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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Let the wicked … - In this verse we are told what is necessary in order to seek God and to return to him, and the encouragement which we have to do it. The first step is for the sinner to forsake his way. He must come to a solemn pause, and resolve to abandon all his transgressions. His evil course; his vices; his corrupt practices; and his dissipated companions, must be forsaken.

And the unrighteous man - Margin, “Man of iniquity.” This is a literal translation. The address is made to all people, for all are such.

His thoughts - The Hebrew word denotes all that is the object of thought; and the idea is, that the man must abandon his plans and purposes of life. The thoughts, in the sight of a holy God, are not less important than the external deportment; and no man can obtain his favor who is not ready to abandon his erroneous opinions, his pride and vanity, his plans of evil, and his purposes of life that are opposed to God.

And let him return unto the Lord - Man, in the Scriptures, is everywhere described as having wandered away from the true God. Religion consists in returning to him for pardon, for consolation, for protection, for support. The true penitent is desirous of returning to him, as the prodigal son returned to his father‘s house; the man who loves sin chooses to remain at a distance from God.

And to our God - The God of his people; the God of the speaker here. It is the language of those who have found mercy. The idea is, that he who has bestowed mercy on us, will be ready to bestow it on others. ‹We have returned to God. We have had experience of his compassion, and we have such a conviction of his overflowing mercy, that we can assure all others that if they will return to our God, he will abundantly pardon them.‘ The doctrine is, that they who have found favor have a deep conviction of the abounding compassion of God, and such a sense of the fullness of his mercy, that they are disposed to offer the assurance to all others, that they may also obtain full forgiveness. Compare Revelation 22:17 - ‹And let him that heareth say, Come.‘

For he will abundantly pardon - Margin, as Hebrew, ‹Multiply to pardon.‘ He abounds in forgiveness. This is the conviction of those who are pardoned; this is the promise of inestimable worth which is made to all who are willing to return to God. On the ground of this promise all may come to him, and none who come shall be sent empty away.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Let the wicked forsake his way,.... His evil way, as the Targum paraphrases it, his wicked course of life; and which is his own way, of his own choosing, and in which he delights, and a very dangerous one it is; and yet he is bent upon it, and nothing can turn him from it but efficacious grace; nor will he ever forsake it till he sees the evil, danger, and loathsomeness of it; and when he does forsake it, it is so as not to make sin the course of his life, though he does not and cannot live without sin. The word for "wicked" signifies restless, troublesome, and ungodly, and is expressive of the pollution and guilt of sin all are under. Some are notoriously wicked, and all men are wicked in the account of God, though they may think otherwise themselves; and they become so their own apprehensions, when they are thoroughly awakened and convinced of sin, and of the evil of their ways, and are enabled to forsake them: though this may also be understood of "his own way" of saving himself, which is by works of righteousness he has done, in opposition to God's way of saving men by Jesus Christ; which way of his own must be relinquished, and Christ alone must be applied unto, and laid hold on, for salvation:

and the unrighteous man his thoughts: not his natural thoughts, but his sinful ones, his wrong thoughts of religion, righteousness, and salvation; particularly his thoughts of being justified by his own righteousness; which thoughts are to be forsaken, as being contrary to God's way of justifying sinners; and as all men are unrighteous, are destitute of righteousness, and full of unrighteousness, so is the self-righteous person; and he must be divested of all thoughts of his own righteousness, and acknowledge himself an unrighteous man, ere he receives mercy, forgiveness, righteousness and salvation, at the hands of the Lord:

and let him return unto the Lord; from whom he has departed, against whom he has sinned, and who only can save him; and this he does when he comes and acknowledges his sin before the Lord, implores his grace and mercy, and attends his word and worship; all which is the fruit and effect of powerful and efficacious grace, in turning and drawing. The Targum is,

"and let him turn to the worship of the Lord:'

and he will have mercy upon him; which shows that the returning of the sinner to God is not meritorious, it is mercy still to receive him; and which is here mentioned as the motive to return; there is an abundance of it with the Lord, and he has resolved and promised to show it, and he takes delight in it, and many are the instances of it:

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; God is to be applied unto, not as an absolute God, or out of Christ; but as our God in Christ, in whom he has proclaimed his name, a God gracious and merciful, and so he does abundantly pardon. The promise of pardon is absolute and unconditional, and is here observed as the motive to forsake sin, and not that as the condition of pardon; the design is to comfort those that are distressed with sin; God does and will pardon, and none but he can, and he has declared that he will; forgiveness is with him, and it is published in the Gospel, and there have been many instances of it.

The Lord does abundantly pardon, or "multiply to pardon"F13ירבה לסלוח "multiplicabit ad parcendum vel ut parcat", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "multiplicabit condonare", Cocceius; "multus erit ut proritietur": Munster. ; he pardons all sorts of sinners, and all sorts of sins; original sin, actual sins and transgressions; all backslidings and revoltings; all but the sin against the Holy Ghost.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Let the wicked k forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

(k) By this he shows that repentance must be joined with faith, and how we cannot call on God correctly, unless the fruits of our faith appear.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

unrighteousHebrew, “man of iniquity”; true of all men. The “wicked” sins more openly in “his way”; the “unrighteous” refers to the more subtle workings of sin in the “thoughts.” All are guilty in the latter respect, thought many fancy themselves safe, because not openly “wicked in ways” (Psalm 94:11). The parallelism is that of gradation. The progress of the penitent is to be from negative reformation, “forsaking his way,” and a farther step, “his thoughts,” to positive repentance, “returning to the Lord” (the only true repentance, Zechariah 12:10), and making God his God, along with the other children of God (the crowning point; appropriation of God to ourselves: “to our God”). “Return” implies that man originally walked with God, but has apostatized. Isaiah saith, “our God,” the God of the believing Israelites; those themselves redeemed desire others to come to their God (Psalm 34:8; Revelation 22:17).

abundantly pardon — Literally, “multiply to pardon,” still more than “have mercy”; God‘s graciousness is felt more and more the longer one knows Him (Psalm 130:7).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Return — By sincere repentance, and faith.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.Let the wicked man forsake his way. He confirms the former statement; for, having formerly called men to receive the grace of God, he now describes more largely the manner of receiving it. We know how hypocrites loudly call on God whenever they desire relief from their distresses, and yet shut up their hearts by wicked obstinacy; (86) and therefore, that the Jews may not be hypocritical in seeking God, he exhorts them to sincere piety. Hence we infer that the doctrine of repentance ought always to accompany the promise of salvation; for in no other way can men taste the goodness of God than by abhorring themselves on account of their sins, and renouncing themselves and the world. And indeed no man will sincerely desire to be reconciled to God and to obtain pardon of sins till he is moved by a true and earnest repentance.

