Sermon 2397. "Out of Darkness into Light"
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JANUARY 27, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 13, 1887.
"That You may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves." Isaiah 49:9.
THIS, of course, is a prophecy of what the Messiah would do. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He came among the sons of men, wasto open the prison doors and to say to the prisoners, "Go forth," and to those who, in addition to being in prison, were ina dark cell, shut away from the light, He was to say, "Show yourselves."
What wonders Jesus Christ has worked! There are many of us who are living proofs of what Jesus Christ can do, for, when wewere in prison, He said to us, "Come forth," and we are now free as the air, our spirits are buoyant and full of gladnessand rejoicing! Some of us also sat in darkness-gloomy, thick, Egyptian night-but when Jesus came to us, that darkness fledaway and now we walk in the Light of God as He is in the Light, and we have fellowship with Him, and with His Father, too,through the ever-blessed Spirit. Wonders of Grace belong to Christ! He has already worked enough to keep His redeemed amazedthroughout all eternity with the splendor of the achievements of His Grace! Though He were never to work another miracle ofmercy, He has already done enough to set all Heaven in amazement throughout all the ages that are yet to come, such a wondrousSavior has He proved Himself to be!
The liberty which Jesus gives to prisoners is something very marvelous. To be a prisoner for life must be a horrible thing-tobe immured in a dungeon for all one's days must be almost worse than death. Yet there is a slavery of the soul that is worsethan wearing chains upon the wrist! There is an imprisonment of the heart that is far more terrible than being shut up withinstone walls or iron bars. When Jesus comes to the soul, He delivers us from that direst of all bondages, fetches us out fromthat most cruel of all slaveries, the bondage of the spirit, the slavery of the heart!
Then we are told that if there are any who are in a worse state than that of mere captivity, namely, in darkness as well asin bondage, the Lord Jesus Christ comes to them and says, "Show yourselves; rise, and come out of the darkness; hide awayno longer, come forth into the light, and enjoy it." And when He speaks, His Words are effectual! When He says, "Come forth,"they come forth, and when He says, "Show yourselves," they show themselves! He speaks and it is done, for every Word of Christis the fiat of Omnipotent Love.
Now I am going to try and deal with those who are, spiritually, in the dark, in the hope that the time has arrived when theyare to come forth out of the darkness and to show themselves. My business will consist, then, in two things. First, I wantto find out the characters mentioned in the text. And, secondly, I will repeat the exhortation that it contains.
I. First, I have to try to FIND OUT THE CHARACTERS mentioned in the text-"Them that are in darkness." Some of them are heretonight-let me see if I can, with my Lord's gracious guidance, put my finger on them.
I observe, first, that they were not always in darkness. She was a bright young spirit once, after a fashion-up to all mannerof fun and levity. And he-I know him very well-he seemed to be everything that mirth could make youth to be, sporting likea butterfly in summertime among the flowers. It was remarked of him that he seemed to enjoy life perfectly and, certainly,it was his intention to do so, even if he shortened his days in the process-he dashed at the flame, even though he singedhis wings! But, all of a sudden, there came a cloud in the sky, both to her and to him-I mean, to you. It may be that sometime ago a death happened in the family, or sickness came, or if it was neither of these things, at any rate, the mind suddenlygrew strangely quiet and a stillness came down upon the spirit. And with that stillness there fell a gloom over the wholebeing. The fun and levity which had been enjoyed before were like the bubbles and froth upon the cup-there was nothing substantialor real in them at all-so, when the man or woman began to think, the bubbles and froth disappeared and then life grew flat,stale, dull and unprofitable.
