The lesson today:



The Apostasy of Men and the Departure of God

                   Jeremiah 7:33-34

                       Acts 2:36-42

                   Genesis 19:12-17

                   August 27, 2022


is taken from:     Peace at Last:  The Will at One with God and Man VIII

the same passage as the lesson presented on August 6, 2023




33 And the carcasses of this people shall be meat for the fowls of

the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth, and none shall fray

them away.

34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the

streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness,

the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land

shall be desolate. (ἐρήμωσιν - eraemosin desolation; they-should-be-

STRIP-BARE-ing [to make deserted, uninhabited]; [lay-waste,

cause to be abandoned]   (Compare ch. 6:8 - “Be thou instructed,

O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate,

a land not inhabited.” CY - 2023)



Now this is not like the puzzling sequence of which comes first, the chicken

or the egg! 



“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart

from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.”  (Jeremiah 6:9)



                                 Acts 2:36-42


36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath

made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and

said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren,

what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of

you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye

shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that

are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save

yourselves from this untoward generation.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the

same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and

fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.



                                      Genesis 19:12-17


And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law,

and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatso ever thou hast in the

city, bring them out of this place:

19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen

great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to

destroy it.

19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married

his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the

LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked

unto his sons in law.


19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying,

Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest

thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon

the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the

LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and

set him without the city.

19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that

he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou

in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.


Avoid all delay in the performance of this great work of believing in Christ -

John 6:29 - Until we have performed it we continue under the power of sin and

Satan and are under the wrath of God;  and there is nothing between hell and

us besides the breath of our nostrils.  Walter Marshall 1628-1680 - and

indepentdent preacher and theologian.  (Puritan Publication)



Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the

old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that

glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. (Spurgeon said “There

is nothing new but that which is false.”  (CY - 2023) In our electronic

age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books

(ePubsmobi and PDF formats) to their library – books

from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a 

digital puritan” themselves(Puritan Publication)



In re: to God departing - New Testament reasons



Romans 1:24-32


24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts

of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and

served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their

women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman,

burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that

which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of

their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,

God gave them over to a reprobate* mind, to do those things which

are not convenient;   *  ἀδόκιμον - adokimon - not standing the test; rejected.

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness,

covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit,

malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of

evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural

affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such

things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure

in them that do them.



 (I want to hear you say that this is not happening now - in the United

States of America - CY - 2023)  As of the natural heart our Savior said that

out of it “.............proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,

fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which

defile a man...”  (Matthew 15:19-20)   so, where there

are multitudes of such, there will be an exaggeration of the individual

tendency and influence. As the leader of fashion, and dominant authority in

new customs and ideas, there is an eclat (style; flamboyance)  transferred

from it to what is evil.  Its existence becomes, therefore:

* Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that

keepeth the law, happy is he.”  Where there is no vision, the people perish; rather,

cast off restraint, become ungovernable, cannot be reined in (Exodus 32:22, 25).

“Vision” (chazon), prophecy in its widest sense, denotes the revelation of God’s will

made through agents, which directed the course of events, and was intended to be


prophets were the instructors of the people in Divine things, standing

witnesses of the truth and power of religion, teaching a higher than mere

human morality. The fatal effect of the absence of such revelation of God’s

will is stated to be:


  • confusion,
  • disorder, and
  • rebellion;


“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart

from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.” 

 (Jeremiah 6:9)


the people, uncontrolled, fall into grievous excesses, which nothing but high

 principles can restrain(Thus the futility of the government trying to enforce

gun control as a remedy for societal problems - The government can never

keep someone from killing another, or raping another, but their religion can!

CY - 2023)  We note the license of Eli’s time, when there was no

open vision (I Samuel 3.); in Asa’s days, when Israel had long been without a

teaching priest (II Chronicles 15:3); and when the impious Ahaz “made

Judah naked” (II Chronicles 28:19) – (I recommend Spurgeon Sermon – Ruins –

from II Chronicles 28:23 -  this web site –  Go to - 

go to Metropolitan Tabernacle – Volume 44 – Sermon 2565 - CY – 2014); or

when the people  were destroyed by reason of lack of knowledge of Divine things

(Hosea 4:6).  Thus the importance of prophecy in regulating the life and religion

of the people is fully acknowledged by the writer, in whose time, doubtless, the

prophetical office was in full exercise: but this seems to be the only passage in the

book where such teaching is directly mentioned; the instructors and preceptors

(experienced teachers and coaches) elsewhere introduced as disseminating the

principles of the chochmah (wisdom, understanding and knowledge)

being parents, or tutors, or professors, not inspired prophetsBut he that

keepeth the Law, happy is he! “The Law” (torah) is not merely the

written Mosaic Law, but the announcement of God’s will by the mouth of

his representatives; and the thought is, not the blessedness of those who in

a time of anarchy and irreligion keep to the authorized enactments of the

Sinaitic legislation, but a contrast between the lawlessness and ruin of a

people uninfluenced by religious guidance, and the happy state of those

who obey alike the voice of God, whether conveyed in written statutes or

by the teaching of living prophets. (For “happy is he,” compare Proverbs 14:21;

16:20.) Septuagint, “There shall be no interpreter to a sinful nation, but he

that keepeth the Law is most blessed.”


Romans 2:2-13


2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth

against them which commit such things.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such

things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of


4 Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and

longsufferingnot knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee

to repentance?

5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto

thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the

righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory

and honor and immortality, eternal life:

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but

obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of

the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10 But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to

the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without

law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the


13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of

the law shall be justified





Back to the heading:


                The Apostate City that Cannot be Let Alone




TO DO WITH IT. It is as a fire that has broken out amidst combustible

materialBy-and-by “the wicked city” is felt to be an intolerable evil. It is

A MENACE to the peace and good government of its neighbors. They cannot

afford to ignore it. No time must be lost in bringing it to reason. Its

excitements and dissipations wax madder and more widespread. No time

can be lost. Hence the avengers come from all quarters in haste and

eagerly“Sanctify war against her! Arise, let us go up at noon!” —the heat

being no barrier to their setting out; “Arise, and let us go up in the night!”

— the darkness and weariness being forgotten in their hatred and

vengeanceFor the same reason no terms can be made with it. The Mosaic

regulations in warfare are set aside (Deuteronomy 20:19-20). There is

no chivalrous respect inspired by it, and as it shows no mercy, none is

accorded to it.  (All is fair in love and war. - John Lyly's novel, “Euphues:

The Anatomy of Wit,” published in 1578, is the earliest known origin of the

sentiment all is fair in love and war.” - CY - 2023)


III. IT IS A CONTINUAL OFFENCE TO GOD. God’s love for it had

been great, and He had purposed to make it a center of redeeming love.

This aim had been thwarted. So it has been with the city life of man

everywhere. As a natural development, and a providential result in human

history, the city is intended to enlarge the powers of doing good and to

bless the world. But how seldom has this been the case! The centralization

of life has but intensified its corruption. Is there any place where the

salvation of society seems more hopeless than in our great cities? And

God’s patience threatens to give out. He cannot bear the noisomeness of

its evil. He is about to turn from it in utter loathing and final abandonment.

“Be thou instructed O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make

thee desolate, a land not inhabited.”  (v. 8 - remember ch. 4:23-28 - CY - 2023)

But not yet. Warning is given; a prophet is sent. Nay, the Son Himself, if

haply they will hear Him, in whom alone a sufficient antidote is found. In

Him is salvation, for of the holy city, the New Jerusalem, the scene of

regenerated society, He is Center and Lord. He is spoken of in Zechariah 13:1,

“In that day there shall be a Fountain opened to the house of David and to the

inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” 


I recommend the song below sung by Aretha Franklin


There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood - YouTube




1 There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

2 The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

3 Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its 
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

5 When this poor lisping, 
stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song
I'll sing Thy 
pow'r to save:
I'll sing Thy 
pow'r to save,
I'll sing Thy 
pow'r to save;
then in a nobler, sweeter song
I'll sing Thy 
pow'r to save.


