This is a most blessed, though short chapter; containing in its bosom some precious views, and precious promises concerning Jesus, and the blessedness of his salvation, amidst the sins, and sorrows; and distresses, which arise out of the fallen state of our nature.
The day here spoken of, is, no doubt, meant to refer to the gospel day. And the beauty of what is here said, will be very striking, if we spiritually consider it. By the law of Moses, if a man married more wives than one, he was obliged to keep the first in food and raiment, Exodus 21:10. But the indulgence of corrupt passions always did, and always will bring with it punishment. What our blessed Lord said, concerning the putting away of a wife, may be equally applied to the taking more than one. It is for the hardness of men's hearts, such things are produced, Matthew 19:7-8. But, dropping the consideration of the subject, as referring to natural causes, we shall have a lovely view of this verse, if we read it in a spiritual sense. Jesus is the husband of his church, which he calls his fair one, his spouse, his beloved! And, as the church at large is made up of innumerable souls, what is here spoken of seven women, means a certain number, put for an indefinite number, to intimate many. Now in that day of gospel grace, when Jesus and his great salvation are revealed to the soul, every poor awakened sinner that hears and knows the joyful sound, shall come to lay hold of Jesus, praying to be called by his name. The eating their own bread, and wearing their own apparel, is in allusion to the law of Moses, before referred to. And precious souls, in their first coming to Christ, are all tinctured with an idea of their doing somewhat to recommend them. Hence the first question, of the jailor at Philippi: what must I do to be saved? Acts 16:30. Longer acquaintance with themselves, and with the Lord Jesus, humbles the soul with such confidences. It is blessed to perceive Jesus in this sweet scripture. I need not add how effectually and fully the reproaches of sinners are taken off, when brought into a state of oneness and union with Christ; when married to him, and he to them. Oh! the blessedness of calling him the Lord our righteousness; and living under him as the husband, the Ishi of his people, clothed with his justifying garment of complete salvation. See Jeremiah 23:6; Hosea 2:16-20; Jeremiah 3:14; Isaiah 54:5, etc.
The Holy Ghost is still harping upon that blessed string, the gospel day, and comforting the church with the view of it. Jesus is the righteous branch, which Jehovah declared he would raise up in Zion. And as Jesus shall be glorious in every eye of his people, so his people which are the fruits and effects of his great salvation, shall be lovely in him, and to him also. See those scriptures, Zechariah 3:8; Zec_6:12-13; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jer_33:15-16; John 15:5.
How truly blessed and gracious is it, to see the provision the Lord hath made for the recovery of sinners. Here the Holy Ghost speaks not only of the blessings of redemption to the church at large, but to every individual redeemed soul in particular. He that is left, and everyone that is written. Yes, Jesus saith, All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me, John 6:37. And it was for this express purpose Jesus said, that the Father gave him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him, John 17:2. Reader, are you questioning whether you are among the written in the Lamb's book of life? Revelation 13:8. Answer the inquiry by the tokens here given. A new and spiritual life is given to them in Jerusalem, the holy city, the church of the Lord Jesus. They are called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose, and grace given in Christ Jesus, before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9. And as many as were . ordained to eternal life, believed, Acts 13:48. Now then see by these infallible testimonies, whether your calling and election is sure, For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God: And hence, in being saved and called with an holy calling, not according to our works, but his grace; and in believing, having life in his name: surely these become unquestionable evidences, that God hath chosen believers in him before the foundation of the world, and that they should he holy and without blame before him in love, 2 Peter 1:10; Romans 8:14; Ephesians 1:4.
Here we have the blessed process of grace, by which the Lord will accomplish the divine purposes of his love, in redeeming the souls of his people. The daughters of Zion are here spoken of, as a representation of the whole church of Jesus. So the church is named, Psalms 45:10-11. This church is considered in her pollutions, such as she was when Christ came to redeem her, Ezekiel 16:3-6. But when, in gospel days, Jesus is come, and the fountain in his blood is opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness, then the filth of Zion shall be washed away, Zechariah 13:1; 1 John 1:1-7. But how is this to be done? By the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning; meaning, that God the Holy Ghost, in his seven-fold gifts, and by his gracious work on the heart, will glorify Jesus, in taking of the things of Christ, and showing their suitableness to the poor sinner. Is the sinner's heart hardened? The Holy Ghost will be to him a spirit of judgment; convincing, converting, enlightening, teaching him to feel his want of Jesus, and leading him to Jesus. Are his affections cold, and in himself not disposed to seek after salvation? The Holy Ghost will be to him a spirit of burning; to warm, yea, fire his very soul, in longings for Christ, that his sins may be done away, and both his filth and his blood he purged, and purified from all uncleanness. Oh! the wonderful process of grace, when God the Holy Ghost layeth judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, Isaiah 28:17.
How very lovely the chapter ends, as well as it began. The church of Christ, which is married to Christ, and brought to call Jesus her husband, when washed from all her uncleanness, made comely from his comeliness, which he path put upon her; and become holy in his holiness, shall now be protected from all dangers arising from without, and made blessed in all glory and Comfort within. Jesus himself will dwell in her, and be both her glory and defense; both her sun and shield. And this, not only in Zion at large, the whole church, which is Christ's body, but every individual, which forms one to constitute and make up the whole. Upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, every single follower of the Lord shall be thus blessed, protected, and made both happy and glorious in Jesus. And the Lord makes use of his ancient plan of manifesting himself, as he did to Israel, in the wilderness. As the pillar of cloud, and the pillar of fire, in the camp of Israel, indicated the Lord's presence with his people, so the Lord here alludes to those symbols, that he will be with them now. Reader, blessed and glorious as those tokens, of the Lord's being in the midst of Israel, were in the church in the wilderness; fancy not that their advantages were equal to ours. The word of God's grace, and the covenant-engagements of Jehovah, render all outward signs unnecessary. That single promise of our Jesus, confirmed to the heart, as it is, by the Holy Ghost, sums up every other in one. Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20. Oh! thou dear Emmanuel! God with us! God in our nature! Thy presence, and the union, and oneness of thy people with thee, makes everything blessed! Thou art indeed all we need: a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land! Isaiah 32:2.
BLESSED Jesus! how can I read the first verse of this chapter, without instantly having my mind directed unto thee, as the husband of thy church and people? Thou hast indeed taken away our reproach, in having called us by thy name, and granted us grace to call him our Lord. But, dearest Lord! I cannot say as the Jewish worshipper, I will eat my own bread, and wear my own apparel. No, thou rich and bountiful bridegroom; I am in poverty and wretchedness too deep to do that. Thou art to me both the bread of life, and the garment of salvation; and therefore, Lord, both feed me and clothe me, and be to me all I need; for thou art good and gracious to all that call upon thee. And surely, Lord, in this day of gospel-grace, thou, blessed Branch, wilt be most beautiful and glorious in every eye, both of thy Father and thy people; and all that are engrafted in thee, and upon thee, will bring forth fruit, that shall be excellent and comely.
And oh! ye saints of my God! hail everyone of you who are the written among the living in Jerusalem. Ye shall be called holy, in the holiness of Jesus. And he that hath provided, and opened a fountain for all cleansing, will wash away all filth from the daughters of Zion. Yea, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning, will God the Holy Ghost accomplish it, and manifest thereby, that it is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
Lord, do as thou hast said: Create upon families, and houses, and churches, and people of thy redeemed, both glory and defense. Yea, blessed Jesus! be thou thyself our glory and our defense, the Holy One of Israel in the midst of us. For then shall we be in grace here, and glory hereafter, the redeemed of the Lord, who dwell safely!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany