Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land…
Their Redeemer is strong.
I. IT WAS NECESSARY THAT HE SHOULD BE SO.
1. This is true of Israel's Redeemer. See the power ranged against them. Physical, in the might of Babylon and the many hostile nations. Spiritual, in the justice of the sentence under which they were suffering. Moral, in the enfeebling effects of their disobedience, causing despondency, despair, timidity, giving power to evil habits, and making very difficult the acquirement of such as were good. But:
2. It is true of our Redeemer. The powers by which humanity is held in captivity are more terrible and unconquerable than were those by which Israel was held. These powers are commonly classified under the threefold division - a trinity of hell - of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Consider the power:
(1) Of the world, in enslaving the soul of man. The seductiveness of its smile, the terror of its frown, the overpowering force of its rewards, the awfulness of its punishments. And yet all this might is against God and against the soul.
(2) Of the flesh. Yes; it does beat against the spirit, it warreth against the soul. If it once have gained dominion, is that dominion ever entirely destroyed while this life lasts? And in some, yea, many, its dominion is allowed as something that cannot be broken. A moral despair comes over many in regard to it, and they cease to contend against a tyranny which they affirm they are powerless to escape from.
(3) Of the devil. He is no mere imagination, or myth, or invention of a credulous and superstitious age, but a living reality, against whom our Saviour, who knew his strength and terror as none other did - for he had just come away from his encounter with him - bade us in our daily prayer say, "Deliver us from the evil one." Who but he is it that is ever plying us with unhallowed thought and suggestion, causing the will and opportunity to sin so fatally to combine? But who of us is or can be ignorant of his devices? And when the force of all these terrible foes is augmented, as it is by the force of habit, of example, of inherited tendency, of enfeebled power of resistance the result of past defeats, - oh, what need, indeed, is there that our Redeemer should be strong! But -
II. BLESSED BE GOD, HE IS SO. In regard to Israel, he did redeem them in part, and their more complete redemption is yet to come. In regard to humanity at large, he is strong likewise. See in proof of this:
1. His mighty power when here on earth. All those signs and wonders, those glorious miracles, were designed to confirm our faith in our Redeemer as One "mighty to save." Hence diseases fled devils were cast out, nature obeyed, Death gave up her dead, at his word. All these things were, as St. John calls them, "signs."
2. His might displayed in his Church. "I will build my Church," he said; and in spite of the feebleness in numbers, in influence, in intellectual or social power, in adaptation of methods, in selection of men; in spite of all the force that numbers, wealth, power, rank, cruelty, hate, could bring to bear; - still his word was accomplished and is yet being accomplished. Must we not confess, in view of facts like these, that our Redeemer is strong?
3. His power over the individual soul. How he gives strength against the terror of a violated law, the might of an indwelling sin, the crushing power of earthly sorrow, the king of terrors, death itself! "Conversion is the standing miracle of the Church" - the transformations of character, condition, and conduct, which are perpetually being wrought by the power of Christ. All these compel the glad confession that Christ is "mighty to save." Now, note -
III. THAT HIS STRENGTH BECOMES OURS BY MEANS OF OUR FAITH. For faith in him brings to bear the power of:
1. The unseen.
3. The new life. And so these marvels are wrought.
"Mighty Redeemer, set me free
From my old state of sin." C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.