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CITY AND CITIZENS
‘A strong city.… The righteous nation.’
This chapter is ushered in with a song. And it is well worthy of it. What are we called to study?
I. The city of God ( Isaiah 26:1-2).—This vision of a city into which the redeemed shall be gathered is seen more clearly in the Revelation, but we may notice that the features in the city are substantially the same in both. And that is because they must be true of any city. What a city needs is to be safe and to be free. The strength and the liberty of the city are both touched upon here. We have a strong city, but see in what this strength consists. Not in stone walls and bulwarks, but in salvation. Religion is the great safeguard. Churches are better than armies; and ministers, if they be faithful, are more necessary than policeman. If we remember that the original sense of the word rendered salvation is ‘breadth, largeness, absence of restraint,’ we have the second feature in the city—namely, its freedom. The ancient city was walled round, the gates were strictly guarded, and at night, or in times of war, a heavy portcullis shut the opening close up. But in the city of God the gates shall not be shut at all by day, and there shall be no night there. Open ye the gates. This is true of the City of Mansoul. A Christian is strong in the salvation which God has appointed for him. And his life is not to be a constant series of self-denials. He is free. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. We next have described to us—
II. The people of God.—Take the traits which our chapter mentions, and apply them to a believer. Here is his portrait.
(1) He keeps the truth ( Isaiah 26:2). Nothing which makes or loves a lie shall enter heaven. A God of truth hates falsehood.
(2) He is kept in perfect peace, and this for the best of reasons, because he trusteth in Thee. Perfect peace means peace with God, peace with ourselves, peace with all mankind, and peace which shall never be broken. My peace I give unto you.
(3) Eternal trust. Trust ye, etc. ( Isaiah 26:4). Notice how, in Isaiah 26:3-4, a reason is given for the peace and trust of the believer: because … for. Religion is a reasonable thing.
(4) Uprightness. The way of the just is, etc. ( Isaiah 26:7). Much is made in the Bible of rectitude. A man’s way tells how, as well as whither, he is walking. Make straight paths for yourselves.
(5) Aspiration. With my soul, etc. ( Isaiah 26:9). In the night and at the day dawn the Christian pierces the heavens with his fervent desires. The night here referred to was very likely a time of national trouble. God’s judgments were abroad ( Isaiah 26:9). It was a time in which the inhabitants of the world might learn righteousness. If it points to the return from the captivity, then we may note that this severe judgment taught Judah much, and to good purpose.
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Isaiah 26". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter