As he said also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.…
Sodom and Gomorrha were utterly wiped out. No human being remained to perpetuate the progeny of the inhabitants of the plain. It might have been so, and deservedly, with Israel; but it was not so, and graciously. A remnant was, and always has been left, notwithstanding the most frightful devastations — a seed to propagate the race. So in God's procedure generally, where men and nations have not sinned past recovery. A seed of some sort is left, which, by sedulous cultivation, may result in future harvests. This principle may be illustrated in —
I. THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY AT LARGE.
1. After the fall the human race might have been as Sodoma, but in wrath God remembered mercy. He left man not only life, but a promise which kept human hope from utter extinction; some relics, too, of the Divine image on which the Redeemer could take hold in fashioning the new man.
2. After the flood the family of Noah was left, not only to preserve the species, but to hand on the hope. The covenant with the Patriarch was but the first of a series which culminated in the fulfilment of the covenant of redemption. A second time the Lord of Sabaoth left a seed.
3. In the fulness of time, when the world was ripe for destruction, the gift of the seed saved it. The state of things depicted in chaps, 1 and 2 could not have gone on much longer but for the Divine interposition, which has at last changed the condition of the world. But for this it must have perished; as it is it lives, and has in it the germs of a total regeneration.
II. THE HISTORY OF NATIONS.
1. Sometimes a few good men are left whose prayers, efforts, and influence save the nation from decay. Who can tell but that the preservation of the seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal postponed the catastrophe of the Hebrew nation. What a different history France would have had but for the expulsion of the Huguenots. It is impossible to tell what would have become of England but for the godly few who remained to perpetuate the Puritan revival through the reigns of Charles II. and James II. 2. Sometimes the seed presents itself in the form of a gracious opportunity.
(1) The Reformation was such a seed. Contrast the destinies of the nations which accepted it with those that rejected it.
(2) The missionary impulse of the close of the last century was another. Great Britain and America yielded to it, and the material and moral prosperity of both has never since looked back.
III. THE HISTORY OF THE INDIVIDUAL. Here history repeats itself on a small scale.
1. Home reminiscences have often been as a seed perpetuating the life and moral character of a man. In temptation the remembrance of prayers offered or words uttered have made many a man stop short on the brink of ruin and retrace his steps into a nobler and better life.
2. The Word read or preached in myriads of instances has been such a seed.
3. So has some great affliction.
4. And some special summons to duty.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.