A Time to Weep
Isaiah 22:4
Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me…

Therefore I say, Look away from me; let me weep bitterly. Eastern weeping is excessive, unrestrained. Westerns go to the other extreme, and severely repress all expressions and signs 'of emotion. Eastern grief is often exaggerated, and it is in danger of being conventional and even hypocritical. Public weeping, at least on the part of the prophets, became a testimony and a warning. It belonged to their teaching by signs. Isaiah's weeping here drew public attention, and led to inquiries as to the meaning of such exceeding distress. The following points are sufficiently suggestive to need no more than brief statement.

I. WE MAY WEEP IN ANTICIPATION. If we can see trouble ahead, and our distress can be the means of awakening others who are careless, but who ought to be preparing to meet the trouble, our very griefs may be a "fore-warning."

II. WE MAY WEEP IN TIME OF TROUBLE. Because tears are the natural expressions of feeling, and the natural relief of overcharged feeling. Danger to brain and heart attend undue restraint of tears.

III. WE MAY WEEP IN SYMPATHY WITH OTHERS. Often such silent sympathy is more effective than any words. To feel with another so as to join in the same expression of feeling is most soothing and comforting. The sublime illustration of this is our Redeemer weeping in human sympathy with gentle Mary at the grave of Lazarus.

IV. WE MUST NOT LET OUR WEEPING BECOME A SELF-INDULGENCE. This is a greater peril to us all than we are wont to estimate. There is a luxury of grief; a keeping it up for the sake of the comforting and petting it brings; a pleasant giving way. Weeping is wrong, is mischievous, the moment it passes beyond the bounds of what is necessary for relief. As soon as self comes in, and we will to give way, our weeping becomes sin.

V. WE MAY WEEP AS A TESTIMONY. For this we have the example of our Divine Lord and Master, who" when he beheld the city [of Jerusalem - the very city concerning which Isaiah wept], wept over it, saying, Oh that thou hadst known, in this thy day, the things that make for thy peace!" John Howe most suggestively calls this "The Redeemer's tears wept over lost souls." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

WEB: Therefore I said, "Look away from me. I will weep bitterly. Don't labor to comfort me for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

The Moral Influence of Pestilence
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