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Isaiah 32:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As the shadow of a great rock - The shadow of a great projecting rock is the most refreshing that is possible in a hot country, not only as most perfectly excluding the rays of the sun, but also as having in itself a natural coolness, which it reflects and communicates to every thing about it.

Speluncaeque tegant, et saxea procubet umbra.

Virg. Georg. 3:145.

"Let the cool cave and shady rock protect them."

Επει κεφαλην και γουνατα Σειριος αζει,<-144 Αυαλεος δε τε χρως απο καυματος· αλλα τοτ ' ηδηΕιη πετραιη τε σκιν, και Βιβλινος οινοςπ .

Hesiod. 2:206.

"When Sirius rages, and thine aching head,

Parched skin, and feeble knees refreshment need;

Then to the rock's projected shade retire,

With Biblin wine recruit thy wasted powers."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And a man - That is, evidently, the man referred to in the previous verse, to wit, Hezekiah.

Shall be as an hiding-place from the wind - A place where one may take refuge from a violent wind and tempest (see the note at Isaiah 25:4).

A covert - A place of shelter and security. Wind and tempest are emblematic of calamity and oppression; and the sense is, that Hezekiah would be the protector of his people, and would save them from the calamities to which they had been subjected in former reigns.

As rivers of water - This figure is often used in Isaiah (see Isaiah 35:6-7; and the notes at Isaiah 41:18). It means that the blessings of such a reign would be as grateful and refreshing as gushing fountains and running streams were to a thirsty traveler. Here it refers to the benefits that would be conferred by the reign of Hezekiah - a reign which, compared with that of his father, would be like a refreshing fountain to a weary pilgrim in a pathless desert.

As the shadow of a great rock - In a burning desert of sand nothing is more grateful than the cooling shade of a far-projecting rock. It not only excludes the rays of the sun, but it has itself a refreshing coolness that is most grateful to a weary traveler. The same figure is often used by the classic writers (see Virgil, “Georg.” iii, 145; Hesiod, ii. 106).

In a weary land - A land where there is fatigue and weariness. Probably here it is used to denote a land destitute of trees, and groves, and pleasant abodes; a land where one expects weariness and fatigue without any refreshment and shelter. The following description from Campbell‘s “Travels in Africa” will explain this: ‹Well does the traveler remember a day in the wilds of Africa, where the country was chiefly covered with burning sand; when, scorched with the powerful rays of an almost vertical sun, the thermometer in the shade standing at 100 degrees (Fahrenheit). He remembers long looking hither and thither for something that would afford protection from the almost insupportable heat, and where the least motion of air felt like a flame coming against the face. At length he espied a huge loose rock leaning against the front of a small cliff which faced the sun. At once he fled for refuge underneath its inviting shade. The coolness emitted from this rocky canopy he found exquisitely exhilarating. The wild beasts of the deserts were all fled to their dens, and the feathered songsters were all roosting among the thickest foliage they could find of the evergreen trees. The whole creation around seemed to groan, as if their vigor had been entirely exhausted. A small river was providentially at hand, to the side of which, after a while, he ventured, and sipped a little of its cooling water, which tasted better than the best Burgundy, or the finest old hock in the world. During all this enjoyment, the above apropos text was the interesting subject of the traveler‘s meditation; though the allusion as a figure, must fall infinitely short of that which is meant to be prefigured by it.‘

