Isaiah 49

* The unbelief and rejection of the Jews. (1-6) Gracious promise

to the Gentiles. (7-12) God's love to the church. (13-17) Its

increase. (18-23) And deliverance. (24-26)

1-6 The great Author of redemption shows the authority for his

work. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, and

all at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience;

but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays to

him for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never man

spake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain.

And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel will

not be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise is

in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in

darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and

7-12 The Father is the Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One of

Israel, as sending the Son to be the Redeemer. Man, whom he came

to save, put contempt upon him. To this he submitted for our

salvation. He is a pledge for all the blessings of the covenant;

in him God was reconciling the world to himself. Pardoning mercy

is a release from the curse of the law; renewing grace is a

release from the dominion of sin: both are from Christ. He saith

to those in darkness, Show yourselves. Not only see, but be

seen, to the glory of God, and your own comforts. Though there

are difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God will

carry us over them, and make even the mountains a way. This

denotes the free invitations and the encouraging promises of the

gospel, and the outpouring of the Spirit.
13-17 Let there be universal joy, for God will have mercy upon

the afflicted, because of his compassion; upon his afflicted,

because of his covenant. We have no more reason to question his

promise and grace, than we have to question his providence and

justice. Be assured that God has a tender affection for his

church and people; he would not have them to be discouraged.

Some mothers do neglect their children; but God's compassions to

his people, infinitely exceed those of the tenderest parents

toward their children. His setting them as a mark on his hand,

or a seal upon his arm, denotes his being ever mindful of them.

As far as we have scriptural evidence that we belong to his

ransomed flock, we may be sure that he will never forsake us.

Let us then give diligence to make our calling and election

sure, and rejoice in the hope and glory of God.
18-23 Zion is addressed as an afflicted widow, bereaved of her

children. Numbers flock to her, and she is assured that they

come to be a comfort to her. There are times when the church is

desolate and few in number; yet its desolations shall not last

for ever, and God will repair them. God can raise up friends for

returning Israelites, even among Gentiles. They shall bring

their children, and make them thy children. Let all deal

tenderly and carefully with young converts and beginners in

religion. Princes shall protect the church. It shall appear that

God is the sovereign Lord of all. And those who in the exercise

of faith, hope, and patience, wait on God for the fulfilment of

his promises, shall never be confounded.
24-26 We were lawful captives to the justice of God, yet

delivered by a price of unspeakable value. Here is an express

promise: Even the prey of the terrible shall be delivered. We

may here view Satan deprived of his prey, bound and cast into

the pit; and all the powers that have combined to enslave,

persecute, or corrupt the church, are destroyed; that all the

earth may know that our Saviour and Redeemer is Jehovah, the

mighty One of Jacob. And every effort we make to rescue our

fellow-sinners from the bondage of Satan, is, in some degree,

helping forward that great change.

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