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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Isaiah 58

Verse 1


We must consider this Chapter only as a continuation of the same Sermon. It is full of reproof and instruction; and in the deficiency of all creature righteousness, the Holy Ghost, by his servant the Prophet, indirectly points to Christ.

Isaiah 58:1

Let not the Reader overlook, to whom the Prophet is commissioned to preach, of transgression. It is to the Lord's people. They were transgressors, but at the same time the Lord owns them for his people. Sweet thought! that however we fail in duty, Jesus fails not in love. Oh! how doubly painful is that rebellion, which is against a covenant God in Christ!

Verses 2-7

Observe how possible it is to have a fondness for ordinances, but to be void of a spirit of grace in them. Outward observances are easily followed; but heart-renewing, heart-felt sorrow for sin, consists in somewhat more than these. A squalid face and sable garments, yea, abstinence from ordinary food, are no real marks of true fasting. How divinely hath the Lord Jesus dwelt upon this subject, Matthew 6:16-18 .

Verses 8-12

If we read these sweet promises with an eye to the gospel of Jesus, and interpret what is here said by this rule, they will appear most blessed. Jesus is himself the light of the morning, yea, of the morning without a cloud. Health and salvation, righteousness and peace, in him, union and communion, with all the blessings of the covenant, in Christ, will then appear to be what the Prophet hath described; and such blessed intercourse will be kept up, in prayer and praise, on our part, and gifts and graces bestowed, on the part of God, as may well come up to the character here given, that Christ is the repairer of the breach, and the restorer of paths to dwell in. So that it forms a lovely view of Christ. Psalms 69:4 .

Verses 13-14

I beg the Reader to pause over this passage, and mark the several expressions enjoined to the people of God, for the due and proper solemnization of the sabbath; and surely he will immediately conclude with me, that if in the Jewish Church, which was but a type and shadow of good things to come, this holy day was commanded to be observed with such sacredness; how much more ought the observance of the sabbath to be regarded in the Christian, when the whole sum and substance of the law is in Christ, and Jesus himself is the very sabbath of his redeemed, formed In their heart the hope of glory? The turning away the foot from all pleasure, may perhaps have an allusion to what Moses was commanded at the bush: intimating that in the sabbath we see Christ; and all approaches to God in Christ must be made in sanctity. See those scriptures, Exodus 3:4-5 ; Leviticus 10:3 . Not doing our own ways, and the like, means that over and above all sacredness of soul, there must be accompanied with it a conscious sense of sin, and a total renunciation of all self-righteousness. Oh! how precious is Jesus, in his sabbaths, in his ordinances, and in all the means of grace and salvation, when the soul is once conscious of wants and pollutions. How little do these men know even the very nature of the sabbath, who spend the smallest portion of these hallowed seasons, these blessed golden opportunities, in any pursuit but that of the one thing needful! How do all faithful souls mourn in secret in the view of those troops of sabbath-breakers of our poor bleeding land, for which the nation mourns, and which come forth every Lord's day to their sport and pleasures!

Verse 14


MY soul! listen to the call of God, by the Prophet, for he it is that speaks in his word, and by his word; and let a conscious sense of sin lead thee to seek salvation by Christ. And see to it, my soul, that while using all the means of grace, and following every sacred ordinance of the Lord's appointment, with diligence, under the divine blessing, thou place no stress upon the means, to the forgetting of the end. For what are all ordinances, unless the God of ordinances be found and enjoyed in them? So that if, like Israel of old, thou shouldest draw nigh to God with thy mouth, and honour him with thy lips, while thine heart is far from him; will not this be to prevent the very design of everything that is sacred; and, instead of bringing thine heart to God, to lead thy heart from God? No, my soul! beg of God for grace, that thy fasts and thy poor services may be first seasoned by the Holy Spirit, and that the glory of God in Jesus Christ may be the grand object of pursuit and desire in every one. Oh! for grace to know these things, and to live in the heart-felt affection for them; for then, Jesus's righteousness will go before thee, and the glory of the Lord will be thy rereward.

And, my soul! see to it also, that what the Prophet hath so graciously marked of divine promises be in thy experience. The Lord will guide continually, it is said. He will satisfy thy soul in drought. He will make fat thy bones. Precious, precious Lord Jesus! be thou my portion, and, sure I am, I shall be well guided, well satisfied, and well fed, with the fatness of redemption. Yea, Lord, I shall be as a well watered garden, whose waters fail not. For thou art the Repairer of the breaches of our poor fallen nature, and the Restorer of paths to dwell in.

And, Lord! help me to reverence thy sabbaths, to delight in, to love, and to esteem them, above all seasons; that, with one of old, I may say, and feel the full blessedness of the expressions, while I say it, One day in thy courts is better than a thousand. Yea, my ever blessed Lord Jesus, be thou thyself my sabbaths; for being thyself my sabbaths, my rest, my joy, and sole delight, upon earth, thou wilt be my heaven of sabbaths in the life to come. Amen.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 58". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.