What, do you think, were those thoughts that brought such a sobering influence into your life? They were somewhat like this-Ican tell you about them from my own experience, for they happened to me while I was yet a boy. I thought, "I have not livedas I ought to have lived. God made me, yet I have never truly served Him. He is my mother's God, but I have forgotten Him.He is my father's God, yet I have never sought Him. Ah, me! What shall I do? God must punish me. He must punish me! If Hedoes not do so, He ought to-He cannot be God if He does not act justly and I cannot, in my heart of hearts, reverence Himif He winks at my wrongdoing, for much wrongdoing has been mine. What is to become of me?" So I cried out in my agony andI struggled to be right. I thought it would be easy work to do that which would please God. I went to the helm of my shipand hoped to reverse its course. But I soon drifted into the old courses, again, and what I thought to be very easy I foundto be extremely difficult-no more-absolutely impossible! I seemed soft as wax towards evil, yet hard as cast-iron or steeltowards anything that was good! I could not be molded, or fashioned aright. Then I grew sad in soul and heavy of spirit-Iforsook the ways of the mirthful and stole away from my companions that I might get alone. I read my Bible a great deal andthe more I read it, the more the darkness thickened about me. Then I tried to pray and, ah, me, I know now that they weretrue prayers, but then it seemed as if my prayers were no better than the barking of a dog! I could not hope that God wouldaccept such prayers as those-and so the darkness increased around me.
I think I hear someone say, "Yes, that is my experience." So you are here, though your spirit is in the dark! I am right gladto meet you and while you are there in the dark, I give you my hand, for I sympathize with you-I know what this darkness means!You were not always in that condition, but I thank God you are now where you are. Perhaps you think me cruel to thank Godfor your misery, but I do, for this is the gateway into a joy that will be worth your having! This loss of the sham will bethe finding of the real thing! This nailing of the counterfeit upon the counter will be giving you the minted gold that shallbe current in the markets of Heaven!
Beside this, a sense of sin has settled upon you. I know it did upon me. I ate my bread at the table, but I sometimes wonderedit did not choke me. I walked the earth and sometimes I was under such a sense of sin that I marveled it should continue tobear me up. I thought of the wrath of God and it did, indeed, seem to me to be "the wrath to come." I thank God that I didnot, in those days, hear any of those fine preachers who tell you there is no wrath to come and you need not want to meetwith such servants of the devil, for his emissaries they really are. When my conscience convinced me of sin, I verily believethat if I had heard any of these men, I would have loathed them from my very soul! The arrows of God stuck fast within myheart and I knew there must be a wrath of God against sin, for I was angry, even, with myself on account of my guilt! If Godhad taken me to Heaven with unforgiving sin still within my spirit, I would not have been happy! I was utterly miserable andI felt that I must continue so unless, by a Divine miracle of Grace, some great change could be worked upon me. The conscienceof man, when he is really quickened and awakened by the Holy Spirit, speaks the Truth of God-it rings the great alarm belland if he turns over in his bed and says, "A little more sleep, and a little more slumber"-that great alarm bell rings outagain and again, "The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come!"
The soul I am describing is in the dark and the darkness settles down in conviction of sin and, dear Friend-for I am speakingto you (though I do not know you, I am speaking straight at somebody-God knows who-who is in the dark), you have no hope.You go to hear sermons, longing that some Light of God may break in upon you. Some of you have been hearing the Gospel fora very long time, yet no Light has come to you. Why is it? One reason is because you shut out the Light of God. There aresome of you who refuse to be converted-you are like sick men who, when meat is brought to them, refuse it. They turn againstit, as the Psalm says, "Their soul abhors all manner of meat." I am not going to blame you, dear Heart, but I do deeply pityyou, for I know that now you are hardly in your right senses, like the men at sea, of whom the Psalm says, "They reel to andfro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end."
You hear and yet you do not hear! You have had the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to you, and very plainly, too, but youknow that it is one thing to hold a lantern to a man's eyes and it is another thing to take the scales off those eyes andmake him see. So is it with you-your eyes are covered with scales and you do your utmost to keep them there! You will notcome to Christ that you might have life and, therefore, there is no star visible to you! There is not even the faintest rimof the new moon, much less is there any light of the sun shining upon you. You are in the dark and, at present, there is nothingto break through that darkness or to drive it away.
