Jeremiah 44:4
Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate! Idolatry is the sin specially referred to here. And it was indeed an "abominable thing." Pollution, cruelty, degradation, were inseparably associated with it. But the words may be applied to all sin - should be so applied. For what is sin? It is the acting out of that evil corrupt nature which we know to our cost lurks within us all. It is the stream that naturally flows from an evil fountain, the fruit that is sure to grow on a corrupt tree. Now, this view declares the mind of God -

I. TOWARDS SIN.

1. He calls it "this abominable thing." Thus he brands it. See how justly. For what do we call abominable? Is wrong done to a benefactor abominable? Is not every sin such a wrong? God does not command more than he deserves when he says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," etc. What do we not owe to him? and how do we requite him? Is wrong done to one who has entrusted his goods to us that we may employ them for him, who has made us his stewards that we may employ rightly that which he has committed to our care, - is faithlessness to such abominable? But is not sin precisely such a wrong? Our mind, affections, will, our body with all its faculties and passions, - what are they aught else but our Maker's goods with which, as stewards, he has entrusted us? Let conscience declare the use we have made of them - that sin makes of them. Is wrong done to the defenceless and innocent abominable? Do we not cry out loudly against such a one? But is not sin such a wrong? We sin not to ourselves. We entail the consequences of our actions on those who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly innocent, and who will surely suffer by what we do. No man dieth to himself. He drags down in the vortex in which he himself is engulfed children, friends, neighbours, companions, all whom he has influenced and helped to make sinful like himself. Is wrong done to vast numbers abominable, so that when we hear of how one has brought ruin upon multitudes our anger against him grows the more? Surely it is so. But where do the ever-widening circles of sin's deadly influence stop? How wide an area do they enfold? "Jeroboam the son of Nebat... made Israel to sin." Is that which pollutes and defiles, which is sensual and unclean, abominable? But sin is guilty of all this. For all these reasons and others sin is an abominable thing.

2. He hates it. "Do not...that I hate!" God hates nothing that he has made. To us some creatures are hateful and some persons. But not so to God. He does not hate even the sinner, but only his sin. It is not alone that it is abominable in its own nature that he hates it, but it works such ruin, spreads sorrow and desolation far and wide. It has opened and peoples the abodes of the lost. And it does despite and dishonour to the Son of God. How, then, can God do otherwise than hate it?

II. TOWARDS THE SINNER. Note the pleading tone of this verse, "Oh, do not," etc.! What pity, what compassion, what yearning love, are all discernible in this beseeching entreaty which God addresses to the sinner! "Hear, then, God say to you, 'Do it not!' Now, what are you going to do? Do you mean to tell me that you will persist in it? Do you really mean that? Now, think! Do you really mean to go on sinning in the face of such a message as this? - with conscience smarting, and saying in its guilty smart, Do not that abominable thing! with memory weighted with the recollection of past transgressions, and saying by the leaden burden which it carries, Do not that abominable thing! With all this, and much more, do you mean to say that you will continue in sin? With remorse, like spiritual tempest, already springing up within your soul, and threatening to destroy all your joy and peace; with a fearful looking for of judgment and future indignation; with your miserable convictions, and with your bitter fears; with your gloomy forebodings, and with your knowledge of the results and consequences of sin; - do you mean to tell me that you are determined to continue? Well, if you be determined to continue, when the offended Father comes down to you in his marvellous condescension, and cries, 'Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!' then, we fear, there is but little hope; and certainly, if this state of heart continue, we cannot have much hope concerning you. It is probable that if some of you pass by many more seasons of conviction, God will say, 'He is joined to his idols; let him alone;' and you will be, in this world, left alone. You will come here, perhaps, according to your custom, but you will be left alone, I shall never have a message to you; I shall never have a prayer for you; no warning from these lips will ever reach you; you will be insensible as the very pews in which you sit, and nothing shall seem, in these ordinances, to be a voice from Heaven to your guilty and needy soul. Thus will you live until, with a seared conscience, you lie down on the bed of death, and there, perhaps, when it is too late, all your old fears will be awakened. You may send to your minister upon that bed of death, and he may come, but by your bedside he may be speechless, his very power to pray may depart from him, and in trying to ask mercy for you all his utterances may be choked; and you may go from that wretched dying bed to hell. And as you sink down into the pit, the millstone about your neck will be the abominable thing which God hates" (Rev. S. Martin). - C.







Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.
I. WHAT SIN ITSELF IS.

II. GOD HATES IT.

1. Because it is contrary to His own nature.

2. Because it is unnatural in His creatures.

3. Because it transgresses holy, just, and good laws.

4. Because it defiles and injures the entire human nature. It brings a withering curse upon every stage of life, and upon every development of life, and upon every phase of life, and upon every department of life.

5. Because it makes men curses to each other.

6. Because it ignores or it rejects the Divine government.

7. Because wherever sin exists, except as it is checked by God's mercy, it has the dominion.

8. Because wherever it is introduced, it spreads.

9. Sin requires God to inflict upon men of every class and kind, that which He assures us, upon His oath, He has no pleasure in.

