And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious to us: this has been by your means: will he regard your persons?…
Irreligion is the cause of social chaos and national ruin. Calamities frequently arise from spiritual conditions. Outward circumstances are often very closely linked with the inner life.
I. MEN HAVE POWER TO BRING EVILS UPON THEMSELVES AND OTHERS. Man is a centre of causation. Deeds do not end in the doing of them. We may meet them in the results of after years. More than half the evils that afflict men are self-wrought. God seldom interferes with the sequences that follow our action. Man is not the creature of circumstances, but the creator of them. He is treated as being responsible for his own happiness or misery. Man cannot keep the results of his actions from affecting others. One man has ruined thousands. Godless parents ruin families; hypocritical pastors destroy their flocks; depraved senators overthrow a nation.
II. EVIL-DOERS SELDOM ADMIT THIS POINTED CHARGE. There is a disposition in men to look for the cause of their afflictions anywhere rather than in themselves. They have come from fate, from misfortune, from accident, from the errors of others, from the vindictive anger of God. Honest confession is rare. Not to admit this charge is —
2. It will only increase our guilt.
3. It will hinder our reception of mercy.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.