Isaiah 48: God’s Expostulation with His people; He charges them with hypocrisy in that which is good and obstinacy in that which is evil, especially in their idolatry, notwithstanding the many convincing proofs God had given them that he is God alone; Note, All our religious professions avail nothing further than they are made in truth and righteousness. If we be not sincere in them, we do but take the name of the Lord our God in vain. B.C.708

I S A I A H. CHAPTER 48 God, having in the foregoing chapter reckoned with the Babylonians, and shown them their sins and the desolation that was coming upon them for their sins, to show that he hates sin wherever he finds it and will not connive at it in his own people, comes, in this chapter, to show the house of Jacob their sins, but, withal, the mercy God had in store for them notwithstanding; and he therefore sets their sins in Continue Reading

Isaiah 47:7-15; Babylon Threatened; Their confidence in themselves and contempt of God; Their use of magic arts and their dependence upon enchantments and sorceries, which should be so far from standing them in any stead that they should but hasten their ruin; Note: Thou sayest in thy heart (and God, who searches all hearts, can tell men what they say there, though they never speak it out) I am, and none else besides me, It is the very word that God has often said concerning himself, I am, and none else besides me, denoting his self-existence, his infinite and incomparable perfections, and his sole supremacy.

Babylon Threatened. B. C. 708. Isaiah 47:7-15 7 And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.   8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:   9 But these Continue Reading

Isaiah 47:1-6; The greatness of the ruin threatened, that Babylon should be brought down to the dust, and made completely miserable, should fall from the height of prosperity into the depth of adversity; The sins that provoked God to bring this ruin upon them; Their cruelty to the people of God; Their pride and carnal security; Note, God can make those sit silently that used to make the greatest noise in the world, and send those into darkness that used to make the greatest figure. Let him that glories, therefore, glory in a God that changes not, and not in any worldly wealth, pleasure, or honour, which are subject to change.

I S A I A H. CHAPTER 47 Infinite Wisdom could have ordered things so that Israel might have been released and yet Babylon unhurt; but if they will harden their hearts, and will not let the people go, they must thank themselves that their ruin is made to pave the way to Israel's release. That ruin is here, in this chapter, largely foretold, not to gratify a spirit of revenge in the people of God, who had been used barbarously by them, Continue Reading

Isaiah 46:5-13; The Folly of Idolatry; The Divine Prerogative Asserted; It is absurd to think of representing an infinite and eternal Spirit by the figure of any creature whatsoever. It is to change his truth into a lie and to turn his glory into shame; Note, Sinners would become saints if they would but show themselves men, if they would but support the dignity of their nature and use aright its powers and capacities; Observe with what majesty he says it, as one having authority: I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass. Dictum, factum–no sooner said than done. I have purposed it, and he does not say, “I will take care it shall be done,” but, “I will do it.” Heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than one tittle of the word of God. B.C. 708

The Folly of Idolatry; The Divine Prerogative Asserted. B. C. 708. Isaiah 46:5-13 5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?   6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.   7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his Continue Reading

Isaiah 46:1-4; The Folly of Idolatry; The false gods will certainly fail their worshippers when they have most need of them; The true God will never fail His worshippers; God took them under a special protection and suffered no man to do them wrong. B.C. 708

I S A I A H. CHAPTER 46 God, by the prophet here, designing shortly to deliver them out of their captivity, prepared them for that deliverance by possessing them with a detestation of idols and with a believing confidence in God, even their own God. I. Let them not be afraid of the idols of Babylon, as if they could in any way obstruct their deliverance, for they should be defaced (ver. 1, 2); but let them trust in that God who had Continue Reading

Isaiah 45:20-25; The Folly of Idolatry; Salvation in Christ; . For the conviction of idolators, to show them their folly in worshipping gods that cannot help them, and neglecting a God that can. Let all that have escaped of the nations, not only the people of the Jews, but those of other nations that were by Cyrus released out of captivity in Babylon, let them come, and hear what is to be said against the worshipping of idols, that they may be cured of it as well as the Jews, that Babylon, which had of old been the womb of idolatry, might now become the grave of it. Let the refugees assemble themselves and come together; God has something to say to them for their own good, and it is this, that idolatry is a foolish sottish thing, upon two accounts:– 1. It is setting up a refuge of lies for themselves; It is setting up a rival with God, the only living and true God (v. 21): “Summon them all; tell them that the great cause shall again be tried, though once adjudged, between God and Baal; None besides is fit to rule. He is a just God, and rules in justice, and will execute justice for those that are oppressed; None besides is able to help. As he is a just God, so he is the Saviour, who can save without the assistance of any, but without whom none can save. Those therefore have no sense of truth and falsehood, good and evil, no, nor of their own interest, that set up any in competition with him; For the comfort and encouragement of all God’s faithful worshippers, whoever they are, v. 22. Those that worship idols pray to gods that cannot save; but the God of Israel says it to all the ends of the earth, to his people, though they are scattered into the utmost corners of the world and seem to be lost and forgotten in their dispersion, “Let them but look to me by faith and prayer, look above instruments and second causes, look off from all pretenders, and look up to me, and they shall be saved.” B.C. 708