Worse still, you fear future and eternal night. I think I hear you say, "I am afraid, Sir, that I shall die in the dark."I trust not, I trust not, for I have something to say to you which, I hope, may be God's voice to pierce that darkness anddisperse it! It would be an awful thing, certainly, to pass out of this world without a hope, and to take the last dread plungeinto the unutterable blackness without so much as a single spark of light to guide you on your way. And, since you may dieat any moment-(remember how our friend was taken away, two Sabbaths ago, just as he entered this House of Prayer)-since youmay die at any moment, see to it that you do not die in the dark! You have but one little candle-do not waste even a fragmentof it, but use every beam of light it gives you-
"While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return,"
but if that lamp is once quenched, then will you be forever beyond the reach of hope, for the Gospel is not preached in Hell-whereyour soul will be found if you die unforgiven! Here, mercy is offered to you, but pass away rejecting it and you have sealedyour doom forever!
I am not going to dwell any longer upon the seamy side of my subject, because that might only increase your darkness. YetI know that you would feel a kind of mournful satisfaction if I were to do so. Do I not remember how I read through the Bookof Job and its blackest pages seemed suitable to me? How did I take to heart the language of Jeremiah in his Lamentationsand how did I roll those unsavory morsels under my tongue again and again! But I rejoice to believe that it is to people insuch a state as this that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sent. Christ did not die to save the righteous, but to save the unrighteous!Salvation is not meant for men who are not lost, but for men who are lost! It is not because of your riches that Christ came,but because of your poverty-not because of your worthiness-but because of your unwor-thiness! He has not come because youdo not need Him, but because you do need Him! And the more terrible your necessity, on account of the thick darkness in whichyour spirit is enshrouded, the more am I encouraged to believe that Jesus Christ has come to save YOU-yes, even you, for thetext says-"To them that are in darkness, Show yourselves."
II. Now, secondly, I am going to REPEAT THE EXHORTATION of the text-"Show yourselves." What does that mean?
First, it means that you are running away from Divine Justice and that your wisest course will be to go and deliver yourselfup. I have been thinking, several times this week, of that unhappy man who is believed to have committed a murder and whohas been going from place to place to escape detection. What a miserable week he must have spent! How he must have trembledevery time anyone looked at him! The sight of a policeman must be terrifying, indeed, to him. I know not where he has been,nor apparently does anybody else, but he is seeking to hide himself from the officers of justice. There was a murderer, sometime ago, who escaped for a time from those who were searching for him, but what a wretched life he lived while he was hiding!Now to any of you who are trying to hide away, thus, God says, "Show yourselves; come out of your hiding place."
"But what am I to do?" asks one. Give yourself up. "What? Give myself up to justice?" Yes, to Almighty Justice. Come and surrenderyourself. Do you not know that you are not really hidden? God sees you wherever you are! There is no hiding away from Him!I might not ask you to give yourself up to your fellow man, but I do pray you guilty sinners, who do not like to think ofsin and are trying to hide yourselves, to abandon that folly and come out and give yourselves up. "Give myself up to God?"you ask. Yes, that is the first thing for you to do-to submit yourself to God, to lie at His feet pleading for mercy! I haveheard of one who found that his life was sought for on account of a frightful crime that he had committed. When it was announcedthat whoever would bring that man's head, even though he, himself, had been a traitor, he would be pardoned, he did a verysensible thing-he obtained admittance to the king and said, "I have brought this man's head and I demand to be pardoned, forI have complied with the condition mentioned in the proclamation." So he had, though it was his own head that he had broughtand, somehow, the grim humor of the action seemed to touch the heart of the king, and he said, "Well, you must live."
I want you to do the same thing as that criminal did-come to God, and say, "Lord, I am a wicked sinner. If there is a manupon the earth who deserves to be cast away from Your Presence, forever, on account of sin, I am that guilty one." Deliveryourself up to God, surrender at discretion! Say, "You must do with me as You will, Lord, but I cannot run away from You,nor do I wish to do so. I know that all the earth is but one great prison when You are seeking me, for You can see me anywhere.You can spy me out in the darkest night and find me in my most secret hiding place-therefore I will deliver myself up intoYour hands. Do with me as You will." Now then, you that are in the dark, come and deliver yourselves up! Say, as Esther did,when she resolved to go into the presence of Ahasuerus, "So will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:and if I perish, I perish." I wish I might be privileged to bring you to that point! May the Lord, Himself, bring you there!In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom God anointed to save sinners, I command you who are in darkness to show yourselves,by surrendering yourselves now to your God, submitting yourselves unreservedly to Him! "Kiss the Son lest He be angry, andyou perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little."