(The whole of this passage is capable of beautiful application to the Messiah and his times; while the language of the second verse cannot be supposed descriptive of any “creature;” it is so associated in our minds with the character and functions of the Divine Redeemer, that we cannot easily acquiesce in any meaner application. ‹To interpret the sublime imagery of this verse Isaiah 32:2 in application to a mere human being, would be quite repugnant to the spirit of the sacred writers, by whom Yahweh alone is represented as the source of protection and refreshment to his people, and all trust in creatures solemnly interdicted‘ (Henderson). Doubtless, if Hezekiah be at all intended, it is in a typical or inferior sense only. A greater than Hezekiah is here; the language and figures used are precisely such as are elsewhere by the prophet applied to Yahweh Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 25:4; while the particulars characteristic of the times predicted, are just such as elsewhere he connects with gospel times (compare Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:5). The things predicted, according to this view, are a righteous administration under Messiah the prince Isaiah 32:1; protection and refreshment to his subjects; protection from the wrath of God and the temptations of Satan, and the rage of the world; refreshment by the consolutions and graces of his Spirit, which are as rivers of water in this dry land‘ Isaiah 32:2; a desire for knowledge and such facility in the acquisition of it, that even persons ordinarily supposed disqualified should both clearly understand, and easily and accurately express the truth Isaiah 32:3-4; a just appreciation of character and estimation of people in accordance therewith Isaiah 32:5; and, finally, the prevalence of a loving, liberal spirit, setting itself to devise and execute plans of benevolence on a scale hitherto unprecedented Isaiah 32:8; Psalm 110:3; Acts 2:44-45; 2 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:2)

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ our righteous King, and his true disciples, are evidently here intended. The consolations and graces of his Spirit are as rivers of water in this dry land; and as the overhanging rock affords refreshing shade and shelter to the weary traveller in the desert, so his power, truth, and love, yield the believer the only real protection and refreshment in the weary land through which he journeys to heaven. Christ bore the storm himself, to keep it off from us. To him let the trembling sinner flee for refuge; for he alone can protect and refresh us in every trial. See what pains sinners take in sin; they labour at it, their hearts are intent upon it, and with art they work iniquity; but this is our comfort, that they can do no more mischief than God permits. Let us seek to have our hearts more freed from selfishness. The liberal soul devises liberal things concerning God, and desires that He will grant wisdom and prudence, the comforts of his presence, the influence of his Spirit, and in due time the enjoyment of his glory.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 432

Paul had appealed to Caesar, and Festus could not do otherwise than send him to Rome. But some time passed before a suitable ship could be found; and as other prisoners were to be sent with Paul, the consideration of their cases also occasioned delay. This gave Paul opportunity to present the reasons of his faith before the principal men of Caesarea, and also before King Agrippa II, the last of the Herods. AA 433.1

“After certain days King Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.” He outlined the circumstances that led to the prisoner's appeal to Caesar, telling of Paul's recent trial before him, and saying that the Jews had brought against Paul no accusation such as he had supposed they would bring, but “certain questions ... of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” AA 433.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 103

With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,—the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, “the peace giver,” who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born. DA 103.1

Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,—the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging “with equity for the meek of the earth;” “a covert from the tempest; ... the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;” Israel no longer to be termed “Forsaken,” nor her land “Desolate,” but to be called of the Lord, “My Delight,” and her land “Beulah.” Isaiah 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision. DA 103.2

He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. DA 103.3

John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,— DA 103.4

He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin. DA 103.6

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Ellen G. White
Messages to Young People, 98

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” ... He will be to you as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He says, “Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest”—rest that the world can neither give nor take away.... MYP 98.1

Words cannot describe the peace and joy possessed by him who takes God at His word. Trials do not disturb him, slights do not vex him. Self is crucified. Day by day his duties may become more taxing, his temptations stronger, his trials more severe; but he does not falter; for he receives strength equal to his need.—The Youth's Instructor, June 26, 1902. MYP 98.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 124

“A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2. MH 124.1

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17. MH 124.2

“Thus saith the Lord that made thee”: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring.” Isaiah 44:2, 3. MH 124.3

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 45:22. MH 124.4

“Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:5. MH 124.5

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 413

The same beautiful and expressive figures are carried throughout the Bible. Centuries before the advent of Christ, Moses pointed to Him as the rock of Israel's salvation (Deuteronomy 32:15); the psalmist sang of Him as “my Redeemer,” “the rock of my strength,” “the rock that is higher than I,” “a rock of habitation,” “rock of my heart,” “rock of my refuge.” In David's song His grace is pictured also as the cool, “still waters,” amid green pastures, beside which the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock. Again, “Thou shalt make them,” he says, “drink of the river of Thy pleasures. For with Thee is the fountain of life.” Psalm 19:14; 62:7; Psalm 61:2; 71:3 (margin); 73:26 (margin); 94:22; 23:2; 36:8, 9. And the wise man declares, “The wellspring of wisdom [is] as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4. To Jeremiah, Christ is “the fountain of living waters;” to Zechariah, “a fountain opened ... for sin and for uncleanness.” Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1. PP 413.1