By three forms of expression he describes the nature of repentance, — first, “Let the wicked man forsake, his way;” secondly, “The unrighteous man his thoughts;” thirdly, “Let him return to the Lord.” Under the word way he includes the whole course of life, and accordingly demands that they bring forth the fruits of righteousness as witnesses of their newness of life. By adding the word thoughts he intimates that we must not only correct outward actions, but must begin with the heart; for although in the opinion of men we appear to change our manner of life for the better, yet we shall have made little proficiency if the heart be not changed.

Thus repentance embraces a change of the whole man; for in man we view inclinations, purposes, and then works. The works of men are visible, but the root within is concealed. This must first be changed, that it may afterwards yield fruitful works. We must first wash away from the mind all uncleanness, and conquer wicked inclinations, that outward testimonies may afterwards be added. And if any man boast that he has been changed, and yet live as he was wont to do, it will be vain-boasting; for both are requisite, conversion of the heart, and change of life.

Besides, God does not command us to return to him before he has applied a remedy to revolt; for hypocrites will willingly endure that we praise what is good and right, provided that they be at liberty to crouch amidst their filth. But we can have nothing to do with God if we do not withdraw from ourselves, especially when we have been alienated by wicked variance; and therefore self-denial goes before, that it may lead us to God.

And he will have mercy on him. We ought carefully to examine this context, for he shows that men cannot be led to repentance in any other way than by holding out assurance of pardon. Whoever, then, inculcates the doctrine of repentance, without mentioning the mercy of God and reconciliation through free grace, labors to no purpose; just as the Popish doctors imagine that they have discharged their duty well when they have dwelt largely on this point, and yet do but chatter and trifle about the doctrine of repentance. But although they taught the true method of repenting, yet it would be of little avail, seeing that they leave out the foundation of freely­bestowed pardon, by which alone consciences can be pacified. And indeed, as we have formerly said, a sinner will always shrink from the presence of God so long as he is dragged to his judgment-seat to give an account of his life, and will never be subdued to fear and obedience till his heart is brought into a state of peace.

For he aboundeth in pardoning. Now, because it is difficult to remove terror from trembling minds, Isaiah draws all argument from the nature of God, that he will be ready to pardon and to be reconciled. Thus the Holy Spirit dwells on this part of doctrine, because we always doubt whether or not God is willing to pardon us; for, although we entertain some thoughts of his mercy, yet we do not venture fully to believe that, it belongs to us. It is not without reason, therefore, that this clause is added, that we may not be hindered by uncertainty or doubt as to his infinite compassion toward us.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Ver. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way.] Or else never think of finding favour with God, or of calling upon him to any purpose. The leper’s lips should be covered according to the law: a good motion from an ill mouth will never take with God.

Pura Deus mens est, pura vult mente vocari:

Et puras iussit pondus habere preces. ”

And the unrighteous man his thoughts.] See James 4:8. {See Trapp on "James 4:8"} A Pilate may wash his hands, a Pharisee cleanse the outside of the platter. Castae manus sunt, sed mens habet piacula, said a heathen, who saw by the light of nature that clean hands and foul hearts did not suit well.

And let him return unto the Lord.] {See Trapp on "Zechariah 1:2"} {See Trapp on "Joel 2:12"} {See Trapp on "Joel 2:13"}

For he will abundantly pardon.] He will multiply to pardon: as we multiply sins, he will multiply pardons. God in Christ mollis est el misericors, not an "austere man," implacable, inexorable, but multis ad ignoscendum, as the Vulgate here rendereth it; and Fulgentius (a) thus descanteth upon it, In hoc multo nihil deest, in quo est omnipotens misericordia et omnipotentia miserecors, &c. In this much nothing is wanting - how can there? say - since there is in it omnipotent mercy and merciful omnipotence. A pardon, of course, he giveth us for involuntary and unavoidable infirmities; this we have included in that general pardon which we have upon our general repentance. And for other sins - be they blasphemies [Matthew 12:13] - God hath all plasters and pardons at hand, and ready made and sealed, for else we might die in our sins while the pardon is in providing. He hath also hanged out his tables, as I may say, in the holy Scriptures, showing what great sinners he hath pardoned, as Adam, that arch-rebel, Manasseh, who was all manner of naughts, David, Peter, Paul, Magdalene, &c. The Lord Hungerford of Hatesby was beheaded in Henry VIII’s time. The Lord Thomas Cromwell, a better man, but executed together with him, cheered him up and bade him be of good comfort; For, said he, if you repent, and be heartily sorry for that you have done, there is for you also mercy with the Lord, who, for Christ’s sake, will forgive you; therefore be not dismayed. (b) God seemeth to say to sinners, as once the French King Francis I did to one that begged pardon for some ill words spoken against his majesty, Do thou learn to speak little, so to sin no more, and I will not fail to pardon much; I can remit whatsoever you can commit, never doubt it.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 55:7

I. Look, first, at the Counsellor. (1) He who speaks to the wicked man, and to the unrighteous man, is He who made all things. The Father of the wicked is here speaking to the wicked. (2) He who speaks knows every wicked man and unrighteous man. (3) He who speaks hates evil. (4) He who speaks has power to destroy the wicked in hell. (5) It is the redeeming God who here addresses the wicked man.

II. Look, secondly, at His counsel. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him come back. The advice requires (1) self-inspection; (2) the admission of truth as to the character of the way, and as to the nature of the thoughts; (3) the resistance of an inclination to go on; (4) submission to the conviction that the way is evil, and the abandonment of every unrighteous purpose, with actual departure from the path of open and actual transgression; (5) appeal to God's mercy, and for help and reconciliation.

III. The counselled. The wicked and the unrighteous man. God has singled out particularly three classes: (1) the thirsty; (2) the impoverished; (3) the disappointed.

IV. The promise. "He will abundantly pardon." (1) The promise is conditional, yet it is sure. (2) The promise is made to characters. There is, therefore, an indefiniteness which may well encourage us. I may address these words to every wicked man, no matter what his wickedness consists of; and to every unrighteous man, no matter what his evil purposes may be.

