Isaiah 24:15
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the east; margin, "fires" (Revised Version). The word translated "fires" in the Authorized Version is a difficult one. It points to the "land of the sun," which would be the east country, to which Judah was taken for its captivity, and which was to it as a refining fire; or some think to the "land of volcanic fires," which would be the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. We prefer to see a figurative reference to the refining fires of the time of exile. It is in strict keeping with the mission of Isaiah that he should thus bid the people "glorify God in the fires." Whether the passage directly refers to the flight of the people to the islands of the sea, or to the great deportation into Chaldea, the general truth is set before us that, when we are in God's chastising and correcting hand, our supreme desire and endeavor should be to "glorify God in the fires." And this is done -

I. WHEN THE SUFFERING IS RECOGNIZED AS CHASTISEMENT. Suffering is often spoken of as if it were accident, hereditary taint, or the fault of other people; but God is not glorified until we see and admit that it is fatherly chastisement. The burden of woe resting on humanity is overwhelming, unless we can see that God is in it, and thereby is but chastening his children betimes. The world is God's erring child. It glorifies the Father to see that he will not let him go on in sin. "What son is he whom the lather chasteneth not?"

II. WHEN WE ADMIT THE SIN FOR WHICH THE CHASTISEMENT IS SENT. God always sends chastisements that can have a revealing power, and bear evident relation to particular sins. National sins are shown up by national calamities, bodily sins by bodily sufferings. This point may gain large and various illustration, as in Saul, David, Ahab, Jonah, etc. We glorify God when we let the chastisement show us the sin - act as the revealer to reveal the bad self.

III. WHEN WE DETERMINE TO PUT THE SIN AWAY. For chastisement then is shown to be effective; it reaches its end: God is seen not to have wrought in vain. Correction is "for our profit, that we may be partakers of his righteousness."

IV. WHEN WE COME OUT OF THE CHASTISEMENT PURIFIED, HUMBLED, SUBMISSIVE, AND OBEDIENT. Our Father is glorified when we are made children indeed. Beautifully is it said of the Lord Jesus that, "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Glorifying God by the spirit of sonship, which he kept all through the burning of the dreadful refining fires of Calvary. Trust, submission, clinging love, patient waiting, - these still glorify God in the fires. - R.T.







Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires.
The suffering child of God will glorify Him in the fires —

I. BY ACKNOWLEDGING HIS POWER. The same Almighty One who fed Elijah, in the terrible days of dearth, and who delivered Daniel from the power of the lions, still watches over and provides for His people.

II. BY RECOGNISING HIS WISDOM. He knows (as no short-sighted mortal can) when it is safe for us to enjoy prosperity, and when it is needful for our soul's health to endure disappointment and trouble.

III. BY A FRANK ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS GOODNESS. If Our Heavenly Father had ceased to feel an interest in our welfare, He would not have employed the means to do us good.

(J. N. Norton.)

I. WHO ARE EXPECTED TO GLORIFY THE LORD.

1. "to glorify" is exemplified in 1 Chronicles 29:10-18-1. Then the wicked cannot do that (Job 20:5).

2. But the Church triumphant does (Revelation 7:11, 19).

3. And the Church militant ought to have this one aim. Let us take as an example, St. Paul (Philippians 3:10-14).

II. WHAT THE FIRES ARE IN WHICH WE GLORIFY GOD.

1. Determined self-humiliation, etc.; duties unpleasant, but religious.

2. Personal troubles are often perplexing. Faith is given, not to annihilate these, but to endure them.

3. Others' trials.

4. Our bodily afflictions.

5. Amongst the hottest "fires" are fiery darts. Paul was thus tried.

6. Enmity against our beloved Church. Foes within and without.

7. Fear of death.

III. BUT ONE IS EVER PRESENT IN THE FIRES.

1. In them once, alone.

2. Leads others safely through.

IV. THE FIRES ARE BURNING BY GOD'S PERMISSION. Like powerful remedies of surgeon or physician.

1. To manifest His chosen.

2. To purify.

3. To strengthen. Opposition invigorates.

(W. W. Tyler.)

"Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." What an extensive admonition is this! And yet even this does not include the whole of God's claim upon us. We are required to honour Him, not only in all we do, but in all we suffer.

I. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED. "In the fires." Stripped of metaphor, the passage supposes a state of suffering. In this state we may be found —

1. As men. "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward."

2. As Christians. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

II. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. "Glorify ye the Lord in the fires." The glory of God is essential or declarative. We cannot add to the former. But, "the heavens declare the glory of God." All His works praise Him. How? By the impressions and displays of His perfections; by showing us what He is, and what He deserves. Thus, Christians are appointed to "show forth the praises" — virtues — excellences — "of Him who hath called them," etc.; which is done by their language and their lives. Hence, we glorify God in our afflictions when we verbally and practically acknowledge —

1. His agency.

2. His rectitude. He is "righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."

3. His wisdom.

4. His goodness.

5. His power.

III. THE REASONS.

1. Because you have the finest opportunity. The scene naturally awakens attention. Nothing is so impressive as the graces of a Christian in trouble.

2. The obligations you are under to the blessed God.

3. Hope should influence you. "Verily there is a reward for the righteous."

(W. Jay.)

"There never was such affliction as mine," said a poor sufferer, restlessly tossing on a sick bed, in a city hospital. "I don't think there ever was such a racking pain." "Once," was faintly uttered from the next bed. The first speaker paused for a moment, and then began, in a still more impatient tone: "Nobody knows what I pass through; nobody ever suffered more pain." "One," was again whispered from the adjoining bed. "I take it you mean yourself, poor soul! but — Oh! not myself — not myself," exclaimed the other, her pale face flushing as if some wrong had been offered, not to herself but to another. There was a short pause, and then the sweet, gentle voice uttered the sacred words, "When they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And when they came unto a place called Golgotha, they gave Him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall. And they crucified Him. And, about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The voice ceased, and the nurse handed a cup of barley water, flavoured with a grateful acid, to the lips of both sufferers. "Thank you, nurse," said the last speaker. "They gave Him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink." "She is talking about Jesus," said the other sick woman, "but talking about His sufferings can't mend mine." "But it lightens hers," said the nurse. "I wonder how?" Hush!" said the nurse. The gentle voice began: "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Verily, even in the midst of affliction and suffering God's true children will learn to glorify Him.

(J. N. Norton.)

How touching that saying of blind Galileo, "It has pleased God that it shall be so, and it must please me too."

(J. N. Norton.)

The term "fires" is a local designation meaning the east, as the land of sunrise, or of dawning light, and so standing in opposition to the west, which is represented in the next clause as "the isles of the sea." The deliverance is one that calls for a chorus of praise from one end of the earth to the other.

(T. W. Chambers, D. D.)

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