O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in me is your help.
Whatever changes may be made by time, we are sure of one thing, that our God changeth not, and that the principles involved in His counsels and threatenings, in His warnings and promises and invitations, are immutable and everlasting as Himself.
I. SELF-DESTRUCTION IS POSSIBLE TO US MEN; even the destruction of the highest, noblest, and Divinest part of our nature. Man, too, is the only being upon the earth to whom self-destruction is really possible; the being whose capacities are the noblest has the power of self-injury. A man cannot put out his life, but he can blight and blast all that is bright and blessed, happy and holy in his nature and life.
II. THE ONLY POWER by which we can destroy ourselves is the power of sinning. Sin does its work most rapidly and completely. Sinning darkens the understanding, impairs the judgment, makes a man a fool, disorders the imagination, deadens the best susceptibilities of the heart, and sears the conscience. It enslaves the will, and prevents peace of mind. It depraves the whole spiritual nature. And sinning is the breach of God's law of love. God takes notice of every breach of His law.
III. EVERY FINALLY DESTROYED MAN IS SELF-DESTROYED. God will not destroy a man except as punishment for sin. The devil cannot permanently hurt you, excerpt as you combine with him to hurt yourselves. Two things are certain. The sin which finally destroys men is sin for which they are responsible. And the sin which inflicts most injury is the sin which men love, and which, because they love, they think lightly of.
IV. THE SELF-DESTROYED MAY BE SAVED FROM DESTRUCTION. "In Me is thy help" — thy deliverance, thy salvation.
1. A man cannot save himself. All that he can do for himself is to submit to be saved. At first all men try to save themselves.
2. No fellow-man can save the sinner. God never sends a man to His priest; He invites the man to Himself.
3. Think of the encouragement to return to God. While God is speaking to you of salvation, you may have it. Self-destruction by sinning is the natural order. Salvation does not come in any natural order, but as the result of an extraordinary provision on the part of God. If after God has spoken to you, you be finally destroyed, your destruction will be self-destruction — wilful, inexcusable, and unbearable.
Parallel VersesKJV: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.