I. THE UTTER REJECTION OF ISRAEL FORETOLD. Stronger language of repudiation could not be used than that which is used here. Irene is completely disowned. "Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God." The adulterous spouse is divorced, cast out, and forgotten. The idolatrous nation is joined unto idols, and the aggrieved Husband of the adulteress pronounces the sentence, "Let her alone." In all this we discern the degradation into which sin plunges the ungodly. And we discern, too, the righteous rule of the Lord of all, who will not treat evil as good, and who will vindicate his Law.
II. THE GLORIOUS RESTORATION AND PROSPERITY OF ISRAEL ASSURED. In startling contrast to the denunciation of ver. 9, is the gracious and generous promise of ver. 10.
1. Increase and prosperity are denoted by the common expression, "as the sand of the sea."
2. Favor is expressed in the assurance that those who had been disowned as the subjects of God shall yet be regarded as his sons. The very spot that had echoed with the thunder of wrath should resound with the language of fatherly complacency and affection.
III. THE RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE TWO DECLARATIONS. In several places in this prophecy similar paradox is met with; there is a strange and sudden reversal of tone and language.
1. The change is not in the principles of God's government, but in the condition and character of God's subjects. Repentance and renewal are undoubtedly presumed.
2. The two sides of religion are thus harmonized. The law threatens, the gospel promises; but both alike tend to the moral good of men and to the glory of God.
3. The reconciliation is supremely effected in the gospel of Jesus Christ; by him came grace and truth, and he made peace. - T.
Lo-ammi: ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.Lo-ammi, or not My people; pointing to the time of their utter captivity by Shalmaneser, whereby God made void the relation betwixt Him and that people, scattering them among the nations, and making them cease from being His Church and people. Whence learn —
1. Such is the long-suffering patience of God, especially toward the visible Church, that He is not only slow to anger, and to manifest the same by judgments; but even when He hath begun to strike, He yet waits patiently, to see what use they will make of present judgments, to prevent future and sadder strokes; and in particular it is very long ere the Lord come to unchurch a people that have been in covenant with Him.
2. However the Lord's long-suffering patience be great and admirable, yet it will not always last towards a sinful people, especially after He hath begun to plead with them, but will at last come to a sad period.
3. Howbeit no limits ought to be set to the freedom and efficacy of the grace of God, who can and doth sanctify afflictions unto the Church, and make them a means to turn her, and cause her to cleave faster to Him: yet it doth ofttimes also prove too true, that when the Lord begins to contend with her, she proves so obstinate in sin, and so incorrigible and incessant in defection, that nothing ends it but her utter rejection, at least for a time.
4. The capstone of all judgment upon a people is their unchurching, and the cutting off the relations between God and them.
5. Whenever the Lord gives up with a people as to being their God, He will make it appear that the breach began on their side, and that they first voluntarily rejected Him, and chose that state and condition sinfully, to which, and the effects thereof, He gives them up judicially.
( John Calvin.)
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