We have here much, yea very much of Christ, and they who would read this Chapter profitably, here need of much of the Spirit of Christ to instruct them in it. Jesus, in the person of his servant the Prophet, in speaking of the call of the Gentiles, and of the sad obstinacy of the Jews. Towards the close of the Chapter we have a cluster of the richest gospel promises.
We have abundant cause to bless God the Holy Ghost, that he would not leave the Church to her own conjectures, concerning the person to whom this scripture referred, and by whom, under the spirit of prophecy, it was spoken; but by his servant, the Apostle Paul, hath opened to us the glories and graces of the Lord Jesus as folded up in it, and thereby he hath handed to us as it were a key to unlock the blessed contents of the whole Chapter; See Ro 10 throughout. Hence we are authorized to draw this conclusion, that it is Christ, and not Isaiah who was found by poor Gentiles, who in a state of nature could never have known Jesus, nor have asked for him. Oh! the riches of preventing grace! Reader! well may you and I rejoice in the consolation, who were not called by Jesus's name; Ephesians 2:11-22.
This is the lamentation of Jesus over his ancient people, the Jews. And what a sad history of rebellion, from the beginning, when God formed them into a Church, to the time of their rejecting the Lord of life and glory, do the scriptures furnish concerning them! Reader! it is a blessed relief to a gracious soul, longing for the Redeemer's kingdom to come with power and glory on the earth, to recollect that sweet promise, which must, and, we hope, is not now far off to be fulfilled, when the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, Isaiah 59:20; Romans 11:26.
With an eye to this gracious promise, the Holy Ghost here sets forth, under the similitude of a poor apparently dry and fruitless vine, how the mercy for Israel is preserved, and how at length it shall be accomplished. To all human observation, the vine brings forth nothing; but there is one who looks on and knows all, who takes notice of a cluster in which the new wine is found. My beloved, (said the Church, speaking of Jesus) is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi, Song of Solomon 1:14. Sweet consideration! Jesus in our nature, became the preservative of our poor blighted nature, all along from the fall. For though not then openly appearing in substance of our flesh; yet the Church subsisted in him, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8; Colossians 1:17. Hence therefore, He that looked on, and who could this be, but He that felt so highly interested in the preservation of his Church and people, as to become, from everlasting, the Church's Husband, Head, and Surety? said, Destroy it not; there is a blessing in it. Jesus, the promised seed, is in it, and must come out of it for its salvation. And hence Jehovah saith, For my servant's sake, I will not destroy them all. There is a remnant according to the election of grace; and hence Sharon and Achor shall flourish and open a door of hope to poor transgressing Israelites, to make one fold with the Gentile church. Here shall they lie down, and in Christ's pasture shall they be fed. The Reader will not forget, as a farther confirmation of those blessed promises, and in proof that the eye of the Lord, at the time of delivering them, was looking on the very spot where Jesus, in after ages, should open the gospel, and give testimony to those truths that Sharon was near to Joppa, on the west, and Achor lay to the eastward, near Jordan, the sacred river, where the Lord Jesus entered on his ministry.
These verses contain an awful confirmation of what every day's experience continues to prove, that all are not Israel, which are of Israel, Romans 9:6. In every Church, under every ordinance, the same word, the same gospel, how often is it found, that what becomes to some the savour of life unto life, to others, becomes the savour of death unto death! what quickens some, kills others! Hence the Apostle declares himself and his few faithful companions to be in one and the same moment a savour of death and of life. Solemn consideration! Reader! what know you of this immense difference? See Acts 28:23-24; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16.
Reader! do not hastily pass over the review of these verses. They are like the pillar of cloud in the camp, which, while giving light to Israel, became darkness to, their foes, the Egyptians. Who can read what is here said, but with a mingled feeling of joy and trembling? You will soon discover your personal interest in the blessing here spoken of, if you can say, as the verse here expresseth it, that in blessing yourself in the earth, that is in all that concerns you while sojourning upon earth, your blessings, in nature, in providence, and in grace, are all in Jesus. For this is to bless ourselves in the God of truth, when, from knowing him to be the way, and the truth, and the life, and knowing ourselves to be united to him, and members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, all our springs of all blessings, and of all spiritual life, are in him! Reader! what sayest your experience to this statement?