S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 2nd series, No. 16.

References: Isaiah 55:7.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 40; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, pp. 256, 259; Ibid., Sermons, vol. xx., No. 1195; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 141; D. L. Moody, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 341. Isaiah 55:8.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xii., p. 23; W. M. Taylor, Old Testament Outlines, p. 231.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Isaiah 55:7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

WE may discern many of the attributes of the Deity, as wisdom, power, and goodness, in the works of creation: but it is from the book of revelation only that we obtain the knowledge of his mercy. The Heathen indeed entertain some faint ideas that God will pardon them; though they know not how to approach him with acceptance, nor have any assurance that they shall find acceptance with him. But we are invited by God himself to come unto him, and are encouraged by an express promise that he will pardon even the vilest of returning prodigals.

In the words before us, we may see,

I. Our duty—

All of us by nature are in a state of departure from God, and of subjection to sin. Hence our duty is,

1. To forsake our sins—

[Every one has some “way” which he has marked out for himself; some way that is suited to his age, his education, his circumstances in life, or his constitutional propensities. Some are addicted to open vice; others to a more decent species of gaiety; others to the pursuit of riches; others to the more refined, though not less destructive, gratifications of literary pride; while others again regard nothing but their ease, and the indulgence of their peculiar habits. But whatever be our ways, if they be not such as are prescribed in the Scripture, and such as lead directly to heaven, they must be “forsaken.” We may indeed, and must, attend to our earthly duties; but in them, as well as in our religious exercises, we must seek the glory of God, and the salvation of our souls.

We must moreover forsake our “thoughts.” Even they who are most correct in their conduct, will find abundant matter for humiliation in their “thoughts.” What proud thoughts arise even from their supposed superiority to others! What vain, angry, envious, worldly, covetous, impure, and unbelieving thoughts lodge within us all, and find a welcome reception in our hearts! These then, no less than our ways, must be “forsaken:” we must watch and pray against them, and labour to have our minds occupied with holy and heavenly contemplations.]

2. To turn unto our God—

[As it is from God that we have departed, so it is unto God that we must return: nor will any reformation of our lives, or even renovation of our hearts, avail us, if this further change be not accomplished within us.

We must turn to him in humility. All of us, without exception, are guilty before God. Let us, even the best amongst us, only mark what our thoughts most easily recur to, and what they fix upon with the greatest frequency and delight, in those seasons when there is nothing particular to engage them, and we shall find no great cause for self-preference and self-complacency, Such a view of ourselves would shew us what we are before Him “who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins;” and would convince us that we need to abase ourselves before him with self-lothing and self-abhorrence.

We must also turn to him in faith. There is but one Mediator between God and man, whose merits and intercession must be the only grounds of our hope. In him, even in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must trust: we must make mention of his name and of his righteousness, even his only: and we must believe that God, for his sake, is willing to accept the very chief of sinners.

We must yet further turn to him in an unreserved devotedness both of heart and life. Mark, how entirely the heart of an unregenerate man gives itself to the world! Not that he never engages in religious duties; but, whatever he does, his affections are set upon things below, and not on things above. The very reverse of this is our duty: we are not to be so occupied with heavenly pursuits, as to neglect the duties of our place and station; but, in the midst of all our earthly occupations, God must have our hearts: his command must be the reason, his word the rule, and his honour the end, of all our actions. To fulfil his will, and enjoy his presence, should be the one object of our lives.]

Nor shall we decline this duty, if we consider what the text proposes for,

II. Our encouragement—

God will “shew mercy” to returning penitents—

[If it were doubtful whether our efforts would prove effectual for our salvation, we should not readily undertake the work of mortifying sin, and of turning unto God. But there is no doubt: for God delighteth in the exercise of mercy: “judgment is his strange work,” to which he is utterly averse: “he willeth not the death of any sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.” He invites us and expostulates with us in the most tender manner, “Turn ye: turn ye! why will ye die?” “Wilt thou not be made clean? O, when shall it once be?” — — — Let but the assurances of mercy which the Scripture affords to penitent sinners be considered, and no one will want a motive for abandoning his sins, and for returning to his God.]

He will “abundantly pardon” transgressions, however multiplied they may have been—

[They whom iniquities have been heinous and long-continued, are apt to despond, and to imagine themselves beyond the reach of mercy. But none need to despair: God’s mercy is infinite: though our sins may have been numerous as the sands upon the sea-shore, his mercies will far exceed them: “as the heaven in high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” See what sinners have been forgiven! mark the transgressions of David, Manasseh, Peter, and others; see the peculiar aggravations of their guilt! and then say whether God will not multiply his pardons to the very utmost extent of our necessities? — — — After such a view of God’s mercy, our hearts must be harder than adamant, if we refuse to repent, and to turn unto him.]

Address—To those who,

1. Presume upon God’s mercy—

[You are at ease, because God is merciful: but are his mercies ever promised to those who live and die in sin? Are

not rather his judgments denounced against them? Search the Scriptures, and see if you can find one word to comfort those who persist in wilful impenitence: alas! you will soon find to your cost, that, as God is merciful to repenting sinners, so will he fulfil the declaration, that “except ye repent, ye shall all perish.”]

2. Limit it—

[Satan’s first device for the retaining of sinners under his dominion is, to represent God to them as a Being who it too merciful to punish them. His next endeavour is, to make them believe that their sins are too great to be forgiven, and that there is not mercy enough in the heart of God to pardon such transgressors as they. But, if any of us are tempted to entertain such thoughts of the Deity, let us only reflect upon the words of the text, and the many passages of Scripture which illustrate and confirm them, and we shall see at once the folly and impiety of limiting his mercies. Let such persons at least put the matter to a trial; and they shall find, by sweet experience, that “whatsoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out.”]

3. Abuse it—

[Are there those in the world, who, because they have obtained mercy (as they think), are remiss in “working out their salvation?” Are there those who imagine, that, because they have “once overcome the world, they may be again entangled therein, and overcome” by it, without any danger to their souls? Let them know, that they are fatally deluded; and that, if they do not awake from their stupor, “their last end will be worse than their beginning.” If the mercy of God do not stimulate us to an unfeigned renunciation of all sin, and an unremitting activity in his service, we shall in vain hope that it shall be exercised towards us in the day of judgment.]

