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fies. He had watched over the seasons, from the time it was sown, till it was gathered in. [2.] Cong veniencies; for delight, wine ; he blessed their vintage. For ornament, oil, that makes the face to thine, and which was usual in their feasts, Psal. xxiii. Secondly, for the purse and coffer. Ift, A variety of coin of the best, silver and gold. 2dly, He made it increas, Heb. He blessed them in trade, they flourished in it; the produce of their country did thrive, and brought in to them good prices for their commodities; so that they were a rich people. Thus they were in the reign of Jeroboam the Second, the most flourishing time they ever had, 2 Kings xiv. But what did they with it? They prepared it for their idol; they dressed Baal's image with it.
(2.) On what terms they were thus furnished; on free cost their country was nourished, God gave them these things freely. They had them by free gift.
(2.) His liberality. They said, ver, 5. their idols gave them bread. Suppose it had been so, God gave them corn, that was more. Their idols gave them water, but God gave them wine. And he added filver and gold, of which there is no mention in that perse. So God had been kinder to them than their idols.
2. How they did not know this; For, Heb. Ando It is joined with ver. 5. She hatb played the harlot, done shamefully, and did not know. They laid it not to heart, and practised accordingly, to serve and honour God with his own good gifts, but served their own lusts and idols with them, and dishonoured him thereby. Thus, though they knew that God gave them these things, in a general superficial way, God reckons they did not know..
II. Israel's judgement; which is proposed,
1. More generally. Where we have, (1.) The heavy turn brought on their condition, I will return, is e, change the way of my dispensation to them.. As if he had said, Whereas ye had both necef;
faries and conveniencies for the body, I will strip you of them both. Your purses that were filled, I will empty them again ; your trade that flourished, I will blast, and ye shal} go as fast down as ever ye rose. Ye shall have few pennyworths, and what ye have ye shall get little for them. (2.) The reason of it, therefore. God will not change his kind way with a people, but for good reason: so when we see it so with us, let us satisfy ourselves, that there is a cause; and juftify God in the blackest turn of our lot. In this therefore,
ift, There is judgement and indignation. It refers to their sin, ver. 8. Tbey knew nat that I gave them : therefore I will return, and take them away. They have made an ill use of their plentiful provision; therefore I will draw their table, and bind them up to short commons.
2dly, There is mercy and love in it. It refers alfo to ver. 6. 7. God thews there he had a design of love on them, to have them back to himself. That they may be made to return, therefore I will return: their plenty has been their fnare, therefore I will take it from them, that I may win them back again. · 2. More particularly. He threatens that he will leave them neither in chem, nor on them; but strip them of all. And,
if, Of their maintenance; where observe, (1.) He asserts his property in their corn and wine: The corn they have is my corn, the wine my wine, though ye call it yours, ver. 5. Though ye have fown the corn, and planted the vines ; and they are come forward to the time of eating and drinking of them. 12.) He threatens to seize them accordingly as his own, I will take away my corn, &c. And who can quarrel his taking away his own ? (3.) The timing of the stroke. · He will let alone the corn till it be come to the hook, yea till it be for leading in, and then he will come and take it away in the time thereof, when nothing remains but for the hufbandman to en
joy the fruit of his labour. So he will take away the wine in its season, when it is just ready for the press.
2dly, Of their cloathing. Where observe, (1.) His property in the wool and lint. (2.) For what end he
gave them them. (3.) How he will take them away; o recover them as out of the hand of enemies, wrong
ous poffeffors, that fed their lusts with them, but they shall not have them to cover their nakedness. .
Therefore I will return, and take away my corn and my wine.
Three doctrines may be obferved from thefe words. : Doct. I. God will certainly.change his way with prosperous impenitent finners. 'Doct. II. God's taking away the corn, and depris ving men of the use of neceffaries, is the just reward of the abuse of plenty.
Doct. III. God may have a design of love in taking away his corn from a sinful people, and depriving them of such necesary mercies and comforts of life.
I shall explain each of these doctrines, and apply them in order
Doct. I. God will certainly change his way with prosperous impenitent sinners:: Therefore I will return.. They may profper for a while; but if they return nct in the way of duty to God, God will return in the: change of his dispensation to them, making their fun to go down at noon-day with them.. "
The reasons of this dispensation are; .
1. God's honour requires it, Pfal. I. 27. These things hast tlou done, and I kept filence: thou thoughtet that I was altogether fuchi a ane as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. He has tried them with prosperity, and that will not do; he will vindicate his own honour, by taking a - E 3
contrary course, that all the world may fee he does not approve their way.
2. It is necessary to put a stop to their progress in wickedness. Wicked men, the more prosperous they are, the more vile they grow ; like a dunghill, the hotter the sun shines on it, the ranker does it fmella Prosperity to them is as the wind to the seas; the stronger it blows, the waves rage the more: therefore he will bound it.
Use. I. Let not prosperity make you forget God, yourselves, and duty; and trust not in the uncertain smiles of the world. For the frowns may yet be as heavy, as ever the smiles were pleasant, and things may go as faft wrong as ever they went right.
2. Let no body envy prosperous wickedness, Pfal. xxxvii. I. Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. It has put good men sore to it, to see despisers of God and godliness carefled by outward providence. But look to the word, and see the end ; that will be bitter, Plal. lxxiii. 17. 18.
· Doct. II. God's taking away the corn, and depriving men of the use of necessaries, is the just reward of the abuse of plenty. This will appear, if ye consider, .. . i. That God is a God delighting in merey, and does not willingly afflict, Lam. iii. 33. There is no delight in the misery of his creatures to him, Ezek. xviii. 23. Justice is his act indeed, but his strange act. It is with a kind of reluctancy that he reaches a stroke to his peopl, Hof. xi. 86 • 2. He has promised the contrary course to his people walking in his ways, Hof. ii. 21. 22. And it ball come to pass in that day, I will hear, faith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they fball hear the earth, and the earth Mall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they fall hear Jezreel. It is a general promise, Ta him that hath shall be given, i. e.
The honouring of God with what we have is the way to get more; Prov. iji. 9. 10. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase : fo ball thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses fball burst aut with new wine.
Obječt. But do not even the godly tender ones smart in such a case? Anf. Indeed cornmon calami. ties on a land or country do not just select the ungodly, and keep off from godly tender Christians : yet the latter have the advantage. There is as much guilt on the best, even of abuse of mercies, as will juftify God in reaching them a share of the common calamity: but they shall get it moderated and sanctified, and God will bring good out of it to them, Pfal. *xxxvii. 19. They fall not be afbamed in the evil time : and in the days of famine they sball be satisfied. Ver. 3. Trust in the Lord, and do good, fo sbalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Noah's house and land was overflown with the flood, but God provided him an ark. Jeremiah and his remnant were to fall into the enemy's hand, but the Lord said to him, Verily it shall be weli with thy remnant, verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil, and in the time of affliction, Jer. xv. 11.
3. He has threatened to punish the abuse of plenty with the want of necessaries, Deut. xxviii. 47. 48. Because thou servedst not the Lard thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things : therefore salt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things : and he fall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. Thus he dealt with a finning people, Amos iv. 6. I have given you cleanness of
teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your - palaces. The sins of a people in a foregoing time, often bring the harvest to a forry account, If. xvi. 9: Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer, the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears