7. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
7. Quia ventum serent (certe serunt ventum, inquit primo loco) et turbinem metent: non est ei culmus, germen non producet ferinam (non faciet, ad verbum;) si forte produxerit, extranei vorabunt eam.
The Prophet here shows by another figure how unprofitably the Israelites exercised themselves in their perverted worship, and then how vainly they excused their superstitions. And this reproof is very necessary also in the present day. For we see that hypocrites, a hundred times convicted, will not yet cease to clamour something: in short, they cannot bear to be conquered; even when their conscience reproves them, they will still dare to vomit forth their virulence against God. They will also dare to bring forward vain pretences: hence the Prophet says, that they have sown the wind, and that they shall reap the whirlwind. It is an appropriate metaphor; for they shall receive a harvest suitable to the sowing. The seed is cast on the earth, and afterwards the harvest is gathered:
We hence see that the design of the Prophet's metaphor, when he says that they sow the wind, is to show this, that though they differ nothing from the true worshippers of God in outward appearance, they yet sow nothing but wind; for when the Israelites offered their sacrifices in the temple, they no doubt conformed to the rule of the law, but at the same time came short of obedience to God. There was no faith in their services: it was then wind; that is, they had nothing but a windy and an empty show, though the outward aspect of their service differed nothing from the true and legitimate worship of God. They then sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. But we cannot finish to-day.
Grant, Almighty God, that since the rule of thy true and lawful worship is sufficiently known to us, and thou continues to exhort us to persevere in our course, and to abide in that pure and simple worship which thou hast fully approved, -- O grant, that we may, in true obedience of faith, respond to thee: and though we now see the whole world carried here and there, and all places full of the awful examples of apostacy, and so much madness everywhere prevailing, that men become more and more hardened daily, -- O grant, that, being fortified by invincible faith against these so many temptations, we may persevere in true religion, and never at any time turn aside from the teaching of thy word, until we be at length gathered to Christ our King, under whom, as our head, thou hast promised that we shall ever be safe, and until we attain that happy life which is laid up for us in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
We were not able in the last lecture to finish what the Prophet has said in the seventh verse; that is, that whatever hope the Israelites entertained would be deceptive and fruitless; for they imagined many deliverances as arising from nothing. He had before condemned their wandering and perverse circuitous courses, now flying to Egypt, then to Assyria, in order to seek assistance, and at the same time overlooking and neglecting God. He therefore says now, that they would have to gather fruit corresponding with what was sown:
He afterwards adds, that there would be no stalk; and pursuing the same similitude, he says,