Behold, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.
I. THE MOUNTAINOUS OBSTACLES THAT HAVE TO BE OVERCOME. These are not kingdoms, military forces, or fortifications, but things which are far mightier than they - error, prejudice, passion, pride, habit of life, materialism, self-will. These are high hills, massive mountains in the way of the world's welfare.
II. THE INSTRUMENT BY WHICH THEY ARE TO BE SURMOUNTED. This is none other than a living Church. "I will make thee," etc. The Israel which is to "thresh" these mountains is "the Israel of God," the Church of Jesus Christ; not, indeed, any one organization so called or calling itself by that name, but the whole "host of God's elect " - the unnumbered multitude of souls that, under every sky, accept his truth, trust in his Name, love his appearing, toil in his vineyard.
III. THE TRIUMPH OF THE TRUTH. This is twofold.
1. The disappearance of all that is evil, the scattering of the chaff (ver. 16).
2. The exaltation of Christ: "Thou shelf glory in the Holy One of Israel." In the day of redemption men will glory in no one and in nothing but in the Lord that redeemed them; they will enthrone him in their hearts and in the world.
IV. THE PRIZE OF VICTORY. "And thou shalt rejoice in the Lord." The Church will not be filled with a perilous complacency; it will rejoice in the Lord its God - in the honor in which he is universally held; in the love with which all hearts are filled toward him; in the service which every human life is paying him. These ingredients will fill to the brim its pure cup of joy. - C.
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE SUBJECT wherein this mystery of grace is carried on by Jesus Christ. It is in worm Jacob, denoting the Church in general, and every believer or true member thereof in particular. One would think, that one designed to be a thresher of the mountains should be a party of a signally great and swelling character, a hero, a giant, or if there were anything could carry the character higher: but, on the contrary, it is very low, surprisingly low, worm Jacob.
I. WHAT THE CHURCH AND PEOPLE OF GOD ARE. They are named by Him who misnames none, "worm Jacob." Their name from their nature is a worm; they are weak, despised creatures, ready to be crushed by the foot of every passerby: yet "worm Jacob," believing, praying, wrestling worm as he was.
A new sharp threshing instrument.
Homilist.I. THE FORMS OF GOOD AND EVIL. Evil is a mountain — a big thing occupying immense space, bounding the horizon and darkening the sun. Good often appears as small as a worm.
II. THE CONFLICT OF GOOD AND EVIL. The worm shall "thresh the mountain." Worms in nature are mighty things; they build up islands fair as Eden. Good has made an attack upon evil, and it will thresh its "mountains and beat them small."
II. WHAT THEY SHALL CERTAINLY AND INFALLIBLY DO. "Thresh the mountains," etc. Interpreters generally understand by the "mountains" the great and lofty potentares of the earth, setting themselves against the Church. And, no doubt, these were in the prophet's view; but the view was not confined to them. God's bringing down the Babylonian monarchy at their prayers, and the victories afterward of the Maccabees over their enemies, cannot reasonably be supposed to complete the intent of this prophecy. We must needs look to the kingdom of Christ for it, of which there is plainly an account (vers. 17-19). Compare Daniel 2:34, 35. And we must carry on our view all along to the end of time (Revelation 2:26, 27); the rather that it is the manner of the prophet to wrap up in one expression, temporal, spiritual, and eternal deliverance; the deliverance from Babylon, which was temporal, being the first and nearest in view, but not terminating it. Here then we may consider —
1. What "worm Jacob" has to encounter. "Mountains," and "hills," whose weight is sufficient to crush millions of him; difficulties quite disproportionable to his strength, as a mountain to that of a worm.
2. The success of this so very unequal match. The mountains shall not crush the worm; but the worm shall thresh the mountains, as one does a sheaf of corn with repeated strokes.
3. The degree and pitch of the worm's success against those mountains. It shall beat them small, till they be like dust or chaff: so that they shall be blown away with the wind, and no vestige of them remain.
