1. NOTICE THAT THE PEOPLE ARE REMINDED OF THE PAST.
Confidence in God for the future is to grow out of the memory of His former dealings with them. “Your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which He did.” “Think of your Almighty Helper,” cried Moses, “He goeth with you into this land: He careth for it.” And so let us call to mind the greatness and the glory of our God. What tokens of His love for us we have! What pledges of His care for us, far outpassing all that Israel ever looked upon.
2. LOOK AT THE LAND IN WHICH GOD WOULD HAVE US TO LIVE.
Egypt is the type of the world, the world that knows not God. “Who is the Lord that I should serve Him? I know Him not.” This is the language of Pharaoh, the language, too, of the prince of this world. Egypt is the land where they looked down for their supply — watered it with thy foot. They got their harvests by their own toil and depending upon themselves; they knew not God. Israel must come out of this into a land where they look up for their supply, up into the hills whence cometh their help — a land of hills and valleys that drinketh in the rain of heaven. The wilderness between the two was the school where the people were to learn the first lesson of their dependence upon God. We have long enough been fretting and murmuring in the wilderness. In the Lord’s Name arise and enter into the land where God’s presence encircles all, the eyes of the Lord are always upon it. Rest in the Lord. Believe in His power, not as a reserve fund from which you are to draw when your strength is spent, but as actively engaged for you, interested in all your affairs, ever eager to help and guide.
3. NOTICE THE LORD’S PROMISES CONCERNING THIS LAND IN WHICH WE ARE TO DWELL.
“The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven.” All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here, anxious one is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He is the Source of our mercies, they can never fail us. Do not go down to Egypt for your pleasure, or your strength, or your wisdom, or your comfort.
Man of God, thy place is Canaan, the land that the Lord careth for. Fetch all thy supplies from Him. If strength is needed, who can help thee like the Lord? Who else can give thee patience or who so tenderly comfort as the God of all consolation, the God of all patience? If the way grows tangled, who can give thee wisdom as He can? There is the land to live in — the land that drinketh in the rain of heaven.
4. THERE IS A LESSON IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY.
The land is a land of “hills and valleys.” That is all we are told of it. And that is all we know of the land in which we are just entering.
This much I can tell of your fortune in the New Year. It will be a year of ups and downs, of hills and valleys. The hills, so hard to climb, that make you sigh and wonder why they are sent — they make the glad and fruitful valleys. If life were all one dead level every pleasure would grow wearisome, the dull sameness of life would oppress us. We want hills and valleys. The steep climb shows us the landscape that we could never have seen otherwise. The little vexations make pleasant things fresh in their pleasantness. Only he who has tasted the bitterness of sorrow for sin can taste and see how gracious the Lord is. Amen
The beauty, the blessedness, the pleasure of our life is more dependent than we can ever know on the hills of life. The land whither thou goest is a land of hills and valleys. “A land of hills and valleys.” Look again. The hills drink in the rain of heaven and thereby make the valleys fruitful. The desert is a desert because no hills rise up to heaven to touch the clouds and bring down blessings on the thirsty land below. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is with us. It is the hill difficulty that drives us to the throne of grace and fetches down a shower of blessing. It is the trial that sends us to the Lord for help. The hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down the showers. They drink in the rain from heaven. And yet again — the hills give to the valleys their fruitfulness and beauty by protecting them. They rise up and shut back bleak winds and furious storms: then in the sunny shelter the valleys shall be covered over with corn, the pastures are clothed with flocks. So is the land whither we go to possess it — a land of hills and valleys. Ah, how the soul had been withered, dead if no steep hill had risen for its shelter. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill country? We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Do not judge, much less grumble. Trust only.
As we enter into this New Year I am urging and encouraging all my readers, friends, clergy, brothers and sisters to look to the hills from whence cometh our help. Our help is in the Name of the Lord. Any person on the same level as us needs to look up to the hills. However, I am encouraging us this morning to put all our trust in the Lord. Anything otherwise will lead us off the beaten path.
Man has been known throughout the centuries to be failures. Doctors fail, teachers fail, politicians fail and so the preachers fail also. Therefore, I am reminding us that there is one who never fails and I want us to put all our trust and confidence in Him this New Year. May Almighty God bless us wherever we are reading this message, Bless my homeland and these United States of America. God bless the clergy and members of The Mystical Order and Starlight of Israel.