O LORD, are not your eyes on the truth? you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them…
They do so. IN MOST MOURNFUL WAYS.
1. In their common exposure to sorrow and death.
2. In their yet more mournful subjection to the bondage of moral evil, both alike leagued together in rebellion against God (cf. text). From which learn:
(1) No circumstances alone will shut out sin.
(2) If one condition of life has its moral disadvantages, so has another.
(3) That this does not affirm that all are on one level in this respect. They are not so; they who have knowledge and have been taught God's truth may and will justly be expected to compare favorably in conduct and character with those not so privileged.
(4) That the terribleness of the might of sin is seen in the fact that it leaps over the fences and safeguards of happy circumstances and abundant knowledge, as easily as it finds entrance where there are no such fences at all. But the mournfulness of this meeting of the rich and poor leads us to look out for and rejoice in other and more happy ones. And there are such. Note, therefore -
II. THE BLESSED MEETINGS OF THE RICH AND THE POOR.
1. In their common possession of a moral and spiritual nature. Those great capacities whereby "a man is so much better than a sheep" are the property of rich and poor alike - to love and be loved; to search out knowledge, to worship, trust, and delight in God. Man is God's jewel, whether it be set in all fit and beautiful surroundings or whether by some malign cause it have fallen into the mud. By its nature, not its surroundings, are we to judge of it.
2. In Christ. "He was rich... he for our sakes became poor" -thus forever uniting the two together. He was, whilst on earth, at the same time both rich and poor, having at his command more than the vastest resources of the rich, and yet day-by-day sharing the lot of the poor. He was the Son of man, the Head and Representative of all men - of humanity at large.
3. At the cross. The common malady craves and finds the common medicine. The sorrows of the contrite heart are those of no class at all, but are the experience of rich and poor alike; and the cross alone can soothe them, and thither therefore they alike come. These all are clothed in the robe made white in the blood of the Lamb.
4. In the everlasting kingdom of our God. There the barriers of caste and class, which here seem so fixed that they can never be moved, will be broken down, and character alone will determine whether we shall stand high up or low down on the steps of the eternal throne. The love of God in Christ will be the great uniting bond, and, as that rules and governs us, so will our companionship and our condition be ordered. There the rich shall be rid of the many hindrances of their lot, which make it so "hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God;" and there the poor shall have said farewell forever to all the privation and painful toil of earth. The tears of all shall flow no more. Then let us learn:
(1) To cherish sympathy with all our brethren. The poor with the rich, and they with the poor. It is equally difficult but equally obligatory on each.
(2) To be eager in telling to the poor of this gospel of the meeting of the rich and the poor.
(3) To come to Christ and to his cross, and to abide there, that the Spirit of him who was the Friend and Savior of all may dwell in us more and more. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
WEB: O Yahweh, don't your eyes look on truth? You have stricken them, but they were not grieved. You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than a rock. They have refused to return.