Do not abhor us, for your name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of your glory: remember, break not your covenant with us.
I. THE LEADING INDICATIONS OF A PEOPLE EXPOSED TO THAT ALARMING CONDITION WHICH THE PROPHET HERE SO PATHETICALLY DEPRECATES.
1. Unfruitfulness under the means of religious and moral improvement (Luke 13:6). When the recipients of so many favours, instead of being fruitful, bring forth no good fruit at all, or fruit that is positively bad; when, instead of acting suitably to such high advantages, they shew that they are insensible of them; when, instead of being devout, they are impious; when, instead of standing in awe of God, they profane His holy name; when, instead of regarding His ordinances, they despise them; when, instead of being humble, meek, and merciful, they are proud, overbearing, and injurious; and, instead of ascribing to the bounteous Giver of all good, the glory that is due to Him for His liberality towards them, by a holy, reverential, and submissive deportment, they disregard His authority: — most assuredly, if there is any justice in the Divine nature, and any discernment in the Divine administration, such a people are "nigh unto cursing," and are rapidly advancing towards that state which is deprecated in the text.
2. A public and general contempt of religion. All things go well so long as God and Him service are reverenced; because there is a firmness, an energy, and a greatness in every effort put forth for the public weal, which, through the blessing of God, can scarcely fail to render it effectual. But, on the other hand, when God is despised; when His existence and authority are treated as merely ideal; when no influence is produced upon human agency by the greatness and purity of His character, or the rectitude and perfection of His counsels; when it acknowledges no higher principle than self-interest, or the gratification of the inferior appetites of our nature — then all things run into confusion. In confirmation of this, we have the remarkable testimony even of the heathen Polybius, one of the most judicious historians of ancient Rome. "When the Romans," says he, "left off consulting the gods, when they began to disregard the institutions of religion, or to laugh at things sacred, then fell the glory of the empire. The wisdom of the senator forsook him, and the heart of the soldier melted at the face of the foe. The State had no friend, because every man was a friend only to himself, and the gods forsook them because they were despised."
3. Levity and insensibility under the Divine judgments. How natural to conclude, when a child continues thoughtless, perverse, and obstinate, under the frowns of an indulgent parent, that he is fast approaching to destruction: and how just, as well as natural, is the conclusion; since the parent having tried all means, but in vain, to reclaim him, seems in a measure compelled to throw him off, and since the child himself seems bent on renouncing parental protection, were it even forced upon him. And no less just and natural is it to draw a similar conclusion in the case of nations, when they despise the chastenings of Omnipotence. To these He has recourse, only when all other means have proved ineffectual. If, then, when He strikes they feel it not, and instead of being brought to repentance, obstinately persist in their folly and inconsideration, what is to be looked for but their perdition?
II. HOW SUITABLE THE LANGUAGE AND TEMPER OF THE PRAYER IN THE TEXT IS TO US, "O Lord, do not abhor us for Thy name's sake."
1. It is expressive of that temper of mind, which is most suited to the guilt which we have contracted, and the dangers to which we are exposed.
(1) It supposes, that as children, who have long resisted the kind intentions of our heavenly Father, trifled with His goodness, and abused His grace, we see ourselves about to be cast off by an awful exertion of His justice; and that, deeply alarmed at our situation, sensible of our unworthiness, and that the very fate which we dread, is what we actually merit, we run to Him at the very moment, and cry, O Lord, abhor us not; cast us not off forever. We deserve it, but stay Thy hand. Foolish, and rebellious, and perverse as we have been, we cannot bear the frowns of Thine indignation, or to be finally excluded from Thy favour.
(2) It implies the utmost earnestness, and the very feeling of present and immediate repentance. It supposes that the individuals who use it are actually lying low in the dust, under the sense of immediate danger, and calling out for immediate relief. And most assuredly there is no room for procrastinating.
2. It also peculiarly becomes us, because it is enforced by the only argument fit to be urged by guilty creatures, and the only argument which we can urge with effect.
(1) Review all the circumstances in your case. Single out what you conceive to be the most alleviating, and the most favourable — and then say, is there one of these which you can use as an argument why a pure and holy God should not abhor you?
(2) But beware of using this language in a cold and formal manner, and without those distressing apprehensions of danger, and those bitter feelings of repentance, which Jeremiah so evidently cherished when he uttered it. This, instead of appeasing the Divine wrath which has gone forth against us, will rather provoke it more than ever; and instead of averting the Divine judgments, will rather accelerate their accomplishment.
(J. Somerville, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.
WEB: Do not abhor [us], for your name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of your glory: remember, don't break your covenant with us.