Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?…
"Who hath believed our report?" This inquiry has been read in various ways. Each of the ways has had its own accent and good lesson.
1. For example, the figure might be that of the prophets gathered together in conference and bemoaning in each other's hearing that their sermons or prophecies had come to nothing. We have preached all this while, and nobody has believed; why preach any more? If this thing were of God it would result in great harvests: it results in barrenness, and we are disappointed prophets. That is one way. Many excellent remarks have been made under that construction of the inquiry.
2. But that is not the meaning of the prophecy. The Revised Version helps us to see it more clearly, by reading the word thus: — "Who hath believed that which we have heard?" The idea is that the prophets are not rebuking other people; the tremendous idea is that the prophets are interrogating themselves and saying, in effect at least, Have we believed our own prophecy? is there a believer in all the Church? is not the Church a nest of unbelievers? That puts a very different face upon the interrogation. We shall now come to great Gospels; when the prophets flagellate themselves we shall have some good preaching. We might put the inquiry, if not literally, yet spiritually and experimentally, thus: — Which of us, even the prophets, have believed? We have said the right thing; people might listen with entranced attention to such eloquence as ours: but is it red with the blood of trust, has it gone forth from us taking our souls with it? If not, we are as the voice of the charmer; men are saying of each of us, He hath a pleasant voice, what he says is said most tunefully, but the man himself is not behind it and in it and above it: it is a recitation, not a prophecy.
3. Who can find fault with the prophets? Not one of us, least of all myself. They had some hard things to, believe; men do not willingly believe in wildernesses and barren rocks, and declarations that have in them no poetry and on them no lustre from heaven, hard and perilous sayings. Who can believe this, that when the Anointed of the Lord shall come, the Chosen One, He shall be "as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him?" It is incredible; if He is God's own Son He will be more beautiful than the dawn of summer. But God will not flatter His servants; He says to each of them, even the loftiest in stature of soul, Go out and proclaim a Cross. It is always so with this Christ; He is all Cross at the first: but what a summer there is hidden in the clouds! and it will come as it were suddenly. The prophets worked their own way under the guidance of the Holy Spirit out of this darkness. Having: dwelt more largely upon the tragical aspect of the life of this great One, they say towards the close, "He shall see His seed." That is a new tone; "He shall prolong his days," that is a new tone; "and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand." Why, they have turned the corner; they are getting up into the sunshine, they are unfurling the flag on the mountain-top. "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: His blood shall buy the universe. This is the other end; this the other aspect of the Gospel. You will never profitably read the Scriptures until you take the darkness with the light.
4. What is the application of this? Why are you wondering that other people do not believe? The voice says, Friend! didst thou believe thine own sermon? Was it alive with thine heart?
(J. Parker, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?