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We have here the same subject continued, and in which the Lord is taking up a lamentation for the land of Israel. The close of the Chapter brings forward an additional charge against them for hypocritical worship.
We have here some sweet tokens that the Lord is coming forth in mercy as well as judgment. When the Lord laments over his people, this is a sign of grace. And I beg the Reader to remark with me, that like our Lord's lamentation over Jerusalem, the beloved city, it is the city, and not the people of the city, that is said, she is fallen, and shall no more rise. The temporal judgments of the Lord are always to be carefully distinguished from spiritual visitations. See the Lord's lamentation over Jerusalem, and read it in this view, and both places will he found to correspond. And I beg, both upon these and every other portion of the divine word of a similar kind, to observe, that if these things were attended to, it would prevent those misconstructions of scripture which weak minds interpret, as though they intimated the counsel and purposes of God were changeable, and the Lord's people might fail from grace and be cast away. Here the Prophet is pointing to the Babylonish captivity, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which we know took places And the Lord Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, referred to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, which also followed by the Roman army. But in both instances, the Church of believers was still safe, and as the Apostle saith, God did not cast away his people which he foreknew. Romans 11:2 ; Luke 13:34-35 .
The first verse in this paragraph is a confirmation, if it were needed, of what I advanced in my observations on the former. Seeking the Lord, implies the hope of finding him, and indeed the promise is of life. For the Lord hath never said to the praying seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain. Psalms 27:8 . It is a sure sign of returning grace, when such rich proclamations come from the throne. See Isaiah 55:6-7 . There is a great beauty in the allusion to the planets, those faithful nightly witnesses of heaven. Job speaketh of him that gives to the Pleiades, and Orion, their sweet influences. Job 38:31 . And as those heavenly bodies testify to God's faithfulness concerning his covenant of day and night; so the Lord engageth to be gracious to his people when they call upon him. Genesis 8:22 . I beg the Reader to remark with me, how again the Lord engageth that his people shall live in seeking him, and that as the Lord of hosts he will be with them. The wailing and mourning in all the streets that are spoken of, do not only refer to the desolations of Jerusalem as a city; but also to the sorrow of the soul, under the awakenings of the Holy Ghost, when the heart is leading under a sense of sin to the Lord.
It should seem from what is here said, that there were characters in those days not unlike the scoffers the Apostle describes, that should come in the last days, who derided the day of the Lord's coming. What an awful thing it is to be hardened in sin? 2 Peter 3:3-4 .
We have here the Lord's threatenings concerning the captivity of the people, and which we know came to pass. Stephen, the first martyr, made a quotation from this scripture. Acts 7:42-43 . But what I particularly beg the Reader to remark with me, through this whole Chapter is, that we can clearly discover sweet and blessed tokens of grace mingled with threatenings; so that we feel constrained, again and again, as we go through it, to cry out with the Prophet, the Lord will not retain his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18-20 .
As we read this Chapter, and as we close it, we may cry out with the Psalmist, I will sing of mercy and judgment; and direct our song unto the Lord; to thee, 0 Lord, will I sing. It is truly blessed to observe, how in the midst of judgment the Lord remembers mercy; and even while the Lord is chastening his people for their sins, he is coming forth to their deliverance in his grace. And it is doubly blessed when the cause is discovered; namely, his own free, rich, and sovereign love, and his covenant engagements in Christ. And though he punisheth them for their sins, and as it is said in scripture, takest vengeance of their inventions, yet he regardeth their persons, and forgiveth their iniquities. And it is still more blessed, when the soul of a poor self-condemned sinner is enabled to follow up the precious truth in the heart-felt enjoyment of his own soul. It is founded in covenant love and faithfulness. It is secured in the relationship in which the Great Redeemer hath put himself to his people. It is confirmed in the ransom and full equivalent paid by their Almighty Surety for the sins of his people; and God the Spirit sets to his seal the firm and unquestionable truth. Thus bringing with it all the testimonies of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the poor sinner, when returning by grace unto the Lord, finds confidence ill conning, and rejoices in hope of the glory of God!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Amos 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany