Isaiah 57:16
(16) I will not contend for ever . . .--The words come as a message of comfort to the penitent who is still bearing the chastisement of his sins. The time during which God "contends" with him as an accuser and a judge has its limits. Were it not so. the souls which he had made would be utterly consumed, and His purpose in creation would be frustrated. The words seem like an echo of Genesis 6:3; Genesis 8:21. (Comp. Psalm 103:9-10).

Verse 16. - I will not contend for ever. God "will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever" (Psalm 103:9). If he were "extreme to mark what is done amiss," none could abide it (Psalm 130:3). He remits somewhat, therefore, from the claims of strict justice, and is content to take lower ground. Were it otherwise, man's spirit should fail before him. Man, i.e., would be utterly unable to justify himself, and would faint and fade away before the Divine fury. The souls which God has made would, one and all, perish. He, however, has not made them for this purpose, but that they should live (Deuteronomy 30:19; Ezekiel 18:31); and has therefore devised for them a way of salvation (see Isaiah 53:5-10).

57:13-21 The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing; but those who trust in God's grace, shall be brought to the joys of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long, even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God. Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son's blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that troubles cannot reform men unless God's grace work in them. Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the wicked would not be healed by God's grace, therefore would not be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.For I will not contend for ever,.... By afflictive providences; with the humble and contrite, the end being in a great measure answered by their humiliation and contrition; when God afflicts his people, it shows that he has a controversy with them, for their good, and his own glory; and when these ends are obtained, he will carry it on no longer:

neither will I be always wroth; as he seems to be in the apprehensions of his people, when he either hides his face from them, or chastises them with a rod of affliction:

for the spirit should fail before me; the spirit of the afflicted, which not being able to bear up any longer under the affliction, would sink and faint, or be "overwhelmed", as the word (c) signifies:

and the souls which I have made; which are of God's immediate creation, and which are also renewed by his grace, and made new creatures. The proselytes Abraham made are called the souls he made in Haran, Genesis 12:5, much more may this be said of the Father of spirits, the author both of the old and new creation. The Lord knowing the weakness of the human frame, therefore restrains his hand, or moderates or removes the affliction; see a like reason in Psalm 78:38, the last days of trouble to God's people, which will be the time of the slaying of the witnesses, will be such that if they are not shortened, no flesh can be saved, but for the elect's sake they will be shortened, Matthew 24:22.

(c) "obrueretur", Junius & Tremellius, Vitriuga; "in deliquium incideret", Piscator, Gataker.

Isaiah 57:15
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