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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Isaiah 49

Verses 1-26

I Will Make All My Mountains a Way (Advent Sunday)

Isaiah 49:11

God says, 'I will make My mountains a way,' and the simplest consideration of the facts of life will demonstrate that the saying is true practically, true ideally, true on the plane of earth, true in the region of spirit, true in the domain of prophecy.

I. In the natural sphere the fact of the existence of mountains has ever initiated the stimulus required to surmount them. The physical and moral strength of the race is invigorated through the opposition of mountains, and man, as God's vicegerent, in his work of subduing the earth, has everywhere in all lands, amongst all peoples, made the mountains a highway to commerce, travel, discovery.

II. The spiritual analogy of the beautiful saying is even more true. There is a fascination a challenge to the imagination in mountain scenery through which He, Who is always appealing to the Divine secret in man, makes 'His mountains a way' to gaze into His face, to think into His heart, to hope into His promises.

III. Is there not in this inspired prophecy the Divine solution of a mystery, and the impregnable assurance of a victory? The sternest moral mountain in this perplexing world is the existence and permission of evil. All mountains, however precipitous and threatening, are God's; the Almighty responsible Father of poor puzzled, trembling humanity says, ' My mountains,' and it is enough. As the challenge of the rugged mountain crest and mighty glacier provide the impulse to muscular exertion which otherwise would slumber, so the energetic struggle against the mountain of moral evil in the world shall make that mountain a 'way' to your own perfection, and the perfection of the race; 'to him that overcometh,' that maketh mountains a way, 'will I grant to sit on My throne'.

IV. God will 'make all His mountains a way,' but it is His predestined purpose to effect it by the active cooperation of brave-hearted, God-fearing, consecrated men and women in the world. The crowning delusion of modern Christianity is that salvation can be divorced from helpfulness. Do you ask, What shall I do that I may make 'His mountains a way'? Get your springs of action and emotion right, and conduct will be automatically transfigured; incorporate into the verities of your life the spirit of the Master's words: 'One is your Father, even God, and all ye are brethren,' and your actions will start from another base and correspond to a new environment.

B. Wilberforce, The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 3.

References. XLIX. 11. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah XLIX.-LXVI. p. 7. XLIX. 12. G. T. Candlin, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. 1901, p. 393. R. F. Horton, ibid. vol. lxxiii. 1908, p. 388. XLIX. 13. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. lii. No. 3012. XLIX. 14. J. C. Shanks, God Within Us, p. 74. XLIX. 16. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix. No. 512; vol. xlvi. No. 2672. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah XLIX.-LXVI. p. 9. XLIX. 20, 21. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvi. No. 2692; vol. xlviii. No: 2776. XLIX. 23. A. Murray, Waiting on God, p. 105. XLIX. 24, 25. C. Gore, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lv. 1899, p. 376. XLIX. 26. J. Smith, ibid. vol. lv. 1899, p. 308. L. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxix. No. 2335; vol. xlvii. No. 2738; vol. xlix. No. 2832. L. 2-4. C. Stanford, Symbols of Christ, p. 142. L. 2-6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No. 2827. L. 4. H. P. Liddon, Clerical Life and Work, p. 46. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah XLIX.-LXVI. p. 15. L. 5. Ibid. p. 20. L. 5, 6. T. B. Dover, Some Quiet Lenten Thoughts, p. 124. L. 6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv. No. 1486. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah XLIX.-LXVI. p. 22. J. Keble, Sermons for the Holy Week, p. 325.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 49". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.