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length depart not only from Israel but from Judah also ; the favour and protection of the Lord must be utterly withdrawn from Jerusalem. ' And first of all, evil would come on them from that very quarter, to which Ahaz was inclined to look for help in his present jeopardy, instead of trusting in the help of the Lord. * The Lord shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah ; even the king of Assyria." Out of Egypt too would God summon an enemy to avenge his cause; that Egypt to which his people, in despite of his commands, were so apt to resort for friends; that Egypt out of fondness for whose worldly comforts they had from the first been disposed to undervalue their own promised land.
The extent to which the country would be emptied of its inhabitants, when shorn by the king of Assyria, as by a sharp razor, is next described, in various remarkable particulars. The land being still fertile, and the people few, they would have plenty of that kind of food, which least depends upon the husbandry of man. The Assyrians would have carried off their flocks and herds, together with the multitude of the people, so that no one would be likely to possess more than one cow and two sheep. Yet the pasturage being wider in the depopulated land, these would give their owner wabundance of milk.” Honey also would abound as usual. For “the bee that is in the land of Assyria,” whom the Lord would fetch for the chastisement of his people, would wage war with men, and make spoil of cattle, but would not rob the land of those resources for man's refreshment, which God has contrived to provide abundantly, by the diligence of one of the least but most remarkable of his creatures. As to the vineyards, for lack of hands to cultivate them, even the most valuable would be overrun with “briers and thorns.” And by reason of the wild beasts frequenting them, it would not be safe to go thither unarmed. Only to those few spots which might be cleared by cultivation this fear would not extend. And only in such places might the remnant of sheep and oxen still be in safety pastured.
Such were the evils hereafter to be brought upon Judah, by that nation, to which Ahaz now resorted for defence. Such is the common consequence of trusting in the world, for that help, which is to be found only in the Lord. Let those who have tried it answer truly, and they cannot fail to own, that in all its plenty is desolation, in all its sweetness woe. Selfishness is the character of the worldly. To be deceived; betrayed, and ruined, is the lot of those who trust in the world. The help which it affords is made the means of establishing the bondage at which it aims. And the deluded sinner, who by faith in things unseen, might have enjoyed liberty and life, having chosen instead to make the world his friend, spends the days of his sojourning on earth in fear and trembling, lonely in the midst of multitudes, and whilst yet amongst the living, dead.
That Assyria would soon spoil both Israel and Judah. i Moreover the Lord said unto the word, and it shall not stand : me, Take thee a great roll, and for God is with us. write iu it with a man's pen con- 11 For the Lord spake thus to cerning Mahershalal-hash-baz. me with a strong hand, and in
2 And I took upto me faithful structed me that I should not walk witnesses to record, Uriah the in the way of this people, saying, priest, and Zechariah the son of 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, Jeberechiah.
to all them to whom this people 3 And I went unto the pro- shall say, A confederacy; neiphetess; and she conceived, and ther fear ye their fear, nor be bare a son. Then said the LORD afraid. to me, Call his name Maher- 13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts shalal-hash-baz.
himself; and let him be your 4 For before the child shall fear, and let him be your dread. have knowledge to cry, My fa- 14 And he shall be for a sancther, and my mother, the riches tuary; but for a stone of stumof Damascus and the spoil of bling and for a rock of offence Samaria shall be taken away to both the houses of Israel, for before the king of Assyria. a gin and for a snare to the in
5 The Lord spake also unto habitants of Jerusalem. me again, saying,
15 And many among them 6 Forasmuch as this people shall stumble, and fall, and be brorefuseth the waters of Shiloah ken, and be snared, and be taken. that go softly, and rejoice in 16 Bind up the testimony, seal Rezin and Remaliah's son ; the law among my disciples.
7 Now therefore, behold, the 17 And I will wait upon the Lord bringeth up upon them Lord, that hideth his face from the waters of the river, strong the house of Jacob, and I will and many, even the king of As- look for him. syria, and all his glory: and he 18 Behold, I and the children shall come up over all his chan- whom the Lord hath given me nels, and go over all his banks : are for signs and for wonders in 8 And he shall pass through Israel from the Lord of hosts, Judah ; he shall overflow and which dwelleth in mount Zion. go over, he shall reach even to
19 And when they shall say the neck; and the stretching out unto you, Seek unto them that of his wings shall fill the breadth have familiar spirits, and unto of thy land, O Immanuel. wizards that peep, and that
9 Associate yourselves, O ye mutter : should not a people people, and ye shall be broken seek unto their God ? for the in pieces; and give ear, all ye living to the dead? of 'far countries : gird your
20 To the law and to the tesselves, and ye shall be broken timony: if they speak not acin pieces; gird yourselves, and cording to this word, it is beye shall be broken in pieces. cause there is no light in them.
10 Take counsel together, and 21 And they shall pass through it shall come to nought; speak it, hardly bestead and hungry:
and it shall come to pass, that 22 And they shall look unto when they shall be hungry, they the earth ; and behold trouble shall fret themselves, and curse and darkness, dimness of antheir king and their God, and guish; and they shall be driven look upward.
to darkness. LECTURE 1107.
Of abiding by the written word of God. The words which Isaiah was commanded to write on a great roll, and by which he afterwards named his son, mean, as we learn in the margin of the Bible, “ Make speed to the spoil, hasten to the prey.”. Both the writing attested by two witnesses, and the name by which the child was called, would be evidences of the prediction here set down. And not only should Samaria, the kingdom of the ten tribes, be spoiled by the Assyrians, but further this great river would overflow Judah also. It would reach even to the neck ;” as we know it did in the time of Hezekiah, when all the land was overrun by the Assyrians, and only Jerusalem escaped. Strange that this harm should happen to that which the prophet calls, “thy land, O Immanuel.” Strange if it were not for the sin of the Lord's people. Yet shall not their enemies triumph in the end. The deliverance of Jerusalem from the hand of the Assyrians, in the time of Hezekiah, may serve for a true token to us, that no power of man, no malice of the devil, shall ever prevail against the church of God.
The prophet, in the spirit, defies the foes of Immanuel's land. For the Lord, he states, had so instructed him, to fear no confederacy of man, but to fear the Lord, and to have Him in holy awe. And God would prove, as He has proved in Christ Jesus, a sanctuary of safety to the faithful, and a stone of stumbling to the unbelieving. See 1 Pet. 2. 8. All depended on the deference paid to the testimony of the law and of the prophets. And Isaiah' for his part resolves, that he will wait with patience and with faith, however long it might please God to hide away his face ; thankful to think, that he and his children were privileged to be signs unto the people of the Lord. But as for the people, they were apt to resort to the delusions of false religion. Them therefore he refers, “ to the law and to the testimony;" warning them, that if they desert these guides, they must wander in darkness, and destitution, in the murmurs of discontent and anguish, both as towards God, and towards man. And these things are not spoken by the prophet only. We find at least a part of this passage applied in the Epistle to the Hebrews as spoken by our Saviour Christ. See Heb. 2. 18. hence justly conceive, that we are acting according to his will, in rejecting all man's devices in religion, and in holding, that if any speak and teach not according to the written word, it is because there is no light in them.”
And we may
The birth and titles of the Messiah. i Nevertheless the dimness 9 And all the people shall shall not be such as was in her know, even Ephraim and the vexation, when at the first he inhabitant of Samaria, that say in lightly afflicted the land of Ze- the pride and stoutness of heart, bulun and the land of Naphtali, 10 The bricks are fallen down, and afterward did more griev- but we will build with hewn ously afflict her by the way of stones : the sycomores are cut the sea, beyond Jordan, in Ga- down, but we will change them lilee of the nations.
into cedars. 2 The people that walked in 11 Therefore the LORD shall darkness have seen
a great set up the adversaries of Rezin light: they that dwell in the against him, and join his eneland of the shadow of death, mies together; upon them bath the light shined. 12 The Syrians before, and
3 Thou hast multiplied the the Philistines behind; and they nation, and not increased the shall devour Israel with open joy: they joy before thee ac- mouth. For all this his anger cording to the joy in harvest, is not turned away, but his hand and as men rejoice when they is stretched out still. divide the spoil.
