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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words

By Horatius Bonar


      "Ye have wearied the Lord with your words: yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?" -- Malachi 2:17

      THE prophet's charge against Israel is of "wearying the Lord"; as Isaiah had long before this said to Ahaz, "Will ye weary my God also?" And while God charged them with wearying him, he solemnly denies having wearied them, and asks, Wherein have I wearied thee?

      The charge is not of "provoking," but of " wearying"; and is one of deeply-touching pathos, indicating sorrow, patience, longsuffering, love, the profound affection of a heart that yearns over unworthy objects, unwilling to abandon them to their deserved doom, that beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.

      There are many ways in which we weary God. Such as, by our

      (1.) Carelessness. Worldliness, love of self, and vanity, and folly.

      (2.) Opposition. Dislike of himself, his law, his gospel.

      (3.) Unteachableness. Foolishness, hardness of heart, perversity.

      (4.) Unbelief. Distrust of himself, rejection of his love.

      (5.) Want of zeal. "This did I for thee, what doest thou for me."

      (6.) Inconsistency. Life and creed at variance. A name, no more.

      In many such ways we weary God continually; we vex, grieve, resist, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. To this wearying he might at once put an end, and refuse to be so treated by us any longer. But he has long patience, he bears much before he interposes in his wrath. Knowing the fearful consequences to us of his being worn out by us and allowing righteousness and vengeance to do their work, he waits, and pities, and entreats, and expostulates with us to the last.

      The prophet's words, "Oh that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments," are expressive of this feeling; and our Lord's tears over Jerusalem are the intimation at once of God's unutterable patience, and of the exhaustion of it at last.

      But let us mark the particular kind of wearying, to which the prophet points.

      I. It is wearying with words. "Ye have wearied me with your words'' Words in themselves do not weary God. They are pleasant sounds. He delights in listening to what his creatures say. All sights and sounds, coming from the works of his hands, are meant to be "good": sunshine, starlight, earth's green, heaven's blue, ocean's brilliance, the music of birds, the voice of the wind, the roar of the thunder, the noise of many waters, these are among the things which He pronounced "good." So with the human voice and human words. But when they are dissociated from the feeling within, so as not to be the expression of the heart but only of the lip; or when they are the utterance of error or falsehood, unmeaning and hollow, then they cease to be good, they displease him; and when repeated, and reiterated, they weary Him. Talk, talk, mere talk, the talk of the lips, it may be respectable, religious talk, but if mere talk, it not only wearies man but God. And think of the innumerable millions of words uttered every hour by the millions of earth, all of which go up unto the ear of God! Think of the discords, and dissonances, and impurities, and follies, and blasphemies, and hypocrisies that are hourly heard by God! Oh how He must be wearied with the words of men! How He must be grieved with the sounds of earth!

      II. It is wearying by questions.--We say, Wherein have we wearied him? Men do not like to be challenged by God, and yet they shrink from the denial of the charge. Instead of honest confession or bold denial, they speak like Cain, and ask, Am I my brother's keeper? Wherein have I wearied him? What more fitted to weary God than such a course of hypocritical questioning, captious questioning, fault-finding, pretending surprise at what they could not but know they were committing. O mockery of God! For men to look up in his face, and say, Wherein have we wearied thee?

      III. It is wearying by denial of the difference between good and evil. One of the most explicit of all Bible teachings is as to the difference between the evil person and the good person, the evil thing and the good thing, the evil opinion and the good opinion. Man sees often little of this difference; God sees it strongly. Man likes to efface or smooth over this difference; God keeps up the line, broad, and deep, and clear,--as between sea and land. He is wearied by man's asseverations of the little difference between things and persons, and by man's attempts to obliterate moral and spiritual distinctions, to call light darkness and darkness light. Is not the present age wearying God in this way?

      IV. It is wearying by disbelief of coming judgment. "Where is the God of judgment?" is the infidel question, like that of the scoffer in the last days: "Where is the promise of his coming?" No judgment, and no God of judgment, is the watchword of many. Every man a judge to himself; a judge of all truth and error; the measurer of God, and the judge of his character and ways. This is not exactly the fool's saying, There is no god, but it is next to it; for it means that there is no god but such an one as suits man's philosophy. God's non- interposition for so many ages, and his allowance of confusion and error, lead men to conclude that there is no God of judgment. This "wearies God"; this semi-atheism; this misinterpretation of his love and patience. God's longsuffering, instead of leading to repentance, leads to unbelief.

      The Lord will come. He may come soon. Let us be ready. The Judge standeth before the door.

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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