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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 30 - Acts 13:40, 41, 46; Isaiah 8:5-8 - God's Dealings with Israel Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


Taking the second of these passages as it was spoken, with reference to Israel, we see in it (1) God's love to Israel; (2) Israel's refusal of this love; (3)

Israel's preference for other lords; (4) Israel's judgment. Let us look at these.

1. God's love to Israel. "Yea, He loved the people" (Deuteronomy 33:3); "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3); "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals" (Jeremiah 2:2). It is shewn here in the provision made for them, of which the waters of Siloam are the type. The pleasant waters which Shiloah so abundantly gave to Jerusalem are here taken as the representation of the full provision made for them. These waters of Shiloah were (1.) Abundant. (2.) They were clear and fresh. (3.) They flowed softly, not laying waste the land with their rush. (4.) They meant "sent" (John 9:7), implying that they had come from God. See how He loved Jerusalem and Israel!

2. Israel's refusal of the love. As in the wilderness they despised the pleasant land, so now in that land they slighted its waters. Like Esau, they despised the birthright. They treated God's love and its tokens as things of nought. "Israel would have none of me." They "forsook the Lord."

3. Israel's preference for other lords. They preferred the kings of Samaria and Syria, thus casting off the seed of David, and rejecting Him who is the root and offspring of David, David's Son and David's Lord. "We will come no more unto thee" (Jeremiah 2:31). "They chose other gods; they rejoiced in Rezin and Remaliah's son."

4. Israel's guilt. It was their casting off Jehovah's yoke and choosing others that marked their history. It was this that made them so pre-eminently guilty. "Hath a nation changed their gods—but my people have forsaken me times without number." This was their crowning sin, first seen at Sinai in the golden calf, and afterwards continually, till they cried, "We have no king but Caesar."

5. Israel's judgment. God cannot always spare. He bears long, but smites at length. He punished them in kind, according to the nature of their sin. They had refused the soft-flowing waters of Shiloah, whose one mission was refreshment, God sends on them the waters of the Euphrates' flood, strong and many, to overflow and sweep all before them, not to refresh or beautify. They despised the presence of David's line and his mild rule; God sends to them the Assyrian king and his iron yoke. Thus God avenges Himself on their unbelief, and rejection of Himself and His Christ.

Let us now look at both these passages together, passing over Israel, and Jerusalem, and Shiloah, and David, and the Assyrian with his swelling stream.

1. The fountain of living water. God Himself—His out-flowing love—the gushing stream. With Him is the fountain of life. Out of Him joy is not; in Him is its fullness. O taste and see that the Lord is good. His love, and joy, and consolation are infinite and inexhaustible; a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

2 Man's refusal of that fountain. It is not that he does not know of it; but he will not have it. He hears of it, and then deliberately turns his back on it. He prefers to remain thirsty.

3. The hewing out of broken cisterns. Water of earth and cisterns of earth, these are what he seeks. All his time, and strength, and faculties are devoted to the hewing out of these. One after another they break in his hand. But he still goes on.

4. The disappointment. The cisterns break, and the water is spilt upon the ground. There is a daily disappointment. Nothing fills or satisfies. The thirst is unquenched. Oh, who will shew me any good, is still his cry. He has an empty aching heart. Vanity of vanities! But the disappointment hereafter is the great one,—when he finds himself condemned to "sit in thirst" for ever, and bear the eternal sorrow, to suffer the eternal heartache.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Quit your broken cisterns. Betake yourselves to the fountain of living waters. Drink there, and thirst no more.