They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.…
I. THERE IS AN ETERNAL LAW OF "RIGHT" THAT SHOULD GOVERN MAN IN ALL HIS RELATIONS. Right, as a sentiment, is one of the deepest, most ineradicable and operative sentiments in humanity. All men feel that there is such a thing as right. What the right is is a subject on which there has been and is a variety of opinion. Right implies a standard, and men differ about the standard. Some say the law of your country is the standard; some say public sentiment is the standard; some say temporal expediency is the standard. All these are fearfully mistaken. Philosophy and the Bible teach that there is but one standard, that is the will of the Creator. That will He reveals in many ways — in nature, in history, in conscience, in Christ. Conformity to that will is right.
1. The law of Christ should govern man in his relations with God. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," etc.
2. The law of right should govern man in his relation to his fellow men — "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." This law of right is immutable. It admits of no modification. It is universal. It is binding alike on all moral beings in the universe. It is benevolent. It seeks the happiness of all.
II. That a PRACTICAL DISREGARD OF THIS LAW LEADS TO FRAUD AND VIOLENCE. "For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces." The magnates of Samaria had no respect for the practice of right, hence they "stored up violence and robbery in their palaces." Fraud and violence are the two great primary crimes in all social life.
III. That FRAUD AND VIOLENCE MUST ULTIMATELY MEET WITH CONDIGN PUNISHMENT. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God: An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled." How was this realised? "Against him came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan and in the cities of the Medes" (2 Kings 17:3, 6; 2 Kings 18:9-11). The cheats and murderers of mankind will, as sure as there is justice in the world, meet with a terrible doom. "Punishment is the recoil of crime; and the strength of the backstroke is in proportion to the original blow."
Parallel VersesKJV: They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.