The Word of the Lord that came to Hosea.I. HE WAS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED. Holy men of old spake not of their own wisdom or of their own will; they spake the Word of God. In what a contemptuous light their conduct places those who in the present day quote the sayings of the Fathers, the Church, or Tradition, or suggest modern innovations, and strange interpretations. We have the Word of God, and the prompting of the Spirit; and is not that enough?
II. HE HAD WORTHY ANCESTRY. His father's name would not have been mentioned had it not been to honour the son. How the father can strengthen and establish the son, or the son ruin and crush the father!
III. He prophesied at a critical period.
1. It was a long time. Probably eighty years.
2. It was a changeable time. Various scenes. Different characters of kings and peoples. He lived in the reigns of one good king and four bad ones. He saw plenty and famine. He saw one revival and much sin.
3. It was a tentative time. Upon the conduct of the Jews depended their ultimate existence.
IV. PRACTICAL THOUGHTS.
1. Hosea must have begun his ministry very young.
2. How very little we have of his prophesyings. His chief work was directly relative to his age. God has preserved what was of permanent interest.
3. How long a man of God may labour, and yet how little good he may accomplish. He did not prevent the Captivity. We arc not answerable for our success, but we are for our duty. We are not to relax our efforts because men am blind or fools.
I. WHO HE WAS. His name means a saviour, one who brings salvation, and many saving and savoury truths this prophet brings to us. The Jews say that when a prophet's father's name is given, the father was a prophet as well as the son. "Beeri" means a well that has springing water in it, freely and clearly running.
II. To where WAS THE PROPHET SENT? Especially to the Ten Tribes. The Ten Tribes, rending themselves from the house of David, separated themselves also from the true worship of God, and horrible wickedness and all manner of abominations grew up amongst them.
III. WHAT WAS HOSEA'S ERRAND TO THEM? To convince them of their abominable idolatry, and those other wickednesses in which they lived, and to denounce severe threatenings, yea, most fearful destruction. His threatening is more severe than any given before, Yet he, too, has a message of mercy.
IV. WHAT WAS HIS COMMISSION? He had the "Word of Jehovah." Hosea did not go for the Word of the Lord, but the Word came to him. The knowledge of a call to a work will help a man through the difficulties of the work.
V. THE TIME WHEN HOSEA PROPHESIED. About the time that the city of Rome was built. The beginning of the Olympiads. During the reign of four kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. A lengthened prophesying of nearly fourscore years. See what of God's mind will spring from this.
1. It pleases God sometimes that some men's labours shall abide more full to posterity than others, though the labours of those others are greater and as excellent as theirs.
2. It appears that Hosea began to prophesy very young.
3. Hosea prophesying thus long it appears he lived to grow old in his work.
4. By Hosea s continuance m so many kings reigns, it is evident he must have gone through a variety of conditions. He preserved a constancy of spirit, however varied might be the difficulties of his work.
5. God may continue a prophet a long time amongst a people, and yet they may never be converted.
6. It is an honour to the ministers of God, who meet with many difficulties and discouragements in their, way, yet continue fresh and lively to the very end.
7. It pleases God many times to let His prophets see the fulfilling of their threatenings upon the people against whom they have denounced them.
Homilist.I. THE ESSENCE OF SCRIPTURE. What is the essence of the Bible? It is here called "The Word of the Lord." Analyse the expression.
1. It is a "Word." A word fulfils two functions; it is a revelation and an instrument. The Bible is the manifestation of God, it shows His intellect and heart, and is His instrument as well; by which He accomplishes His purpose on the human mind. By it He is said to enlighten, — quicken, — cleanse, — conquer, etc.
2. It is a Divine Word. "The Word of the Lord." Words are always powerful and important according to the nature and character of the speaker. Because the Lord is all-mighty and holy, His Word is all-powerful and pure.
3. It is a Divine Word concerning men. The prophecy came to Hosea in relation to Israel. The Bible is a Word to man.
4. It is a Divine Word concerning man coming through men. In the Bible God speaks to man through man. This gives the charm of an imperishable humanity to the Bible.
