At the end of the last chapter, we examined some manifestations of our Lord’s tender love toward His people; and these are continued here in verses 1-3. God’s love will not permit Him to put His people away from Him. In the land of exile, Israel thought herself to be cut off from the Lord, her Husband. But here a challenge is given to these people to produce any evidence that the fault began on God’s side. They could not say that He had done them any wrong or had acted arbitrarily; He had not given them any bill of divorce. It was true that they were in a state of separation from Him, but who was really at fault? The Lord shows them that they themselves were the authors of their lamentable condition. “Behold, for your iniquities” – for the imaginary pleasure of them, and the gratification of your own wicked lusts – “you have sold yourselves!” God had even come and offered them His favor and His helping hand, to prevent their trouble or to deliver them out of it; but they slighted Him and all the offers of His grace. He came to them by His servants, the prophets; He sent them His messengers, rising up early and sending them; He called to them to leave their sins, and thereby to prevent their own ruin. But there were none who had any regard to the warnings which the prophets gave them. When God calls people to happiness, and they will not answer, it is their own fault if they are left to be miserable.
The unbelieving Jews in Babylon thought they were not delivered because their God was not able to deliver them; but it is made clear here that it was not because of any lack of power in Jehovah, for He is Almighty! Says the Lord, “Is my hand shortened at all, or is it weakened?” Can any limits be set to Omnipotence? Cannot the great Redeemer do the work of redemption? In order to forever put to silence their doubts concerning His power, He here gives unquestionable proofs of it in verses 2 and 3. When He pleases, He can eclipse the lights of heaven and clothe them with blackness, and He can dry up the seas and make the rivers a wilderness. He did so for Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, and He could do so again for their return out of Babylon.
Now, beginning in verse 4, the Lord’s Servant – Christ, the Messiah – is prophetically represented as speaking; and He acknowledges His readiness to carry out the commission which His Father had given Him. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (verse 4). Ever since sin entered the world, people have been weary! “Weary” denotes a class to which a multitude belong that no man can number, from every tribe and nation. There is physical weariness – suffered by the laborer in his place of toil, or by the seamstress working far into the night by the dim candle, or by the mother watching over her sick baby. There is mental weariness – where the imagination can no longer summon images of beauty to the brain; or when the intellect refuses to follow another argument, read another page, or add up another column. There is heart-weariness – waiting in vain for a word or a letter so long expected, or for the returning step of a prodigal child. Not to mention the weariness of the inner conflict, from striving day by day against the selfishness and waywardness of the soul; or the weariness of laboring for the cause of Christ, and experiencing the perpetual chafe of human sorrow, sin, and need. If only we could make one brilliant assault upon the powers of evil, which would forever quell their might – who would not accept that as a most blessed gift of God? But instead of this, we are engaged in a conflict which is tedious, incessant, and terribly wearing! If we defeat our enemy today, he will be ready to meet us again tomorrow with equal or greater force. If we conquer him in one thing, he will immediately disguise himself in another. Thus, beneath the long ordeal, our heart and our flesh fail; and we sigh for the place over whose portal, Christ has written, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest!”
In one way or another, all souls grow weary at some part of their life. There is nothing new in this, but the great novelty consists in the infinite care that the Lord takes of those who are weary! There is nothing like it outside the Bible and the literature to which it has given birth. Countless scores of weary people have fallen out of the march of human life, and lie stretched upon the scorching sand – doomed to expire from fatigue and thirst. But God – the High and Holy One, Who inhabits eternity – stoops to the need of the weaklings! He expends His care upon the lame, the halt, the maimed, and the blind. He adopts into His family those who have been rejected for their deformities. He gathers up the broken fragments. He tills the barren ground. He seeks out the orphans and the destitute, whom no one else invites to their tables; and He is perpetually engaged in caring for each weary heart. This God is ours forever, and He is unrivaled in His tender love and pity!
But the deep tenderness of the Lord for every tired atom of humanity would have been hidden from our knowledge, if it had not been for His Servant Who speaks in this chapter. No one ever comforted the weary like He did! He could not look upon a great multitude – distressed and scattered, like sheep not having a shepherd – without being moved with compassion for them, and ministering to them as only He could. And He still does the same for His weary sons and daughters today! Blessed be His name!
All praises to You, O Lord; for even though You are full of Almighty power and strength, yet You stoop to help the needs of those who are weak and weary! Amen.
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