Isaiah describes Him as the “rock of ages,” and “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 26:4 (margin); 32:2. And he records the precious promise, bringing vividly to mind the living stream that flowed for Israel: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground;” “in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” The invitation is given, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Isaiah 41:17; 44:3; Isaiah 35:6; 55:1. And in the closing pages of the Sacred Word this invitation is echoed. The river of the water of life, “clear as crystal,” proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb; and the gracious call is ringing down through the ages, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. PP 413.2

Just before the Hebrew host reached Kadesh, the living stream ceased that for so many years had gushed out beside their encampment. It was the Lord's purpose again to test His people. He would prove whether they would trust His providence or imitate the unbelief of their fathers. PP 413.3

They were now in sight of the hills of Canaan. A few days’ march would bring them to the borders of the Promised Land. They were but a little distance from Edom, which belonged to the descendants of Esau, and through which lay the appointed route to Canaan. The direction had been given to Moses, “Turn you northward. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you.... Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.” Deuteronomy 2:3-6. These directions should have been sufficient to explain why their supply of water had been cut off; they were about to pass through a well-watered, fertile country, in a direct course to the land of Canaan. God had promised them an unmolested passage through Edom, and an opportunity to purchase food, and also water sufficient to supply the host. The cessation of the miraculous flow of water should therefore have been a cause of rejoicing, a token that the wilderness wandering was ended. Had they not been blinded by their unbelief, they would have understood this. But that which should have been an evidence of the fulfillment of God's promise was made the occasion of doubt and murmuring. The people seemed to have given up all hope that God would bring them into possession of Canaan, and they clamored for the blessings of the wilderness. PP 413.4

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 21.5

Christ should never be out of the mind. The angels said concerning Him, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus, precious Saviour! Assurance, helpfulness, security, and peace are all in Him. He is the dispeller of all our doubts, the earnest of all our hopes. How precious is the thought that we may indeed become partakers of the divine nature, whereby we may overcome as Christ overcame! Jesus is the fullness of our expectation. He is the melody of our songs, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He is living water to the thirsty soul. He is our refuge in the storm. He is our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption. When Christ is our personal Saviour, we shall show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.... RC 21.5

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 48

You are in imminent danger of making shipwreck of faith. You need all the strength which you can obtain from the people of God, those who possess hope, courage, and faith. But do not neglect prayer, secret prayer. Be instant in prayer; encourage a spirit of true devotion. In your business career you have a work to do. Just what, I am unable to tell you; but something is wrong. Search carefully. We are doing up work for eternity. All our acts, all our words, are to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. A just and impartial God is to determine all our cases, every event of our life history. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” 2T 48.1

Let nothing obstruct your progress in the way to everlasting life. Your eternal interest is at stake. There must be a thorough work wrought in you. You must be fully converted, or you will fail of heaven. But Jesus invites you to make Him your strength, your support. He will be to you a present help in every time of need. He will be to you as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Let it not be your great anxiety to succeed in this world, but let the burden of your soul be: How shall I secure the better world? what have I to do to be saved? In saving your own soul, you save others. In lifting yourself, you lift others. In fastening your grasp upon the truth and upon the throne of God, you aid others to fix their trembling faith upon His promises and His eternal throne. The position you must come into is to value salvation dearer than earthly gain, to count everything but loss that you may win Christ. The consecration on your part must be entire. God will admit of no reserve, of no divided sacrifice; you can cherish no idol. You must die to self and to the world. Renew your consecration to God daily. Everlasting life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. 2T 48.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 100

