Isaiah 28* The desolations of Samaria. (1-4) The prosperity of Judah;with reproofs for sinfulness and unbelief. (5-15) Christ ispointed out as the sure Foundation for all believers. (16-22)God's dealings with his people. (23-29)1-4 What men are proud of, be it ever so mean, is to them as acrown; but pride is the forerunner of destruction. How foolishlydrunkards act! Those who are overcome with wine are overcome bySatan; and there is not greater drudgery in the world than harddrinking. Their health is ruined; men are broken in theircallings and estates, and their families are ruined by it. Theirsouls are in danger of being undone for ever, and all merely togratify a base lust. In God's professing people, like Israel, itis worse than in any other. And he is just in taking away theplenty they thus abuse. The plenty they were proud of, is but afading flower. Like the early fruit, which, as soon asdiscovered, is plucked and eaten. 5-15 The prophet next turns to Judah, whom he calls the residueof his people. Happy are those alone, who glory in the Lord ofhosts himself. Hence his people get wisdom and strength forevery service and every conflict. But it is only in Christ Jesusthat the holy God communicates with sinful man. And whetherthose that teach are drunk with wine, or intoxicated with falsedoctrines and notions concerning the kingdom and salvation ofthe Messiah, they not only err themselves, but lead multitudesastray. All places where such persons have taught are filledwith errors. For our instruction in the things of God, it isneedful that the same precept and the same line should be oftenrepeated to us, that we may the better understand them. God, byhis word, calls us to what is really for our advantage; theservice of God is the only true rest for those weary of theservice of sin, and there is no refreshment but under the easyyoke of the Lord Jesus. All this had little effect upon thepeople. Those who will not understand what is plain, but scornand despise it as mean and trifling, are justly punished. If weare at peace with God, we have, in effect, made a covenant withdeath; whenever it comes, it cannot do us any real damage, if weare Christ's. But to think of making death our friend, while bysin we are making God our enemy, is absurd. And do not they makelies their refuge who trust in their own righteousness, or to adeath-bed repentance? which is a resolution to sin no more, whenit is no longer in their power to do so. 16-22 Here is a promise of Christ, as the only foundation ofhope for escaping the wrath to come. This foundation was laid inZion, in the eternal counsels of God. This foundation is astone, firm and able to support his church. It is a tried stone,a chosen stone, approved of God, and never failed any who madetrial of it. A corner stone, binding together the wholebuilding, and bearing the whole weight; precious in the sight ofthe Lord, and of every believer; a sure foundation on which tobuild. And he who in any age or nation shall believe thistestimony, and rest all his hopes, and his never-dying soul onthis foundation, shall never be confounded. The right effect offaith in Christ is, to quiet and calm the soul, till eventsshall be timed by Him, who has all times in his own hand andpower. Whatever men trust to for justification, except therighteousness of Christ; or for wisdom, strength, and holiness,except the influences of the Holy Ghost; or for happiness,except the favour of God; that protection in which they thoughtto shelter themselves, will prove not enough to answer theintention. Those who rest in a righteousness of their own, willhave deceived themselves: the bed is too short, the covering toonarrow. God will be glorified in the fulfilling of his counsels.If those that profess to be members of God's church, makethemselves like Philistines and Canaanites, they must expect tobe dealt with as such. Then dare not to ridicule the reproofs ofGod's word, or the approaches of judgements. 23-29 The husbandman applies to his calling with pains andprudence, in all the works of it according to their nature. Thusthe Lord, who has given men this wisdom, is wonderful incounsel, and excellent in his working. As the occasion requires,he threatens, corrects, spares, shows mercy, or executesvengeance. Afflictions are God's threshing instruments, toloosen us from the world, to part between us and our chaff, andto prepare us for use. God will proportion them to our strength;they shall be no heavier than there is need. When his end isanswered, the trials and sufferings of his people shall cease;his wheat shall be gathered into the garner, but the chaff shallbe burned with unquenchable fire.
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