I. HIS HONOR IS TEMPORARY. If he raise himself so that "his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever;" "he shall fly away as a dream," so short is his grasp of any position of honour.
II. HIS FAMILY PROSPERITY IS BUT BRIEF. The goods he has gained by his ungodliness "his hands shall restore," and his children crouch to appease the poor. Ill-gotten gain is held by uncertain hands. For a time the ungodly seems to prosper, but it is that he may be consumed out of his place.
III. HIS LIFE IS WASTED AND PASSETH AWAY. Even his youthful vigour fails him. it shall speedily "lie down with him in the dust." The practice of wickedness brings punishment on hint who offends. The tendency of wrong-doing is ever to prey upon the strength of the life.
IV. THE PLEASURES OF SIN TO HIM ABE BUT FOR A SEASON. Though he 'hide" wickedness "under his tongue," though it be "sweet in his mouth," yet shall it be turned to "the gall of asps within him."
V. THE POSSESSION OF RICHES IS PERMITTED ONLY FOR A BRIEF PERIOD. Though he swallow them down, "he shall vomit them up again." Nothing has permanence with him. Changes come over him from sources he cannot trace and certainly could not foresee. His toil is fruitless. "That which he laboured for shall he restore... he shall not rejoice therein." Wickedness eats into the strength and joy of life. It exposes life to innumerable evils and robs it of its chief good. The wicked man has no pledge of permanent blessing. "He shall not save of that which he desired." Truly "the triumphing of the wicked is short." - R.G.
Curse God and die.
(R. A. Watson, D. D.)
1. The folly of impeaching the justice, wisdom, or love of God. Think of human ignorance. Compared with the material or brute creation man is great, but not great when compared with his Maker. Sydney Smith satirically described Lord Jeffrey as dissatisfied with the Almighty in the construction of the solar system, particularly as to the rings of Saturn. Men nowadays do soberly set up their judgment in opposition to the will and wisdom of God. They know but part, yet talk as if they understood the Almighty to perfection.
2. The guilt of such a course is equally great. It is a practical repudiation of the authority of God, who commands us to be patient and obedient. It is akin to the dreadful sin of blasphemy, an act that under no circumstances can ever be tolerated.
(C. H. Buckley, D. D.)
I. THE CAUSES OF DESPAIR.
1. False views of God. A man's theology very largely influences his life. Spiritual ideas are at the root of all others. Whatever a man thinks of God and religion, will largely mould his character. Despair arises from two causes: the pessimism of men who are opponents of God, haters of God; and the hard, encrusted, stern, unbending Calvinism, which professes to be overpowered by God's love, which love is, however, always limited to those holding the doctrine. The pessimistic raving is indicative of a despair which has taken a fixed and settled position in the soul. Hope has fled, and all the brightness, even to the last spark, has departed from life.
2. Misanthropic notions respecting the human race. The loss of faith in our fellow men is a prolific cause of despair. We place confidence in men, and we are betrayed; we trust them, and they deceive us. So we lose faith in mankind: we sink into a condition of sullen moroseness, which is but the forerunner of despair.
3. Denial of God's existence. Atheism is a gloomy creed. To take away God is to deprive the world of hope, to rob it of its highest consolation, and consequently to plunge the human race into the blackest despair.
II. THE FOLLY OF DESPAIR.
1. It shuts out of view possible changes for the better. The clouds encompass us, the darkness hems us in, we see no light, and we lose hope, never dreaming that behind the mists a sun is shining, which will sooner or later dispel the gloom and illumine the world with its beams.
2. It injures the soul. Like all evil passions, it grows with what it feeds on.
3. It is a rebellion against God. Evil is not the universe. Goodness is eternal. God lives, and His mercy fails not. Despair is rank blasphemy against heaven.
III. THE REMEDY FOR DESPAIR. It is the religion of Jesus, with the great and eternal truth which it enunciates — God is love. Recognising the fact that there is a God, and that His mercy is over all that His hands have made, how can we ever despair? We know that we are in His hands, and that therefore we are sure. Let us then leave the demon of despair to atheists, and those who have neither faith in God nor confidence in man, but for ourselves we must cling to the eternal truth that God is love.
(George Sexton, M. A. , LL. D.)
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