On that day the Lord GOD of Hosts called for weeping and wailing, for shaven heads and the wearing of sackcloth.
Jonah 3:5-9). God calls on the people to "lament their sins, by which they had brought these judgments upon their land, and to dispose themselves to a reformation of theft lives by a holy seriousness, and a tenderness of heart under the Word of God." God is ever, and has ever been, in various ways, calling men to repentance, because men are sinful, and constantly grieving him and ruining themselves by their willfulness.
I. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE BY HIS PROPHETS. From Enoch (Jude 1:15), and Noah, to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, etc. It is the burden of prophecy. Their voice is ever crying, "Put away the evil of your doings."
II. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE BY THE SILENT MARCH OF EVENTS. See the plea of Joel on foretelling invasions (Joel 2:12-14). "Coming events cast their shadows before," and those shadows ought to prove calls of God to thought and moral preparation.
III. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE BY THE REVEALED WORD. "When God threatens us with his judgments he expects and requires that we humble ourselves under his mighty hand, that we tremble when the lion roars, and in a day of adversity consider" (Matthew Henry).
IV. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE BY JOHN BAPTIST. A most remarkable person, as standing on the dividing line between the new and old dispensations. He carries forward into the new God's great demand in the old, "Repent." And he shows that moral preparation by repentance is the threshold of the new kingdom of forgiveness, acceptance, and grace.
V. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE BY THE LORD JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES. They still demand repentance. Our Lord sends his apostles out with this message, and the apostles in the Pentecostal time, and in their letters, plead, saying, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you."
VI. GOD'S CALLS TO PENITENCE IN MODERN PREACHING. In this, more than in any other aspect of revealed truth, modern preaching fails. The ministers of the present day have no oppressive burden from the Lord, almost making them run away like Jonah - a burden of demanding "repentance of sin." - R.T.
And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping...And behold joy and gladness.I. THE CALL TO REPENTANCE (ver. 12).
1. The day here referred to was a season of abounding iniquity. A day of sore trouble (vers. 4, 5).
II. THE RECEPTION IT MET WITH. (ver. 13). There is no room to suppose that they had given no attention to the message delivered by the prophet. It would rather appear that they had attended to it with accuracy, nay, studied its meaning on purpose to counteract it; for a contrast so minutely exact, a scheme of contradiction so completely adjusted, could hardly have been stumbled upon by mere accident. And indeed the latter part of the verse puts this beyond all doubt, "Let us eat and drink," said they, "for tomorrow we shall die." We are not to imagine that these words were spoken seriously, by one of those presumptuous and boasting rebels. The most daring amongst them must have been conscious that the aspect of the king of terrors, at their most sumptuous entertainments, would leave them no appetite either for flesh or wine. They meant it as a scoff, a witty saying, for turning rote ridicule the warning they had received, but which they did not believe. It is common enough to condemn the same faults in others which we easily forgive, nay, cherish in ourselves.
III. THE ALARMING DENUNCIATION OF WRATH against those perverse and obstinate transgressors (ver. 14).
IV. IMPROVEMENT. What concern have we in these things? (1 Corinthians 10:11). God is always the same. And therefore, in His past acts of government, as they are explained by His Word, we behold a plan of righteous administration, from whence we may learn, with some degree of certainty, what kind of treatment, in similar circumstances, we ourselves have reason to expect.
(H. Blair, D. D.)
I. THE DUTY TO WHICH GOD CALLS US. We are called to "weeping and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth" — these expressions being indicative of the ancient" forms of mourning." We are called by our calamities to it; we are called by our God.
II. THE CONDUCT WHICH IS DISPLAYED. "And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" — a sensualist notion, which may be taken here either as the language of despair — "Since we must die tomorrow, let us eat and drink today; or, in the way of sneering — They say we shall die; let us eat and drink then, and enjoy as much as we can of the good things of this life."
III. THE THREATENING WHICH IS DENOUNCED (ver. 14). God's threatenings are not idle declamations.
(G. B. Macdonald.)
(E. H. Plumptre, D. D.)
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