Be you instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from you; lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited.
I. THE CAUTION.
1. Whereby are we to be instructed? By the state of affairs, and by the reason of things, or the right of cases.
(1) God is a being of all perfection, of infinitely vast comprehension and understanding and power: and therefore He is able to attain those effects, and to teach men by all things that fall under His government.
(2) Things managed by Divine wisdom are intensely expressive of notions, because they do partake of the excellency and sufficiency of their cause.
(3) God doth nothing in vain, nor to fewer or lesser purposes than the things are capable to promote, or be subservient unto.
(4) Because the affairs of mankind are the choice piece of the administration of providence: And God doth in a special manner charge Himself with teaching the mind of man knowledge.
2. Wherein are we to be instructed?
(1) In matters of God's offence. For we are highly concerned in God's favour or displeasure.
(2) In instances of our own duty: if we have departed from it, to return to it; if we have done the contrary, to revoke it with self-condemnation and humble deprecation.
3. What is it to be instructed?
(1) To search and examine.
(2) To weigh and consider.
(3) To understand and discern.
(4) To do and perform.
II. THE ENFORCEMENT.
1. An argument of love and goodwill, "lest My soul depart from thee."
2. An argument from fear, "lest I make thee desolate," A double argument is as a double testimony, by which every word is established (2 Corinthians 13:1).
3. This double argument shows us two things.
(1) The stupidity and senselessness of those, who are made to the perfection of reason and understanding, and yet act contrary to it.
(2) The impiety and unrighteousness of sinners, who are a real offence to God, cause His displeasure, and bring upon persons and places, ruin and destruction. Sin is a variation from the law and rule of God's creation: it is contrary to the order of reason: and when I say this, I say as bad as can be spoken. In sin there is open and manifest neglect of God, to whom all reverence and regard is most due. By sin there is a disturbance in God's family: it is an interruption of that intercourse and communication there ought to be amongst creatures; for every sinner destroys much good. By the practice of iniquity we mar our spirits, spoil our tempers, and acquire unnatural principles and dispositions.
(B. Whichcote, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.