Isaiah 29

* Judgements on Jerusalem and on its enemies. (1-8) The

senselessness and hypocrisy of the Jews. (9-16) The conversion

of the Gentiles, and future blessings for the Jews. (17-24)

1-8 Ariel may signify the altar of burnt-offerings. Let

Jerusalem know that outward religious services will not make men

free from judgements. Hypocrites never can please God, nor make

their peace with him. God had often and long, by a host of

angels, encamped round about Jerusalem for protection and

deliverance; but now he fought against it. Proud looks and proud

language shall be brought down by humbling providences. The

destruction of Jerusalem's enemies is foretold. The army of

Sennacherib went as a dream; and thus the multitudes, that

through successive ages fight against God's altar and worship,

shall fall. Speedily will sinners awake from their soothing

dreams in the pains of hell.
9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for

lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said

that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged

their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man,

learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple

heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth

and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if

the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of

it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is

lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they

are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God

of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only

formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with

custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of

mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden,

are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God,

so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a

pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that

quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from

him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse

conduct shall be entirely done away.
17-24 The wonderful change here foretold, may refer to the

affairs of Judah, though it looks further. When a great harvest

of souls was gathered to Christ from among the Gentiles, then

the wilderness was turned into a fruitful field; and the Jewish

church, that had long been a fruitful field, became as a

deserted forest. Those who, when in trouble, can truly rejoice

in God, shall soon have cause greatly to rejoice in him. The

grace of meekness contributes to the increase of our holy joy.

The enemies who were powerful shall become mean and weak. To

complete the repose of God's people, the scorners at home shall

be cut off by judgements. All are apt to speak unadvisedly, and

to mistake what they hear, but it is very unfair to make a man

an offender for a word. They did all they could to bring those

into trouble who told them of their faults. But He that redeemed

Abraham out of his snares and troubles, will redeem those who

are, by faith, his true seed, out of theirs. It will be the

greatest comfort to godly parents to see their children renewed

creatures, the work of God's grace. May those who now err in

spirit, and murmur against the truth, come to understanding, and

learn true doctrine. The Spirit of truth shall set right their

mistakes, and lead them into all truth. This should encourage us

to pray for those that have erred, and are deceived. All who

murmured at the truths of God, as hard sayings, shall learn and

be aware what God designed in all. See the change religion

produces in the hearts of men, and the peace and pleasure of a

humble and devout spirit.

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