“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it”—Isaiah 30:21.
I take it when we read here, “Thine ears shall hear,” it means first, that the message of divine love shall come to the man’s mind so as to create uneasiness in it. He is jauntily traversing the road to destruction: he has chosen the path, and he delights in it. It often looks to him to be a flowery way, a pleasant road. So he walks on, and he would be very happy but for that word behind him crying, “Turn ye! turn ye! turn ye!” Just as he was turning down that glade in the wood to the right, where all the flowers of spring are found in profusion, that call troubled him again! He would sooner have seen a serpent hissing in the pathway, or heard a lion roar from the thicket, than have heard that word. The man says, “I never can be quiet: I can see other people going to amusements and pleasures, and they heartily enjoy themselves; but the fact is, the more amusement I have the less I am amused, and I am never more miserable than when everybody else is laughing. Why am I thus?” He thinks he is hardly done by, and is the special object of God’s hatred. Everybody else is jolly, but he is gloomy. They can look on the wine when it is red, when it moveth itself aright, when it gives its color in the cup; and so could he once look into the rosy depths, but now he sees that serpent at the bottom of it, and he is afraid to touch it lest the draught should turn to venom in his veins. He almost curses the arrangements of heaven which have made him so ill at ease. He wishes he had never heard the parson preach the sermon which bothered him so; he wishes he had never had a godly mother at all, that he might have gone straight away into sin, and have been as merry as a cricket; but now there is that voice again behind him, boring its way into his tingling ears. For a moment he had forgotten it, but there it comes again—”Turn! turn! turn! turn!” He stops his ears; but it bombards his soul with worse than cannon balls; as if the word of God pounded him with shells, he hears the thunders of the cannonade,—”Return! Return! Return!” What can he do? He longs to escape from the divine rebuke. The word has made him quiver and quake. So far so good. We shall see next what will happen to him. CH Spurgeon