Pulled away the shoulder - From under the yoke of the law, like an unbroken or restive bullock in the plough.
But they gave a backsliding shoulder - Like a restive animal, which would not endure the yoke, dull and stupid as the beasts: as Hosea says, “Israel slideth back like a backsliding heifer” Hosea 4:16. Nehemiah confesses the same; “they gave a backsliding shoulder and hardened their neck and would not hear” Nehemiah 9:29.
And made heavy their ears - Fulfilling in themselves what God foretold to Isaiah would be the result of his preaching, “make their ears heavy.” The heart, which will not hearken, becomes duller by the outward hearing, as Paul says, “The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected” Hebrews 6:7-8.
“And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.” Zechariah 7:8-10. This is the word of the Lord to us also. 6T 460.1
I cannot think that the closing part of this chapter will be your experience: “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: but I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.” Verses 11-14. 6T 460.2
Brethren, in your dealings with the Lord's household, “follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify [build up] another.” Romans 14:19. Speak no words of censure. Lay no blame on this one or that one. There is need now of the help that all can bring. Seek to heal the breach that has been made. Do it cheerfully. Do it nobly. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Redeem at once the institution that is in so great peril. 6T 460.3Read in context »