For this is what the LORD has told me: "I will quietly look on from My dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
i.e. his palace or throne) and watches the ripening of the fruit which he is about to gather. While there is a clear heat in sunshine, while there is a dew-cloud in harvest-heat, through all phenomenal changes, he waits still" (Dean Plumptre). The figure of a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest is well illustrated by Thomson, in 'The Land and the Book,' who writes of a cloud which "absolutely reposed upon the vast harvest-fields of Philistia, lying on the corn serene and quiet as infancy asleep. I have never seen such a cloud in this country except in the heat of harvest." Cheyne brings out the point of this verse. "In the midst of all the excitement, of the Assyrians on the one hand, and of the Ethiopians on the other, Jehovah is calmly waiting till the fruit of Assyrian arrogance is all but ripe. Favoring circumstances are hastening the process (clear heat, etc.), and when perfection seems just within reach, God will interpose in judgment." God can wait - quietly wait - until the fullness of time has come. God reproaches our restlessness by his example, for our time is "always ready," and by our impatience and failure in self-control we spoil a thousand things. This subject may be opened in the following way.
I. IN SECURING MATERIAL ENDS THERE IS OFTEN GREAT NEED FOR WAITING. Illustrate from the failure of the general, because he did not wait until preparations were complete; or from the farmer who loses his crops by cutting them too soon, before the weather has become settled; or the artist who cannot wait to give his work the perfecting touches of his own criticism; or the pastor who injures the young blade by worrying anxiety over it, and cannot wait to let young soul-life gather quiet strength in its own simple ways. The wisdom of waiting is harder to learn and practice than the wisdom of acting and working. Yet the motto, by no means untruthfully, says, "All things come round to him who can wait."
II. IN SECURING MORAL ENDS THERE IS OFTEN ABSOLUTE NEED FOB WAITING. Because moral processes can never bear forcing. They vary in different individuals. The lesson of virtue which one person learns at once, another grasps only as a final result of the training of a long life. This point may be opened up in relation to the work of mothers and teachers. They seek moral ends. They are often distressed by the slowness of the approach to the end. They must learn the importance of active, watchful waiting. And in the highest sense, in relation to God's moral working, we all need to hear the voice that pleads, "Wait thou his time." Marvelous is the long-suffering patience of him who waited while the ark was building, and waited through the ages until the "fullness of times" for his Christ had come.
III. IN MAN WAITING MAY BE EITHER STRENGTH OR WEAKNESS. It may be "masterly inactivity," and it may be that "procrastination" which loses golden opportunities.
IV. IN GOD WAITING IS ALWAYS WISDOM AND STRENGTH. So we never need fret under it, or make mystery of it, or think untrustful things about it. God acts on the absolutely best moment, and we should wait on for ages, and never want a thing until God's best moment for it has come. Because God can wait, we should trust. - R.T.
For so the Lord said unto me, I will take My rest.
I. How often has the sincere Christian mourned in bitterness of spirit, BECAUSE NO IMMEDIATE ANSWER SEEMED GIVEN TO HIS PRAYERS. In such circumstances, the assurance that providence is only taking its rest and considering, is in the highest degree consolatory. It is not in judgment, but in tender mercy, that God apparently suspends His answer to His people's prayers. Thus does He exercise their faith, and the trial of it is more precious than gold. Thus does He convince them of their needs, and the conviction leads them to greater self-abandonment. Thus does He call forth in them the feeling of Christian sympathy for those who are similarly tried, and this is better for them than heart's desire. Thus does He give unto them those experiences which, it is not improbable, may contribute to their felicity in heaven itself.
II. A second example of providence taking its rest, is to be seen in THE COMPARATIVELY SLOW AND LIMITED PROGRESS WHICH THE BLESSED GOSPEL OF CHRIST HAS YET MADE IN THE WORLD. The march of His administration is not the less sublime, because it is occasionally invisible.
