I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
I. THE ESSENCE OF INIQUITY - THIS IS SELFISHNESS. "The iniquity of his selfishness," as it may be rendered. Whether it takes the specific form of rapacity, of unholy ambition, of self-indulgence or of any other special sin, you may trace iniquity home to the evil spirit of selfishness - the withholding from God, for self, of that which is due to him. Those who are transgressing none of the ten commandments in the letter, but are yet living to themselves, are living in iniquity.
II. DIVINE DISPLEASURE AND REBUKE. "I was wroth and smote him: I hid me." Our wilful departure from God and refusal of our hearts and lives excite his profound displeasure, his sacred grief - call forth his parental wrath and displeasure. In a very solemn sense "God is angry with the wicked;" they abide under his "wrath." He is compelled to withhold from them the light of his countenance; he rebukes them; he sends the penalty which is due to sin, and Which is appropriate to the particular sin which is being committed. He hides his face; he withdraws his blessing; he causes pain, disappointment, sorrow, to visit the doer, to afflict the heart.
III. HUMAN RESENTMENT AND INCREASED REBELLIOUSNESS OF SPIRIT. "He went on frowardly in the way of his heart." That which is intended to draw near, sometimes drives away. Godly sorrow works repentance; but sorrow, taken ill and treated wrongly, works death. If the heat does not melt, it hardens.
IV. THE VICTORY OF DIVINE LOVE. Still, in spite of a growing waywardness, the pity of God pursues the wandering soul. And though deceived and led astray, man travels far and wanders long, God "sees his ways;" he stretches forth the hand of power and grace, and he "heals him;" he leads him home and comforts him with the priceless blessings which are under the Father's roof. These blessings are:
1. Reconciliation: the being spiritually healed, being restored to God after the saddest of all separations - spiritual distance from God.
2. Peace: peace offered and granted to those who were more distant and also to those less far removed from truth and righteousness and purity - the peace of conscious acceptance.
3. Praise: "the fruit of the lips," joyful ascription unto him that redeemed and restored; the daily song of gratitude that wells up from a heart filled with gratitude and love.
V. A POWERFUL INCENTIVE TO RETURN. Perhaps it may be taken as one "fruit of the lips" that the healed and restored soul now speaks for God to men; now becomes his spokesman; now teaches transgressors his way (Psalm 51:12, 13). And one convincing and impressive truth which a home-brought wanderer can enforce better than an unfallen angel is the hardness of the transgressor's road, the weariness of the way to him who is leaving God for the far country, the restlessness of a heart that is separated from its Divine Source and Friend; the truth that the mirth of unhallowed enjoyment is very shallow and short-lived, that fast on the heels of guilty pleasure come pursuing pain of body and misery of soul; the fact that there is no peace to the wicked, no lasting joy to any one who has abandoned the fountain of living waters for the broken cisterns of earth and time. The plaintive cry which comes from the aching hearts and troubled lives of guilt is answered by one voice alone - by that of him who stands before all generations of men, and says, in the accents of sweet and sovereign pity "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - C.
I. DIVINE KNOWLEDGE.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him.
Homilist.This could only be said of God — He alone can see the ways of man. We have here —
I. A DIVINE ATTRIBUTE. Intimate knowledge of the ways of men. "I have seen." God has no need to be told. Tale-bearers exaggerate and lie. God does not even trust His angels. They go about the world observing the evil and the good. But it is not upon their reports He acts." "I know, He says, "their thoughts." "I have seen his ways. How solemnly should the fact impress us!
1. There is the man who makes a profession of religion. But that man knows how within him there exist the root and seeds of evil, that his life is a constant struggle, and sin with all its might is contending for the mastery. The deeper that man's piety is, he realizes with the greater pain his weakness and imperfection, and is horrified at the list which is written up against him by an observing God.
2. Not only the righteous are the subjects of Divine observation, but the wicked as well. The observations of Almighty God produce very different results according to the character of the person He observes. To the man who strives after the way of righteousness it is an encouragement and a warning. But to him who neglects religion and follows sin it is filled with terrible dread and is the precursor of ineffable judgment.
II. A DIVINE PROMISE. The humblest efforts after holiness arc regarded by the great King, and are noted equally with the failures. He sees the whole — the follies, the weaknesses, the struggles, and the regrets, and He is filled with pity. He knows that unaided man cannot divert his way, and therefore He vouchsafes to give a promise, "I will heal." In this promise we have —
1. A manifestation of love.
2. A manifestation of authority, "Will heal." It is God only who can heal man.Application:
1. God will come to those who seek Him. They draw nigh to Him, He draws nigh to them.
2. How joyous is the sound of healing to a sick man! Much more the promise of forgiven sin.
3. Time is passing quickly. What are your ways? Are they such as encourage the Divine advances or repel infinite love?
II. DIVINE MERCY.
1. "I will heal him," "I will lead him also." We all need guidance, as we move on through this wilderness.