4. Enjoy it—

[What reason have you to admire and adore the goodness of your God! O, let a lively sense of it be ever on your minds. Be meditating daily how you shall most acceptably express your gratitude towards him. Labour to glorify him to the uttermost. Commend him to your fellow-sinners. Let your “ways” be such as shall be well-pleasing in his sight. Let your “thoughts” be devoutly occupied in praises and thanksgivings to him. And let your fellowship with him become daily more sweet, more intimate, and more abiding. Thus shall his mercy, which has already abounded towards you, be displayed in yet richer communications to all eternity.]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Let the wicked man, any wicked man, either Jew or Gentile, forsake his way; his evil or wicked way, as is evident from the foregoing word, and as it is more fully expressed, Jeremiah 18:11 25:5; which is called his way, because it is natural, and customary, and dear to him, and in opposition to God’s good way; his sinful course or manner of life. Let him cease to do evil, as it is Isaiah 1:16. This he adds, to intimate that men’s seeking and calling upon God will do them no good without reformation of their lives.

His thoughts; the sinful devices and purposes of his mind. Thus he strikes at the root of sinful actions, and showeth that the heart must be purged and changed as well as the outward actions.

Let him return unto the lord; as he hath departed from God by sin, let him turn to him by sincere repentance, and the practice of all God’s precepts; whereby he intimates that a mere abstinence from wicked courses is not sufficient, without the exercise of the contrary graces; that we must not only cease to do evil, but also learn to do well, as it is prescribed, Isaiah 1:16,17.

To our God; to the God of Israel, who is and hath showed himself to be a most merciful and gracious God.

For he will abundantly pardon: he useth so many words and arguments to encourage them to repentance, because the persons here invited were guilty of idolatry, apostacy, and many other gross wickednesses; which he knew, when they came to themselves, and to a serious sense of their sins, and of the just and holy nature and law of God, would be an insupportable burden to their awakened consciences, and make them very prone to conclude that God either could not or would not pardon such horrid delinquencies, and therefore would rather drive them from God, than draw them to him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The way was open for anyone to return to the Lord who may have wandered away from Him or rebelled against Him. The promise of a compassionate reception and abundant pardon applied, even to the wicked in act and the unrighteous in thought-in other words: to any sinner (cf. Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 5:27-28).

Repentance is not something a person must do before God will accept him or her. It is simply a description of what seeking the Lord looks like. In other words, cleaning up one"s life is not a precondition for acceptance by God. The person who genuinely seeks the Lord and calls on His name has come to grips with his or her sin and is willing to turn it over to the Lord. After all, an unsaved person cannot forsake sin-or even desire to do Song of Solomon -without the Lord"s help.

God can pardon sinners because of the Servant"s work in paying the debt of their sins in their place. Clearly, a way back from Babylonian exile is not what Isaiah was describing here-but a way back to God.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Way. This is a necessary preliminary to God's service. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

wicked = lawless man (singular) Hebrew. rasha", App-44.

forsake. See note on Isaiah 1:4.

way . . . thoughts. Note the Introversion of lines in verses: Isaiah 55:7 and Isaiah 8:7 -. way. -7. thoughts. 8-. thoughts. -8. ways.

unrighteous. Hebrew. "aven. App-44.

man. Hebrew "ish. App-14.

abundantly pardon. Hebrew multiply to pardon.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. "Unrighteous man" - Hebrew, 'iysh (Hebrew #376) 'aawen (Hebrew #205), man of iniquity: true of all men. The "wicked" sins, more openly in "his way:" the "unrighteous" refers to the more subtle workings of sin in the "thoughts." All are guilty in the latter respect, though many fancy themselves safe, because not openly 'wicked in ways' (Psalms 94:11, "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity").

And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. The parallelism is that of gradation. The progress of the penitent is to be from negative reformation, 'forsaking his

(1) way,' and

(2) a further step, "his thoughts," to positive repentance,

(a) 'returning to the Lord' (the only true repentance, Zechariah 12:10),

(b) and making God his God, along with the other children of God (the crowning point; appropriation of God to ourselves, in communion with the saints: "to our God").

"Return" implies that man originally walked with God, but has apostatized. Isaiah saith, "our God" - the God of the believing Israelites. Those redeemed themselves desire others to come to their God (Psalms 34:8; Revelation 22:17).

For he will abundantly pardon ( yarbeh (Hebrew #7235) liclowach (Hebrew #5545)) - literally, multiply to pardon; still more than "have mercy." God's graciousness is felt more and more the longer one knows Him (Psalms 130:7).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Abundant Pardon

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.—Isaiah 55:7.

The Prophet had been commissioned to carry a message to the captive Jews who sat by the waters of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion. The message was that, heinous as their iniquity had been, their iniquity was pardoned; and that to the merciful and relenting heart of Jehovah it seemed as if they had already endured “double” for all their sins, i.e. twice as much as their sins had deserved. Hence he was about to appear for them, to appear among them—delivering them from their captivity, bringing them back with song and dance to their native land, making them the joy and praise of the whole earth. In this word, this message, God was drawing near to them; finding them, that they might find Him. And the Prophet urges them to “seek Him while He may be found,” to “call upon Him while He is near”; that is to say, now that God is approaching them to deliver them, they are to fit themselves to receive, to recognise, and to follow Him, by putting away their unrighteous thoughts, by forsaking their wicked ways, and by turning in penitence, expectation, and faith toward Him who was turning toward them in truth and compassion.

But sinful men, especially when they are suffering the bitter punishment of their sins, are apt to be hopeless men. When you speak to them of the Mercy that is more than all their sins, they are apt to think that Mercy incredible, or at least to doubt whether it is about to be shown to them. As nothing is possible to doubt and despair, as above all the energy of active moral exertion is impossible, God sets Himself to remove the natural incredulity and hopelessness of the men He was about to save. That His mercy is incredible, He admits; but He affirms that it is incredible only in the sense of being incredibly larger and better than they imagine it to be. They might have found it impossible to forgive those who had sinned against them as they had sinned against Him. “But,” pleads God, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. They are a whole heaven above them. And, therefore, I can forgive you the sins which you could not have forgiven had they been committed against you. Nay, your very unbelief cannot limit or defeat My mercy. The word I have sent you, this message of salvation and deliverance, must do the errand on which I sent it; and therefore you must and will go out of the house of your captivity with joy, and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the little hills breaking forth into singing as you climb them, and all the trees of the field clapping their hands as you march through and under them.” So that the main point of these verses is not so much that God Himself is unknowable to us, as that His mercy is incredible to us—incredibly higher, incredibly deeper and wider, incredibly more heavenly and inexhaustible, incredibly more affluent, and tender, and sweet; in fine, as high above our conceptions of it as the heavens above the earth, and so broad that it embraces the whole world of men as the heavens embrace the earth with all its mountains and woods and seas.

