The Rest of Providence
Isaiah 18:4-5
For so the LORD said to me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat on herbs…

Although much diversity of opinion exists among commentators in regard to the primary design of the prophecy from which this passage is taken, there can be but one sentiment as to the sublime moral which it teaches concerning the mode in which the Almighty conducts His government. There are times, probably, in every man's life, when he feels the temptations to scepticism unusually strong. They are the times of personal suffering, or of prosperous iniquity.

I. How often has the sincere Christian mourned in bitterness of spirit, BECAUSE NO IMMEDIATE ANSWER SEEMED GIVEN TO HIS PRAYERS. In such circumstances, the assurance that providence is only taking its rest and considering, is in the highest degree consolatory. It is not in judgment, but in tender mercy, that God apparently suspends His answer to His people's prayers. Thus does He exercise their faith, and the trial of it is more precious than gold. Thus does He convince them of their needs, and the conviction leads them to greater self-abandonment. Thus does He call forth in them the feeling of Christian sympathy for those who are similarly tried, and this is better for them than heart's desire. Thus does He give unto them those experiences which, it is not improbable, may contribute to their felicity in heaven itself.

II. A second example of providence taking its rest, is to be seen in THE COMPARATIVELY SLOW AND LIMITED PROGRESS WHICH THE BLESSED GOSPEL OF CHRIST HAS YET MADE IN THE WORLD. The march of His administration is not the less sublime, because it is occasionally invisible.

III. Providence takes its rest WHEN SENTENCE AGAINST THE EVIL WORKS OF MEN IS NOT EXECUTED SPEEDILY. When the mystery of God is finished, His ways will appear at once marvellous and right. This "rest of providence" is beautifully illustrated by similitudes taken from nature — "a clear heat upon herbs, and a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." You have observed, on a fine summer day, the sunshine resting calmly on the cornfield, or the dew covering the plants at eventide. All is peaceful and serene. It seems as if the winds had forgotten to blow, or the thunder to utter its voice. Thus calmly and silently does the Almighty "rest in His dwelling place," till the time comes for interposition. The patience of God is a demonstration of His power, and His slowness to wrath a testimony to His infinite wisdom. The metaphor in ver. 5 is to be regarded as a continuation of the preceding one, and may be understood as intimating the utter disappointment of those plans which wicked men form against God, and which He so forbearingly allows them to mature. "Afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches." The meaning is, that at the very moment when the likelihood is, humanly speaking, greatest, that their projects shall be successful, He will awake to overturn them. Conclusion —

1. The passage under consideration, while it ought to alarm the enemies, may well enough bring comfort to the people of God. Let them look up for their redemption draweth nigh.

2. On the other hand, let not the impenitent flatter themselves into security because their Lord delayeth His coming.

(J. L. Adamson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.

WEB: For Yahweh said to me, "I will be still, and I will see in my dwelling place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."

The Flower Bud
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