Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman…
I. A LESSON OF ACQUIESCENCE IN THE DIVINE LAW. "Amen" is understood to denote truth or certainty. Such, without doubt, was its signification here. The leading principles of the moral law were then being enunciated, in the hearing of all the people, and in token that these met with their acquiescence, they were to superadd the emphatic "Amen." Now, every believer knows that the God in whom we live and move, is a God of infinite holiness, and that the Scripture is filled with precepts which every responsible creature is bound to carry into hourly practice. "Be ye holy, for I am holy" — "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them — "Except your righteousness shall exceed" — such are precepts whose import may not be misunderstood, leaving it as one of the dearest and most intelligible of Gospel maxims that to God's moral law the Christian is called upon to append his sanction — his solemn "Amen."
1. The Christian Church is not placed under the law, as a covenant of works. An acquiescence, therefore, in the moral law, or of our saying "Amen" to every one of its precepts, does not imply that we have elevated these to be the conditions of our salvation, or the grounds of an acceptance before God.
2. This does not stand in the way of an acknowledging the surpassing excellency of every such precept. The law may in itself be good and holy, although we cannot keep it — just as the light of the sun's meridian splendour may be pure and glorious, although there are eyes too weak to bear it. And this we affirm.
3. We must consider the law as still the rule of our life. Our inability to realise the lofty standard of holiness indicated in the Decalogue, no more releases us from our obligation to perform it, than the mere declaration of bankruptcy cancels a debt, discharges the conscience from the duty of paying it, should there be ability to do so at any future time, or authorises a man to contract fresh obligations with the secret purpose of getting quit of them by a similar process.
4. As Christians, we are necessarily anticipating a restoration to that moral perfection which the law requires.
II. A LESSON OF CONFORMITY TO THE DIVINE METHOD OF SALVATION. Momentous, of course, are the effects which ensue upon the acceptance or rejection, but everyone who listens to the overtures of the Gospel does so in the attitude of an independent and rational being. There is no restraint, no compulsion. "My son, give Me thine heart," is, indeed, the impressive demand; but we ought to know, that if we choose to risk the fearful consequences of embracing the alternative, there is no constraining influence compelling us to believe against our will. The thing, indeed, is impossible. Faith is a voluntary, act; and this is the most important principle suggested by the text, that to God's method of salvation, our heart, in the hour of regeneration, must respond with an unreserved and cordial "Amen."
III. A LESSON OF SUBMISSION TO GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL DISPENSATIONS. It is obvious to even the natural judgment of man, that, of all methods of meeting the calamities which flesh is heir to, the worst is to murmur and oppose. Not only does this involve the turpitude of virtual rebellion against the authority of heaven; it positively adds to and renders more poignant the distresses we are called upon to endure. It were folly to imagine, for a single instant, that affliction can be thereby either mitigated or removed. The dying soldier may cherish the fiercest resentment against the enemy who has smitten him, but that resentment will not heal the deadly wound. The chances are that death will be thereby precipitated. So is it with our calamities. Whether we will or no, these will descend upon us; and our spiritual enemies can desire no greater victory over us than that these should crush and drive us to despair. Submission, then, is the lesson inculcated upon us by the afflictive dispensations of God. Whatever these may be, let the tendency of the Christian's heart be to acknowledge them with a cordial "Amen." Peace will be his in the present. He will experimentally know the meaning of that apostolic paradox, "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"; in the world's chastisements realise a pledge of his heavenly Father's love; and anticipate with gladness unspeakable the approval of that blissful era when "God the Lord shall wipe away," etc.
IV. A LESSON OF CONFIDENCE IN THE DIVINE PROMISES AND OF ASSURANCE REGARDING THE EXECUTION OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES.
(James Cochrane, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
WEB: 'Cursed is the man who makes an engraved or molten image, an abomination to Yahweh, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' All the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'