Behold, all ye that kindle a fire - This verse refers to the wicked. In the previous verse, the Messiah had called upon all the pious to put their trust in God, and it is there implied that they would do so. But it would not be so with the wicked. In times of darkness and calamity, instead of trusting in God they would confide in their own resources, and endeavor to kindle a light for themselves in which they might walk. But the result would be, that they would find no comfort, and would ultimately under his hand lie down in sorrow. The figure is continued from the previous verse. The pious who are in darkness wait patiently for the light which Yahweh shall kindle for them But not so with the wicked. They attempt to kindle a light for themselves, and to walk in that. The phrase, ‹that kindle a fire,‘ refers to all the plans which people form with reference to their own salvation; all which they rely upon to guide them through the darkness of this world. It may include, therefore, all the schemes of human philosophy, of false religion, of paganism, of infidelity, deism, and self-righteousness; all dependence on our good works, our charities ties, and our prayers. All these are false lights which people enkindle, in order to guide themselves when they resolve to cast off God, to renounce his revelation, and to resist his spirit. It may have had a primary reference to the Jews, who so often rejected the divine guidance, and who relied so much on themselves; but it also includes all the plans which people devise to conduct themselves to heaven. The confidence of the pious Isaiah 50:10 is in the light of God; that of the wicked is in the light of people.
That compass yourselves about with sparks - There has been considerable variety in the interpretation of the word rendered here sparks (זיקות ziyqôth ). It occurs nowhere else in the Bible, though the word זקים ziqqiym occurs in Proverbs 26:18, where it is rendered in the text ‹firebrands,‘ and in the margin ‹flames,‘ or ‹sparks.‘ Gesenius supposes that these are different forms at the same word, and renders the word here, ‹burning arrows, fiery darts.‘ The Vulgate renders it ‹flames.‘ The Septuagint, φλογὶ phlogi - ‹flame.‘ In the Syriac the word has the sense of lightning. Vitringa supposes it means ‹faggots,‘ and that the sense is, that they encompass themselves with faggots, in order to make a great conflagration. Lowth renders it, very loosely, ‹Who heap the fuel round about.‘ But it is probable that the common version has given the true sense, and that the reference is to human devices, which give no steady and clear light, but which may be compared with a spark struck from a flint. The idea probably is, that all human devices for salvation bear the same resemblance to the true plan proposed by God, which a momentary spark in the dark does to the clear shining of a bright light like that of the sun. If this is the sense, it is a most graphic and striking description of the nature of all the schemes by which the sinner hopes to save himself.
Walk in the light of your fire - That is, you will walk in that light. It is not a command as if he wished them to do it, but it is a declaration which is intended to direct their attention to the fact that if they did this they would lie down in sorrow. It is language such as we often use, as when we say to a young man, ‹go on a little further in a career of dissipation, and you will bring yourself to poverty and shame and death.‘ Or as if we should say to a man near a precipice, ‹go on a little further, and you wilt fall down and be dashed in pieces.‘ The essential idea is, that this course would lead to ruin. It is implied that they would walk on in this way, and be destroyed.
This shall ye have - As the result of this, you shall lie down in sorrow. Herder renders this:
One movement of my hand upon you,
And ye shall lie down in sorrow.
How simple and yet how sublime an expression is this! The Messiah but lifts his hand and the lights are quenched. His foes lie down sad and dejected, in darkness and sorrow. The idea is, that they would receive their doom from his hand, and that it would he as easy for him as is the uplifting or waving of the hand, to quench all their lights, and consign them to grief (compare Matthew 25)
Ye that kindle a fire - The fire of their own kindling, by the light of which they walk with security and satisfaction, is an image designed to express, in general, human devices and mere worldly policy, exclusive of faith, and trust in God; which, though they flatter themselves for a while with pleasing expectations and some appearance of success, shall in the end turn to the confusion of the authors. Or more particularly, as Vitringa explains it, it may mean the designs of the turbulent and factious Jews in the times succeeding those of Christ, who, in pursuit of their own desperate schemes, stirred up the war against the Romans, and kindled a fire which consumed their city and nation.
That compass yourselves about with sparks "Who heap the fuel round about" - "מגוזלי megozeley, accendentes, Syr.; forte leperunt pro מאזרי meazzerey מאירי meirey ; nam sequitur אור ur ." - Secker. Lud. Capellus, in his criticism on this place, thinks it should be מאזרי meazzerey, from the Septuagint, κατισχυοντες .
There are others who are widely different from those already described. Without faith, repentance, or a holy life, they are bold in their professed confidence in God - presumptuous in their trust in the mercy of God; and, while destitute of all preparation for and right to the kingdom of heaven, would think it criminal to doubt their final salvation! Living in this way, what can they have at the hand of God but an endless bed of sorrow! Ye shall lie down in sorrow.
But there is a general sense, and accordant to the design of the prophecy, in which these words may be understood and paraphrased: Behold, all ye that kindle a fire - provoke war and contention; compass yourselves about with sparks - stirring up seditions and rebellions: walk in the light of your fire - go on in your lust of power and restless ambition. Ye shall lie down in sorrow - it will turn to your own perdition. See the Targum. This seems to refer to the restless spirit of the Jews, always stirring up confusion and strife; rebelling against and provoking the Romans, till at last their city was taken, their temple burnt to the ground, and upwards of a million of themselves destroyed, and the rest led into captivity!
