Isaiah 30:18
And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
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(18) And therefore . . .—The words seem to embody the thought that “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” Precisely because of this isolated misery Jehovah was “waiting,” i.e., longing, with an eager expectation, to come to the rescue.

And therefore will he be exalted.—A very slight alteration gives a meaning more in harmony with the context, will wait in stillness (Cheyne). If we adhere to the existing text, we must take the meaning will withdraw himself on high, will seem to wait, that He may at last interpose effectually.

A God of judgment.—Better, of righteousness.

All they that wait for him.—This waiting is, as in the first clause, that of wistful longing.



Isaiah 30:18

God’s waiting and man’s-bold and beautiful, that He and we should be represented as sharing the same attitude.

I. God’s waiting,

1. The first thought is-why should He wait-why does He not act at once? Because something in us hinders. We cannot enter into spiritual blessings till we are made capable of them by faith. It would not be for our good to receive some temporal blessings till sorrow has done its work on us. The great thought here is that God has a right time for help. He is ‘a God of judgment,’ i.e.. discerns our moral condition and shapes His dealings thereby. He never gives the wrong medicine.

2. His waiting is full of work to fit us to receive His grace. It is not a mere passive standing by, till the fit conditions are seen in us; but He ‘is exalted’ while He waits, i.e.. lifted up in the manifestation of His might, and by His energy in preparing us for the gifts that He has prepared for us. ‘He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God.’ He who prepares a place for us is preparing us for the place. He who has grace which He is ready to give us here, is making us ready for His grace. The meaning of all God’s work on us is to form a character fit to possess His highest gifts.

3. His waiting is very patient. The divine husbandman ‘waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it.’ How wonderful that in a very real sense He attends on our pleasure, as it were, and lets us determine His time to work.

4. That waiting is full of divine desire to help. It is not the waiting of indifference, which says: ‘If you will have it-well and good. If not, it does not matter to Me.’ But ‘more than they that watch for the morning,’ God waits ‘that He may be gracious unto you.’

II. Man’s waiting.

Our attitude is to be in some real sense analogous to His.

Its main elements are firm anticipation, patient expectation, steadfast desire, self-discipline to fit us for the influx of God’s grace.

We are not to prescribe ‘times and seasons which the Father hath put in His own power.’ The clock of Eternity ticks more slowly than our short-pendulumed timepieces. ‘If the vision tarry, wait for it.’ We may well wait for God when we know that He waits for us, and that, for the most part, when He sees that we are waiting, He knows that His time is come.

But it is to be noted that the waiting desire to which He responds is directed to something better and greater than any gifts from Him, even to Himself, for it is they who ‘wait for Him,’ not only for His benefits apart from Himself, however precious these may be, who are blessed.

The blessedness of such waiting, how it calms the heart, brings into constant touch with God, detaches from the fever and the fret which kill, opens our eyes to mark the meanings of our life’s history, and makes the divine gifts infinitely more precious when they do come.

After all, the time of waiting is at the longest very short. And when the perfect fruition is come, and we enter into the great spaces of Eternity, it will seem as an handbreadth.

‘Take it on trust a little while,

Thou soon shalt read the mystery right

In the full sunshine of His smile.’

Isaiah 30:18. And therefore — Because of your great misery: for the misery of God’s people is frequently mentioned in Scripture as a motive to God’s mercy: or, notwithstanding, as לכן may be rendered; will the Lord wait — Patiently expect your repentance, and stop the course of his proceedings against you, that you may have an opportunity of making your peace with him, and of preventing your utter ruin. He will be exalted — He will lift up himself, and exert his power gloriously in your behalf; that he may have mercy upon you — That he may show his mercy in your deliverance. For the Lord is a God of judgment — That is, he is wise and just in all the dispensations of his providence, acting toward his people with equity and moderation. Blessed are all they that wait for him — In the way of their duty, with faith and patience; that will not take any indirect course to extricate themselves out of their straits, but patiently expect God to appear for them in his own way and time: which is a much surer way to safety and happiness than having recourse to mere human aids, and placing confidence in the arm of flesh.

30:8-18 The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss. But faithful ministers will not be driven from seeking to awaken sinners. God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find him. They did not like to hear of his holy commandments and his hatred of sin; they desired that they might no more be reminded of these things. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.And therefore - The sense of the words rendered 'and therefore,' may be better expressed by the phrase, 'yet moreover,' meaning, that notwithstanding their sins, and the necessity of punishing them, Yahweh would be longsuffering, and would yet bring the nation to repentance.

And therefore will he be exalted - Lowth renders this in accordance with a conjecture of Houbigant, 'Shall he expect in silence, by reading ידוּם yâdûm instead of ירוּם yârûm. But there is no authority for this except a single MS. Rosenmuller supposes it means, in accordance with the interpretation of Jarchi, that he would delay, that is, that his mercy would be "long" or his judgment remote. But the sense seems to be, that God would be so forbearing that his character would be "exalted," that is, that people would have more elevated conceptions of his truth, mercy, and faithfulness.

For the Lord is a God of judgment - He will do what is right. He will spare the nation still; and yet establish among them the true religion, and they shall flourish.

Blessed are all they that wait for him - This seems to have been recorded to encourage them, when the threatened calamities should come upon them, to put their confidence in God, and to trust that he would yet appear and restore the nation to himself. This verse is the commencement of the annunciation of the blessings which should yet be conferred on them. The description of these blessings is continued to Isaiah 30:26.

18. therefore—on account of your wicked perverseness (Isa 30:1, 2, 9, 15, 16), Jehovah will delay to be gracious [Horsley]. Rather, wait or delay in punishing, to give you time for repentance (Isa 30:13, 14, 17) [Maurer]. Or, "Yet therefore" (namely, because of the distress spoken of in the previous verses; that distress will lead the Jews to repentance, and so Jehovah will pity them) [Gesenius].

be exalted—Men will have more elevated views of God's mercy; or else, "He will rise up to pity you" [G. V. Smith]. Or (taking the previous clause as Maurer, "Therefore Jehovah will delay" in punishing you, "in order that He may be gracious to you," if ye repent), He will be far removed from you (so in Ps 10:5, far above out sight); that is, He will not immediately descend to punish, "in order that He may have mercy," &c.

judgment—justice; faithfulness to His covenant.

wait—compare Isa 30:15, wait, namely, for His times of having mercy.

Therefore; because of your general destruction and great misery; which is frequently mentioned in Scripture as a motive to God’s mercy, as Deu 32:36, and in many other places, as hath been oft observed already. But some rendered this Hebrew particle yet, or notwithstanding, as it is supposed to signify, Isaiah 51:21 Jeremiah 16:14 Ezekiel 39:25 Hosea 2:14.

Wait; patiently expect your repentance, and stop the course of his judicial proceedings against you, that you may have an opportunity of making your peace with him, and of preventing your utter ruin.

Will he be exalted; he will lift up and bestir himself, and will work gloriously in your behalf, as this phrase is used, Psalm 21:13 46:10 Isaiah 33:10, and oft elsewhere; and as the following verses explain it.

Is a God of judgment; who carrieth himself towards his people (for of them only he speaks in this place) not with furious passion, but with judgment and discretion, or with equity and moderation; for judgment is oft opposed to fury and rigorous justice, as Psalm 112:5 Jeremiah 10:24 30:11. Blessed are all they that wait for him; this waiting upon God, in his way, with faith and patience, is a surer way to your safety and happiness, than seeking to Egypt, or any other carnal remedies.

And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you,.... Or "yet" (q), or "nevertheless" though such an utter destruction shall be made, there are a few that the Lord has a good will unto, and therefore waits till the set time comes to arise and have mercy on them; he has taken up thoughts and resolutions of grace and favour concerning them, and has fixed the time when he will show it; and he is, as it were, panting and longing after it, as the word (r) used signifies, as some have observed, until it is up; he waits for the fittest and most proper time to show mercy; when things are brought to the worst, to the greatest extremity, and when his people are brought to a sense of their danger, and of their sins, and to repentance for them, and to see their need of his help and salvation, and to implore it, and to depend upon him for it; then, in the mount of difficulty, and in the most seasonable time, does the Lord appear; and hereby the mercy is the sweeter to them, and his grace is the more magnified towards them: so he waits to be gracious to his people in conversion; he is gracious before; he is of a gracious disposition; he is inclined, nay, resolved, to show favour to them; yea, he has done various acts of grace before, such as their election in Christ, the provision of a Saviour for them in the covenant, putting all grace into his hands for them, the redemption of them by him, and the adoption of them into his family; but in conversion there is an open exhibition and display of the grace of God; much grace is then shown in applying pardoning grace, a justifying righteousness, and salvation by Christ unto them; by many love visits, and by opening the treasures of his grace unto them, as well as by implanting much grace in them, as faith, hope, love, and every other: now there is a fixed time for all this; and, until that time comes, the Lord waits to be gracious; this is his longsuffering towards his elect, which issues in their salvation; he does not cut them off in their sins; he bears much and long with them, and, as it were, longs till the time comes to unbosom himself to them, and bestow his favours on them; and so, after conversion, he waits and observes the fittest time to deliver them out of afflictions, temptations, &c.

and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; or, "will exalt himself" (s); raise up himself, who seemed to be asleep, and careless of his people, and rise up against their enemies, and in defence of them, which is showing mercy to them; or be exalted on his throne of grace, that he may give, and they may find, grace and mercy to help them in time of need: or, "he will exalt", or "lift up"; that is, his Son; so he was lifted up on the cross, that his people might be drawn after him, and saved by him; and he has also exalted him at his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins; and he is now lifted up as the serpent on the pole in the ministry of the word, that whosoever believes in him should have everlasting life; so that these exaltations, or lifting up, are in order to have mercy; and his waiting to be gracious is by the Jews (t) interpreted of his desire after the Messiah's coming, and his waiting for that: or, "he will be exalted, in", or "by, having mercy on you" (u); the glory of God is displayed in showing mercy to his people; they are engaged and influenced hereby to glorify God for his mercy, both in things temporal and spiritual. The word in the Arabic language, as Schultens observes (w), signifies to "desire" (x); and this will make the words run smoothly in agreement with the former; "and therefore", or "nevertheless, will he desire to have mercy on you"; which denotes the Lord's good will to his people, and how much his heart, and the desires of it, are towards them:

