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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary
Isaiah 12



Verse 2

Isaiah 12:2

Naturally any creature must be liable to fear. The finite nature, however exalted, must always feel itself transcended and surrounded by the infinite unknown. And we are manifestly far more liable to the inroads of fear than those creatures who are in their first and proper position—who have never fallen.

I. The great mysteries of existence have a tendency to produce fear. (1) Has not every thoughtful mind bowed and almost trembled before the great mystery into which so many others may be resolved—the existence of evil, sin, misery, in the universe, under the government of an infinitely powerful and infinitely benevolent Being? (2) There is great mystery also about the plan of Divine providence in this world. Where is your relief? Will you seek to vanquish nature and providence by thought? Will you enter into the penetralia of their mysteries, and look into the very fountain and cause of all their operations? They will drop the darkness around you, and the light of your understanding will but glimmer like a feeble taper amid the mists of a starless night. Will you be wiser and trust? Ah, that is relief at last! "I will trust, and not be afraid." To God there is no mystery, no miscalculation, no loss. He is reaping perpetual harvest, gathering the wheat into His garner, linking on the sorrowful present to the glad future.

II. There are certain possibilities, the thought of which has a tendency to darken the spirit with fear. (1) We all look forward, we all struggle on to the future with more or less of expectation or desire. But our fears go with our hopes, our apprehensions keep close company with our anticipations. In proportion as men have suffered, they feel that there is a possibility of suffering being continued or renewed in coming days. Through the fear, not of death alone, but of a multitude of other things, some are "all their life subject to bondage." Now, what is the remedy? "I will trust, and not be afraid." Faith leans upon the Lord. He knows our walking through this great wilderness.

III. There is yet one dread possibility, the contemplation of which is more appalling than the very worst of earthly calamities—the possibility of spiritual failure, ending in a final exclusion from the presence of God and the joys of the blessed. Here, again, as in the other instances, there is but one way of grappling with and overcoming this great fear. There it stands—a dread possibility, which cannot be ended by skill, nor conquered by strength; which can only be surmounted and vanquished by the principle of a self-renouncing faith,—"I will trust, and not be afraid."

A. Raleigh, The Way to the City, p. 364.

Verse 3

Isaiah 12:3

I. Consider what we have to understand by the wells of salvation. We shall not strain the prophet's meaning here, if we take salvation almost in the fully developed New Testament sense, as including negatively the deliverance from all evil, both evil of sin and evil of sorrow, and positively the endowment with all good, good both of holiness and happiness, which God can bestow or men receive. Then if so, God Himself is, in the deepest truth, the Well of Salvation. The figure of the text does not point to a well so much as to a spring. It is a source, not a reservoir. All the springs from which salvation, in any measure and in any form, flow to the thirsty lips of men are in God Himself. For men, Jesus Christ is as the river which flows from the closed and land-locked sea of the infinite, Divine nature. He is for us the only source, the inexhaustible source, the perennial source. "They drank of that Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ."

II. Consider what is the way of drawing from the wells of salvation. Christ has taught us what "drawing" is. To the Samaritan woman He said, "Thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." So, then, drawing is asking. To the crowds in the Temple courts He said, "Let him come unto Me, and drink." So, then, drawing is coming. To the listeners by the Sea of Galilee He said, "He that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." So coming, asking, drawing, are all explained by believing. Simple faith draws all God's goodness into the soul.

III. Consider the joy of the water-drawers. The well is the meeting-place in these hot lands, where the solitary shepherds from the pastures and the maidens from the black camel's-hair tents meet in the cool evening, and ringing laughter and cheery talk go round. So jubilant is the heart of the man whose soul is filled and feasted with the God of his salvation, and the salvation of his God.

A. Maclaren, The Secret of Power, p. 212 (see also Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 408).

References: Isaiah 12:3.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 188; H. Allen, Penny Pulpit, No. 1676; J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages from the Prophets, vol. i., p. 23; A. Maclaren, Old Testament Outlines, p. 176.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 12:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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