I will put my trust in him - It is not clear to what express place of Scripture the apostle refers: words to this effect frequently occur; but the place most probably is Psalm 18:2, several parts of which psalm seem to belong to the Messiah.
Behold I and the children which God hath given me - This is taken from Isaiah 8:18. The apostle does not intend to say that the portions which he has quoted have any particular reference, taken by themselves, to the subject in question; they are only catch-words of whole paragraphs, which, taken together, are full to the point; because they are prophecies of the Messiah, and are fulfilled in him. This is evident from the last quotation: Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel. Jesus and his disciples wrought a multitude of the most stupendous signs and wonders in Israel. The expression also may include all genuine Christians; they are for signs and wonders throughout the earth. And as to the 18th Psalm, the principal part of it seems to refer to Christ's sufferings; but the miracles which were wrought at his crucifixion, the destruction of the Jewish state and polity, the calling of the Gentiles, and the establishment of the Christian Church, appear also to be intended. See among others the following passages: Sufferings - The sorrows of death compassed me - in my distress I called upon the Lord. Miracles at the crucifixion - The earth shook and trembled - and darkness was under his feet. Destruction of the Jewish state - I have pursued mine enemies and overtaken them; they are fallen under my feet. Calling of the Gentiles - Thou hast made me head of the heathen; a people whom I have never known shall serve me; as soon as they hear of me - they shall obey me, etc., etc. A principal design of the apostle is to show that such scriptures are prophecies of the Messiah; that they plainly refer to his appearing in the flesh in Israel; and that they have all been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and the calling of the Gentiles to the privileges of the Gospel. To establish these points was of great importance.
And again - That is, it is said in another place, or language is used of the Messiah in another place, indicating the confidence which he put in God, and showing that he partook of the feelings of the children of God, and regarded himself as one of them.
I will put my trust in him - I will confide in God; implying:
(1) asense of dependence on God; and,
(2) confidence in him. It is with reference to the former idea that the apostle seems to use it here - as denoting a condition where there was felt to be need of divine aid. His object is to show that he took part with his people, and regarded them as brethren - and the purpose of this quotation seems to be to show that he was in such a situation as to make an expression of dependence proper. He was one with his people, and shared their “dependence” and their piety - using language which showed that he was identified with them, and could mingle with the tenderest sympathy in all their feelings. It is not certain from what place this passage is quoted. In Psalm 18:2, and the corresponding passage in 2 Samuel 22:3, the Hebrew is אחסה־בּו echacah bow- “I will trust in him;” but this Psalm has never been regarded as having any reference to the Messiah, even by the Jews, and it is difficult to see how it could be considered as having any relation to him. Most critics, therefore, as Rosenmuller, Calvin, Koppe, Bloomfield, Stuart, etc., regard the passage as taken from Isaiah 8:17. The reasons for this are:
(1)that the words are the same in the Septuagint as in the Epistle to the Hebrews;
(2)the apostle quotes the next verse immediately as applicable to the Messiah;
(3)no other place occurs where the same expression is found.
The Hebrew in Isaiah 8:17, is וקוּיתי־לו weqiwweytiy-low- “I will wait for him,” or I will trust in him - rendered by the Septuagint πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπ ̓αὐτῶ pepoithōs esomai ep'autō- the same phrase precisely as is used by Paul - and there can be no doubt that he meant to quote it here. The sense in Isaiah is, that he had closed his message to the people; he had been directed to seal up the testimony; he had exhorted the nation to repent, but he had done it in vain; and he had now nothing to do but to put his trust in the Lord, and commit the whole cause to him. His only hope was in God; and he calmly and confidently committed his cause to him. Paul evidently designs to refer this to the Messiah; and the sense as applied to him is, “The Messiah in using this language expresses himself as a man. It is people who exercise dependence on God; and by the use of this language he speaks as one who had the nature of man, and who expressed the feelings of the pious, and showed that he was one of them, and that he regarded them as brethren.” There is not much difficulty in the “argument” on the passage; for it is seen that in such language he must speak as “a man,” or as one having human nature; but the main difficulty is on the question how this and the verse following can be applied to the Messiah? In the prophecy, they seem to refer solely to Isaiah, and to be expressive of his feelings alone - the feelings of a man who saw little encouragement in his work, and who having done all that he could do, at last put his sole trust in God. In regard to this difficult, and yet unsettled question, the reader may consult my Introduction to Isaiah, section 7. The following remarks may serve in part to remove the difficulty.
(1) the passage in Isaiah Isaiah 8:17-18, occurs “in the midst” of a number of predictions relating to the Messiah - preceded and followed by passages that had an ultimate reference undoubtedly to him; see Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 9:1-7, and the notes at those passages.
(2) the language, if used of Isaiah, would as accurately and fitly express the feelings and the condition of the Redeemer. There was such a remarkable similarity in the circumstances that the same language would express the condition of both. Both had delivered a solemn message to people; both had come to exhort them to turn to God, and to put their trust in him and both with the same result. The nation had disregarded them alike, and now their only hope was to confide in God, and the language used here would express the feelings of both - “I will trust in God. I will put confidence in him, and look to him.”
