Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly…
The wise and good man will learn something from everything; the foolish and sinful man will learn nothing from anything. In whatever accents God may speak, this latter hears not his voice, and heeds not his will; he is guiltily insensible to all kinds of heavenly influence; he is -
I. UNTOUCHED BY THE VISITATION OF GOD'S GOODNESS. He does not "learn righteousness," though "favor be showed" to him by God. God may be, as he is, multiplying his mercies unto him, so that they are as the sands of the sea - innumerable; visiting him by day and by night with loving-kindnesses continually renewed, besetting him behind and before with his guardianship, laying his hand of gentle power upon him in guidance and in blessing. But all is lost upon him - he is unmindful of everything; he does not "learn righteousness;" he goes on, if not in oppression, or in vice, or in open atheism, yet in a guilty forgetfulness, in an unfilial indifference and ingratitude.
II. UNINFLUENCED BY HUMAN EXAMPLE. "In the land of uprightness he deals unjustly." Around him are men worshipping God, working devotedly in his cause, living in accordance with his will, illustrating Christian virtues in the daily transactions and in the common relationships of life, bearing the best witness to the power and the excellency of Divine truth, supplying a source of influence which ought to tell on a human heart and to mould human character; but this is of no avail. The hardened heart is unmoved, its apathy is undisturbed, its course unchanged.
III. UNAFFECTED BY THE EVIDENCES OF GOD'S GREATNESS. "He will not behold the majesty of the Lord." There are three ways in which the majesty or the greatness of God is revealed to us, all of which deserve and demand our most patient and devout attention.
1. In the material world. In the sky, in the sea, in the mountain, in the storm, in the earthquake, etc. "With God," as manifested thus, "is terrible majesty" (Job 37:22); and he who does "not regard the works of the Lord, nor the operations of his hand," is guiltily blind to the majesty of the Lord.
2. In Divine providence. The majestic holiness of God is seen in the revelation of his wrath against impurity, intemperance, violence, passion, and all other evils; also in the revelation of his approval of righteousness and peace, in the ordering of our human lives. Whoso is unobservant of this is a wickedly dull scholar in a world where such plain lessons are to be learnt.
3. In the gospel of Jesus Christ. There the majesty of God's character shines forth, and we see "the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." In the Incarnation itself, in the character of Jesus Christ, in the severity of the sorrows he bore, in the depth of the shame to which he stooped, in the awful moral grandeur of the death he died, in the unspeakable glory of his heavenly mission, - there, indeed, is the majesty of the Lord to be seen. He who will not dwell on this as on that which, above all other things, is worthy of his most patient and reverent regard, is one of "the wicked," with whom God "is angry."
1. Let us be thankful if we are hearing and heeding the voice of God, if we are opening our hearts to the heavenly influence.
2. Let us take earnest heed to the fact that a guilty inattention leads on and down to a fatal deafness. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.