II. THE MORTALITY OF KINGS. Several kings are here mentioned who appeared and passed away during the ministry of Hosea. Uzziah was the eleventh king of Judah. His example was holy, and his reign peaceful and prosperous. Ahaz was a son of Jotham: at the age of twenty he succeeded his royal sire. He gave himself up to idolatry, and sacrificed even his own children to the gods of the heathen. Hezekiah, the son and successor of Ahaz, was a man of distinguished virtue and religion, animated by true piety and patriotism. Jeroboam was the son of Joash, and great grandson of Jehu, and followed the former Jeroboam, the man who made Israel to sin, and, like him, sank into the lowest idolatry and corruption. Some of these kings had come and gone during the ministry of Hosea; — kings die, etc.
1. This fact is a blessing. When we think of such kings as those of which Ahaz and Jeroboam were types, we thank God for death, and rejoice in the "king of terrors," who comes to strike the despots down.
2. This fact is a lesson. What does the death of kings teach?(1) The rigorous impartiality of death. Death is no respecter of persons, it treats the pauper and the prince alike.(2) The utter powerlessness of wealth.(3) The sad hollowness of worldly glory. Death strips sovereigns of all their pageantry and reduces them.to common dust.
III. THE PERPETUITY OF TRUTH. Although these kings successively appeared and passed away, the ministry of Hosea kept on.
1. The "Word of the Lord" is adapted to all generations. It is congruous with all intellects, it chimes in with all hearts, it provides for the common wants of all.
2. The "Word of the Lord" is necessary for all generations.
B.C. 800-725). The man himself at once attracts our sympathy and regard by his personal sufferings. There is no teacher of Divine truth to be compared for one moment for excellence so deep and great as trouble. Hosea had an infinite sorrow at home; therefore he was so great and tender a teacher of Divine truth. He read everything through his tears; hence the enlargement, the colour, the variety, the striking beauty of his visions. When the sorrow is home grief it assumes a tenderer quality. Hosea had children, but they had evil names; their very names were millstones round the prophet's neck. If one of them had a name historically and ideally beautiful, it was to be used for the expression of judgment and vengeance. As for the others, one represented the vanished mercy of God, and the other represented the alienation of the people from God, and the alienation of God from the people. Only sorrow should read some parts of the Bible, because only sorrow could have written them. You cannot properly sing a man's music until you know the man himself. Hosea will have a tone of his own; he will talk like nobody else; he will be an eccentric, peculiar individual; he will begin when he pleases, and he will take a circuit marked out for him by an invisible guide; but now and again he will come down to the road we travel, and will present us with flowers and fruits, and will say little sweet sentences to us that shall be as angels, covered with light, and tremulous with music. The sorrow of Hosea was symbolic. All sorrow is meant to be symbolic. Whoso has sorrow is meant to be a teacher. You have no right to the exclusive use of your own sorrow. Sorrow should only be silent for a time; by and by it should find all its words, refine, enlarge, and dignify them, and pass them on as messages, bright as Gospels. But for his own sorrow, he never could have understood God's grief. Again and again God asks us to look at Him through ourselves. Happy they who come up out of household trouble, public disappointment, and social criticism, and loss and desolation, to pray larger prayers, and offer to those who are outside a larger hospitality of love and rest. If sorrow makes us narrower in thought and purpose, then sorrow has failed to convey God's meaning to the soul.
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
The beginning Of the Wold of the Lord by Hosea.
Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
I. IN TAKING THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL AS HIS, GOD DID NOT TAKE A CHASTE NATION. Under Jeroboam I. the nation broke away from its home, and duty, and right relations. It was a soiled, wilful nation. Nevertheless, and as such God took it for His own.
II. WHILE CALLING IT HIS OWN, GOD DID EVERYTHING THAT LOVE AND CARE COULD DO TO WIN THE NATION WHOLLY FOR HIMSELF AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. Pathetic is the tender love of Hosea, as representing the patience, gentleness, and love of God.
