Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel
What he would do is not expressly and particularly said; it is commonly understood to be something in a way of judgment, and worse than what he had done, since they had no effect upon them; or these things should be done over again, until an utter end was made of them; or the reference is to ( Amos 3:11-15 ) ( Amos 4:2 Amos 4:3 ) ; and the following words are usually interpreted, either, ironically, since the Lord was coming forth as an enemy to issue the controversy with them; they are called upon to meet, him in a hostile way, and muster up all their forces, exert all their power and strength, and make use of their best weapons and military skill, and see what would be the consequence of all this; feeble worms set in opposition to the mighty God; thorns and briers he can easily go through, and burn up quickly: or else they are seriously addressed, and exhorted to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, by humiliation, repentance, and reformation; not knowing but that after all he may be gracious and merciful to them, and turn away the fierceness of his anger from them; see ( Amos 5:15 ) ; but I rather think the words are a promise or intimation of doing something to Israel in a way of special grace and kindness, notwithstanding their conduct and behaviour, and the ineffectualness both of judgments and providential mercies; for the words may be rendered, as the same particle should be in ( Hosea 2:14 ) ; "notwithstanding", or "nevertheless, thus will I do unto thee" F23; what I have from all eternity purposed and resolved to do, and what I have promised again and again, by the mouth of all the holy prophets, from the beginning of the world, I would do; namely, send my Son to be thy Saviour and Redeemer: [and] because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O
the Messiah that was then to come was God, and so equal to the work of redemption and salvation he was to do; and the God of spiritual and mystical Israel, even all the elect, Jews and Gentiles, to be redeemed by him; was to be their Immanuel, God in their nature, and therefore to be met with the utmost joy and pleasure; see ( Zechariah 9:9 ) ; for this meeting him is not to be understood in a hostile way, and as spoken ironically to the enemies of Christ to oppose him, encounter with him, and mark the issue of it, who in time would cause them to be brought before him and slain, as some interpret the words; but in a friendly manner, as he was met by those that were waiting for his coming, such as Simeon and others; and by those John the Baptist called upon to prepare the way of the Lord; and as he was by his own disciples, who embraced him by faith, received him with joy, and left all and followed him; and as all such are prepared to meet him who are made truly sensible of sin, and of their own righteousness as insufficient to justify from it, and have seen the glory, fulness, and suitableness of his salvation. Christ is to be met with in his house and ordinances; and men are prepared for it when the desires of their hearts are towards him, and their graces are exercised on him; which preparation is from himself: he will be met at his second coming by his spiritual Israel; and they will be prepared for it who believe it, love it, and long for it; have their loins girt, and their lights burning, and they waiting for their Lord's coming; see ( Matthew 25:1-10 ) ( Luke 12:35 Luke 12:56 ) ; and so at the hour of death, which is the day of the Lord; a preparation and readiness for which lies not in external humiliation, outward reformation, a moral righteousness, or a bare profession of religion, and submission to ordinances; but in regeneration, in faith in Christ, and spiritual knowledge of him; in a being washed in his blood, and clothed with his righteousness; for which readiness all truly sensible sinners will be concerned, and which is all from the grace of God; see ( Matthew 24:43 Matthew 24:44 ) . The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read it, "prepare to call upon thy God"; and the Targum paraphrases it,
``to receive the doctrine of the law of thy God;''rather the doctrine of the Gospel; but the former sense is best; for the confirmation of which it may be observed, that when God is said to do a thing to any, it is usually in a way of grace; and that when preparation is made to meet a divine Person, it is always meant of the Son of God; and that it is a common thing in prophecy, that when the Lord is threatening men with his judgments, to throw in a promise or prophecy of the Messiah, for the comfort of his people.
F23 (Nkl) "nihilominus tamen". Vid. Noldium, p. 507.