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Solemn judgments are here set forth, in a general way. Towards the close of the chapter, the subject brightens in the prospect of the coming of Christ.
Some of the old copies read the word earth, land, and confine the sorrows to the house of Judah. But it should seem from what follows in the after-parts of the chapter, where the same subject is spoken of as the whole world languishing, to be more general, yea, universal. And when we consider that, by the sin of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, there can be no reason for limiting the consumption of human nature, and the sorrows of mankind to the house of Judah. Reader, do not fail to observe, that in the waste here spoken of, the disease is epidemic, and spares neither age, sex, nor situation. Here, the servant is as his master. Romans 5:16 ; Job 3:19 .
Here is but little variation from what went before. The representation is as if taken from the prophets vision; the roll is written within and without, and the contents are lamentations, and mourning, and woe; Ezekiel 2:10 . One verse is in the midst to explain the cause, It is the curse which devoureth the earth; Genesis 3:17 . Reader, think what would have been the sorrow and misery forever, had not Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law, in being made a curse for us; Galatians 3:13 . And never fail to connect with this subject, that scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:21 .
How blessed and gracious this comes in! In the worst of times, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. If the Lord, indeed, had not left us, and did not still leave us, a small remnant we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. Pray turn to those scriptures, Romans 11:5 ; Isaiah 65:8 . How suitable is it, as the prophet speaks, that this remnant should lift up their voice, and sing redemption! For if the plague be so general, what must be the mercy to escape it? If the world be universally gone to putrefaction, how blessed must it be to be the salt of the earth! Matthew 5:13 ; Daniel 3:27 ; Acts 16:24-25 .
God's people feel their leanness, in times of general calamity. And no doubt, sorrow for sinners, as well as the distress they feel in themselves, have a great tendency to waste, and lower the spirits. When the Lord's judgments are in the earth, the righteous cannot but tremble. Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake; Hebrews 12:21 .
Here is a most precious conclusion, and full of gospel mercies. Jesus was called by the Father purposely to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sat in darkness out of the prison-house. And when we observe the promise here given, that though shut up, yet after many days they shall be visited; what a sweet testimony is this of the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Consult those scriptures, Isaiah 42:6-7 ; Zechariah 9:11-12 ; Luke 4:14-20 . Reader, ask your own heart, must not Jesus in such a day, and in the display of such mercies as are here said to be shown by him, in visiting his people after many days, must he not be truly glorious, in the eyes of his redeemed? Yes! the moon shall look pale, and even the sun blush, and hide his diminished head, as overawed and having lost all lustre, in being eclipsed by his Maker and his Lord!
READER, while reading this Chapter, and beholding the miseries of the world, in consequence of sin, may we not exclaim with the Psalmist, Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth? Oh! the incalculable sorrows, by reason of sin, and the distresses in all ages! It deluged the world by water; it destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire; it hath produced death in all the circumstances of mankind! But to see the awfulness of sin in its strongest colors, we must look at Golgotha, and behold Jesus dying for sin, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners to God.
Reader, do not forget to whom it is owing, that the earth still stands! Look unto Jesus! and so look, until the eye affect the heart. Oh! it is blessed to have such views of the Lamb of God, that shall drive away all other considerations, and make all things blush, like the heavenly bodies in the presence of their Lord, in having the whole heart and affections centered in him. Precious Jesus! be thou my one glorious object, and all leanness of soul will be forgotten, yea, done away.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 24". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany