You said, 'I will be queen forever.' You did not take these things to heart or consider their outcome.
I. ITS ESSENTIAL NATURE. Under the perverting influence of sin men come into a mental and spiritual condition in which everything is strange, unnatural, distorted. Something has "perverted" them (ver. 10). It is a condition in which things seem to them other than they are - in which they fail to discern what ought to be quite palpable to them, in which they are subject to unhappy and hurtful delusions. Knowledge does not instruct them, facts do not affect them, reasons do not convince them, truth does not enlighten them. They are duped by semblances, betrayed by errors, ruined by the falsehoods which they entertain and cherish.
II. THE FORMS WHICH IT ASSUMES.
1. An extravagant and offensive egotism. "Thou sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me." It is a very common effect of sin to produce in men a sense of their own importance carried to a painfully high degree; they think and feel as if their present interests were the only things to be consulted. Everything else must make way, every one else must give way to them; their comfort, their advantage, absorbs all other considerations whatever. None else beside them is of any account.
2. A blind disregard of the future. "Neither didst remember the latter end of it." Many men regulate their lives as if they would always remain as strong and healthy as they are to-day. Many indulge in courses which tend to weakness or to dishonour, or even to utter ruin, without concerning themselves as to the goal toward which they are travelling. They know that death is in front of them, that judgment awaits them; but they do not "lay it to heart" - they remember not "the latter end of it."
3. An overweening estimate of their own power. "I shall be a lady for ever... I shall not sit as a widow." Men "say in their heart," "Other men have made great mistakes, but I shall avoid them; other men have suffered in their circumstances or in their health, but I shall escape; on other men judgment and penalty have fallen, but I know how to avert the blow," etc. They imagine themselves to be possessed of an ingenuity, a sagacity, a power of defeating the operation of penal laws, which does not. belong to them. No one else credits them with this extraordinary faculty; everybody else is convinced that they will he bitterly undeceived: they are infatuated by their sinful folly.
4. A belief in the excellency of animal enjoyment. They are "given to pleasures" (ver. 8). One of the infatuations of sin is that sensuous delights will satisfy a human soul. It is a complete delusion. As men yield to the temptations of the flesh they find that pleasure lessens as the craving grows: they eat, but are hungry still; they drink, but are thirsty as before. The lower gratifications do not fill the heart which God created for himself and for his service and friendship.
5. A fatuous infidelity. "None seeth me" (ver. 10).
III. ITS INEVITABLE DOOM. "Therefore shall evil come upon thee," etc. (ver. 11). The doom of spiritual infatuation is:
1. Sometimes sudden. "Desolation comes suddenly;" when men are saying, "Peace, peace," then sudden destruction.
2. Often mysterious. Men do "not know whence it ariseth." Concealed beneath the surface are the seeds of sorrow and of death; they are invisible, but they are there.
3. Always inevitable. Men are "not able to put it off." Wealth cannot purchase its departure; authority cannot order it away; ingenuity cannot escape its power. A voice which none may disregard or disobey will be heart exclaiming, "Get thee into darkness" (ver. 5). - C.
And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever.: —
I. THE CAUSE OF THEIR SECURITY. They did not lay this to heart (ver. 7), did not apply it to themselves, and give it due consideration. They lulled themselves asleep in ease and pleasure, and dreamed of nothing else but that "to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." They did not "remember the latter end of it" — the latter end of their prosperity, that it is a fading flower and will wither; the latter end of their iniquity, that it will be bitterness; that the day will come when their injustice and oppression must be reckoned for and punished.
II. THE GROUND OF THEIR SECURITY. They trusted in their wickedness and in their wisdom (ver. 10).
1. Their power and wealth, which they had gotten by fraud and oppression, was their confidence.
2. Their policy and craft, which they called their wisdom, was their confidence.
III. THE EXPRESSIONS OF THEIR SECURITY. Three things this haughty monarchy said in her security.
1. "I shall be a lady for ever." She looked upon the patent of her honour to be, not during the pleasure of the Sovereign Lord, the fountain of honour, or during her own good behaviour, but to be perpetual to the present generation, and their heirs and successors for ever (Revelation 18:7).
2. "I shall not sit as a widow," in solitude and sorrow; shall never lose that power and wealth I am thus wedded to. The monarchy shall never want a monarch to espouse and protect it, and to be a husband to the State; nor shall I "know the loss of children."
3. "None seeth me" when I do amiss, and therefore there shall be none to call me to account. It is common for sinners to promise themselves impunity because they promise themselves secrecy in their wicked ways.
IV. THE PUNISHMENT OF THEIR SECURITY. It shall be their ruin.
1. A complete ruin; the ruin of all their comforts and confidences (ver. 9).
2. Sudden and surprising. The evil shall come in one day, nay in a moment. "Thou shalt not know from whence it riseth," and therefore shalt not know where to stand upon thy guard. Babylon pretended to great wisdom and knowledge, but with all her knowledge cannot possess, nor with all her wisdom prevent, the ruin threatened.
3. Irresistible (ver. 11).
( M. Henry.)
( M. Henry.)
( M. Henry.)
1. False security.
2. Presumption. "A lady for ever," i.e. in my own right; "no contingency can arise to deprive me of any title and wealth."
3. Boasting. The vernacular of pride — "a lady," superior to others.
4. Self-satisfaction. "A lady." "I am that now. None will dispute it" (Revelation 3:17).
5. Abandonment to luxury. "A lady for ever." I mean to be at ease, to enjoy life.
6. Spiritual blindness. Prosperity dazzles the eye; the future is willfully disregarded. Conclusion — Remember the desolation of self-confident Babylon-widowhood, childlessness, poverty, famine, shame, disease, insanity, exile, death.
(R. A. Griffin.)
Thou didst not lay these things to thy heart.: — God warns before He strikes.
I. THE COURSE OF CONDUCT CONDEMNED. "Thou didst not lay," &c. This insensibility to the threatened judgments of heaven is —
1. Very common.
2. Very sinful.
3. Very foolish.
4. Very dangerous.
II. THE FEARFUL JUDGMENT DENOUNCED — a type on a large scale of the overthrow of sinners.
1. The certainty of it (vers. 8. 9).
2. The suddenness of it. "In a moment" (ver. 9).
3. The retributory character of it.An exact proportionment of the punishment to the crime. No undue severity shown even to Babylon (ver. 6; James 2:13; Revelation 18:5, 6). Nor even to the chief of sinners. Always a just recompense of reward.
4. The utter hopelessness of those on whom it comes (vers. 12-15).
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