Isaiah 40* The preaching of the gospel, and glad tidings of the coming ofChrist. (1-11) The almighty power of God. (12-17) The folly ofidolatry. (18-26) Against unbelief. (27-31)1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is themost so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles areremoved in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement ofthe death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the gloryof his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitentsreceive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for thesatisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. Theprophet had some reference to the return of the Jews fromBabylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointedout by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John theBaptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princesmarched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them,and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts bythe teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, thathigh and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desiresplanted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened,and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his willon earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are allthat belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as thegrass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles andpossessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him undercondemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which allflesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were tobe sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong manarmed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, anddo all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he showstender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of asorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, andby his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he willstrengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, andfollow him, proving ourselves his sheep. 12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison withthe Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, nonedirected his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it.The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remainsin the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the smalldust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with allthe earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, thoughit is of such small account and value with him, yet, for theredemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, #Joh 3:16|. Theservices of the church can make no addition to him. Our soulsmust have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father hadnot given himself for us. 18-26 Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more thanGod, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not makeimages or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcelya sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own.They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent inthe service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, theprophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorantof this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of allcreatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us touse our reason as well as our senses; to consider who createdthe hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one failsto fulfil his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all thepromises, and engaged to perform them. 27-31 The people of God are reproved for their unbelief anddistrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob andIsrael, from one who found God faithful to him in all hisstraits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant withHim. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish beforeinquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise inour minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they hadknown, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fearsand distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he willperfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him,help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In thestrength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above theworld. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully.Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If wego forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall;but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall becarried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold ofthe prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
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