This old admonition falls upon modern ears like the once familiar, but half-forgotten, cadence of a song. Time was when such a scripture roused the deepest emotions and brought the sweetest peace to human hearts. Such texts were, within the memory of man, the characteristic foundation of all evangelical sermons. The old-fashioned gospel invitation had an imperativeness, a fine entreaty, which netted magnificent results for the visible Kingdom of God. Men groaned in spirit and fairly ran to Christian altars lest the Divine invitation should be withdrawn. But the old appeal fails to stir men as formerly. Like some quaint hymn or ballad, kept as a sort of relic among the more dashing modern music, this old Bible melody is apparently outclassed by the more philosophical compositions of our day.1 [Note: G. C. Peck, Old Sins in New Clothes, p. 211.]

There are five things in the text. Three we are to do, and two God promises to do. The three which we are asked to do are (1) to forsake our wicked way, (2) to forsake our thoughts, and (3) to turn unto the Lord. The two God promises to do are (1) to have mercy upon us, and (2) to pardon us abundantly.


What we are told to do

1. The wicked is called upon or invited to forsake his way. That is, he is called upon to give up his sinful habits. Is he dishonest? He is to give up his dishonesty. Is he profligate in his life? He is to give up his profligacy. Is he addicted to intemperance? He is to give up his unsober practices. Is he a profane swearer? He is to give up his oaths. Does he speak what is not the truth? He is to give up his falsehoods. Does he break the Sabbath? He is to give up his Sabbath-breaking. Does he neglect Divine ordinances? He is to give up that neglect. From all his evil ways he is to turn: he is to forsake them, as Israel forsook Egypt, when he crossed the Red Sea; as Ruth forsook Moab, when she went with her mother-in-law to the land of Israel.

The best way for a man is the way which God has made for him. He that made us knows what He made us for, and He knows by what means we may best arrive at that end. According to Divine teaching, as gracious as it is certain, we learn that the way of eternal life is Jesus Christ. Christ Himself says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”; and he that would pursue life after a right fashion must look to Jesus, and must continue looking to Jesus, not only as the Author, but as the Finisher of his faith. It shall be to him a golden rule of life, when he has chosen Christ to be his way, to let his eyes look right on, and his eyelids straight before him. He need not be afraid to contemplate the end of that way, for the end of the way of Christ is life and glory with Christ for ever. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” A friend said to me the other day, “How happy are we to know that whatever happens to us in this life it is well!” “Yes,” I added, “and to know that if this life ends it is equally well, or better.” Then we joined hands in common joy to think that we were equally ready for life or death, and did not need five minutes’ anxiety as to whether it should be the one or the other. When you are on the King’s highway, and that way is a perfectly straight one, you may go ahead without fear, and sing on the road.1 [Note: C. H. Spurgeon, The Messiah, p. 425.]

2. But the wicked man is not merely to forsake his way, he is to forsake his thoughts. You see, one may, from prudential motives, give up outwardly an evil way, without any change within. From mere self-interest an evil-speaking man may hold his tongue, and yet his thoughts and feelings be as unkind and malicious as ever. From mere self-interest, from regard to his bodily health or his worldly interests, a profligate man may restrain his appetites, and yet his thoughts be still impure. But a mere outward reformation has no value in the eyes of the heart-searching One. There must be forsaking of sin inwardly; there must be a hating of it, and a giving it up in the thoughts and intents of the soul. The fountain, from which the bitter waters flow, must be stopped. The root, from which spring the poison fruits, must be plucked up.

In the third century a great wave of monasticism swept the Church. Men wooed the life of solitude and contemplation, and thought by such a life to escape their evil thoughts. But history testifies to the vanity of such a hope. One of the Church Fathers, Basil, after having sought peace in the quiet of the desert, writes to his friend Gregory, “I have abandoned my life in town, as one sure to lead to countless ills; but I have not yet been able to get quit of myself. I am like travellers at sea, who have never gone a voyage before, and are distressed and seasick, who quarrel with the ship because it is so big and makes such a tossing, and when they get out of it into the pinnace or dingey, are everywhere and always seasick and distressed. Wherever they go, their nausea and misery go with them. My state is something like this. I carry my own troubles with me, and so everywhere I am in the midst of similar discomforts. So in the end I have not got much good out of my solitude” (Basil, Ep. ii.). As Basil suggests, the only way is a mortification of the passions, and such mortification can come about only by a new birth, a return unto the Lord. If we ask what conditions best favour such regeneration, we are answered by the life of Jesus, which was not one of solitude alone, nor one of activity alone, but a life in which prayer and contemplation alternated with active service.

Putting the matter broadly and generally: what are the thoughts from which the sin life, in its various outward forms, comes? They are chiefly wrong thoughts about God, about sin, about true happiness. Well, those wrong thoughts about God, as if He were so great that He will not concern Himself about us, or so merciful that He will never punish us, or so dreadful in His holiness that He will never pardon us; those thoughts must be forsaken. And those thoughts about sin, as if it were no great thing, as if it were easily got over, as if it were little more than a sort of unhappy necessity, instead of a tremendous evil separating the soul from the Most High and making the sinner liable to His wrath and curse; those thoughts must be forsaken. And those thoughts about man’s happiness, as if it consisted in the abundance of the things which he possesses, in earthly honour and prosperity, and not in heart-love and heart-devotion to God and His Son; those thoughts must be forsaken. That whole course of thinking, feeling, hoping, doing, which springs from nature’s awful unbelief, must be given up in deep dislike and real abasement.

