And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that touches the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn…
And the Lord God of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn, etc. These words present God to us as the Administrator of justice.
I. THE DOES IT WITH THE GREATEST EASE. The administrators of justice in connection with human government have often to contend with difficulties that baffle and confound them. But the Almighty has no difficulty. "He toucheth the land, and it shall melt." By a mere touch he can punish a whole nation, nay, destroy the world. Whence come earthquakes and volcanoes? Here is their cause: "He toucheth the hills, and they smoke." Never can there be any miscarriage of justice with God. He bears it right home in every case. He has no difficulty about it. He toucheth the clouds, and they drown the world; he kindles the atmosphere and burns cities, etc.
II. HE DOES IT WITH ALL THE POWERS OF NATURE AT HIS COMMAND. "It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth." His throne is on high, above all the forms and forces of the universe, and all are at his call. From those heights which he has built, those upper chambers of the universe, he can pour floods to drown a world, or rain fires which will consume the universe. Every force in nature he can make with ease an officer to execute his justice.
III. HE DOES IT DISREGARDFUL OF MERE RELIGIOUS PROFESSION. "Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?" Jehovah here repels the idea which the Israelites were so prone to entertain, that because he had brought them out of Egypt and given them the land of Canaan, they were peculiarly the objects of his concern, and could never be subdued or destroyed. He now regarded and would treat them as the Cushites, or Ethiopians, who had been transplanted from their primal location in Arabia into the midst of the barbarous nations of Africa. The Almighty, in administering justice, is not influenced by the plea of profession. A corrupt Israelite to him was as bad as an Ethiopian, though he calls Abraham his father. "Think not to say...that ye have Abraham to your father." Conventional Christians are in the eyes of God as bad as infidels or heathen. He judgeth not as man judgeth, by the outward appearance; he looketh at the heart.
IV. HE DOES IT WITH A THOROUGH DISCRIMINATION OF CHARACTER. "Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord." There were some good people amongst the Israelites, men of genuine goodness; the great Judge would not destroy them. "I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob .... I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve," etc. He would burn up the chaff, but save the wheat. Evermore will the Almighty Judge recognize and tenderly guard the virtuous and the good, however humble their position in life. He will not destroy the righteous. - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
WEB: For the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, is he who touches the land and it melts, and all who dwell in it will mourn; and it will rise up wholly like the River, and will sink again, like the River of Egypt.