III. THE OLD WILFULNESS WILL NOT BE SUBDUED, AND AT LAST IT BROKE OUT AGAIN, LEADING TO WORSE SINS THAN AT FIRST. Compare the moral and social life of Israel under Jeroboam I. and Jeroboam II.
IV. DIVINE SEVERITIES MUST ATTEND ON DIVINE LOVE WHEN MORAL CONDITIONS BECOME SO UTTERLY HOPELESS. And yet how evident it becomes, that judgment is God's strange work, and mercy His delight!
Christian Age.In the Memorial Hall at Harvard University there is a wonderful array of beautiful sentences frescoed on the walls in various colours, but they are all in Latin. And it is said that some of the workmen did not know the meaning of the sentences they painted, but could only put the letters and the colours on the walls as they were told, without understanding the wondrous meaning wrapped up in them. So we are often writing our lives in an unknown tongue; we can only do as we are bidden.
Call his name Jezreel.2 Kings 9:10), and forward to the punishment for that wild and cruel act. Hosea (in whom natural peculiarities have been purified and not extinguished by the spirit of prophecy) regards the conduct of Jehu in a different light from the writer of 2 Kings 10:30. The latter praises Jehu for having "done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in My mind"; he speaks on the assumption that Jehu had the interests of Jehovah's worship at heart, and that he destroyed the house of Ahab as the only effectual means of advancing them. The former blames Jehu apparently on the high moral ground that Jehovah desires mercy (love) and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). He speaks as the Israelites of his time doubtless felt. They no more recognised Jehu as a champion of Jehovah than did the priests of Baal whom he basely entrapped. But Hosea doubtless felt in addition that the idolatry to which the house of Jehu was addicted rendered a permanent religious reform hopeless. Image-worship could not be suppressed by such half-hearted worshippers of Jehovah, and hence, Jehovah's moral government of His people must have made it certain to Hosea that even on this ground alone the dynasty of Jehu could not escape an overthrow.
(T. K. Cheyne, D. D.)
And I will avenge the blood of Jezreel
1. If any Hebrew had fallen into such penury as that he was compelled to part with his ancestral estate, the Goel was bound to purchase it, and, after certain conditions had been observed, to restore it to his impoverished kinsman.
2. If any Hebrew had been taken captive, or had sold himself for a slave, the Goel was bound to pay the price of his redemption, to unloose and set him free.
3. If any Hebrew had suffered grievous wrong, or had been slain, the Goel was bound to exact compensation for the wrong, or to avenge his murder. In the case introduced by the text, we are to understand that the slaughter of the house of Ahab had not yet been avenged, though three generations had passed. There seemed to be no one left of the house of Ahab to do the duty of the avenger. So God took it directly upon Himself. "I will avenge the blood of Jezreel." This must be regarded as a striking instance of representing God as feeling, and then doing, as a man would feel and do under such circumstances. The case occasions difficulty to us, because no private and personal avengements of wrongs done are now permitted. All wrongs are judicially treated. But in revealing Himself and His will, God must always speak in the range of knowledge, sentiment, and association of those whom He addresses, or He could not be understood by them. To those who knew about avengers He could present Himself as the great Avenger. And if there are bad sides to the avenger's work, we must not fail to see that there are also good sides, add that we may take the good sides to represent God. The idea that can be helpfully worked out for a modern congregation is, that God never neglects wrongs that are done to His people. He may seem to delay, He may even wait for generations; but His injured people are always vindicated at last. The wrong-doer may seem to escape punishment, he never really does. He may seem to prosper, but there is surely a worm whose work is spoiling his prosperity. The Lord is the Avenger of all His injured ones; and the woes that eventually come upon all wrong-doers vindicate His people and vindicate Him. God's avenging is always only a part of His redeeming.
(Robert Tuck, B. A.)
1. That hereby God might show that He intended to avenge that blood which was shed in Jezreel.
2. To show that Israel had lost the honour of His name, and was no more Israel, but Jezreel. (Israel is one that prevails by the "strength of the Lord." Jezreel is one that is "scattered by the Lord.")
