If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, said the LORD of hosts…
Taking into view the whole of the intelligent creation, and the extent of the duration to which it is destined, the curse of God on these who wantonly brave His love and benevolence, will be seen to be a necessary result of His goodness, as well as a declaration of the righteousness of His character. It is the same Word of heaven which shows us — now the Cross of Christ, and now the flaming sword of justice. God does not lift up His voice to say, "I will curse your blessings," till men have first abused those blessings, and provoked Him to interpose His vengeance. A reason is given for the curse — disobedience. A warning of its approach is likewise given; and every successive threatening is a new mercy, for its tendency is to arrest the sinner ere it be too late, and is an interposition which justice did not require. A captious mind may refuse to call those things blessings which in the result shall only augment the wretchedness and accumulate the perdition of the sinner. But objects which are in themselves capable of benefiting the person on whom they descend, though an evil heart may, by wilful misapplication, turn them to the most serious and fatal injury, are, nevertheless, blessings. God can curse the blessings He bestows in a variety of ways. He can remove them; He can render them ineffectual and powerless; He can make them turn to our hurt. The curse consists in continuing unaltered the blessings He bestows, and in leaving the individual who receives them to himself. In point of fact, the sinner inflicts the curse upon himself. The only part which God takes in the visitation is that He suffers it to be so.
1. Among the blessings which God confers upon sinful men, the first in nature, and among the foremost in importance is time. The days and years which God may add to man's forfeited life are of inestimable price. They are the seed-time for eternity. If it be not used for its intended purpose, Godwill turn it into an awful curse. And does it not prove so, when, as time moves on, the heart becomes harder, the conscience less impressive, love of the world more vehemently impetuous, and when moments accumulate not so fast as sins, which shall go to fan the flames of the unquenchable fire?
2. Another of the blessings from the hand of God is health. This gives a zest to every other gift of heaven, and the want of it takes away the charm of every other enjoyment. It is an unspeakable aid in the pursuit of every good work incumbent upon us. Beware then lest this blessing be presumed upon and misused, and God may give up the disobedient to their own curse. Talents and education are blessings from the hand of God; they place the individuals who possess them higher in the scale of being. But if they are perverted from their lawful ends, — if they should be found enlisted on the side of infidelity or worldliness, — the blessing will become a curse.
3. I might proceed to speak of other blessings, of which the misimprovement will fatally transmute into the curse. Riches, honour, friends, rank, influences, and the various interferences which deliver men from evil, or avert its approach, are all the good gifts of God. They are capable of a use of the most important nature both to ourselves and others. The perversion of them will be as ruinous in aggravating the misery of the future. Refer especially to this richest of blessings, the glorious Gospel. Even this crowning gift may, by the wilful unbelief and worldliness of the heart, become hurtful as it might have been beneficial. Can there be a more dreadful curse than when the very means employed for the soul's conversion, place it further and still further from that necessary issue?
(T. Kennion, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
WEB: If you will not listen, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name," says Yahweh of Armies, "then will I send the curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.