I was then shown a young girl of the same place, who had departed from God and was enshrouded in darkness. Said the angel: “She did run well for a season; what did hinder her?” I was pointed back and saw that it was a change of surroundings. She was associating with youth like herself, who were filled with hilarity and glee, pride, and love of the world. Had she regarded the words of Christ, she need not have yielded to the enemy. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” Temptation may be all around us, but this does not make it necessary that we should enter into temptation. The truth is worth everything. Its influence tends not to degrade, but to elevate, refine, purify, and exalt to immortality and the throne of God. Said the angel: “Will ye have Christ, or the world?” Satan presents the world with its most alluring, flattering charms to poor mortals, and they gaze upon it, and its glitter and tinsel eclipse the glory of heaven and that life which is as enduring as the throne of God. A life of peace, happiness, joy unspeakable, which shall know nothing of sorrow, sadness, pain, nor death, is sacrificed for a short lifetime of sin. All who will turn from the pleasures of earth, and with Moses choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, will, with faithful Moses, receive the unfading crown of immortality and the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2T 100.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 318

We have no complaints to make of our sufferings in those days of close want and perplexity, which made the exercise of faith necessary. They were the happiest days of our lives. There we learned the simplicity of faith. There, while in affliction we tested and proved the Lord. He was our consolation. He was to us like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. It is unfortunate for you, my brother, and for our young ministers generally, that you and they have not had a similar experience in privation, in trial, and in need; for such an experience would be worth to you more than houses or lands, gold or silver. 3T 318.1

When we refer to our past experience of excessive labor and want, and of laboring with our hands to support ourselves and to publish the truth at the very commencement of the work, some of our young preachers of but few years’ experience in the work seem to be annoyed and charge us with boasting of our own works. The reason of this is that their own lives have been so free from wearing care, want, and self-sacrifice that they know not how to sympathize with us, and the contrast is not agreeable to their feelings. To have presented before them the experience of others which is in such wide contrast with their own course does not make their labors appear in so favorable a light as they would have them. 3T 318.2

When we commenced this work we were both in feeble health. My husband was a dyspeptic; yet three times a day, in faith, we made our supplications to God for strength. My husband went into the hayfield with his scythe, and, in the strength that God gave him in answer to our earnest prayers, he there earned, by mowing, means with which to purchase us neat, plain clothing and to pay our fare to a distant state to present the truth to our brethren. 3T 318.3

We have a right to refer to the past, as did the apostle Paul. “And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.” In referring to our past experience, we are carrying out the exhortation of the apostle to the Hebrews: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” 3T 318.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 130

You are carrying a heavy load. I wish that everyone could feel this as I do. I wish that all your brethren would be true and faithful to you, not hindering you, not extolling or glorifying you, but looking upon you as one whom God is using as His instrument to do a given work, and remembering that they must not block the wheels, but must put their shoulder to the wheel, helping instead of hindering. 8T 130.1

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 166.3

Christ should never be out of the mind. The angels said concerning Him, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus, precious Saviour! assurance, helpfulness, security, and peace are all in Him. He is the dispeller of all our doubts, the earnest of all our hopes. How precious is the thought that we may indeed become partakers of the divine nature, whereby we may overcome as Christ overcame! Jesus is the fullness of our expectation. He is the melody of our songs, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He is living water to the thirsty soul. He is our refuge in the storm. He is our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption.12 TMK 166.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 355.3

Satan will bring in pleasing fables to meet the minds of all who love not the truth. With angry zeal he will accuse commandment keepers.... Satan claims the world, but there is a little company who withstand his devices and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Satan sets himself to destroy this commandment-keeping company. But God is their tower of defense. He will raise up for them a standard against the enemy. He will be to them “as an hiding place from the wind,” and “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (Isaiah 32:2). He will say to them, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:20, 21). “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).18 TMK 355.3

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 42.3

The crafty deceiver has been found to be an accuser, a liar, a tormentor and a murderer; but whatever he may have led others to say concerning you, the Lord can say to him as He said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He can say to him, “You shall not come in between this soul and Me. You shall not interpose yourself between Me and the soul for whom I died a ransom.” It is for you, my tempted sister, to dismiss Satan with his temptations, and to take Jesus. Press close to Jesus, and place your hand in His, and He will firmly hold your hand, and never let go of the soul who maintains his faith in Him.... UL 42.3

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