As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
The very blessings which God had bestowed on these priests for their glory, in order to their good, were to be converted into their shame, and be made instrumental to their injury.
I. THE THREATENING IN ITS RELATION TO THE JEWS. There never was a nation upon which were poured with such profusion things which should have been for their good and for their glory. But in a very wonderful manner the Jews perverted all their privileges, and thus turned their glory into shame. Their national mercies only strengthened the national apostasy, and then the threatening took literal effect, though only through their own misuse of their many advantages.
II. THE THREATENING IN ITS RELATION TO OURSELVES. Constantly things which should have turned to our glory have been instrumental to our shame. But this cannot occur without fatal injury.
1. How may our temporal blessings be turned into shame? Nothing tries a man more than prosperity. There are many tempers and dispositions which are comparatively repressed by straitness of condition, but which walk abroad in full liberty when that condition is enlarged. Nevertheless, riches are designed of God to be for man's glory. Alas! there too often occurs the reverse of this, and riches are turned into shame. This is also true of intellectual riches. Genius has often been the ruin of its possessor; the powers which ought to have been for their glory, needing nothing but righteous employment in order to the rendering their possessors happy in themselves, and benefactors to the world, have been given to the cause of vice and infidelity. But illustrations had better be taken from commonplace than from rare instances.
2. How may our spiritual advantages be turned into shame? Every doctrine of religion, every leading of .providence may clearly be for our own glory if rightly employed, and as clearly for our shame if misused and perverted. Illustrate by the doctrine of human helplessness, or of the forbearance God manifests to sinners. In dealing with the dispensations of providence, illustrate by affections. They are our glory, but, unsanctified, they become our shame. The prophet Malachi has this threatening in the name of God, "I will curse your blessings."
(Henry Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.