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Isaiah 9:14-17 - Homilies By W. Clarkson

Man in God's view.

There are three classes among mankind in reference to whom we here learn the thought and feeling of God. We infer from what is stated in the text—

I. HIS SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE YOUNG . Things had come to such a state, the natural order of things was so reversed, that "the Lord would have no joy in their young men" ( Isaiah 9:17 ). Hence we may fairly argue that the common and normal condition is that in which God has joy in the young. It is a strange and unnatural thing to him, that which is altogether alien to his own disposition, to take no deep and Divine interest in them. God has the young people in his thought, in his affection; they are the objects of his peculiar regard and tender interest. He is seeking their true welfare; he is addressing himself to them in the terms and the tones of fatherly love. There is nothing more pleasing in his eyes than the response which the young heart makes to his inviting voice.

II. HIS PECULIAR TENDERNESS TOWARD THE AFFLICTED . It is a sign of the very extremity of the Divine displeasure that the Lord will not even "have mercy on the fatherless and widows." The rebelliousness of Israel must have been great indeed, her iniquity heinous and aggravated indeed, to bring about a conclusion so startling and so strange as that. For it is the most wide departure from the constant thought and habit of the Most High. It is in his heart of pity to show peculiar kindness to his afflicted children. Those who are in sorrow commonly receive the precious sympathy of their fellow-men; this may fail, but it is certainly insufficient. Then the wounded spirit finds refuge in the sympathy of Christ; it has the strongest assurance of his presence, his pity, his succor ( Psalms 103:13 ; Hebrews 4:15 , etc.).

III. HIS SEVERITY TOWARD THE FALSE . The prophet regarded himself as being at the head of the nation, and expected to be so regarded by others. But not so did the Lord regard him if he were false to his vocation. In the Divine view he was not the distinguished bough waving from the top of the palm tree; he was the coarse reed that grew in the rank marshes (see Isaiah 9:14 , Isaiah 9:15 ).

1. Any and every dissembler is hateful to God. He denounces the hypocrite, wherever he is found ( Isaiah 9:17 ).

2. But the false teacher is the object of especial Divine displeasure. "The prophet that teacheth lies is the tail." Be it remembered that the prophet is now, what he was then, the man who professes to speak for God ; that if, making this profession, we publish that which is error rather than truth, we do two things which are most deplorable. In the first place we draw down on ourselves the awful anger of the righteous Ruler; and in the Second place we slay those whom we pretend to heal: they "that are led (misled) of us are destroyed " ( Isaiah 9:16 ). To receive religious error into the soul is to be poisoned with a deadly drug; guilty indeed is the hand that administers it.—C.

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