Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost…
Our hope is lost: we are cut off to ourselves (Fairbairn's translation); i.e. we are "cut off from the source of power and influence, and. abandoned to ourselves." Taking these words apart from their connection (though quite in accordance with their spirit and tenor), our attention is directed to -
I. THE HOPELESS, BECAUSE THE ABANDONED. Many are they who have had, or still have, occasion to utter this most sad exclamation. It has been:
1. The remnant of a moribund race; or a dishonored community (like Israel in Egypt or in Babylon); or a people held in hopeless slavery or a company of men and women doomed to lifelong exile (Cayenne or Siberia).
2. Individuals, or families, or small groups of those who have once cherished hopes, perhaps high hopes, of a happy life, but who find themselves hopeless, cut off, away from all their resources, abandoned to themselves, with nothing but misery and death in view; it may be the marooned or castaway, left on some lonely island to pine and die; or it may be the condemned felon when the last effort to obtain a reprieve has failed; or it may be the family in the great city allowed to perish for lack of food; or it may be the helpless straggler whom the army has left behind to fall into the hands of a barbarous enemy. Sad and pitiable in the last degree is the fate of those who have to lament that they are "cut off (and abandoned) to themselves." Distinguished from these are:
3. The spiritually hopeless. Those who are perplexed and distressed in heart, because
(1) they cannot satisfy their minds as to the reality of sacred truths, as to the soundness of Christian doctrine; or because
(2) they cannot find the peace and. rest of heart they have been long seeking; or because
(3) they fancy that they have sinned beyond forgiveness and restoration. These souls cannot find the help they need; it seems to them that "no man careth for their soul," or can enter into their feelings, or go down to the dark depths of their necessity. They do not know what to do in their extremity; everything and every one has failed them; their "hope is perished;" they are "cut off" and abandoned.
II. THEIR ONE RESOURCE. When man fails us, we can turn to God and trust in him. In him the helpless and the hopeless find their Refuge. "I am alone, and yet not alone, for the Father is with me," said our Lord. And many thousands of his disciples have gained relief where their Master sought and found it. The great and supreme fact that God "remembered us in our low estate;" that when we were as a race utterly undone, "cut off" from all resources, with no hope whatever in man, he had compassion on us, and stooped to save us; - this is the strong, unfailing assurance that God will not desert us, even though we abandon one another. However low be our condition, and in whatever sense we may be hopeless, we may confidently count upon
(1) the near presence of God;
(2) the tender sympathy of our Divine Friend;
(3) his gracious and timely succor.
His will come to us, indeed, in his own time and way, which may not be after our choice or according to our expectation. But it will come; for it is quite impossible that the eternal Father will abandon his children, that the once-crucified and now exalted Savior will leave to their fate those for whom he died, and who turn earnest eyes to him for help and for salvation. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.