And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month…
1. True religion is emphatically a walking with God, not a mere occasional coming to Him. The precise manner in which the date is given may possibly be taken as conveying a reproof to those who, instead of making it their constant business to know God's will, were contented to let a year elapse between two successive visits to the prophet.
2. The need of leaving our sins behind us when we come to inquire of God. The severe answer which the elders received was due chiefly to the fact that they canto without first repenting and bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance
3. Prayer, or indeed coming to God in any way, must not be made a mere matter of convenience, but must be regarded as a matter of constant spiritual necessity. These elders came when they thought it would answer their purpose; they forgot God when all went well, they sought Him when they were at their wits' end; they did not look upon communion with God as the one great spiritual need of their souls. Were they singular in this? The habitual lives of nine out of ten persons in this Christian country would rise up and contradict us if we said that they were. I am not now contemplating the case of notoriously evil men, but only that of easy-going worldly persons who live without church, prayer, Scriptures, passing a quiet animal kind of life, with no cares except those of getting daily bread. These persons will, many of them, cry to the Lord in trouble; put them upon a sickbed, and they will say their prayers for the most part vigorously enough, and the prayers so offered up may possibly be the beginning of a more Christian life, yet I do not at all the less maintain that this is no right use of prayer, but a most egregious and unchristian abuse.
(Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me.