Verse 33. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground. When the Lord deals with rebellious men he can soon deprive them of those blessings of which they feel most assured: their rivers and perennial springs they look upon as certain never to be taken from them, but the Lord at a word can deprive them even of these. In hot climates after long droughts streams of water utterly fail, and even springs cease to flow, and this also has happened in other parts of the world when great convulsions of the earth's surface have occurred. In providence this physical catastrophe finds its counterpart when business ceases to yield profit and sources of wealth are made to fail; as also when health and strength are taken away, when friendly aids are withdrawn, and comfortable associations are broken up. So, too, in soul matters, the most prosperous ministries may become dry, the most delightful meditations cease to benefit us, and the most fruitful religious exercises grow void of the refreshment of grace which they formerly yielded. Since
"It is God who lifts our comforts high,it behooves us to walk before him with reverential gratitude, and so to live that it may not become imperative upon him to afflict us.
Or sinks them in the grave",
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 33. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, etc. God is the father of the rain. If he withholds that refreshment for a long time, all nature droops, and every green thing dies. The imagery is drawn from Palestine where there were but two annual rainy seasons, and if either of them was long deferred, the effect was frightful. The channels of considerable rivers were dried up. --William S. Plumer.
Verse 33. Rivers ... Watersprings. A church enriched with the graces of heaven is compared by the prophets to a well watered garden ( Isaiah 63:11 Jeremiah 31:12 ), to the paradise of God, watered with its four fruitful rivers: for as everything useful and ornamental in the vegetable world is raised up by water, so is everything in the spiritual world raised up by the Holy Spirit. --William Romaine.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 33-34. The scene which here opens with a landscape of beauty and fertility is suddenly changed into a dry and barren wilderness. The rivers are dried up, the springs cease to flow among the hills, and the verdant fields are scorched and bare. The reason assigned for this is "the wickedness of them that dwell therein." This picture needs no interpretation to the people of God. It is precisely what happens within them when they have fallen into sin. --G.R.
Verse 34. The curse, cause, and cure of barrenness in a church.