Some of you will remember that chapter 62 ends with the announcement of the Saviour’s coming: “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him,” The present chapter describes his coming.
Isaiah 63:1. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?
Who can HE be, this mysterious personage, this friend of God’s people, this destroyer of their enemies? Who can HE be?
“Who is this that comes from Edom,
All his raiment stain’d with blood;
To the slave proclaiming freedom;
Bringing and bestowing good:
Glorious in the garb he wears,
Glorious in the spoils he bears?”
Isaiah 63:1. This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
He that has come to save us is majestic in his person, but he is also mighty in his power to save. When we ask, “Who is this?” the answer comes to us, “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save)” Listen to this, you who feel that you are great sinners, you who know that you need a mighty Saviour. Here is one able to do for you all that you need. He comes from the field of battle, from the place of conquest, where he has fought the fight on your behalf, and won for you the victory over sin, and death, and hell. Who is he?
“’Tis the Saviour, now victorious.
Travelling onward in his might;
‘Tis the Saviour, oh, how glorious To his people is the sight!
Jesus now is strong to save;
Mighty to redeem the slave.”
Isaiah 63:2-3. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was none with me:
In all Christ’s redeeming work he was alone. None could help him to redeem his people. He must alone pay the ransom price. None could help him in his last great battle, when he stood forth as the sole Champion of all whom his Father had given to him.
“Death and hell will he dethrone,
By his single arm alone.”
Isaiah 63:3-4. For I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
It was the day of vengeance on the enemies of God, vengeance on sin and death, and hell; and it was the year of redemption for the great host of believers in Christ, for whom his garments were dyed in his own most precious blood. Notice how the great redeemer speaks of his chosen people; “My redeemed.”
Isaiah 63:5-6. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and ‘make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
Dear friends, I will not go into a full explanation of these verses just now; I have often explained them to you; but this is the one lesson that they teach, there is a Saviour “mighty to save.” Nothing can destroy those who put their trust in him; he will overthrow every enemy of our souls if we take him to he our Saviour. Now the prophet speaks again
Isaiah 63:7. I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses.
It is well to talk of God’s love and God’s mercy, for, if we afterwards speak of our own sin and unfaithfulness, it tends to set our sin in a clearer light, and we are the more ready to confess it, and to mourn over it. God has dealt well with us; and, therefore, that we have dealt ill with him, is the more shameful. See what he did for his ancient people, and behold in his action a picture of what he has done for his spiritual Israel.
Isaiah 63:8. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
He thought well of them, he said, “They will be true to me.” He loved them; he chose them; he put them in a place of trust and honour; he entered into fellowship and sympathy with them.
Isaiah 63:9. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
This is what he did for them in Egypt, what he did for them in the desert. He was very near them, one with them, very tender to them.
Isaiah 63:10. But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
Hear ye this, ye people of God! This is what God will do to you if you rebel against him, and vex his Holy Spirit; he will turn to be your enemy, and will fight against you. If God’s people will not yield to his love and his pity, they must suffer from his hand and his rod.
Isaiah 63:11. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
God begins to think of the past, and of what he did for his people in the days of old.
Isaiah 63:12-14. That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
See what God did for his people in his tenderness and loving-kindness. Is it not strange that, after that, they rebelled against him?
Isaiah 63:15. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
If you are in trouble tonight, if you have lost the light of God’s countenance, here are words for you to use in prayer to God.
Isaiah 63:16. Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Get a hold of this great truth, believer. Say, “God is my Father. He is my Father still; and though he smite me, though he frown upon me, I will not quit my hold on him; I will still plead his dear Son’s name, and wait for his mercy, trusting in his grace.”
Isaiah 63:17-18. O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
I pointed out to you, at the beginning of our reading, that this chapter appropriately follows the preceding one. It is itself most suitably followed by chapter 64. Indeed, the first verse of that chapter belongs to this one, and should not have been separated from it. God’s people, in their low estate, recognized that deliverance must come from the Lord alone, so they prayed, “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!” God bless the reading of his Word, and give us his presence during the whole of the service, for Christ’s sake. Amen!