When you see, you will rejoice, and you will flourish like grass; then the hand of the LORD will be revealed to His servants, but His wrath will be shown to His enemies.
I. IN THE GOD OF REVELATION WE FIND BOTH MERCY AND INDIGNATION. Nature blends rains and storms, sunshine and hurricanes, spring breath and volcanoes. The revelation to the Jews provides illustration.
1. See the early traditions of the world preserved by the Jews - Eden - the Flood - Sodom.
2. See the story of the great Patriarchs of Jacob, of the Israelites in the wilderness.
3. See the records of the Jews as a nation. Raised to heaven with privileges, crushed into the deep with judgments.
4. See the condition of the Jewish nation, as now scattered over the earth. Every scattered, landless, homeless Jew, against whom the world's byword is east, is set forth before men to plead with them and say, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God."
5. See the last revelation made to men in Christ Jesus.
(1) Note how the Messiah was described beforehand in prophecy (ch. 63:3, 4).
(2) Note the exclamations of those who saw the babe Messiah.
(3) Note the outbursts of righteous indignation during the ministry of Christ.
(4) Note some sentences used in his public teaching (Matthew 25.). The following words were characteristic of Christ's teachings: "everlasting punishment;" "destruction:" "death;" "fire;" "worm that never dies;" "gnashing of teeth;" "thirst;" "torment;" "outer darkness."
(5) Note the apostolic doctrine of Christ. In it there is a place for the "wrath of the Lamb."
II. IN THE GOD OF OUR APPREHENSION WE FIND BOTH MERCY AND INDIGNATION.
1. Give the testimony of man's reason. It recognizes that the good man will be sure to blaze into indignation at wrong-doing.
2. Give the testimony of man's fear. What is man afraid of if he has no notion of God as able to, and bound to, punish transgressors? Men do not tremble before a God who is all mercy. We fear the God of indignations, who can cast body and soul into hell. How wicked it is for any of us to go on in sin, presuming upon God's mercifulness! What sinners have to do with is God's indignation. - R.T.
The hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants.I. SOME OF THE WAYS THE HAND OF THE LORD MAKES ITSELF KNOWN TOWARDS HIS SERVANTS.
1. In the character they bear.
2. In the work they do.
3. In the sufferings they endure.
4. In all the triumphs of their faith and patience.
II. THE CONDITION OF THIS VISIBLE DISPLAY OF GOD'S POWER. Simply to let it operate upon us and through us. We can, and often do, prevent His hand from being known. There must be humble recptiveness, believing prayer.
III. THE EFFECTS OF THIS MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD'S HAND.
1. It encourages the Lord's servants.
2. It rebukes the unbelief of the ungodly. Conclusion: Unconverted sinner I the Lord desires to show forth the power of His grace in you. Will you not allow Him to work upon you this miracle of His saving power?
(W. Guthrie, M. A.)
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