And they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine…
When called to encounter dangers, every possible precaution should be taken beforehand. Seasons of peril and distress often wring from the most hardened expressions of sorrow and remorse. These are to be attributed, for the most part, to the alarming perplexity in which they are involved, and differ widely from the heart-felt supplications of the humble and contrite. The procrastinating sinner cannot delude the all-seeing God by his selfish attempt to palm off these shrieks of a terrified soul for the sincere sorrow of the penitent. There are few persons so hardened in guilt as not to promise themselves some season of amendment; and, strange as it may appear, a death bed repentance is that upon which they rely.
1. The grand motive which should influence the sinner in turning to God is love to the kind and gracious Father, who has so long borne with his waywardness, and a sincere desire to promote His glory.
2. A reliance on a death-bed repentance implies a doubt of the declarations of the Bible, that God expects us to walk before Him during the days of our earthly pilgrimage in holiness and righteousness. God commands us, most explicitly, to work while it is day, and reminds us of an hour when the Master of the house, having closed the door, all applications for admission, no matter how loud or importunate, will be in vain.
3. It is a prominent feature in the great plan of redemption that we should openly acknowledge our allegiance to God by becoming a member of His Church; and by a holy life and heavenly conversation "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour." If all should look to a death-bed repentance to fit them for heaven, what a prospect the world would present!
4. In these enlightened days, it would be difficult to find one within the limits of civilised life, who had not repeatedly heard of the offers of mercy, through the merits of a crucified Saviour. The world, however, has presented too many charms; business completely engrossed his thoughts; the care of providing for the mere earthly wants of a family engaged too much of his time to leave any for the concerns of his soul. If the thought arises, When shall I prepare for my final account? the devil stands ready to suggest that a few hours of prayer on a death-bed will be preparation enough. And the careless worldling listens most readily to the sly tempter's advice.
(John N. Norton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.