III. Providence takes its rest WHEN SENTENCE AGAINST THE EVIL WORKS OF MEN IS NOT EXECUTED SPEEDILY. When the mystery of God is finished, His ways will appear at once marvellous and right. This "rest of providence" is beautifully illustrated by similitudes taken from nature — "a clear heat upon herbs, and a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." You have observed, on a fine summer day, the sunshine resting calmly on the cornfield, or the dew covering the plants at eventide. All is peaceful and serene. It seems as if the winds had forgotten to blow, or the thunder to utter its voice. Thus calmly and silently does the Almighty "rest in His dwelling place," till the time comes for interposition. The patience of God is a demonstration of His power, and His slowness to wrath a testimony to His infinite wisdom. The metaphor in ver. 5 is to be regarded as a continuation of the preceding one, and may be understood as intimating the utter disappointment of those plans which wicked men form against God, and which He so forbearingly allows them to mature. "Afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches." The meaning is, that at the very moment when the likelihood is, humanly speaking, greatest, that their projects shall be successful, He will awake to overturn them. Conclusion —
1. The passage under consideration, while it ought to alarm the enemies, may well enough bring comfort to the people of God. Let them look up for their redemption draweth nigh.
2. On the other hand, let not the impenitent flatter themselves into security because their Lord delayeth His coming.
(J. L. Adamson.)
(A. B. Davidson.)
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)I. THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD AND HIS REPOSE. Let me ask where the queen rests in her love: You must pass and press beyond the regalia, beyond the throne-room, beyond the council, beyond the levee, there in the family, amidst her children, in a charmed family circle, — there she rests in love. And has not God such a circle, such a dwelling place, and home? "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him." God has revealed to us this great thing, that He, too, lives in the sympathies and affections of His intelligent creatures. God's Church is His dwelling place. God descends to dwell in us, as we ascend to dwell in Him. I have been struck with a thought like this, when I have been on some quiet village hill, or in the deeps of some country forest, when, beneath me, or away from me, all the villagers were in the booths of some fair. I saw it, perhaps, at my feet, or heard the sounds dying away on my ear. So it is, as we rise to rest in God. At our feet the uproar the vice — the vanity — of the Babel booths — the dissoluteness and the song, — but with us deep peace, and quiet, and the rest of heart and soul, and the prospect of the glory and the vistas beyond; it is even so, as the world lies beneath us, and above us spreads the calm — when the soul possesses God, and God sinks into the soul — what does the soul look out upon: what does the soul look down upon? what does the soul look in upon: the soul one with God.
II. "I WILL CONSIDER." "So the Lord said unto me, I will take My rest." Exceedingly sublime are all those magnificent passages in which the calm of the Divine mind is contrasted with the passion and the agitation of human affairs. This is the connection of the preceding verses (chap. 17:12, 13). It is amidst that turbulence of the oceans of the population that God says, "I will take My rest, and consider."
III. THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF DIVINE CONSIDERATION, the loving and beautiful result.
(E. Paxton Hood.)Amos 3:15); but they that are at home with God have both in Him.
( M. Henry.)
When the bud is perfect.
I. BEAUTY. Among the many kinds of beauty nature gives us, three are very noticeable —
1. Beauty of form.
2. Beauty of colour.
3. Beauty of scent. And to these man has added —
4. Beauty of association.
1. Food. In the economy of nature flowers are useful as food for insect and bird and man. Groundsel for the birds of the air! The honeysuckle really belongs to, and is the early home of, a green moth, brown round the edges, with transparent wings. It also belongs to a caterpillar, which afterwards becomes a brown and white and dull blue butterfly. And so list after list might be given of flowers upon which the insect world feeds, and by which it is nourished. Again, it is from flowers that the bees collect the honey! Thus the flowers may be said literally to feed man.
3. Fruit. Flowering is a stage on the way to fruit. What Christian graces will you have to show when the time of the ingathering comes:
III. DESIGN. Nature works on a plan. Who made the plan, the design? There cannot be a plan without someone to plan; nor a design without a designer. The Christian looks from nature to nature's God.
(C. H. Grundy, M. A.).
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