3. To show the way that God intended to bring judgment upon these ten tribes.
4. To note that the Lord would scatter them in that very place wherein they most gloried. ( says the Israelite army was defeated in the valley of Jezreel before Samaria was taken.)
5. The Lord would hereby show that He would turn these conceits and apprehensions that they might have of themselves quite the contrary way.
I. WHAT IS THIS "BLOOD OF JEZREEL" THAT GOD WILL AVENGE? (2 Kings 9:10, 11). It was the blood of the house of Ahab.
II. WHY WILL GOD "AVENGE THE BLOOD OF JEZREEL UPON THE HOUSE OF JEHU"? Because —
1. Jehu looked to his own ends, rather than to God.
2. Because he did his work but by halves.
3. Because be proved Ahab's successor in his idolatry.A man may do that which God commands, and yet not really obey God. And God knows how to make use of men's parts and abilities, and yet to punish them for their wickedness notwithstanding.
III. WHY IS IT CALLED "THE HOUSE OF JEHU"? The house of Jehu is his posterity, or family, who were to succeed. The posterity of the ungodly shall suffer for their father's sin. Only the second commandment threatens the sin of the fathers upon the children.
IV. WHAT IS THIS "LITTLE WHILE" GOD SPEAKS OF? It was a long time — three generations — before God came upon the house of Jehu, still He saith, yet but a little while, or, I will stay but a little longer, ere I avenge the blood of Jezreel.
1. God sometimes comes upon sinners for their sins. It is likely that these sins of Jehu were forgotten, 'yet God comes now at last to avenge the sins of Jehu upon his house. Youthful sins may prove to be the terror of age.
2. A long time after the flourishing of a nation God may reckon with it in ways of judgment.
3. Seventy-six years are but a little while in God's account.
4. The apprehension of a judgment just at hand is that which will stir the heart and work upon it most.
5. God suffers some sinners to continue long, others He cuts off speedily.
1. Whatever present fruits men may seem to reap by sin, yet at last, being continued in, it will ripen to a height, and fit for strokes.
2. Notwithstanding that sinners in the Church do conceit of their privileges, God will plague them, and make their judgment conspicuous.
3. Men may not only be doing what God in His providence will permit to succeed, but even that which is in itself just, and yet be guilty before God, and justly punished for it, when either they do not the Lord's work sincerely, but for their own base ends and interests, or when they do it not thoroughly, but only in so far as may serve their own turn.
I will break the bow.
( John Calvin.)
2 Kings 9:24): — Observe —
1. In those things wherein wicked men have been most successful, God will curse them and let out His wrath upon them.
2. Carnal hearts trust much in their warlike weapons.
3. Fortified cities cannot help when God comes out against a people.
4. Even in the place in which a kingdom most glories, and seems to trust most in, God many times comes, and breaks the kingdom in that very place.
Homilist.The word Jezreel means God's seed, or sowing. Jezreel was the plain between Tabor and Carmel, called by the Greeks, Esdraelon. The royal city was in it. Here the Eternal threatens to break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
I. GOD'S RETRIBUTION TAKES AWAY THE POWER OF ITS VICTIM. The bow of Israel is to be broken. The language means the utter destruction of all their military power. When justice comes to deal out suffering to the sinner, it strips him entirely of his power. Thus he is left to the mercies of his enemies. What are the great enemies of the soul? Carnality, prejudice, selfishness, corrupt impulses and habits,
II. GOD'S RETRIBUTION DESPISES THE PRESTIGE OF ITS VICTIM. The bow is to be broken in the valley of Jezreel, which had been the scene of Israel's grandest military exploits. It was to Israel what Marathon was to Greece, and Waterloo to England. In this very scene the punishment should come. The place of their glory should be the place of their ruin and shame. Thus it is ever.
III. GOD'S RETRIBUTION DEFIES THE OPPOSITION OF ITS VICTIMS. Jezreel was well fortified. Retribution will strike the sinner in his strongest place. Notwithstanding Jezreel, the kingdom of Israel was broken. Conclusion. Retribution must always follow sin. It may move slowly and silently, but its pace is steady, resolute, and increasing. Swifter and swifter it moves towards the victim. " Be sure your sins will find you out."
