Then you will know, O house of Israel, that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for the sake of My name and not according to your wicked ways and corrupt acts, declares the Lord GOD.'"
I. THE SCENE OF THE RESTORATION. God's holy mountain, the mountain of the height of Israel, is the symbol of the Church of the Son of God.
II. THE PARTICIPATORS IN THE RESTORATION. Those concerning whom the promise is spoken are those who have been scattered abroad, but are now brought home, and who constitute "the house of Israel," i.e. the true Israel, the Israel of God.
III. THE SERVICES OF THE RESTORATION. By the services, the offerings, the firstfruits, the oblations, must be understood the spiritual sacrifices, especially of obedience and of praise, which the accepted of God delight to lay upon his altar.
IV. THE MEMORIES OF THE RESTORATION. These are of two kinds. The restored have to recollect, and to recollect with loathing, their wanderings, their evil doings, their defilements. But they have also to remember the work which God has wrought for them, the way by which God has led them, and the mercy and loving kindness which God has shown to them. - T.
Manton says: "Old bruises may trouble us long after, upon every change of weather, and new afflictions revive the sense of old sins." We know one who broke his arm in his youth, and though it was well set, and soundly healed, yet before a rough season the bones cry out bitterly; and even so, though early vice may be forsaken, and heartily repented of, and the mind may be savingly renewed, yet the old habits will be a lifelong trouble and injury. The sins of our youth will give us many a twist fifty years after they have been forgiven. How happy, then, are those who are preserved from the ways of ungodliness, and brought to Jesus in the days of their youth, for they thus escape a thousand regrets. It is well to have a broken bone skilfully set, but far better never to have had it broken. The fall of Adam has battered and bruised us all most sadly; it is a superfluity of naughtiness that we should incur further damage by our own personal falls. The aches and pains of age are more than sufficient when every limb is sound, and recklessly to add the anguish of fractures and dislocations would be folly indeed. Young man, do not run up bills which your riper years will find it hard to pay; do not eat today forbidden morsels, which may breed you sorrow long after their sweetness has been forgotten.
I. In ITS COMMENCEMENT God accomplishes it in a variety of ways.
And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight.I. THE METHOD OF MERCY was very remarkable in the case of Israel. The loving kindness of God is infinite. Christ commanded "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Surely this single circumstance, viewed in connection with God's ancient dealings with Israel, as brought before us in this chapter, is a proof that Christianity is the religion of the same God, and that "His mercy endureth forever." And have not His dealings with the Christian Church been so similar as to show that He is still pursuing a method of mercy and of grace? He has not cut us off in our sins; He still follows us with invitations, He quite presses us with entreaties, to "be reconciled to God." Is not Christ able and willing "to save to the uttermost," any or all of us, "who come unto God by Him"? Have not some of us found already — and may not the rest find soon — that "with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him there is plenteous redemption"?
II. But suppose it so found; then what will be THE GRACIOUS EFFECT ON US? Is it carelessness, or indifference, or licentiousness of living? Not so; surely "the goodness of God leadeth to repentance." Then, when thus restored to the Divine favour — then, when this method of mercy shall have been successful — then "shall ye remember your ways," etc. Here is work for the mind and memory. Do ye not remember some of "your ways" in former years — "ways" which certainly were wrong, perverse, and corrupt? Have ye forgotten all those "doings," which certainly were not right? Do ye not remember the circumstances of your sins — how many things concurred to aggravate them in your cases? Therefore exercise your mind and memory, with prayer for the Holy Spirit, in recalling "our was" and "doings." But if truly penitent, ye will also exercise the heart and soul on this subject; "and ye shall loathe yourselves," etc. And if you "loathe yourselves" for having sinned, you will not return to sin. Men do not return willingly to look on a loathsome object. What they abhor they shun.
(John Hambleton, M. A.)
1. By the dispensations of His providence.
2. By the conversion of some pious friend.
3. By the public ministry of the Word.
4. By the secret operation of His Spirit upon the soul.
II. In ITS PROGRESS.
1. He reveals that covenant to us.
2. He enables us to lay hold on it.
3. He confers upon us all the blessings.Remarks —
1. How sovereign God is in the dispensations of His mercy.
2. How mysterious are His dealings with the children of men.
3. How you may best answer all the purposes of His grace.
(C. Simeon, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for My name's sake.
(T. G. Selby.)
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