2. Another part of the healing is the happiness of mind which Christ bestows upon His reconciled people. I will heal him and restore comforts unto him.
3. Then, too, will follow praise. "I create the fruit of the lips." The songs of heaven will be begun in your souls, even now upon earth.
4. Peace, settled peace. "Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord: and I will heal him." There is in that one word, "peace," a treasury of blessedness which you may forego all else to buy.
(C. Clayton, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. That God's omniscience has observed the sinner. Man while living in rebellion against God is as much under His eye as the bees in a glass hive are under your eye when you stand and watch all their movements. The eye of Jehovah never sleeps it is never taken off from a single creature He has made. He sees man — sees him everywhere — sees him through and through; so that He not only hears his words, but knows his thoughts — does not merely behold his actions, but weighs his motives, and knows what is in the man as well as that which comes out of the man. God has seen your ways at home, your ways abroad, your ways in the shop, your ways in the bed-chamber, your ways within as well as your ways without — the ways of your judgment, the ways of your hope, the ways of your desire, the ways of your evil lustings, the ways of your murmurings, the ways of your pride. He has seen them all, and seen them perfectly and completely; and the wonder is that, after seeing all, He has not cut us down, but instead of it has proclaimed this amazing word of mercy, "I have seen his ways, and will heal him."
2. But God had not only seen their ways in the sense of omniscience, but He had inspected their ways in the sense of judgment. He says, "I was wroth and I hid Myself." Do not think because we preach free grace and dying love to you, and proclaim full pardon through the blood of Jesus, that therefore God winks at sin. No, He is a terrible God, "and will by no means spare the guilty." And yet He whom the angels call "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth" — the, jealous God, the. God who revengeth, and is furious against sin — even He has said, "I have seen his ways, and will heal him."
3. The Lord had tested him. If you. read the chapter through you will see that God says He had attempted to reclaim him by chastisements.
II. THE SINNER IS THE OBJECT OF DIVINE MERCY TO AN EXTRAORDINARY DEGREE.
1. Notice how God speaks. "I will, I will." Now, "I will " and "I shall" are for the King; nay, in the highest sense they are only becoming when used by God Himself. It is not for you and me to say "I will"; we shall speak more wisely if we declare that we will if we can.
2. The disease that we suffer from is a disease He knows all about, because the text says, "I have seen his ways."
3. Then the text goes on to say, "I will lead him also." The poor soul of man, even when healed, does not know which way to go. There is not a more bewildered thing in this world than a poor sinner when first he is awakened. Have you ever gone with a candle into a barn where a number of birds have roosted? Have you disturbed them? Have you not seen how they dart hither and thither, and do not know which way to fly? The light confuses them. So it is when Christ comes to poor sinners. They do not know which way to go; they see a little, but the very light confuses them. Now, the loving Lord comes in, and He says, "I will lead him also."
4. "I will restore comforts to him." God begins by knocking our comforts away. He takes away the comfort we once had in our false peace, and He makes us mourn for sin. But after a while He restores comfort to us. What sort of comfort? The comfort of perfect forgiveness, the comfort of complete acceptance. The Father sets a warm kiss upon the child's cheek, and that is the comfort of adoption. Whereas we were heirs of earth, we become heirs of heaven, and have the comforts of hope. We receive the comfort of daily fellowship, for we are admitted to speak with God, and to draw near to Him; the comfort of perfect security, for we are led to feel that whether we live or die we are safe in the arms of Jesus; the comfort of a blessed prospect beyond the grave in the land of the hereafter, where the flowers shall never wither; the comfort of knowing that all things work together for good; the comfort of having the angels for our servants, and heaven for our home. " I will restore comforts to him;" and all this to the man of whom it is said, "Thou didst debase thyself even unto hell."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
And restore comforts unto him.con and fortis, meaning much strength. In time of trouble, when you lift up your heart and bravely bear the bruden, the strength which enables you to do it is called comfort
(W. Birch.)1. It is a great comfort have peace of mind. Many people have sought to obtain wealth, hoping it would give peace of mind; but they have been mistaken. But what a comfort it is to those who have obtained it! It flows from the knowledge that our sins are forgiven.
2. Another comfort is that God is with us.
3. What a comfort to know that God is our helper. His fingers are tender, and His heart is loving as that of a gentle mother.
4. It is a comfort to know that God is our strength in time of temptation. When an engine has to lift a weight which is beyond its usual work, the engineer stands at the steam gauge, and when the finger reaches near the danger point, he cries, "Hold hard; it can do no more! " If he allowed the engine to be pressed beyond the safety point, there might be an accident. Likewise, God knows the gauge of every man's heart. He knows exactly what trials you can bear, and how much temptation you can stand. He declares that no man shall be tempted above that he is able.
5. It is our comfort to know that God is our support in the pathway of our life.
6. Here is another comfort — that our God is the Friend of sinners.
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