And in that day it will be said, "Surely this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
I. THE STATE OF THE CHOSEN PEOPLE. They will be in the joyous realization of long-awaited blessings. A brief strain from their hymn is given -
"Lo! here is our God! II. THE DOOM OF THE HEATHEN. Noah seems to stand for the heathen in general. Moab, as the proud foe of Israel (2 Kings 24:2; Ezekiel 28:8-11), shall be trampled down, swamped, and contend like a swimmer for his life. But his pride will be abased; his strong walls be cut down, even to the dust. So that hand, which is outspread beneficently, like the canopy of the broad sky, to protect and bless the chosen, may be clenched in threat and for vengeance upon the wicked. There are two senses in which that hand may "rest" upon us - lightly, as the father's hand rests on the head of a beloved child, to express affection, approval, and the promise of aid; or heavily, to punish, to overwhelm, to "turn our moisture into the drought of summer." To listen to the voice, to submit to the hand of the Eternal, - this is the expression of genuine piety. To writhe and struggle and resist the pressure of that hand, to turn a deaf ear to that voice, - this is the expression of hardness of heart and impiety, bringing certain punishment in its turn. "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts!" - J.
II. THE DOOM OF THE HEATHEN. Noah seems to stand for the heathen in general. Moab, as the proud foe of Israel (2 Kings 24:2; Ezekiel 28:8-11), shall be trampled down, swamped, and contend like a swimmer for his life. But his pride will be abased; his strong walls be cut down, even to the dust. So that hand, which is outspread beneficently, like the canopy of the broad sky, to protect and bless the chosen, may be clenched in threat and for vengeance upon the wicked. There are two senses in which that hand may "rest" upon us - lightly, as the father's hand rests on the head of a beloved child, to express affection, approval, and the promise of aid; or heavily, to punish, to overwhelm, to "turn our moisture into the drought of summer." To listen to the voice, to submit to the hand of the Eternal, - this is the expression of genuine piety. To writhe and struggle and resist the pressure of that hand, to turn a deaf ear to that voice, - this is the expression of hardness of heart and impiety, bringing certain punishment in its turn. "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts!" - J.
And it shall be said in that day, To, this is out God.
(H. P. Liddon, D. D.)
(H. P. Liddon, D. D.)
(H. P. Liddon, D. D.)
(H. P. Liddon, D. D.)I. Contemplate THE GLORIOUS OBJECT we are here invited to behold. "Lo, this is our God." The words express strong emotions of pleasure, admiration, and joy, arising from the merciful interpositions made in behalf of His people, whereby Jehovah manifested Himself present among them. Though God is invisible to our bodily eyes, we behold Him when we sensibly discern those visible effects which cannot be produced by any other than His omnipotent arm. There subsists between Him and us a reciprocal endearing relation, a mutual tender affection, a continued delightful intercourse, a most agreeable concord, and an intimate union of interest and design.
II. Consider THE BECOMING EXERCISE in which the Church was employed. "We have waited for Him." The repetition of the words plainly intimates the great earnestness and persevering diligence with which the saints had waited upon the Lord their God. This duty includes —
1. Earnest desire.
2. Lively expectation.
3. Holy serenity of mind (Lamentations 3:26; Isaiah 30:15). This sacred tranquillity of soul represses those uneasy disquietudes and tumultuous thoughts, which disturb the mind, and unfit for the right performance of this or any other duty. It composes the soul attentively to observe every symptom of the Divine approach, every appearance from which may be deduced favourable consequences, and every opportunity that ought to be diligently improved. It gives a seasonable check to that precipitation and haste which springs from uneasiness at our present condition, and from hurtful anxiety about immediate deliverance.
III. Attend to THE ASSURED CONFIDENCE in God which the Church expressed in these words: "He will save us." In every age they have viewed the Lord as their Saviour. Salvation from the hands of their enemies, which was doubtless primarily intended in the words before us, is employed as an image, to shadow out a salvation of an infinitely higher and more important nature.
IV. Examine THE CONSEQUENT RESOLUTION adopted by the Church. "We will be glad, and rejoice in His salvation." In this salvation, which is admirably suited to our character and circumstances, we ought to be glad and rejoice.
The Thinker.(1) In this lesson there is an interlacement of praise and prophecy.(2) The words "we have waited for Him," describe the posture of the Church at all times, but especially at this season. In the Old Testament, the Jews waited for the first coming of Christ. The light of the first prophecy became wider and brighter as the fulfilment drew nigh. The Church waits for the second coming.
I. WHAT DOES WAITING IMPLY?
1. Faith. Christians believe in the promise of His coming (1 Corinthians 1:7). Those who have reduced the Christian creed to its smallest dimensions have included in it the belief in Christ's second coming as Judge.
3. Patience (James 5:7).
II. WHY WAIT SO LONG?
1. The question was discussed in the Middle Ages. Why was the Incarnation so long delayed? Why was not the remedy at once applied to the disease? It is not for us to question the ways of God; but, although we accept them in the spirit of faith, yet, having done so, we should reverently exercise our reason, so far as we can, upon matters of faith.
