Sympathy of Bodies with Distress of Mind
Isaiah 21:3
Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold on me, as the pangs of a woman that travails…

The prophet is only seeing in a vision something that is going to happen by-and-by. But the scene presented to him is so terrible that he cannot exult in it, though it is the overthrow of an enemy's city. He is deeply distressed, and the mental anguish finds its response in acutest bodily pains. The "loins" are referred to in Scripture as the seat of the sharpest pains (Ezekiel 21:6; Nahum 2:10). The most familiar illustration of the sympathy between body and mind is the expression of mental emotion by tears. Ministers and public speakers know, from bitter experience, how nervous excitement stands related to sharp bodily pain and serious bodily depression. The connection may be seen in Job, in Hezekiah, in the Apostle Paul, and in David, who, with vigorous poetical figures describes the bodily distress which accompanied his months of restraining himself, in his hardness and impenitence: "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day tong."

I. SOUL AND BODY ARE KIN. Our normal condition is the perfect harmony of the two, so that the soul only uses the body for good and right purposes; and the body responds perfectly to all the demands which the soul makes upon it. Combat the idea that the body is evil, or that evil lies in matter, and so our great effort should be to get free of our bodies. The true triumph is to win the use of our body, or, as the Apostle Paul puts it, to get "the body for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."

II. BODY MAY MASTER SOUL. This is the abnormal condition into which men have passed. They are practically ruled by "sensations" which dominate the will, and so the mass of men are merely animated bodies, in whom the soul is silenced and crushed. Illustrate by the demoniacs in our Lord's time, in whom the man was crashed by the vice.

III. SOUL SHOULD CONTROL BODY. This is the recovered normal condition and relation; and to energize the soul unto a full and efficient mastery and use of the body is precisely the work of the Divine redemption. The indwelling Spirit of God is a new life for the soul, in the power of which it may overcome the body and the world. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.

WEB: Therefore my thighs are filled with anguish. Pains have taken hold on me, like the pains of a woman in labor. I am in so much pain that I can't hear. I so am dismayed that I can't see.

Nations Working Out God's Providences
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