Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
"Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
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Since thou wast precious in my sight - This verse contains another reason why God would defend and deliver them. That reason was, that he had loved them as his people; and he was willing, therefore, that other people should be overcome in order that they might be saved.
Thou hast been honorable - This does not refer so much to their personal character, as to the fact that they had been honored by him with being the depository of the precious truths of his religion. It means that he had made them honorable by the favors bestowed on them; not that they were honorable in reference to their own personal character and worth.
Therefore will I give men for thee - As in the case of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba Isaiah 43:3. He would cause other nations to be destroyed, if it were necessary, in order to effect their deliverance, and to restore them to their own land. We learn here:
1. That nations and armies are in the hand of God, and at his disposal.
2. That his people are dear to his heart, and that it is his purpose to defend them.
3. That the revolutions among nations, the rise of one empire, and the fall of another, are often in order to promote the welfare of his church, to defend it in danger, and deliver it in time of calamity.
4. That his people should put the utmost confidence in God as being able to defend them, and as having formed a purpose to preserve and save them.
Expressions similar to those used in this verse occur frequently among the Arabians (see Rosenmuller in loc ).
For thy life - Margin, ‹Person.‘ Hebrew, ‹For thy soul;‘ that is, on account of thee; or in thy place (see the notes at Isaiah 43:3).
Since thou wast precious in My sight
Precious, honourable, loved
“Because thou art precious in My sight, art honourable, and I love thee”--three co-ordinate clauses.
I. PRECIOUS IN GOD’S SIGHT IS MAN. This is a new view of life--not man’s natural feeling. Precious as to the farmer land is which has the possibility of development with digging and draining, and so on,--precious as satisfying not the mere craving for usefulness, but the love of a great heart.
II. WHEN ABLE TO RECOGNISE THIS PRECIOUSNESS IN GOD’S SIGHT WE BECOME HONOURABLE. Before we could recognise it we must be grafted into Christ by a true and living faith. This faith, then, makes us honourable. The honour of a Christian is in--
1. Righteous living.
2. Zeal for the Christian cause. The honour of Christ was to have “the heathen for His heritage.” Entering into this, the honour of Christians is to win souls; and their “crown of joy” in seeing many turning from following idols to the living God.
3. Having a conscience void of offence towards God and man.
III. THE SEAL OF GOD’S LOVE IS THE GREATEST COMFORT TO THE CHRISTIAN HEART.
IV. “I WILL GIVE MEN FOR THEE,” etc. Nation after nation went down into the darkness before the conquering sword of Israel. God’s pity, great as it is, spared not! So we have seen men who have lived; and when that tender, all-forgiving time came--when death laid his icy fingers upon his prey, conscience would not allow us to settle with the thought that in the great future all was well with them. If we cannot enter into God’s inscrutable purposes in this respect we may at least feel that these pass into the arms of death “for us,”--i.e., in the sense of being warnings to us. (H. Rose Rae.)
Precious, honourable, beloved
I. Believer, the first wonderful adjective of the text is applicable to thee; thou art “PRECIOUS.” Notice how that preciousness is enhanced beyond the superlative degree by the next words, “precious in My sight.” There are mock jewels now made which are so exactly like rubies, emeralds, and diamonds that even those who are connoisseurs of precious stones are deceived, and yet these imitations are not precious. They are not precious in the sight of the lapidary, who is able to put them to severer tests, for with him these mimicries are soon proved to be of little value. The degree of preciousness depends much upon the person who forms the judgment; and what estimate can be so accurate as that of God the infallible? What judgment can be so severely exacting as that of God the infinitely holy? This preciousness cannot arise from anything essentially and intrinsically precious in us by nature, for we confess freely that we are even as others in our natural estate. The quarry out of which we were hewn was no quarry of precious things, and the pit out of which we have been digged was no pit in which rare stones were glittering: we were taken from common clay, and out of the ordinary ruin of mankind; yet God saith we are precious, and the fact of our former degradation and fallen estate cannot gainsay the Divine declaration. How is this? It springs out of four consideration--
1. We are precious in the sight of God because of the memories which duster round each one of us. You are to God most precious, as the token and memorial of the death of the Well-beloved.
