Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the calamity I plan to bring upon them, each of them will turn from his wicked way. Then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin."
Isaiah 46:9-11). Reason and Scripture alike seem to say that there can be nothing probable with God. But yet this is his word. Why does he thus speak? Perhaps -
I. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO LAW, NO DECREE, AGAINST THE PEOPLE'S REPENTANCE. He had made no such law, and man had not. There is no decree of reprobation.
II. IT MAY BE CONSISTENT, AFTER ALL, WITH THE TRUTH OF THINGS FOR GOD THUS TO SPEAK, THOUGH WE CANNOT SEE HOW. We infer certain conclusions from what we read and learn about God, and these conclusions seem to deny the possibility of there being any "it may be" with him. But we may be wrong after all, and the fact that he does thus speak lends to the suspicion that we are.
III. BECAUSE IT WOULD BE ILL FOR US WERE HE TO REVEAL THE CERTAINTIES OF THINGS. If they were to be such as we would desire, we should cease to labour for them. If otherwise, we should sit down in despair. But God desires us to labour and pray, and therefore hides the future from our eyes. Presumption and despair are both great evils; therefore to prevent them, God speaks after the manner of men, if not after the manner of God.
IV. BECAUSE HE INTENDS HIS "MAY BE" TO BECOME "SHALL BE." He would have us fellow workers with him, and therefore he encourages our efforts, but hides from us be that which would lead us to think them unnecessary. And probably the "may be" will become "shall be," though not at the time nor in the manner we expect. Let us, therefore, be ever cheered forward when God says, "It may be." - C.
It may be.I. THIS WORD SHOWS US THE HEART OF GOD. Displeased because of sin, but longing to show mercy to the sinner. All His counsels and warnings, promises and threatenings, are for good (Deuteronomy 5:29-33; Deuteronomy 32:44-47; Isaiah 1:18-20; Jeremiah 8:7-11; Ezekiel 12:3; Ezekiel 18:31; Hosea 11:1-8; John 3:16, 17; Luke 19:10, 41, 42).
II. THIS WORD REVEALS THE GRAND POSSIBILITIES OF HUMAN LIFE.
1. Earnest attention (ver. 3).
2. Penitential prayer (ver. 7).
3. Moral reconciliation. The hindrances to peace are not with God, but with us.
III. THIS WORD HOLDS OUT ENCOURAGEMENT TO ALL TRUE WORKERS FOR CHRIST.
2. Holy endeavour.
3. Missionary enterprise.
(W. Forsyth, M. A.)
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