I remember when we were in Glasgow there was a business man converted, and he was very anxious for all his employés to be converted, and he brought them one after another, and they were blessed. But one man he could not get. He said, “If I am going to be converted I am going to be by the regular stated means.” Scotland had got regular churches, and he did not need Americans to come and tell him how to be saved, and he would not come. We went up to the North of Scotland, and the employer had some business to transact there, and he sent that man, and one night we were preaching on the banks of a river, and I was speaking on this text, “I thought.” This man saw the crowd, and he thought he would like to see what was going on, and the text reached his attention—“I thought.” He listened, and the arrow of conviction went down into his soul, and the man was convicted. Then he began to inquire who was the preacher, and he found out that it was this same preacher that he would not hear in Glasgow.1 [Note: D. L. Moody.]

3. Thus much the prophet teaches us on the negative side, as to what is to be turned from; he goes next to the positive side, and teaches us what is to be turned to. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord.” That is implied, of course, in any true turning from sinful ways and thoughts; without that it would be no true turning from them. Yet it conveys a distinct thought; it brings before us another and spiritual aspect of the truth. And sometimes you may seem to have a large fulfilment to the call to forsake ways and thoughts; and yet there may be no returning to God. That was the case with the Jews of old. They forsook their idolatrous ways most thoroughly; the outward idols were cast utterly away; the names and images of Baal and Molech became their horror and detestation. Even in thought they gave up their old idolatry. That is, they thought it wrong; they disapproved of it; they regarded it with hatred and loathing. And yet they did not return to God.

And what does it mean? It evidently means the soul coming back to the views and feelings it had about God before it went away from Him. “Let him return unto the Lord;” it is just as though it had been said, “Let the Lord Jehovah be to him what He was before the fall.” And what was God to man then? God was to man unfallen the Object of his profound homage. He worshipped and adored Him. God was to man unfallen the Object of his supremest love, his Portion, his Delight; in all the attributes of this Divine character he had supreme complacency; dear to him was the righteousness of the Highest, the love, the wisdom, the power. God was to man unfallen the Object of his trust and confidence. God was to man unfallen the King of his heart and his life; His will and glory the end of man’s existence. And the returning of the soul to the Lord is the soul’s returning to a vital consciousness of God as the great loving One, is the soul’s returning to a sense of His infinite majesty and excellence, and desiring to live with Him as before, in love, adoration, trust, submission.

There are three stumbling-stones in man’s way to Christ—sin, his own thoughts, and his own way or his own will; and you will find that every man has got to meet and overcome these three obstacles, or, as some one else has put it, three stumbling-stones—human righteousness, human religion, and human wisdom. There is a great deal of religion in the world to-day. A man may be full of religion and yet be a stranger to the grace of God. You will find some of the worst of men in the community are very religious; they have got a religion of their own. You talk with them about Christ, and about His Kingdom, and they will straighten up and tell you that they would not give up their religion for all the world; but if you press them upon this point of giving up their sins, you will find they are not willing to part with sin. Now man’s religion is not worth much if it does not bring him away from his sins. If a man is not willing to forsake his sins, to turn his back upon his past life and his past sins, he cannot be the disciple of Jesus Christ. I have heard men say often, “Why is it Jesus Christ has got so few disciples? The Gospel has been preached eighteen hundred years, and yet Muhammad has got more disciples than Jesus Christ.” The question is very easily answered. A man can be a follower of Muhammad and not give up his sins; a man can follow the doctrines of Confucius and not give up his sins; but the reason Jesus Christ has so few disciples is that men are not willing to part with their sins. That is the trouble, that is the difficulty. If men could only get into the Kingdom of God without giving up anything, a great many would flock into the Kingdom, they would rush into the Kingdom by the thousand; but it is this giving up our sins, forsaking our thoughts and our way—that is the difficulty.1 [Note: D. L. Moody.]


Now let us consider what repentance is, and what it is not.

(1) It is not fear. A man may be frightened, scared, and yet not repent. That has very often occurred at sea during a storm. When a storm sweeps over the ocean it brings about a great many strange things. You will find when talking to sea captains that a great many men become suddenly pious, men who have been blaspheming for years suddenly begin to pray, and you would think them very religious and repentant, but when the storm has passed over these men go on swearing again. That is only fear.

(2) Then repentance is not feeling; a man may have much feeling, and yet not repent. That may sound strange, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. You go down to yonder prison, and you cannot find a man who is not sorry that he is there; but their trouble is simply because they have got caught, they feel very bad because they were unlucky; but let them out of prison and they will do the same over again. That is not repentance. A man may have a good deal of feeling, and weep bitterly for days, and yet not repent. So that it is not feeling or remorse. Judas had that, plenty of it, so that he put an end to his existence; and a man may be filled with remorse and not repent.

The confession “I have sinned” is made by hardened Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27), double-minded Balaam (Numbers 22:34), remorseful Achan (Joshua 7:20), insincere King Saul (1 Samuel 15:24), despairing Judas (Matthew 27:4); but in none of these cases was there true repentance.1 [Note: A. H. Strong, Syst. Theology, iii. p. 832.]

(3) Nor is it conviction. A man may be deeply convicted when he is going out of the house of God; he may know that his whole life is wrong, his conscience may lash him and smite him, and he may say, “My whole life is dark and black.” He may be deeply convicted and yet not repent. Conviction is not repentance; making a few resolutions is not repentance; turning over a new leaf, as some men say they are going to do, that is not repentance; nor is it found in good feelings or good thoughts.

A fit of sorrow is no great thing. Who has not had that? There are persons upon whom a penitential mood comes and comes and comes again; and nothing results from it. But this forsaking of the thoughts goes deep into the soul, and means a turning of the whole being towards God. It is quite true that the Bible does not lay stress on mere effervescence of feeling, as if it were needful to pour out floods of tears, or utter cries of agony, or go mourning and grieving for any special number of hours or days, and with any special intensity. Yet it is not conceivable that you should have a person convinced on the matter of his salvation, and changing his thoughts about God and sin, without strong feelings of abasement and shame. Take the type of a penitent, as Jesus gives it. See the publican standing afar off, not lifting so much as his eyes to heaven, smiting upon his breast. There is nothing extravagant in that.

Behold us, how we feebly float,

Through many a changing mood;

How oft one flash of thought annuls

Our firmest choice of good.

We sin, repent, and fondly think

Our will is now made strong;

Our state of grace, restored, abides—

Thou knowest, Lord, how long.2 [Note: W. Bright.]