10. Their continuing in sin tramples under foot the blood of Jesus.

(S. Martin.)

I. WHAT IS SIN? Theology is determined by the answer. "Sin is only negation — as cold is the negation of heat; darkness, of light; disease, of health." So we are told. Well, I know that I shiver to-night under the "negation" of heat. I grope under the negation of light, and feel a very positive "thorn in the flesh." Away with this juggling of words! Sin is a fact and must be dealt with.

II. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE NEW LIFE? If Sin be easy to control, no helplessness is felt, no great change of being is accepted, no outside help is needed. If you fancy that one bad deed is cancelled by another good one, and that you are "all right at heart," although often wrong in action, you will not seek salvation.

III. WHAT DISCLOSURE DOES SCRIPTURE MAKE? "An abominable thing." What does sin propose to do? It defies God and would usurp His throne were it possible. The smallest infringement of the principle of honesty in social life breaks up the confidence of man in man and introduces destructive tendencies. The greater the transgression, the more destructive are the results.

IV. WHAT ABOUT THE REMEDY OF SIN? We know not all the counsels of God, but we know enough of the covenant He made with His Son Jesus Christ to say that by His vicarious atonement we are freed from the penalty of sin, and by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost we are made pure — the past and future are covered by His meritorious work.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. THE DESCRIPTION OF SIN HERE GIVEN BY GOD.

1. We call those objects abominable which excite in us the sensations of loathing and abhorrence. That such is the nature of sin, even in its most agreeable forms, may be learned from the various figures under which it is represented in the Word of God. Whatever is revolting in corruption, loathsome in uncleanness, or hideous in deformity, is there brought forward, in order to give us some idea of its abominable nature.

2. It must be considered not only as loathsome to God, but as exciting in Him the desire of its destruction, and an inclination to execute vengeance upon all to whom it is an object of delight. From an abominable object we naturally turn away; but what we hate we seek to destroy.

(1)Sin is hateful to God, as it is the very reverse of His nature.

(2)Sin is hateful to God, as it is a transgression of His law.

(3)Sin is hateful to God, as it opposes His designs.

(4)Sin is hateful to God, as it is an expression of enmity in the heart against His very being.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH GOD BESEECHES US TO ABSTAIN FROM SIN.

1. We are naturally prone to wickedness.

2. God hath designs of mercy towards our guilty race.

3. The salvation of sinners is accomplished in a way perfectly consistent with their freedom as moral agents.

4. God is deeply concerned for the salvation of sinners.

III. SOME CONSIDERATIONS THAT OUGHT TO INDUCE US TO HEARKEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD, AND DO WHAT HE REQUIRES.

1. It is God why, expostulates with you,. and beseeches you to abstain from sin.

2. The extreme folly of sin is another consideration, that may induce you to abstain from it.

3. The fatal consequences of continuing in sin, especially after we haven been called to repentance, is a consideration that ought to induce you to hear, and do what the Lord requires.

(G. Campbell.)

Homilist.
I. GOD DENOUNCES SIN WITH ABHORRENCE. He calls it "an abominable thing." Sin is represented in the Bible as a loathsome, odious, revolting, execrable thing. All kinds of sin are an abomination. "Lying lips" (Proverbs 12:22). "Pride" (Proverbs 16:5). "Wicked thoughts" (Proverbs 15:26). "Wickedness in all its forms" (Proverbs 15:9). Sin is essentially an abomination. Three things show this: —

1. The misrepresenting conduct of the sinner. Sin has a self-hiding, self-dissimulating instinct.

2. The universal conscience of mankind. Injustice, falsehood, self-seeking impiety, with all their kindred sins, the conscience of the world abhors.

3. The history of the Divine conduct towards our world.(1) Look at the judicial inflictions recorded in the Bible: expulsion from Eden, the deluge, the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of Jerusalem, &c.(2) Merciful interpositions. How has mercy wrought, through all past ages, to sweep abominations from the world! through patriarchs, prophets, apostles, holy ministers, and Christ Himself. He came to "put away sin:"

II. GOD HATES SIN WITH INTENSITY. He says, "I hate it." The Infinite heart revolts from it with ineffable detestation.

1. He hates it, for it is deformity, and He is the God of beauty. How offensive to the artist of high aesthetic taste and culture, are figures introduced into the realm of art, unscientific in their proportions, and unrefined in their touch!

2. He hates it, for it is confusion, and He is the God of order. "Order," says the poet, "is Heaven's first law."

3. He hates it, for it is misery, and He is the Cod of love. Every sin has in it the sting of the serpent, which, if not extracted, will rankle with fiery anguish in the soul for ever. God hates this evil, for He desires the happiness of His creatures.

III. GOD PROHIBITS SIN WITH EARNESTNESS. "Oh, do not this abominable thing." What depths of fervid loving solicitude are in this "Oh!"