for the Lord is a God of judgment; or, "though he is a God of judgment" (y), of strict justice, judges in the earth, and will judge the world in righteousness; see Malachi 2:17 his grace, mercy, and justice, agree together, in redemption justification, pardon of sin, and salvation: or of moderation, clemency, and grace to correct his people; he corrects them not in wrath and hot displeasure, but in judgment, in a tender and fatherly way and manner, Jeremiah 10:24 and he is a God of "discretion", Psalm 112:5 of wisdom and knowledge, and does all things after the counsel of his will; he has fixed upon the proper time, and he knows which is the best time, and he waits that time to show grace and mercy to his people:

blessed are all they that wait for him; that do not run here and there for help, and are tumultuous, restless, and impatient, but wait God's own time to do them good; that wait for his gracious presence, and the discoveries of his love, for the performance of his promises, for answers of prayer, for all blessings temporal and spiritual, and for eternal glory and happiness; these are happy persons, all and every one of them; they enjoy much now, and it can not be said, nor conceived, what God has prepared for them hereafter; see Isaiah 49:23.

(q) "nihilominus, tamen"; so Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 507. in the same way Gataker. (r) "significat anhelat, vel inhiat", Forerius. (s) "et propterea exaltabit se", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "elaturus est se", Junius & Tremellius. (t) Gloss, in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 2.((u) "dum miserabitur vestri"; so some in Vatablus. (w) Animadv. Philolog. in Job. p. 56. (x) "mavit rem", Golius, col. 922. "quaesivit, expetivit, voluit", Castel. col. 3551. (y) "quamvis", so this particle is often used; see Noldius, p. 399.

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be {q} gracious to you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of

(r) judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

(q) He commends the great mercies of God, who with patience waits to call sinners to repentance.

(r) Not only in punishing but in using moderation in the same, as in Jer 10:24,30:11.

Verses 18-26. - A RENEWAL OF PROMISE. The denunciations of the preceding passage (vers. 9-17) had been so terrible that, without some counterpoise of promise, they must have produced a general despair. This was not the Divine purpose. Judah's probation still continued. Therefore it was necessary to let it be seen that the Divine long-suffering was not yet exhausted - there were still conditions under which God would be gracious to his people. The conditions were "crying to the Lord" (ver. 19), and entire abolition of idolatry (ver. 22). Verse 18. - And therefore. "Because your sins require this chastisement" (Kay); "Because of the extremity of your need" (Cheyne). It is, perhaps, best to own that the motives of the Divine action are very commonly obscure; and, if seen clearly by the prophets, are certainly not clearly set forth, being (it may be) inscrutable. While the motive, however, is obscure, the promise is plain and unmistakable, The Lord will wait, that he may be gracious unto you. God is not about at present to "make a full end;" he is bent on "waiting" - his intent is "to be gracious." He will be exalted, that he may have mercy. He will find some means of vindicating his honor and exalting himself, short of your destruction, in order that it may be open to him to give you a further chance of repentance, whereby you would obtain mercy. For the Lord is a God of judgment. God is essentially just; sin must receive punishment; but the punishment may be short of destruction. Justice does not exclude mercy. If men bear their punishment with patience, and wait for God, a brighter day will dawn on them in course of time. Isaiah 30:18The prophet now proceeds with ולכן, to which we cannot give any other meaning than et propterea, which it has everywhere else. The thought of the prophet is the perpetually recurring one, that Israel would have to be reduced to a small remnant before Jehovah would cease from His wrath. "And therefore will Jehovah wait till He inclines towards you, and therefore will He withdraw Himself on high till He has mercy upon you; for Jehovah is a God of right, salvation to those who wait for Him." In other places lâkhēn (therefore) deduces the punishment from the sin; here it infers, from the nature of the punishment, the long continuance of the divine wrath. Chikkâh, to wait, connected as it is here with Lamed, has at least the idea, if not the actual signification, of delay (as in 2 Kings 9:3; compare Job 32:4). This helps to determine the sense of yârūm, which does not mean, He will show Himself exalted as a judge, that through judgment He may render it possible to have mercy upon you (which is too far-fetched a meaning); but, He will raise Himself up, so as to be far away (cf., Numbers 16:45, "Get you up from among this congregation;" and Psalm 10:5, mârōm equals "far above," as far as heaven, out of his sight), that thus (after having for a long time withdrawn His gracious presence; cf., Hosea 5:6) He may bestow His mercy upon you. A dark prospect, but only alarming to unbelievers. The salvation at the remotest end of the future belongs to believers even now. This is affirmed in the word 'ashrē (blessed), which recalls Psalm 2:12. The prophet uses châkhâh in a very significant double sense here, just as he did nuus a short time before. Jehovah is waiting for the time when He can show His favour once more, and blessed are they who meet His waiting with their own waiting.
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