Sermon 2548. Four Contrasts

(No. 2548)




"But now thus says the Lord that created you, O Jacob, and He that formed you, O Israel, fear not: for I have redeemed you,I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,they shall not overflowyou: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior: I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honorable, and I have loved you: therefore will I give men for you, andpeople for your life. Butyou have not called upon Me, O Jacob; butyou have been weary of Me, O Israel. You have not broughtMe the small cattle of your burnt offerings; neither have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to servewith an offering, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, neither have you filled Me withthe fat of your sacrifices: but you have made Me to serve with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, evenI, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:1-4;22-25.

Beloved Friends, there are many lights in which we can see sin. And our perception of sin very much depends upon the lightin which we look at it. Sin is very terrible by the blaze of Sinai, when the mountain of Law and terrors is altogether ona smoke. It is a dreadful thing to look at sin when God speaks in thunder and all the earth trembles before Him. It is anawful thing to see sin by the light of your dying day. More terrible, still, will it be to see it by the light of the JudgmentDay. When Abraham rose up early in the morning and looked towards Sodom, it was a lurid light that met his gaze as he sawthe guilty cities blazing and smoking up towards Heaven like a vast furnace. To see sin in that light is a solemn thing. Butof all the lights that ever fall upon sin, that which makes it, "like itself appear," is that which falls upon it when itis set in the light of God's Countenance. To see sin by the light of God's Love, to read its awful character by the lightof the Cross-beholding Christ bleeding and dying-is the way to see sin. Nothing makes us feel sin to be so vile and guiltya thing as when we realize that it was perpetrated against the God of Infinite Love.

I am going to speak at this time mainly concerning God's own people. They are to be the direct object of my talk, and I wantto set their sins in the light of God's Love to them. I mean, Beloved, your sins and my own. Let us set our sin in the lightof God's eternal Love and if the sight should break us down, so much the better. If it should send us away humbled and ashamed,so much the better. And if it should make us praise eternal love beyond anything we have ever done before, so much the better.My one objective will be to set before you the contrast between God's action towards His people and His people's usual actiontowards Him. He is all Love, but I fear that some of us who love Him from the bottom of our hearts do not always show it inour lives-and we give much cause for Him to set our conduct in direct contrast to His own.

I pray, dear Brothers and Sisters, that your consciences may be wide awake while I am preaching, and that you will not somuch listen to me as make heart-searching inquisition into your own spiritual state and your own behavior towards your God.I do not want so much to preach to you, as just to help you while you take the candle and the broom and sweep the house. Theremay be some piece of silver that you have lost which you will find very speedily by that process. It may be that you willlearn to love the Savior better after you have thoroughly searched yourself and seen the contrast between His action towardsyou and yours towards Him.

I. The first contrast lies in THE CALL. Please open your Bibles at the first verse, and read with me-"I have redeemed you,I have called you by your name." Now read in the 22nd verse-"But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob."

We will begin by speaking of God's call to us. God has had much converse with those of us who are His people. We are not strangersto the sound of His voice and that method of communication from God came forth toward us even before we knew anything aboutit, for, first, God called us out of nothing. See how He begins this chapter-"Thus says the Lord that created you, O Jacob."Our creation is entirely due to God. An ungodly man can hardly bless God for having made him, for his end may be terrible.But you and I can bless the day of our birth and praise the Lord that we ever were created to be His sons and His daughtersand to enjoy so much, as we already do, of His infinite love and mercy. Blessed be God for our being, because it is followedby our well-being! Blessed be God for our first birth, because we have also experienced a second birth! We praise the Lordthat it pleased Him to make us to be His people!

Our Lord has done more than make us, for He has educated us. He has continued the fashioning of us. We are still like theunfinished vessel in the potter's hands-the wheel is yet revolving and God's fingers are still at work upon us, molding andshaping us as He, Himself, would have us to be. "Thus says the Lord that created you, O Jacob, and He that formed you, O Israel."Israel is the "formed" Jacob. By God's Grace, Jacob grows into Israel. Let us think for a minute of all the sweet experiencesof God's forming and fashioning touch that we have had. Sometimes it has been a rough stroke that was necessary for the moldingof our clay. Only by affliction could we be made to assume the shape and pattern that the Lord had determined for us. At othertimes it has been the touch of very soft fingers. Divine love and kindness and tenderness have molded us. As David said tothe Lord, in his Psalm of Thanksgiving, so can each true child of God say, "Your gentleness has made me great." "The Lordhas done great things for us, whereof we are glad." He has had wonderful dealings with us in creating us and in forming us!