                        By William Cowper




Below are two statements by C. H. Spurgeon that if they reflected our attitudes today,

our wills would be much more in unison with God and man.  (CY - 2023)




The unbelief of the natural man is the parent of his misdeeds and sin,

and keeps him from any real communion with God.








  Apostasy an Anomalous (abnormal and aberrant) and Incalculable Thing

                                                (Jeremiah 8:4-7)



FALSIFIED. (vs. 4-6.) If a man fall, he will rise again to his feet; if he

has made a mistake or gone in a wrong direction, and discovers it, he will

turn again, unless he be absolutely bereft of his senses. One might expect

similar behavior in spiritual matters. But in the wickedness and defection of

Israel it was not so; their apostasy seemed perpetual. The migratory birds

are taught by instinct when to return. The season of their coming again is

almost as calculable as that of their going. But the departure of the sinner is

incomprehensible, and his return cannot with certainty be expected. Nay,

the likelihood is he will continue in his sin, and pursue his own destruction

to the hitter end. In this, as in many other instances, the career of the sinner

can only be explained on the score of infatuation. His moral sense is

perverted or destroyed. In place of that quick response which conscience

ought to make to the voice of duty, there comes over his spirit an

insensibility to moral considerations, and A GROWING IGNORANCE

of things Divine gradually deepening into OUTER DARKNESS.



TO AFFECT IT. (v. 5.) The growing misery and unhappiness which it

occasions are not strong enough to check the tendency to sin, if indeed

their connection with it is clearly perceived or acknowledged. The cravings

of the spiritual nature have to give place to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of

the eye, and the pride of life.” By-and-by they are stilled, not by being

satisfied, but by being stifled; and a curious heedlessness, which is deaf to

all the voices of prophetic warning and entreaty, increasingly characterizes

itUnder such circumstances it is difficult to discover any common point of

contact or argument that shall be valid to both parties. When reason is left

behind, it is not to higher, but to lower, susceptibilities that appeal has to

be made.



PROVISION OF GOD ARE AS NOTHING. (v. 6.) The saint in the

times of his calamity calls upon God to incline His ear. In the fearful

condition and moral insensibility of His people to their  wickedness and

danger God is represented as of Himself inclining H is ear and listening

attentively for the lightest sigh of repentance. He calls, but no notice is

takenThe means of salvation He has provided are neglected, or abused.

The form of godliness is cultivated when the spirit has fled and the

exercises of religion are the chief foes to its reality. What can be the

conclusion to all this? THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DEAD!   There is neither

power nor inclination to seek for better things. Nothing but supernatural grace and

long-suffering love can avail to save them.




Poet Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of

the United States (2012-2014). 




                                    The Way Home (v. 6)


The text suggests much concerning this way from the far country of sin to

the home of our Father and God. The Lord is here lamenting that none of

the people of Jerusalem were walking in it. Note




1. Realization of the ruin wrought by our sinThe soul is represented as

contemplating this ruin, and asking, “What have I done?” This is the first



2. Repentance. Each one is to repent of “his wickedness.” We are not to

lose ourselves in a general confession of sin, as too many do, but to think

of our own sin apart from that of other people, and to think of what is

especially our sin. Thus personal and particular, our repentance is the more

likely to be genuine and godly.


3. Confession. “These that have sinned, these and these only speak aright

when they speak of repenting, and it is sad when they who have so much

work for repentance do not say a word of repenting.” But confession is this

speaking aright” which God desires to hear from us. Now, this confession

is so acceptable to God because it glorifies His holiness and His love. His

holiness; for the sinner has come to see sin as God sees it, and hence to

hate and abhor it. He is of one mind with God about it as he never was

before. And his love; for confession casts itself in faith upon a love that is

deeper than its sin. Deep as is God’s abhorrence of sin, the sinner in

confession appeals to and lays hold on a love that is deeper still. Hence,

when the sinner makes his sincere confession before God, he is at once

right out of “the far country,” and home in the heart of God. The robe, the

ring, the shoes, are put upon him; the feast is prepared, and the merrymaking,

the joy in the presence of the angels of God, at once begins.  (see Luke 15)



