21 DECEMBER (PREACHED 20 DECEMBER 1767)
A refreshing stream
‘And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’ Isaiah 32:2
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Isaiah 35:1–10
Why is he compared to rivers of water? The knowledge of Jesus produces a change as if one could turn [divert] a river of water into a wilderness; then the desert begins to flourish and blossom like the rose. It puts a new face upon the world, gives a sunshine, as it were, to every object, sanctifies and spiritualizes common employments, gives a double relish to every comfort, and even sweetens the bitter cup of affliction. Then we see the directing, disposing hand of our Redeemer at every turn. We have a friend near to help us in trouble, and act and suffer in a new manner when we are taught to do everything as for him who loved us. And so it is written in the heart. The knowledge of Jesus and communion with him is a refreshing stream, by which comfort will flow in spite of awkward things. This healing, fertilizing, life-giving stream is communicated in the means of grace. These are as pipes through which the water is received: promises, ordinances, prayer. The promises are such channels, when opened and applied by the Spirit. How do they revive in the time of drought! The ordinances: when all has been barren and discouraging within and without, how sweet to have the heart opened and watered by a blessing on the preaching. So at times in prayer. Perhaps by one hour’s secret waiting upon God, yea, a few minutes, there is a change like from the depth of winter to the height of summer.
This knowledge of Jesus is compared to water on account of its refreshing qualities: because it is necessary (no life or growth without it) and because it is cheap (wine and milk must be bought but water is free. Isaiah 55:1). It is compared to a river because it is full and always flowing. A summer’s brook may fail, but rivers are abiding. Such a river is Jesus.
FOR MEDITATION: [for Easter Day, 16 April 1775]
See! the streams of living waters
Who can faint while such a river
Springing from eternal love;
Ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Well supply thy sons and daughters,
Grace, which like the LORD, the giver,
And all fear of want remove:
Never fails from age to age.
SERMON SERIES: ISAIAH 32:2, NO. 3 [2/2]