Isaiah 62:1


Let us assume that Jehovah is the Speaker, and that he utters this oracle in a time of darkness and despondency. What is expressed is the intense passion, if we may so say, of God for the realization of his ideas in the world. The prophet fears not to use the boldest anthropomorphic imagery in setting forth this view of God.

I. THE IRREPRESSIBLE DESIRES AND PURPOSES OF THE ETERNAL. He will not be silent nor will he rest. In dark times it seems that God is refraining himself, putting a restraint upon his lips, holding his peace, etc. Four times in the latter portion of Isaiah that thought occurs (Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 57:11; Isaiah 64:12; Isaiah 65:6). When impiety and oppression are rampant, the wicked exclaim, "How doth God know?" and the righteous, "Why is he silent?" And yet there should befears and scruples on both sides. Silence and reserve need not mean indifference. Nor would the voice of the Eternal be so impressive were it not for the long spaces of silence that lie between. Sooner or later he will uprouse himself, and his mighty voice will go forth, and there will be a turn in affairs.

II. THE IDEAL ON WHICH HE HAS SET HIS HEART. It is the glory of the ideal Jerusalem, the spiritual city of God, or his Church.

1. The glory of righteousness and salvation. The two terms seem here nearly to denote the same thing. Negatively, freedom from all external calamity and from all internal impurity; positively, attainment of all prosperity and all moral rectitude. This is to be an all-pervading brilliance, or a torch carried far from hand to hand.

2. The beauty of holiness. "Crown of adorning in Jehovah's hand," or "diadem of royalty," shall she be. All the associations of forsakenness, desolation, and widowhood shall pass away, and be replaced by those of nuptial beauty and joy. Her name shall be exchanged for a new one, i.e. her afflicted for a glorious condition.

III. THE ANGELIC MINISTRY. Angelic watchers are on the walls of the city, incessantly engaged in intercession. The idea of them is that of mediatorial beings. Here they intercede with Jehovah that he will raise the city (or Church) to her proper renown among the nations of the earth. And an answer to the prayer seems indicated, when Jehovah swears that the harvest and the vintage shall no more be pillaged by her foes. - J.









For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace.
(vers. 1-12): — The words of the great Deliverer are continued from the foregoing chapter.

1. He will not rest until the glorious change in the condition of His people is accomplished (ver. 1).

2. They shall be recognized by kings and nations as the people of Jehovah (vers. 2, 3).

3. She who seemed to be forsaken is still His spouse (vers. 4, 5).

4. The Church is required to watch and pray for the fulfilment of the promise (vers. 6, 7).

5. God has sworn to protect her and supply her wants (vers. 8, 9).

6. Instead of a single nation, all the nations of the earth shall flow into her (ver. ,10).

7. The good news of salvation shall no longer be confined, but universally diffused (ver. 11).

8. The glory of the Church is the redemption of the world (ver. 12).

(J. A. Alexander.)

"For Zion's sake I shall not be silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest, until her righteousness breaks forth like morning-splendour, and her salvation like a burning torch."

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

I. THE PRESENT IMPLIED OBSCURITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. "The righteous One and the Saviour" (Vulgate). Whenever the righteous One and Saviour are hidden there is obscurity.

II. HER ANTICIPATED GLORY. The burning lamp is a symbol of the presence of Jehovah. Jesus is termed "the brightness of His Father's glory and the express image of His person." Connect both the figures in the text. The Sun of Righteousness shall go forth like the light of the morning.

1. Manifestly. Light maketh manifest.

2. Irresistibly, as the light of the morning.

3. Universally. As all the earth turns to the sun, all are visited by the morning light. "Righteousness shall go forth as brightness" in all the earth.