THIS WAY. It is God who is represented as bending down his ear,

hearkening to what is said, listening for any words of confession, and ready

to hear them if spoken. The text is the language of gracious expectation

and desire on the part of God. It calls to mind the father’s waiting for the

prodigal’s return. How often had he looked with longing, loving gaze

down the road along which his returning son must come, if ever indeed he

would come! He had looked so often that a speck in the far distance

would at once be discerned by him. Hence, “when a great way off,” the

father saw him. And so here God is represented as thus waiting for his

guilty people’s return. And how much there is to confirm our faith in this

Divine solicitude for the sinner’s salvation! Look at the very constitution of

our nature. That, as Bishop Butler has shown, is evidently on the side of

virtue, that is, of obedience to God, and against the disobedient. “Who will

harm you, if ye be doers of that which is good?  — thus the apostle

appeals to the universally recognized fact, that the constitution of man’s

nature is such as to favor the good. And, on the other hand, the declaration

that “the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15), is based on another like

fact of universal experience. Such is one evidence of “the care” with which, as

George Herbert sings, “Lord, with what care thou hast begirt us round?

Then the revelation of His truth is yet further in evidence. That truth, as

ministered to us by the written Word or by the lips of prophets, apostles,

pastors, teachers — it matters not — is a perpetual proof of the Divine

solicitude for our eternal good. And His providence, making it to be well

with the righteous and ill with the unrighteous. Well and ill with each

respectively in mind, body, and estate. And His Spirit. That Spirit speaking

to us in conscience and in the powerful pleadings of His grace in our hearts,

of which we are all so often conscious. And, last of all, God has shown us

this loving care of His for us in his Son. He has shown Himself in a manner

adapted to touch and move all hearts, and to draw all men unto Him. Now,

all this mass of evidence is in keeping with that solicitude which this verse

and so many other portions of God’s Word reveal as felt by Him towards

sinful men.  (SOLICIT - ask for, crave, beg, request)   And if it be asked

“What moves this solicitude?” the character of God furnishes the answer.

The holiness of God. “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will He

teach sinners in the way.”  (Psalm 25:8)  And we are bidden“Give thanks at

the remembrance of his holiness.”  (ibid. ch. 30:4)  It is the nature of

holiness to be distressed at all that contradicts it and is unlike itself. It rests

not until it has assimilated all around it to itself. Here, then, is one reason

of God’s perpetual appeals to sinful men.


·         His wisdom also. It is the characteristic of God’s wisdom to adjust

      means to ends. How wonderfully and beautifully this is seen in all

      departments of nature! But for the fulfilling of the high purposes

      of His grace, what instrument can He find more fit than the regenerated,

      redeemed soul? Even now and here we see this. A soul aglow with love

      and faith towards God, what will not that soul do for God? Hence to the

      principalities and powers in heaven shall be made known by the one

      Church — the company of the redeemed shall evidence it 



·         His love also. If the beholding of scenes of distress touch our hearts

      and make us eager to render help, can we imagine that He who made

      us is less willing than ourselves to show pity and render help?

      Our Lord’s argument is, “If ye, evil though ye be, know how”

            — and we do know how — “to give good gifts to your children, how

            much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those that

            ask Him?  (Matthew 7:11)  Humanity, as it has been well said, is the

            heavenly Father’s sick child. Will not the Father’s love, therefore, 

            be all the more called forth to that child? 


·         And His compassion also. For this life is the critical period of that

      child’s malady. It is the time when the great question of its life or death

      is being determined. Terrible forces are against it, and the struggle is

      now at its most momentous hour.  This fact would cause the Father’s love

      to go forth, as it has gone and is going forth, in active compassion, in open

      manifestation of its solicitude.