Think what wonderful dealings He has had, next, in consoling us, for the Lord goes on to say, "fear not." Oh, how often Hehas cheered us up when our spirit was sinking! With the Psalmist, we have been able to say, "My flesh and my heart fails,but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." When it has been very dark with us, the Lord has lighted ourcandle. When we have been quite alone, then we have not been alone, for He has been with us. "A Syrian ready to perish," wasa true description of Israel going down into Egypt, but the Lord did not leave him to perish-and He has not left us to perish,and He never will! Friends have sometimes failed to cheer us, but our Best of Friends has always comforted us. There are manywho call themselves comforters, to whom we can truly say, "Miserable comforters are you all." But what a Comforter is theGod of All Comfort! He knows how to comfort those that are cast down. He takes care that His comforts are given to us justas we need them and that they always come to us in the best possible way.

O Beloved, the Lord has had strange dealings with some of you which you could never tell! You could not even recount themto yourself in quiet soliloquy. You have lost, one after another, those who were dear to you, and yet you have not been permittedto sink down into despair. You have been brought into great straits, yet you have not been deserted by your God. You havebeen cast down, but not destroyed. You have gone through fire and through water, yet you have been brought out into a wealthyplace and your soul has had to extol the Lord who has dealt with you in loving kindness and tender mercy!

So, you see, we have had from God the blessings of creation, formation, and consolation. But that is not all, for the Lordhas also called us and conversed with us in the matter of redemption. How sweetly it runs, "for I have redeemed you." Yes,blessed be God, whether we are poor, or sick, or obscure, we who believe in Jesus are bought with His precious blood! I wouldgive up my eyes rather than give up that thought, "I am bought with the precious blood." I would give my hands, arms and everysense I have, sooner than give up that inward delightful confidence, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me. Upon the Crossof Calvary, when He was paying down His life-price, He gave Himself a ransom for me and I am a sharer in the effectual purchaseof His redeeming blood." Beloved, has not the Lord also told you that, sometimes, in His Word and by His Spirit? Has he notmade it come home so blessedly to you that you have cried out with joy, "It is true, it is verily true, the Lord says to me,'I have redeemed you'"? this is a choice way in which God has spoken to you, cheering and comforting your heart by a senseof His redeeming Love.

The Lord has done even more than that for each of His children. He has given a special nomination- "I have called you by yourname." You know what your name was, once, but, blessed be God, He has given you a new name, and He has called you to Himselfby name as much as Mary of Bethany was called, when her sister Martha said to her, "the Master is come and calls for you,"or when Mary Magdalene turned herself and said, "Rabboni," because her beloved Master had called her by her name, "Mary."The Lord delights to call His people by their name, just as mothers and fathers do, but specially as mothers do when theyrepeat the child's pet name which they have given it-some fondling name which is the mother's own particular register andmark upon the child. "I have called you by your name." Then comes this blessed appropriation, "You are Mine." Dear child ofGod, your Heavenly father says to you, "You are Mine. You do not belong to the world, now, much less to the devil. You donot even belong to yourself. I have made you. I have formed you. I have consoled you. I have upheld you. I have redeemed you.I have called you by your name, you are Mine and I will never part with you."

This is the way that God talks to us! You recognize that Divine language, do you not? You have heard it many a time. You are,perhaps, hearing it now. Then turn with me to the other side of the question-the neglected call on our part. Listen againto this sad sentence from the 22nd verse. "But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob." That may not mean that there has beenliterally no calling upon God on your side, but it does mean that there has been too little of it. Come, Brothers and Sisters,let us put this matter to the test. What about our prayers. I have no wish to judge anybody, but I know that there are somewho, I trust, do love the Lord, who have so little of the spirit of prayer that, broadly speaking, this accusation is true,"You have not called upon Me, O Jacob." Are there not some of you who spend only a very little time in secret prayer withGod? Just a few hurried words in the morning, just a few more at night, when you are tired out and half asleep, but few, ifany prayers all day long? Now, I consider brief, pious prayer to be the very best form of prayer. I do not think that lengthin prayer often ministers to strength in prayer, but those breathings of the soul's desire during the day-

"The upward glancing of an eye, When none but God is near."