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE WORK IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. "For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest." Some think these are expressions of Jehovah. Correct or not, it is a Scriptural truth; it has long lain near the heart of God! Others, that Jesus is the speaker. The world is His purchased property, but His own world received him not. Yet the Father has pledged Himself to vindicate His right: "Ask of me." The most common opinion is that these words are Isaiah's, as a man of God and as a minister of God. It is proper to be used by all who mention the name of the Lord. Human agency, then, is the means employed. In providence God helps man by man. In grace the same. The Word of God is to be carried and held forth as light. The text indicates the manner also.

1. It shall be consistent — prayer and exertion. "Not hold my peace, not rest."

2. Affectionate exertions also — from a principle of love. "For Zion's sake."

3. Persevering. "Until the righteousness go forth."

(J. Summerfield, M. A.)

I. THE BLESSING OF THE GOSPEL AS APPLIED TO YOUR OWN SOULS. Two inclusive blessings, righteousness and salvation.

II. THE EXTENSION OF THIS BLESSING THROUGHOUT THE EARTH. It is evident that it is in the promise of God that it shall be so, because it is made the subject of the persevering intercession of Christ. "For Zion's sake will I," etc.

III. THE GROUND OF OUR ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE EXTENSION OF THIS BLESSING. What can be stronger? It is the grace of the intercession of the Son of God.

(C. Bridges, M. A.)

(with vers. 6, 7): —

I. THE CAUSE OF DIVINE UNREST. The needs of the Church, Zion; the condition of the city, Jerusalem. It is in the lack of "righteousness," the need of "salvation." This is still true of our Churches and cities. The sin is pro. found, the sorrow unfathomable. Yet there is not total darkness. There is twilight; but all the Divine yearning is, that the twilight may brighten into noon.

II. THE NATURE OF THIS DIVINE UNREST. It is not chiefly that of indignation at wrong, but it is the unrest of anxiety for others, the unrest of pity. It is —

1. Unselfish.

2. Universal. Even God will share it.

III. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS DIVINE UNREST.

1. In loud human proclamation of the truth.

2. In prayer to God.

3. In God's unrest, in which He gives Jesus to save and bless. Christ's piercing cry of grief, "O Jerusalem," utters the unrest in God. Learn —(1) The remedy for all the unrest of the universe. "Righteousness," "Salvation."(2) The opportunity good men have for communion with God. Be unhappy because of the sin and sorrow in the world. Have fellowship with Christ. Share the Divine unrest.

(U. R. Thomas, B. A.)

(with vers 6, 7) —

1. The preceding chapter brings in Christ as proclaiming the great work of deliverance for which He is anointed of God; the following chapter presents Him as treading the wine-press alone, which is a symbol of the future judgment by the glorified Saviour. Between these two prophecies of the earthly life and the still future judicial energy, this chapter lies, referring, as I take it, to the period between these two — i.e. to all the ages of the Church's development on earth. For these Christ here promises His continual activity, and His continual bestowment of grace to His servants who watch the walls of Jerusalem.

2. Notice the remarkable parallelism in the expressions: "I will not hold My peace;" the watchmen "shall never hold their peace." And His command to them is literally, "Ye that remind Jehovah — no rest (or silence) to you! and give not rest to Him." So we have here Christ, the Church and God, all represented as unceasingly occupied in the one great work of establishing "Zion ' as the centre of light, salvation and righteousness for the whole world.

I. THE GLORIFIED CHRIST IS CONSTANTLY WORKING FOR HIS CHURCH. We are too apt to regard our. Lord's real work as all lying in the past, and, from the very greatness of our estimate of what He has done, to forget the true importance of what He evermore does.. He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. In that session on the throne manifold and mighty truths are expressed. It proclaims the full accomplishment of all the purposes of His earthly ministry; it emphasizes the triumphant completion of His redeeming work by His death; it proclaims the majesty of HIS nature, which returns to the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; it shows to the world, as on some coronation day, their King on His throne, girded with power. But whilst on the one side Christ rests as from a perfected work which needs no addition nor repetition, on the other He rests not day nor night. When the heavens opened to the rapt eyes of John in Patmos, the Lord whom he beheld was not only revealed as glorified in the lustre of the inaccessible light, but as actively sustaining and guiding the human reflectors of it. He "holdeth the seven stars in HIS right hand," and "walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." Not otherwise does my text represent the present relation of Christ to His Church. "I will not rest." Through all the ages His power is in exercise. He inspires in good men all their wisdom: and every grace of life and character. Nor is this all. There still remains the wonderful truth of His continuous intercession for us. In its widest meaning that word expresses the whole of the manifold ways by which Christ undertakes and maintains our cause. So we have not only to look back to the cross, but up to the throne. From the cross we hear a voice, "It is finished." From the throne a voice, "For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest."

