Incessant were the troubles of Israel. But they destroyed
them not. A prophetic voice here sounds, foretelling evil's final woe.
1-2. "Many time they have afflicted me from my youth,
may Israel now say; Many times they have afflicted me from my youth; yet
they have not prevailed against me."
The burning bush is a fit type of God's servants in this
evil world. The flames encompassed every branch and leaf, but still the
verdure bloomed. The devouring blaze was powerless to reduce to ashes. Thus
the Church is in constant peril, but still it lives beautiful in freshness
and in unfading vigor. Each page of its history recites fearful attacks, but
still the inward life survives and no decay appears. The story of each
individual believer is similarly the record of trials, troubles,
persecutions, and distresses. But still the raging billows engulf not the
little bark. It maintains its course. It finally reaches the peaceful haven.
3. "The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long
This image shows the cruel malice of relentless foes. As
the plough urged by much strength deeply penetrates the ground, so scourges
and vindictive blows have mangled suffering saints. We here especially see
the suffering Jesus. Hear His piteous cry; "I gave My back to the smiters
and My cheeks to those who plucked off the hair." See His afflicted form;
"His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons
of men." While we behold, let adoration swell more warmly, for by His
stripes we are healed.
4. "The Lord is righteous; He has cut asunder the
cords of the wicked."
Vain are the cruelties of the wicked. Their shackles
cannot detain. The Lord wills deliverance. The chains are broken, and His
people are free. So Jesus was bound in vain. He rises conqueror over Satan
and the grave. He mounts victorious to the courts of heaven.
5-8. "Let them all be confounded and turned back who
hate Zion. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withers afore
it grows up. With which the mower fills not his hand, nor he that binds
sheaves his bosom. Neither do those who go by say, The blessing of the Lord
be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord."
A graphic image shows the worthless and ignominious state
of the wicked. Grass on the dry house-top has no root. It appears only to
wither. No mower gathers it. No reaper adds it to his sheaves. It yields no
good. So the wicked are seen only to be scorned. Soon they pass away. No
benefit results from them. No blessing cheers them. Shall we have portion
with them? Forbid it, gracious Lord! We receive You as all our hope and our