Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
The peace of God's Church resembles a river.
I. In its source. The source or spring of a river is hidden. It wells up from the fountains of the great deep beneath the earth. Many see the river in its course, and witness the fertility with which its progress is attended, whose footsteps never approached its source, nor indeed could do so. The source of peace to God's children is God Himself. The peace of God is a well of water springing up in the depths of the spirit. And accordingly men can see that peace only in its effects and results.
II. In the method of its nourishment. It is true that rivers are fed perpetually by their springs. But an external nourishment is also supplied to them by occasional rains and landfloods, which swell the rivers and cause them to rise, and even to overflow their channels. The river of the Christian's peace is augmented by contrition. The tears and sighs of godly sorrow are essential to the fulness of that peace. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
III. In its course. (1) A river in its course is quietly progressive. The Christian's peace is a peace of progress in grace. (2) A river is exceeding deep. And the peace of God is said to "pass all understanding." The nature and character of that peace is unintelligible to those who have not tasted it, and by those who have tasted it its depth is unfathomable. (3) A river in its course is fertilising and enriching. The peace of God is at the root of all holy fruitfulness. (4) A river in its course is clean and cleansing. The peace of God's Church is a clean and holy (because a living) peace—clear as crystal, and perfectly alien from all defilement. (5) A river bears burdens. It is one of the most delightful characteristics of the Christian's peace that its buoyancy supports many and grievous burdens.
IV. At its mouth. A river expands at its mouth. For the last few miles of its progress the distance between its banks becomes wider, till at length it pours itself with a full flood into the ocean. The peace of the true believer is enlarged as he draws near to the heavenly goal, and accordingly the country of his soul is more abundantly fertilised.
E. M. Goulburn, Sermons in the Parish Church of Holywell, p. 229.
Isaiah 66:13I. God comforts like the ideal mother. The only perfect mother is in the mind and heart of God. And He comforts as that image might be expected to comfort and would be capable of comforting.
II. God comforts as the mothers comforted of whom the prophet spoke. No mother is perfect, but every true and good mother is a great consoler. (1) God comforts naturally; (2) He comforts personally; (3) He comforts lovingly; (4) He comforts practically; (5) He comforts broadly; (6) He comforts constantly; (7) He comforts effectually.
S. Martin, Comfort in Trouble, p. 1.
References: Isaiah 66:13.—J. T. Stannard, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 252. Isaiah 66:19.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 272. Isaiah 66:21.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii., No. 992; J. Keble, Sermons from Advent to Christmas Eve, p. 332.
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.
For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.