For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest…
(with vers 6, 7) —
1. The preceding chapter brings in Christ as proclaiming the great work of deliverance for which He is anointed of God; the following chapter presents Him as treading the wine-press alone, which is a symbol of the future judgment by the glorified Saviour. Between these two prophecies of the earthly life and the still future judicial energy, this chapter lies, referring, as I take it, to the period between these two — i.e. to all the ages of the Church's development on earth. For these Christ here promises His continual activity, and His continual bestowment of grace to His servants who watch the walls of Jerusalem.
2. Notice the remarkable parallelism in the expressions: "I will not hold My peace;" the watchmen "shall never hold their peace." And His command to them is literally, "Ye that remind Jehovah — no rest (or silence) to you! and give not rest to Him." So we have here Christ, the Church and God, all represented as unceasingly occupied in the one great work of establishing "Zion ' as the centre of light, salvation and righteousness for the whole world.
I. THE GLORIFIED CHRIST IS CONSTANTLY WORKING FOR HIS CHURCH. We are too apt to regard our. Lord's real work as all lying in the past, and, from the very greatness of our estimate of what He has done, to forget the true importance of what He evermore does.. He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. In that session on the throne manifold and mighty truths are expressed. It proclaims the full accomplishment of all the purposes of His earthly ministry; it emphasizes the triumphant completion of His redeeming work by His death; it proclaims the majesty of HIS nature, which returns to the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; it shows to the world, as on some coronation day, their King on His throne, girded with power. But whilst on the one side Christ rests as from a perfected work which needs no addition nor repetition, on the other He rests not day nor night. When the heavens opened to the rapt eyes of John in Patmos, the Lord whom he beheld was not only revealed as glorified in the lustre of the inaccessible light, but as actively sustaining and guiding the human reflectors of it. He "holdeth the seven stars in HIS right hand," and "walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." Not otherwise does my text represent the present relation of Christ to His Church. "I will not rest." Through all the ages His power is in exercise. He inspires in good men all their wisdom: and every grace of life and character. Nor is this all. There still remains the wonderful truth of His continuous intercession for us. In its widest meaning that word expresses the whole of the manifold ways by which Christ undertakes and maintains our cause. So we have not only to look back to the cross, but up to the throne. From the cross we hear a voice, "It is finished." From the throne a voice, "For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest."
II. CHRIST'S SERVANTS ON EARTH DERIVE FROM HIM A LIKE PERPETUAL ACTIVITY FOR THE SAME OBJECT. "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night. On the promise follows, as ever. a command "Ye that remind Jehovah, keep not silence." There is distinctly traceable here a reference to a twofold form of occupation devolving on these Christ-sent servants. They are watchmen, and they are also God's remembrancers. In the one capacity as in the other, their voices are to be always heard. The former metaphor is common in the Old Testament, as a designation of the prophetic office, but, in accordance with the genius of the New Testament, as expressed on Pentecost, when the spirit was poured out on the lowly as well as on the high, on the young as on the old, and all prophesied, may be fairly extended to disignate not some select few, but the whole mass of Christian people. The remembrancer's priestly office belongs to every member of Christ's priestly kingdom, the lowest and least of whom has the privilege of unrestrained entry into God's presence-chamber, and the power of blessing the world by faithful prayer.
1. Our voices should ever he heard on earth. A solemn message is committed to us by the very fact of our belief in Jesus Christ and His work.
2. Our voices should ever be heard in heaven. They who trust God remind Him of His promises by their very faith; it is a mute appeal to His faithful love, which He cannot but answer. Beyond that, their prayers come up for a memorial before God. and have as real an effect in furthering Christ's kingdom on earth as is exercised by their entreaties and proclamations to men.
3. These two forms of action ought to be inseparable. Each, if ,genuine, will drive us to the other, for who could fling himself into the watchman's work, with all its solemn consequences, knowing how weak his voice was, and how deaf the ears that should hear, unless he could bring God's might to his help? And who could honestly remind God of His promises and forget his own responsibilities?
4. The power for both is derived from Christ. He sets the watchmen; He commands the remembrancers. And, as the Christian power of discharging these twofold duties is drawn from Christ, so our pattern is His manner of discharging them, and the condition of receiving the power is to abide in Him. Christ asks no romantic impossibilities from us, but He does ask a continuous, systematic discharge of the duties which depend on our relation to the world, and on our relation to Him.
III. THE CONSTANT ACTIVITY OF THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST WILL SECURE THE CONSTANT OPERATION OF GOD'S POWER. "Give Him no rest: " let there be no cessation to Him. These are bold words. Those who remind God are not to suffer Him to be still. The prophet believes that they can regulate the flow of Divine energy, can stir up the strength of the Lord. It is easy to puzzle ourselves with insoluble questions about the co-operation of God's power and man's; but practically, is it not true that God reaches His end, of the establishment of Zion, through the Church? The great reservoir, is always., full to the brim; however much. may be drawn from it, the water sinks not a hair's breadth; but the bore of the pipe and the power of the pumping-engine determine the rate at which the stream flows from it. "He could there do no mighty works because of their unbelief."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.
Parallel VersesKJV: For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.