 Such are some of the considerations which lead to our Father’s attentive

observance of all those who travel by this homeward way.


III. THE END OF THE WAY. They who come there will find:


·         restoration to the Father’s love,

·         the implantation of a new nature,

·         the complete pardon of the past,

·         power to live as God’s dear child for the future, and ultimately

·         the everlasting dwelling in the very presence and home of God.


IV. BROOKS BY THE WAY. It is said, “He shall drink of the brook by

the way, therefore shall he lift up the head.” We may apply these words to

the travelers in the way we are speaking of; for they need, in the weary and

often most difficult journey, the refreshments WHICH GOD ALONE CAN

SUPPLY!  Such aids are given in the promises of God, the fellowship of God, the

communion of fellow-travelers on the way, and in the service and worship

of God.


V. THE SOLITARINESS OF THE WAY. It is but here and there a

traveler that is found. The way is not thronged. This verse is God’s lament

that scarce any are found willing to go along this road; for it is not the way

of worldly advantage. They who “are given to covetousness” (v. 10) will

never choose this way. They have persuaded themselves that they are as

well off and better where they are. They are deceived, and, what is worse,

are willing to be deceived: They hold fast deceit, and so refuse to return.”

(v. 5)  We should have thought that surely it would be otherwise.


1. Reason bids them return (v. 4). If a man have fallen, he will not lie

content on the earth, but will arise. If in an ordinary journey he have missed

his way, he will at once retrace his steps. Reason rules in such cases, but

not here.


2. Conscience bids them return. They could not but know that their sin had

done them sore harm; but none of them asked, “What have I done?”

however loudly conscience might summon them to such repentance.


3. Gods Word bade then return (v. 8), but lo! certainly in vain He made

it.   IsraelAmerica?  You?


4. Providences bade them. The events that had taken place were all

admonitions of God; but though the birds of the air marked and obeyed the

providence of God, sinful man “knew not the judgment of the Lord” (v. 7).

(And like the people of Noah’s day, at the time of the Flood “....were eating

and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah

entered into the ark, And knew not until the Flood came, and took them all

away...”  (Matthew 24:38-39 - I hope this doesn’t sound like a fairy tale to

you - Christ doesn’t do fairy tales.  CY - 2023)  Hence the way is solitary. 


·         CONCLUSION. But the question for us is, “Are we in this way?” Let us

bless God if we are, and press on therein. Let us note how short the day is

in which we can travel, how its few fleeting hours are lessening, lest when

we would start on the way we have to exclaim (Jeremiah 6:4), “Woe

unto us I for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are

stretched out.”




Ecclesiastes 12 man goeth to his long home


Oh how I want to go home




                                    Backsliding in Its Worst Forms (vs. 4-11)


All departures from God are evil, but some are only temporary, and are

quickly followed by repentance, return, and restoration. There are others,

however, of a far more serious kind, and we have in these verses a great

deal told us concerning them. We are told of some of:




1So contrary to mens wonted ways. For when men find that they have

brought evil on themselves, they will at once seek to undo such evil (v..4).

If a man fall, he win not lie still in the mire or in the road, but will get

up again as speedily as may be. If he have mistaken his path and got on a

wrong track, wilt he not, as soon as he discovers his mistake, quickly

retrace his steps that he may get into the right way? That is how men act in

the common affairs of life. But, though Judah and Jerusalem knew well that

they had fallen, yet they showed no desire to rise, and though they could

not but know they were altogether out of the right way, they showed no

willingness to return.


2. Resists the strivings of Gods Spirit and all his drawings of them to

Himself. V. 7 implies such God-implanted instincts in men’s souls, but

declares that, unlike the ever-obedient birds, man resists and refuses the

call of God.


3. Becomes shameless. (vs. 6,12.) This feature we have had noticed

before (compare ch.6:15); it arrested the prophet’s attention as being

evil exceedingly.


4. Determined and defiant. (v. 6.)


5. Is at last perpetual. (v. 5.) They have gone into an evil way, and they

abide in that way, no power of Divine grace being able to draw them

therefromSo terrible is this worst form of backsliding, it is perpetual.

