ISAIAH CHAPTER 63.
Messiah Coming as the Avenger of His People.
THE APPROACH OF THE DELIVERER. — V. 1. Who is this, so the prophet, in a burst of triumphant ecstasy, asks, that cometh from Edom, where the scene of the great judgment is laid, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this city being the ancient capital of Idumea. The garments of the Hero are pictured as being brilliant, scarlet, namely, with blood, as the next verses show: this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? coming along with proud bearing and stately stride. The Champion Himself answers, I that speak in righteousness, proclaiming the covenant of salvation, mighty to save, He in whom the redemption of the world is personified, He who carried out God’s plan of salvation. Again the prophet asks, v. 2. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? He was fascinated by the bespattered dress of the Champion and desired to know whence these spots came. The Champion promptly answers: v. 3. I have trodden the wine-press alone, as the questioner rightly concluded, and of the people there was none with Me, of the entire world of men there was not one to give Him companionship, to stand by His side in the great battle; for I will tread them in Mine anger and trample them in My fury, rather, “I have trodden them in Mine anger and trampled them in My rage”; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment, all His clothing was splashed with the blood of the enemies, soiled all over. V. 4. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, He had definitely decided to avenge Himself upon the nations, and the year of My redeemed is come, the time had come when He would deliver those whom He had chosen for His own, an allusion to the great Year of Jubilee with its manifold forms of deliverance. The Champion now explains the excess of His fury in the battle which He fought. V. 5. And I looked, when He found Himself surrounded by enemies on every hand, and there was none to help; and I wondered, with a feeling akin to horror, that there was none to uphold. Therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me, in overthrowing the enemies, and My fury, it upheld Me, giving Him the assistance He needed to obtain the victory. V. 6. And I will tread down the people in Mine anger and make them drunk in My fury, His wrath and rage being considered the weapons with which He had waged war so successfully, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. It is a wonderfully poetical description of the last great Judgment of the Lord, the day of His vengeance. Cp. chap. 34, 8; Rev. 19 and 20.
THE LORD’S LOVING-KINDNESS IN THE PAST AND HIS PEOPLE’S PRAYERS. — V. 7. I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, so the pious believer sings, and the praises of the Lord, His glorious deeds, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, to which the hymn of thanksgiving must properly correspond, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, which is the source of all His acts of goodness, and according to the multitude of His loving-kindnesses. The grace and mercy of the Lord to this day is our chief motive for singing His praises. V. 8. For He said, Surely they are My people, chosen by Him as His own, children that will not lie, who will not become guilty of disloyalty; so, as a result of this confidence in them, He was their Savior, who brought them permanent deliverance. V. 9. In all their affliction He was afflicted, in all their tribulation there was no overwhelming affliction for them, and the angel of His presence saved them, or, “No messenger (or angel) – with His own countenance He helped them,” that is, in the last instance, through the redemption of the Messiah; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them, cp. Ex. 32 and 33; Num. 14; and He bare them and carried them all the days of old, namely, during the days of the wilderness journey. V. 10. But they rebelled, as the story of those days so abundantly shows, and vexed His Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead thus being spoken of as present during the days of the wilderness sojourn; therefore He was turned to be their enemy, as when He sent the fiery serpents and brought other severe punishments upon them, and He fought against them, also at a later time, when He permitted their enemies to overthrow them. V. 11. Then he, or men in general, especially the children of Israel themselves, remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, they reminded themselves of that deliverance, saying, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea, when Israel passed through the Red Sea, with the shepherd of His flock? Moses himself being represented as an excellent shepherd and guide of the people. Where is He that put His Holy Spirit within him? namely, in the midst of the Lord’s flock, the reference being to the power of the Spirit imparted to Moses and the other princes of the people; cp. Num. 11, 17.25; 14,24; 27,18; Deut.34,9; v. 12. that led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, so that Moses was not left to shift for himself, but had the almighty power of the Lord to serve him, dividing the water before them, Ex. 14, 21; Josh, 3, 16, to make Himself an everlasting name? the Lord’s glory being promoted by this proof of His almighty power; v. 13. that led them through the deep, when they passed streams in safety, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? or, “As horses in the plains they did not stumble.” V. 14. As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him, namely, Israel, to rest, namely, in the Land of Promise, so didst Thou lead Thy people to make Thyself a glorious name. Having thus pictured the manner in which the people in days of old turned to their almighty Deliverer and by Him were brought to the promised haven of rest, the believer now makes an appeal to the almighty power and the mercy of the Lord over against the present difficult situation. V. 15. Look down from heaven and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy glory, to which He had apparently retired, leaving His people to their fate; where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the mighty deeds which He had exhibited so often in days of old, the sounding of Thy bowels, the abundance of His sympathy, and of Thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained? It is a powerful appeal: Do not restrain them; do not hold back at this time! To this the petitioner adds a confident statement: v. 16. Doubtless Thou art our Father, that being the reason for the trustful prayer, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not, both of them being up in heaven and no longer cognizant of affairs of this life. Thou, O Lord, art our Father, by virtue of creation and redemption, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting, or, “Our Redeemer from everlasting, that is Thy name.” Jehovah is known in Israel as the God who saves and redeems in truth, in whom all believers, all His children, may and shall safely trust. V. 17. O Lord, why hast, Thou made us to err from Thy ways, why did He permit this going astray, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? so that the judgment of hardening goes into effect upon those who despise His grace and mercy. Return for Thy servants’ sake, on account of the relation of the covenant which obtained between the Lord and His people, the tribes of Thine inheritance, whom He Himself had chosen to be partakers of His blessings. One of the most effective forms of praying is that of taking the Lord aside, as it were, and reminding Him of His promises, to hold Him to His Word.