2. Things become precious sometimes on account of the workmanship exercised upon them. Many an article has been in itself intrinsically of small account, but so much art has been exercised upon it, so much real work thrown into it, that the value has been increased indefinitely. Now, the Christian is precious to God on account of the workmanship that has been spent upon him. In divers ways the Great Worker has wrought mightily in us, and continued perseveringly to pursue His purpose.
3. Certain articles are precious because of their peculiar fashion. This was the case with the Portland vase, which to any common observer seemed to be of very small value, but because of the extreme beauty of the design, the greatest potter of the age was ready to pay his thousands to possess it. We are precious in God’s sight, too, because of our fashion and form. We are to be made like unto Christ.
4. Things are precious often because of their relationship. The most precious thing a mother hath is her dear babe. Precious, therefore, in the sight of the Lord are His saints, because they are born in His household, by regeneration made to be His sons and daughters.
II. Every child of God is “HONOURABLE.” Every Christian is, in God’s sight, right honourable and excellent because the Lord in His discriminating grace has made him precious.
1. Every Christian is honourably born.
2. The Christian, moreover, is honourable in rank. God has been pleased to take us from the dunghill to set us among princes.
3. Right honourable in their service are the saints. I know of no service that can be more distinguished than the doing of good. Methinks the very angels before the throne might envy us poor men who are permitted to talk of Christ, even though it be to little children.
4. Christians are honourable also in privilege. It was accounted an eminent honour when a nobleman had the right to go in to his king whenever he willed to proffer a request. Approach to the royal throne was always, among Orientals, considered to be the highest token of regard. You are especially honoured, O ye saints, for ye are “a people near unto Him.”
5. And every child of God who is what he should be becomes through grace honour-able by his achievements, and this is in some respects the highest form of honour, to be honoured for what you have been enabled to do, to wear a coat of arms which you have fairly won in battle, and hatchments that are not merely attributed to you by the heraldic pencil, but which are due to you because of your victorious feats of arms. To conquer sin, this is no small achievement; to keep down through a long life the corruptions of the flesh, to contend against the world and the devil, these are no deeds of carpet knights. And what an achievement it will be when Satan shall be bruised beneath our feet, as he shall be shortly.
III. The last of these notable words is “BELOVED.” “I have loved thee.” God hath loved thee eternally. He has loved thee actively and effectually, given His Only-Begotten for thee--an unspeakable gift; given thee everything in Him--a boundless dower of love. He has loved thee pre-eminently, better than the angels, for unto which of them has He ever said, “Thou wast honourable, and I have loved thee”? He has loved thee unchangeably. He has loved thee immeasurably. These three things being put together, I want you, practically, as they are your own by faith, to make use of them in other senses. “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.”
1. My Saviour, dost thou say that? Why, those words Thou dost put into my mouth to give back to Thee. Thou also art precious in my sight. Is He not so--precious beyond compare? Therefore is He honourable in our esteem. Will you not honour Him? Shall it not be the continual strife of your soul to get Him renown? “Thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.” You have loved Him, but, oh, how little! Look not back, then, except with Penitence, but henceforth say: “Lord, Thou hast been honourable, I will love Thee. Forgive the past, kindle in my soul a fresh flame of grace.”
2. When you have so used those words turn them in another direction. Apply them next to every child of God. Let us never think of the children of God in any other way than as honouring them. Some of them are very poor, many of them illiterate, some of them not altogether in temper, action, or creed what we might desire them to be; but if they be bought with the blood of Christ they are honourable. The Lord declares them so, and let us not treat them dishonourably.
3. You might use these words in reference to unconverted men and women. There is a certain sense in which they are applicable to all of woman born, for they possess immortal souls. If that be the case, how honourable all men become as objects of our zeal! “Honour all men.” (C. H.Spurgeon.)
The value and rank of the believer
One of the worst mistakes we could make would be to judge our condition before God by our outward circumstances. Know ye not that the ungodly have their portion in this life? As for the people of God, they are often in great trials.
