimed the loving purpose.

3. Then came the mighty deed, the baring of HIS arm, the showing of His mighty power, the deliverance of His people from the heel of the tyrant — a deliverance so complete that they did not leave so much as a hoof behind them. Not they and their children merely, but their cattle and their chattels were all delivered from the house of bondage.

4. Then began the ceaseless care of Jehovah towards His people. He did not lead them over the Red Sea that He might forsake them in the desert, nor did He conduct them across the desert that He might see them drown in the Jordan. No, no! He led them all the way; nothing interfered with His purpose; there were obstacles, but He overcame them. He did not bring them out from Egypt merely as a demonstration of His power; as one of the great powers, for instance, will make a naval demonstration, and secure a certain result, and then it is all past and over. This was only the first step and stage in the glorious process of complete deliverance for Israel, and of the fulfilling of a gracious promise ratified by oath to Abraham. He did not bring them out that He might slay them in the wilderness, as the enemies of Israel insinuated when they heard how He punished them. Certainly He did not bring them out that they might go back again, as they themselves, alas! were prepared to do when they got into difficulties. Grace is glory in the bud.

(Thomas Spurgeon.)

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