I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel.
Homilist.Mercy is a modification of goodness. God is good to all, but is only merciful to the suffering sinner. Mercy not only implies suffering, but suffering arising from sin.
I. MERCY WITHHELD FROM SOME. Burroughs says, There are three estates of the people, signified by the three children of Hosea: first, their scattered estate, and that was signified by Jezreel, the first son. Their low and weak condition, signified by the daughter. Their being rejected and carried away, signified by the third child. God now threatened to withhold mercy from Israel, and we know that when He did so the consequence was national ruin. "My Spirit shall not always strive with men."
II. Mercy bestowed upon others. "I will have mercy upon the house of Judah." This mercy was signally shown to Judah. When the Assyrian armies had destroyed Samaria, and carried the Ten Tribes away into captivity, they proceeded to besiege Jerusalem; but God had mercy on the house of Judah, and saved them; they were saved by the Lord their God immediately, and not by sword or "bow." When the Ten Tribes were contained in captivity, and their land was possessed by others, they being utterly taken away, god had mercy on the house of Judah and saved them, and after seventy years brought them back, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. And truly most signal was the mercy shown to Judah, when in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrian warriors were slain. Looking at the words in their spiritual application they suggest two remarks in relation to man's deliverance.
1. It is of mercy. "I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God." The deliverance of man from the guilt, the power and consequence of sin is entirely of God's mercy, free, sovereign, boundless mercy. It is suggested that man's deliverance is —
2. By moral means. Will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." No material force can deliver the soul from its spiritual difficulties and perils. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith, the Lord." Conclusion.. Use mercy rightly while you have it. Its grand design is to produce reformation of character and meetness for the high service and lofty fellowship with the great God, here and yonder, now and for ever.
I myself know this power and this weakness of Christ's love, so that one day being loyal I am raised beyond the reach of fear and of doubt, beyond the desire of sin and the habit of evil, and the next day finds me capable of putting it aside in preference for some slight enjoyment or ambition — then I know the peril and the terror of this love, that it may be to a man either heaven or hell. Believe then in hell, because you believe in the love of God — not in a hell to which God condemns men of His will and pleasure, but a hell into which men cast themselves from the very face of His love in Jesus Christ.
(Geo. Adam Smith, D. D.)
But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
I. ALL HUMAN AND MATERIAL SUCCOURS ARE ALONE AND BY THEM SELVES INADEQUATE. In their better days the people of Israel reposed all their confidence in Jehovah. Now they had lapsed into idolatry. Their spiritual vision had by degrees narrowed itself down to merely material views of things. They lost spiritual insight, and saw only the seen. They trusted in their military strength, and in political alliance with the great powers. From the human stand point this conduct was not unreasonable. In our own age this error prevails. It is reserved to our time to systematise these views into a philosophy, which, calling itself positive, excludes from its domain the least element of the super natural. It is found that there is a constancy in the operations of nature. Law has been discovered, where it was thought that there was but fortuity. So we are bidden to turn to science, where once we turned to God. Instead of praying, we are to study, and to adjust ourselves to ever-operating laws. If we would remain prosperous as a nation, say the positivists, we must have recourse to material helps, practise political economy, reform our social administration, and push to their farthest limits the practical application of scientific principles. But all this trust to science and scientific helps against the evils and emergencies of human life, is miserably and woefully mistaken. There is no incompatibility between true science and true religion. But a mere trust in means, or secondary causes, is vain and presumptuous. The shrewdest anticipations of man are constantly disappointed. Material succours — those helps which arise out of an observation, classification, and adaptation of secondary causes merely, are by themselves utterly unworthy.
II. HELP FROM GOD IS ALONE SUFFICIENT. God is the disposer of all events. At any moment this Supreme Power may, by a volition of His creative will, disappoint the cleverest calculation of the cleverest sociologist. God deigns to employ human and material agencies in the execution of His purposes; but because He works in a regular and orderly manner, we are not to think only of the mere means and instruments, and forget that Divine omnipresent agency, without which the mere instrumentality would be as the body without life, or as the machine without motive-power. It is then God, and God alone, who is worthy of trust. The means are with us, the issues are with the Lord. God can work with means, and He can also work without them. Man may calculate and scheme for results, but in vain, except as God may succeed his efforts. If we would make the best of both worlds, we must most distinctly remember that our only reliable help is to be found in the Lord, and in Him alone.