(3) there can be little doubt that in the time of Paul this passage was regarded by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. This is evident, because:
(a)Paul would not have so quoted it as a “proof text” unless it would be admitted to have such a reference by those to whom he wrote; and,
(b)because in Romans 9:32-33, it is evident that the passage in Isaiah 8:14, is regarded as having reference to the Messiah, and as being so admitted by the Jews. It is true that this may be considered merely as an argument “ad hominem” - or an argument from what was admitted by those with whom he was reasoning, without vouching for the precise accuracy of the manner in which the passage was applied - but that method of argument is admitted elsewhere, and why should we not expect to find the sacred writers reasoning as other people do, and especially as was common in their own times?
(Yet the integrity of the apostle would seem to demand, that he argue not only “ex concessis,” but “ex veris.” We cannot suppose for a moment, that the sacred writers (whatever others might do), would take advantage of erroneous admissions. We would rather expect them to correct these. Proceed upon them, they could not; see the supplementary note on Hebrews 1:5. Without the help of this defense, what the author has otherwise alleged here, is enough to vindicate the use the apostle has made of the passage; see also the note on Hebrews 2:6.)
The apostle is showing them that according to “their own Scriptures,” and in accordance with principles which they themselves admitted, it was necessary that the Messiah should be a man and a sufferer; that he should be identified with his people, and be able to use language which would express that condition. In doing this, it is not remarkable that he should apply to him language which “they” admitted to belong to him, and which would accurately describe his condition.
(4) it is not necessary to suppose that the passage in Isaiah had an original and primary reference to the Messiah. It is evident from the whole passage that it had not. There was a “primary” reference to Isaiah himself, and to his children as being emblems of certain truths. But still, there was a strong “resemblance,” in certain respects, between his feelings and condition and those of the Messiah. There was such a resemblance that the one would not unaptly symbolize the other. There was such a resemblance that the mind - probably of the prophet himself, and of the people - would look forward to the more remote but similar event - the coming and the circumstances of the Messiah. So strong was this resemblance, and so much did the expressions of the prophet here agree with his declarations elsewhere pertaining to the Messiah, that in the course of time they came to be regarded as relating to him in a very important sense, and as destined to have their complete fulfillment when he should come. As such they seem to have been used in the time of Paul; and no one can prove that the application was improper. Who can demonstrate that God did not “intend” that those transactions referred to by Isaiah should be designed as symbols of what would occur in the time of the Redeemer? They were certainly symbolical actions - for they are expressly so said to have been by Isaiah himself Isaiah 8:18, and none can demonstrate that they might not have had an ultimate reference to the Redeemer.
And again - In another verse, or in another declaration; to wit, Isaiah 8:18.
Behold I and the children which God hath given me - This is only a part of the passage in Isaiah, and seems to have been partially quoted because the “point” of the quotation consisted in the fact that he sustained to them somewhat of the relation of a parent toward his children - as having the same “nature,” and being identified with them in interest and feeling. As it is used by Isaiah, it means that he and his children were “for signs and emblems” to the people of his time - to communicate and confirm the will of God, and to be pledges of the divine favor and protection; see the notes at the passage in Isaiah. As applied to the Messiah, it means that he unstained to his people a relation so intimate that they could be addressed and regarded as his children. They were of one family; one nature. He became one of them, and had in them all the interest which a father has in his sons. He had, therefore, a nature like ours; and though he was exalted above the angels, yet his relation to man was like the most tender and intimate earthly connections, showing that he took part in the same nature with them. The “point” is, that he was a man; that since those who were to be redeemed partook of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same Hebrews 2:14, and thus identified himself with them.
Who are our children? They are only our younger brothers and sisters in the family that God acknowledges as His. We are dealing with the members of the Lord's family. And while the care of them is committed to us, how careful should we be that we bring them up for the Lord, so that when the Master comes we can say: “Here, Lord, are we, and the children that Thou hast given us.” Shall we then be able to say: We have tried to do our work, and we have tried to do it well”? 2T 366.1
I have seen mothers of large families, who could not see the work that lay right in their pathway, just before them in their own families. They wanted to be missionaries and do some great work. They were looking out for themselves some high position, but neglecting to take care of the very work at home which the Lord had left for them to do. How important that the brain be clear! How important that the body be as free as possible from disease, in order that we may do the work which Heaven has left for us to do, and perform it in such a manner that the Master can say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” My sisters, do not despise the few things which the Lord has left for you to do. Let each day's actions be such that in the day of final settlement of accounts you will not be ashamed to meet the record made by the recording angel. 2T 366.2
But what about an impoverished diet? I have spoken of the importance of the quantity and quality of food being in strict accordance with the laws of health. But we would not recommend an impoverished diet. I have been shown that many take a wrong view of the health reform and adopt too poor a diet. They subsist upon a cheap, poor quality of food, prepared without care or reference to the nourishment of the system. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. Because we from principle discard the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health, the idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat. 2T 367.1Read in context »
We need to be refined, cleansed from all earthliness, till we reflect the image of our Saviour, and become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Then we shall delight to do the will of God, and Christ can own us before the Father and before the holy angels as those who abide in Him, and He will not be ashamed to call us brethren. 3SM 355.2Read in context »
Then, Christian friends, fathers and mothers, let your light grow dim—no, never! Let your heart grow faint, or your hands weary—no, never! And by and by the portals of the celestial city will be opened to you; and you may present yourselves and your children before the throne, saying, “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given me.” And what a reward for faithfulness that will be, to see your children crowned with immortal life in the beautiful city of God!—The Signs of the Times, January 14, 1886. RC 168.5Read in context »