Thus said the LORD, Keep you judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
My salvation is near to come; therefore "keep ye judgment, and do justice." Isaiah announced God's delivering and redeeming from Babylon as close at hand, and used this fact as a plea by which to urge immediate moral preparation. "When God is coming to us in a way of mercy we must go forth to meet him in a way of duty." Illustration may be found in Psalm 50:23; Malachi 4:4 6. John the Baptist had a similar commission to this of Isaiah. He was to call to repentance on the ground of the fact that the "kingdom of heaven was at hand." Further illustration may be found in the preparing of roads for a coming Eastern king, and the preparations made in our towns when the sovereign is about to visit them. The general subject suggested is the call to be ready for every display of Divine grace. Our getting the blessing of any near coming of God to us depends on our preparedness for the manifestation. We may note two points.
I. PREPARATIONS FOR GOD'S COMING ARE SPIRITUAL. They are right states of mind and feeling. They are cleansings of thought and heart. They are humiliations on account of sin and shortcoming. They are the putting away of doubts, and the nourishing of trust. They are cherishings of all reverent sentiments. They are earnest efforts to gain an open and receptive mood of soul. Sabbath worship and sacramental seasons are times of special nearness of God, and they are dependent on the spiritual moods with which we approach them. Fitting moods are gained by times of meditation and prayer. A point of importance to impress is that spiritual preparations are quite as necessary in view of God's mercies, benedictions, and prosperities, as in view of his chastisements and judgments. So easily we miss observing the necessity for spiritual readiness to receive Divine bestowals and blessings. See St. Paul's teaching concerning self-examination before partaking of the sacramental feast (1 Corinthians 11:28).
II. SPIRITUAL PREPARATION FINDS EXPRESSION IN ALTERED CONDUCT. On this the prophet dwells. Because God's salvation is near, men ought to readjust their conduct and rearrange their relations. They should keep judgment and do justice; or love the right and try to do it, remembering always that the "right" includes the "kind." Just as, if a visitor is expected at a house, all kinds of house-preparations are made, but the heart-welcome is the chief thing, so when God would come to us, we must fit up the house of conduct for him, but take good heed that this only expresses the hearty welcome of our souls. In conclusion, show how these two mutually help each other. Soul-culture aids in mastery of life and conduct. The wise ordering of life brings good opportunity for soul-culture. Jesus came to save from sin; but there was little preparation for him. He came as a babe, and there was no room for him in the inn. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.