III. IN ALL CASES IT IS OUR DUTY TO TRUST ONLY IN GOD. Hero we see the practical bearing of the truth enforced by the prophecy. The lesson of the text is, that we are not to trust to any use of means for the result or results which we may desire. Secondary causes are only efficient as they are so made by the informing agency of God.
(D. Clark, M. A.)
( John Calvin.)
Afflavit Dens, et dissipantur — "God blew on them, and they were scattered."
Lo-ammi: ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.Lo-ammi, or not My people; pointing to the time of their utter captivity by Shalmaneser, whereby God made void the relation betwixt Him and that people, scattering them among the nations, and making them cease from being His Church and people. Whence learn —
1. Such is the long-suffering patience of God, especially toward the visible Church, that He is not only slow to anger, and to manifest the same by judgments; but even when He hath begun to strike, He yet waits patiently, to see what use they will make of present judgments, to prevent future and sadder strokes; and in particular it is very long ere the Lord come to unchurch a people that have been in covenant with Him.
2. However the Lord's long-suffering patience be great and admirable, yet it will not always last towards a sinful people, especially after He hath begun to plead with them, but will at last come to a sad period.
3. Howbeit no limits ought to be set to the freedom and efficacy of the grace of God, who can and doth sanctify afflictions unto the Church, and make them a means to turn her, and cause her to cleave faster to Him: yet it doth ofttimes also prove too true, that when the Lord begins to contend with her, she proves so obstinate in sin, and so incorrigible and incessant in defection, that nothing ends it but her utter rejection, at least for a time.
4. The capstone of all judgment upon a people is their unchurching, and the cutting off the relations between God and them.
5. Whenever the Lord gives up with a people as to being their God, He will make it appear that the breach began on their side, and that they first voluntarily rejected Him, and chose that state and condition sinfully, to which, and the effects thereof, He gives them up judicially.
( John Calvin.)
There it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.I. A PROMISE OF MERCY TO ISRAEL.
1. The Lord in judgment remembers mercy. When God threatens most dreadfully, yet He promises most graciously.
2. It is usual when we are in prosperity to forget all threaten. ings, and when we are in adversity to forget all promises.
3. God in the midst of His auger, knows those that trust in Him.
4. Not only when God threatens judgments, but when judgments are actually upon us, let us sanctify God's name in looking up to the promises.
II. TO WHOM DID THIS PROMISE REFER? It was not a promise to any that then lived, it was to be fulfilled in future ages; yet it is introduced by the prophet as a comfort to the people of God then living. Gracious hearts are comforted with the promises of God made to the Church, though not to be fulfilled in their days.
III. WHAT WAS THIS PROMISE? That Israel-should be a multitude. The Lord remembers His promises, though made a long time since, so long ago as the time of Abraham. Observe —
1. There is nothing lost in being willing, as Abraham was, to lose for God.
2. When we are willing to lose for God, then is the time when God will renew and confirm His covenant with us. Note —(1) God has a time to bring in abundance of people to the profession of the faith.(2) Although God defers fulfilling His promise for a time, yet at last He does it gloriously.(3) We should greatly rejoice in multitudes joining the Church.
Homilist.We shall take Israel for mankind, and use the text to illustrate the destiny of the race.
I. The race is destined to an INDEFINITE INCREASE in the number of good men. "The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered or measured." The good, the spiritual Israel, have been comparatively few in all ages, though perhaps there is a larger number now than in any preceding period. But the time will come when they shall be innumerable. What mean such passages as these? "He shall have dominion item sea to sea, from the rivers to the end of the earth." Again, "All kings shall fall down before Him." Again, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ." Numerous as the sand on the sea shore! A Jewish Rabbi regards the good as the sand, not only in relation to number, but for usefulness. As the sand keeps the sea from breaking in and drowning the world, so the saints keep the world from being drowned by the waves of eternal retribution. This is true. Were it not for the good the world would not stand long. But it is to represent number not protection, that the figure is employed. Do you say that to all appearances such an increase is impossible? When God promised to Abraham that his seed should be as the stars of heaven and the sand upon the shore, what could seem more improbable than the fulfilment? Do not judge from appearances. Trust God's Word; it will come to pass. There is a glorious future for the world.
