Insult of Good Men is Insult of God
Isaiah 57:4
Against whom do you sport yourselves? against whom make you a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue?…

The righteous dies, and is at rest; but ye, what will ye make at last of your derision of the righteous, and of the follies and idolatries wherein ye trust? Nothing. Matthew Henry says, "Mocking the messengers of the Lord was Jerusalem's measure-filling sin; for what was done to them God took as done to himself. When they were reproved for their sins, and threatened with the judgments of God, they ridiculed the Word of God with the rudest and most indecent gestures and expressions of disdain. They sported themselves and made themselves merry with that which should have made them serious, and under which they should have humbled themselves. They made wry mouths at the prophets, and drew out the tongue, contrary to all the laws of good breeding; nor did they treat God's servants with the common civility with which they would have treated a gentleman's servant that had been sent to them on an errand." Illustrations may be found in the treatment of Isaiah (see Isaiah 28:7-15); of Jeremiah; and, above all, by the insults offered to the Lord Jesus by the men of Jerusalem. The "wide mouth" and the "drawn-out tongue," are the natural symbols of derision (see Psalm 35:21). We may note some of the conditions under which the messengers of God are likely to be insulted and misunderstood.

I. WHEN THEY DO NOT COME IN THE REGULAR AND RECOGNIZED ORDER. God has his order of ministrants in every age, and his ordinary messages to men may be expected to come through them: patriarchs in one age, priests in another, prophets in yet another, clergy in still another. And all due honour should be put on the Divine order for the particular time. But God has always held the right of sending messengers outside the order, as he sends comets into our solar system, and there is as real a law for the sending of seemingly erratic messengers as of the seemingly erratic comets. But there is always the disposition in those who belong to the order, and the attaches of the order, to reject the outside man. Compare our Lord's disciples saying to the Master," We found one teaching in thy Name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us." The questions concerning any apparent messenger from God, which we ought to ask, are these - Will his work bear the test of God's revealed Word? And does God seal his work with his Divine benediction? To reject any man's work which can stand this dual test is to insult God, whose messenger he certainly is.

II. WHEN THERE ARE ODDITIES IN THE MAN HIMSELF OR IN THE MANNER OF DELIVERING HIS MESSAGE. Just as we have established the notion that there must be an "order" through whom Divine messages alone can come, so we have convinced ourselves that there are particular styles and methods in which alone Divine messages do come. So if a message is not to pattern, we think we are right in rejecting it. The personal peculiarities of a messenger may touch the humorous faculty, and so close men's minds and hearts against the reception of the message. But this is to insult the messenger, and in him the God who chose him and sent him with the message. We have not to ask what a man is; but we have to ask - Is he of God? If he is, we must hear him.

III. WHEN THE MESSENGER MAKES SEVERE DEMANDS. Illustrate from Jonah at Nineveh. No doubt there were many who scorned him on this ground. Also see the demand of Savonarola which led to the great burning in the market-place of Florence. Many of the wilder spirits of Florence did jeer at him. Men in every age have preferred the prophets who prophesied smooth and soft things; and they have always been disposed to reject the prophets who had to do the nobler and more necessary work of prophesying rough things and hard things. Exactly what our over-civilized generation needs is some prophet of God, who will tell us strongly, plainly, sternly, what God would have us do. But of this we may be quite sure, even in this enlightened nineteenth century, such a prophet and teacher would have a hard time of it.

IV. WHEN THE MESSAGE GOES AGAINST THE FASHION OF THE AGE. For there are fashions in thinking and religion, as well as in manners and dress. And none of us like to be out of the thinking or religious fashion. But Fashions may become slavery to us, and degrade us as slavery always does. Let a man of God come and show us the evils into which fashions - mental and religious - have brought us, and we hate the man; we cry out against him, we are all alarm, because we have deluded ourselves with the notion that fashion is synonymous with truth. Urge that we are bound to test every public witness, and decide for ourselves whether he is of God. If he is, then to neglect his message is to sin against God, and to insult him is to insult God. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,

WEB: Against whom do you sport yourselves? Against whom do you make a wide mouth, and stick out your tongue? Aren't you children of disobedience, a seed of falsehood,

Pictures of Idolatry
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