“It required the protracted period of forty years in the wilderness to teach the
children of Israel “what was in their hearts” (Deut. 8:2) and it is one of the
grand results of the course of discipline through which each child of God
passes, to lead him into a more profound knowledge of his own weakness
and nothingness. “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should
not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Cor.1:9). The more
we are growing in the sense of our infirmities, the more shall we see our need
of clinging more closely to Christ–drawing more largely upon His grace, and
entering more fully into the cleansing virtue and value of His atoning blood.
The Christian, at the opening of his course, never knows his own heart; indeed,
he could not bear the full knowledge of it; he would be overwhelmed thereby.
“The Lord leads us not by the way of the Philistines lest we should see war,”
and so be plunged, in despair. But He graciously leads us by a circuitous route,
in order that our apprehension of His grace may keep pace with our growing
self-knowledge.” C.H. Mackintosh (Abraham and Lot)