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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Isaiah 10



Verse 7


‘He meaneth not so.’

Isaiah 10:7

I. Little do bad men ween, in all their pride and power, that they are but rods and instruments in the hand of God, and that He will lay them aside when He has done with them.—‘He meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.’ So, child of God, be not dismayed by the proud boastings of your oppressor. It is but for a moment.

II. Meekly bend beneath the Father’s rod.—Think not of the man who hurts you—the Shimei that curses, the Judas that betrays; but go behind them both, to Him Who is using them for His own purpose. It is a profound and comforting thought that those who oppress us are only as the axe or saw, the staff or rod, in the hand of those who wield them, and absolutely powerless of themselves. ‘As if a staff should brandish those who wield it. As if a rod should lift up that which is no wood.’ Can a tool use its owner?

Verse 15


‘Shall the axe boast itself against him that beweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.’

Isaiah 10:15

The subject before us is—

I. The real connection of human industry with God.

II. The disconnection of industrial pursuits from God in the minds of men generally.

I. Let us learn to separate human handiwork from human sin. Cain sinned in refusing the Divinely appointed sacrifice, but he embodied a Divine idea in building a city. Egypt may construct pyramids if she will cease to make the lives of Israel bitter by exacting an unreasonable service in the building. Tyre may retain her navy if she will not make slaves of the children of God. Nineveh and Babylon shall find their walls a defence, and their palaces a glory if they will remember God their Maker. There is no more sin in palatable food prepared by the hand of man than in God’s finest wheat and sweetest honey.

II. The forms in which this evil of disconnecting God from human industry is developed are such as these—God’s law is not applied to human labour. Work is not performed in a devotional spirit. God’s honour is not sought thereby. ‘As a science, religion consists in the knowledge of the relations between God and man; as a living principle, in the exercise of the corresponding affections; as a rule of duty, in the performance of the actions which these affections prescribe.’ When the axe boasts itself against him that heweth therewith, there can neither be religious science, religious principle, nor religious life. And you have one of two things—a man in appearance everywhere irreligious, or a man in appearance religious everywhere but in his business. And then what have you? A whited sepulchre, a man-lie, or a rebel, open and avowed, against God the Creator. Trace this to its results. Banish religion from human industry, and you remove the chief salutary restraint!

Verse 27


‘The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.’

Isaiah 10:27

I. The Assyrian yoke of old was not so real, so tangible, so continually felt a yoke, as that under which many a child of God is writhing; yet they are ‘called unto liberty,’ even ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ And if the yoke of sin is felt to be real, the promised destruction of it surely will not be less so. If it is, as we know by sorrowful experience, no imaginary bondage, neither shall the deliverance be imaginary.

II. You feel the yoke, but how shall it be destroyed?—(1) Because of the grand anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ by God Himself ‘with the Holy Ghost and with power,’ to proclaim liberty to the captives; the grace and might of the Triune Jehovah thus combining in the proclamation of the liberty which Jesus purchased by taking upon Him the form of a slave and becoming obedient to death.

(2) ‘Because of the anointing’ which we ‘have received of Him,’ because the precious ointment upon our High Priest’s head goes down to the skirts of His garments, shared by His least and lowest members.

Perhaps we stop here and say, ‘But I cannot realise that I have received it, because my yoke is heavy upon me.’ Then see how you shall receive it; there is only one way—not by fresh revelation or special voice from heaven, but simply by faith—‘that ye might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.’ Give glory to God, and be fully persuaded that what He has promised He is able also to perform; and His ‘free Spirit’ will be faithful to His promise, and the yoke, even your yoke, ‘shall be destroyed because of the anointing.’

(1) The yoke of spiritual death is destroyed by faith in the atoning sacrifice.

(2) The yoke of spiritual weakness is destroyed by the anointing of the Spirit’s power.


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Isaiah 10:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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