(4) What is it? Repentance is turning from. That is what repentance is. “Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?” It is an afterthought, it is a change of mind. You ask how long a person is to feel sorry for his sins. Long enough to give them up—that is all. A man may have deep sorrow or he may not have much, but he has made up his mind that he is going to turn from his sins to God.1 [Note: D. L. Moody.]

Because I knew not when my life was good,

And when there was a light upon my path,

But turned my soul perversely to the dark—

Because I held upon my selfish road,

And left my brother wounded by the way,

And called ambition duty, and pressed on—

Because I spent the strength Thou gavest me

In struggle which Thou never didst ordain,

And have but dregs of life to offer Thee—

O Lord, I do repent.2 [Note: S. Williams.]


What God promises to do

The two things which God promises to do are (1) have mercy, and (2) abundantly pardon.

1. The Lord, it is said, will have “mercy” on the returning sinner. It is not out of consideration of the wicked man’s turning from his sin, or in reward for his heart-turning to the Most High, that his guilt shall be cancelled, and he shall be reinstated in the Divine favour. There is no idea of right connected with this penitential return. What he will get, he will get in mercy—in simple mercy. He is still liable to righteous punishment. But mercy will be his. God will not exact His dues. God, for the sake of His own glory, and in His beloved Son, in Him who died the Just for the unjust, will freely and graciously stay the sentence which sin has merited.

We do not like the word mercy. It is humbling; it lays pride and self-righteousness in the dust. Mercy, all of mercy. It is very humbling. Nor, perhaps, do we best reconcile men to it by dilating on their helpless, hopeless state. The soul will be sometimes stout against any measure of that. “Crush me, to atoms if you will, but I will not yield.” Rather should the sinner get quit of a delusion. It is a noble thing, is it not, in an earthly sovereign to be merciful? The earthly king is never more glorious in our eyes than when he does some great deed of mercy. And is it not felt, too, to be a noble thing when the criminal or offender, in loving penitence, gracefully and thankfully accepts the mercy? In such an acceptance he is not degraded, but exalted. And so let the sinner quit his sins, return to God, accept His mercy, not merely as though he cannot help it, as a heartrending necessity, but with loving and adoring gratitude; for what it is so glorious and blessed in God to give, it is blessed in him to receive. And look if there be any semblance of exultation over him in his abasement in the gracious Father’s countenance. Nay, the very opposite. Can He have any thoughts of degrading him whom He would clasp in His arms and call His son?

The Mercy of God, viewed as saving men from evil thoughts and ways—which is the only true mercy—is simply incredible: so the prophet affirms, so we profess to think and to believe. But do we really believe it? Do we act as if we did? Millions will say to-day: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”; but how many of that vast multitude, do you suppose, will both understand and realise what they say? Many of them hardly believe that they have sins which need a great act of Divine forgiveness. Many more do not know that, in order to forgive, God must punish their sins.

One of James Lane Allen’s later books has for its title the creed of its hero, The Reign of Law. That was all he could see in the universe: unpitying law; law irreversible and conscienceless. The world order was to him, and presumably to the author of the book, a heartless procession of events. There was no Face to meet his advances or to frown away his sin. But, as his heart began to break up under the suns and frosts of love; as the power of a new truth got hold of him, he looked up into heaven to whisper at length: “Ah, Gabrielle, it is love that makes a man believe in a God of love.” Not that God is ever capricious, but that His heart can go forth in special overtures to His children; not that He ever really hides His face, but that it sometimes breaks like the conquering sun through our earth-mists; not that He ever ceases to call, but that sometimes His voice has new resonance and music—this is our Christian faith.

2. But this leads us to the other point in the prophet’s word: “He will abundantly pardon.” There is nothing of cold, distant harshness in God’s mercy-giving. He does not say, “Take thy pardon and go thy way. It is what thou dost not deserve. Thou hast been a wicked rebel; take care of thyself in time to come.” God is ever like Himself. Behold Him in creation; in these myriads of mighty worlds He has hung above us in the heavens. How like the greatness of the Great One is that fulness of immensity. Behold Him in the gifts with which He blesses our earth; with what a lavish hand He scatters beauties and glories. And here, too, as the God of pardon, God again is like Himself; He pardons like Himself, with Divine generosity.

(1) It is God’s good pleasure to pardon abundantly.

This man, whoever he was, has a claim to speak of God with an authority which few can rival. And this is what he has to say to us of God—that God’s mercy is as much higher than our thoughts of it, as much broader, as much more pure and tender, as the heavens are higher and broader and sweeter than the earth: that it transcends all our conceptions of mercy, that it seems incredible to us only because it is so large and rich and free, that we can hardly even bring ourselves to believe in it. He affirms that even here our great poet’s description holds good, that we may lift a reverent eye to the very Throne of Heaven and say: “Mercy is twice blessed,” blessing “him that gives,” as well as “him that takes,” since God delights in mercy, and is—if we may speak of so great a mystery in words so homely—at least as pleased to forgive our sins as we are to have them forgiven.

(2) Its abundance is due to His excellence.

If we doubt whether He means to the full what He says—if we doubt whether He is in earnest in calling such as we are to come to Him, whether He can pardon as abundantly as man has sinned—here is the answer to our unbelief: He does not work by the rules and manners of men. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. He shows His desire for our salvation, and His readiness to accept us, in doing what none could have imagined possible, in sending His Son to take our nature upon Him, and to become man for our sakes. Here is the pledge of His faithfulness. Here is the assurance which none can doubt, that He loves the souls of men with the love with which He loves His only-begotten Son. When we will not come to Him, He comes to us. When we refuse to seek Him, He comes Himself to seek and to save us. He does not send, He does not call merely. He comes down from heaven, and lays aside His glory, and speaks to us face to face, with the words of man, with the fellow-feeling of man, with the affectionate love and tender earnestness of man. He who made the light, and rules beyond the stars, comes and calls on us, and speaks to us with the simple plainness with which a father speaks to his little children, or a little child appeals to grown men.

(3) And especially to His greater knowledge.

God is more forgiving than man; where the justice which only half knows the magnitude of the offence is often merciless, the justice which sees it in all its heinousness is ready to pardon; even where all hope of clemency from a mortal weak and erring as himself, is gone; to Him who knows no sin, who is absolutely inaccessible to temptation, may the forlorn and guilty soul repair with the assurance that its appeal for mercy will never be heard in vain. It is just because God’s thoughts and ways are not as man’s, because His righteousness is infinitely exalted above man’s, that therefore the unrighteous man may “return unto the Lord” with the assurance that “He will have mercy upon him, and to our God” with the confidence that “He will abundantly pardon.”