It is not true that brilliant young men always make the greatest success. How often men of talent and education have been placed in positions of trust, and have proved failures. Their glitter had the appearance of gold, but when it was tried, it proved to be but tinsel and dross. They made a failure of their work through unfaithfulness. They were not industrious and persevering, and did not go to the bottom of things. They were not willing to begin at the bottom of the ladder, and with patient toil, ascend round after round till they reached the top. They walked in the sparks (their bright flashes of thought) of their own kindling. They did not depend on the wisdom which God alone can give. Their failure was not because they did not have a chance, but because they were not sober-minded. They did not feel that their educational advantages were of value to them, and so did not advance as they might have advanced in the knowledge of religion and science. Their mind and character were not balanced by high principles of right. FE 193.1
Let our young men be sober, and ponder the ways of their feet. Let them shun sin because it is destructive in its tendencies and displeasing to God. Let them discern what possibilities are within their reach, and seek God for grace to keep in the paths of righteousness. Let them seek the counsel and guidance of the Lord, that they may spend their lives for His glory in the world. FE 193.2
In obtaining an education, success is not to be regarded as a matter of chance or destiny; it is from that God who read the heart of Daniel, who looked with pleasure upon his purity of motive, his determination of purpose to honor the Lord. Daniel did not walk in sparks of his own kindling, but made the Lord his wisdom. Divine philosophy was made the foundation of his education. He welcomed the counsel of the Lord. Would that all students were as was Daniel; but many do not see the importance of submitting to divine discipline. FE 193.3Read in context »
In order to be purified and to remain pure, Seventh-day Adventists must have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their homes. The Lord has given me light that when the Israel of today humble themselves before Him, and cleanse the soul-temple from all defilement, He will hear their prayers in behalf of the sick and will bless in the use of His remedies for disease. When in faith the human agent does all he can to combat disease, using the simple methods of treatment that God has provided, his efforts will be blessed of God. 9T 164.1
If, after so much light has been given, God's people will cherish wrong habits, indulging self and refusing to reform, they will suffer the sure consequences of transgression. If they are determined to gratify perverted appetite at any cost, God will not miraculously save them from the consequences of their indulgence. They “shall lie down in sorrow.” Isaiah 50:11. 9T 164.2Read in context »
Jesus has gone to prepare mansions for those who are preparing themselves, through His love and grace, for the abodes of bliss. In the family of God in heaven there will not be found one who is selfish. The peace and harmony of the heavenly courts will not be marred by the presence of one who is rough or unkind. He who in this world exalts self in the work given him to do will never see the kingdom of God unless he is changed in spirit, unless he becomes meek and lowly, revealing the simplicity of a little child. 8T 140.1
Those who bear responsibilities in our institutions should daily seek the way of the Lord. They should not feel qualified to choose their own way, for in so doing they will walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. God alone is to be their guide. Those who seek a wider sphere, those who would have greater freedom than God appoints, those who fail to make Him their counselor, their wisdom, their sanctification, and their righteousness, will never win the crown of life. Day by day the soul needs the religion of Christ. Those who drink deeply of His Spirit will not be ambitious for themselves. They will realize that they cannot go beyond the domain of God, for God reigns everywhere. 8T 140.2Read in context »
Parents, you profess to be children of God; are you obedient children? Are you doing the will of your heavenly Father? Are you following His directions, or are you walking in the light of sparks of your own kindling? Are you daily working to outgeneral the enemy and save your children from his devices? Are you opening to them the precious truths of the word of God, explaining to them the reasons of our faith, that their young feet may be planted on the platform of truth? 5T 331.1
The Bible with its precious gems of truth was not written for the scholar alone. On the contrary, it was designed for the common people; and the interpretation given by the common people, when aided by the Holy Spirit, accords best with the truth as it is in Jesus. The great truths necessary for salvation are made clear as the noonday, and none will mistake and lose their way except those who follow their own judgment instead of the plainly revealed will of God. 5T 331.2
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Many look to their ministers to bring the light from God to them, seeming to think this a cheaper way than to be to the trouble of going to God for it themselves. Such lose much. If they would daily follow Christ and make Him their guide and counselor, they might obtain a clear knowledge of His will, and thus be gaining a valuable experience. For want of this very experience, brethren professing the truth walk in the sparks of others’ kindling; they are unacquainted with the Spirit of God and have not a knowledge of His will, and are therefore easily moved from their faith. They are unstable, because they trusted in others to obtain an experience for them. Ample provisions have been made for every son and daughter of Adam to obtain individually a knowledge of the divine will, to perfect Christian character, and to be purified through the truth. God is dishonored by that class who profess to be followers of Christ and yet have no experimental knowledge of the divine will or of the mystery of godliness. 2T 644.1
Brother D has had a multiplicity of home cares. The increase of numbers in the church has not lessened his burdens. The increase of numbers in his family has been too heavy a tax upon himself and his family, and these things have been a hindrance to his becoming a successful laborer. He has become rusty in the work of God and needs burnishing. His testimony needs to be vitalized by the Spirit and power of God. His brethren in Bordoville, who have not a special work to do in laboring in word and doctrine, should be awake to see where others need help, and should help them. Many close their eyes to the good which they have opportunity to do for others, and by their neglect they lose the blessing which they might obtain. Brother D has been left to bear burdens that his brethren should have considered it their duty and privilege to bear. 2T 644.2
Our work in this world is to live for others’ good, to bless others, to be hospitable; and frequently it may be only at some inconvenience that we can entertain those who really need our care and the benefit of our society and our homes. Some avoid these necessary burdens. But someone must bear them; and because the brethren in general are not lovers of hospitality, and do not share equally in these Christian duties, a few who have willing hearts, and who cheerfully make the cases of those who need help their own, are burdened. A church should take special care to relieve its ministers of extra burdens in this direction. The ministers who are actively engaged in the cause of God, laboring for the salvation of souls, have continual sacrifices to make. 2T 645.1Read in context »