“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare your people, Lord, and don’t give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”
The first in line for the weeping are the ministers and priest of the Lord. They have been so remiss they have allowed the people to slip into sin with no reproof. They cannot approach the Lord nor can they go to the altar, for they are unworthy priests. They must stay in the congregation of the people and weep with the people, so all can see their tears and realise the depth of the problem. They have lost their privileges because of their sin. God tells the, what to say, for they are so remiss that have forgotten how to approach the Lord and how to repent. They are to come to God with sober minds and torn hearts and remonstrate with Him and present their case for forgiveness. Why should God wait and forgive any longer?
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The kindness and the mercy of the Lord always shines through. The sins of the people are deep dyed, but God waits for them to come to Him and present their case against wrath. God will listen and though they are sinful, yet there is forgiveness and the offer of cleansing.
The priest are to argue that the people of God will become a reproach to the unbelieving world if they are chastised, and the name of God will be derided by the enemies of God. This is a probability, but God will not be deflected from justice because of that consideration. This is another consequence the people have not considered, that the enemies of God will scoff and rejoice at their demise. God is dishonoured by their behaviour and they have not considered Him. The priests and ministers are to plead the case with the Lord.
“Answer me, Lord, for your loving kindness is good. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, turn to me. Don’t hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me speedily! Draw near to my soul, and redeem it. Ransom me because of my enemies.”
This is an appropriate prayer for the repentant soul, full of pleading with the Lord and a heartfelt desire for forgiveness and mercy. We seek redemption and the ransom of our souls from the cruelty of the enemy.