Isaiah 58:11 - Homilies By R. Tuck
Guided, provided, and refreshed.
"Guide thee;" "Satisfy thy soul in drought; … Make fat thy bones; … Make thee like a watered garden." These figures are all plain and simple, but the last of them gains point by some knowledge of Eastern sentiments. Van Lennep tells us that, in the East, "almost every house has more or less of a garden adjoining. There is neither system nor regular laying out. Trees are scattered about with little or no plan, and patches for vegetables are laid out as most convenient, onions and cabbages being the universal favourites. But the ornament most prized in a garden, one which all seek to possess if they can possibly afford it, is the marble tank—square, oblong, or octagonal—with a spout in the centre, always out of order. They would not give up that spout in the centre for a good deal, although it does not play once in a generation; but they sit there and think how fine it would be to see it work, and it is almost the same as if they did see it. These tanks are often very tastefully cut and ornamented. The ground around them is always well smoothed, and fine grass is sown in it, and kept fresh by frequent sprinkling." The immediate reference of the text is to the restoration of the exiles. Their journey they well might fear. Weariness, drought, peril, they could but expect. So the Divine assurances come meeting the three points of their special need. Their need is ours in the journey of life, our journey home to the new Jerusalem.
I. GOD PROMISES HELP FOR ALL THE MOVEMENTS OF LIFE . "Guide thee continually.'' We are very familiar with journeyings. We are always going to and fro. By land we are constantly within the flange or' a wheel of destruction. By sea only a plank or a plate of iron keeps us from foundering. Yet how securely we go! Is it human science or skill that we trust? Nay, God guideth. To every man the life-path is unknown. We have never gone the way heretofore. No matter. God guideth.
II. GOD PROMISES SUPPLY FOR THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE . "Satisfy" thee. Compare "Verily thou shalt be fed." Forty years in the wilderness Israel was fed. For months Elijah was fed. Through the long march the exiles were fed. Manna did not more truly come from God than does our daily supply. None of his people are left desolate.
III. GOD PROMISES RELIEF FOR THE WEARINESSES OF LIFE . Such as comes to drooping flowers in the garden when the soft rains fall. Such as comes to parched travellers when in the desert they find the living, sparkling spring. Who of us cannot recall sweet memories of Divine refreshings, winds of God, waters of life?—R.T.
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