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The Prophet is here denouncing punishment in the Lord's name, to the proud oppressors of his people. In the midst of which there are several sweet breakings-out of that great salvation by Jesus, from whence alone the people of God can find deliverance or comfort.
Amidst general sins, with which both the people of God, and the oppressors of the Lord's people, are said to abound, the Prophet is pointing to some special instances of the kind, which marked the higher order, magistrates and rulers. Against which, the Lord particularly sets his face, assures them that there will be a day of account, and therefore puts the question home to their own consciences. Reader, do not fail to remark how the Holy Ghost, in all ages, is carrying on his preparatory work in the heart, by pleading with the sinner on account of his sin, to plead with him of his want of Jesus.
I pray the Reader to remark with me, how the Lord taketh to himself the whole of the destruction of Judah. If the Assyrian destroy the kingdom, it is because the Lord hath commissioned and appointed it. It is the Lord that sends Assyria against an hypocritical people, even his own people; and what the Assyrian doth, is because the Lord hath ordained it. Let the Reader turn to (Isaiah 36:0 ) the 36th chapter of this prophecy, and behold the fulfillment of what is here foretold. And while he reads the proud boasting of the Assyrian captain, in his master's name, let him recollect what is here said by the Lord concerning him. It is always blessed to trace effects to their causes. And this comparative view will be very profitable, under divine teaching, to the Reader's mind; for he will see by the sequel of the history, that though the Lord made the Assyrian his instrument, it was but as his rod to correct, and not to destroy. The Lord saith in this passage, that when he hath performed his whole work upon his Church and people, then shall come the punishment of Assyria, by whom he accomplisheth his purpose; and like as a father who corrects his child, when finished, throws the rod away, so shall the axe, that boasteth itself against him that heweth with it, be no more. If the reader will read the close of the 37th chapter of Isaiah from the 21st verse to the end (Isaiah 37:21 ), he will see the accomplishment of what the Lord hath here said.
In these verses, if I mistake not, the Lord is pointing to the cause of his mercy to his people, in delivering them from Assyria. It is not for their righteousness, for the parallel scripture saith, the Lord doeth it for his own sake, and for his servant David's sake, Isaiah 37:35 . What is this but God's grace, in his own covenant-engagements, which he will fulfil, for his own glorious name's sake, and with an eye to the salvation by David his Holy One, even the Lord Jesus Christ? Hence therefore, when the pride and fatness of his own hypocritical people are brought down, and a leanness of soul is induced, and all their fancied glory done away; as was the case when king Hezekiah desired the Prophet to lift up a cry for the remnant that was left; then was the loftiness of man brought down, and the Lord of hosts alone exalted, in that day. See Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:11 .
Reader! how blessed is it to discover, here and there, through all the sacred writings, the outlines of Jesus? It hath the same effect as to a thirsty traveler going over some hot burning sands on a sultry day, when he finds a cooling stream; so when to the spiritual Reader quest of Jesus; going over the account of Israel's sins, and their enemies triumphs in consequence, their salvation by Jesus is brought into the view, oh! how doth it refresh the soul! How very blessed to this amount is this portion! Here is the gospel-day first spoken of, and then the gracious consequences of it. There is still a remnant in the worst of times, and they shall escape. The Apostle was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to preach from this text, and to leave his sermon in print for the Church's comfort; and a blessed sermon it is. God had promised to Abraham that in blessing he would bless him, and in multiplying he would multiply his seed, as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea-shore. Well, saith the Apostle, as the Patriarch was promised it, and as the Prophet predicted it, so is it come to pass. Reader, turn to the scriptures, and satisfy yourself on this great point. See Genesis 22:15-18 . Behold Christ and his Church here gloriously set forth? Then read once more what the Prophet hath said in these four verses: and then turn to Romans 9:27 , to the end, for a beautiful explanation of the whole. There is one circumstance more to be attended to, in these verses, that I would not wish the Reader to overlook, and that is, that of the remnant here spoken of, it is said, they shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. And what can more plainly speak the blessed effects of grace upon the heart, than when precious souls of God's redeemed are gathered off from all false refuges of lies, all self-confidences, all self-righteousness; and are brought to stay themselves wholly upon Him, whose name, by way of striking emphasis, is called the Lord Our Righteousness? Oh! the preciousness of seeing Christ so pointed out, so fully and sweetly preached by the prophet, and of being taught by the Spirit thus to know him, and to rejoice in him, and to stay our souls upon him! Jeremiah 23:6 ; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 . The last verse in this portion is as awful as the former verses are gracious and consolatory. And what doth it declare, but what every other portion in the word of God both declares and confirms: Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him: woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him! Isaiah 3:10-11 ; Acts 3:23 .
I do not think it necessary to swell the page of my Commentary, by making particular observations on this passage. What might be said here, may be said, and hath been indeed said often, and one general remark will suit all. The Reader wilt observe, that what is here said by a gracious Lord, is continually said by him to comfort his people, under their exercises and sufferings. Their own backslidings correct them, and their own transgressions bring the rods of Assyrians upon them. But though corrected, it is but in measure; though cast down, they are not cast off; though persecuted, yet not forsaken. In Jesus they are taken into covenant with God, and therefore there is still one invariable, unceasing love of God to their persons, while to their sins, the Lord manifests displeasure. Reader! look over this portion in the chapter with this view, and it will be blessed. Oh! the felicity of perceiving Jesus in all; whose rich salvation runs through all. Blessed, forever blessed be God, for Jesus Christ!
READER! hath it ever struck you, when at anytime perusing the judgments of God upon a guilty land, as set forth in this chapter, how awful the state of those must be, whom the Lord appoints for the correction of his people? Like the Assyrian here spoken of, all of this description are only commissioned to correct, not to destroy. They are by the Lord's bridle in their jaws, but the kindliest ministers for good and not evil. And had the children of God but light enough during the dark hour, to see the limits of their chain, how different would be their views of God's people, and of the divine love in sending them. Howbeit, they mean not so, neither do their hearts think so, for their wish is to destroy: but Jesus appoints, overlooks, regulates, restrains, and brings about his blessed purposes, in all. How sweet the thought!
My soul! bless thy Lord for this most precious scripture! The remnant of Israel is still on the earth. It is in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass! See to it, my soul, that thou hast the gracious marks here set down: They stay no more upon him that smote them. They look not for salvation from an arm of flesh. Thy false confidences, and false supports have too often, my soul, like the reeds of Egypt, pierced thee through with many sorrows. Surely thou art looking no more to the works of thine hands, not saying to them, Ye are my god; for in Jesus alone the fatherless findeth mercy! See to it, that thou art now finally, fully, and completely returned, among the remnant of Jacob, unto Jacob's mighty God, and staying thyself in truth upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Oh! for grace to call heaven and earth to witness, that He, and He only is Jehovah's Christ, is thy Christ; and the Father's chosen, thy chosen: so shalt thou never be confounded nor ashamed, world without end.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29