That sigh, that "Ah!" "Oh!" "Would that!" "O God!"-that is the style of supplication which reaches the Throne of God! Yetare there not some of you who forget to present these brief prayers? Thus there is much less prayer than there ought to be,and the Lord has to say, "You have not called upon Me, O Jacob."

Some who do, I trust, love the Lord, are very lax about prayer with their Brothers and Sisters. I think that next to unitedpraise, united prayer is the most delightful thing that can ever occupy the human mind. I believe that our Monday eveninggatherings and our other Prayer Meetings are among the sweetest enjoyments that Christians can have this side of Heaven! Yetthere are some who never come to them at all-and to them the Lord seems to address the language of the text, "You have notcalled upon Me, O Jacob."

True as this is of our prayers, I am sure that it is still more true of our praise. How little praise, my Brothers and Sisters,does the Lord get from us! Our "Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," we sing here, but how little of singing is there usuallyin our own houses! I will not blame you if you cannot sing vocally, but how little is there of that heart-music which is thevery heart of music, that praising with the soul without any words, when we sit still and bless the Lord, and all that iswithin us magnifies His holy name! Is there not too little of this heart-music? The revenue of praise paid into the Divineexchequer is so sadly little that I am sure that the Master is robbed. We do not send in a fair estimate of our income ofmercy and we do not pay unto the Lord that portion of praise that is due to Him and, therefore, He is obliged to say to us,"You have not called upon Me, O Jacob."

I will tell you what I think this sentence further means, and that is that there are many with whom God has dealt well, whodo not venture to call upon Him for special help in His service. They keep plodding along the old roads and mostly in theold ruts, but they do not dare to invoke the aid of the Lord for some novel form of service, some fresh enterprise upon whichthey can strike out for God. It has been my lot, in years past, to call upon God to help me in what men judged to be rashand imprudent enterprises, but oh, how grandly the Lord always answers to the holy courage of His people if they will butdo and dare for Him! Yet, too often, He has to say, "You have not called upon Me, O Jacob."

I wish we would put God to the test and see what He is both able and willing to do for us and by us. There are the promises,but they are often like locked-up boxes. They lie like that mass of coin which the German Emperor is said to be storing upin a fortress-keeping it all idle and useless-to come in handy, I suppose, one day, for blood and iron. But, meanwhile, itis doing no service to anybody. Let us not keep God's mercies locked up after that fashion, but let us utilize them whereverwe can!

I am also afraid that sometimes, in our trouble, we do not call upon God as we should. I may be addressing a Christian herewho is in deep trouble and who has, in vain, tried 50 ways of getting out of it, but he has not yet tried what calling uponGod would do. They have in Jersey, as you may know, the habit, when they think they are being wronged, of calling, "Ha! Ro!Ha! Ro! Ha! Ro!" and straightway, having called upon the prince, according to the feudal custom, to come to their defense,all action must be stopped, for the prince is supposed to intervene to take up the quarrel of his subjects. And it is alwaysa wise thing, when you are getting into the deep waters of trouble, not to battle, worry, and fret, but just to say, "O God,my God, I do invoke You! I put this case into Your hands. This man has slandered me, but I will never answer him. You shallanswer for me, O God! I am being wronged, but I shall not go to law. I will bear this burden, O God, until You, who are theJudge of the oppressed, shall see fit to right me!" Whenever Christian men can act like this in time of trouble, or in timeof service, then they do well. But the Lord still has to say to many of His people, "I have been speaking to you in love,and mercy, and tenderness, but you have not called upon Me." If this accusation touches the heart of any Believer, here, lethim pray for forgiveness and begin, from this time on, to call upon the name of the Lord.

II. Now, secondly and more briefly, let us consider another contrast which is equally striking-upon the matter of THE CONVERSATIONbetween the Lord and His people.

Notice, first, God's side of it, as it is given in the second verse-"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shallthe flame kindle upon you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Now read the other side, in the22nd verse-"But you have been weary of Me, O Israel." Notice how God is with His people in strange places. Wherever they are,He will not leave them. He will go right through the waters with them. God also keeps close to His people in dangerous places,fatal places as they seem-"When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you."There is God keeping pace with His people through fire and through water, never leaving them, but always making this cheeringmessage to be the comfort of each one of them, "I am with you! I am with you! I am with you!" Our faithful God always keepsclose to His people. Is it not perfectly wonderful how close Christ has kept to His Church? Even when she had sinned, He wouldnot leave her. When she had fallen and was ready to perish, He would not desert her-

"'Yes,' says the Lord, 'with her I'll go Through all the depths of sin and woe! And on the Cross will even dare The bitterpangs of death to share.'"

