A RENEWED PROMISE TO ISRAEL OF PROTECTION AND DELIVERANCE . Severe rebuke ( Isaiah 42:18-25 ) is followed, as so often in Isaiah ( Isaiah 1:25-27 ; Isaiah 4:2-6 ; Isaiah 9:1-16 , etc.), by comfort and consolation. Israel is assured that God has not cast him off, and promised the comfort of the Divine presence during the existing tribulation (verse 2), and. a speedy restoration to Palestine (verses 3-7). The scattered Israelites will be brought together from all quarters by the Divine omnipoteney.
Bring my sons . The nations are called upon, not merely to "let Israel go," but to conduct and escort them from the places of their abode to their own country. (On the need of such escort, see Ezra 8:22 , Ezra 8:31 . On the actual furnishing of an escort in one case by a Persian king, see Nehemiah 2:7 , Nehemiah 2:8 .)
The love of Jehovah to Israel.
"But now." The word itself hints yearning affection. There has been a conflict between Divine love and Divine wrath, and the former has gained the victory. In fact, the wrath of Jehovah was but grieved affection. Its force is now for the time spent. He will now deliver and protect, reassemble and restore his people (Cheyne).
I. IT IS THE LOVE OF A PARENT . "Thy Creator, O Jacob; he that formed thee, O Israel." Of all the works of God, confessedly the noblest is man; and if man is only known as forming nations, these too are the works of God. And Israel especially is the embodied thought of God, in her laws and institutions, her place and mission in the world. Or, if we think of Israel as gradually fashioned, by schooling and by affliction, into a "new and singular product," not less is she endeared to her Maker and Builder. We cannot but love our children; and scarcely less dear to us are the children of our brain and of our heart—our schemes, our books; the house whose structure we have planned, whose arrangements have been made after ideas of our own; the flock we have overseen; the little body of disciples or friends whom we have made an organization for the diffusion of our views of life. That delight we feel in the reflected image of our mind in what is not ourself, we transfer by analogy to God.
II. IT IS THE LOVE OF A REDEEMER . And this implies sacrifice, love proved by expense of some sort. The tense gives a reference to history and to prophecy—past and future. No price can be too high for the ransom of Israel: other nations will be given up—Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba—for her. Cambyses, son of Cyrus, conquered Egypt and invaded Ethiopia. The Persian was destined to set free the chosen People; and those other peoples given into his hand as compensation are the ransom price for delivered Israel. If the "wicked are a ransom for the righteous" ( Proverbs 21:18 ), if the sufferings of the evil are in some way connected with the deliverance of the good,—this helps to shed a consoling light upon many a dark page of human history. But not only the suffering of the evil may be thus viewed—the suffering of the good also, in the light of the great saying, "The Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many"—for the greater or spiritual Israel in all ages.
III. IT IS AN APPROPRIATING , SPECIALIZING , HONOURING LOVE . TO "call by name" is an expressive phrase for selection and election. So was Bezaleel the artist called in connection with the tabernacle-work ( Exodus 31:2 ); so was Moses called by name ( Exodus 33:12 , Exodus 33:17 ) and designated for his work. It is to "find grace" in the eyes of God; it is to be precious and honourable in his sight. It is to be a "peculiar treasure" ( Exodus 19:5 , Exodus 19:6 ), a property of the Eternal—"mine art thou." We are led into the heart of the covenant-relation by these words. And every association of affection and good which has belonged in the thought of the world to the spiritual bond which knits soul to soul, may be used to illustrate Israel's relation to her God—that of child to parent, of client to patron, of confidential servant to lord, of soul to guardian spirit or angel, may be thought of in this connection. What is true of the nation must be true of its individuals; what holds good of the Church must be valid for the life of each Christian.
IV. IT IS AN ALL - PROTECTING LOVE . Israel shall go through water and through fire unhurt. No stronger figure could be used for safety amidst calamity (cf. Psalms 66:12 ; Daniel 3:17 :27). We may think of the salvation of Israel from the waves of the Red Sea, of the three children in the furnace at Babylon, of the ever-consuming yet never-consumed bush seen by Moses. These things are parables of the indestructibility of the spiritual life in mankind , and of the perfect integrity of the empire of souls, ruled by the redeeming God. From the east and the west and the north and the south, these scattered souls are to be gathered to their home. Impossible to limit such words to any temporal reference merely. The bounds of time fade away as we listen; and there rises before us the inspiring picture of the world as one vast scene of trial, of education, of an elect people to eternity—in which many sons are being brought to glory, that glory the reflection of God upon their renewed spirits.—J.
The goodness of God to man.
The abounding grace of God to the children of men is brought out very strikingly here. It is seen in—
I. THE HIGH PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE CREATES US . "I have created him for my glory." There is no end so lofty in itself and so elevating in its influence for which God could have made mankind as this. It is for this, primarily, that the very highest intelligences in the heavenly spheres have their being.
II. THE PROFOUND INTEREST HE TAKES IN US . "Thou wast precious in my sight … I have loved thee." God regards the children of men ( Psalms 33:13 , Psalms 33:14 ). He attends to their requests, and meets their wants ( Psalms 145:15 , Psalms 145:19 ). He pities them in their griefs ( Psalms 103:8 ). He yearns over them with parental love (see Isaiah 31:1-9 :20; 2 Peter 3:9 ). He disciplines them with parental solicitude ( Hebrews 12:5-11 ).
III. THE HONOUR WHICH HE CONFERS UPON US . "Thou hast been honourable." In Christ Jesus we are honoured in many ways. We are "made priests and kings unto God." What manner of honour as well as of love the Father hath shown us, that we should be called the sons of God; and that we should also be made his heirs , and also "labourers together with him" ( 1 Corinthians 3:9 )!
IV. THE SACRIFICIAL MEANS HE EMPLOYS ON OUR BEHALF . "I gave Egypt for thy ransom … I will give men for thee." That which is of immeasurably greater value than gold or silver, than property of any kind —men , human lives, God would give for Israel. For us he has given that which is of far greater account than any nation or any multitude of men—his own well-beloved Son: "God so loved the world," etc.; "He spared not his own Son;" "He gave himself" for us.