5:24-30 Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people. When God's word is despised, and his law cast away, what can men expect but that God should utterly abandon them? When God comes forth in wrath, the hills tremble, fear seizes even great men. When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, he can find instruments to be employed in it, as he sent for the Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans, to destroy the Jews. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking by his prophets, shall hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them. Let the distressed look which way they will, all appears dismal. If God frowns upon us, how can any creature smile? Let us diligently seek the well-grounded assurance, that when all earthly helps and comforts shall fail, God himself will be the strength of our hearts, and our portion for ever.
24. Literally, "tongue of fire eateth" (Ac 2:3).
flame consumeth the chaff—rather, withered grass falleth before the flame (Mt 3:12).
root … blossom—entire decay, both the hidden source and outward manifestations of prosperity, perishing (Job 18:16; Mal 4:1).
cast away … law—in its spirit, while retaining the letter.