His reward is with him, and his work before him. "His reward is with him, and the recompense of his work before him" - That is, the reward and the recompense which he bestows, and which he will pay to his faithful servants; this he has ready at hand with him, and holds it out before him, to encourage those who trust in him and wait for him.
Behold, the Lord God will come - (See the note at Isaiah 40:3) Applied to the condition of the Jews in exile, this means that God would come to deliver them. Applied to the times of the Messiah, it means that God would manifest himself in a powerful manner as mighty to save.
With strong hand - (בחזק bechâzâq ). Margin, ‹Against the strong.‘ So Vitringa and others understand it; and regard it as referring to the mighty enemies of the people of God, or, as Vitringa particularly supposes, to the great foe of God and his people - the prince of darkness - the devil. Lowth also translates it in this manner, ‹Against the strong one.‘ The Septuagint renders it, Μετά ἰσχύος Meta ischuos - ‹With strength.‘ This is the more probable meaning - that the Lord would come with the manifestation of strength and power, able to subdue and vanquish all the enemies of his people, and to effect their complete and final salvation.
And his arm - The arm is a symbol of strength, because it is by that that we accomplish our purposes; by that a conqueror slays his enemies in battle, etc. Thus, ‹Break thou the arm of the wicked;‘ that is, diminish or destroy his power Psalm 10:15. ‹I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt‘ (Ezekiel 30:21; compare Jeremiah 48:25). Thus it is said of God, ‹Thou hast a mighty arm‘ Psalm 89:13, and, ‹His holy arm hath gotten him the victory‘ (Psalm 98:1; compare Exodus 6:6). The metaphor is taken from the act of stretching out the arm to fight in battle, where the arm is the effective instrument in subduing an enemy.
Shall rule for him - Lowth renders the phrase, לו lō ‹for him,‘ ‹over him:‘ - ‹And his arm shall prevail over him;‘ that is, over the strong and mighty foe. The Septuagint renders it, Μετά κυρίας Meta kurias - ‹With dominion.‘ But the meaning seems to be, ‹God is mighty by himself; his power resides in his own arm; he is not dependent on others; he will accomplish the deliverance in such a manner that it shall be seen that he did it alone; and he shall rule for himself, without any aid, and so that it shall be manifest that he is the sovereign.‘ In the deliverance of his people from their captivity, he so directed it, that it was manifest that he was their deliverer and sovereign; and in the redemption of man, the same thing is apparent, that the arm of God effects the deliverance, and that it is his own power that establishes the dominion.
Behold, his reward is with him - He will be ready to confer the appropriate reward on his own people. The idea seems to be taken from the custom of a conqueror, who distributes rewards among his followers and soldiers after a signal victory. This was always done in ancient wars, apparently because it seemed to be an act of justice that those who had gained the victory should share also in the result, and this participation of the booty was a stimulus to future effort, as well as a compensation for their valor. The rewards distributed consisted generally of that which was taken from the conquered; gold, and silver, and raiment, as well as captives or slaves (see Genesis 49:7; Exodus 15:9; 1 Samuel 30:26; and particularly Judges 5:30):
Have they not sped?
Have they not divided the prey;
To every man a damsel or two‘;
To Sisera a prey of divers colors,
A prey of divers colors of needle-work,
Of divers colors of needle-work on both sides,
Meet for the necks of them that take the spoil.
The idea here is -
1. That Yahweh would bestow appropriate rewards on his people.
2. That they would be conferred on his coming, and not be delayed.
3. That it should be done by the hand of God himself.
This language was applicable to the interposition of God to save his people from their long exile, and the ‹reward‘ would be ample in the restoration to their own land, and the re-establishment of his worship. It is applicable in a higher sense to the coming of the Messiah to bless the world. His reward was with him. He blessed his faithful followers on earth; he will bless them more abundantly in heaven. It will be assuredly applicable to him when he shall come to gather his people to himself in the great and last day, and the language before us is used with reference to that: ‹And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be‘ Revelation 22:12.
And his work - Margin, ‹Recompense for his work.‘ The margin here is the correct rendering. The Hebrew word strictly indeed denotes work, labor, business; but it also denotes the wages for work Leviticus 19:13; Psalm 109:20.
