And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said…
I. A PATHETIC REFLECTION, which seems to invite us to take a solemn retrospect - "I was left." You remember, many of you, times of sickness. You walked among the graves, but you did not stumble into them. Fierce and fatal maladies lurked in your path, but they were not allowed to devour you. The bullets of death whistled by your ears, and yet you stood alive, for his bullet had no billet for your heart. "I was left" — preserved, great God, when many others perished; sustained, Standing on the rock of life when the waves of death dashed about me, the spray fell heavy upon me, and my body was saturated with disease and pain, yet am I still alive — permitted still to mingle with the busy tribes of men. Now, then, what does such a retrospect as this suggest? Ought we not each one of us to ask the question, What was I spared for? Why was I left? Was it that mercy might yet visit you — that grace might yet renew your soul? Have you found it so? Say, sinner, in looking back upon the times when you have been left, were you spared in order that you might be saved with a great salvation? Let us change the retrospect and look upon the sparing mercy of God in another light. "I was left." You were born of ungodly parents; the earliest words you can recollect were base and blasphemous, too bad to repeat. You grew up, you and your brothers and your sisters, side by side; you filled the home with sin, you went on together in your youthful crimes, and encouraged each other in evil habits. You recollect how one and another of your old comrades died; you followed them to their graves, and your merriment was checked a little while, but it soon broke out again. Then a sister died, steeped to the mouth in infidelity; after that a brother was taken, — he had no hope in his death, all was darkness and despair before him. And so, sinner, thou hast outlived all thy comrades. And now thou art left, sinner; and, blessed be God, it may be you can say, "Yes, and I am not only left, but I am here in the house of prayer; and if I know my own heart, there is nothing I should hate so much as to live my old life over again." As you have served the devil through thick and thin, until you came to serve him alone, and your company had all departed, so by Divine grace may you be pledged to Christ — to follow Him, though all the world should despise Him, and to hold on to the end, until, g every professor should be an apostate, it might yet be said of you at the last, "He was left; he stood alone in sin while his comrades died; and then he stood alone in Christ when his companions deserted him. Thus of you it should ever be said, 'He was left.'" This suggests also one more form of the same retrospect. What a special providence has watched over some of us, and guarded our feeble frames! Why are you spared? are you an unconverted man? an unconverted woman? To what end are you spared? Is it that you may at the eleventh hour be saved? God grant it may be so. But art thou a Christian? Then it is not hard for thee to answer the question, Why art thou spared? Tell it out, tell it out, thou aged man; tell the story of that preserving grace which has kept thee up till now. Tell to thy children and to thy children's children what a God He is whom thou hast trusted.
II. A PROSPECT. "And I was left." You and I shall soon pass out of this world into another. This life is, as it were, but the ferry boat; we are being carried across, and we shall soon come to the true shore, the real terra firma, for here there is nothing that is substantial. Great God, shall I stand there wrapped in His righteousness alone, the righteousness of Him who sits my Judge erect upon the judgment seat? — shall I, when the wicked shall cry, "Rocks hide us, mountains on us fall," shall this eye look up, shall this face dare to turn itself to the face of Him that sits upon the throne? Shall I stand calm and unmoved amidst universal terror and dismay? shall I be numbered with the goodly company who, clothed with the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints, shall await the shock, shall see the wicked hurled to destruction, and feel and know themselves secure? Shall it be so, or shall I be bound up in a bundle to burn, and swept away forever by the breath of God's nostrils, like the chaff driven before the wind? It must be one or the other; which shall it be?
III. A TERRIBLE CONTRAST. There will be some who will not be left in the sense we have been speaking of, and yet who will be left after another and more dreadful manner. They will be left by mercy, forsaken by hope, given up by friends, and become a prey to the implacable fury, to the sudden, infinite, and unmitigated severity and justice of an angry God. But they will not be left or exempted from judgment, for the sword shall find them out, the vials of Jehovah shall reach even to their heart.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
WEB: It happened, while they were smiting, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord Yahweh! will you destroy all the residue of Israel in your pouring out of your wrath on Jerusalem?