he 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)
Verses 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
Verses 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.
Verses 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.
Verses 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.
Verses 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.