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This chapter is to the same purport as the former. The prophet setteth forth the fully of all human confidences. Some gracious promises are given towards the close of the chapter.
Reader! we shall find scriptures, such as the present, truly profitable, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, if we make application of what is here said in history, concerning Israel's trusting in Egypt, to ourselves, and the people of God, in spiritual things. Is it not an unnatural alliance for men in grace, to seek comfort from the men of the world? If at any time the waters of the sanctuary run low, will the cisterns of worldly enjoyments supply the place? Oh! the folly of God's people in mingling with the carnal! Surely it is impossible for one to touch pitch and not be defiled: and surely equally impossible is it for gracious minds to go among the worldly and the vain, and not wound the soul. Oh! for grace to be always remembering those scriptures, 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 ; Isaiah 52:11 ; Revelation 18:4 .
Here the Lord condescends to make use of two beautiful similitudes, to point out his watchfulness over his people. The strength of the lion, and the solicitude of the bird, are brought in view in proof of it. Will the lion, hungry, and seeking for prey, be dashed with the appearance of poor timid shepherds, how many soever they are, who are anxious to save their lambs? Or will the birds, in their flying over their young, defend their lives at the hazard of their own; and shall not he that gave strength to the one, and tenderness to the other, abound both with strength and affection towards his people? Reader! seek grace to preserve alive in the soul that well founded confidence, which rests wholly upon Jehovah's own free, sovereign love and grace, and mercy towards his redeemed in Christ. Isaiah 49:15-16 ; Matthew 23:37 .
It is blessed to observe how the Lord's precepts are frequently accompanied with promises; and his commands to his people to return to him, with giving the ability to return. See a beautiful illustration, Jeremiah 31:18-20 . And the provision for returning is blessedly set forth by another prophet, in reference to the blood of Christ, Zechariah 9:11-12 . And when these divine properties are wrought in the heart by grace, and the Lord hath prepared his people for his mercy; then the mercies prepared for them are given, and, as these other verses set forth, idols are thrown away, and all enemies, like the Assyrian are considered as nought.
READER! pause over this chapter, and behold in it a confirmation of all the great and leading truths of God! All human strength is like the strength of Egypt; of no dependence in the hour of need: and all confidence therefore in it, will assuredly disappoint. Oh! how forcibly therefore doth this chapter, and indeed the whole scriptures of God, proclaim in our ears, Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Blessed Lord Jesus! let every renewed view of man's nothingness, and of thy all sufficiency, tend yet more and more to endear thee to my heart. Truly, Lord, I see that in vain is salvation looked for from the hills, or from the multitude of mountains. It is thou, and thou alone, O Lord, in thy blood and righteousness, that art the salvation of Israel. Do thou, blessed Jesus, as this chapter graciously sets forth, enable me, at all times, to pass by all other considerations, and get above all fears, and pass over to thee the strong hold of all thy redeemed. In thy Zion, thy Church, thou art, and ever will be, a wall of fire round about; and the furnace in Jerusalem, both for trying and purifying thy people. Lord! purify my soul among the sons of Levi, and let all my poor offerings be in thee, and by thee, that I may offer to the Lord an offering in thy righteousness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter