The Glorification of Civic Life
Isaiah 49:4
Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD…

Think of the worth and greatness of a human life in that elect society and holy city which is the servant of God. If the corporate consciousness of the city should become a judgment and recompense with God; if the sense of God and His holy presence should envelop the whole city in its power, and reach every man in it, even as the morning light comes into every home; if the city should awake with God; if, throughout the day, in the mind of the city, the thought of God should have its dwelling-place, and if in the government of the people the law of God should have its throne; if some awe of the Divine righteousness should pervade the business of the city, and some deep sense of Divine blessedness, like a fountain of life, should well up and abound in the happiness of the city, and some greatness of the Divine purpose should enlarge all the work of the city, and make the least faithfulness a service of God; if some peace of the Divine eternity should rest upon all life's changes in the city, and the hope of some Divine event bend over every new-made grave, and the comfort of some Divine omnipresence fill as with an all-pervasive love every heart in the city that had been left in loneliness of grief; — if, in one word, a whole city should become, what Isaiah beheld in the far future, a city of God, a Messianic city, the elect servant of God, — think you that in that city "Sought out, a city not forsaken," any human life could seem to be a life for nought, and its labour in vain? — a worthless thing to be trodden under foot, or only a moment's flash of pleasure? — a life not to be prized and kept as a sacred, immortal trust? Would not every least life in a city of God, full of the consciousness of God, become a life of moral worth, a birth into an immortal consciousness, a part in some universal good, a fellowship with something celestial, an anticipation and a share in some eternal triumph and joy of life?

(N. Smyth, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

WEB: But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely the justice [due] to me is with Yahweh, and my reward with my God."

The Complaint for Frustrated Aims
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