and say to him: 'Calm down and be quiet. Do not be afraid or fainthearted over these two smoldering stubs of firewood, over the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.
I. THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. The kings and chieftains of Palestine were in dread of the great Assyrian power. Under the weak rule of Ahaz Judah had sunk very low, and the King of Damascus, with the King of Ephraim, think it a favorable opportunity to attack the little kingdom, and so strengthen themselves against the Assyrians. "Far down to the gulf of Akaba the shock of invasion was felt. Elath, the favorite seaport of Jehoshaphat and Uzziah, was made over to the Edomites" (2 Kings 16:6; 2 Kings 15:37). Jerusalem was now threatened, and a usurper was to be placed on David's throne (ver. 6).
II. THE ALARM OF THE ROYAL FAMILY. (Ver. 2.) News is brought to the palace "Aram encampeth in Ephraim;" the junction of the forces of Syria and Israel had taken place. A shivering fear, like the wind swaying the trees of the forest, passed over their hearts. The court went forth to inspect the fortifications and the waterworks, and came to "the end of the conduit of the upper reservoir, upon the path to the fuller's field" - a well-known spot (cf. Isaiah 36:2; 2 Kings 18.).
III. THE MEETING WITH ISAIAH. At this spot the prophet, with his son, stood before them. It seems that by Divine intimation the prophet had called the boy Shear-Jashub, which means "Remnant-shall-be-converted," reminding us of the hope of his calling (Isaiah 6.). He would look upon the boy as a living pledge, not only of conjugal affection, but of Divine promise for a nobler Israel. See how he dwells upon the thought in Isaiah 10:20-22. Inspired by this confidence, he now addresses the king.
IV. COMFORT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED. "Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, and be not faint-hearted." A calm, collected mind is a match for any danger. Agitation and fear magnify the ill; stout resolve reduces it to its true proportions. The worst is ever in our own fancy.
"Some of your hurts you have cured, IV. THE DEEPEST SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND COMFORT. What are the heads of the Syrian power and of Israel's power against Judah's Head, the Lord? Damascus and Samaria will rear their fronts in vain against Jerusalem, if Jerusalem only trust in Jehovah. (Ewald supposes that the words," Judah's head is Jerusalem, and Jerusalem's head is Jehovah," have fallen out of the text, ver. 9.) Only have confidence. There is a play upon words in the original which we might represent in English by: "Fear not, fail not;" or, "Firm in faith is free from scathe; "or," If ye confide not, abide ye shall not." 1. Confidence, presence of mind, is a duty in times of danger. 2. It may be gained, if we will fall back upon God as our Leader and Defense. "The Lord is on my side: I will not fear what men shall do unto me." - J.
IV. THE DEEPEST SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND COMFORT. What are the heads of the Syrian power and of Israel's power against Judah's Head, the Lord? Damascus and Samaria will rear their fronts in vain against Jerusalem, if Jerusalem only trust in Jehovah. (Ewald supposes that the words," Judah's head is Jerusalem, and Jerusalem's head is Jehovah," have fallen out of the text, ver. 9.) Only have confidence. There is a play upon words in the original which we might represent in English by: "Fear not, fail not;" or, "Firm in faith is free from scathe; "or," If ye confide not, abide ye shall not."
1. Confidence, presence of mind, is a duty in times of danger.
2. It may be gained, if we will fall back upon God as our Leader and Defense. "The Lord is on my side: I will not fear what men shall do unto me." - J.
Take heed and be quiet.
I. A WARNING AGAINST SELF-WILLED ACTING.
II. AN EXHORTATION TO UNDISMAYED EQUANIMITY.
(P. Delitzsch. D. D.)
I. ALL TRUE LIFE IS A LISTENING.
1. "Take heed," i.e., be attentive, alert, susceptible. Light will not come to careless, inattentive souls. We must hearken, which really means the concentration of all the powers of the soul that we may detect the significance of things.(1) This is true in relation to nature. The light does not shine into our soul irrespective of our gazing; the secret does not disclose itself to us irrespective of our listening.(2) This is true in relation to revelation. The Bible is a great whispering gallery; but God's whisper is often lost because men come with souls full of noises, or because they do not lend their ear patiently and systematically.(3) It is so with our personal life. Our personal history is a revelation of the mind of God; but we often miss the precious instructions.
2. And when you have given full place to observation and reflection, "be quiet," for you will find plenty of room and reason for suspense, resignation, silence. When you have carried criticism to its final limit, see that no place is left in your heart for anxiety, unbelief, and despair.
II. ALL TRUE LIFE IS A WATCHING. "Take heed." Be cautious, vigilant, circumspect. There is no room in life for presumption. But when we have felt the need of earnest prayer, when we have cultivated the habit of prayerful watchfulness, let us "be quiet." Many Christians feel the need of walking softly, of being on the alert, their soul is full of solemn caution; but they never know how to combine with this that strong confidence in God which brings the sensitive heart assurance and peace. Let us remember that when we have done our best God will do the rest.
III. ALL TRUE LIFE IS A STRIVING. "Take heed." Life must be full of effort, aspiration, strenuousness, perseverance. The policy of many. is the policy of drift. But this is not the true idea of life. We are perpetually called upon to consider, to discriminate, to decide, to act. And yet with all this we are to be "quiet." Calm amid tumult, tranquil in severest effort, full of peace and confidence when life is most difficult and denying. Let us remember this —(1) In all our worldly life. God has not promised the things of this life to the lazy. We must be earnest, discreet, economical, prudent, painstaking. But when we have done our best to provide honest things we must be quiet. No painful, misgiving thoughts or words.(2) In all our religious life. We shall never moon and dream ourselves into spiritual knowledge, strength, beauty, completeness. But having given ourselves to God's service and glory with a single, purposeful heart, let us for the rest "be quiet."
(W. L. Watkinson.)
1. It is so with nature. Ages ago the patriarch Job found this out. "By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked serpent." "Garnished the heavens!" — that we can understand, that we can admire. The vast, the balanced, the magnificent, the beautiful, the benign — this is what we expected from the wise and generous Source of all things. "His hand hath formed the crooked serpent." Nature contains the mean, the unharmonious, the dark, the grotesque, the bloody; and this we did not expect. The thoughtful man is sorely puzzled in the presence of these confusions and contradictions.
2. It is so with revelation. We are often greatly delighted with the contents of the Bible. It is a firmament full of stars of light, speaking to us eloquently of the glory of God. We cry with rapture as we scan successive constellations which gleam with truth and love and righteousness. "By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens." But it is not long before the problems of nature reappear in revelation; there are teachings obscure and painful, in fact, the crooked serpent wriggles across the page. People who read cursorily-and think loosely may glide over such pages, but thoughtful souls are often sorely troubled.
3. It is the same in our personal history. There are times in our life when all things go smoothly with us — our health is good, in business we are in the swim, we are socially popular, and, full of gratitude and thanksgiving, we wonder how anybody can ever be fretful, or call into question the government of God; we feel that the Spirit that garnished the heavens has brought order and beauty into our persona! lot. But soon circumstances change: our health fails, we are called to attend two or three creditors' meetings, our popularity wanes; and then we are staggered, and begin to ask sceptical questions touching the ways of heaven. What is the matter? The crooked serpent crawls across our path of roses. Now what are we to do when these dark enigmas reward our study, when we witness the contradictions of nature, the tragedy of history, when we endure the pathos of our own life? Are we to take refuge in scepticism, cynicism, despair? Surely not. "Be quiet."
(W. L. Watkinson.)
II. THEN THE PROPHET RECOMMENDED QUIET. "Be quiet." It is not the easiest thing in the world to be quiet, especially when there are two confederate armies coming up against you. It is ever easier to assault than to "sit tight." I do not believe there is anything that more honours our holy religion than self-possession in the time of stress and storm. It is then that the worldling says, "Why, I could not do that!" What is the secret of that wonderful composure! The secret is God. That heart is kept quiet that is stayed on Him.
III. Then Isaiah says, "FEAR NOT." He has spoken of the outward attitude and action; now he refers to the reward emotion. Know you not that fear is fatal? I suppose that, humanly speaking, almost as many people die of fear as of anything else. Many of our best hopes are thwarted, not because there was any real necessity they should suffer so, but because we were afraid from the first that they would. Many of our high ambitions come to nought because we were never very confident that they would have any other ending. if the work be of God, trust God to see it through. We may have our fears, but we must not cherish them. There were words of cheer accompanying this message. The prophet said, "These great flaming firebrands that you fear are going out. Already they are smoking. They are only the tails of firebrands. A little patience and you will see an end of this trouble." We do not ask a sign of God that Ha will give us the victory in our warfare, and success in our work for Him. He gives it without asking. We would believe without a sign. "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." But if God offers us a sign we do not refuse it. Ahaz did. He said — suddenly posing as a saint — "No, I will not tempt God." When God offers us a sign it is not reverence to refuse it; it is gross irreverence. But He has granted us the best sign of all, the sign to which I do not doubt that Isaiah made reference. Christ has come; nay, God has come, for Christ is God. "If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established." John Bunyan used to call unbelief a white devil.
(T. Spurgeon.)i.e., nothing but the fag ends of wood pokers, half-burned off and wholly burned out, so that they do not burn any longer, but only still keep smoking.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)Stillness of spirit is like the canvas, for the Holy Spirit to draw His various graces upon.
(Recreations of a Country Parson.)
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