2. One reason for this delay of the Incarnation is drawn from the condition of man. He had to be humiliated by a sense of his sinfulness in order that he might feel his need of a Deliverer. The remedy has not only to be vouchsafed, but to be accepted, and for this human pride must be broken down. We see the same providence in individual sinners as in a microcosm. God allows the prodigal to pursue his downward course until he is brought to his senses, and misery brings him to the turning point.
3. All delays in the approaches of God are for the sake of man that he might prepare to receive Him. The ministry of the Baptist is a visible setting forth of this need of preparation.
III. WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? "Lo, this is our God," etc.
1. That there is a primary reference to wonderful interventions of God on behalf of His people, whether in contemporary or subsequent deliverances, is admitted. Whatever may be the historic application, it cannot be more than a type of the full accomplishment of the prophecy in the Person of Christ. He alone "swallows up death in victory"; and "wipes away tears from off all faces."
2. The text is fulfilled by the Incarnation. "This is our God." It points to the mystery that our Lord is a Divine Person, and that therefore He can "save us." This stirs the hymn of joy, "We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." This is no mere temporal deliverance, but freedom from the powers of darkness — the salvation of the soul, pardon for sin, gift of grace, hope of glory; these deep inward gifts awaken such chords of praise in the redeemed, that all joy and thanksgiving for earthly deliverances are but a faint prelude to their exultation. The great mystery, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"; the great truth "Unto you is born a Saviour"; the great experience, "Ye were sometime darkness, now are ye light in the Lord;" — by these is fulfilled the blessed promise, that the veil of darkness and the wail of sorrow through Christ shall be done away, and the voice of rejoicing and salvation be in the tabernacles of the righteous.
1. The text impresses on us the right use of Advent as a season of preparation for the coming of Christ.
2. This preparation to consist in repentance for sin, and faith in Christ.
3. The words of the text express the joy of an earnest Christmas Communion. "This is our God; we have waited for Him"; for "he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me" (John 6:57).
4. They express also a true belief in the Incarnation, that realisation of the Divine and human united forever in the One Person of the Son of God, which thrilled the soul of St. Thomas when he cried out, "My Lord and my God!"
I. GOD KEEPS MEN WAITING.
I. Let us notice how true this is of the history of our race. The race is wrestling with a mighty sorrow. We look through the ages, and we see that every age has its burden of woe. We go among the diverse peoples of mankind, and we find that there is not a tribe which does not exhibit tokens of the strife. The eternal God has spoken, and His voice has told the world that the secret of the world's sorrow and strife and pain is the world's sin. And the honest conscience echoes back the truth of God. but the same Voice which tells the world of sin, tells also of a Saviour. But how long man had to wait before his hope was realised! And, even now that Christ has come, His advent proves to be, not some grand final stroke of triumph, but only the beginning of another waiting that, perhaps, must be longer still.
2. How true is this principle with respect to the history of the Church. God is fashioning to Himself a new race out of the ruins of the old. But think how the Church has had to wait.
3. How true is this same principle of the history of the nations. Each nation reproduces, on a smaller scale, the history of the race; and each has its burden and evil, each has its hope. But the nations likewise wait for their deliverance from thrall and pain. How impressive an example of waiting is the history of the Jews! Our England, too, is only gradually emerging from what it has been to what it shall be. So of the various nationalities of Europe, of the swarming multitudes of Asia, of the tribes of dark Africa, and the rest — who would dare to think that the goal of their history is reached!
4. But this principle is still further true in regard to individual men. Men of science, like Galileo; men of enterprise, like Columbus; men of letters, like Milton — these, who have done the most permanent work for the world, have often not been duly recognised as benefactors till they were gone. Does not our own spiritual history illustrate the same truth! How long it is, sometimes, before we reach a settled peace, an unquestioning faith; how long before we gain an established strength of purity, and are made perfect in love!
II. WHY DOES GOD KEEP MEN WAITING?
1. It is in accord with God's universal way of working, so far as we know. We could conceive of a universe in which everything should be immediate and final; but that is certainly not the method of our universe. The records of geology tell of the earth's slow development; the researches of biology attest the gradual unfolding of life; the annals of history show civilisation, science, and culture only progressing by degrees. So when God, in His providential and spiritual dealings with men, keeps them waiting, this is only in harmony with His general method and plan of work.
2. We must remember the bearing, on this subject, of man's own free will. Even when on God's part all is ready, this sometimes interferes to cause long delay.
3. Great moral purposes are served by God's law of waiting. It accomplishes a three-fold result: it is for the discipline of effort, of patience, of faith. Of course, we may fail to abide the test; but if we yield ourselves to it rightly, God's principle of delay tends to the working out of one or more of these results.
