Isaiah 45:16-19 - Homilies By W. Clarkson
What shall the end be?
Things are rightly tested by their issues. We do well to ask—To what is this course tending? in what will it terminate? Taken in a deep and full sense, though not in a short and shallow one, "all is well that ends well." The prophet says that idolatry will be condemned in the ultimate and utter overthrow and confusion of its victims ( Isaiah 45:16 ), while true piety will be finally and fully established ( Isaiah 45:17 ). Of this there was the most ample security ( Isaiah 45:18 , Isaiah 45:19 ). We infer, generally—
I. THAT EVIL ENDS IN OVERTHROW AND DISHONOUR . It is not idolatry only which, when the last stage is reached, is covered with confusion. It is the doom of all departure from the righteous will of God. Self-indulgence has its pleasant hours; but it conducts by a sure road to disease and early death. Crime has its successes; but it spends its last days within prison-walls. Greed has its own wretched gratification; but it earns general and unspeakable contempt. Worldliness wins its honour and "has its reward;" but it ends in heart-ache and bitter disappointment, Rapacity and injustice do often wring treasures from the wronged and suffering; but they end in exposure, in condemnation, in ruin.
II. THAT OBEDIENCE ENDS IN BLESSEDNESS AND HONOUR . It is not confounded nor ashamed; it is saved—it "seeks not God's face in vain." It "inherits the land." Though much may be endured, yet a great deal more is gained, by a complete surrender of self to the service of Christ. It ensures that without which all earthly possessions and all human honours are worthless, with which they can be cheerfully foregone. It brings peace of mind, joy of soul, growth in goodness, victory over the world, Divine favour and guidance, eternal glory.
III. THAT OF THIS RESULT WE HAVE THE MOST AMPLE SECURITY . It rests on the foundations of:
1 . Divine power. On the "thus saith the Lord," on the word of him who "created the heavens and formed the earth."
2 . Divine wisdom. On the word of him whose presence is attested by his handiwork: "He created it not in vain."
3 . Divine righteousness. "I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right." The power, the wisdom, and the righteousness of God are to us the all-sufficient pledge that we shall not seek his face in vain, but shall find that the earnest seeker after God will find all that will fill his heart , ennoble his life , and secure a glorious and immortal destiny.—C.
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