Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.…
Prayer, praise, the public ordinances, consistent walking, are obligations, laid though not with equal depth, yet laid on the consciences of all who are taught of God. But the point of deep and thorough consideration of our ways, is I fear, but little reflected upon, as its deep importance demands.
I. THE EXHORTATION. How awfully affecting the description in Lamentations 2:5-17. Yet with all this, the great mass of the people remained hard and impenitent. Ah, how little is it in the power of any judgment to turn the heart. It is under this conviction that the prophet calls them to deep searchings of heart.
1. The prophet includeth himself, "Let us." So Daniel 9:4, 5. Have we not invariably found the most spiritual are the most ready to take the low place?
2. Remark the expression, "Our ways." It is one of the deepest incentives to self-condemnation, humiliation before God, and holiness d heart, to mark diligently, prayerfully, watchfully, all the way by which we have been brought. Let us note down our mercies, pray to have them continually on our hearts, on our lips; this is no small part of the precept. But it refers principally to "search and try the ways" in which we are walking. Am I in the way? What a question! How important the answer. Walking in Jesus, the way of pardon, the only way of salvation, of holiness, of happiness, the only way to God, and heaven, the abode of God. And how am I walking in this way? By faith? in dally repentance? in real, sincere, and honest obedience? happily? If not, why am I not?
3. The expression implies difficulty in the act of obedience to the precept, "Let us search and try our ways." Much is required to its accomplishment.
(1) Sincerity is needed (Jeremiah 17:9). Ah, what heavenly sincerity, honesty, integrity, are required to investigate motives, try principles, decide practice.
(2) Quiet is needed. A piece of gold cannot be discerned in the unquiet waters of a turbid stream, so the graces of the Spirit cannot be clearly discerned in the defilements of an unquiet spirit.
(3) Time is required. The viper sin that coils, and coils, and coils beneath the verdure of the grass, cannot be seen in a moment's glance.
(4) Faith, too, is needed, laying the hand on the head of Jesus, or there is no fair review.
(5) Filial repentance is required. Legal repentance only extenuates the sin.
(6) Above all. there must be much real, fervent, persevering prayer (Psalm 139:23, 24).
II. THE BLESSED CONSEQUENCES OF SEARCHING OUR WAYS AND TURNING TO THE LORD. A man may, without this, be admired, courted, applauded, followed; as a minister he may draw crowds, as a man, be flattered to the skies; but never can he be a spiritually-minded man, a close walker with God, a happy, holy, and consistent Christian. This inestimable good is bound up in it. It is the certain, the necessary consequence. It is the mode of the Divine operation, the order of the Divine Spirit (James 4:8). It is so in the first approach of the sinner to God (Isaiah 55:7). It is so in every after approach (Jeremiah 3:1). The sinner is called to consider his ways (Haggai 1:5). Real consideration leads to repentance (Ezekiel 18:28). It is the breath of spiritual life, it is the germ of the new creation, the spark of heavenly fire.
(J. H. Evans, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.