O generation, see you the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords…
You cannot hear such a text as this without feeling greatly solemnised. I do not suppose they said this literally, but practically they said, "We are lords; we will come no more unto Thee." Also, how the words impress us with the necessity of a better dispensation, — in other words, of a better covenant, of a better religion, that should take a saving hold of the people, and make them all that which the Lord Himself would approve.
I. THE JUST CHALLENGE.
1. What the Lord was to them. Salvation. Those among them who were spiritually minded, and were taught of God, saw in the Paschal lamb, Christ Jesus; saw in the salvation from Egypt, Christ Jesus; saw in the victory that was wrought for them, Christ Jesus.
2. How it was they failed. They defiled the land.
II. THE SELF-EXALTATION. "We are lords." What does it mean? It means that they set their authority above the truth of God. Now it becomes us to see that all the parts of our religion are of Divine authority. So far from the Christian as he goes on finding that he is lord over his own self, and lord over this, and that, and the other, he finds out, as he goes along, more and more of his poverty; he decreases more and more. Ah! he says, If I were black in my own eyes a few years ago, I am blacker now: if vile in my own estimation a few years ago, I am viler now. And thus as we sink the Saviour rises, grace reigns, and we glory in being poor sinners at the feet of Jesus, indebted to God from first to last for our eternal salvation.
III. THE BLIND DECISION. "We will come no more unto Thee." I do not apprehend that this means that they would give up the supreme God, but that they would come no more unto Him in that representation of Him which His truth gave, in that representation of Him which His prophets gave. We will thus come no more unto Thee — not in that way. In Isaiah 29 you have these instructive words, "This people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me." They are not conscious of that, You say to the Pharisee in the Saviour's day, Do you love God? Of course I do. But is not your heart removed from Him? No; — they were not conscious of it. Every erroneous seeker says he loves God; what, then, is the sense in which their hearts were removed from God? what is the sense in which they would come no more to Him? "Their fear," saith Isaiah (29), "toward Me is taught by the precept of men." The Saviour comes to the same point when He says, "Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life." And when He had opened up the beauties of the everlasting Gospel in John 6, it was not the supreme God abstractedly, but it was God in His own way of saving a sinner that they hated, and they went back and walked no more with Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?
WEB: Generation, consider the word of Yahweh. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? Or a land of thick darkness? Why do my people say, 'We have broken loose. We will come to you no more?'