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The Total Corruption of the People

 7

Woe is me! For I have become like one who,

after the summer fruit has been gathered,

after the vintage has been gleaned,

finds no cluster to eat;

there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.

2

The faithful have disappeared from the land,

and there is no one left who is upright;

they all lie in wait for blood,

and they hunt each other with nets.

3

Their hands are skilled to do evil;

the official and the judge ask for a bribe,

and the powerful dictate what they desire;

thus they pervert justice.

4

The best of them is like a brier,

the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come;

now their confusion is at hand.

5

Put no trust in a friend,

have no confidence in a loved one;

guard the doors of your mouth

from her who lies in your embrace;

6

for the son treats the father with contempt,

the daughter rises up against her mother,

the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

your enemies are members of your own household.

7

But as for me, I will look to the Lord,

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

my God will hear me.

 

Penitence and Trust in God

8

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;

when I fall, I shall rise;

when I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be a light to me.

9

I must bear the indignation of the Lord,

because I have sinned against him,

until he takes my side

and executes judgment for me.

He will bring me out to the light;

I shall see his vindication.

10

Then my enemy will see,

and shame will cover her who said to me,

“Where is the Lord your God?”

My eyes will see her downfall;

now she will be trodden down

like the mire of the streets.

 

A Prophecy of Restoration

11

A day for the building of your walls!

In that day the boundary shall be far extended.

12

In that day they will come to you

from Assyria to Egypt,

and from Egypt to the River,

from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.

13

But the earth will be desolate

because of its inhabitants,

for the fruit of their doings.

 

14

Shepherd your people with your staff,

the flock that belongs to you,

which lives alone in a forest

in the midst of a garden land;

let them feed in Bashan and Gilead

as in the days of old.

15

As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,

show us marvelous things.

16

The nations shall see and be ashamed

of all their might;

they shall lay their hands on their mouths;

their ears shall be deaf;

17

they shall lick dust like a snake,

like the crawling things of the earth;

they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;

they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,

and they shall stand in fear of you.

 

God’s Compassion and Steadfast Love

18

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over the transgression

of the remnant of your possession?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in showing clemency.

19

He will again have compassion upon us;

he will tread our iniquities under foot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20

You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our ancestors

from the days of old.


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Verses 1–7

The prophet bemoans himself that he lived among a people ripening apace for ruin, in which many good persons would suffer. Men had no comfort, no satisfaction in their own families or in their nearest relations. Contempt and violation of domestic duties are a sad symptom of universal corruption. Those are never likely to come to good who are undutiful to their parents. The prophet saw no safety or comfort but in looking to the Lord, and waiting on God his salvation. When under trials, we should look continually to our Divine Redeemer, that we may have strength and grace to trust in him, and to be examples to those around us.

Verses 8–13

Those truly penitent for sin, will see great reason to be patient under affliction. When we complain to the Lord of the badness of the times, we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our hearts. We must depend upon God to work deliverance for us in due time. We must not only look to him, but look for him. In our greatest distresses, we shall see no reason to despair of salvation, if by faith we look to the Lord as the God of our salvation. Though enemies triumph and insult, they shall be silenced and put to shame. Though Zion's walls may long be in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. Israel shall come from all the remote parts, not turning back for discouragements. Though our enemies may seem to prevail against us, and to rejoice over us, we should not despond. Though cast down, we are not destroyed; we may join hope in God's mercy, with submission to his correction. No hinderances can prevent the favours the Lord intends for his church.

Verses 14–20

When God is about to deliver his people, he stirs up their friends to pray for them. Apply spiritually the prophet's prayer to Christ, to take care of his church, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to go before them, while they are here in this world as in a wood, in this world but not of it. God promises in answer to this prayer, he will do that for them which shall be repeating the miracles of former ages. As their sin brought them into bondage, so God's pardoning their sin brought them out. All who find pardoning mercy, cannot but wonder at that mercy; we have reason to stand amazed, if we know what it is. When the Lord takes away the guilt of sin, that it may not condemn us, he will break the power of sin, that it may not have dominion over us. If left to ourselves, our sins will be too hard for us; but God's grace shall be sufficient to subdue them, so that they shall not rule us, and then they shall not ruin us. When God forgives sin, he takes care that it never shall be remembered any more against the sinner. He casts their sins into the sea; not near the shore-side, where they may appear again, but into the depth of the sea, never to rise again. All their sins shall be cast there, for when God forgives sin, he forgives all. He will perfect that which concerns us, and with this good work will do all for us which our case requires, and which he has promised. These engagements relate to Christ, and the success of the gospel to the end of time, the future restoration of Israel, and the final prevailing of true religion in all lands. The Lord will perform his truth and mercy, not one jot or tittle of it shall fall to the ground: faithful is He that has promised, who also will do it. Let us remember that the Lord has given the security of his covenant, for strong consolation to all who flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in Christ Jesus.




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