He cannot be separated from His people-to every one of them He has given the personal promise, "I will never leave you, norforsake you."

Now listen to your side of this matter of conversation with God-"But you have been weary of Me, O Israel." Has it not beenso with regard to private prayer? A very little of that is quite enough for you, for you soon get tired of it! You actuallywent to sleep, the other night, in the middle of your prayers. Was it not so? Well, I am not going to blame you too much,but it is truly sad if this is the case with you.

Is it not the same, often, with your reading of the Scriptures? When you have taken your Bible to read a portion, have younot had to school yourself to do it? It has been quite a task for you. Did you ever hear how Hone, the author of The EveryDay Book, who had been an infidel, was brought to the Savior's feet? He was in Wales, one day. He never read the Bible, orthought of God, but he saw a girl, sitting at a cottage door, reading her Bible. He said, "Oh, the Bible?" "Yes, Sir," sheanswered, "it is the Bible." He said, "I suppose you are getting your task." "Task?" she enquired. "Task?" "Yes, my dear,I suppose your mother has set you so much to read." "Mother set me so much to read?" "Yes," he replied, "I suppose you wouldnot read the Bible, otherwise. It is a task, is it not?" "Task?" she said, "Oh, no! I only wish I could read it all day long.It is my joy and my delight, when my work is done, to get a few minutes to read this precious Book." That simple testimonywas the means of converting the infidel and of bringing him to trust the Savior for himself! I am afraid that there are manywho could not have said what that girl did, for they have been weary of God's Word and weary of God, Himself!

When they have come up to God's House, they have been weary of hearing the Word. Look at many, many, many professors. I trustthat they are God's children-but, oh, they like very short sermons-and if they do attend to what the preacher says, he hasto be very careful to put in plenty of illustrations and striking sayings. Then they will listen, but if he does not preachso as to please them, they say, "Well, you know, it was very warm, and I could not help just dropping off into a doze." Yes,I know. I know. "He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep," but poor Israel, himself, often sleeps, to his ownserious loss! And the Lord has to say to him, "You have been weary of Me, O Israel."

Are there not some, also, whom God loves, who get weary of their work? They used to be Sunday school teachers, but, you see,they now live out in the country, and they need the Sabbath day's quiet, so they cannot teach any longer. They used to preachat the corner of the street, or in a room somewhere, or do anything that they could for Christ, but they are getting old,they say, and so they must just do a little less. They used to give generously to the cause of God, but their means are reduced,and they are obliged to draw in-so they draw in first in the matter of giving to God! They begin to pinch God's cause beforethey pinch themselves! So the Lord has, again, to say, "You have been weary of Me, O Israel." Possibly, there are some thingsin which each one of us has failed to take that delight in God which we ought to have taken. We have not been half so delightedwith God as He has been with us. And we have not been so willing to converse with Him as He has been willing to go with usthrough the floods and through the flames.

III. Now, next, and very briefly, indeed, I want you to notice the contrast in THE SACRIFICE. Turn to the third verse-"I gaveEgypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you." Now read in the 23rd verse-"You have not brought Me the small cattle ofyour burnt offerings; neither have you honored Me with your sacrifices. You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, neitherhave you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices: but you have made Me to serve with your sins, you have wearied Me withyour iniquities."

Here is God giving up everybody else for the sake of His people! Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba were great nations, but God didnot choose the greatest Is it not an extraordinary thing that the Lord should ever have loved some of us? We are nothing inparticular and there are mighty men, learned men, men of rank and station, yet He has passed them by. "Not many wise men afterthe flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound thewise; God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, andthings which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: that no fleshshould glory in His Presence." That is a very wonderful declaration on God's part-"I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopiaand Seba for you." That is to say, "I passed others by, and chose you."

We may see another meaning in these words, for God has given us His choicest Gift Christ is infinitely more precious thanEgypt, Ethiopia and Seba, though they were lands of great abundance of wealth. God had but one Son, yet He gave Him up thatHe might die for us and that, through His death, we might live! There can be no gift equal to this, for that Son of God wasGod's own Self-and in the death of Christ, it was God Himself who came to earth for our redemption! Will you just try, dearchild of God, to think over that great fact, for you know that it is true!

