Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and…
This is an appeal to the fears of the people; one of the many instances in which the prophet seeks to win them to the way of righteousness by the presage of impending woe. Utter destruction is before them (Ver. 14), the twilight is fast deepening into "gross darkness." But even now it is not too late for them to avert the calamity by their repentance. It is not mainly through their fears that Christianity exerts its influence over men. But, as many of the discourses of Christ show, men may sometimes sink into conditions of moral insensibility from which only an alarming voice will awaken them. And the gospel has its side of terror. Even the gracious Savior and his apostles spoke of" wrath to come." Consider
(1) the duty,
(2) the motive.
I. THE DUTY. "Give glory to your God." Several distinct elements of thought and life are involved in this.
1. A recognition of the sacred and indissoluble relation in which we stand towards God. However we may have forsaken him, he is still "the Lord our God." We are still his dependent creatures, his needy children. To please him, to serve his purposes, to show forth his glory, must, in the very nature of things, be the end of our existence. All religious life begins with the devout acknowledgment of this supreme personal relationship.
2. A due sense of the claims God has, on the ground of what he is in himself, on our regard. The true glory of the Divine Being is his infinite moral perfections. When Moses said, "I beseech thee show me thy glory," God answered, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before thee." We "give glory to God" when, gazing upon the beauty and majesty of his intrinsic moral excellences, we yield back to him a due response of reverence, and admiration, and trust, and love.
3. Practical surrender to his service. "Glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20). The actual homage of a godly life is indicated here - the consecration of all the powers of our nature as a "living sacrifice upon the altar of the Lord. If the Name of the Lord our God is hallowed in our hearts, we shall thus give ourselves and our all to him. Practical goodness akin to his own is the best and most acceptable tribute we can pay. We honor him most when we most strive to be like him in all holy character and Godlike deed.
II. THE MOTIVE. "Before he cause darkness," etc. Here is a prospect that may well awaken fear. Something more than mere external calamity is suggested. There is internal distress, mental perplexity and bewilderment; a condition in which the spirits of the people become a prey to all kinds of misleading and deluding influences, wildly groping after a good that is lost and gone from them forever. Few pictures of imagination could be sadder than that of men looking and longing for the light, only to find the darkness growing more and more deep and dense around them. It is often something like this when men are unfaithful to their real convictions and negligent el the acknowledged claims of God. Trifle with truth and conscience, and you cannot wonder that truth should become to you a mere mocking shadow, and conscience a perpetual foe to your peace. Despise the sacred privileges and obligations of life, and you make them to be sources of heavy condemnation. Let the light be scorned or abused, and it turns into "the shadow of death." "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth" (John 12:35). - W.
Parallel VersesKJV: Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
WEB: Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it gross darkness.