The next way of showing yourselves is somewhat different-"Say to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves," that is, youare very lonely and you have been avoiding your best friends. You like to get away into a secluded corner and you do not careto be spoken to about religion-yet all the while you have the heartache and know not how to get it cured. To you who wishto be always alone, you who are so retiring, so nervous and so sensitive that you never speak to anybody about the sorrowyou so keenly feel, thus says the Lord to you, "To them that are in darkness, Show yourselves." Come out of your retirement!If you cannot speak to any mortal man, yet speak to the Immortal Man, the Christ of God! Go and tell all your sorrows to thebest of friends! You remember that we sang just now-
"Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Your bosom fly."
O you lonely one, I want you to speak thus to Jesus and to fly to His bosom and tell Him all that ails you! You cannot speakto mother, you say, dear girl? Then speak to the Lord Jesus Christ! "Oh, I cannot speak to my father!" says the boy. No, Ihave often found that children cannot talk to their earthly father, but you can go and speak to the Lord Jesus Christ! Hewill meet you in your little room. He will be by your bedside tonight! Get somewhere, alone, and say to Him, "Lord Jesus,I have not a friend to whom I can go for relief. Perhaps there are many who would be my friends, but I am so frightened andso timid that I dare not go and speak to them. Even when I go to the Tabernacle, I am afraid lest someone should talk to meabout my soul." Speak thus to the Lord Jesus, first, and it may be that He will give you courage to allow some Christian personto converse with you and help you "out of darkness into light." Even if you have not courage enough for that, it shall bean all-sufficient help to you to show yourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek His acquaintance and if only like one gropingin the dark you do but touch Him and lay hold of Him by faith, you will be saved! And in due time you will come forth intothe light of His Countenance.
Thus I have given you two meanings of the text, but I want, now, to tell you another-"Say to them that are in darkness, Showyourselves." This passage may be applied to you who are sick, who are concealing your disease. I want every man here who istroubled about the state of his heart, and every woman, too, to come and show themselves to Christ, just as they are, in alltheir sin. I remember a friend of mine who was, for years, suffering from an ailment that I need not name. And after a whilehis malady reached a very sad condition and he was most seriously ill. A physician was called in and when he had examinedmy friend, he said, "This ought to have been seen to years ago! Why was it not properly attended to before? Have you no doctor?""Oh, yes! The doctor has been in and out of the house many times. He has been here almost every month." "Well, what did hedo for you?" "Oh, he prescribed, different things."
Then the physician asked, "But did he never examine you to find out what was the matter?" And my friend replied, "Oh, I alwaysshrank from a medical examination!" "But," rejoined the physician, "you will soon be dead unless God deals very graciouslywith you-and if you had been examined and rightly treated, a few years ago, probably this mischief was then such a very smallaffair that your life might have been saved."
Do you not think that such a thing as that often happens-that we are afraid of a thorough examination and do not want to knowour real condition-and, therefore, it continues to get worse? Well now, I want you who are in darkness to come to God andto say to Him, "Lord, examine me thoroughly." Go and exhibit to the Lord your sins and your sores, yes, though they are putrefyingsores! He is accustomed to seeing such things, therefore hide nothing from Him. Go and tell Him the tale of all your sinsand your sorrows. In your prayers to Him, make a full confession of your sin. I remember one who used to pray, "Lord, pardonmy sin," and he went over a list of a number of sins that he had not committed-but he used to say very little about thosethat he had committed! "I am afraid I take a little drop too much," he would sometimes confess, but he never obtained peaceuntil he said straight out, "Lord, I am a hard drinker, I am a drunk-but by Your Grace I will take no more strong drink."Then he was delivered from the evil!
