Isaiah 1

** Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and

Hezekiah. He has been well called the evangelical prophet, on

account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the

coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings

and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of his

kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah

points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected

by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without

alluding at the same time to the other; nay, he is often so much

enraptured with the prospect of the more distant deliverance, as

to lose sight of that which was nearer, and to dwell on the

Messiah's person, office, character, and kingdom.

* The corruptions prevailing among the Jews. (1-9) Severe

censures. (10-15) Exhortations to repentance. (16-20) The state

of Judah is lamented; with gracious promises of the gospel

times. (21-31)

1-9 Isaiah signifies, "The salvation of the Lord;" a very

suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus

the Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did not

know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to

God's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in

the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in

religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should

know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken

from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be

mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the

meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no

good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul.

Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam's

fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature.

While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing

these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was

exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to

guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East,

where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people.

But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem.

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evil

nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying

Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.
10-15 Judea was desolate, and their cities burned. This

awakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if they

would bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave to

go on in their sin. Many who will readily part with their

sacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. They

relied on the mere form as a service deserving a reward. The

most costly devotions of wicked people, without thorough

reformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God. He

not only did not accept them, but he abhorred them. All this

shows that sin is very hateful to God. If we allow ourselves in

secret sin, or forbidden indulgences; if we reject the salvation

of Christ, our very prayers will become abomination.
16-20 Not only feel sorrow for the sin committed, but break off

the practice. We must be doing, not stand idle. We must be doing

the good the Lord our God requires. It is plain that the

sacrifices of the law could not atone, even for outward national

crimes. But, blessed be God, there is a Fountain opened, in

which sinners of every age and rank may be cleansed. Though our

sins have been as scarlet and crimson, a deep dye, a double dye,

first in the wool of original corruption, and afterwards in the

many threads of actual transgression; though we have often

dipped into sin, by many backslidings; yet pardoning mercy will

take out the stain, #Ps 51:7|. They should have all the

happiness and comfort they could desire. Life and death, good

and evil, are set before us. O Lord, incline all of us to live

to thy glory.
21-31 Neither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to their

trust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine like

silver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have the

colour of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for, who do

not help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much by

outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the

influences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the

worst captivity, the worst slavery. The redemption of the

spiritual Zion, by the righteousness and death of Christ, and by

his powerful grace, most fully accord with what is here meant.

Utter ruin is threatened. The Jews should become as a tree when

blasted by heat; as a garden without water, which in those hot

countries would soon be burned up. Thus shall they be that trust

in idols, or in an arm of flesh. Even the strong man shall be as

tow; not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easily

catching fire. When the sinner has made himself as tow and

stubble, and God makes himself as a consuming fire, what can

prevent the utter ruin of the sinner?

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