Isaiah 49* The unbelief and rejection of the Jews. (1-6) Gracious promiseto the Gentiles. (7-12) God's love to the church. (13-17) Itsincrease. (18-23) And deliverance. (24-26)1-6 The great Author of redemption shows the authority for hiswork. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, andall at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience;but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays tohim for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never manspake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain.And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel willnot be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise isin part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish indarkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy andhappy. 7-12 The Father is the Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One ofIsrael, as sending the Son to be the Redeemer. Man, whom he cameto save, put contempt upon him. To this he submitted for oursalvation. He is a pledge for all the blessings of the covenant;in him God was reconciling the world to himself. Pardoning mercyis a release from the curse of the law; renewing grace is arelease from the dominion of sin: both are from Christ. He saithto those in darkness, Show yourselves. Not only see, but beseen, to the glory of God, and your own comforts. Though thereare difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God willcarry us over them, and make even the mountains a way. Thisdenotes the free invitations and the encouraging promises of thegospel, and the outpouring of the Spirit. 13-17 Let there be universal joy, for God will have mercy uponthe afflicted, because of his compassion; upon his afflicted,because of his covenant. We have no more reason to question hispromise and grace, than we have to question his providence andjustice. Be assured that God has a tender affection for hischurch and people; he would not have them to be discouraged.Some mothers do neglect their children; but God's compassions tohis people, infinitely exceed those of the tenderest parentstoward 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 hisransomed flock, we may be sure that he will never forsake us.Let us then give diligence to make our calling and electionsure, and rejoice in the hope and glory of God. 18-23 Zion is addressed as an afflicted widow, bereaved of herchildren. Numbers flock to her, and she is assured that theycome to be a comfort to her. There are times when the church isdesolate and few in number; yet its desolations shall not lastfor ever, and God will repair them. God can raise up friends forreturning Israelites, even among Gentiles. They shall bringtheir children, and make them thy children. Let all dealtenderly and carefully with young converts and beginners inreligion. Princes shall protect the church. It shall appear thatGod is the sovereign Lord of all. And those who in the exerciseof faith, hope, and patience, wait on God for the fulfilment ofhis promises, shall never be confounded. 24-26 We were lawful captives to the justice of God, yetdelivered by a price of unspeakable value. Here is an expresspromise: Even the prey of the terrible shall be delivered. Wemay here view Satan deprived of his prey, bound and cast intothe pit; and all the powers that have combined to enslave,persecute, or corrupt the church, are destroyed; that all theearth may know that our Saviour and Redeemer is Jehovah, themighty One of Jacob. And every effort we make to rescue ourfellow-sinners from the bondage of Satan, is, in some degree,helping forward that great change.
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