Therefore they shall be as the morning Cloud - as the early Dew - as the Chaff - as the Smoke - Four things, most easy to be driven about and dissipated, are employed here to show how they should be scattered among the nations, and dissipated by captivity.
Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud - There is often a fair show of prosperity, out of God; but it is short-lived. “The third generation,” says the pagan proverb, “never enjoys the ill-gotten gain.” The highest prosperity of an ungodly state is often the next to its fall. Israel never so flourished, as under Jeroboam II. Bright and glistening with light is “the early dew;” in an hour it is gone, as if it had never been. Glowing and gilded by the sun is “the morning cloud;” while you admire its beauty, its hues have vanished. “The chaff” lay in one heap “on the floor” with the wheat. Its owner casts the mingled chaff and wheat against the strong wind; in a moment, it is “driven by the wind out of the floor.” While every gram falls to the ground, the chaff, light, dry, worthless, unsubstantial, is hurried along, unresisting, the sport of the viewless wind, and itself is soon seen no more. The “smoke,” one, seemingly solid, full, lofty, column, ascendeth, swelleth, welleth, vanisheth. In form, it is as solid, when about to be dispersed and seen no more, as when it first issued “out of the chimney.”: “It is raised aloft, and by that very uplifting swells into a vast globe; but the larger that globe is, the emptier, for from that unsolid, unbased, inflated greatness it vanisheth in air, so that its very greatness injures it. For the more it is uplifted, extended, diffused on all sides into a larger compass, so much the poorer it becometh, and faileth, and disappeareth.” Such was the prosperity of Ephraim, a mere show, to vanish forever. In the image of “the chaff,” the prophet substitutes the “whirlwind” for the wind by which the Easterns used to winnow, in order to picture the violence with which they should be whirled away from their own land.
While these four emblems, in common, picture what is fleeting, two, the “early dew” and the “morning cloud,” are emblems of what is in itself good, but passing; the two others, the chaff and the smoke, are emblems of what is worthless. The dew and the cloud were temporary mercies on the part of God which should cease from them, “good in themselves, but to their evil, soon to pass away.” If the dew have not, in its brief space, refreshed the vegetation, no trace of it is left. It gives way to the burning sun. If grace have not done its work in the soul, its day is gone. Such dew were the many prophets vouchsafed to Israel; such was Hosea himself, most brilliant, but soon to pass away. The chaff was the people itself, to be carried out of the Lord‘s land; the smoke, “its pride and its errors, whose disappearance was to leave the air pure for the household of God.”: “So it is written; ‹As the smoke is driven away, so shalt thou drive‘ them ‹away; as wax melteth before the fire, so shall the ungodly perish before the presence of God‘ Psalm 68:2; and in Proverbs; ‹As the whirlwind passeth‘ Proverbs 10:25, so is ‹the wicked no‘ more; ‹but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.‘ Who although they live and flourish, as to the life of the body; yet spiritually they die, yea, and are brought to nothing, for by sin man became a nothing. Virtue makes man upright and stable; vice, empty and unstable. Whence Isaiah says, ‹the wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest‘ Isaiah 57:20; and Job; ‹If iniquity be in thy hand, put it far away; then shalt thou be steadfast.‘ Job 11:14-15.”
There is before the church the dawn of a bright, glorious day, if she will put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, withdrawing from all allegiance to the world. PK 260.1
God calls upon His faithful ones, who believe in Him, to talk courage to those who are unbelieving and hopeless. Turn to the Lord, ye prisoners of hope. Seek strength from God, the living God. Show an unwavering, humble faith in His power and His willingness to save. When in faith we take hold of His strength, He will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of His name. PK 260.2
So long as Elisha was able to journey from place to place throughout the kingdom of Israel, he continued to take an active interest in the upbuilding of the schools of the prophets. Wherever he was, God was with him, giving him words to speak and power to work miracles. On one occasion “the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell.” 2 Kings 6:1, 2. Elisha went with them to Jordan, encouraging them by his presence, giving them instruction, and even performing a miracle to aid them in their work. “As one was felling a beam, the axhead fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.” Verses 5-7. PK 260.3Read in context »
The church of Christ is God's agency for the proclamation of truth, empowered by Him to do a special work, and if she is loyal to God, obedient to all His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellency of divine power. If she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. If she will be true to her allegiance, the forces of the enemy will be no more able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind. UL 265.4Read in context »