I will make known the LORD's loving devotion and His praiseworthy acts, because of all the LORD has done for us--even the many good things He has done for the house of Israel according to His compassion and the abundance of His loving devotion.
I. HIS LOVING-KINDNESS. (Cf. Isaiah 55:3; and the Hebrew word in Isaiah 63:7; Psalm 89:28-49; Psalm 107:43; Lamentations 3:22.) The word (הֶסֶד) suggests a world of love. When used of men it implies pity, benignity, especially in circumstances of misfortune, as Genesis 21:23; 1 Samuel 10:2; Job 6:14. How fine is the saying in 2 Samuel 9:3, "I will act kindly toward him like unto God"! So that all human expressions of kindness may be and should be conceived as flowing from the one eternal Fountain. Sometimes, by a figure, God himself is called Favour, Mercy (Psalm 144:2; Jonah 2:9).
II. HIS GREAT DEEDS. "Renown," or "deeds of renown." The divorce of feeling from deed, of sentiment from action, that we so often see in feeble humanity, we do not find in God. With him, heart and head are one. His deeds are daily, world-extended, historical, eternal. Every commotion of the nations, every war, every revolution, must be traced to the influence of his Spirit in the last resort.
III. HIS GENEROUS BESTOWALS. There is an exuberant outflow of thought, feeling, and language here. Jehovah is to be celebrated "according to that which is due for all that he hath bestowed, according to his compassion and his abundant loving-kindnesses." Were it not that the impression of pain is keener and deeper with us than that of pleasure, it would be seen that at every moment life teems with mercies, gifts from the Giver of all good.
IV. His PROVIDENCE IN HISTORY. They were his people in virtue of the primeval covenant. They were his sons by adoption. The great salvation out of Israel was prototypical of all acts in which Jehovah "became unto them a Saviour. Distinct and strong is the representation of the sympathy of God with their suffering; distressed in all their distresses." His love and his clemency are again mentioned. He was ever, in that long and strange history of rebellion, "overcoming evil with good "- a pardoning God. His care was that of a mother's heart - carrying the people, as it were, from their birth, promising to carry them even to hoar hairs. "I bare made, and I will bear; I will carry, and I will deliver you" (Isaiah 46:3, 4). Yet it is part of such providential dealing to chastise. There were especially times when the people did evil in the sight of Jehovah (Judges 2:11; Judges 3:7). Secretly a Holy Spirit, or Spirit of holiness, was striving with them, and they were constantly resisting it. The great covenant with God was founded on this principle of holiness; this was the distinctive characteristic of the people as of their God. By their untruth to the covenant, they changed him as it were from a friend to an enemy. Thwarted love turns to jealousy (Exodus 34:14), and the gracious face of the Father becomes that of the wrathful Judge. - J.
Isaiah 63:7-64:12) is one of the most instructive of Old Testament prayers, and deserves careful study as an expression of the chastened and tremulous type of piety begotten in the sorrows of the Exile. So far as the ideas of the passage are concerned, it might have been composed at any time from the Exile downwards.
I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord.Isaiah 63:7-64:12). In a stream of surpassing pathos and beauty the prophet, as it were, "leads the devotions (Cheyne) of his nation, and lends words by his eloquence to their repentance.
(Prof. S. R. Driver, D. D.)
(Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)
1. In purposing and planning the grit work of redemption, the Eternal Mind was self-moved, uncounselled, unsolicited.
2. This love was wholly disinterested, having no-reward in view but the pleasure of doing good.
3. This love is still more sublimely considered as acting towards inferiors.
4. Redeeming love is still more wonderful as exercised towards enemies.
5. This love appears altogether astonishing when we consider the greatness of the sacrifice it made.
6. The extent of redeeming love further appears in the magnitude of the blessings which it intended for a ruined race.
7. This mercy is heightened by the fact that the Saviour is so necessary, reasonable and all-sufficient.
8. This mercy is still further heightened by the patience and condescending tenderness which He exercises towards His people. He calls them His friends, His brethren, His children, His spouse, the members of His body, the apple of His eye.
9. This wondrous mercy is further expressed in the gift of Sabbaths and sacraments, and especially the written Word.
10. Fresh evidence of this love springs up at every review of God's past providence towards the Church.
11. All these are the more affecting as being marks of distinguishing love.
12. The grace of God appears still greater as being abundant.
1. The list commences with special electing love. In the Hebrew the eighth verse runs, "For He said, they only are My people."
2. Pass on to the next sweet token of Divine lovingkindness which is found in the Fatherly confidence which the Lord has manifested towards His people. "Children that will not lie. '
3. His great sympathy with us. "In all their affliction He was affected (ver. 9).
4. His intimate intercourse with us. "The Angel of His presence saved them."
5. The gracious interpositions of God on behalf of His people. "In His love and in His pity He redeemed them."
6. God provided for, led, protected and upheld His people by a wondrous special providence while they were in the wilderness. "He bare them," etc. (ver. 9).
7. The prophet further goes on to mention the Lord's chastening. It is to be sorrowed over that we need chastening, but God is to be praised that He does not withhold it from us (ver. 10).
8. The next thing the prophet sings about is God's faithfulness, for though He did smite His people, yet in a very short time we find that "He remembered the days of old," etc. (vers. 11-13). We will close this catalogue with one more choice mercy, for the prophet tells us of God's giving His people rest after all (ver. 14).
II. CERTAIN POINTS WORTHY OF SPECIAL MENTION.
1. Whatever has been bestowed upon us by God reveals His lovingkindness.
2. The consequent praise which is due to God on account of this.
3. The uniform nature of all God's dealings with us. "According to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us." Let us praise Him according to all that the Lord hath bestowed upon us, blessing Him for bitters and sweets, for blacks and whites, for storms and calms.
4. The grandeur of the goodness which is shown in every mercy. "The great goodness toward the house of Israel." Ingratitude makes little of much, but gratitude sees much in little.
5. We ought to take peculiar note in our song of the condescending tenderness and pity of God, for such is the force of the next expression, "which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies," — a clearer rendering would be, "according to His compassion."
6. One other special note demands to be heard, and that is the multitudinous displays of His love. "According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses," of all shapes, and at all times, and in all ways, and from all points of the compass.
III. PRACTICAL REASONS WHY WE SHOULD THUS MENTION THE LOVINGKINDNESSES OF THE LORD.
1. That we may have pleas in prayer. This is the best way of praying: "Lord, Thou hast done this for Thy servant, Thou hast done that for Thy servant, therefore I beseech Thee do more. This is not after the manner of men, for when we once relieve a man's necessities we say to him, "Do not come again;" but every gift which God gives is an invitation to come again, and the best way in which we can show our gratitude is to seek for further gifts.
2. These memories will act as stays to your faith.
3. They will minister to your present comfort.
4. The thought of all this would make us love God more, and obey Him better.
5. To mention the Lord's goodness enables us to cheer others, for we do not know who may be standing by.
6. It will glorify Him, and this should always be your master motive.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)C. H. Spurgeon.)
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