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 »
“I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” “I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.” DA 476.1
Again Jesus found access to the minds of His hearers by the pathway of their familiar associations. He had likened the Spirit's influence to the cool, refreshing water. He had represented Himself as the light, the source of life and gladness to nature and to man. Now in a beautiful pastoral picture He represents His relation to those that believe on Him. No picture was more familiar to His hearers than this, and Christ's words linked it forever with Himself. Never could the disciples look on the shepherds tending their flocks without recalling the Saviour's lesson. They would see Christ in each faithful shepherd. They would see themselves in each helpless and dependent flock. DA 476.2
This figure the prophet Isaiah had applied to the Messiah's mission, in the comforting words, “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 40:9-11. David had sung, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1. And the Holy Spirit through Ezekiel had declared: “I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them.” “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.” “And I will make with them a covenant of peace.” “And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen; ... but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.” Ezekiel 34:23, 16, 25, 28. DA 476.3Read 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 »
To Israel the promise was made: “Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee.” Verses 4, 5. PK 696.4
“I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory.” Isaiah 46:13. PK 696.5
In word and in deed the Messiah, during His earthly ministry, was to reveal to mankind the glory of God the Father. Every act of His life, every word spoken, every miracle wrought, was to make known to fallen humanity the infinite love of God. PK 696.6Read in context »
15. Usefulness Not Proved by Noise and Bustle—We need a calm waiting upon God. The need of this is imperious. It is not the noise and bustle we make in the world which proves our usefulness. See how silently God works. We do not hear the noise of His steps, and yet He is walking about us, laboring for our good. Jesus did not seek for notoriety; His life-giving virtue was going out to the needy and the afflicted through silent actions, whose influence extended far into all countries and was felt and expressed in the life of millions of human beings. Those who desire to labor with God have need of His Spirit every day; they need to walk and labor in meekness and humility of spirit, without seeking to accomplish extraordinary things, satisfied to do the work before them and doing it faithfully. Men may not see or appreciate their efforts, but the names of these faithful children of God are written in heaven among His noblest workers, as scattering His seed in view of a glorious harvest. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Manuscript 24, 1887). 4BC 1144.1
Take Time to Rest, Think, Appreciate—The Lord wants human beings to take time to rest, time to think of and appreciate heavenly things. Those who do not value the things of heaven sufficiently to give time to them will at last lose all (Letter 181, 1903). 4BC 1144.2Read in context »
The truths of the third angel's message have been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the Living One. He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star. Through this message the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world. The call is to be sounded: “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. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isaiah 40:9-11. 6T 20.1
Now, with John the Baptist, we are to point men to Jesus, saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Now as never before is to be sounded the invitation: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” John 7:37; Revelation 22:17. 6T 20.2
There is a great work to be done, and every effort possible must be made to reveal Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour, Christ as the Sin Bearer, Christ as the bright and morning Star; and the Lord will give us favor before the world until our work is done. 6T 20.3Read in context »
In my earlier experiences in the message, I was called to meet this evil. During my labors in Europe and Australia, and more recently at the San Jose camp meeting in 1905, I had to bear my testimony of warning against it, because souls were being led to look to man for wisdom, instead of looking to God, who is our wisdom, our sanctification, and our righteousness. And now the same message has again been given me, more definite and decisive, because there has been a deeper offense to the Spirit of God. TM 478.1
God is the Teacher of His people. All who humble their hearts before Him will be taught of God. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The Lord wants every church member to pray earnestly for wisdom, that he may know what the Lord would have him do. It is the privilege of every believer to obtain an individual experience, learning to carry his cares and perplexities to God. It is written, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” TM 478.2
Through His servant Isaiah, God is calling His church to appreciate her exalted privilege in having the wisdom of the Infinite at her command: “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! 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. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. TM 478.3Read 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Duties in this direction are binding upon all who profess to be followers of Christ. God's law specifies their duty to their fellow men: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” By a disregard of justice, mercy, and benevolence to their neighbor, some have so hardened the heart that they can go still further, and even rob God without compunctions of conscience. Do such close their eyes and their understanding to the fact that God knows, that He reads their every action and the motive which impelled them to it? His reward is with Him, and His work before Him, to give to every man according as his work shall be. Every good and every wrong act, and its influence upon others, is traced out by the Searcher of hearts, to whom every secret is revealed. And the reward will be according to the motives which prompted the action. 2T 520.1
Notwithstanding the repeated warnings and reproofs which the Lord has sent them, those who have occupied responsible positions have followed their own ways and been guided by their own unsanctified judgment, and, in consequence, the cause of God has suffered, and souls have been turned from the truth. All who are thus guilty will have a fearful record to meet in the day of final retribution. If they are ever saved, it will be by no common effort on their part; their past life must be seen by them and redeemed. If this work be entered upon with sincerity, and followed with perseverance and untiring earnestness, it will be wholly successful; but many will not succeed because the earnestness with which they commence the work dies down to listlessness and carelessness. Their efforts are right at first, as they have some sense of their condition; but they seek to forget the past, and pass over it without taking up the stumbling blocks and making thorough work. Their repentance is not genuine sorrow that through their influence God has been dishonored and souls for whom Christ died have been lost. They make spasmodic efforts and show great feeling; but the fact that the efforts cease, that this feeling soon passes off and is succeeded by listless indifference, evinces that God was not fully in the work. The feelings were for a time wrought upon; but the work did not reach deep enough to change the principles which governed their actions. They are as liable to be led again into the same wrong course as they were at first; for they have not strength to withstand the wiles of Satan, but are subject to his devices. 2T 520.2Read in context »