III. THE WAITING DOES END SOME TIME. Otherwise, the problem would be insoluble, the instincts of man's own nature would belie themselves, and the very government of God itself would be purposeless. And while, unless man's own perverseness frustrates God's designs, the waiting will end some time, it is suggested by these words of Isaiah that the deliverance, when it does come, will be a glad surprise. It is said that the poet Cowper, so much of whose life had been passed in bitter bondage, and who died at last in despair, wore on his face after death an expression of astonished joy. So it is true of the lesser deliverances of life, that God surprises His people at last with the swift removal of their fears, and with His more abundant benediction. And of the great deliverance which the day of God shall usher in at last, it is said, "As the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:27) — so sudden, so swift, so full! What a paean shall then be sung over a transfigured world!
(T. F. Lockyer, B. A.)I. NOTHING WILL INSPIRE US WITH JOY AND CONFIDENCE IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT BUT A REAL INTEREST IN JESUS CHRIST. I might go further, and say, that nothing but a good hope of an interest in Christ can give us real, abiding, exalted enjoyment in this life.
II. NONE WILL IN THAT DAY HAVE A REAL INTEREST IN JESUS CHRIST, AND CONSEQUENTLY WILL REJOICE IN HIS SALVATION, BUT THOSE WHO ARE NOW WAITING FOR HIS COMING. This expression of "waiting for Christ," or other expressions of a like meaning, are frequently used in the New Testament, as descriptive of the character of Christians.
1. To "wait for Christ," implies a firm belief of His second coming, and of the infinitely momentous consequences which will follow that event. The true Christian is one who "walks by faith, and not by sight."
2. To "wait for Christ" implies constant endeavour to be prepared for that event.
3. It implies a "patient continuance in well-doing."
(E. Cooper.)I. THE PERSON HERE CELEBRATED: who is made known to us in the prophet's description of Him, by His actions and by His names. The greatest wonder in this subject is the dignity of the Person who should submit to redeem His Church.
II. THE EXPECTATION OF HIS COMING. However strange it may appear, it is certainly true, that a Saviour was expected both by Jews and heathens, however they might be mistaken with regard to some particular circumstances.
III. THE WORKS THE SAVIOUR WAS TO PERFORM AT HIS COMING. The particulars are recounted in the course of the chapter (vers. 4, 6-8).
IV. With this hope we are to COMFORT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER. "We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." The day of His nativity was a blessed day: but what will that other day be! That will be our nativity; for then only we may be said to live, when the last enemy is conquered. When He shall appear again, He will appear as our life and we shall be clothed with His immortality.
(W. Jones, M. A.)I. THIS MAY BE SAID OF THE INCARNATION OF GOD. Emmanuel, God with us, in one word conveys the same truth. Christ came not fortuitously; He came not in a passing current of compassion; but with full, unshaken continuity of purpose (Galatians 4:4, 5).
II. IN THE ABIDING PRESENCE OF HIS SPIRIT can we most joyously exclaim, "Lo, this is our God."
III. Another intermediate sense in which we may consider Christ as coming to us — intermediate between His offering Himself up, and the bestowal of the influences of His Spirit — is THE FREE OFFER OF HIS GRACE IN THE GOSPEL.
IV. IN HIS EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT IN TIME.
1. Truly of Jerusalem might it be said, that not one stone was left upon another; and now she is not Jerusalem; though called still the Holy City, where is her glory? Where are her children!
2. On antichrist, too, the first shoot of present judgment has arisen.
3. Christ also comes to judgment in time, by many of what appeared to be temporal accidents.
4. And in His afflictions and deprivations He often judges the abuse of a possession, or deficient appreciation of it, and often in mercy executes this temporal judgment, in order that its effects upon the awakened conscience may obviate, and cause to be avoided, that dreadful punishment which knows no reversion.
V. In one sense, Christ has still to come. HE HAS TO COME TO FINAL JUDGMENT.
(I. Hutchin, M. A.)I. Let us consider WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY WAITING FOR GOD.
1. Almost innumerable instances might be referred to wherein the Jewish nation did evidently wait for God to be their salvation.
2. The same may be observed with regard to mankind in general.(1) The inseparable difficulties attending our situation as dependent creatures are sometimes of so severe and pressing a nature, attended with such intricate consequences, and even in the eye of human wisdom so plainly productive of fatal events, that reason will naturally show us the necessity of applying for relief from a power more unlimited than our own, and cannot, when properly improved, but teach us to make our appeal to that Supreme Being who disposeth all things according to the infallible counsel of His will.(2) And if we attend to the satisfactory instructions of revelation, this will not only show us the necessity of such a dependence, but also make us sensible of its usefulness and advantage.
II. IN WHAT RESPECTS WE MAY BE SAID TO HAVE WAITED FOR GOD.
III. THE NATURE OF THAT SALVATION WHICH HE HAS WROUGHT FOR US, and the beneficial tendency of such a deliverance.
IV. SOME USEFUL REFLECTIONS.
1. It is Our duty to acknowledge those favourable interpositions of Omnipotence, by which either national calamities are removed or national distress prevented.
2. It would be highly base and ungrateful not to rejoice in His salvation which He has so seasonably enabled us to obtain.
3. Consider what abundant advantages may arise, if we do not foolishly neglect to improve it, from the blessing of peace.
(R. P. Finch, M. A.)
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