And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers…
God comes near to men when He manifests Himself to their spiritual consciousness. He may do this by His truth, by the circumstances which He causes to surround them, or by the direct action of His Spirit. He often comes near to men to enlighten, strengthen, help, and save. He will come near to the wicked to judge and punish them. Observe —
I. THIS THREATENING WAS UTTERED AGAINST WORKERS OF INIQUITY. Jerusalem abounded with evil-doers. The wizards deluded the people with their arts, the adulterers lurked in the twilight for their prey, false witnesses perjured themselves for a bribe, the covetous robbed the hireling of his wages and defrauded the widow, the stranger, and the fatherless; all fear of God had departed from their eyes. Against these His anger burned. The righteous had nothing to fear from His judgments. His nearness was their joy. But the wicked would be filled with terror as His presence flashed through all their sheltering deceits upon their souls. Workers of iniquity may deny the existence of the God of judgment, but —
(1) He is a witness of all their deeds.
(2) His displeasure is awakened against them.
(3) He sends His servants to declare His certain judgment upon them.
II. THIS THREATENING WAS UTTERED BY HIM WHO IS THE SOLE JUDGE OF ALL MEN. God alone has the right to threaten judgment on men. He alone can judge men truly.
"What's done we partly can compute,
But know not what's resisted." — Burns.He knows all. He is the Creator of men. The evil-doer has violated His laws. His judgment will be just, final, and certainly executed. God threatens before He strikes. His judgment will be individual. He will come near to every man, and, in the light of the Divine presence, the evil of every man's life will be made manifest to himself, and he will feel the justice of the sentence passed upon him. The bitterness of the doom of the lost will be their consciousness that they have merited it. God's judgment on a man's completed life will fix his destiny God's eternal supremacy, absolute knowledge, inflexible justice, and spotless holiness constitute Him judge of all. It is He who threatens the sinner.
III. THIS THREATENING WILL BE CERTAINLY FULFILLED. Obstinate evil workers may close their ears to this solemn threatening, may make themselves callous by sophistries, may harden themselves in a false security by foolish infatuations, may abuse the Divine mercy that is reluctant to punish, yet judgment will certainly come upon them, to their dismay and destruction.
1. God's character ensures the fulfilment of this threatening.
2. History and human life are full of events that foreshadow its fulfilment.
3. The consciences of men in all countries have, in a measure, anticipated its fulfilment.
4. The Scriptures constantly reiterate this threatening, and declare that it shall be fulfilled.
5. The indication of God's administration over mankind requires its fulfilment. As Luthardt says: "Divine justice must have the last word. It has long suffered men — suffered sinners — to speak. But the last word will be its own; and this word must be a word of retaliation, for it is the word of a Judge."
IV. THIS THREATENING SHOULD AWAKEN REFLECTION, REPENTANCE, AND REFORMATION. The peril of the worker of evil is great and imminent. God's anger abides upon him. To the eye of his Judge his sins have no covering. God, who has loved him with infinite tenderness, must destroy him unless he repents. Repentance averts judgment. A reformed life, by the power of the Gospel of Christ, is the only means of escape from ruin. To those who turn from their iniquities God comes near to comfort, not to condemn.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don't fear me," says Yahweh of Armies.