The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah…
I. INGRATITUDE THE BASEST OF SINS. He, the Father, has been faithlessly forsaken by ungrateful sons. This is the worst form of ingratitude.
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to it?"
(King Lear.') It has been said that
The wretch whom gratitude once fails to bind,
To truth or honor let him lay no claim,
But stand confess'd the brute disguised in man." But the brutes are grateful; while Jehovah's sons seem to have neither memory nor understanding. Man, by his nature, if he does not rise above, must sink below, the level of the beast. There is nothing more hateful, then, because more radically amiss and evil, than ingratitude. It is, great men have said, the sum of guilt and evil, worse than any taint of the blood, more odious than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,
II. THE PEOPLE HAVE ADDED REBELLION TO INGRATITUDE. They have forsaken, reviled, "gone backward" from him. This is a climax of sin. Our passions are ever in movement; there is no stagnation. Insensibility to God's goodness soon leads to antipathy, antipathy to active hatred, and this to open revolt. "Be ye thankful." The neglect of the heart and its proper attitude to God is certain to lay us open to every sin. The greatest physical pests of the city, and not less its moral corruptions, may be traced to neglect. Some "covenant" of God made known to us in natural or in spiritual law has been broken; hence sin and sorrow, and hence alone, as the prophets ever teach.
III. HEAVEN AND EARTH WITNESSES OF MAN'S GUILT. The whole language and style call up to mind the court of justice. All human events form part of a drama, of which God and the angels are spectators. We in all our thoughts and deeds are surrounded by a great cloud of spectators. The great solid mountains, for example, seem the very symbols of those fixed laws by which our actions must be judged. Napoleon in Egypt called his soldiers to reflect that "forty centuries were looking down upon them from the pyramids." By a similar figure, Micah summons the people to trial in the presence of the mountains (Micah 6:2); the Deuteronomist appeals to heaven and earth to listen to his words (Deuteronomy 32:1). So does a psalmist (Psalm 1.) represent Jehovah as demanding the attention of earth from east to west. All our acts run out into a universal significance.
IV. THE EXTREMITY OF NATIONAL RUIN. The people have run the whole course of sin, have left no stone unturned in the attempt to defeat Jehovah; and lo! the result. The body corporate is one mass of disease and wounds, fresh and bleeding. The land is devastated and fire-scarred. Barbarians are devouring it; it reminds of awful Sodom's ruin. Jerusalem, indeed, is as yet unscathed; but she stands alone in the midst of the dread silence. Like "a booth in the vineyard, a hammock in a cucumber-field, "is she? Thus, when appeals to the car have been repeatedly neglected, God paints the truth upon the field of vision. If we heed not the voice, we must feel the weight of the hand, of the Lord. Yet there is still a spark of hope. Jerusalem is all but, yet not quite, a Sodom or Gomorrah. There is still a remnant of people left. Thank God, while there is life there is hope. At the very moment when we are tempted to say of the ruined nation, the broken life, "All is lost!" a voice is heard, "All may yet be restored!" - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.