In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
Two somewhat distinct meanings may be attached to these words. They may mean that two evil winds cannot blow in full force together. If they blow together, there is a chastening of the evil influence of both winds. Or the prophet may be referring to the same wind, by the words "rough wind" and "east wind," and he may mean simply to imply that every strong wind God restrains. Whichever view you take of the passage, the great truths presented by it are the same. The subject is the adaptation of trial to the state of those who are afflicted.
I. Sorrows are strong forces. They are winds; they act as winds; they are forces before which we bend and bow. (1) The wind acts upon the sapling or the young tree, and shaking it, it roots it. So do troubles act upon young Christians. (2) The wind acts upon ripe fruit, which hangs upon the boughs of the tree ready to fall, and which requires a slight mechanical force only, a mere touch, to bring it down. Thus it is with the fruits of the Spirit, and with all the produce of Divine training and heavenly discipline.
II. Sorrows have their appointed time. "In the day of the east wind." There is a time to mourn. Trouble does not come before its time, it does not come after its time; it comes in its season. They are here, and the day of their residence may be long; but every hour of that day tells of the day's approaching end, when the trouble will be no more.
III. Sorrows are God's servants. "He stayeth His rough wind in the day of the east wind," just because the winds are His. Troubles are God's ministers; they are entirely under His control, and they do only His bidding. They are adapted to the state of those who are afflicted. (1) Adapted by whom? By the Almighty Father. (2) Adapted to what? To the strength of the sufferer, and to the work which has to be accomplished. (3) How does God do this? Sometimes by removing one trouble before another comes. Sometimes by lightening the affliction itself, or by so strengthening the heart of the sufferer, that the affliction is relatively lighter; or by pouring through the soul of the troubled one rich and abundant consolation. (4) For what purpose does God do this? He does it for present peace and for present joy. He would sooner see you laugh than cry, smile than weep. "He stayeth His rough wind in the day of the east wind" that there may be a restoration of the elasticity of the spirit.
S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 3rd series, No. 12.
References: Isaiah 27:8.—Preacher's Lantern, vol. ii., p. 507; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 183. Isaiah 27:10.—Ibid., p. 183. Isaiah 28:1-4.—Ibid., vol. iv., p. 314. Isaiah 28:5.—Ibid., vol. iv., p. 138. Isaiah 28:5, Isaiah 28:6.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages from the Prophets, vol. i., p. 85. Isaiah 28:7-13.—S. Cox, Expositor, 1st series, vol. i., p. 98. Isaiah 28:9, Isaiah 28:13.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 147. Isaiah 28:10.—Preacher's Lantern, vol. ii., p. 311. Isaiah 28:10, Isaiah 28:13.—D. Fraser, Penny Pulpit, No. 975 (see also Old Testament Outlines, p. 189). Isaiah 28:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvii., No. 1593. Isaiah 28:15.—Forsyth and Hamilton, Pulpit Parables, p. 158.
In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him?
In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.
By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.
Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.
When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.