Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day goes away…
Godlessness is condemned by its impracticableness as a universal and thorough-going principle of human life. It is also an evil that defies ordinary restraints, and constantly becomes worse. "This is the strongest and most dangerous mining-powder of cities and fortresses when sin, shame, vice, and wantonness get the upper hand" (Cramer). The city that has forsaken God is -
I. A SOURCE OF MISCHIEF AND UNCLEANNESS. It is likened to a fountain casting forth wickedness. It is an originative agent of evil. Its private, social, and public life multiplies occasions and causes of sin. There is no power within itself sufficient to restrain or purify. Its very laws and regulations tend to foster vice. As of the natural heart our Savior said that out of it "proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, etc.," so, where there are multitudes of such, there will be an exaggeration of the individual tendency and influence. As the leader of fashion, and dominant authority in new customs and ideas, there is an eclat transferred from it to what is evil. Its existence becomes, therefore -
II. AN OCCASION OF INJURY AND DANGER TO ALL WHO HAVE TO DO WITH IT. It is as a fire that has broken out amidst combustible material. By-and-by "the wicked city" is felt to be an intolerable evil. It is a menace to the peace and good government of its neighbors. They cannot afford to ignore it. No time must be lost in bringing it to reason. Its excitements and dissipations wax madder and more widespread. No time can be lost. Hence the avengers come from all quarters in baste and eagerly. "Sanctify war against her! Arise, let us go up at noon!" -the heat being no barrier to their setting out; "Arise, and let us go up in the night!" - the darkness and weariness being forgotten in their hatred and vengeance. For the same reason no terms can be made with it. The Mosaic regulations in warfare are set aside (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20). There is no chivalrous respect inspired by it, and as it shows no mercy, none is accorded to it.
III. IT IS A CONTINUAL OFFENCE TO GOD. God's love for it had been great, and he had purposed to make it a center of redeeming love. This aim had been thwarted. So it has been with the city life of man everywhere. As a natural development, and a providential result in human history, the city is intended to enlarge the powers of doing good and to bless the world. But how seldom has this been the case! The centralization of life has but intensified its corruption. Is there any place where the salvation of society seems more hopeless than in our great cities? And God's patience threatens to give out. He cannot bear the noisomeness of its evil. He is about to turn from it in utter loathing and final abandonment. But not yet. Warning is given; a prophet is sent. Nay, the Son himself, if haply they will hear him, in whom alone a sufficient antidote is found. In him is salvation, for of the holy city, the New Jerusalem, the scene of regenerated society, he is Center and Lord. He is the "Fountain opened for sin and for all uncleanness" - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.