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2

Rather, your iniquities have been barriers

between you and your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you

so that he does not hear.


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1. Behold, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened. This discourse closely resembles the preceding one; for, after having torn off the mask from hypocrites, who vainly boasted of themselves, and after having shown that the punishment inflicted on them was just, he now replies to other objections. Hypocrites are wont to accuse God either of weakness or of excessive severity. He shows, therefore, that he does not want either power or will to save his people, but that he is prevented by their wickedness from exercising his kindness towards them; and therefore that they do wrong in blaming God, and in uttering those slanders against him, when they ought, on the contrary, to accuse themselves.

The word הן (hen) “behold,” is emphatic, as if the Prophet spoke of something actually present, and pointed it out with the finger, for the sake of expressing certainty, in order to cut off a handle from hypocrites, that they might no longer practice evasion. We must also supply the contrasts to the words “shortened” and “benumbed;“ as if he had said, that formerly there were abundant resources in the hand of God to render assistance to his people, and that he always was ready to be reconciled and lent a willing car to prayers, and that now he is not unlike himself, 129129     “Il n’a point change de nature.” “He has not changed his nature.” as if either his hand were broken or his ears grown dull, so that he did not hear distinctly.

2. But your iniquities have made a separation. The amount of what is said is, that they cannot say that God has changed, as if he had swerved from his natural disposition, but that the whole blame lies with themselves; because by their own sins they, in some measure, prevent his kindness, and refuse to receive his assistance. Hence we infer that our sins alone deprive us of the grace of God, and cause separation between us and him; for what the Prophet testifies as to the men of his time is applicable to all ages; since he pleads the cause of God, against the slanders of wicked men. Thus God is always like himself, and is not wearied in doing good; and his power is not diminished, but we hinder the entrance of his grace.

It will be objected, that men cannot anticipate God by deserving well of him, and that consequently he must do good to those who are unworthy. I reply, this is undoubtedly true; but sometimes the frowardness of men grows to such an extent as to shut the door against God’s benefits, as if they purposely intended to drive him far away from them. And although he listens to no man without pardoning him, as we always bring before him supplication for the removal of guilt, yet he does not listen to the prayers of the wicked. We need not wonder, therefore, if the Prophet accuse the people of rejecting God’s benefits by their iniquities, and rendering him irreconcilable by their obstinacy, and, in a word, of making a divorce, which drives away or turns aside the ordinary course of grace.




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