The Berean Expositor
Volume 41 - Page 196 of 246
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to the faithful two. The only other occurrence of sunkerannumi is in I Cor. 12: 24 "God
hath tempered the body together". All Israel were "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and
in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat" (I Cor. 10: 1-4); they were all, at least
typically "saved" people, but the record continues "But with many of them God was not
well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness" (I Cor. 10: 5). Among the
items picked out by the Apostle for our warning is the fact that "murmuring" ended in
their destruction, even as in Philippians, the same Apostle, writing to believers of the
high calling, warned against "murmuring" and those whose end is "waste" (destruction
A.V.), and whose god was their belly (Phil. 2: 14; 3: 19).
The weakness and the perverseness of the human heart it will be seen early manifested
itself in both leader and people, pointing on, in the first instance to Joshua who led the
people in, and ultimately to the Lord, for it is written "If Jesus (i.e. Joshua) had given
them rest" David would not have still spoken of that rest as future (Heb. 4: 8).
The remainder of the first chapter of Deuteronomy is occupied with the rebellion and
the forty years' wandering. Chapter 2: sums up that dreadful experience in the words of
verse 1:
"Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea,
as the Lord spake unto me: and we compassed Mount Seir many days" (Deut. 2: 1).
At the end of this period the Lord again spoke:
"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward" (Deut. 2: 3).
There is a world of frustration in that word "compass".  The same Hebrew word
gives us  "whirl about" (Eccles. 1: 6);  "wind about" (Ezek. 41: 7);  "driven back"
(Psa. 114: 3, 5).
We are not of them that "draw back unto perdition (or waste)" said the Apostle with
an eye on this tragedy of wasted effort and breach of promise. Abraham knew something
of this blank, unprofitable period (Gen. 12: 7 and 13: 18), the intervening descent into
Egypt and the dwelling with Lot being so much waste of precious time, mercifully
blotted out, but waste nevertheless.
New directions however are given to Israel. No longer are they told to go up by way
of the mountain of the Amorites, their route is altered and led by way of the lands of
Esau, Moab and Ammon. We too must take it to heart, that while the basic truth of
Ephesians and Philippians remains to us, practical and experimental modifications are
observable in II Timothy, the last epistle of Paul. We cannot now "go up by way of the
mountain". Fellowship which is rich and full in Ephesians and Philippians is absent from
II Timothy, where the insistence there is on "thyself". We look with longing at the
record of the Philippian assembly, but know that no such fellowship will again be
manifested on earth. Rather the sphere and atmosphere of our service is indicated in the
fourth chapter of  II Timothy,  where loneliness rather than the encouragement of
"striving together" may be our lot.