Now look at the other side. Will any of you to whom this applies, remember the charge God here makes? "You have not broughtMe the small cattle of your burnt offerings." I wonder how little some people really give to God! I believe, in some cases,not as much as it costs them for the blacking of their boots. If you were to set it all down, there are some professors whosesacrifice to God might be put-I was about to say, in their eyes-but certainly they would not feel it if it were put in theirmouths, for it is so little. "I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you; yet you have not brought Me the smallcattle of your burnt offerings."

Then the Lord adds, "You have bought Me no sweet cane with money." Not even the smallest offering has been given to the MostHigh by some who profess to have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ! How little is given by the most generous ofus! How little, even, by those who live nearest to God! As if His Words ought to touch our consciences, the Lord says, "Ihave not caused you to serve with an offering, nor wearied you with incense"-as much as to say, "I have left it entirely upto you what you would bring. I have not demanded anything, I have not fixed any rate, I have not taxed you. And this voluntaryprinciple-has it failed? I have not put you under the Law and said that you shall give just so much-I have left it whollyto your love."

I read somewhere that in the Roman Catholic times, men were very generous because they thought that they could purchase salvationby their alms and their gifts to the church. And it is said that the doctrine of Free Grace makes people stingy! I do notbelieve that it is so-I believe that the natural effect of Grace upon any true heart is to make the man feel that if God hasdone so much for him, it is his joy and his delight to do all that lies in his power for God and His cause. At any rate, dearFriends, let us be sure to make it so in our case. I am not going to press this matter upon you, but I want you to take ithome to yourselves, as I take it home to myself. Let not the Lord have to say to any one of us, "I gave Egypt for your ransom,Ethiopia and Seba for you...but you have bought Me no sweet cane with money."

IV. I close with one more contrast, which refers to THE HONOR given by God and the honor given to God.

Read with me in verse four-"Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honorable, and I have loved you." Then hereis the contrast, in the 23rd verse-"neither have you honored Me with your sacrifices." The words seem to answer to each otherin the declaration of God's love to His people and in His lamentation for the lack of their love to Him! "Since you were preciousin My sight, you have been honorable." This is a very wonderful passage and it is blessedly true that God gives great honorto those whom He saves. I have known persons who, before their conversion, were unclean in their lives-men who had been everythingthat was despicable and women who had lost all honor-and when they have been converted, they have joined a Christian Churchand, in the society of God's people, they have become honorable! They have been taken into the fellowship of the saints justas if there had never been a fault in their lives! Nobody has mentioned the past to them-it has been forgotten. If ever anyprofessed Christian has spoken of it, it has been a disgrace to him to do so, but in the Church of God in general, we takein those who have been the vilest of the vile. And if they have but new hearts and right spirits, they are our Brothers andSisters in Christ, and they are honorable among us, and the Lord says to each one of them, "Since you were precious in Mysight, you have been honorable."

All God's people are honorable people, they are the true "right honorables," for God has made them so! They are honorableas to their new nature, for that is holy and they seek after holiness. They are honorable as the sons of God, for they areof the blood royal of Heaven. They are honorable as wedded to Christ, for He becomes their Husband. They are honorable becauseof their inheritance, for they can sing-

"This world is ours, and worlds to come! Earth is our lodge and Heaven our home." They are honorable as to their station throughouteternity, for they shall dwell forever at the right hand of God. Even those who were once so dishonorable that we could nothave associated with them, then, are brought near by the blood of Christ and God makes them honorable.

I think that if you and I, poor creatures that we are, are made honorable by God, the very least thing we can do is to honorHim in return. This is the highest honor that God can put upon us, that He fixes His love upon us-"You have been honorable,and I have loved you." Drink in that nectar if you can. I cannot preach about it. I always feel as if, when I get to thattheme, I must just sit down and think over this great wonder, that God loves me! "I have loved you-I, the Great, the InfiniteJehovah, have loved you!" Well, then, the very least thing we can do is to honor with our whole heart and soul Him who hasso greatly honored us!

Now, Beloved, have you honored God? He says in our text, "Neither have you honored Me with your sacrifices." Have you honoredGod by your lives, dear Brothers and Sisters? Have you honored God by your confidence in Him? Have you honored God by yourpatience? Have you honored God by defending His Truth when it has been assailed? Have you honored God by speaking to poorsinners about Him? Are you trying every day to honor Him? Surely, it is the very least thing we can do who have been-

"Chosen of Him before time began," and then redeemed with the heart's blood of the Son of the Highest. It is the least wecan do, to make every faculty we possess subordinate to this end of honoring and glorifying God! It is for this He has createdus, for this He has called us, for this He has redeemed us, for this He has sanctified us! Therefore let us set about it atonce and think and plan within our hearts what we can do for the glory and honor of Him who has redeemed us unto Himself.The Lord bless this message to all here present, for Jesus' sake! Amen.


