Isaiah 57

* The blessed death of the righteous. (1,2) The abominable

idolatries of the Jewish nation. (3-12) Promises to the humble

and contrite. (13-21)

1,2 The righteous are delivered from the sting of death, not

from the stroke of it. The careless world disregards this. Few

lament it as a public loss, and very few notice it as a public

warning. They are taken away in compassion, that they may not

see the evil, nor share in it, nor be tempted by it. The

righteous man, when he dies, enters into peace and rest.
3-12 The Lord here calls apostates and hypocrites to appear

before him. When reproved for their sins, and threatened with

judgments, they ridiculed the word of God. The Jews were guilty

of idolatry before the captivity; but not after that affliction.

Their zeal in the worship of false gods, may shame our

indifference in the worship of the true God. The service of sin

is disgraceful slavery; those who thus debase themselves to

hell, will justly have their portion there. Men incline to a

religion that inflames their unholy passions. They are led to do

any evil, however great or vile, if they think it will atone for

crimes, or purchase indulgence for some favourite lust. This

explains idolatry, whether pagan, Jewish, or antichristian. But

those who set up anything instead of God, for their hope and

confidence, never will come to a right end. Those who forsake

the only right way, wander in a thousand by-paths. The pleasures

of sin soon tire, but never satisfy. Those who care not for the

word of God and his providences, show they have no fear of God.

Sin profits not; it ruins and destroys.
13-21 The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing;

but those who trust in God's grace, shall be brought to the joys

of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor

end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must

know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who

bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He

will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled,

in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long,

even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God.

Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake

the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son's

blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under

the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that

troubles cannot reform men unless God's grace work in them.

Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of

preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace

to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were

afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the

wicked would not be healed by God's grace, therefore would not

be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions

made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience

disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world

cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow

themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful

state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the

Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful

praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all

its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs

all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the

wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him,

and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.

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