These blessed promises are fulfilled in a gracious sense, when sinners are made new creatures in Christ Jesus; and more fulfilled in that upper and brighter world, which John saw in a vision; Revelation 21:1-5.
How truly blessed is it to see and remark the happy change wrought in the circumstances of mankind, by the gracious effects of the gospel of peace. And what tends to heighten and endear those blessings, is, that in every renewed heart, where a saving change wrought, the auspicious consequences are instantly induced, whether in infancy or old age. The infant in nature is an old man in grace; for all are one in Christ Jesus: whence the sinner, though he were to live a hundred years twice told, and yet live out of Christ, and without Christ, and then dies at last, dies in the same state of condemnation in which he was born, and the wrath of God abideth upon him, John 3:36.
Everything and every event shall be blessed to the blessed in Christ. For it is this which secures their mercies: they are the seed, the offspring, the children, of Him, who is blessed of the Lord, and are therefore, as the days of a tree, where seed is in itself, so are they, in Christ Jesus in the tree of Life, in the paradise of God! Revelation 20:2-3.
I have read this verse by itself, purposely to make it, beauty and grace, and blessedness. This scripture promise hath refreshed and encouraged the souls of very many, and thousands have been enabled to set their seal to the truth of it. And what a rich thought is it, that even before we call, or before we go to the throne, the answer is prepared, and come forth. God will be before-hand with his people. And wherefore? because Jesus is thine; and in his blood and righteousness all his redeemed are accepted. Daniel 9:22-23.
Such will be, and must be, the eventful blessed circumstance induced in the heart of every one, on whom a saving change hath been wrought by the glorious gospel of Jesus, that all, in whom the Spirit of Christ is, will live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit. The minds of men will be changed, and the power of Satan will be so lessened, that the most uncouth and rugged tempers, like the savage natures of the wolf and the lion, will be softened to the gentleness of the lamb; and God's holy mountain, his Zion shall both fill the earth, and become the blessing of the earth; and none shall any longer hurt or destroy, for Christ shall reign and rule forever. Revelation 21:3-4.
READER! let us pass by all lesser considerations, to attend, with heart-felt joy, to the many precious things said in this Chapter, concerning Christ and his Church: for surely every promise here is, richer and more valuable than a pearl, and all the gold of Ophir.
And, first, may God the Holy Ghost, who hath given such blessed views of the Lord Jesus, give us grace to behold, and take home to our own hearts, what is said of and by the Lord Jesus, that our meditation of Him may be sweet. And let us not fail, while hearing Christ, in such repeated endearments of character, crying out, Behold me! Behold me! so to look up, and indeed behold him, as to be saved by him! For surely, such repeated calls to behold Christ, must argue a dead heart if we regard them not. God the Father hath commanded it, Behold! (he saith) my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth! God the Holy Ghost saith also, by his servant John the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. And the Lord Jesus himself; with reiterated invitations of grace, enjoins the same, when he saith, Behold me. Behold one! Reader! what are your apprehensions and views of these things? Isa 42; John 1:29.
When we have duly pondered over the subject, as it concerns Jesus, and our knowledge and enjoyment of him, let us next consider the many gracious calls and promises given to the Church in Jesus, in this chapter, as it concerns the Church. And oh! for grace here also to receive every promise, and to act faith upon all God's coven ant promises in Christ as the sure earnest of the Spirit in the heart. Never, surely, was there a more blessed cluster of promises brought together, for the Church continually to feast upon, than what the Holy Ghost hath set before us in this Chapter. Let us see to it, my brother, that we accept them in this point of view, and remember, that they are not yea and nay, but of God in Christ are all yea and amen; certain, unquestionable, and sure. Lord, I would say, both for myself and Reader, cause them to be all yea and amen; to thy glory and our exceeding great joy in Christ Jesus forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 65". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany