Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,Making the Righteous Sad
I. Sadness is not Necessarily from God.—When sadness is God's gift, we do well to accept the unwelcome gift, for who can tell what far-off interest it may yield?
Sadness, however, as our text reminds us, must not always be fathered on God. Sadness often originates in temperament. Do not blame God if you are melancholic; blame your yielding to your temperament. Grace can enable a man to rise above his temperament. The worry of these worrying days frequently issues in sadness. Sadness is wrought, all too often, by our fellow-men. Satan often seeks to ruin us by sadness. Quite as often as by pleasure he seeks to spoil us by grief.
II. Some Impose Sadness Upon the Righteous in God's Name.—What awful things have been done in God's name! Men have stolen the livery of heaven to serve the devil in. Religion and seriousness are essentially allied, but not so religion and sadness. The work of righteousness is not sadness, but peace and assurance. God never discourages the righteous. He is 'the God of all encouragement;'. Gloomy, depressing prophets and prophetesses are condemned by the canon of my text.
III. False Teaching Often Makes the Righteous Sad.—Truth sometimes makes God's people sad, but it is not intended to do so. Union with Christ is the antidote to sadness.
A false theology makes the heart of the righteous sad. It is a sure sign that religious teaching is fallacious if it sadden the soul which is set on righteousness.
IV. There is Divine Retribution for Such as Give Sadness to the Righteous—All who effect this saddening of the saints shall suffer for their deed. This principle has world-wide application. None can afford to ignore it. Masters and mistresses need to watch their ways in this regard. Friends and acquaintances should be alert to prevent this evil. Parents may grieve right-doing children. And how specially pertinent is this admonition to children in relation to their parents.
V. We do a Godly Deed When we Cheer the Righteous.—Do you ask how you can accomplish this grateful ministry? We can hearten the righteous by kindly acts. Our very deportment may accomplish the service of God upon sad souls. There is a Gospel in some men's smile.
VI. Righteousness is the Ultimate Cure of Sadness.— Character is the final secret of gladness. The word 'sad' is often used as synonymous with 'bad'. 'He is a sad scoundrel,' we say. And in such a usage we hint the great truth that in the last issue sadness and badness are identical.
The righteous have a right to gladness. This is especially true in the Christian dispensation. Christian righteousness is realized by faith in the risen and crucified Lord.
—Dinsdale T. Young, The Enthusiasm of God, p. 16.
References.—XIV. 1.—R. W. Hiley, A Year's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 185. XIV. 2, 3.—W. A. Whitworth, The Sanctuary of God, p. 31.
Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:
Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?
Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.