II. The race is destined to a TRANSCENDENT PRIVILEGE. "And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there shall it be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."
1. They are destined to a general conversion to God. From not being His people they are to become His people. The places of the earth now populated with the enemies of God will one day be crowded with His friends.
2. They are destined to a general adoption into the family of God. "Ye are the sons of the living God." They shall be endowed and animated with the true Spirit, the spirit of reverence and adoring love. "The living God." The world has abounded with dead gods; there is but one "living" God.
III. The race is destined to a COMMON LEADERSHIP.
1. This leadership shall unite the most hostile. "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together." Great and long enduring was the hostility existing between these people. The time will come when all antipathies existing amongst peoples shall be destroyed. "Ephraim shall not envy Judah: they shall be of one heart and one mind."
2. This leadership shall be by common appointment. They shall "appoint themselves one head." Their leader will not be forced upon them contrary to their consent, nor will He force Himself. Who is the leader? Christ. He is the Leader of the people. He is the Commander-in-Chief, the Captain of our salvation. All shall unite in Him.
3. This leadership will be glorious. As Moses led the Jews out of the wilderness, as Cyrus delivered them from Babylon, Christ will lead them out of Egyptian darkness and Babylonian corruption.
His nature, although not by nature; not united with us (as it is personally, with His Son), but dwelling in us, and making us partakers of the Divine nature. Sons of the living God must be living by Him and to Him, by His life, yea, through Himself living in them.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)
Great shall be the day of Jezreel.
I. THE DAY OF JEZREEL SHALL BE GREAT IN THE MULTITUDES OF CONVERTS TO THE FAITH OF CHRIST. Hitherto the flock of real believers has been a little flock. The "whole world lieth in wickedness." May we not affirm that one-half Of the inhabitants of any city, town, or village possess not the semblance of religion? But painful as the contemplation of this picture is, our eyes look forward to happier days. There are seeds of a glorious harvest springing up.
II. GREAT IN THE UNANIMITY OF ITS SUBJECTS. The two houses were long divided; but under Zerubbabel they were to return from Babylon, and together rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Under the mediatorial dominion of Christ, there shall be one fold, one shepherd. Jews and Gentiles shall be united in crowning the Saviour Lord of all. The fair form of Christianity shall be clouded by no stormy contentions — disfigured by no angry disputes — defiled by no human inventions — dishonoured by no unscriptural elements. We may not assume that any one particular form of Divine service will become the only mode of public worship. All will worship in spirit and in truth.
III. GREAT IN THE HOLINESS OF ITS FRIENDS. There is a threefold departure from the world. The first is by death. This we may call involuntary. The second is by superstition. This we may call voluntary. It is "will-worship." The third is the one which grace effects. It is a commendable renunciation of the world. To live in it, while we forsake its spirit.
IV. GREAT IN THE GLORY OF ITS TRIUMPHS.
1. In the victories it shall achieve. All false religion shall perish. Idolatry shall be destroyed.
2. Great in the zeal of its subjects. It will no longer be a day of small things. All shall be ready with their offerings, and none shall appear before the Lord empty.
3. The day of Jezreel shall be great for the consummation of the work and glory of the Redeemer. He then will "see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied."
1. In a time of love, the Lord can and will turn His people's hardest lots into mercies.
2. Days of the Lord's manifesting mercy towards His people are great days, and worth the marking, as affording mercies above any mercies besides.
3. As all the times wherein God is kind to His people are remarkable times, so in particular, a time of love after sad calamities, His bringing forth the fruits of their afflictions, and of His love after a long interruption, will make a refreshful time.