John Owen’s sermon from 1679 should be observed today: National Sins and National Judgments

Isaiah 3:8,9 “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their deeds are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory. 9 The expression of their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they hide it not. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.

Important Takeaways:

  • Sermon IX. National sins and national judgments. Preached April 11, 1679.
  • “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” — Isa. iii. 8, 9.410
  • First, Here is a confluence of sins delighted in.
  • Secondly, Here is a concurrence of various judgments unregarded. In the ninth chapter of this prophecy, the prophet enumerates, from the 13th verse to the end of the chapter, all sorts of judgments and indications of the continuance of God’s displeasure, concluding every one of them with this: “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still;” and it will end in their utter destruction.
  • Thirdly, Here are the preparative causes of ruin, that which would dispose Jerusalem and Judah to ruin and destruction. There are five of them reckoned up in this chapter:—
    • When God takes away the good, the sober, the understanding part of a nation, and leaves a nation very thin of such kind of persons… When God makes a nation thin of such persons, it is a preparation and disposition to their ruin.
    • Weakness in their government is another preparation and disposition
    • Horrible disorder in the minds of men, and contempt of God’s order, that should be among them
    • When there is great oppression and persecution
    • And, lastly, there is horrible pride, and especially the pride of vain and foolish women
  • We are called to consider the sins of the nation, and to deplore its state and condition upon the account of those sins. That is our present work; and these plain things God hath directed me unto from the reading of these words.
  • I will add a little more, for the further opening of the words. There is in them a summary declaration of the causes of this state and condition: “Because,” saith he, “their tongue and, their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
    • There are these ways whereby men set their tongues against the Lord:—
      • By blasphemy. And thereof there are two branches:— (1.) Cursed oaths; (2.) Atheistical discourses. Whether they are found among us or no let every one judge as he hath experience.
      • By mocking at all those judgments: “Where is the promise of his coming?” where is this talk that hath been among the prophets, among professors, for so many years, of judgment coming? “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were.” They scoff at the word of God with reproachful terms
  • In Closing
    • If this be the deplorable state and condition of the nation wherein we live, let us endeavor, by all ways and means that lie in us, to retrieve the nation out of this state and condition, every one acting unto the utmost of his power to turn men from their evil ways, that God may repent him of the evil that he hath purposed against this nation.
    • Secondly, If they will not be healed, let our souls mourn in secret for them… because of the abominations that are committed in it, whereby we have provoked the eyes of God’s glory.
    • Take heed that we do not partake in any of their sins…
    • Fourthly, prepare to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments.
    • Lastly, Give glory unto him for all the appearances of sovereign grace and mercy in preserving this nation from that late horrid design and plot, which might have swallowed us up unless God himself had immediately interposed.

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