Why say you, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?…
Here is a question which is full of surprise. "How, then, can Jacob and Israel be faint-hearted, or despair of their restoration, when this unmatchable, all-powerful, unwearying God is their God?" Yet there is almost an excuse for their doubtings and depressions in their national circumstances. They had been so long in the power of their enemies, and their outlook was so utterly dark and hopeless, that they concluded they were quite overlooked by the God of their fathers. And we cannot wonder at this, for circumstances, private and national, can make darkness for us under which it is easy enough for doubts to breed. We think of some.
I. OVER-STUDY. There is a fixed limit of brain-power. We dare not go beyond it. And the usual penalty of overdoing is a darkness which nourishes depressions, needless fears, doubts, mistrusts, and even despair that inspires suicide. It is needful that we should, in these days, be warned of an insidious form of evil. Educational forcings of children make darkness brood over whole lives. Pressure in manhood, under ambitions or necessities, bring black clouds to shut the sunshine out of many a life; and much of the scepticism of our time is no more than the diseased questionings of overwrought brains. Truth only appears to quiet minds.
II. DISAPPOINTMENT. When our way is closed up, our schemes fail, or our friends prove unworthy, the darkness broods over us, and we easily say, "There is no truth or trust anywhere;" and we fling our doubtings against the very throne of God. This was the secret of the faintings of Israel. They were disappointed. Again and again great national changes raised high hopes, and again and again the darkness fell, and seemed to shut them in. Then the bitter cry arose, "God hath forgotten to be gracious."
III. A SCEPTICAL ATMOSPHERE. One man breathes out his suspicions, another his questionings; this man attacks the things most surely believed among us; and another man writes a book to shift the old foundations, and make the great Christian house tumble about our ears; and the very air is charged with an electricity of unbelief, which all must breathe, and few have spiritual health enough to resist. Such are the times in which we now live. It is easier to doubt God than to trust him.
IV. ILLNESS AND FRAILTY. The class of diseases characteristic of highly civilized times of society is precisely that which relates to the nerves, and has for its symptoms lowness of spirits, distorted vision, gloomy fears, and melancholia. Many and many a poor burdened body cries out, "God has forgotten to be gracious," and it is only a body-cry; the heart holds fast its trust. Whensoever the doubting comes, the remedy is the same: the psalmist expresses it, "I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?