I. THE LORD COUNTS HIS PEOPLE TO BE PRECIOUS. A child of God is often far other than precious in the sight of others. “The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!” Child of God! thou art precious in God’s sight, and that is infinitely more than being precious to princes. You live in a little room alone, and few know you, and those who do know you do not think much of you; but the Lord says, “Thou art precious in My sight.” How can this be? Read the first verse. “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel.”
1. It is clear that we are precious to God because we are His creation. The first creation was marred upon the wheel by sin; it became a thing without honour, and came under the curse. But he that believes in Jesus has been created anew by the work of the Holy Ghost. God has in a very special sense created him.
2. He has gone beyond mere creation: having first created the clay, He has formed it. We are not half made or ill made in regeneration; we are formed as well as created. The Lord who has given us spiritual existence is daily giving us fashion and completeness.
3. But what next does He say? “I have redeemed thee.” We have been bought with precious blood.
4. Another blessing of grace is mentioned in the chapter, and that is that God has called us. “I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” He called us, and we answered the call.
5. We have been ever since kept by His rich grace and preserved, and this also has endeared us to the Lord. Do you not think that if you are precious in Christ s sight, then everything that has to do with Him ought to be precious to you? Remember what Augustine said: he declared that he loved every man that had “aliquid Christi”--any thing of Christ--about him. Think once more. If you are precious in God’s sight, do not despise yourself so as to fall into the follies and vanities which please other men. Nobility has its obligations.
II. Being precious, He adds another epithet. “Since thou wast precious in My sight, THOU HAST BEEN HONOURABLE.” How many of God’s people were the reverse of honourable before they knew the Lord! Many a dishonourable thing they thought, and said, and did, and it is the dishonourable life that makes the dis-honourable man. Let a poor child of God tell out how he believes that he is honourable.
1. We are honourable by birth. Some are proud because they have been born of fathers who have been made baronets, or elevated to the peerage in years gone by; thus by birth they are honourable. Descended from the King of kings, each saint has a lineage before which the pedigrees of princes grow stale and mean.
2. Next, we become honourable by our possessions. Men pay honour to those who are immensely rich. “All things are yours.” What an estate is that which belongs to every heir of heaven, for we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”; and thus we become indeed honourable.
3. And the child of God becomes honourable in rank. A child of God is a prince of the Divine line.
4. We then become ennobled by our relationship. Jesus is “the first-born among many brethren”; and we as the younger brethren are all honourable.
5. We are honourable by calling, for He “hath made us kings and priests unto our God”; and these among men are the most noteworthy of all callings.
6. By Divine grace we have become honourable by character, for the Lord has sanctified His people.
7. Theirs is an honour-able life; they live for an honourable purpose; they are quickened by an honourable spirit; they are wending their way through an honourable destiny on earth to glory and honour and immortality and life eternal. The lesson to be learned from it is, do not let any child of God be bashful, shamefaced, and cowardly in the presence of men of the world.
III. “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, AND I HAVE LOVED THEE.” The Lord has not only told you of His love in the secret of your soul, but He has publicly acted love to you. If God loves us so, shall we not love Him? (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The child of God should live a dignified life
Lions will not be found stealing little bits of meat like cats, or feeding on carrion like dogs. It is not for eagles to hawk for flies; and it is not for children of God to stoop below the glorious level of their new birth. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
A great date
Date your birthdays from your regeneration; bury the old nature, and live in the new. (J. Parker, D. D.)