1. Do it not; you are warring against your own highest interest.

2. Do it not; you are warring against the well-being of the creation.

3. Do it not; you are warring against ME. Every sin is a war against My ideas, My feelings, My plans, My institutions.

(Homilist.)

The church bells were ringing out a merry peal of welcome as a bride and bridegroom left the church after the marriage service. The bride was given some flowers as she passed to her carriage, and a small drop of water fell from a flower on to the bride's light dress. Soon after, a slight stain was noticed there, and the remark was made: "A spot of sin as small as this would shut either of us out of heaven." That remark was perfectly true. A little speck of dust on the lens of a telescope will mar its powers of vision. A tiny hair in the mainspring of a watch will suffice to stop the machinery, So one little sin, secretly cherished and wilfully indulged, will choke up our soul s communion with God and destroy our spiritual comfort. What, then, is sin? Sin is rebellion against God. Self-love is the secret of sin. The hidden principle of all sin is rejection of the will of God. None of God's commands are grievous, and therefore the question of our obedience is made to turn precisely on the will of God. God alone is independent. He has made us for Himself; and the more we seek to bring our wills into subjection to His, and our lives into complete dependence upon Him, the happier and the holier shall we become. As a train was speeding along the railroad in the north of England the other day, a spark from the engine set fire to a shrub in a plantation near the line, and then the fire spread to a forest, where it raged for two days, doing immense damage. Who would have thought that such a result would arise, from a little spark? Yet so it is in the world of life — great results spring from the most trivial causes. Our hearts are, like those dry trees, ready to burst into a blaze when touched by the spark of sin. Therefore we must beware of sin. When Canova, the great Italian sculptor, was about to commence his famous statue of the great Napoleon, his keenly observant eye detected a tiny red line running through the upper portion of the splendid block of marble which had been brought from Paros at enormous cost. Others saw no flaw, but the great sculptor detected it, and he refused to lay chisel upon it. The very perfection he aimed at compelled him to reject the marble block. Now if there is a flaw in your life, others may not see it, but God most assuredly will. And that there is such a flaw God declares. His Word asserts, "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23). "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Psalm 14:3). During a naval engagement off Copenhagen, Admiral Parker signalled the ships to cease action. Nelson did not wish to retire his ship. When informed of the Admiral's signal, he looked through the telescope with his blind eye, and exclaimed, "I see no such signal" He persistently deceived himself in order that he might continue the fight. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). But we deceive no one else. It is no excuse for a man to say he does not steal, does not lie, does not swear, does not covet. Neglect of known duty is sin. Man has a duty to God (Matthew 22:37). Not to love God is sin. And the Bible not only charges man with not loving God, but it speaks of man as being in a state of "enmity against God" (Romans 8:7). Therefore he cannot restore himself. It is a stormy night by the sea-shore. The wind is howling and moaning, and ever and anon with boisterous gusts threatening violence to the shipping in the harbour. The sea is lashed into a seething foam. On the beach are scattered groups of people — men hurrying to and fro with excited determination, and women wringing their hands in mute agony and mingled prayer. You look out to sea. In the darkness of the night you can see nothing, but you can tell by the whirr and rush of the rocket apparatus, by the cries of the life boatmen, that a vessel is in danger. You know there is a ship in distress by these signs, though you may not know the extent or reality of her danger. So, when I see the Lord Jesus Christ leaving His throne in glory, living a life of anguish, and dying a cruel death, I learn that sin is a terrible reality. Oh, what a hideous, fiendish monster is sin, when it turns its cursed enmity against the blessed Son of God, and imbrues its cruel hands in His precious blood! The Emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia had a very bitter feeling towards St. John , Bishop of Constantinople. One day, in a fit of anger, the Emperor said to some of his courtiers, "I would I were avenged of this bishop!" Several then proposed how this should be done. "Banish him and exile him to the desert," said one. "Put him in prison," said another. "Confiscate his property," said a third. "Let him die," said a fourth. Another courtier, whose vices Chrysostom had reproved, said maliciously, "You all make a great mistake. You will never punish him by such proposals. If banished the kingdom, he will feel God as near to him in the desert as here. If you put him in prison and load him with chains, he will still pray for the poor and praise God in the prison. If you confiscate his property, you merely take away his goods from the poor, not from him. If you condemn him to death, you open heaven to him. Prince, do you wish to be revenged on him? Force him to commit sin. I know him; this man fears nothing in the world but sin." Is there no lesson here for you and me?

(A. Finlayson.)

If anyone suffers very keenly from nervous exhaustion, it seems sometimes almost impossible for him to bear the noise of a child who persists in running heavily overhead. He will adopt a pleading rather than an angry tone: "My child, do not do this again; I cannot bear it." Let us think of God's holy nature as more sensitive to sin than the most highly-strung nerves to noise, and hear Him saying, whenever we are on the point of committing sin, "Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate."

(F. B. ,Meyer, B. A.)

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