And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,…
Appearance is never a safe guide. It might seem to a carnal eye as if the downfall of Israel would bring worldly advantage to Tyre. But that prospect was soon overcast. Righteous obedience is the only safe guide to men. The path may be, for a time, rough and dark, yet it will bring us into a paradise of light.
I. NATIONAL SELFISHNESS IS SIN. Nations have their vices as well as individual persons. If the leaders of a nation cherish evil purposes or pursue evil plans, unchecked by the subjects of the realm, the whole nation contracts guilt. Yet if one person or more, moved by better feelings, discountenances the national deed, that person is exculpated from the common blame, and shall be owned by God. The protection of Noah and his family, of Lot and his daughters, amid the general destruction, proves the fatherly care of God for individuals. The single grain in a heap of chaff shall be cared for by God.
II. AN OFFENSE DONE TO A NATION IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST GOD. Tyre had rejoiced in Jerusalem's overthrow. Instead of lamenting Israel's sins, the people of Tyre had room only for one thought-their own selfish advantage. The trade of Jerusalem would flow to Tyre. This calamity in Israel would bring a talent or two of gold into the pockets of Tyrian traders. What base ground for jubilation! No matter what suffering or humiliation the Jews may endure, Tyre would add to the smart by taunt and triumph. But God is not deaf. Into his ears every sound of selfish boasting came. He weighs every thought and word of man in his balances of justice. That selfish taunt will not float idly on the summer gale. It is a grief to Jehovah, and he will repay. "The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. In all human affairs, individual or national, God has a real interest. He will never be left out of the account.
III. SELFISH PLANS ABE DOOMED TO REVERSE. Tyre had said, "I shall be replenished." God said, "I will make her like the top of a rock." Tyre had "reckoned without her host." Instead of security, she was to be inundated with invasion. Instead of wealth, there should be want. Instead of glory, desolation. Her selfish hope should burst like a bubble. The golden eggs she expected soon to be hatched proved to be the eggs of a cockatrice. Selfish greed is a bad investment. The desire to promote our national interests, to the injury of another nation, is not patriotism; it is selfish envy and pride. Triumph over another's fall is base, is diabolic.
IV. SECULAR LOSSES OFTEN BRING REAL GAIN. "They shall know that I am the Lord." This is a gain of the noblest kind - a gain that is abiding and permanent. Such knowledge is better than rubies. The bulk of men will not learn this lesson in the day of prosperity, but in the cloudy days of adversity, when all earthly good has vanished, the lesson stands out clearly before their eyes. Some earthly sciences are best learnt in the dark. This knowledge of God is best learnt in the dark hour of affliction. For when all human calculations have failed, and all human plans have collapsed, men are compelled to feel that an unseen hand has been working, an unseen Being has been presiding in their affairs. Of a truth, "the Lord reigneth." - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,