All you beasts of the field, come to devour, yes, all you beasts in the forest.…
Three truths appear as we consider these strong words.
I. THAT GOD HAS PLACED THE WELFARE OF THE MANY IN THE CHARGE OF THE FEW. Practically, the moral and material condition of the country in the course of the next twenty years depends greatly on the character of those of its citizens who are parents. The fathers and mothers in the land are determining its future to a large extent by their parental wisdom or folly. But we may narrow the issue considerably; we may say that what the next generation will be, in respect of conviction and conduct, depends on the character of the ministry it is receiving at the hands of its religious teachers. If these are loyal to their Lord, and do faithfully the work committed to their care, the community will know the truth and do the will of God. And so long as the nation walks in the light of the Lord it will be prosperous and strong; its worst enemies will not prevail against it; it will grow in wisdom, in honour, in power.
II. THAT MEN MAY PROVE UTTERLY UNWORTHY OF THE HIGH POSITION TO WHICH THEY ARE CALLED. It may be said that no one has a right to take a step which may result in the responsibilities of parentage, unless he or she is prepared to teach and train children in the knowledge and fear of God. It must certainly be said that no one has a right to take on himself the functions of a Christian minister unless he is qualified to teach Christ's truth and to commend his gospel to the minds and the hearts of men. It is the grave misfortune of the Church and the world that so many have incurred responsibility without any such qualifications. They have failed either in doctrine, having been as "dumb dogs," not warning sinners of the perils besetting them, wilfully and culpably silent; or in understandably, being "blind" and "ignorant," never having understood the truth, or having become insensible to its excellence by reason of their unfaithfulness; or in consistency of life, failing into the sin of idleness (ver. 10), or that of covetousness and consequent rapacity (ver. 11), or that of bodily indulgence (ver. 12). And sin is never so ugly a garment as when it clothes the person of a minister of Jesus Christ.
III. THAT AN UNWORTHY MINISTRY SEALS THE FATE OF THE UNFORTUNATE COUNTRY ON WHICH IT IS IMPOSED. There is little hope for a land cursed with an unfaithful and an ungodly ministry. Not only is the truth of God withheld from men, but it is made positively distasteful and repugnant to the more spiritual by being associated with such professors. Its power is reduced to the very lowest possible point; the people are abandoned to error and to folly. It will soon be time for the enemy to appear at the gates - for the destroying beast to ravage the flock (ver. 9).
1. Let all but those whom God has fitted for it shrink with holy diffidence from the sacred office.
2. Let the Church of Christ take the greatest care whom it invites to be "over it in the Lord." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.