Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 24

Expositor's Dictionary of TextsExpositor's Dictionary

Verses 1-23

The Consecration of Suffering

Isaiah 24:15

Religion consists in taking things out of their common places, and in removing them from a lower to a higher level. To hold everything in God, to use it for God, to dedicate it to God this is consecration.

I. The Great Danger of Suffering whether it be physical or mental suffering is threefold:

a. Pride, because we become exceptional, and are made much of.

b. Indolence, because the nerves become unstrung.

c. Selfishness, because at such times it seems excusable, if not even a duty, to think very much about ourselves.

These things are just the most antagonistic to consecration, which is essentially a humbling process; an energetic process; a self-forgetting process. We have to consider what it is to consecrate suffering; or, as Isaiah expresses it, to 'Glorify God in the fires'.

II. To Consecrate your Suffering you must Dedicate it. This must be done in a very positive, serious manner. As soon as the suffering comes, feel and say, say it distinctly: 'I will dedicate this trial. It shall not be an ordinary, profane thing. It shall be set apart for God. It shall be taken away from the world. It shall be God's. I dedicate it.' From that moment, your sickness, or your pain, or your trial, or your loss, or your bereavement, is hedged round. It remains sacred ground. This special committal of yourself and your suffering at the outset, by a religious act of devotion, is a very necessary part of the consecration; but it must be repeated very often. From that time you may call your pain, or your sorrow, not so much a suffering as an offering; as much as if you laid it upon an actually material altar, it is an offering.

III. Real Consecration is a very Practical Thing. Our offering to God will seldom be real unless it is in some way an offering made to God through His creatures. Consecrate the uses of suffering, whatever those uses may be. Do not let them be natural, ordinary results, but let them be dedicated to a holy purpose. All our sorrows and sufferings are available for others, and are intended as means for usefulness.

a. A trial is an experience, and an experience is a talent. Consecrate the talent. You are laying in a great power of sympathy. Consecrate that sympathy. Put yourself under a sacred obligation that that pain, that trouble, shall make you more tender, more wise, more religious in your dealings, ever after, from that moment, with other sufferers.

b. A season of affliction is a vantage ground. Consecrate the vantage ground. Take opportunity to speak, to say something, which you could never say so well or so effectively; say it there; say it very lovingly, but say it very plainly. And let your words be consecrated words, as said before God; prayed over well, and then say them. Patience, simple, kind, unselfish patience, is always eloquent. A sufferer's smile is a sweet sermon!

c. If all this be true of physical and mental suffering, it is truer still of spiritual trial. Take care. No trials are more in danger of being selfish and useless than spiritual ones. Your depression, your inward temptations, your repentance, your conflicts, all Lenten feelings, they are not ends, they are not for themselves only; use them; turn them to good account; consecrate them.

IV. Of all this Consecration of Suffering, the great Exemplar is the Lord Jesus Christ. If you wish to know the way to consecrate, study Him.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 24". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/isaiah-24.html. 1910.
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