Why glorify you the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the east; margin, "fires" (Revised Version). The word translated "fires" in the Authorized Version is a difficult one. It points to the "land of the sun," which would be the east country, to which Judah was taken for its captivity, and which was to it as a refining fire; or some think to the "land of volcanic fires," which would be the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. We prefer to see a figurative reference to the refining fires of the time of exile. It is in strict keeping with the mission of Isaiah that he should thus bid the people "glorify God in the fires." Whether the passage directly refers to the flight of the people to the islands of the sea, or to the great deportation into Chaldea, the general truth is set before us that, when we are in God's chastising and correcting hand, our supreme desire and endeavor should be to "glorify God in the fires." And this is done -
I. WHEN THE SUFFERING IS RECOGNIZED AS CHASTISEMENT. Suffering is often spoken of as if it were accident, hereditary taint, or the fault of other people; but God is not glorified until we see and admit that it is fatherly chastisement. The burden of woe resting on humanity is overwhelming, unless we can see that God is in it, and thereby is but chastening his children betimes. The world is God's erring child. It glorifies the Father to see that he will not let him go on in sin. "What son is he whom the lather chasteneth not?"
II. WHEN WE ADMIT THE SIN FOR WHICH THE CHASTISEMENT IS SENT. God always sends chastisements that can have a revealing power, and bear evident relation to particular sins. National sins are shown up by national calamities, bodily sins by bodily sufferings. This point may gain large and various illustration, as in Saul, David, Ahab, Jonah, etc. We glorify God when we let the chastisement show us the sin - act as the revealer to reveal the bad self.
III. WHEN WE DETERMINE TO PUT THE SIN AWAY. For chastisement then is shown to be effective; it reaches its end: God is seen not to have wrought in vain. Correction is "for our profit, that we may be partakers of his righteousness."
IV. WHEN WE COME OUT OF THE CHASTISEMENT PURIFIED, HUMBLED, SUBMISSIVE, AND OBEDIENT. Our Father is glorified when we are made children indeed. Beautifully is it said of the Lord Jesus that, "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Glorifying God by the spirit of sonship, which he kept all through the burning of the dreadful refining fires of Calvary. Trust, submission, clinging love, patient waiting, - these still glorify God in the fires. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.