He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.(Deuteronomy 32:10-14)
We are looking at the song God gave Moses to teach all of Israel, impressing upon the mind of the nation the future history of Israel, all of the way to the “Last days”.
Thus far the future of Israel will show, that God is good, faithful, generous and upright in all of His dealings with Israel. However Israel proves ungrateful, perverse in her dealings with God, even in the face of the abundant generosity of the LORD!
We shouldn’t cast any stones at the children of Israel, for in truth they are a microcosm of the human race. If Israel proved unfaithful to God, how much more the church which He so favored, and which He purchased with His own blood? Have we not also been proven to have been unfaithful, apostate, and perverse? Isn’t church history a sad retelling of the books of Judges and Kings?
What did God do for Israel, according to the Prophetic Song ?
He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
This is not merely a reference to the Exodus experience in Israel’s history, for literally he refers to “A desert land’ not “THe desert…”. The LORD is speaking metaphorically.
Israel is seen as a man stumbling lost through the wilderness that is this cursed, idolatrous world. There is nothing to eat and drink and this is also a world in which at anytime the wild, dangerous beasts can be heard ferociously howling. It is a world of death and danger.
The literal tense is present perfect; …He finds Him…He leads Him…instructs him and keeps him… .When it says He leads Him , this could also be rendered He encompasses Him, He surrounded Him as a protective wall, he made Israel exclusively His.
In the wilderness He gave instruction, the LAW of the LORD which is perfect, elevating Israel above all other nations. The ultimate lesson in the wilderness of the Exodus was, “…. man shall not live by bread alone ,but by every Word that cometh from the mouth of God”.
But the same word for instruction could also mean “He attentively considered Him”, or as the Revised Standard Bible renders it, “He cared for Him”. He provided everything they needed, as a father would a son, He treated them tenderly, in kindness and grace.
He guarded them as the apple of His eye...the tenderest, most sensitive and protected part of the body. The retina, surrounded by the iris, called in the Hebrew, the ishon, (Little Man), because we can see our own reflection looking into the retina of another.We take great pains to guard this most sensitive and precious of our members. So also does the LORD watch over Israel.
Is this not the story of our own life? Didn’t the LORD himself seek and choose we who have been saved? Has He not taught us also and shown us the path of Life?The 107th Psalm echoes this verse of the song of Moses,
They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!(Psalm 107:4-8)
The LORD’s training of Israel, is likened unto the education a mother Eagle gives unto her chicks, removing down from the nest, lest the chicks get too comfortable and refuse to fly. When the Eaglet does take wing, the mother is there, ever watchful, ready to fly underneath and bear up the chick on her wings, should she have any trouble taking flight! This she will do until the Eaglet is strong enough to fly on its own.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
The LORD alone was sufficient for Israel, they needed no foreign gods! He, the almighty God, bore them up on Eagle’s wings.
He made him ride on the high places of the earth, This is a military expression, meaning, that the LORD would allow Israel to get the victory time and again. Israel would be given control of the higher ground because of the LORD’s intervention.
…that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape…
Kiel and Deleitsch in their excellent commentary make the point that the reference to honey out of a rock and oil out of flinty rocks, is a poetic way of saying that in the Promised Land, God caused abundant delicacies to come from unlikely places;
Honey out of the rock and oil out of the flint-stone, i.e., the most valuable productions out of the most unproductive places, since God so blessed the land that even the rocks and stones were productive. The figure is derived from the fact that Canaan abounds in wild bees, which make their hives in clefts of the rock, and in olive-trees which grow in a rocky soil. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/view.cgi?bk=de&ch=32
This is how the Most High blessed and favored, and even sated Israel. He wanted the nation to sing of it, He preserved the song to this day, Israel was to consider its message until the last days.