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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Jeremiah 47

 

 

Verse 6-7

DISCOURSE: 1085

THE MEANS OF TERMINATING WAR

Jeremiah 47:6-7. O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Put up thyself into thy scabbard; rest, and be still. How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea-shore? there hath he appointed it.

THOUGH the two nations of Judah and Israel were the primary objects of attention to the prophets, yet many other nations were referred to in their prophecies; and the most important events respecting them were circumstantially foretold. The chapter before us relates to the Philistines: and it was written at a time when they had recovered the power, of which David had deprived them. It foretells the invasion of their land by the Chaldeans, together with the long continuance of the conflict, which should end in the subjugation of them and their allies.

We shall not confine our attention to them, but take the text as expressing generally,

I. The evils of protracted war—

War is a tremendous evil—

[It is so even in its commencement: the distress of the Philistines at the approach of the invading army is very strongly depicted [Note: “The men cry and howl:” and the fathers are so terrified and enfeebled, as either to forget their own children, or to be afraid to look back for them. ver. 2, 3.]: and doubtless the representation is suited to any other country that is similarly circumstanced — — — What then must be the miseries attendant on a protracted warfare! the desolations must spread far and wide; the slaughters be multiplied; famines be produced; perhaps pestilence also be generated. But who can enumerate the miseries which war brings in its train? — — —]

Well might the prophet desire its speedy termination—

[Humanity alone, independent of patriotic feelings or private interests, would make one desire to see the sword restored to its scabbard. Some who fatten on the spoils of war, or whose ambition is insatiable, may wish to have these fatal contests protracted; but every one who regards either the temporal or spiritual welfare of mankind, will ardently wish for the termination of them. The days described by the prophet will be desired, infinitely beyond any national aggrandizement, or personal advancement [Note: Isaiah 11:6-9.].]

Whilst all acknowledge the evils of war, few seem to be aware of,

II. The reason of its continuance—

War is one of those judgments with which God punishes the sins of men—

[We are apt to look only to second causes, instead of acknowledging, as we ought, the First Great Cause. Doubtless the passions of men are the immediate sources from whence the calamities of war arise: and men are strictly amenable, both to God and their fellow-creatures, for the evils, which, by their undue exercise of those passions, they inflict upon the world, But God, who accomplishes his own purposes without at all infringing on the liberty of the human will, renders those passions subservient to his own designs; and employs men as his agents, as a man employs an axe in the execution of any work which he chooses to effect [Note: Jeremiah 51:20-23.]. Man is the instrument; but God is the real author of the work that is done [Note: Isaiah 10:14-15.].]

Till he has effected his own purposes by it, no human efforts can bring it to a close—

[What are his ultimate designs, is known to himself alone: but whatever “his counsel be, it shall stand; and he will do all his will.” He had “given the sword a charge against Ashkelon and the sea-shore; and therefore it could not be quiet,” till it had executed its commission. He puts a cup into the hand of different nations; and it must go round, till they have all drunk of it. In vain will any refuse it: taste they must, yea and drink too, even to the dregs, if God has so decreed [Note: Jeremiah 25:15-17; Jeremiah 25:27-28.]. And, as we ourselves have been his instruments, to carry war to coasts which were, according to human appearances, most secure; so may we have it brought to our own shores, not with standing the security we appear to enjoy; and, if “God has so appointed,” no power or policy of men will be able to avert the storm: we have partaken largely of the sins of other nations; and we must expect to partake also of their punishments [Note: Ezekiel 23:31-35.].]

But what is impossible with man, is possible with God; who has mercifully declared to us,

III. The means of its termination—

The intention of God’s chastisements is to bring us to repentance—

[God has no pleasure in correcting the children of men: on the contrary, “judgment is his strange act,” to which with reluctance and difficulty he proceeds. But he tells us plainly, that he will proceed, till he has accomplished his gracious ends; yea that, if we hold fast our iniquities, he will increase his chastisements seven-fold [Note: Leviticus 26:27-28.]. On the contrary, he promises, that if we humble ourselves before him, he will remove them [Note: Leviticus 26:40-42.]. When his rod does not produce the desired effect, he complains of us [Note: Zechariah 7:11-12.], and expresses the deepest regret that we have not suffered him to exercise the mercy which was in his heart towards us [Note: Psalms 81:13-16.]. In a word, his message to the whole world is this, “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin [Note: Ezekiel 18:30.].”]

On the attainment of his end, he will instantly remove his judgments from us—

[What an example is given us, in his mercy towards the inhabitants of Nineveh! How did he regard even the humiliation of Ahab, though he knew it to be only external, selfish, and partial [Note: 1 Kings 21:29.]! This then is the way to terminate the calamities of war. Sin is, as it were, the target, at which God shoots his arrows. The sword is drawn, “to avenge the quarrel of his covenant:” let that quarrel be composed, and “the sword will be returned to its scabbard; it will rest, and be still.”]

Having considered the means of terminating the calamities of war, and of averting the judgments of God from our land, we would, in

Conclusion—

Suggest some hints respecting those heavy judgments, which God has denounced against sinners in another world, and respecting the best means of averting them from our souls—

[That the sword has a charge against impenitent sinners, is certain [Note: Psalms 7:11-13; Psalms 9:17; Psalms 11:6.] — — — nor, however secure they may think themselves, shall they be able to escape it [Note: Proverbs 11:21.] — — — “Except they repent, they must all inevitably perish [Note: Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5.].” Moreover, if it be once drawn out against a person in the eternal world, it shall never be returned to its scabbard. Think then whether it have not received a charge against you. It is true, you are not mentioned by name; but you may be as clearly marked by character, as if your very name were specified. Possibly enough your works are such as to determine your state, beyond any possibility of doubt [Note: Galatians 5:19-21.]: or, if not, your want of regeneration and conversion may no less clearly mark you as monuments of God’s displeasure [Note: John 3:3; John 3:5.] — — — Know then, that in Christ only can you obtain pardon and peace: “There is no other name given, whereby you can be saved.” Seek then “to be found in him:” and know for your comfort, “if your life be hid with Christ in God,” it will be out of the reach of God’s avenging sword; and “when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.”]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Jeremiah 47:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/jeremiah-47.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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