If I were a priest and you were fools enough to come and confess your sins to me, I would not ask you to call a spade a spade,for some spades are better called by another name-but when you go to God, pour out all that is in your heart, confess allyour wrong-doing! Acknowledge that you are proud and conceited! Admit that you are murmuring and rebellious! Confess thatyou do not want to be converted! Acknowledge that you have companions you would not like to give up! Confess that you areliving in the practice of a secret sin! Admit it all! Show yourselves, exhibit yourselves to God just as you are! It willbe a dreadful sight, but the Great Physician will then operate upon you with His wonderful power which cures and cleanses,too! Remember this text, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from allunrighteousness." You who are in darkness, show yourselves to God by a full and wholehearted confession of your sin-and ahumble acknowledgment that you deserve to suffer His righteous wrath!
Thus I hope I have, in another sense, put this matter plainly enough-
"Say to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves."
The next thing you have to do is to show yourselves as healed ones bound to confess Him who has cured them. If you believeon the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are healed of the leprosy of sin! If you trust Christ, your sins are forgiven-but rememberthat this is the full Gospel message-"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." "If you shall confess with Your mouththe Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heartman believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." When the 10 lepers were cleansed,our Lord Jesus Christ said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priest," in order that he might examine and see whether itwas a real cure that had been worked, and so might bear testimony that Christ had healed the leprosy.
Now, if Christ has saved you, you are required to come out and show yourself! Come to the Church of God, and ask to be admittedto its fellowship. "Oh but I mean to go to Heaven in the dark!" Do you? Do you expect to find a dark Heaven when you get there?"But," says one, "there are a great many secret Christians!" How do you know that there are? Did you ever know one? "Yes,"says somebody, "I remember one." But, if you knew him, how could he be a secret Christian? I do not know whether there everwas a secret Christian! I will not say anything about that matter because I am out of the secret in such a case as that, butthis I know, nobody has a right to be a secret Christian. Our Lord Jesus said, "Whoever does not bear his cross and come afterMe, cannot be My disciple." "Lord," says one, "I am Your disciple, but I am going to take it easy on the sofa." "No," saysChrist, "that kind of life will not do for one of My disciples, for he that takes not his cross and follow after Me, is notworthy of Me." You who were in darkness, if Christ has brought you into light, show yourselves! Stand forward and say, "Hereis a proof of what the Grace of God has done-
'I am the chief of sinners, Yet Jesus died for me'"
and I desire to come out boldly and publicly to acknowledge what He has done for me! It is the very least that I can do toshow my gratitude to Him."
I have sometimes called some of you, who say you love Christ, but do not confess Him before men, "rats behind the wainscot."You just come out, as it were, to nibble a bit of cheese, and then go back, again, into the darkness. But is that the waythat a Christian man or woman ought to act?-
"Jesus! And shall it always be? A mortal man ashamed of Thee!" No! Let it not be so! You who have been brought out of thedarkness, show yourselves and confess your Savior and your
But I am going to carry the text a little farther. There are some young men here, perhaps some young women, also, who havebeen saved. They are no longer in the dark and God has given them Grace and talents-yet still they are hiding themselves away!They are chosen ones loath to take their place of service. Remember when Saul was elected king, the people could not findhim. He was a fine tall fellow, who stood head and shoulders above the rest of his countrymen, and though they ought to havespied him out even if he had been sitting down, they could not find him. Where was he? Hidden away among the stuff. He didnot appear to like that idea of being king, so he hid himself away, and the people cried, "Come out, Saul! Come out!" Andthey brought him forth and proclaimed him king.
There are certain Brothers and Sisters whom God means to place where they do not want to be placed. There is one who oughtto be a Sunday school teacher, but he is not willing. Where is he? Come out, Sir, come out! I must fetch you out from amongthe stuff. "Say to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves." There is a young fellow who ought to be preaching the Gospel-hemade a very pretty speech, the other night, at the Mutual Improvement Society. He can speak well enough as a politician andif there were an election, we would find him talking fast enough. But he is dumb so far as the Church of Christ is concerned!Come out, Brother! If the Lord has saved you and if He is pleading for you in Heaven, it is time you began to plead for Himon earth! Perhaps it is for the mission-field that the Master wants you and, my Brother, my Sister, if it is so, the messageof the Lord comes to you tonight, "You that are in darkness, hiding yourselves away, Show yourselves."
