Click to donate today!
This Chapter opens with the burden of Damascus; but there is much concerning Israel in it also. Damascus is threatened with destruction. The Lord's promises concerning Israel, some sweet views if gospel times are here and there introduced.
Damascus was the chief city of Syria; and in how many instances the Assyrians distressed the Church of God, the Old Testament history hath largely recorded. It is most instructive to observe, as we prosecute the annals of the Church, how the Lord raiseth up one nation, and putteth down another, as those nations are made instrumental to humble or to raise Israel's glory. In the mean time, the Lord preserveth the Church, as his handful of people, in the midst of all, through the earth. Rise or fall who may among the nations, yet Jacob, the Lord's portion, continueth the same. Micah 5:5-9 .
There was a time, even in the days of Solomon, when the nation of Israel was great and flourishing; but now, how is the fine gold become dim! Reader, look at this scripture in a spiritual sense, and observe how the glory is departed! But blessed be God, there is yet a remnant according to the election of grace; Romans 11:5 .
I follow the same order as our Bibles, in including these verses, as they are there done, in parentheses; for it seems to me to be so designed, as if to call upon the Reader to observe how the Lord, in the midst of Israel's judgment, remembers mercy; and in times of desolation, so remote from the coming of Christ, still throws in this sweet scripture, to remind the Church of the gospel days yet to come. Reader! determine for yourself (for I will not determine for you) and may God the Holy Ghost guide and instruct you in the determination; but is it not with reference to Jesus, that the Prophet was here commissioned to tell the Church, that at that day a man should look to his Maker, and his eyes have respect to the Holy One of Israel? What day could the Prophet mean, but the gospel day? And what direction should the eye of faith have, but to the Lord Jesus Christ? Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 45:22 .
I include the whole under one view, and, besides the general observation to be made upon them as a prophecy, fully accomplished, in after ages, I pray the Reader to make his spiritual reflections upon what is here said, and I venture to believe that he will find a large scope for the most improving application. If the Lord's Israel do forsake the Lord, the Rock of their salvation, the sure consequence is chastisement and disappointment. The Lord withers their gourds, and a worm will grow out of the root of their most pleasant plants. At evening tide they find trouble, and before the morning their comforts are gone. There is nothing for the soul to rest upon, or find joy in, but Jesus; and if we do not make him our chief happiness, it matters not what else we place it in; for all will deceive, and prove a delusion. Precious Lord! how doth every part of thy blessed word manifest the infinite importance of thyself, and thy great salvation!
READER! mark the burden of Damascus; and behold, in the history of that people, the final end of all the enemies of God, and of his Christ. Of what avail was the splendour of this kingdom, or the power of her armies? Though the haughty Syrian exclaimed, in the vanity of his heart, Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters in Israel? yet, like the waters of the Dead Sea, everything around them, and in them, and what was brought forth from their watering, produced nothing but death. Without God, without Christ, no ordinances of grace, no word of salvation, no blood of sprinkling! Alas, when the evil day cometh, and the prosperous days of carnal delights are once over, all is over!
Precious Redeemer! let mine eyes be unto thee, and let my soul have respect unto the Holy One of Israel! Surely nothing can truly sweeten even the sweets of this life, that they shall have no bitterness mingled up with them, except thou art in them; and the very thoughts of an hereafter (until a conscious interest in thee, and in thy salvation, makes that hereafter truly blessed) will be forever full of horrors to the thinking mind. Be thou, therefore, precious Jesus, the all of this life, and of that which is to come. In thee, and from thee, let all my springs flow; for then, and then only, will my meditation of thee be sweet.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter