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This is another joyful song, and a gospel song, full of the praises of Jehovah for redemption, interspersed with reflections on the wonderful deadness of the souls of God's people, in the view of their mercies.
Reader! do not fail to observe how the prophet continually harps upon that day, that glorious clay, the gospel day, when the Lord will bring again Zion. And though some have thought that the deliverance of the Church out of Babylon might well call forth this song, of praise; yet even then, every child of God, even Israel thus delivered, could not but celebrate that temporal salvation as typical of a spiritual and eternal salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. The deliverance of the Church from Egypt, was a type; and consequently the deliverance from Babylon is the same. And as this song was to be sung in Judah; was it not as a representation of the Church of Jesus? See those scriptures, Jeremiah 23:5-8 ; Hebrews 8:8-12 ; Isaiah 60:18 .
The first of these verses is a blessed promise; and the second is the foundation of the enjoyment of it. Some read the last phrase of it (and indeed the margin of our old Bibles preserve the reading so) "the Lord Jehovah is the rock of Ages." Now as the Holy Ghost taught the Church, through Paul the apostle, expressly so, that the rock which followed Israel, was indeed Christ; we do no violence to the words, but on the contrary, express more fully what they themselves express, when we say, "for in the Jah Jehovah is Christ." And what saith the Holy Ghost elsewhere? God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; 2 Corinthians 5:19 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 .
These are plain, but very gracious expressions. The Lord's people may be, indeed the Lord's people will be, humbled, and brought under humbling providences; but Jesus weigheth out to them in measure all that is needful for them, and no more. And as to their oppressors, Jesus seeth them all, and knoweth them all, and keeps an account of all their malice. And woe unto them when God ariseth to punish. Psalms 12:5 .
Here is a sweet view of a gracious soul in particular, and of the Church, in general, in the silent, humble, waitings on the Lord, as well in providence as grace. I hope the Reader is brought acquainted with these things. A life of God in the soul cannot be kept up without it. If we have union with Christ, we cannot but have communion with God; and devout souls know what it is, in night visits from Jesus and to Jesus, us well as in daily approaches, both public and private, to his court, to enjoy fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ; 1 John 1:3 ; Psalms 5:3 ; Song of Solomon 3:1 ; Psalms 130:0 throughout. Indeed it is this which marks their character from that of the ungodly who know not God.
How strikingly is the conduct of wicked and unregenerate men here marked! If the Lord's hand be lifted up in judgments; though they see the judgments; yet as the Lord's judgments they see them not. And though the Lord's hand be fallen down in punishments; though the punishments they feel; yet the Lord's hand in them they regard not. Here again, as in the former verses, the contrast is set forth between the righteous and the wicked; between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not; Malachi 3:18 .
I do not presume to decide; but I humbly ask the question. Is not this verse the address of Christ to his Church, or of the Father to Jesus, in the first part of it; and of Jesus in the after-part of it? Surely as God the Father engaged to his dear Son, when giving him as a covenant to the people, to bring him up from the grave, and his people with him, there can be no impropriety in beholding God the Father as thus again confirming his covenant promises to Christ, and saying, Thy dead men shall live; first in grace, and then in glory. See those scriptures, Ezekiel 37:1-14 ; Revelation 20:6 . Founded on this promise, may we not suppose Jesus to be then speaking of the means how this great event shall be accomplished; Together with my dead body shall they arise. John 11:25-26 ; 1 Corinthians 15:20 ; John 5:25-29 . Then may we not suppose, after the promise comes the accomplishment, and Christ calls to his people, Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: 1 Corinthians 14:15 ; John 5:21 . The figure of the dew of herbs, to illustrate the doctrine of the resurrection, is uncommonly beautiful and interesting. For the herbs of our gardens, during the winter, are but like dry sticks. Their buildings, therefore, in the spring, are altogether new, and like a resurrection. The dew of the spring, therefore, is the source of their revival. And such will be the dew of Jesus upon the bodies of his people, in making the earth cast forth her dead, as the earth casteth forth the spring-herbs. And upon the souls of his people , Jesus is in every instance; the same as a dew from the Lord, that waiteth not for man, neither tairieth for the sons of men. It is wholly by virtue of our union with Christ, that both the resurrection of grace, and that of glory, is, and will be accomplished. Job 14:7-15 ; Micah 5:7 ; Romans 8:11 .
Oh! what blessedness is contained in these words! and what a blessedness have thousands now in glory, found in them, when upon earth! If I mistake not, here are all the persons of the Godhead inviting the children of Christ; yea, taking them by the hand, to come into God's pavilion; and as the Lord once said unto Noah, Come thou and all thine house into the ark; so he saith now to all who by faith, like Noah, prepare an ark, in Jesus, to the saving of their house. And he that takes by the hand, and leads them; the same almighty hand shuts them in. See Genesis 7:1-16 ; Hebrews 11:7 . But what are these chambers, which are here spoken of, and which the Lord calls the Church's chambers? Hath the Lord indeed built for them some secret enclosures, into which the righteous may run and be safe in times of public or private calamity, when the Lord's judgments are in the earth? Oh! no; in the event of common providences, God saith, I will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked; Ezekiel 21:3 . In things of nature, Solomon remarks, All things come alike to all; Ecclesiastes 9:2 ; that is, the fever, or the sword, will, if commissioned by the Lord, destroy all. But the feelings, and supports from the Lord, even in those exercises, will still mark the godly from the sinner. But what then are these chambers into which the Lord brings his people? Surely the chambers of his covenant of redemption, in which are found all the attributes and perfections of God the Father; all the fulness of right and interest in the person, blood, righteousness, and grace of God the Son as Mediator; and all the precious comforts and influences of God the Holy Ghost. All the chambers of his love, promises, grace, and mercy. Here they find repose and shelter from all evil; and, Noah-like, ride out the storm in the ark, Christ Jesus; while, like the deluge, the indignation of God's wrath against sin is poured down upon the Christless and the ungodly. Oh! for grace to enter into the chambers; and to see the Lord's hand both shutting our souls in, and every enemy out by which danger might be introduced. Precious Jesus! may it be my portion, in thee to have peace, while in the world there is nothing but tribulation! John 16:33 .
MY soul! canst thou sing this gospel song of salvation, which the Lord said should be sung in Judah? Surely that sweet note is thine. Thou hast a strong city; for Jesus is both the foundation, and the walls of it; yea, Jesus is the all in all of it; for upon all the glory, he is the defense. Jehovah thy God and Father hath founded his Church upon Jesus, and Jesus is both the husband and king of his Chinch, and hath by his Holy Spirit opened the gates to the nation made righteous in his righteousness to enter in. And surely, Lord, he kept in peace, yea, perfect peace, while kept in thee, and by thee, and living upon thee. Oh! for grace to trust in my Lord God forever: for in my Lord God Jehovah, there is Christ the Rock of Ages.
And Lord, I pray thee, that amidst all the circumstances of my passing pilgrimage, by night, or by day, when thy judgments are in the earth, and when by thy sweet ordinances thou art leading thy people to the enjoyment of thyself, in every state, and under every change in me, my soul may desire to rest in thee who art unchangeable; and who having loved thine own that are in the world, thou lovest them to the end. Oh! let it be the language of mine heart, that with my soul have I desired thee in the night, and with my spirit within me have I sought thee early. And do thou, Lord, bring me into thy chambers. Give me to see that in thy covenant-engagements to my glorious Head I am secure from all danger. All thine attributes, all thy promises, thy word, and thine oath, do secure to me salvation with all its blessings. Surely, Lord, while thus blessed, and thus redeemed in Jesus, I may well sing the song of salvation in this house of my pilgrimage, neither shall any stop me in my triumphs in Christ Jesus. Every day, and all the day, will I chant aloud, The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25