Verse 13. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! The condescending love of God expresses itself in painful regrets for Israel's sin and punishment. Such were the laments of Jesus over Jerusalem. Certain doctrinalists find a stumbling stone in such passages, and set themselves to explain them away, but to men in sympathy with the divine nature the words and the emotions are plain enough. A God of mercy cannot see men heaping up sorrow for themselves through their sins without feeling his compassion excited toward them.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, etc. God sometimes doth not mind his children when they cry, that they may hereby take occasion to remember how oft he hath cried and they have not minded him. Doth not the Lord cry out to his people of duty and they do not hear him? Doth he not complain here of this neglect, not only as a dishonour, but as a grief unto him? No marvel then if God let his people cry out of misery, and doth not hear them. The Lord shuts his ear that we might consider how we have shut our ears; yea, he shuts his ears that he may open ours. We are moved to hear and answer the call and command of God, though we find that he doth not hear nor answer our call and cry. If the Lord should always be swift to hear us, how slow should we be in hearing him, and while we have our desires, forget most of our duties. Abraham Wright.
Verse 13. Oh that my people had hearkened, etc. God speaks as if he were comforted when he is but heard, or as if we comforted him when we hear him. God beseecheth us, and speaks entreaties to us, that his counsels and commands may be heard: Oh that my people had hearkened unto me. The Lord tells them indeed it would have proved their consolation ( Psalms 81:14 ): I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. Yet while he speaks so pathetically, he seems to include his own consolation in it as well as theirs. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me: it would have been good for them, and it would have given high content to myself. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 13. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, etc. There is to us a deep mysteriousness in all this; but the desire of God for our salvation and right moral state, is here most obviously manifested: and let us proceed on that which is obvious, not on that which is obscure. Thomas Chalmers.
Verse 13. Walked in my ways. None are found in the ways of God, but those who have hearkened to his words. W. Wilson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8,11,13. The command, the disobedience, the regret.
Verse 13. The excellent estate of an obedient believer.
- Enemies subdued.
- Enjoyments perpetuated.
- Abundance possessed.
Verse 13-14. The sin and loss of the backslider.