Therefore will I give men for thee
Peoples sacrificed for the Jews
“Mankind for thee, and peoples for thy life.” An the world for this little people? It is intelligible only because this little people are to be for all the world. “Ye are My witnesses that I am God. I will also give thee for a light to nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)
Since thou wast precious in my sight,.... As the saints are; not that they are valuable in themselves; they have no intrinsic worth in them; they are in no wise better than others; they are of the same mass and lump with others; they are of the fallen race of Adam, and are earthly and simple as he was; nor are they precious in their own sight, and much less in the eyes of the world; they are mean and despicable: but they are precious in the sight of God and Christ; in the sight of God the Father, who has chosen them, and taken them into his family, and blessed them with all spiritual blessings; and in the sight of Christ, who desired them, and betrothed them to himself, and undertook for them in eternity, and died for them in time; hence they are compared to things of value, to gold, to jewels, and precious stones, to a pearl of great price, to rich treasure; and are reckoned by Christ as his portion, and are as dear to him as the apple of his eye:
thou hast been honourable; ever since precious, and that was from all eternity; for though they became dishonourable in themselves, through the fall of Adam, and their own transgressions, and are dishonourable in the esteem of men, yet honourable in the esteem of God and Christ; they appear to be so, by their birth, by regeneration, being born of God; by their marriage to the Son of God, the Lord of the whole earth; by their characters of kings and priests unto God; and by their clothing, the robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation clothing of wrought gold; and by their being favoured with the presence of God and Christ, and their nearness to them:
and I have loved thee; which is the source and spring of all; hence they became precious and honourable; this is a past act, an act in eternity; it is an act of complacency and delight; a continued one, God rests in his love; and it is an act of undeserved grace and layout, and unchangeably the same; it never alters:
therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life: as, of old, the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sabeans, were given for the people of Israel, as in the preceding verse; so, in New Testament times, the enemies of God's people should be given for them; that is, their enemies should be destroyed, and they should be spared and saved; so that all Jews that rejected Christ, and persecuted his people, were given up to destruction. The Pagan empire was demolished, and so will Rome Papal too be destroyed, and the church of God will be preserved, and his interest revive, and all the kingdoms of the world become his; of which the conversions among the Gentiles in the first ages of Christianity were a pledge, prophesied of in the next words. The Talmudists
e men for thee, and people for thy life.
(e) I will not spare any man, rather than you should perish, for God values one of his faithful more than all the wicked in the world.
Since — All along from the beginning; for there was never a time when Israel was not Jehovah‘s people. The apodosis should be at, “I will give.” “Since ever thou wast precious in My sight, honorable, and that I loved thee, I will give,” etc. [Maurer]. Gesenius, as English Version, takes “Since” to mean, “Inasmuch as.” If the apodosis be as in English Version, “Since thou wast precious” will refer to the time when God called His people out of Egypt, manifesting then first the love which He had from everlasting towards them (Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:1); “honorable” and “loved,” refer to outward marks of honor and love from God.
men people — other nations for thee (so Isaiah 43:3).
thy life — thy person.
on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-43.html. 1765.
4.Because thou wast precious. Others interpret it “Thou wast honorable, because I raised thee to honor;” but I think that God assigns the reason why he gave up Egypt and Ethiopia to the enemies in their room. It was because he loved them, and because they were dear to him. It ought to be explained thus, — “Because I loved thee, therefore I gave a man for thee.” By these words he excludes all personal worth on the part of the people, that they may not boast of having obtained anything by their own merit; and, indeed, the cause of salvation, and of all the blessings which we receive, is the undeserved love of God; it is also the cause of all our excellence; for, if he judge of us according to our own qualifications, he will not value us a straw. We must therefore set aside every idea of merit, or of personal worth, of which we have none, and must ascribe everything to the grace of God alone. He means that this love is not of an ordinary kind when he says that we are “precious;” and for the same reason he calls us “his first-born,” (Exodus 4:22,) and “his friends.” (John 15:15.)
I will give a man. Here he adds nothing new, but rather explains the preceding statement, and employs the word “man” collectively for “men;” as if he had said, “There will be no man whom God will not take away and destroy, in order to preserve his people; for he sets a higher value on a single believer than on the whole world.” At the same time he reminds believers that they are redeemed at the expense of those who do not at all differ from them in origin or in nature.
Isaiah 43:4. Since thou wast precious, &c.— This verse refers, according to Vitringa, to the deliverance from Sennacherib, whereby God abundantly shewed that the Jewish nation was precious and honourable in his sight; and the men, in the last clause, refers to the Assyrians, and the people to the Chaldees. The Assyrians suffered a fearful slaughter under their king Sennacherib, for the sake of the church; and the empire of the Chaldees was to be overturned by the Medes and Persians, to procure the deliverance of the people of God: in both which instances God abundantly testified that his church was precious and honourable in his sight, and much beloved by him.
THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN
Isaiah 43:4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.
FEW have any conception how close the analogy is between God’s dealings with his people of old, and his conduct towards his Church and people in the present day. In truth, we scarcely know how to admit that God will manifest such condescension to us as he did to them. But it can never be thought that the Christian Church is less privileged than the Jewish; or that God will manifest less grace towards those whom he has redeemed through the blood of his Son, than he did towards those whom he delivered from a mere temporal captivity. True, indeed, his interpositions may be, and in fact are, less visible; but they are not a whit less real than in the days of old. Connect this chapter with the last two verses of the preceding chapter; and you will see how God still magnifies his grace and mercy towards us, when we have reason to expect nothing but his wrathful indignation [Note: Examine the passage in this view; and compare it with ver. 1. which marks distinctly how they came to be “precious in God’s sight.]. So, in like manner, we may behold in the text itself to what an exalted state the true Christian is raised. We cannot but acknowledge the truth of God’s appeal to them in the words which I have just read; and the same expressions are equally applicable to his people in every age and place. If we understand the passage aright, we may clearly see in it the rise and progress of the Christian’s calling.
Let us notice,
I. The rise of the Christian’s calling—
Whence and how were the Jews exalted to their unrivalled eminence?
[Were they selected by God either for their number or their superior goodness? No: they were “the fewest of all people,” and equal to any in depravity. It was altogether an act of sovereign grace when “God chose them, and set his love on them, and made them his peculiar people:” “He loved them, because he would love them [Note: See Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Deuteronomy 9:4-6.]” — — — Hence he reminds them of their origin, under the image of a child just born into the world of Heathen parents, without any one to administer to its necessities: “Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee: thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live [Note: Ezekiel 16:3-6.].” And by Isaiah he reminds them of this saying, “Look to the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged: remember Abraham your father, and Sarah that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him [Note: Isaiah 51:2-3.].” Such was their state when God chose them to himself, “to be a peculiar people to him, above all upon the face of the earth;” and set them apart, as “his peculiar treasure [Note: Exodus 19:5-6.],” and “his jewels [Note: Malachi 3:17.],” and “his portion and inheritance [Note: Deuteronomy 32:9.].” Thus we see clearly whence their greatness arose; and how it came to pass that “they were exalted above all the nations of the earth, in name, and in honour, and in praise [Note: Deuteronomy 26:18-19.].”]
And whence is it that any of us are “precious in God’s sight?”
[Is it on account of any superior goodness in us that God has chosen us? Surely there is not a man on earth so presumptuous as to affirm, or so ignorant as to imagine, that God chose him, in preference to others, on account of his own superior worth and excellence. I have said that there is, especially in reference to this matter, a strict analogy between the Jews and us; and St. Peter marks it with peculiar force, quoting the very words which I have before cited, as applied by Moses to the Jewish people, and applying them to Believers under the Christian dispensation: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [Note: 1 Peter 2:9.].” Beyond all doubt we are as much debtors to the sovereign grace of God as ever the Jews were; and it is wonderful that so many well-disposed people should be averse to acknowledge it. We see, readily enough, how predestination and election operated in relation to the Jews; and yet we find it difficult to acknowledge their operation in reference to ourselves. But “God has chosen us in Christ, before the foundation of the world;” and “has predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself [Note: Ephesians 1:4-5.];” precisely as he chose them, and predestinated them to the enjoyment of their privileges. To the grace of God alone we must trace it, if any of us be “precious in God’s sight [Note: Ephesians 2:8-9.]:” we must acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Author of our faith, no less than the finisher [Note: Hebrews 12:2.]:” and “when the top-stone shall be brought forth, to complete God’s temple in our hearts,” we, like all the prophets and apostles that have been before us, must cry, “Grace, grace unto it [Note: Zechariah 4:6-7.]!”]
