Proclaim you this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:…
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles, etc. Here is the first startling boom of the righteous retribution. Some think the reference is to the approach of Sennacherib, or Nebuchadnezzar, or Antiochus; but the language seems strong and grand enough to represent the approach of the last day. In this retributive scene there are several things observable.
I. THE GREATEST RESISTANCE ABSOLUTELY FUTILE. "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord." The idea is - Let all the enemies of God do their utmost to ward off this judgment. It means - Do your utmost, muster all your strength, "wake up the mighty men," let them turn their agricultural implements into weapons of war, swords and spears; all will be futile. Heaven bids defiance to all such opposition. "The heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing; but he that sitteth in the heavens laughs them to scorn." "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." Wicked spirits will fight to the utmost, but will fail.
II. THE GREATEST MULTITUDES ASSEMBLED TOGETHER. "Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision." Oh, this valley of decision, this valley of Jehoshaphat, this scene of judgment! what untold multitudes are summoned to appear therein! All the men of all generations will be there, and the Judge will appear also, and all the holy angels too, etc.
III. THE GREATEST PROPRIETY DISPLAYED IN THE WHOLE. "Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great." The judgment is only the harvest; hell is only sin ripened into fruit. "In that valley those that have sowed to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; those that have sowed to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap everlasting life." No one, then, will have any just reason to complain. It is mere reaping of what they have sown; it is the mere result of their own labours.
IV. THE GREATEST AWFULNESS DISPLAYED. "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake." He shall "roar." Now he speaks in the still small voice of mercy, then he shall roar like a lion, striking terror into all ungodly hearts. "At his voice the heavens and the earth shall shake." The idea is
(1) he will appear on that day in such a way as to strike terror into the hearts of his enemies; and
(2) to inspire hope in the hearts of his people. "The Lord will be the Hope of his people" Should the material universe be frightened into nothingness at his approach, even then his people will still have a strong Hope in him. "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in time of trouble." Let us learn calmly to await the judgment.
"God's ways seem dark, but soon or late
They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
The good can well afford to wait," D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: