Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily…
(vers. 8, 9, 10, 14, "Then," "then," "then," "then "): —
I. MEN AND CHURCHES CHARGE GOD FOOLISHLY, AND COMPLAIN WITHOUT CAUSE OF THEIR OWN LOW ESTATE.
II. GOD REBUTS THEIR BLASPHEMOUS CHARGE, AND ASSERTS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS DEALINGS IN AN APPEAL TO THEIR OWN CONSCIENCES AND COMMON-SENSE.
III. GOD RETURNS THE CHARGE AGAINST HIMSELF ON THE SINNERS' OWN HEADS, AND REVEALS HIS SECRET, IF MEN WILL HAVE EARS TO HEAR. "Then" is the secret of light and darkness; of health and sickness, or want of spiritual vigour and vitality; of covenant righteousness in the enjoyment of covenant blessings, or apparent breach of covenant in the withholding of what is good; of glory, such as that of Israel in the wilderness, when the glory of the Lord was "their rereward," when the pillar of cloud and fire was in the midst of them by day and night, or shame, as when the ark was in the hands of the Philistines, or the Assyrian or Babylonian invaded God's heritage and profaned His temple; of prayers answered, or unanswered; of God's presence manifested in undeniable! tokens, or denied, undiscerned, apparently withdrawn; of power to be God's witnesses and workmen in doing good to others, or impotence, conscious inability to be fellow-labourers with God and for God, want of spiritual life and energy. "Then" is the secret — then, and not till then — then, and not otherwise — then certainly-then according to the promise of the covenant, and in the way of the covenant and kingdom. In further application of the text to ourselves learn such lessons as the following —
1. The salvation of the Gospel is salvation from sin itself.
2. In the Gospel, accordingly, blessedness and righteousness go together, and so also sin and misery.
3. There is under the Gospel no substitute for repentance.
4. Man, in all the work of salvation, from beginning to end, must co-operate with God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.