Understanding

If they would live and go in and possess the land, Moses told the Israelites, then they must obey the commandments which he had given them. "Keep therefore and do them," he said, "for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."

In commenting on this call not to obedience for its own sake, but because of its results in prosperity and in its example upon others, the well-known Biblical commentator and historian, Sir George Adam Smith, points out that this promise was actually fulfilled in the experience of the Israelites. They became famous among other nations because they were "a wise and understanding people." "The cause of a fame," he writes, "was not of course the wise details of the Law, nor even that the nation possessed and lived by it, in a way unparalleled by any other nation in Western Asia . . . but religious spirit of the Law, its unique monotheism." Thus the righteousness of the law, combined with their spiritual apprehension of it, made them to be recognized as a great people.

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Among the Churches
July 19, 1941
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