II. CHRIST'S SERVANTS ON EARTH DERIVE FROM HIM A LIKE PERPETUAL ACTIVITY FOR THE SAME OBJECT. "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night. On the promise follows, as ever. a command "Ye that remind Jehovah, keep not silence." There is distinctly traceable here a reference to a twofold form of occupation devolving on these Christ-sent servants. They are watchmen, and they are also God's remembrancers. In the one capacity as in the other, their voices are to be always heard. The former metaphor is common in the Old Testament, as a designation of the prophetic office, but, in accordance with the genius of the New Testament, as expressed on Pentecost, when the spirit was poured out on the lowly as well as on the high, on the young as on the old, and all prophesied, may be fairly extended to disignate not some select few, but the whole mass of Christian people. The remembrancer's priestly office belongs to every member of Christ's priestly kingdom, the lowest and least of whom has the privilege of unrestrained entry into God's presence-chamber, and the power of blessing the world by faithful prayer.

1. Our voices should ever he heard on earth. A solemn message is committed to us by the very fact of our belief in Jesus Christ and His work.

2. Our voices should ever be heard in heaven. They who trust God remind Him of His promises by their very faith; it is a mute appeal to His faithful love, which He cannot but answer. Beyond that, their prayers come up for a memorial before God. and have as real an effect in furthering Christ's kingdom on earth as is exercised by their entreaties and proclamations to men.

3. These two forms of action ought to be inseparable. Each, if ,genuine, will drive us to the other, for who could fling himself into the watchman's work, with all its solemn consequences, knowing how weak his voice was, and how deaf the ears that should hear, unless he could bring God's might to his help? And who could honestly remind God of His promises and forget his own responsibilities?

4. The power for both is derived from Christ. He sets the watchmen; He commands the remembrancers. And, as the Christian power of discharging these twofold duties is drawn from Christ, so our pattern is His manner of discharging them, and the condition of receiving the power is to abide in Him. Christ asks no romantic impossibilities from us, but He does ask a continuous, systematic discharge of the duties which depend on our relation to the world, and on our relation to Him.

III. THE CONSTANT ACTIVITY OF THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST WILL SECURE THE CONSTANT OPERATION OF GOD'S POWER. "Give Him no rest: " let there be no cessation to Him. These are bold words. Those who remind God are not to suffer Him to be still. The prophet believes that they can regulate the flow of Divine energy, can stir up the strength of the Lord. It is easy to puzzle ourselves with insoluble questions about the co-operation of God's power and man's; but practically, is it not true that God reaches His end, of the establishment of Zion, through the Church? The great reservoir, is always., full to the brim; however much. may be drawn from it, the water sinks not a hair's breadth; but the bore of the pipe and the power of the pumping-engine determine the rate at which the stream flows from it. "He could there do no mighty works because of their unbelief."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.

Our particular inquiry is, What obstacles to the conversion of the world are found among those who, in different ways, are enlisted in the cause of foreign missions?