13 For the people turneth not 4 For thou hast broken the unto him that smiteth them, yoke of his burden, and the staff neither do they seek the Lord of his shoulder, the rod of his op- of hosts. pressor, as in the day of Midian. 14 Therefore the LORD will cut
5 For every battle of the war- off from Israel head and tail, rior is with confused noise, and branch and rush, in one day. garments rolled in blood, but 15 The ancient and honourthis shall be with burning and able, he is the head ; and the fuel of fire.
prophet that teacheth lies, he is 6 For unto us a child is born, the tail. unto us a son is given : and the 16 For the leaders of this peogovernment shall be upon his ple cause them to err; and they shoulder: and his name shall that are led of them are debe called Wonderful, Counsellor, stroyed. The mighty God, The everlast- 17 Therefore the LORD shall ing Father, the Prince of Peace. have no joy in their young men,
Of the increase of his go- neither shall have mercy on vernment and peace there shall their fatherless and widows: for be no end, upon the throne of every one is an hypocrite and David, and upon his kingdom, an evildoer, and every mouth to order it, and to establish it speaketh folly. For all this his with judgment and with justice anger is not turned away, but from henceforth even for ever. his hand is stretched out still. The zeal of the LORD of hosts 18 For wickedness burneth as will perform this.
the fire : it shall devour the 8 The LORD sent a word into briers and thorns, and shall Jacob, and it hath lighted upon kindle in the thickets of the Israel.
forest, and they shall mount up
like the lifting up of smoke. and they shall not be satisfied: 19 Through the wrath of the they shall eat every man the LORD of hosts is the land dark- flesh of his own arm : ened, and the people shall be 21 Manasseh, Ephraim ; and as the fuel of the fire: no man Ephraim, Manasseh : and they shall spare his brother.
together shall be against Judah. 20 And he shall snatch on the For all this his
anger right hand, and be hungry; and turned away, but his hand is he shall eat on the left hand, stretched out still.
Our redemption by Christ Jesus. How wonderfully do mercy and justice meet together in God's word, even as in Himself !' In the midst of the desolation denounced against Samaria, what joy to the affrighted people to be told, that on them should shine the light of the Messiah's kingdom ! But first they must undergo the judgments set forth in the latter portion of this chapter. And after each of these woes denounced, as well as after that mentioned in connexion at the beginning of the next chapter, it is added, " For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." Yet in this benighted region did the light of the Gospel, as here foretold, first shed its glorious rays. In “ the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphthali” did Christ first do his mighty works, and preach his precious word. Though God had in course of time renewed the numbers of the people, He had not increased the joy;" until the shining of this light sprung up, to fill their hearts with gladness. But then was broken the yoke of their captivity, the rod of their oppression; and that, no less plainly by almighty power than in the great defeat of the Midianites by Gideon ; see Judg. 7. 19; that, no less thoroughly than as when the weapons of an enemy discomfited are all consumed by fire. See Ps. 46. 9. Ezek. 39.
But what is the manner of deliverance here spoken of? Who is this mighty Saviour ? - Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Redemption by Christ Jesus, this is the true light, and joy, and glory, not only of Israel but of Judah also, not only of Israel and of Judah, but also of all mankind. Redemption by Christ Jesus. He is the child here spoken of, the child of Mary, the Son of God; “ Wonderful,” to be admired and adored; Counsellor," to be consulted, and obeyed; "the mighty God,” being ever One with “ The everlasting Father;" “ The Prince of Peace,” having made our peace with God. And his is the “government and peace,” the rule and reconciliation, the dominion of love divine, of which there is no end; his the throne of David, to reign over God's people in righteousness for evermore, - The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Thanks be to Thee, O God, for having already done so much in the redemption of thy people ! Thanks be to Thee for the pledge thus given us, that Thou wilt in thy due season perfect all!