          “......they hold fast deceit.”


Let each wanderer from God ask himself the question, “What have I done?”


3. The time for such inquiry is lessening day by day.

4. “It is a fearful thing” for an unforgiven man “to fall into the

hands of the living God.”  (Hebrews 12:29)





                        Peace, Peace; When There is No Peace (8:8-12)


The present condition of the country, why these scandals, miseries, and

impending evils?



UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S WORD. The priests and scribes, because

of familiarity with holy things, claimed to be wise. They were satisfied with

the spiritual state of Israel. Had they been wise, they would have

anticipated what took place. The Holy Spirit alone bestows Divine insight

and foresight.




“Refuges of lies” will be swept away. The judgment, when it comes, will

find them wholly unprepared and helpless. “Take heed that the light that is

in thee be not darkness.” “Blind leaders of the blind,” the sorrowing comes

to them in vain for comfort, or is deceived to his own hurt; at last the

victim of a misplaced confidence, to find himself “of all men most






The Inveterate (ingrained; deep-seated) Disobedience of Israel

                                                (v. 28)


All along, from v. 21, this is the theme, viz. the disobedience of Israel.

Now, to give full force to a charge of disobedience there must be the

means of furnishing ample proofs that directions have first been given —

plain, earnest, and authoritative. And this is just what we find here. God

refers His people back over the long years in which, by divers agencies, He

had laid before them his righteous and beneficent will.

 What he commended was for His glory; for His glory because for His people’s

good; for His people’s good because for His glory. The present state and

prospects of the people are very humiliating, but assuredly no part of their

humiliation can be laid to the charge of their God. The cloudy and the fiery

pillar was but a symbol of most distinct guidance for the whole heart. The

people were not suffered to wander for lack of expostulation and warning.

When a lad turns out badly, criticizing speech is often directed against the

parents, as if somehow they must be at fault. They may be at fault indeed,

but there is no must in the matter. Hasty criticism at such a time, from the

very injustice of it, adds a cruel intensity to the pain and disappointment

already existing. But hasty criticism cannot be silenced by merely

deprecating it, and parents at such moments would do well to remember

that they stand in relations to their disobedient children not unlike those in

which, as is represented here, Jehovah stood towards Israel of old. The

most loving and watchful and patient of parents never did for his children

NEAR SO MUCH AS JEHOVAH DID FOR ISRAEL There was the instruction

of their wonderful career, in which God had moved so sublimely among them.

There were the ten commandments, formulated so distinctly, and set in

such a grand historical frame. There were all the rites and ceremonies filled

with instructing power to those who would seek to understand them. And

there was also, accumulating generation after generation, the great mass of

prophetic truth. Man is what he is, not for want of light, but for want of

disposition to use and obey the light when it appears. There is an

indisposition to attend to truth and to fidelity in all duty, until at last the

very feeling of what faithfulness and righteousness are vanishes from the

breastBut still the excuse is attempted, and persisted in with shameless

impudence, that the word which professes to come from God must have in

it something defective, something that effectually prevents it from being

received. But it is only from the unrenewed mind that talk of this kind

comes. Those who have had their eyes opened to the truth of God soon

begin to discern that in that truth there is no lack of guidance, or

inspiration, or comfort, or any good thing which can uplift and satisfy the

heartAnd we may be sure that God, who has given this immense and

fruitful body of truth, has brought it nearer to the individual conscience

than the individual in his perversity will always acknowledge. Men are

indulged too much in the complaint that nobody has spoken to them about

their souls. A miserable egotism often lies at the bottom of such

complaining. If they know by any means whatever — and it matters not

how slight the hint may be-that there is something written for the

obedience of all mankind and for their consequent advantage, then these

complainers are bound to attend to it. Men are not so foolish in the quest

of worldly gains. Then they will go upon the slightest hint, and follow it up

discreetly and warily. Why, then, should they be so foolish in the matter of

spiritual gain? Because “truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.”