ISAIAH 43:1-7; 21-28; 44:1-5.

Isaiah 43:1. But now thus says the Lord that createdyou, O Jacob, andHe that formedyou, OIsrael, fearnot: forI have redeemed you, I havecalled you by your name; you are Mine. "Fear not," is a command of God and is a command which brings its own power of performancewith it. God, who created and formed us, says to us, "fear not," and a secret whisper is heard in the heart by which thatheart is so comforted that fear is driven away. "Fear not: for I have redeemed you." That is a good reason why we should neverfear again! Redemption is a well of consolation and the redeemed of the Lord have nothing whatever to fear.

2. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. The godly have the best company in the worst places in which theirlot is cast.

2. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. The godly have special help in their times of deepest trouble. 2.When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. The godly are the subjects of miracles of mercy in seasons of greatestdistress.

2. Neither shall the flame kindle upon you. You shall come out of the furnace as the three holy children did, with not somuch as the smell of fire upon you, for, where God is, all is safe. "You shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindleupon you."

3. For I am the Lord your God. This is the grandest possible reason for not fearing! Fall back upon this when you have nothingelse upon which to rely. If you have no goods, you have a God. If your gourd is withered, your God is still the same as Heever was-"For I am Jehovah, your God."

3, 4. The Holy One ofIsrael, your Savior: Igave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia andSeba for you. Since you were precious inMy sight, you have been honorable, and I have loved you: therefore will I give men for you, and people for your life. Allthat God has given, if it were not enough, He would still add to it. He has redeemed us, so there is no need of more, butif there were, God would go through with it even to the end.

5. Fear not: for I am with you. This is the second time that the blessed words, "fear not," ring out like the notes of thesilver trumpet proclaiming the jubilee to poor trembling hearts! "Fear not, for I am with you." The Lord seems to say to eachtroubled Believer, "My honor is pledged to secure your safety, all My attributes are engaged on your behalf right to the end.Yes, I am, Myself, with you. Therefore, fear not."

5-7. I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south,Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My name.Whatever happens, God will be with His Church. His own chosen people shall all be gathered in. There shall be no frustrationof the Divine purpose. From east or west, north or south, all His sons and daughters shall come unto Him, even every one thatis called by His name.

7. For I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him. And God will be glorified in His people;the object of their creation is the glory of their God and that end shall, somehow or other, be answered in the Lord's goodtime. Now I want you to notice the other side of the question. God says, in the 21st verse-

21. This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise. But-A sorrowful, "but." And the strain sinks froma triumphant shout to a doleful lamentation. "But"-

22. You have not called upon Me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel How sad it is that those who have been lovedso much should make such a shameful return for it all!

23. You have not brought Me the small cattle of your burnt offerings. No kids of the goats, or lambs from the fold.

23. Neither have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with an offering, nor wearied you withincense. ' 'I have not been a cruel taskmaster, or tyrant, demanding of you more than you could give."

24. You have bought Me no sweet cane with money. "No calamus has sent forth its perfume from My altar."

24. Neither have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices: butyou have made Me to serve with your sins, you have weariedMe with your iniquities. These are the people whom God had loved so long and so well, those upon whom He had set His unchangingaffection! Yet they acted shamefully. What will follow upon such conduct as this? Their swift destruction? No! Listen to theLord's gracious message.

25. I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins. Here is a greatwave of mercy washing away everything that could bear witness against the people of God!

26-28. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare you, that you may be justified. Your first father has sinned,and your teachers have transgressed against Me. Therefore Ihave profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacobto the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

Isaiah 44:1-5. Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel, whom Ihave chosen: thus says the Lord that made you, and formed you from thewomb, which will help you; fear not, O Jacob, My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water uponhim that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring:and they shall spring up as among the grass as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's and another shallcall himself by the name of Jacob. And another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the nameof Israel. There are different ways of making the same profession of attachment to the Lord. All do not acknowledge in thesame way their faith in God, but it is a great blessing when our offspring acknowledge it. Let us end our reading with thatsweet blessing upon our children-"I will pour My spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring. May it come topass in all our families, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.