My Lord, when Thou didst love me, didst Thou know

How weak my efforts were, how few,

Tepid to love and impotent to do,

Envious to reap while slack to sow?

—“Yea, I knew.”1 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti.]

(4) It is expressed in His very Name.

In the effort that was put forth by the prophets of old to give the wings of words to the Divine Inspiration that stirred within them, and more particularly to give the divinest expression to their conception of the character of God, they hit upon nothing that is finer, or grander, or more instructive than the terms in which they represent the name of God. It must indeed be difficult to name God, if the name is to be adequately significant. Hence the accumulation of grand human terms in the name of the Lord as proclaimed to Moses of old:—“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the impenitent.”

The penitent Levites, of whom we read in the Book of Nehemiah, thus spoke to God: “Thou art a God of pardons, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” God is characterised not only as a pardoning God, but as a “God of pardons.” He is possessed, as it were, of such an inexhaustible store of pardons that the supply is sufficient to meet the most numerous necessities imaginable. If pardon be at all, there is no fear of stint in the supply, stint such as might leave some of us, against our will, out in the dark, out in the cold, out in the hurricane of storm and tempest. Whatever pardon may be in its essence and significance, there is assuredly enough of it and to spare, for all of us without distinction or exception, seeing God is a God of pardons.

The inner sanctuary of the humble home is the “fireside.” A lad in his teens, a member of a large family in Sheffield, left his home, and by persistent waywardness caused his parents considerable anxiety and pain. One night a young sister found him loitering in the locality. Her best effort could only bring him a little nearer the old home. A mother’s glad welcome induced him to “come in.” Taking off his coat he shamefacedly proceeded to a chair near the door when his father called out “Nay lad, don’t sit theer; tha’s coom back; cum reight up te t’ fier.”

My God, my God, have mercy on my sin,

For it is great; and if I should begin

To tell it all,

The day would be too small

To tell it in.

My God, Thou wilt have mercy on my sin

For Thy Love’s sake: yea, if I should begin

To tell This all,

The day would be too small

To tell it in.1 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti.]

Abundant Pardon


Caird (J.), University Sermons, 27.

Church (R. W.), Village Sermons, i. 16.

Cox (S.), The Genesis of Evil, 61, 77.

Kingsley (C.), National Sermons, 221.

M‘Cheyne (R. M.), Basket of Fragments, 72.

Morison (J.), Sheaves of Ministry, 102.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xx. No. 1195; xxxvi. No. 2181; xlviii. No. 2797.

Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), xi. 930.

Walker (J.), Memoir and Sermons, 267.

Anglican Pulpit Library, ii. 160.

Christian World Pulpit, xvii. 158 (Short); xx. 341 (Moody); xxxvii. 53 (Morison).

Contemporary Pulpit, 1st Ser., vi. 313 (Glover).

Keswick Week, 1899, 16.

Preacher’s Magazine, i. 316.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
the wicked
1:16-18; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Jeremiah 3:3; 8:4-6; Ezekiel 3:18,19; Ezekiel 18:21-23,27-32; 33:11,14-16; Hosea 14:1,2; Jonah 3:10; Matthew 9:13; Luke 15:10,24; Acts 3:19; 26:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; James 4:8-10
unrighteous man
Heb. man of iniquity. his thoughts.
Genesis 6:5; Psalms 66:18; Jeremiah 4:14; Zechariah 8:17; Matthew 15:18,19; 23:25,26; Mark 7:21,23; Luke 11:39,40; Acts 8:21,22; James 1:15
43:25; 44:22; Exodus 34:6,7; Numbers 14:18,19; Psalms 51:1; 130:7; Jeremiah 3:12,13; Luke 7:47; Romans 5:16-21; Ephesians 1:6-8; 1 Timothy 1:15,16
Heb. multiply to.

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


Isa . Let the wicked forsake his way, &c.

God has done and is doing, in the work of Christ and in the work of the Holy Spirit, all that is needful for the salvation of every child of Adam, and having done this He now commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel. That man is able to turn to God and believe the Gospel is evident from the following considerations:—

II. Conversion to God is a duty required of man. Conversion is a command binding upon all men. God commands all men to turn to Himself. Is not man bound to obey the moment God calls? Every moment he refuses, he is adding to his rebellion and guilt. But if man cannot turn to God, he cannot obey the call, nor is he bound to obey; and consequently, he is not guilty of disobedience should he not turn. It is impossible to prove man's guilt in not being converted, and deny his ability to turn to God. Nothing could be more striking and remarkable than the words of Eze ; Eze 33:11. See also Act 3:19, "Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out;" or more properly, "Change your mind and turn, that your sins may be blotted out." To change the mind is the same as to make a new heart and a new spirit. And surely man can change his mind when God shows him something capable of working a change. Man can change his mind regarding anything he learns from man; and surely he can change his mind regarding what he learns from God. The words, "be converted" in this verse, ought to be simply "turn."

The former are destitute of objective ability; the latter of subjective ability, without both of which it is impossible to believe in Jesus. Any man who comes under one or other of these cases will never be punished for unbelief. This is plainly taught by our Lord, in Joh ; Joh 15:22-24. All those, therefore, who have the truth, the gospel, and the faculty—mind, are able to turn to God and believe in Jesus. God commands them to do so, and He will not command what is not duty; and that cannot be duty to a man which the man is not able to do. It is not a blind man's duty to see; nor a deaf man's to hear; no more is it the duty of man to believe if he cannot believe. Our Saviour frequently alludes to this very thought, when He so often says, "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear." And mark how He remonstrates with His disciples (Mar 8:18).—Johnston.

Conclusion.—What is your state? Have you believed on the Lord Jesus? Have you forsaken your evil ways and thoughts and turned to God? If so, happy are you; your sins are all forgiven; eternal life is yours. But if not, except you repent, &c., there is nothing for you but everlasting woe. Let me ask you: why have you not believed? Do you think you are unable? How strange that you should be able to believe man, and not be able to believe God! &c. "Awake, thou that sleepest," &c.—F. Johnston: The Work of God and Man in Conversion, pp. 110-124.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:7". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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