The Folly of Idolatry; Salvation in Christ. B. C. 708. Isaiah 45:20-25 20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.   21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I Continue Reading

Isaiah 45:11-19; The Power of God; Encouragement to the People of God; They are invited to enquire concerning the issue of their troubles, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, though he does not allow them to strive with him, yet encourages them, To consult his word: “Ask of me things to come; have recourse to the prophets and their prophecies, and see what they say concerning these things. Ask the watchmen, What of the night? Ask them, How long?” Things to come, as far as they are revealed, belong to us and to our children, and we must not be strangers to them; To seek unto him by prayer: “Concerning my sons and concerning the work of my hands, which as becomes them submit to the will of their Father, the will of their potter, command you me, not by way of prescription, but by way of petition. Be earnest in your requests, and confident in your expectations, as far as both are guided by and grounded upon the promise.” We may not strive with our Maker by passionate complaints, but we may wrestle with him by faithful and fervent prayer. My sons, and the work of my hands, commend to me (so some read it), bring them to me and leave them with me. See the power of prayer, and its prevalency with God: Thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am; what would you that I should do unto you? B.C. 708

The Power of God; Encouragement to the People of God. B. C. 708. Isaiah 45:11-19 11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.   12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.   13 I have raised him up in righteousness, Continue Reading

Isaiah 45:5-10; The Divine Dominion; God here asserts his sole and sovereign dominion, as that which he designed to prove and manifest to the world in all the great things he did for Cyrus and by him; . How this doctrine is here laid down concerning the sovereignty of the great Jehovah, in two things:–That he is God alone, and there is no God besides him. This is here inculcated as a fundamental truth, which, if it were firmly believed, would abolish idolatry out of the world. With what an awful, commanding, air of majesty and authority, bidding defiance, as it were, to all pretenders, does the great God here proclaim it to the world: I am the Lord, I the Lord, Jehovah, and there is none else, there is no God besides me, no other self-existent, self-sufficient, being, none infinite and eternal; That he is God alone, and there is no God besides him; Let Cyrus, when he becomes thus rich and great, remember that still he is but a man, and there is no God but one. B.C. 708

The Divine Dominion. B. C. 708. Isaiah 45:5-10 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:   6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.   7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye Continue Reading

Isaiah 45:1-4; Prophecies Concerning Cyrus; . We have here, I. The great things which God would do for Cyrus, that he might be put into a capacity to release God’s people; Now that which God here promised to do for Cyrus he could have done for Zerubbabel, or some of the Jews themselves; but the wealth and power of this world God has seldom seen fit to entrust his own people with much of, so many are the snares and temptations that attend them; but if here has been occasion, for the god of the church, to make use of them, God has been pleased rather to put them into the hands of others, to be employed for them, than to venture them in their own hands; Note, (1.) In all the revolutions of states and kingdoms, the sudden falls of the great and strong, and the surprising advancements of the weak and obscure, God is designing the good of his church. (2.) It is therefore the wisdom of those to whom God has given wealth and power to use them for his glory, by showing kindness to his people. B.C. 708

I S A I A H. CHAPTER 45 Cyrus was nominated, in the foregoing chapter, to be God's shepherd; more is said to him and more of him in this chapter, not only because he was to be instrumental in the release of the Jews out of their captivity, but because he was to be therein a type of the great Redeemer, and that release was to be typical of the great redemption from sin and death; for that was the salvation of which all the prophets Continue Reading

Isaiah 44:21-28; Encouragement to the People of God; Our first care must be to get good by our afflictions, and then we may hope to get out of them. The duty is expressed in two words: Remember and return, as in the counsel to Ephesus, Rev. 2:4, 5; “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof”; The duty is expressed in two words: Remember and return, as in the counsel to Ephesus, Rev. 2:4, 5; Our transgressions and our sins are as a cloud, a thick cloud; they interpose between heaven and earth, and for a time suspend and intercept the correspondence between the upper and lower world (sin separates between us and God, ch. 59:2); they threaten a storm, a deluge of wrath, as thick clouds do, which God will rain upon sinners. Ps. 11:6; When God pardons sin he blots out this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the intercourse with heaven is laid open again. God looks down upon the soul with favour; the soul looks up to him with pleasure. The cloud is scattered by the influence of the Sun of righteousness. It is only through Christ that sin is pardoned. B.C. 708

Encouragement to the People of God. B. C. 708. Isaiah 44:21-28 21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.   22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.   23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of Continue Reading