Sent Back by God
Ezekiel 38:4
And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen…

I will turn thee back. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). There are paths that attract us, that we enter upon with keen expectancy, that we pursue with pleasure, but that, in time, we find to be wrong; then is it best to turn back, and to "return on our way" at once.

I. MISTAKEN PATHS. Such as those of:

1. Extravagance. A larger expenditure of our means than we can properly afford, pointing toward and leading to financial embarrassment and grave difficulty and distress.

2. Unregulated activity. Such mental or physical work as, either in measure or in method, draws too largely on our resources, and ends in nervous disorder or some serious illness.

3. Self-indulgence; either in unwholesome literature or in the grosser gratifications of the flesh.

4. A skeptical habit. The disposition, which in time becomes a habit, to regard everything with a cynical and distrustful eye, and would rather accept the uncharitable view than the generous one.

5. Worldliness. The way in which the multitudes are walking; the endeavor to find satisfaction and rest in the interests and engagements, in the treasures and the pleasures, of time and sense.

II. A CONVICTION WHICH COMES FROM GOD. The conviction that the way that has been chosen is the wrong one. This assurance may come through one of many channels; it may be the utterance of one of many voices; it may be the solemn warning of some providential occurrence; or it may be the faithful rebuke of a true and fearless friend; or it may be a deep and bitter sense of insufficiency, of failure, of heart-ache, of perversion of power and misuse of opportunity, a sense of wrong and sin; or it may be the direct enlightenment and appeal of the Spirit of God. But the conviction is written on the tablet of the soul that the way is wrong; a voice is heard in the inner chambers of the spirit. "Turn back, return on thy way, pursue a different course, start in an opposite direction, seek another and a better goal."


1. We can afford to return. It may cost us something; there may be some companions to forsake, but these are best at a distance; there may be some tender regrets, but these are temporary and will soon be left behind; there may be some humiliation to endure, but this is not of an unmanly kind, but, on the contrary, honorable and commendable; there may be some sacrifice of enjoyment or of treasure, but this can very well be borne with a moderate measure of fortitude, - we shall very soon reconcile ourselves to that. But:

2. We cannot afford to go on. If we do, we must prepare for the very worst that we can suffer; the wrong road leads not only to embarrassment, but also to saddest loss, to bitter disappointment, to helplessness, to ruin, to death. Moreover, God has met us with a Divine encouragement. He has taught us that:

3. There is a way upward, which we can all take. One has come to us to say, "I am the Way," Intimate association, living union, with him is the way of wisdom, the way of righteousness, the way of life. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

WEB: and I will turn you around, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords;

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