|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, He that should come, and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable. And though the sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.
Verse 6. - For I am the Lord, I change not; or, Jehovah, I change not. This is to show that God performs his promises, and effectually disposes of the allegation in Malachi 2:17, that he put no difference between the evil and the good. The great principles of right and wrong never alter; they are as everlasting as he who gave them. God here speaks of himself by his covenant name, which expresses his eternal independent being, "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Because God's eternal purpose stands good, and his "gifts and calling are without repentance" (Romans 11:29), therefore the Israelites are indeed chastised and corrected, but not wholly consumed; they have a place and a nation, and the great promises made to their foregathers will all be fulfilled in due time (Jeremiah 30:11; Micah 7:20). He calls them "sons of Jacob," to remind them of the covenant made with their great ancestor, which was the portion of all true Israelites (comp. Jeremiah 33:20, 21). Orelli would read, "Ye have not made an end," i.e. of your sins; so virtually the Septuagint, which joins this clause to the following verse. But the present text is most probably correct.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I am the Lord,.... Or Jehovah; a name peculiar to the most High, and so a proof of the deity of Christ, who here speaks; and is expressive of his being; of his self-existence; of his purity and simplicity; of his immensity and infinity; and of his eternity and sovereignty:
I change not; being the same today, yesterday, and forever; he changed not in his divine nature and personality by becoming man; he took that into union with him he had not before, but remained the same he ever was; nor did he change in his threatenings of destruction to the Jews, which came upon them according to his word; nor in his promises of his Spirit, and presence, and protection to his people; nor will he ever change in his love and affections to them; nor in the efficacy of his blood, sacrifice, and righteousness; wherefore, as this is introduced to assure the truth and certainty of what is said before, concerning his being a swift witness against the wicked, so also for the comfort of the saints, as follows. The Targum is,
"for I the Lord have not changed my covenant.''
Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed; such who were Israelites indeed, true believers in Christ; these were not consumed when the wicked Jews were, but were directed to leave the city before its destruction, and go to another place, as they did, whereby they were preserved; and so it was, that not one Christian perished in it; See Gill on Matthew 24:13 and so it is owing to the unchangeable love, grace, and power of Christ, that none of his perish internally or eternally, but have everlasting life.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. the Lord—Jehovah: a name implying His immutable faithfulness in fulfilling His promises: the covenant name of God to the Jews (Ex 6:3), called here "the sons of Jacob," in reference to God's covenant with that patriarch.
I change not—Ye are mistaken in inferring that, because I have not yet executed judgment on the wicked, I am changed from what I once was, namely, a God of judgment.
therefore ye … are not consumed—Ye yourselves being "not consumed," as ye have long ago deserved, are a signal proof of My unchangeableness. Ro 11:29: compare the whole chapter, in which God's mercy in store for Israel is made wholly to flow from God's unchanging faithfulness to His own covenant of love. So here, as is implied by the phrase "sons of Jacob" (Ge 28:13; 35:12). They are spared because I am Jehovah, and they sons of Jacob; while I spare them, I will also punish them; and while I punish them, I will not wholly consume them. The unchangeableness of God is the sheet-anchor of the Church. The perseverance of the saints is guaranteed, not by their unchangeable love to God, but by His unchangeable love to them, and His eternal purpose and promise in Christ Jesus [Moore]. He upbraids their ingratitude that they turn His very long-suffering (La 3:22) into a ground for skeptical denial of His coming as a Judge at all (Ps 50:1, 3, 4, 21; Ec 8:11, 12; Isa 57:11; Ro 2:4-10).
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