Consequences of Israel’s Apostasy

I. Israel, Unreformed, Threatened with Punishment. “Whereupon can ye be stricken any more, increasing turning away?” (v. 5), i.e., going on, heaping apostasy to apostasy. If their purpose had been to make themselves abjectly miserable, they could not have more thoroughly succeeded. Upon what part of them can they stand another blow? They have been beaten black and blue over every inch of their bodies. “The whole head is diseased, the whole heart sick.” Outwardly and inwardly the whole nation has been so badly beaten under the wrath of God that it is like a crushed worm. On the body of the nation there is nothing left on which to mete out more strokes. 

Conditions were such in the church that true religion and spiritual life were expiring, and hypocrisy, worldliness and every kind of abominable wickedness were increasing. An incurable disease had long spread throughout the church because its ministers and officers had long neglected to check the progress of corruption. Today, the church has been swept and garnished with an ultra-charism, wherein, already long before the Day of Judgment, many claim, “Lord! Lord! have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name cast out demons?” The modern charismatic movement, with its sickly, subjective, super-piety and its subtle heresy of extremes beyond faith, of the mind of the Spirit beyond Scripture, is also involved in the same sodomitical abominations the prophets condemned. God’s covenant of marriage is horribly corrupted. Divorce and remarriage are permitted on any grounds whatever. The terms “biblical” and “unbiblical divorce” we are advised to drop as at best confusing. It is only another slippery step to the sanction of the abhorrent evil of homosexuality in the church, with the demand of lifting censure against it, and licensure of its perverted appetites. Its bold anarchistic claim is that satisfaction of its vile lechery may sometimes be necessary, and that no veto of it from the side of the law is to be tolerated. Such things you find expressed not in a secret Satanism society, but in the church world. 

It is hopeless, when as to the whole body politic, head and heart have become ulcerated and are putrefying. But wherever there is resemblance to these infamous crimes, so they will be notorious for suffering the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Conditions in the state are as Charles H. Spurgeon once expressed it, “The letting off of certain atrocious murderers of late, and the easy way in which certain criminals have escaped, makes us all demand a little more vigorous dispensation of justice, or else we shall have our land made a pandemonium,” (Treast. OT, 3, 397). Calvin also warned, “Hence, we ought to learn that, when God begins to punish us, if we do not repent, He does not immediately desist, but multiplies the chastisements, and continually follows them up with other afflictions. We ought, therefore, to abstain from such obstinacy, if we do not wish to draw down upon ourselves the same punishments, or at least to deserve the same reproach which was brought against the Jews, that though they had received sharp warnings, and had felt the hand of God, still they could not be corrected or reformed.” 

II. Israel, Depraved, a Mass of Corruption. “From the sole of the foot even to the head, nothing in it of soundness: a wound and a stripe (singular, as in 53:5. The body has had so many stripes so closely laid on it that it is now one stripe, one massive wound throughout), and a fresh wound; they have not been pressed together, nor bound up, nor softened with ointment,” (v. 6). This reminds us of Job, covered with sore boils, and of David who said, “My wounds stink, and are corrupt, because of my foolishness” (Ps. 38:5). There is very close connection, as David shows, between suffering and sin. The relation between the two is that of effect and cause. It is the same relation between pain and corruption. Sin is the great mischief-maker. 

(to be continued)