Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.…
The language employed suggests publicity. The world is called into solemn council - a "congregation for judgment.
1. Not that upon questions of this nature the carnal mind is any authority of and by itself. Who art thou that judgest?" might well be asked of any who assumed such an office. It is only as confirming and justifying the action taken by God. Thus understood, the testimony of the world is most valuable, being different from what might be expected. It is a great mystery, this judgment of God's apostate people by the heathen nations.
2. And yet we must not understand it as a mere figure of speech. There is a real endorsement of the righteous judgments of God in the mind of the world - one of those revealing circumstances which show "the Law of God written upon their heart." When the question is a broad, simple, and evident one, even the most perverted soul will affirm the sentence of Heaven. Unbelief is only superficial. Beneath the crust of hardened consciences there still remains a primitive sense of justice; and to this will the final sentence of condemnation appeal, when we shall give account of the deeds done in the body. The sinner will not only hear the decision from the great white throne, but he will stand self-condemned; and the universal assembly will confirm the verdict.
3. How fearful, too, must have been the guilt of God's people that on this occasion such umpires could have been so confidently appealed to! The features of their criminality that are emphasized are these: obstinacy and hypocrisy. The latter is but the abettor of the former. The unreality of Israel's repentance was especially abhorrent to Jehovah. It vitiates all the costly articles and enhancements of their worship, and is but the cloak of a real continuance in sin. If, then, they do in heart refuse to obey God, what more reasonable than that he should suffer the laws of his universe to deal with them, and punish them with "the fruit of their thoughts?" The angels of vengeance that wait upon sin, licentiousness, luxury, and waste, will be suffered to do their work; and they shall learn by experience that "the way of transgressors is hard." But the instant that the spirit of reality and sincerity revisits their hearts, his ear will be open to their cry, and his mercy will redeem. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.