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.
He causes “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. When “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God's word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. COL 415.1
“Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2. COL 415.2
It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth. COL 415.3
This is the work outlined by the prophet Isaiah in the words, “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Isaiah 40:9, 10. COL 415.4
Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. COL 415.5Read in context »
In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man's theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ's servants to teach. “The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ's name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. DA 826.1
The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters. DA 826.2
In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing. “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God.” “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! ... He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isaiah 40:1, 9-11. Tell the people of Him who is “the Chiefest among ten thousand,” and the One “altogether lovely.” The Song of Solomon 5:10, 16. Words alone cannot tell it. Let it be reflected in the character and manifested in the life. Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29. In every one Christ's long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world. DA 826.3Read in context »
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
And he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;
Yea, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price. PK 696.1
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
And your labor for that which satisfieth not?
Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good,
And let your soul delight itself in fatness. PK 696.2
“Incline your ear, and come unto Me:
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
Even the sure mercies of David.” PK 696.3