When Ahaz was dead, and Hezekiah had newly ascended the throne of Judah, we can well conceive of Isaiah as pleading with the people to reform. Observe the gentleness of his persuasions.
Isaiah 42:24, 25
Both Israel and Judah had suffered severely through their sins. Israel was uprooted by the Assyrian, and Judah had been deprived of its men by hundreds of thousands, till only a mere handful remained. Surely it was time to learn wisdom and give up the idols which so greatly provoked the Lord.
Isaiah 43:1-7, 22-28
Lest they should fear that the Lord would not be favourable to them if they returned, the prophet poured forth a stream of gracious promises in his Master’s name.
Sin had made them captives, but eternal love had redeemed them, and in the time appointed the banished ones would return. Ought not such loving words to have touched the hearts of the men to whom they were spoken? Do they touch ours? They belong to all believers: do we love God for speaking so graciously to us?
The temple had been shut up. None cared to honour the good Lord, but all were bent on provoking him. What a charge these words contain! We naturally expect to hear sentence pronounced, and the criminals led forth to execution; but mark and marvel at the unexpected love, the boundless grace!
This the Lord proved to be true by the blessing which he gave to his repenting people under Hezekiah. But O the depths of the mercy set forth in this verse. Jehovah himself has pardoned his people, for his own name’s sake! He has voluntarily passed an act of indemnity and oblivion which buries all their sins. Who can now despair? Whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus is already reconciled, and his sins are gone for ever. Glory be to God for this! yea, glory for ever.
Their former miseries were the fruit of their sins, and therefore they were bound to confess their transgressions, and plead the promise of pardon. Lord, we will do the same.
Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find;
The holy, just, and sacred Three
Are terrors to my mind.
But if Immanuel’s face appear,
My hope, my joy begins;
His name forbids my slavish fear,
His grace removes my sins.
Lord, I, too, wandered from thy ways,
And knelt at stranger shrine:
I’ve called another name, “belov’d,”
And nigh forgotten thine.
The feeble reed on which. I leaned
A sword of judgment proved,
And pierced the soul that wandered far
From him whom still I loved.
Behold mine idols, perish’d all!
Here mourning now I stand:
I lift my contrite heart to thee,
And bless thy chastening hand.
We praise, we worship thee, O God;
Thy sovereign power we sound abroad:
All nations bow before thy throne,
And thee, the great Jehovah, own.
O holy, holy, holy Lord,
Thou God of Hosts, by all adored;
Earth and the heavens are full of thee,
Thy light, thy power, thy Majesty.
Glory to thee, O God, most high!
Father, we praise thy Majesty;
The Son, the Spirit, we adore;
One Godhead, blest for evermore.
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And. sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
“The soul that on Jesus hath lean’d for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
Captain of thine enlisted host,
Display thy glorious banner high;
The summons send from coast to coast,
And call a numerous army nigh.
A solemn jubilee proclaim,
Proclaim the great sabbatic day;
Assert the glories of thy name;
Spoil Satan of his wish’d-for prey.
Bid, bid thy heralds publish loud
The peaceful blessings of thy reign;
And when they speak of sprinkled blood,
The mystery to the heart explain.
Chase the usurper from his throne,
Oh! chase him to his destined hell;
Stout-hearted sinners overcome;
And glorious in thy temple dwell.
Music, bring thy sweetest treasures,
Dulcet melody and chord,
Link the notes with loveliest measures
To the glory of the Lord.
Wing the praise from every nation,
Sweetest instruments employ,
Raise the chorus of creation,
Swell the universal joy.
Far away be gloom and sadness;
Spirits with seraphic fire,
Tongues with hymns, and hearts with gladness,
Higher sound the chords and higher.
To the Father, to the Saviour,
To the Spirit, source of light,
As it was, is now, and ever,
Praise in heaven’s supremest height