The rise of the Christian’s calling having been pointed out, let us proceed to trace,
II. The progress of it—
The advancement of God’s people now corresponds exactly with that of his ancient people;
1. In honour—
[Since the Jews had been precious in God’s sight, they were honourable, They were honourable in themselves, as being elevated to a higher character than any other people in the universe. What other people were ever distinguished with such a code of laws as they [Note: Deuteronomy 4:7-8.]? or in what other country under heaven did persons attain to an equality with the Patriarchs in righteousness and true holiness? They were honourable also in God’s sight: for they were watched over by him, as if there had not been any other people in the world; and were regarded by him altogether as the “sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.” In the sight of surrounding nations, also, they were honourable; for they all confessed that “God was with them of a truth; and every Jew could exult over them, saving, Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges [Note: Deuteronomy 32:31.].”
The same elevation is vouchsafed to God’s people, also, at the present day. In themselves, they are “made partakers of a divine nature [Note: 2 Peter 1:4.],” and are “changed into the Divine image [Note: Ephesians 4:24.],” and “shine as lights in a dark world [Note: Philippians 2:15.].” In God’s estimation, they are “his dear children,” the very spouse of his only-begotten Son, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” preserved by him here “as the apple of his eye,” and reserved for thrones and kingdoms in a better world. And in the eyes of an ungodly world, too, are they honourable. For though the world may treat them as “the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things,” fit only to be swept away in the most ignominious manner from the face of the earth, and even to be sacrificed to devils, yet do they reverence them in their hearts; even as “Herod feared John, because he was a holy and just man [Note: Mark 6:20.].” An ungodly man feels restraint in the presence of a true Christian, and cannot give loose to his wicked propenpensities as he would do in his absence. However an ungodly man may hate and revile a true Christian, he has a secret wish in his heart that be could exchange conditions with him, especially in the eternal world. However averse a man may be to live the life of the righteous, there is no one who would not be glad to “die his death, and to have his last end like his.” Say, then, whether this be not to be truly “honourable?” Verily, not a king upon his throne is so truly honourable as the man who is brought into vital union with the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified in his soul by the Spirit of the Living God.]
2. In happiness—
[“Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and the sword of thine excellency [Note: Deuteronomy 33:29.]!” If this was spoken of the Jews because of the love which God bare to them, what must be said of us, whom “he has loved, even as he loves his only-begotten Son [Note: John 17:23; John 17:26.]?” Who can tell what it is to be favoured with “the spirit of adoption?” or what to “have the witness of the Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God?” Who can tell what it is to “have the love of God shed abroad in the heart,” and to “be filled with the Spirit?” Verily, these things constitute “that white stone, on which is that new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that hath received it [Note: Revelation 2:17.].” It is, in fact, an earnest and foretaste of heaven itself [Note: Ephesians 1:13-14.]. See how the love of God to his ancient people was displayed: how “God gave Egypt for their ransom, yea, and Ethiopia and Seba too [Note: Ver. 3.]!” Whole nations were of no more account with God than the dust of the summer threshing-floor, if they stood in the way of their welfare [Note: Isaiah 41:11-16.]. And so shall it be again, when they shall be restored to their own land: “the nation and kingdom that will not serve them shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted [Note: Isaiah 60:12.].” And let it not be thought that God will do less for his Church and people at this day. No, truly: “the gates of hell shall never prevail against them:” “no weapon formed against them shall ever prosper:” but every enemy, and “Satan himself at the head of them, shall be put under their feet shortly:” and so attentive will God be to their welfare, that every dispensation, whether of his providence or grace, shall be ordered with a view to it, and “all things, however unfavourable their aspect, be overruled to promote it [Note: Romans 8:28.].]
Two things, then, I ask of you, my beloved Brethren:
1. Endeavour to form a just estimate of your high calling—
[St. Paul calls this “a holy calling [Note: 2 Timothy 1:9.],” a heavenly calling [Note: Hebrews 3:1.],” yea, “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus [Note: Philippians 3:14.]:” and the least reflection on what has been already spoken must convince you, that “the riches of it” are inestimable, incomprehensible, “unsearchable [Note: Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:8.].” Christians live far below their privileges. They are too exclusively occupied (I do not say too intensely), in viewing their remaining imperfections, and the greatness of the work that still remains to be wrought in them. They do not soar in contemplating the wonders which God has already wrought for them, and those which he has pledged himself yet further to accomplish. Hence they are kept in a low state of bondage, instead of being “brought into the full liberty of the children of God.” But read the Epistles of St. Paul, my Brethren: read, especially, his prayers, and see how he soars in his contemplation of God’s unbounded mercies, and of the Christian’s exalted privileges [Note: Ephesians 1:3-14.]. It is by such meditations that we shall rise above all our spiritual enemies, and by such views we shall “be filled with all the fulness of God [Note: Ephesians 3:18-19.].” O, Brethren, know your privileges as believers in Christ; and live in the sweet enjoyment of them: for there are no bounds to the honour and the happiness which God will confer on those who are “precious in his sight” as his redeemed people.]
2. Endeavour, also, to walk worthy of it—
[This was Paul’s earnest entreaty to the Ephesian and Philippian Churches, when he was a prisoner at Home. He did not desire their interposition to get him liberated: all he had to request of them was, that “their conversation should be such as became the Gospel of Christ [Note: Ephesians 4 :l, Philippians 1:27.].” And indeed this was the great object of his ministry at all times: “Ye know,” says he to the Thessalonian Church, “how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12.].” In the same manner would I now entreat you; yea, as a father with his children, would I charge you, that ye “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work [Note: Colossians 1:10.],” and “adorning the doctrine of God your Saviour in all things [Note: Titus 2:10.].” Only reflect on your high privileges; and then say, “what manner of persons ye ought to be in all holy conversation and godliness [Note: 2 Peter 3:11.].” I conclude with that inspired admonition, “As he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy [Note: 1 Peter 1:15-16.].”]
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: so the sense is, From that time that I chose time for my precious and peculiar treasure and people, I have had a great esteem and affection for thee. But the words may well be, and by some are, rendered thus, Since that (or, For that; or, Because) thou wast precious in my sight, thou wast honourable, (the same thing repeated in other words,) and I love thee.
Therefore will I give men for thee; as I did give up the Egyptians, so I am ready to give up others to save thee, as occasion requires.
Yahweh would sacrifice other nations for Israel because of what the Israelites were to Him, in spite of themselves, as well as because of what He was to them ( Isaiah 43:3).
Eyes, by a gratuitous choice. --- Men. Chaldeans, &c.
Since thou wast = Ever since thou becamest.
men = a man. Can this refer to Christ? Hebrew. "adam. App-14.
people = peoples.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
Since - Hebrew, meeasher (ex quo tempore), from the time that: all along from the beginning; because there was never a time when Israel was not Yahweh's people.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable ... therefore will I give men for thee.
The apodosis should be at "I will give." 'Since ever thou wast precious in my sight, honourable, and that I loved thee, I will give men for thee' (cf. Isaiah 43:3) (Maurer). Gesenius takes Since to mean, Inasmuch as (eo quod - i:e., quonium), a rare sense of the Hebrew. If the apodosis be as in the English version, and if the "since" refer to time, "Since thou wast precious" will refer to the time when God called His people out of Egypt, manifesting then first the love which He had in reality from everlasting toward them (Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:1). "Honourable" and "loved" refer to the outward marks of honour and love from God, whereby at the Exodus He marked Israel as His special people.
Therefore will I give men for thee, and people - other nations for thee (so Isaiah 43:3).
For thy life - thy person.
precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
GOD'S APPRAISEMENT OF HIS PEOPLE
Isa . Since thou wast precious, &c.
We learn here—
1. That nations and armies are in the hand of God and at His disposal.
2. That His people are dear to His heart, and that it is His purpose to defend them.
3. That the revolutions among nations, the rise of one empire and the fall of another, are often in order to promote the welfare of His Church, to defend it in danger, and deliver it in time of calamity.
4. That His people should put the utmost confidence in Him as being able to defend them, and as having formed a purpose to preserve and save them.—A. Barnes.
Friday, April 28th, 2017
the Second Week after Easter