And, mark you, our text also applies to persecuted ones who shall be acknowledged and honored of God. There will come a daywhen God's people, who have long been in the dark through persecution, slander and misrepresentation, shall hear the Lordspeaking to them out of Heaven, and saying, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me bysacrifice." "Say to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves." What a change will come for God's poor despised people inthat day! "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." And, "They that turn many to righteousnessshall shine as the stars forever and ever." Oh, I know that they sneer at you and call you names-"a Methodist, a Presbyterian,a cant, a hypocrite." Stand fast for Christ and the day will come when He shall say, "You that are in darkness, Show yourselves."
Lastly, these words also relate to dead ones called to resurrection. It may be that most of us shall go down to the gravebefore Christ comes and we shall lie-
"In beds of dust and silent clay," and leave these poor bodies of ours in some cemetery or other. Perhaps in the depths ofthe sea, or far away in New Zealand, or in the United States or Canada, we shall leave our bones far from the spot where ourfathers sleep. But there shall come a day when the silver trumpet of the Resurrection Morning shall sound and this shall beits note, "You that are in darkness, Show yourselves!" And out from the dark we shall come, the redeemed of the Lord, in ResurrectionGlory! In the prospect of that day, I feel that I must show myself for my Lord now-I must come to the front and bear the bruntof the battle for the Truth of God! I must be bold for Christ, for He has brought me out of darkness into His marvelous Lightand He deserves that I should not shrink away and hide myself!
He who has prepared a crown of life for every faithful one, expects that you and I will be faithful even unto death, in thehope of obtaining that crown of life which fades not! Up, up, you who are hiding yourselves! Come out of the bushes in whichyou are skulking away! If Jehovah is God, serve Him! If Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God, acknowledge Him! If the Gospelis worth preaching, proclaim it with trumpet tongue! If the Church of God is for Him, be numbered with it and take your partin its service and in its suffering! God help you, and God bless you by this message which seems to me to come direct fromHimself to you! You that are in sorrow, show yourselves! And all you that are cowardly, show yourselves! And God bless you,for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ISAIAH 49:1-17.
In this chapter, we have not merely Isaiah speaking concerning the Christ of God, but it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah,who here speaks concerning Himself.
Verse 1. Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, you people from far. It is very remarkable how constantly the isles are spokenof in this Book of Isaiah, as if it had been foreseen that, in these far-off islands of the sea, the name of Jesus would begreatly magnified. "Listen," says the Messiah, "O isles, unto Me; and hearken, you people, from far."
1. The LORD has called Me from the womb; from the matrix of My mother has He made mention of My name. Christ Jesus our Lordwas spoken of by the Spirit of prophecy from His very birth-and long before it-and when He did come into the world, and wasborn of the Virgin Mary, the stars of Heaven spoke concerning Him and guided the wise men from the East to the place wherethe young Child lay.
2. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword. There are no words anywhere so piercing as the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.When you are giving quotations from various authors, you need never write the name, "Jesus," at the bottom of any of His words,for they proclaim their own origin. "Never man spoke like this Man."
2. In the shadow of His hand has He hid Me and made Me a polished shaft. In His quiver has He hid Me. The great weapon ofGod against sin is His Son, Jesus Christ! God has no such means of smiting evil, or effecting His purposes of love as Hisown dear Son! This is the "polished shaft" which Jehovah delights to use.
3. And said unto Me, You are My Servant. Above all others, Christ is the Servant of God. He is a Son by nature, a Servantby His condescension, a Servant for our sakes.
3. O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. It is very wonderful that the Redeemer should here be called, "Israel." It is notmore wonderful, however, than that in another place His people should be called by His name! You remember those two passagesin the prophecy of Jeremiah-"This is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." and, "This is the namewherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness." There, the people of God take their Lord's name! And here, Christtakes the name of His people and He deigns to be called Israel. Nor is this an unsuitable name for Him, for it is He who wrestledon our behalf and prevailed, even as Israel did at Jabbok. Jesus is a greater Prince with God than Jacob ever was! Well, then,does Jehovah say to Him, "You are My Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified."
4. Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for naught, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with theLORD, and My work with My God. The Messiah, prophetically looking forward, complained that, during His life on earth, He seemedto labor in vain. The nation was not saved-"He came unto His own and His own received Him not." He wept over the guilty cityof Jerusalem, but those tears did not put out the fires of vengeance! He entreated men to turn to God, but they did not andthey would not repent. He seemed to labor in vain and spend His strength for nothing, and in vain.
5. And now, says the LORD that formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel is notgathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength. Even though the Jewish nationwas not yet gathered to Christ, His labor was not in vain. God will not suffer His Son to spend His strength for nothing!
6. And He said, It is a light thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preservedof Israel: I will also give You for a light to the Gentiles, that You may be My salvation unto the end of the earth. Whata blessed word of cheer this is for us poor Gentiles! The favored children of Israel thought us to be little better than dogs.But, behold, we have been lifted up into the children's place! If Israel is not gathered, the Messiah has become a light tothe Gentiles, and God's salvation unto the ends of the earth! Yet we cannot help fervently praying, "Oh, that Israel mightsoon be gathered to Christ!" Her gathering in will be the time of the fullness of the Gentiles.
7. Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors.Who is this but our Divine Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God? These words are spoken of Him whom man despised, ofHim who was despised and rejected of men, of Him whom the nation abhors, for that favored nation still, alas, abhors the nameof Jesus of Nazareth and will not cherish towards the Christ anything but thoughts of contempt!
7. To the Servant of rulers. For, though He was the King of kings, and Lord of lords, He submitted to be a Servant to thekings of the earth and obeyed the rules of human governors. Yet-
7. Kings shall see and arise, princes, also, shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel,and He shall choose You. The day is coming when He that was spit upon shall be the admired of all mankind! No more the crownof thorns, but many diadems of Glory shall rest upon His blessed head! And all men, with loud acclaim, shall salute Him asKing of kings and Lord of lords!
8. Thus says the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard You, and in a day of salvation have I helped You; and I will preserveYou, and give You for a Covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. It isthe Lord Jesus Christ who shall establish all that is good-and cast down everything that is evil. He shall staunch earth'sbleeding wounds and repair her wilderness wastes. Where He comes, flowers spring up all around His blessed feet!
9. That You may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways,and their pastures shall be in all high places. When Christ leads His flock, wherever they go they shall feed. And even ifHe leads them to the very tops of the hills, He shall make the pastures grow there for them! There is never a place whereChrist leads us but what it is safe for us to go there. The Shepherd's feet make pasturage for the sheep that follow Him-therefore,be not afraid to go wherever He leads you, but rather rejoice that He puts forth His own sheep and goes before them, for-"theyshall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places."
10. 11. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that has mercy on them shall leadthem, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way. Where, naturally, there couldnot be a way, on those pathless summits of the loftiest Alps, the Lord says, "I will make all My mountains a way"-
11. And My highways shall be exalted. "I will throw up causeways." God will make a way for you to get at Him if you want toget at Him! If you are willing to make a way for God, He will make a way for you! The gulf shall be bridged, the mountainshall be leveled!
12. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim."The land of Sinim" signifies China. Is it not strange that, in this Book, we should find mention of the land of Sinim, thecountry of China? God has a people there and they shall come to Him! I was delighted, last Tuesday, to meet with a Brotherwho had broken bread with us at the Lord's Table-he was a poor Chinaman, so he had helped to fulfill this prophecy-"Theseshall come from the west; and these from the land of Sinim."
13-15. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD has comforted Hispeople, and will have mercy upon His afflicted. But Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Cana woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet willI not forget you. Will God ever forget His ancient people, the Jews? Never! They forget their God, but Jehovah never forgetsHis chosen people-"They may forget, yet will I not forget you."
16. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands. "I cannot work, I cannot even open the palm of My hands withoutseeing the names of my chosen people-'I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands.'"
16, 17. Your walls are continually before Me. Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and they that made you wasteshall go away from you. For God is full of kindness to His people, and cannot forget them. Oh, that they would never forgetHim!