When I am pacified toward thee - This intimates that the Jews shall certainly share in the blessings of the Gospel covenant, and that they shall be restored to the favor and image of God. And when shall this be? Whenever they please. They might have enjoyed them eighteen hundred years ago; but they would not come, though all things there then ready. They may enjoy them now; but they still choose to shut their eyes against the light, and contradict and blaspheme. As they do not turn to the Lord, the veil still continues on their hearts. Let their elder brethren pray for them.
For a key to the principal metaphors in this chapter, the reader is referred to the note on the thirteenth verse, which, if he regard not, he will neither do justice to himself nor to the prophet. The whole chapter is a tissue of invective; sharp, cutting, and confounding; every where well sustained, in every respect richly merited; and in no case leaving any room to the delinquent for justification or response.
In harmony with this experience is the command, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13. God does not bid you fear that He will fail to fulfill His promises, that His patience will weary, or His compassion be found wanting. Fear lest your will shall not be held in subjection to Christ's will, lest your hereditary and cultivated traits of character shall control your life. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Fear lest self shall interpose between your soul and the great Master Worker. Fear lest self-will shall mar the high purpose that through you God desires to accomplish. Fear to trust to your own strength, fear to withdraw your hand from the hand of Christ and attempt to walk life's pathway without His abiding presence. COL 161.1
We need to shun everything that would encourage pride and self-sufficiency; therefore we should beware of giving or receiving flattery or praise. It is Satan's work to flatter. He deals in flattery as well as in accusing and condemnation. Thus he seeks to work the ruin of the soul. Those who give praise to men are used by Satan as his agents. Let the workers for Christ direct every word of praise away from themselves. Let self be put out of sight. Christ alone is to be exalted. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” let every eye be directed, and praise from every heart ascend. (Revelation 1:5.) COL 161.2
The life in which the fear of the Lord is cherished will not be a life of sadness and gloom. It is the absence of Christ that makes the countenance sad, and the life a pilgrimage of sighs. Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel the need of a living, personal union with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion. They desire to walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of popularity and love of praise, exclude the Saviour from their hearts, and without Him there is gloom and sadness. But Christ dwelling in the soul is a wellspring of joy. For all who receive Him, the very keynote of the word of God is rejoicing. COL 162.1Read in context »