Inspiration is revealed in this record of Christ's work. These closing chapters of the book of Isaiah should be diligently studied; for they are full of the gospel of Christ. They reveal to us that Israel was fully instructed in regard to the coming Saviour (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1145.1
10. Our Daily Reward—Whenever He comes to us, His reward is with Him. He does not leave it in heaven, but gives it to us every day. Daily He gives us confidence and light and blessing. Daily our hearts beat in unison with His great heart of infinite love (Manuscript 116, 1902). 4BC 1145.2
12-14. Man Can Teach God Nothing—[Isaiah 40:12-14 quoted.] Men sometimes suppose that they discover new scientific truths; but they cannot teach God anything. Our God is a God of infinite knowledge (Manuscript 116, 1902). 4BC 1145.3
18-28. Varieties of Gods Men Worship—The Lord urges His supremacy. But Satan well knows that the worship of the living God elevates, ennobles, and exalts a nation. He knows that idol-worship does not elevate, but that it degrades man's ideas, by associating with worship that which is base and corrupt. He is at work constantly to draw the mind away from the only true and living God. He leads men to give honor and glory to objects that human hands have made or to soulless creatures that God has created. The Egyptians and other heathen nations had many strange gods—creatures of their own fanciful imagination. 4BC 1145.5
The Jews, after their long captivity, would not make any image. The image on the Roman ensign or banner, they called an abomination, especially when these emblems were placed in a prominent place for them to respect. Such respect they regarded as a violation of the second commandment. When the Roman ensign was set up in the holy place in the temple, they looked upon it as an abomination.... 4BC 1145.6
To make an image of God dishonors Him. No one should bring into service the power of imagination to worship that which belittles God in the mind and associates Him with common things. Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. They must exercise living faith. Their worship will then be controlled not by the imagination, but by genuine faith. 4BC 1145.7
Let men worship and serve the Lord God, and Him only. Let not selfish pride be lifted up and served as a god. Let not money be made a god. If sensuality is not kept under the control of the higher powers of the mind, base passion will rule the being. Anything that is made the subject of undue thought and admiration, absorbing the mind, is a god chosen before the Lord. God is a searcher of the heart. He distinguishes between true heart-service and idolatry (Manuscript 126, 1901). 4BC 1145.8
26 (Psalm 19:1). Angels Enlighten Minds as We Study God's Works—God calls men to look upon the heavens. See Him in the wonders of the starry heavens. [Isaiah 40:26 quoted.] We are not merely to gaze upon the heavens; we are to consider the works of God. He would have us study the works of infinity, and from this study, learn to love and reverence and obey Him. The heavens and the earth with their treasures are to teach the lessons of God's love, care, and power. 4BC 1145.9
Satan will manufacture his diversions that men may not think about God. The world, filled with sport and pleasure-loving, is always thirsting for some new interest. And how little time and thought are given to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them, and admire His handiwork. The heavenly bodies are worthy of contemplation. God has made them for the benefit of man, and as we study His works, angels of God will be by our side to enlighten our minds, and guard them from satanic deception. As you look at the wonderful things God's hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. As you consider these things, you will have a sense of God's condescension (Manuscript 96, 1899). 4BC 1145.10
All Bounties Come to Man Through the Cross—The sun and the moon were made by Him; there is not a star that beautifies the heavens which He did not make. There is not an article of food upon our tables that He has not provided for our sustenance. The stamp and superscription of God is upon it all. Everything is included in and abundantly supplied to man, through the one unspeakable Gift, the only begotten Son of God. He was nailed to the cross that all these bounties might flow to God's workmanship (Letter 79, 1897). 4BC 1145.11Read in context »
Those who have bracelets, and wear gold and ornaments, had better take these idols from their persons and sell them, even if it should be for much less than they gave for them, and thus practice self-denial. Time is too short to adorn the body with gold or silver or costly apparel. I know a good work can be done in this line. Jesus, the Commander in the heavenly courts, laid aside His crown of royalty and His royal robe and stepped down from His royal throne, and clothed His divinity with the habiliments of humanity, and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might come into possession of eternal riches, and yet the very ones for whom Christ has done everything that was possible to do to save perishing souls from eternal ruin feel so little disposition to deny themselves anything that they have money to buy. 3SM 248.1Read in context »
A Definition of Faith—Faith, saving faith, is to be taught. The definition of this faith in Jesus Christ may be described in few words: It is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus. Our thoughts and our hopes are on the second advent of our Lord. That is the day when the Judge of all the earth will reward the trust of His people.—Manuscript 6, 1889. 2MCP 531.1Read in context »
Success Fades With Self-praise—Every man who praises himself, brushes the luster from his best efforts.—Testimonies For The Church 4:607 (1881). Ev 332.1
Full Credit to Associate Workers—Each is to act his part faithfully, and each is to give credit to his brother worker for the part which he performs. Let not your conversation be covetous, taking credit to self. God has used many instrumentalities in His work. That which you have done is only a part of that work. Others have worked diligently and prayerfully and intelligently and they must not be overlooked. “His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” In the day of final reckoning God will justly reckon with His servants, and He will give to every man according as his works have been. God has marked the lives of the self-denying, self-sacrificing workers who have carried the work in difficult fields. Ev 332.2
These are things that you are to consider. The Lord is not pleased with His servants when they take credit to themselves. In our old age let us be just, and not appropriate to ourselves that which belongs to others. It has taken years to accomplish the work that has been done, and one group after another of noble workers have acted their part in it.—Letter 204, 1907. Ev 332.3Read in context »