I. THE DEFECT OF OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER, OR THE WANT OF A HIGHER DEGREE OF HOLINESS.

II. THE DIRECT INDULGENCE OF AFFECTIONS WHICH ARE SELFISH AND EARTHLY.

III. DIVISION AND STRIFE AMONG CHRIST'S FOLLOWERS.

IV. THE UNNECESSARY EXCITEMENT OF POPULAR PREJUDICE.

V. FALLING SHORT IN OUR DUTY IN REGARD TO THE BENEVOLENT USE OF PROPERTY.

VI. THE WANT OF A PROPER FEELING AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD FOR THE SUCCESS OF OUR EFFORTS.

(Leonard Woods, D. D.)

I. ENCOURAGEMENTS.

1. There are declarations respecting the character and essential attributes of God, as, for example, His sovereignty, His power, His justice, His wisdom, His love; even from which, if we had no express or specific direction, we might justly and safely infer that the Almighty cannot always permit His own world to remain the almost unmitigated form of general apostasy and wretchedness; and that for the sake of His own glory He will cause a vast and mighty change, by which the revolt of the world shall be terminated, and by which it shall be recovered and reclaimed to Himself.,

2. There are declarations with regard to the sufficiency and design of our Saviour's sacrifice (John 1:29; John 12:32; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2). That the sacrifice of Christ, of which such is the declared sufficiency and design has hitherto but very partially and imperfectly accomplished its object is plain; that, so long as the world continues as it is, that partiality and imperfection must still continue is plain also; and we must therefore judge that it never can fulfil the objects for which it was originally offered, except in the final effusion of the Divine Spirit among all the nations of the earth.

3. There are declarations in regard to thee majesty and extent of the Saviour's exaltation and royalty. As the reward and the recompense of His sufferings, He has been made the possessor of a wonderful mediatorial kingdom, a kingdom in the gaining and maintaining of the authority of which the Spirit is the agent, and the Word is the instrument — that kingdom in which the Spirit, through the Word, is destined to maintain a universal sway (Psalm 2:7, 8; Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 62:8, etc.).

4. There are those declarations with regard to the final and renovating change, as we find them expressed throughout the general structure of the prophetical writings. Because He who cannot lie has promised, therefore we believe.

II. OBLIGATIONS.

1. There are peculiar duties pressing upon the ministers and other public officers of the Church of Christ. The ministers are called upon to cultivate peculiar eminence in personal holiness; they ought to cultivate an enlarged and most accurate acquaintance with evangelical truth, an ardent zeal for the glory of God, a tender compassion for the souls of men! They ought to give themselves up wholly to their high vocation. They ought to labour with quenchless ardour and perseverance, while prayer ought to be, as it were, their very food, their very air, and their very being. As to the other public officers of the Church, their special duty appears to be the following — exemplary firmness in the belief of Christian doctrine, in the practice of Christian precepts, and in the manifestation of a Christian spirit; fervent, brotherly love amongst themselves, towards all their fellow-Christians, and especially towards the poor, whose interest they are invoked to superintend; cheerful assistance to the pastors of the flock, in all measures which may be deemed proper for preserving the purity of the Church, and for the conversion of the ungodly; and an earnest endeavour with regard to all departments of Christian character, that they may shine as lights in the world.

2. But there are general duties which press upon all the members of a Christian Church.(1) A careful avoidance of all worldly conformity.(2) The practice of sincere brotherly affection towards all other followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.(3) Increased zeal in maintaining and extending that ministry which has been ordained for the conversion of men.(4) A strong mental confidence in the fact that the change upon which our aspirations have been fixed shall actually be accomplished. There is nothing by which God is so much dishonoured as unbelief.(5) There must also be the spirit of importunate prayer (vers. 1, 6).

(James Parsons.)

The prophet here tells us —

I. WHAT HE WILL DO FOR THE CHURCH (ver. 1).

II. WHAT GOD WILL DO FOR THE CHURCH (vers. 2-5).

1. The Church shall be greatly admired. "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness" etc.

2. She shall be truly admirable. "Thou shalt be called by a new name, etc. Two names God shall give her.

(1)He shall call her His crown (ver. 8).

(2)He shall call her His spouse (vers. 4, 5).

( M. Henry.)

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