These things have you done, and I kept silence; you thought that I was altogether such an one as yourself: but I will reprove you…
I. THE MANNER IN WHICH GOD TREATS IMPENITENT SINNERS DURING THE PRESENT LIFE. He is continually speaking to them in His Word, inviting, counselling and warning them to repent and flee from the wrath to come; nor does he fail often to speak to them in the same manner, by the voice of conscience. But, as a Judge, he usually observes the most profound silence. If it be asked, why God thus keeps silence; I answer, because this life is a season of trial and probation. Men are placed in this world, that they may show what is in their hearts, and thus discover their true characters. He sets before them in the works of creation sufficient evidence of His existence and perfections; He lays them under obligations to love and thank Him by the blessings of His providence; He clearly prescribes their duty, and gives them directions for its performance, in His Word; He places conscience in their breasts, as an overseer and monitor; and then, wrapped up in His own invisibility, sits silent and unseen, to notice and record their conduct.
II. THE OPINIONS WHICH SINNERS FORM OF GOD, IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS THUS KEEPING SILENCE. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." It is their opinions of His moral character, of His views and feelings with respect to themselves and their conduct, to which the assertion refers. In this respect every unawakened sinner supposes, or at least acts as if he supposed, that God is altogether such an one as himself. Feeling no immediate tokens of God's displeasure, he flatters himself that God is not displeased. Finding it easy to justify himself, and satisfy his own conscience, he fancies that it will be equally easy to satisfy God, and justify his conduct at His bar.
III. THE MEASURES WHICH GOD WILL EMPLOY TO CONVINCE SINNERS THAT HE IS NOT SUCH AN ONE AS THEMSELVES. "I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." This He will do at the judgment-day.
1. It implies giving the sinner a clear and full view of all the sins of his life, in thought, word and deed, in the order in which they were committed. Such a view no sinner has of himself in the present life. He is guilty of ten thousand thousand sins, which he does not even suspect to be sins.
2. It implies giving him a view of all their aggravations. All the mercies he received, all the afflictions which were sent to rouse him, all the opportunities, privileges, warnings and means of grace with which he was favoured; all the sermons which he heard, and all the secret checks which he experienced from his own conscience, and from the strivings of God's Spirit, will then be set before him, to show that he sinned wilfully and knowingly, against light and against love, and that he is, therefore, without excuse.
3. It implies giving him a full view of their dreadful malignity and criminality. Of this sinners see nothing in this world. They do not see what an infinitely great and glorious Being that God is against whom sin is committed. They do not see what an infinitely precious, lovely, and all-sufficient Saviour they are rejecting. They do not see what a heaven they are forfeiting, nor into what a hell they are plunging themselves by sin. They do not realize how short is time in comparison with eternity, nor how worthless the body when compared with the soul. But at the judgment-day they will behold every object in its true light.
IV. WHAT IMPROVEMENT CARELESS SINNERS OUGHT TO MAKE OF THESE AWFULLY ALARMING TRUTHS. They should be led by them to consideration. It is owing to forgetfulness of God, and to the neglect of considering these important truths, that sinners live as they do. They consider not in their hearts, says Jehovah, that I remember all their wickedness. Is not this the case with respect to some of you?
(E. Payson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.