Isaiah 7* Ahaz threatened by Israel and Syria; and is assured theirattack would be in vain. (1-9) God gives a sure sign by thepromise of the long-expected Messiah. (10-16) The folly and sinof seeking relief from Assyria are reproved. (17-25)1-9 Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad asthemselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gaveup all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not howto make him their friend. The prophet must teach them to despisetheir enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear,called them two powerful princes. No, says the prophet, they arebut tails of smoking firebrands, burnt out already. The twokingdoms of Syria and Israel were nearly expiring. While God haswork for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all beforethem; but when their work is fulfilled, they will beextinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable,is made the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evilcounsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns thescorners, and gives his word that the attempt should notsucceed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for thoseto be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were themselves nearto ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on the assurancesgiven them. Faith is absolutely necessary to quiet and composethe mind in trials. 10-16 Secret disaffection to God is often disguised with thecolour of respect to him; and those who are resolved that theywill not trust God, yet pretend they will not tempt him. Theprophet reproved Ahaz and his court, for the little value theyhad for Divine revelation. Nothing is more grievous to God thandistrust, but the unbelief of man shall not make the promise ofGod of no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. How greatsoever your distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to beborn, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you.It shall be brought to pass in a glorious manner; and thestrongest consolations in time of trouble are derived fromChrist, our relation to him, our interest in him, ourexpectations of him and from him. He would grow up like otherchildren, by the use of the diet of those countries; but hewould, unlike other children, uniformly refuse the evil andchoose the good. And although his birth would be by the power ofthe Holy Ghost, yet he should not be fed with angels' food. Thenfollows a sign of the speedy destruction of the princes, now aterror to Judah. "Before this child," so it may be read; "thischild which I have now in my arms," (Shear-jashub, the prophet'sown son, ver. #3|,) shall be three or four years older, theseenemies' forces shall be forsaken of both their kings. Theprophecy is so solemn, the sign is so marked, as given by Godhimself after Ahaz rejected the offer, that it must have raisedhopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested. And, ifthe prospect of the coming of the Divine Saviour was anever-failing support to the hopes of ancient believers, whatcause have we to be thankful that the Word was made flesh! Maywe trust in and love Him, and copy his example. 17-25 Let those who will not believe the promises of God,expect to hear the alarms of his threatenings; for who canresist or escape his judgments? The Lord shall sweep all away;and whomsoever he employs in any service for him, he will pay.All speaks a sad change of the face of that pleasant land. Butwhat melancholy change is there, which sin will not make with apeople? Agriculture would cease. Sorrows of every kind will comeupon all who neglect the great salvation. If we remainunfruitful under the means of grace, the Lord will say, Let nofruit grow on thee henceforth for ever.
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