Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?…
I. THAT SIN DEPRIVES MAN OF HIS CHERISHED HOPE. "Is not the meat cut off before our eyes?"
1. This deprivation was unexpected. The ripe crops were seen by the people of Judah, who were rejoicing in the prospect of a safe harvest, when to their astonishment all was destroyed. And sin deprives sinners of their expected pleasures just when they are within sure reach, and turns in an unexpected moment the fairest prospects into barren wastes, it is the way of God to disappoint the evil-doer of his cherished anticipations.
2. This deprivation was calamitous. The people of Judah were dependent upon the ripe crops for the supply of their temporal wants, and would not be able to provide anything as a substitute for them. And sin does not merely deprive man of those things which are for his luxury, but even those things which are essential to his bare comfort.
3. This deprivation was righteous. The people of Judah might imagine that it was very unjust thus to deprive them of the harvest for which they had laboured, and that too at the very moment they were expecting to gather it in for use. They would be unable to understand the equity and meaning of such a visitation. But it is a righteous thing that sin should be punished, and in the manner most likely to restrain it, and this is often done by the destruction of a cherished hope.
II. THAT SIN DEPRIVES THE SANCTUARY OF ITS APPROPRIATE JOY. "Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our Lord?"
1. That joy should ever be associated with the service of the sanctuary. Joy and gladness always belonged to the ancient temple; thither the Jews went to give thanks, and to acknowledge themselves the blessed of the Lord. But now they could not rejoice in the presence of God, because of the calamities which were upon them.
2. That sin deprives the sanctuary of the joy which should ever be associated with it. The sins of the people of Judah rendered it impossible for them to participate in their usual harvest festivals, and divested the Divine presence of its accustomed joy. And sin will extinguish the bright lights of the sanctuary; it will hush its sweet music, and stay the spring of joy which God has destined should flow from the temple into human souls.
III. THAT SIN DEPRIVES THE SEED OF ITS NECESSARY VITALITY. "The seed is rotten under the clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered." Thus we see that sin perverts the natural order of God's universe, it renders the seed which is full of life destitute of all vitality. The seed is precious; man's sin makes it useless. God can plague man's mercies in the germ or in the barn, it is impossible to escape His retribution.
IV. THAT SIN DEPRIVES THE BRUTE OF ITS REFRESHING PASTURE. "How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture, yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." All the life and interests of the universe arc one, and one part of it cannot suffer without involving the rest; hence the sin of man affects the whole. Lessons —
1. That men who imagine that they gain anything by sin are deceived.
2. That sin divests the most sacred places of their destined gladness.
3. That sin brings famine where God intended there should be plenty.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?