And no resident of Zion will say, "I am sick." The people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
took but one, with which to link this teaching. Leprosy, which was indeed the sickness of sicknesses, was selected of God to the end that, bearing his testimony against it, he might bear his testimony against that out of which it and all other sicknesses grew - against sin, as not from him, as grievous in his sight; and against the sickness itself also as grievous, inasmuch as it was a visible manifestation, a direct consequence, of the inner disharmony of man's spirit, a commencement of the death, which through disobedience to God's perfect will had found entrance into a nature made by God for immortality."
I. ALL SICKNESS IS A LITTLE DEATH. It is a beginning of death. Strangely death lurks in the smallest things - a pin-prick, a slip of the foot, a tiny clot of blood, the bite of a fly, etc.
II. ALL DEATHS ARE THE SIGN OF SIN. "The sting of death is sin." Sickness and death keep ever before men the fact that they are sinners.
III. SICKNESS AND DEATH WILL GO AWAY WHEN SIN GOES.
IV. AS GOD IS GRACIOUSLY WORKING FOR THE REMOVAL OF SINS, WE KNOW HE IS WORKING ALSO FOR THE REMOVAL OF SUFFERING. The day cometh when he shall be able to "wipe all tears from our eyes." - R.T.
I. Let us speak of THOSE "ILLS THAT FLESH IS HEIR TO." Wherever man exists in this world, the cry is heard, "I a m sick." It is so because wherever man exists there is sin. Disease has been sent to reprove the sins of men, and to correct them with salutary pain. We are not competent to decide what specific connection there is between disease and sin in the case of our fellow-men. Endurance of sickness is more often a mark of God's goodwill than of His severe displeasure.
in extremis. When the worst had come to the worst, He laid bare His arm and brought deliverance for His people. Is not this a general rule with God? The peril of Jerusalem serves as a dark background to bring out the brightness of my text.
And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick.
I. THERE IS NO SORROW IN HEAVEN. "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." It is otherwise in this world, ruined as it has been by sin. Here "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." And what men universally feel, they with one consent complain of. In one way or other, every child of Adam is exclaiming, I am sick!" With some —
1. The body is sick. But in heaven there is nothing of all this.
2. The heart is sick — sick of "hope deferred," of rash and ill-judged wishes, of continual disappointments. In heaven, no heart saith, "I am sick." No disappointment, there, of former hopes. Even hope finds no admission there. "We hope for that we see not." But in heaven all is sight, and knowledge, and solid experience.
3. The soul is sick. In heaven no indwelling sin will remain, to suggest evil, when we "would do good": no tempter, to recommend to us forbidden pleasures: no apostate, rebellious world, to revile, ensnare, or persecute the friends of God. Still — as there can be no doubt that memory will accompany the soul into its heavenly habitation — it may be imagined by some that the recollection of sins committed on earth must interfere with its entire felicity. But the apprehension is groundless. That a deep sense of unworthiness will exist, there is no doubt; even the sinless angels feel this. But the painful sense of guilt will be for ever excluded.
II. THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION IN HEAVEN. "The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."
1. The forgiveness of sin will be more certain. Forgiveness is certain to the real believer; but who is certain of himself?
2. The forgiveness of sin will then be more complete, — not so much the forgiveness itself, as the consequences of it.
(J. Jowett, M. A.)
I. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS PRESENT FORGIVENESS. There must be a present, conscious, enjoyable pardon of sin —
1. Else there would be no joy in the world for thoughtful minds.
2. Else the main motive and fountain of love would be dried up. Forgiveness begets gratitude, gratitude creates love, and love brings forth holiness.
3. Else we should always be in bondage through fear of death.
4. Else the whole system of grace would be a dead letter, and its glorious privileges would be mere shells without a kernel. Let us bend our thoughts to a consideration of this great blessing as it is treated of in this chapter.(1) It is plainly promised in the text.(2) If we wish to obtain this free pardon it will be granted in answer to prayer. Read the second verse: "O Lord, be gracious unto us."(3) Pardon is given in connection with the exaltation of God. Read the fifth verse: "The Lord is exalted." He does not grant this forgiveness until we begin to regognise that He is a great God and a Saviour. We must see that He is great in justice, and we must bow in penitence, and honour that justice.(4) God grants pardon when men are humbled. See the seventh verse: "Their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly."(5) God grants this pardon also when the heart is searched. Read the fourteenth verse: "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?" When we begin to examine ourselves, to fear because of sin, and to turn from all hypocrisy, then the Lord will accept us.(6) God will also pardon us when He is acknowledged to be our Ruler and Lord. Look at the twenty-second verse: "The Lord is our judge," &c.(7) He will also forgive us when we put our trust in Him. Read the last clause of the twenty-second verse: "He will save us." Faith must look for salvation from the Lord alone, and then salvation will come to it.
II. WHEN SIN IS PARDONED, THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN ARE ALSO REMOVED. Sin had made these people sick, as Isaiah saith in his first chapter — "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." But when iniquity is forgiven, then "the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." Special chastisement is usually removed when any peculiar sin is forgiven. In the case of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, if some of the temporal results of sin do not cease, yet it is only in appearance that they remain: or rather they remain for other purposes, benign and useful, and not as wrathful inflictions.
III. THIS MAKES A REMARKABLE CHANGE IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE FAVOURED PEOPLE. "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick."
1. They have no need to say it when the Lord comes and dwells with them; for the Sun of Righteousness hath risen upon them with healing in His wings.
2. They shall have no thought of saying, "I am sick." He that feels the joy of pardoned sin forgets all his pains and griefs.
3. These people did not say they were sick, since they had a motive for not saying so. The three lepers who went out and divided the spoil did not say, "We are lepers": that was forgotten, and they entered the tents as if they had been in health. They went into one pavilion and ate and drank, and then they went into another. Men free from leprosy could not have made themselves more at home. They took away gold and silver and hid it; though they were lepers. So when the Lord pardons our sin there is a prey to be taken: riches of grace are at our disposal.
4. Pardoned people shall not say they are sick, for by a little anticipation they shall declare the very contrary. In a little time we shall be where the inhabitant shall never be sick again.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. Pain removes us out of the way of temptation, gives us time for reflection, when we were hastily running into danger.
2. How much a formidable sickness has helped a believer in drawing out his thoughts to the heavenly country and the passage into glory! But these considerations do not remove this original and humbling fact that sickness is a disorder in God's world and that it is connected with that moral disorder which we call sin.
II. THE REMOVAL OF BOTH THESE. AS sickness and sin entered together, so shall they depart together.
(D. Fraser, D. D.)
(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)free.
(J. H. Jowett, M. A.).
Come near, ye nations, to hear.
(F. Delitzsch.)Jeremiah 49:18).
(F. Delitzsch.): — These are two wonderful chapters, and great use is made of them by Jeremiah and by Zephaniah. This use of the Bible by the Bible is of great consequence; not only is it interesting as a literary incident, but it is full of suggestion as to the range and certainty and usefulness of inspiration.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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