4. The insurance of this success of the worm. Who could insure it, but the mighty God? Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the most high God, and worm Jacob's Kinsman-Redeemer, hath, by His word of promise, engaged His almighty power on the side of the worm against the mountains. Let not then the worm fear or doubt the success.
II. THE MYSTERY OF GRACE CARRIED ON IN THEM BY JESUS CHRIST.
1. An apparently hopeless encounter they are led to by Him. Worm Jacob threshing the mountains.(1) The Lord lays in His people's way mountains of difficulties quite above their strength; difficulties which they look to, as a worm to a mountain before it (2 Corinthians 1:8).(2) They must not go about the mountains in their way, shifting the difficulties which the Lord calls them to; but they must make their way over them, threshing them down.(3) Therefore worm Jacob falls a-threshing the mountains, combating the difficulties which the Lord lays in his way. There is a spirit in worm Jacob more daring and venturous than ever was in any unbelieving hero.(4) They continue the combating of difficulties resolutely and patiently. Threshing is a continued action, consisting of repeated strokes.(5) Worm Jacob has many mountains to thresh.
2. A surprising success; even as surprising as a worm's threshing and beating the mountains small to dust, and threshing them away.(1) Partial successes in their way, very surprising; surprising to others and to themselves.(2) A total success at the end of their way, which will swallow them up in surprise and eternal wonder.
III. I SHALL ACCOUNT FOR THIS MYSTERY.
1. God has said it, and therefore it cannot fail.
2. The glory of His grace, which is the great design of the whole mystery of God, necessarily requires it.
3. By an unalterable decree, there must be a conformity betwixt the little worm and the great worm Jacob, the little one's Kinsman-Redeemer. The great worm, the man Christ, "a worm and no man," has encountered mountains, and threshed them away. Where are the four monarchies, the most towering mountains that ever set up their heads on the earth? The chief worm Jacob has threshed them away to chaff, which is away with the wind (Daniel 2:35). The mountains stood before Him through the world, with all the fastness that human learning and the power of the sword could give; but by His few fishermen He threshed them away.
4. The little worm Jacob is-in reality but a member of the great one, Jesus Christ.
5. All the mountains that stand before worm Jacob are burnt mountains; so they are far easier to thresh than one would think.
1. A word of command, calling to the work.
2. A word of promise, securing the success.
3. The use of means of Heaven s appointment for reaching the end.
(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)
(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)Vegetable Mould and Earth-worms. At the touch of his transcendently patient intellect a new glory breaks over the degraded, writhing, offensive worm. Instead of being useless or even harmful, it turns out that we could never do without these humble creatures. They, and they alone, in their countless millions, and by their ceaseless hidden toil, have made the globe what it is, fit for agriculture and the residence of man. The bulk of the humus or vegetable mould of his fields everywhere is mainly of their manufacture, and goes perpetually through and through their organs to be fitted and perfected for fertility. The most assiduous and wealthy farmer does not lavish half as much nourishment upon his crops as the earth-worms, which in many parts of the British Isles make and bring to the surface of each acre of land ten tons or more of rich fine mould yearly. All things considered, Dr. Darwin inclines to rank the earth-worm higher in the scale of constructive agencies than the coral insect itself, though the last named rears islands, and ocean-kingdoms. It is the worm which, by perpetually consuming decayed leaves and small particles of soil, disintegrates and renews all the face of our earth. Their castings, hardly noticed, alter invisibly the contour of a whole country. Brought up from below, they make stones and rocks gradually sink, covering these by the collapse of their tiny burrows, so that the surface grows smooth for our use by their viewless help. Antiquarians owe to the earth-worm the preservation of almost every ancient pavement and foundation by the soft coat of mould with which they overlay these relics. They remove decaying leaves, facilitate the germination of seeds and the growth of plants, and create for us most of our wide, level, turf-covered expanses. Thus at one stroke our great natural philosopher has raised them to an honourable rank in the vast family of creation.
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