Therefore they say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways.
I. THIS PRAYER REVEALS TO US THE AWFUL CONDITION OF THE HUMAN HEART. Lower than this neither man nor demon can sink, for what is it but saying, "Evil be thou my good, darkness be thou my light"? Here we have the climax of criminal audacity. The climax of self-deception. And the climax of ingratitude.
II. THIS PRAYER SHOWS US THE NEARNESS OF GOD TO MAN. The difficulty is not for man to find God, but to avoid finding Him. There is underlying this prayer a profound consciousness of the Divine presence. The sinner fools that God is near, but he would be altogether without Him, if he could.
III. THIS PRAYER EXPRESSES THE CONVICTION OF MEN, THAT THE LORD'S CLAIMS UPON THEM ARE FOUNDED ON REASON AND TRUTH. God invites them to reason with Him, to consider their ways, to ascertain the character of His commandments. They desire not the knowledge of God's ways. It is this reluctance to give the Gospel any attention, this indisposition to think about eternal things, which hardens men in their sin and folly, and ensures their destruction.
IV. THIS PRAYER SETS BEFORE US THE GREAT CONTRAST WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN THE CONVERTED AND THE UNCONVERTED. Those who are not converted, pray in their hearts and lives that the Lord will depart from them. The converted thirst after God as the hart pants for the water brooks.
V. THIS PRAYER ILLUSTRATES THE LONG SUFFERING OF GOD. The very fact that men offer this prayer and still live, exhibits the Lord's forbearance and compassion in the most striking manner.
VI. THE ANSWER TO THIS PRAYER INVOLVES THE MOST SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES TO THOSE WHO OFFER IT. If persevered in, the answer will come. There is a bound beyond which men cannot pass with impunity. It is a fearful thing to be left alone of God, to be suffered to sin unrestrained, and to drink in iniquity like water. This is the result of the prayer being answered.
(H. B. Ingrain.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.