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This Chapter contains an interesting account of the appearance of an angel, with a message from God to Israel. The sacred historian also takes a retrospective view of Israel's conduct under Joshua, by way of pointing out their sad departure after his death. The people ' s behavior on the subject of God's message.
I beg the Reader to remark with me the leading feature in the character of this angel, and then let him determine for himself whether it was not the Angel of the Covenant, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Who but God could make use of this language, I made you to go up out of Egypt? And who was it that sware unto their fathers, but Jehovah? Oh! how very precious is it to trace the footsteps of him whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting? Didst thou, dearest Jesus, long for the season of thine incarnation? And didst thou adopt this method of showing thy love to our nature, by such tokens? See Exodus 33:1 ; Micah 5:2 . Gilgal, from whence the angel is said to have come, could not but remind the people of the renewal of the covenant by circumcision, and which, as it was taking away their reproach, was called Gilgal See Joshua 5:9; Joshua 5:9 . The purport of the angel's message was reproof, in which the Lord explains wherefore their enemies were not wholly subdued. In their continuance as thorns in their sides, the word of God was fulfilled. See Exodus 23:33 ; Numbers 33:35 ; Deuteronomy 7:16 .
The effect of the Sermon of the angel was as might be supposed. They were stung to the heart in the recollection of God's mercy, and their unworthiness; and they wept. Bochim means weepers. Was not this sacrifice offered with an eye to the one great sacrifice? Let the Reader compare this passage with a similar one in the same book, and see whether there be not a correspondence? Surely there is much of Jesus here. See Jdg_13:3; Jdg_13:19-20 .
These verses have a retrospective view to the history of Joshua, as before related. And perhaps the subject is here again introduced, by way of contrasting the sad apostasy of Israel, to what their conduct had been during the life of Joshua, and that generation. Alas! when good men perish from the earth, what a melancholy thought is it, if an evil generation succeed them. The prophet makes a woeful lamentation of this, but forms a sweet resolution therefrom, that he will cease from man, and look unto the Lord. Micah 7:2-33.7.7 .
Here begins the sad account which the Holy Ghost hath caused to be recorded, of Israel's whoredom and idolatry, and which runs through all the future periods of their history, until they were unchurched. Sad, sad relation of poor human nature! And the more so, when we consider the resemblance it bears to God's church in all ages. They served Baal, and Baalam, and Ashtaroth; single gods, and double gods: for Baal is singular, meaning one particular heathen god; and Balaam is plural, signifying many. And Ashtaroth was a goddess. See 1 Kings 11:5 . Oh! Israel, Israel! how art thou fallen! How sweet and expressive, but yet painfully feeling, is that expostulation of the Lord by the prophet. Micah 6:1-33.6.2 , etc.
Observe in the Lord's punishment, what a correspondence between their sin and suffering. Thy backslidings shall reprove thee. Jeremiah 2:19 . Reader! do not overlook the interest all God's people bear in this. Trace divine chastisements in your own experience, and you will not be far to learn, if so be the Holy Ghost is your Teacher, that the Lord's corrections follow close upon his people's transgressions.
What a beautiful illustration is this of divine mercy? How sweetly doth it come in here, in proof of God's covenant love? Let the Reader never lose sight of it. And, if he wishes to bring into one and the same point of view, another precious example, let him read that most interesting representation the prophet makes of abounding grace, Isaiah 43:22-23.43.25 . But Reader! when you have seen this, and compared the whole, is there no other even yet more affecting? What think you of your own history? Cannot you find enough there to lay low in the dust, in the contemplation, that where sin hath abounded, grace doth much more abound. Romans 5:20-45.5.21 .
All these verses fold up in their contents the two great leading points of the gospel doctrine, namely, human depravity, and divine benignity. In the forbearance of God, and the continued provocations of man, the language of the prophet meets us in all directions, and cries aloud, in all that is going on in life, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? But Reader! do not overlook the cause. The Prophet that thus speaks had it in commission from the Holy Ghost to assign the reason; for he adds, that it was to perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham. Yes, blessed Jesus! thou art the mercy promised. And it was in thee, and thy promised salvation, Jehovah manifested his pardoning love and mercy to Israel. Reader! I charge it upon you to read that most precious and interesting account of this love, which the Prophet gives. Isaiah 63:7 , to the end.
MY soul! read again, and again, thine own history in this account of Israel's departure and backsliding. Can any portrait be more strikingly drawn! How hath the Lord overlooked and passed by thy disobedience! By how many messages of grace, like the angel from Gilgal, hath the Lord sent to call thy ways to remembrance? Oh! for the gracious office of God the Holy Ghost, to act as the Remembrancer in my forgetful heart, to make my soul like Bochim before God.
Dearest Jesus! how increasingly interesting, in every renewed view of my unworthiness, is thy lovely person, and thy complete righteousness. Oh! mayest thou be made to me wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. I see, I feel, and groan under the recollection, in how many things I offend and come short of thy glory. Though like Joshua to Israel, I hope and trust thou hast begun to magnify thy great name in bringing me into the privilege of thy people, yet too many of the Canaanites are in the land. I do not see all things put under thy feet: But I look forward with the hope, that in thy strength and power, I shall by and by, be enabled to put my feet upon the neck of these foes. Lord! in thy name let me rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness be exalted.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany