Verse 39. Again they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. As they change in character, so do their circumstances alter. Under the old dispensation, this was very clearly to be observed; Israel's ups and downs were the direct consequences of her sins and repentance. Trials are of various kinds; here we have three words for affliction, and there are numbers more: God has many rods and we have many smarts; and all because we have many sins. Nations and churches soon diminish in number when they are diminished in grace. If we are low in love to God, it is small wonder that he brings us low in other respects. God can reverse the order of our prosperity, and give us a diminuendo where we had a crescendo; therefore let us walk before him with great tenderness of spirit, conscious of our dependence upon his smile.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 39-41. The scene again is reversed. There is a change again from freedom to oppression; from plenty to want; from honour to contempt. Then a revival again as suddenly appears. The poor and afflicted are lifted up, and the bereaved have "families like a flock." Such are the changeful scenes through which the people of God are led; and such the experience by which they are made meet for the pure, perfect, and perpetual joys of heaven. --G.R.