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This is a most blessed Chapter, descriptive of the victories of the Lord Jesus Christ over his enemies, and the triumphs of his love and grace in redemption.
I cannot enter upon this Chapter, without first looking up, to bless God for it. Never surely was there a more glorious description of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ; than what is here given to the Church, in the language of prophecy, so many years before the coming of Christ. Some writers, in order to lessen the force of the precious things, as referring to Christ, would tell us, that the writing is no more than an account of the triumph of Israel over Babylon, when, by the destruction of that kingdom, Israel was delivered from bondage. But this is altogether impossible. The mighty Conqueror here described, is said to come from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah. Now these places lay to the south of Jerusalem: whereas Babylon is always spoken of, through the Scripture, as the North Country. See Jeremiah 31:8 . Nothing, therefore, can be more plain, than that the victory here spoken of, is Christ's personal conquest of salvation, in which, as the scripture saith, of the people, there was none with him. Edom and Bozrah, are mentioned, probably in allusion to the ancient enmity of Esau, the head of the house of Edom, against Jacob, his brother. For from Abel and Cain, uniformly down through the whole race, in the separate and distinct seed, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, Galatians 4:29 . But I pray the Reader to look over all lesser considerations, and to follow the Prophet in what is here said, with an eye to Christ alone. And may He that guided the Prophet's pen, guide the heart both of the writer and the Reader of this Commentary, that we may behold Jesus blessedly represented through the whole. The prophet opens the Chapter with a question, as one surprised at what he beheld. He sees one coming towards him, under a character that he could not explain to himself. He beholds him coming up as from war, not tired, nor weary, but travelling in great strength; and yet his garments are like those of the most menial servant, who had come up from the wine-press, an office always performed by the lowest of the people. The Prophet, struck with the view, asketh, who is this? To which the Lord, in great grace, instantly gives answer, It is I, mighty to save; and speaking in righteousness. The Prophet could not but perfectly understand, by those characters, who it was. None but Jesus, the promised Saviour, could be mighty to save; for salvation is in no other. And this became the fulfillment of God's covenant in his promises, and manifested Jehovah's faithfulness, Deuteronomy 7:9 . Reader! how blessed is it to see, in one and the same scripture, the faithfulness of God the Father, and the perfect righteousness and complete salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Prophet, encouraged by the gracious and condescending answer he had received, ventures now to go further in his enquiry, and asketh, how it is that One so great and glorious, should appear in an office so mean and humble? And this, Reader, is, and will be, among all the redeemed, the everlasting subject of wonder, praise, and joy, to all eternity. Oh! the condescension of the Lord Jesus, in emptying himself of his glory, and taking upon him the form of a servant! Surely, by this debasement, and by the obedience and death he wrought in the Person of the Mediator, the law of God hath been more honoured and glorified, than could have been done by the unsinning obedience and death of angels and men, to all eternity.
Here the Lord Jesus Christ graciously gives a full and satisfying answer to the Prophet's question, and in it explains most blessedly, to the Church's joy, the subject of his personal triumph in redemption. The wine-press which Jesus trod, was the wine-press of the wrath of God, into which our nature deserved to have been thrown, and, but for Jesus's interposition, must have been thrown, and remained for bruising to all eternity; Revelation 14:19 . Well might the Lord Jesus add, in this account, that of the people there was none with him. For the sins he bore, when he was made sin for us, had they been laid upon his people, would have crushed the whole race in ruin forever! Sweet thought! He who bore our sins, and carried our sorrows, wrought out the whole of redemption! On him the Lord laid the iniquities of us all. And, Reader! If Jesus's own arm wrought salvation, will you not give him, most chearfully and thankfully, the whole praise? And do observe, the day of vengeance to Christ's enemies is come, when the year of his redeemed arrives. For while he saves his people from their sins, he treads down, with everlasting destruction, sin, death, hell, and the grave. Both these views were in his heart from everlasting; and Jesus alone accomplisheth the sacred purposes of his own, and his Father's will. How sweetly, therefore, may every redeemed soul, take up the Prophet's song, and say; Sing, O ye heavens! for the Lord hath done it! Shout, ye lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein! for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel! Isaiah 44:23 .
The subject is here changed, as well as the Person speaking. The Prophet, probably contemplating what had passed, begins to celebrate the divine goodness, and especially with an eye to the Church's mercies in time past. It is worthy to be observed, how often the redemption of the church from Egypt, and the blessings in the wilderness, are alluded to, in different parts of the word of God. The Holy Ghost thus taught the Church to exercise faith for all that was to come, in recounting the Lord's goodness for all that was past; and certainly nothing contributes more to the accomplishment of this end. Psalms 77:3-12 . Who can read the account, here given, of Jesus taking part in all the affliction of his people in the wilderness, without having their hearts led forth in love and praises to the Redeemer?
W as there ever a more affecting representation of the natural unamiableness of the human heart, and the tender graciousness of the Lord Jesus, than what these verses set forth? Precious Lord, may I never lose sight of it! that while it induceth humility of soul, I may still recollect, thine unequalled compassion to poor sinners! I need not detain the Reader, to remark the scripture, to which these verses refer. The Lord's leading his people through the wilderness, cannot be overlooked.
Reader! do you want a specimen of prayer? Here is a most blessed one; in which both supplication and praise, holy pleadings and waitings, are most beautifully blended. And what an unanswerable argument for being heard, is made use of, in reminding God of his Covenant. Those are the strongest pleas in prayer, when we are enabled to tell the Lord, what the Lord hath first told us; that all blessings are in Jesus, and that whatsoever we ask in his name, believing, we shall receive, John 16:23-24 .
MY soul! ponder well the blessed things contained in this Chapter; and while the Prophet, in the name of the Church, is humbly enquiring, who Christ is, and in what garments he appears; do thou see whether thou canst answer the enquiry, to thy joy, in the most satisfying tokens of thy Redeemer's Person and righteousness. Who is this, that cometh up with salvation, but the Lord, mighty to save he is One with Jehovah, in the divine nature; and no less one with us in the human; bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. His name is indeed wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! Surely, Lord, thine own arm brought salvation, and of the people there was none with thee; and though in all things it behoved thee to be made like unto thy brethren; yet, in redemption-work, thou troddest the wine-press of the wrath of God alone. And amidst all our rebellions, and forgetfulness of thee, never didst thou forget us, or forego our interests. In all our afflictions, thou wast afflicted. Thy love, and thy pity, allowed of no abatement, for thou wast always Jesus: the same yesterday, and to - day, and forever. Oh! then Lord, let nothing of the waywardness of thy children, thwart the gracious designs of thy love; but remember that we are but dust, and let thy strength and thy zeal, and the sounding of thy bowels, never be restrained. We throw ourselves upon Covenant relationship, and beseech of thee, our God, to remember that most blessed promise, in which thou hast said, I wilt not turn away from them to do them good and I will put my fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from me!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 63". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany