Therefore you shall speak to them this word; Thus said the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine…
These words should be spoken with tears. It is a great mistake in doctrine as well as in practice to imagine that the imprecations of Holy Scripture should be spoken ruthlessly. When Jesus came near the city He wept over it.
I. DIVINE PUNISHMENTS ARE POSSIBLE. If we are not destroyed, it is not for want of power on the part of the offended Creator. The universe is very sensitively put together in this matter; everywhere there are lying resources which under one touch or breath would spring up and avenge an outraged law. Now and then God does bring us to see how near death is to every life. We do not escape the rod because there is no rod. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. Think of that. Do let it enter into our minds and make us sober, sedate — if not religious and contrite.
II. DIVINE PUNISHMENTS ARE HUMILIATING (ver. 13). Some punishments have a kind of dignity about them: sometimes a man dies almost heroically, and turns death itself into a kind of victory; and we cannot but consent that the time is well chosen, and the method the best for giving to the man's reputation completeness, and to his influence stability and progress. God can bring us to our latter end, as it were, nobly: we may die like princes; death may be turned into a kind of coronation; our deathbed may be the picture of our life — the most consummately beautiful and exquisite revelation of character — or the Lord can drive us down like mad beasts to an unconsecrated grave. How contemptuous He can be! How bitter, how intolerable the sarcasm of God! "I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." The Lord seems now and again to take a kind of delight in showing how utterly our pride can be broken up and trampled underfoot. He will send a worm to eat up the harvest: would He but send an angel with a gleaming sickle to cut it down we might see somewhat of glory in the disaster. Thus God comes into our life along a line that may be designated as a line of contempt and humiliation. Oh, that men were wise, that they would hold themselves as God's and not their own, as Divine property rather than personal possession! Then would they walk soberly and recruit themselves in many a prayer, and bring back their youth because they trust in God.
III. DIVINE PUNISHMENTS WHEN THEY COME ARE COMPLETE. "I will destroy them." We cannot tell the meaning of this word; we do not know what is meant by "destruction"; we use the term as if we knew its meaning, — and possibly we do know its meaning according to the breadth of our own intention and purpose; but the word as used by God has Divine meanings upon which we can lay no measuring line. We cannot destroy anything: we can destroy its form, its immediate relation, its temporary value; but the thing itself in its substance or in its essence we can never destroy. When the Lord says He will take up this matter of destruction we cannot tell what He means; we dare not think of it. We use the word "nothing," but cannot tell what He means by the nothingness of nothing, by the negativeness of negation, by the sevenfold darkness, by the heaped-up midnight of gloom. My soul, come not thou into that secret:
IV. DIVINE PUNISHMENTS ARE AVOIDABLE (ver. 16). The door of hope is set open, even in this midnight of threatening; still we are on praying ground and on pleading terms with God; even now we can escape the bolt that gleams in the thundercloud. What say you, men, brethren, and fathers? Why be hard? why attempt the impossible? why think we can run away from God? and why, remembering that our days are but a handful, will we not be wise and act as souls that have been instructed?
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?
WEB: Therefore you shall speak to them this word: Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall tell you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?