Verse 13. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. God's march of right will leave a track wherein his people will joyfully follow. He who smote in justice will also bless in justice, and in both will make his righteousness manifest, so as to affect the hearts and lives of all his people. Such are the blessings of our Lord's first advent, and such shall be yet more conspicuously the result of his second coming. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. Righteousness shall go before him, etc. The meaning of this difficult verse may probably be as follows: -- Righteousness shall go before Him (Jehovah), and shall make his footsteps a pathway for his servants to walk in. --Ernest Hawkins.
Verse 13. Shall set us in the way of his steps. It is reported in the Bohemian History, that St. Wenceslaus, their king, one winter night going to his devotions, in a remote church, barefooted in the snow and sharpness of unequal and pointed ice, his servant Podavivus, who waited upon his master's piety, and endeavoured to imitate his affections, began to faint through the violence of the snow and cold; till the king commanded him to follow him, and set his feet in the same footsteps, which his feet should mark for him: the servant did so, and either fancied a cure, or found one; for he followed his prince, helped forward with shame and zeal to his imitation, and by the forming footsteps for him in the snow. In the same manner does the blessed Jesus; for, since our way is troublesome, obscure, full of objections and danger, apt to be mistaken, and to affright our industry, he commands us to mark his footsteps, to tread where his feet have stood, and not only invite us forward by the argument of his example, but he hath trodden down much of the difficulty, and made the way easier and fit for our feet. For he knows our infirmities, and himself hath felt their experience in all things but in the neighbourhoods of sin; and therefore he hath proportioned a way and a path to our strength and capacities, and like Jacob, hath marched softly and in evenness with the children and the cattle, to entertain us by the comforts of his company, and the influence of a perpetual guide. Jeremy Taylor.
Verse 13. (last clause). The sinner who feels his need of salvation, is set -- in the way of his steps; as Bartimaeus sat by the way side begging, by which way Jesus walked; and when he came where he was, heard his prayer, and restored him his sight. Adam Clarke.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The righteousness by which we are justified long
precedes our justification: this righteousness is
gone before, etc.
- Our justification by that righteousness precedes our
- The righteousness of sanctification invariably
follows that of justification. G. R.