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Making the Righteous Sad
I. Sadness is not Necessarily from God. When sadness is God's gift, we do well to accept the unwelcome gift, for who can tell what far-off interest it may yield?
Sadness, however, as our text reminds us, must not always be fathered on God. Sadness often originates in temperament. Do not blame God if you are melancholic; blame your yielding to your temperament. Grace can enable a man to rise above his temperament. The worry of these worrying days frequently issues in sadness. Sadness is wrought, all too often, by our fellow-men. Satan often seeks to ruin us by sadness. Quite as often as by pleasure he seeks to spoil us by grief.
II. Some Impose Sadness Upon the Righteous in God's Name. What awful things have been done in God's name! Men have stolen the livery of heaven to serve the devil in. Religion and seriousness are essentially allied, but not so religion and sadness. The work of righteousness is not sadness, but peace and assurance. God never discourages the righteous. He is 'the God of all encouragement;'. Gloomy, depressing prophets and prophetesses are condemned by the canon of my text.
III. False Teaching Often Makes the Righteous Sad. Truth sometimes makes God's people sad, but it is not intended to do so. Union with Christ is the antidote to sadness.
A false theology makes the heart of the righteous sad. It is a sure sign that religious teaching is fallacious if it sadden the soul which is set on righteousness.
IV. There is Divine Retribution for Such as Give Sadness to the Righteous All who effect this saddening of the saints shall suffer for their deed. This principle has world-wide application. None can afford to ignore it. Masters and mistresses need to watch their ways in this regard. Friends and acquaintances should be alert to prevent this evil. Parents may grieve right-doing children. And how specially pertinent is this admonition to children in relation to their parents.
V. We do a Godly Deed When we Cheer the Righteous. Do you ask how you can accomplish this grateful ministry? We can hearten the righteous by kindly acts. Our very deportment may accomplish the service of God upon sad souls. There is a Gospel in some men's smile.
VI. Righteousness is the Ultimate Cure of Sadness. Character is the final secret of gladness. The word 'sad' is often used as synonymous with 'bad'. 'He is a sad scoundrel,' we say. And in such a usage we hint the great truth that in the last issue sadness and badness are identical.
The righteous have a right to gladness. This is especially true in the Christian dispensation. Christian righteousness is realized by faith in the risen and crucified Lord.
Dinsdale T. Young, The Enthusiasm of God, p. 16.
References. XIV. 1. R. W. Hiley, A Year's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 185. XIV. 2, 3. W. A. Whitworth, The Sanctuary of God, p. 31.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 13". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20