I have set you for a tower and a fortress among my people, that you may know and try their way.…
Of interest as a description of process of refining precious metals among ancient peoples. The grinding and washing of the ore to discover and separate the precious metals, the fusing of the silver with lead in order to its further purification, and the repetition of this under severer heat, are processes which are used to illustrate the influence of the words of revelation upon the human heart. These words -
I. REVEAL CHARACTER. "Some believed, and some believed not," is the consequence always following upon the faithful preaching of the truth. "It is a hard saying; who can hear it?" How instantaneous were the results in this way attendant on the proclamations of Biblical prophets and preachers! They addressed the conscience, the affection, and the will, and pressed for a verdict and practical following up of opinion in action. Much more is this the case with the gospel, because of its deeper and more spiritual force. It is by hearing the Word, and looking into the mirror it affords, that a man is discovered to himself.
II. DETERMINE DESTINY. Sometimes in a good, sometimes in a bad sense. In the case before us it is wholly the latter, As there was no reality or earnestness in Israel, so there was no point at which a commencement could be made towards reformation. They are all concluded guilty and worthless. It was a severe judgment, but was meant in mercy to the people themselves. They were thereby warned of the need of radical change, and the supernatural, saving grace of God. It is by the determinations and effects produced by the hearing of the Word that the future is influenced. There is a distinct moral responsibility incurred each time the truth is proclaimed in our hearing. Nothing else so searches into and potently affects the moral nature, because the conscience is most vividly aroused and reality in all its naked force bursts upon the soul. The furthest developments of personal character, interest, and occupation may be thus conditioned: "See, then, how ye hear!"
III. ARE CAREFULLY ADAPTED, BY INCREASINGLY SEVERE PROCESSES, TO EFFECT THEM. They result in rejection, and this is rendered inevitable by the utter worthlessness of character and work exhibited. If there is any good in a man, the truth will discover it, and sympathetically develop and reinforce it; if not, it will only the more utterly and unquestionably condemn him. The ear does not try words more delicately or decisively than words of God try the heart. According to their spiritual state will men be condemned, approved; received or rejected by the hearing of the gospel. Some men have been tried and condemned by it already; to others it opens more and more widely the door of hope. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.