For the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor You have shattered as in the day of Midian.
2 Kings 4:20; 2 Kings 22:13); and of riotous feasting, as in days of Uzziah (Isaiah 5:11-14). But such joy was merely passing excitement; it was as the "crackling of thorns under a pot" compared with the deep, lasting joy of the time when Jesus, the Redeemer from sin and all its consequences, bowed the heavens, came down, and dwelt among men. We ask
(1) why men should chiefly rejoice in a Redeemer; and
(2) what kind of joy theirs should be who have proved how he can redeem.
I. WHY MEN SHOULD CHIEFLY REJOICE IN A REDEEMER.
1. Because the one thing man needs above all others is redemption; not science, not revelation, not civilization, not morality, not social elevation. Man is in one condition whose interests are, to him, supreme - he is a sinner, and so his supreme need is a Savior. With the need and the supply the Word of God fully deals. It is the Divine message to man, the sinner. Its voice may be translated thus: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help found."
2. Because this one thing, redemption, is wholly beyond man's attainment. We are amazed at what man ear, do, in overcoming material obstacles and yoking to his service the giant forces of nature. Bat at redemption from sin man is arrested; there his power ceases. "No man can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him." God is represented as saying, "I looked, and there was no man... therefore mine own arm brought salvation."
3. Because man had no reason to expect redemption, and could make no claim to Divine intervention. Redemption is a sovereign device, a display of infinite mercy, a work of unbought love. Its root is, "God is love."
II. WHAT KIND OF JOY THEIRS SHOULD BE WHO HAVE PROVED HOW HE CAN REDEEM. There are two figures blended in the text. Joy of harvest. Joy of victors on dividing the spoil of battle-fields. They suggest-
1. The joy of possession - a harvest of supply for coming needs, spoil from the tents of the foe.
2. The joy of triumph. To possess the enemy's camp is proof that the foe is wholly vanquished. Jesus, as our Redeemer, has "led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." - R.T.
1. The design of the Gospel, and the grace of it, is to break the yoke of sin and Satan, to remove the burthen of guilt and corruption, and to free us from the rod of those oppressors, that we might be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden.I. SIN IS A BURDEN (Psalm 38:4). Sinners are heavy laden with this insupportable load, which detains them from God, who alone can relieve them; enfeebles their minds; and harasses them with perplexing fears, and the most uneasy reflections. A proper sense of its powerful influence, its polluting nature and dreadful guilt, like a crushing weight, depresses the spirit, becomes irksome and grievous, and if not happily removed, will prove the means of irremediable ruin.
II. THE CEREMONIAL LAW IS THE YOKE OF THIS BURDEN (Acts 15:10).
III. IMMANUEL HAS BROKEN THE YOKE (Colossians 2:14).
2. This is done by the Spirit working like fire (ver. 5). It is done as in the day of Midian, by a work of God upon the hearts of men. Christ is our Gideon.
( M. Henry.)
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