Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small
This is an instance of the super abounding goodness of the Lord of hosts, as the Targum expresses it; that he should, in those very wicked and calamitous times, leave and reserve a few from being defiled with the sins of the age, and from being involved in the general calamity of it; which was true of the Christian Jews at the time of Jerusalem's destruction; for that this prophecy belongs to these times is clear from the application of it by the Apostle Paul, ( Romans 9:29 ) and which confirms the sense given of the above passages: "the very small remnant" are the remnant according to the election of grace, the little flock, the few that entered in at the strait gate and are saved, or the few that believed in Christ, and so were saved from that untoward generation; these were "left", reserved, distinguished, and secured in the grace of election, being a remnant according to it, in the hands of Christ to whom they were given, and in whom they were preserved; in redemption by him, that they might be a peculiar people; in providence till called, in which the Lord watched over them to do them good, and waited to be gracious to them, and saved them to be called; and in effectual calling, in which he separated them from the rest of the world, and kept them by his power through faith unto salvation. And this was done "unto us"; for the sake of his church, that that might continue, and he might have a seed to serve him: and by "the Lord of hosts", of the hosts of heaven, the sun, and moon, and stars, and of the angels there, and of the inhabitants of the earth; which shows great condescension in him to regard this remnant, and great grace to them; since he could not stand in need of them, having the host of heaven on his right hand and on his left; nor was there any thing in them that could deserve this of him; but it was, as Jarchi observes, in his mercy, and not for their righteousness: to which may be added, that since he is the Lord of hosts, he was able to protect and preserve this remnant, notwithstanding all the opposition of men and devils, as he did; and had he not taken such a method as this, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto
cities that were infamous for their sins, and notorious for the punishment of them, being consumed by fire from heaven, ( Genesis 13:13 ) ( 18:20 ) ( 19:24 ) and not only the Jews, but any and every nation, even the whole world, would have been like these cities, both for sin and punishment, had it not been for the distinguishing grace of God, in leaving and reserving a few for his glory, and the support of his interest. All the holiness that ever was, is, or will be in the world, is owing to electing, redeeming, and efficacious grace: there had not been a holy man nor a holy woman in the world, in any age, if God had not taken such methods of grace; and it is owing to, and for the sake of, this small remnant, that temporal judgments are often averted from a nation and people, and that the conflagration of the world is not yet; this is kept back till they are gathered in; and were it not for this distinguishing grace, every individual of mankind would have been cast into hell, and must have suffered the vengeance of eternal fire, which the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah, was an example of.